ABC Action News tracks tropical developments in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
ABC Action News tracks tropical developments in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
Republicans indicated they would try to block one of Joe Biden's proposed key economic advisers in what could be the first major confirmation battle of his administration. Mr Biden on Monday nominated Neera Tanden, 50, as the first woman of colour to be director of the Office of Management and Budget. Ms Tanden has for the last decade headed a liberal think tank, and is a former close aide to Hillary Clinton. She has been a vocal critic of Republican senators including leader Mitch McConnell, accusing him of "breaking our democracy". A spokesman for Republican senator John Cornyn accused her of "an endless stream of disparaging comments," and said she "stands zero chance of being confirmed". Mr McConnell's former chief of staff said Ms Tanden would be a "sacrifice to the confirmation gods". It came as Mr Biden received the Presidential Daily Brief for the first time, giving him an update on classified intelligence. That would be expected to include the latest US intelligence assessments of the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. The president-elect also revealed his economic team, including confirmation that he was nominating Janet Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair, as treasury secretary. He also named an all-female senior White House communications team with Jen Psaki as press secretary. Ms Psaki worked in Barack Obama's administration, and has been a contributor to CNN. The confirmation of Ms Tanden looked set to depend on who wins two Senate run-off races in Georgia on January 5. If Democrats win both races they will take control of the Senate from Republicans, easing the confirmation process for Biden officials. As the battle in Georgia heated up its secretary of state Brad Raffensperger opened investigations into left-wing groups trying to sign up new voters. He said some groups had been encouraging people who lived outside Georgia to register to vote in the state. Ms Tanden is also unpopular with some on the left wing of the Democratic party. Last year Bernie Sanders accused her of "maligning my staff and supporters and belittling progressive ideas".
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says she has to pile up cash at home as she has been unable to open a bank account in the global financial centre since Washington sanctioned her shortly after Beijing imposed a national security law on the city. Beijing circumvented Hong Kong's legislature and imposed a national security law on the former British colony on June 30, a move condemned by some foreign governments, business groups and rights groups. Hong Kong and authorities in Beijing said the law was necessary to restore stability after more than a year of anti-government protests.
‘You haven’t shown a single problem with the way the game was scored.”“Yeah, but the game was played at night, and the rulebook only permits day games.”If you can follow that argument, then you can grasp the Republican challenge to the 2020 election in Pennsylvania that was rejected by the commonwealth’s supreme court on Saturday night. That ruling, which is factually related to but separate from President Trump’s federal lawsuit that the Third Circuit threw out last Friday, is likely to end the election-litigation efforts in Pennsylvania, though it is still possible that the cases could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.Meantime in Georgia, attorneys Lin Wood and Sidney Powell are pressing on with a lawsuit filed, not on behalf of the president directly, but on behalf of Trump supporters, including members of the Republican-nominated Electoral College slate that would have cast the state’s votes if Trump had won. On Sunday, they won a minor victory -- on procedural grounds, not on the merits -- in their bid to convince a Georgia federal judge to decertify the GOP-controlled state government’s conclusion that President-elect Biden won a slim victory there.PennsylvaniaThe state lawsuit in Pittsburgh was brought by U.S. Representative Mike Kelly of northwestern Pennsylvania and other Republicans. They argued that the commonwealth’s constitution does not permit mass mail-in voting -- as distinguished from individualized absentee voting. They therefore challenged the state legislature’s 2019 Act 77, which permitted “no-excuse” mail-in voting. Act 77 marked a departure from prior Pennsylvania law, under which voters could only request absentee ballots based on legally approved reasons for not being able to vote in person. In 2020, the legislature further liberalized this accommodation due to COVID-19 concerns.The Republican plaintiffs had a legitimate point. Prior to Act 77, state law simply codified the Pennsylvania’s constitution, which authorizes absentee voting based on a generous list of excuses, but does not expressly authorize no-excuse mail-in voting. The plaintiffs thus found a sympathetic ear in commonwealth judge Patricia McCullough of Pittsburgh. Last week, she ordered a temporary stay in the certification process -- although the stay’s efficacy was debatable, since her order came after the state had certified the results (albeit before some ministerial tasks, such as the issuance of certificates to the Biden slate of electors, who will cast the commonwealth’s electoral votes).State election officials, who are Democrats, immediately appealed to the state supreme court, where their eventual victory was certain. That tribunal is a Democrat-dominated elected body and, as we’ve previously recounted, it has both flouted the plain terms of state law and extended mail-in voting beyond even the state’s constitutionally questionable authorization of it. There was zero chance that it would side with Republicans.Here, however, the court was on solid footing because the plaintiffs did not file lawsuits against the new mail-in voting when it was enacted. They waited for over a year, until after 2.6 million Pennsylvanians had availed themselves of the opportunity to vote by mail during a pandemic. Republicans were suddenly objecting now, not because the election was unfair, but because their presidential candidate lost. Indeed, some of the plaintiffs had run for office under the Act 77 mail-in procedures without objecting to them.Consequently, the court ruled that the doctrine of laches applied -- i.e., claims must be timely raised or they are forfeited. Moreover, to repeat a refrain we’ve been stressing for a while, there was a gross mismatch between the harm alleged and the remedy sought: The Republicans were asking that the mail-in ballots be thrown out or, in the alternative, that the election be voided and the (Republican-majority) state legislature be directed to choose the state’s electors (i.e., the Trump slate). This would disenfranchise either the 2.6 million Pennsylvanians who mailed in ballots or all of the commonwealth’s 6.8 million voters.In a concurring opinion, Judge David Wecht further contended that the court could not authorize the state legislature to choose electors. Although the Constitution empowers the state legislature to choose the manner of selecting electors, Judge Wecht observed (as I have also pointed out) that the commonwealth’s legislature did so long ago by enacting provisions that award Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes to the winner of the popular election.The court’s ruling on the issue of laches was unanimous. Two judges dissented in part, reasoning that the Republican plaintiffs’ construction of the state constitution appears sound, and that Act 77’s attempt to put a 180-day time-limit on challenges to its lawfulness should be unenforceable against challenges based on the state constitution (an issue the majority opinion sidestepped). The dissenters argued that the plaintiffs should be permitted to proceed with their objections to mass mail-in voting for the purpose of future elections, but not the 2020 election.GeorgiaIn Georgia, attorneys Lin Wood and Sidney Powell are pursuing their theory that the election was stolen from President Trump by cyber-fraud -- specifically, manipulation of the tabulation program, to which they claim Dominion voting machines are vulnerable, in order to switch Trump votes to Biden votes.Sunday turned out to be a frenetic day because Wood learned, apparently from state election officials, that the memories on voting machines were about to be reset (or “wiped,” as Wood put it). This was to occur on Monday (today) -- recall that Georgia will be holding a statewide run-off election for both U.S. Senate seats in just five weeks (i.e., on January 5). Wood objected because the reset would make it practically impossible for him and Powell to conduct a forensic examination into the Dominion software’s operation in the November election, which they contend is necessary to their case.U.S. district judge Timothy Batten initially issued a temporary injunction, directing state election officials to preserve the machines in their present condition while he deliberated over whether to permit a forensic examination. Judge Batten withdrew the injunction a few hours later when the state officials named in the Wood/Powell lawsuits explained that the counties, not the state, had control over the machines.Finally, on Sunday evening at 7:45 p.m., Batten convened an emergency conference, via Zoom, at which the lawyers countered that they were prepared to amend their complaints in order to add the officials in Cobb, Gwinnett, and Cherokee county as defendants. The state also contended that the forensic examination contemplated by the plaintiffs threatened state election security and could compromise its contractor’s proprietary and trade secrets, and thus should not be permitted absent a more compelling showing of wrongdoing than has been made to this point. Wood and Powell replied that these concerns could be assuaged by allowing the state’s own experts to participate in the examination, conducting it on videotape, and directing that the results be provided only to the court, for consideration of any appropriate protective orders against disclosure.At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Batten issued a temporary restraining order: For the next ten days, unless the court directs otherwise, Georgia is barred from permitting the erasure or alteration of data from the Dominion machines. In the meantime, the state is to provide the plaintiffs with a copy of its contract with Dominion, and must file by close of business Wednesday (December 2) a brief and any supporting affidavits in opposition to the forensic examinations.Another hearing in the case is set for Friday (December 4). To be clear, Judge Batten has not ruled on the merits of the case or even indicated that he will permit the forensic examination of the Dominion data. The injunction freezes matters for a few days so the court can consider the parties’ positions and make a more informed decision.
The women "were well within their right to act in defense of their sister and daughter" and are not expected to face charges, authorities say.
Five leaders of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement reported to police Monday to acknowledge charges that they defamed the king, the most serious of many offenses of which they stand accused. The five are part of the student-led movement that for several months has been campaigning for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and his government to step down, the constitution to be amended to make it more democratic and the monarchy be reformed to make it more accountable. The protest movement has nevertheless emphasized reform of the monarchy as a key demand, and made it the theme of several of its protest rallies, which have attracted thousands of people.
A military aircraft making an emergency return to Pittsburgh International Airport dumped fuel over the City of Jeannette early Saturday morning. KDKA's Shelby Cassesse has more.
New Zealand's workplace regulator has filed charges against 13 parties following an investigation into a volcanic eruption on White Island in 2019 which killed 22 people. A surprise eruption on the White Island, also known by its Maori name of Whakaari, on Dec 9 last year, killed 22 people and injured dozens. Majority of them were tourists from countries like Australia, the United States and Malaysia who were part of a cruise ship that was travelling around New Zealand.
As two Islamic State militants faced a judge in Virginia last month, Diane Foley listened from home through a muffled phone connection and strained to make out the voices of the men prosecutors say kidnapped her son before he was murdered. Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh stand accused of belonging to an IS cell dubbed “the Beatles,” an incongruously lighthearted nickname for British citizens blamed for the jailing, torture and murder of Western hostages in Syria. After geopolitical breakthroughs and stalemates, military actions in Syria and court fights in London, the Justice Department’s most significant terrorism prosecution in years was finally underway.
President-elect Joe Biden has fractured his foot while playing with his dog, Major, in Delaware on Saturday. The 78-year-old president-elect will have to wear a walking boot for several weeks. It is unclear whether this will last until his inauguration on January 20. Initial X-rays did not show a break, but the diagnosis changed following a CT scan. “Initial X-rays did not show any obvious fracture, but his clinical exam warranted more detailed imaging," said Dr Kevin O'Connor. "Follow-up CT scan confirmed hairline (small) fractures of President-elect Biden’s lateral and intermediate cuneiform bones, which are in the mid-foot. It is anticipated that he will likely require a walking boot for several weeks.” On Sunday evening, he was seen walking with a slight limp to an SUV which took him to the Delaware Imaging Network for the CT scan. Commenting on the injury, US president Donald Trump tweeted: "Get well soon!"
Leslie Van Houten has spent nearly five decades in prison since she was arrested for 1969 killing spree.
A U.S. judge sentenced a former high-ranking Honolulu prosecutor to 13 years in prison Monday, saying she stole money from her own grandmother and used her husband's position as a police chief to frame her uncle for a crime he didn't commit — all to maintain her lavish lifestyle. Katherine and Louis Kealoha, now estranged, were once a respected power couple. Louis Kealoha, who agreed to retire amid the wide-ranging federal investigation, is scheduled to be sentenced later Monday in a separate hearing.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is assisting an inquiry into an alleged adverse reaction during AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine trial, but has found no reason to recommend halting it, a senior official at the regulator said on Sunday. A 40-year-old man said in a complaint seen by Reuters that he had suffered serious "neurological and psychological" symptoms after receiving the vaccine in a trial being run by the British drugmaker's partner Serum Institute of India (SII). "There was no immediate cause of concern at this stage," Samiran Panda, head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the ICMR, the research body involved in trials, told Reuters.
President Trump claimed Sunday that he has had other world leaders call him to "say how messed up" the U.S. presidential election was.The comment came during a phone interview with Fox News' Maria Baritromo, during which Trump -- without much pushback from Bartiromo -- continued to allege President-elect Joe Biden defeated him in the general election with the help of widespread voter fraud, despite there being no evidence of any.It's unclear who Trump was referring to, if he has indeed received such calls. Most world leaders, including those whom Trump enjoys friendly relationships with like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, have publicly offered their congratulations to Biden.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have kept quiet on Biden's win, but there's no proof they've explicitly expressed sympathy for Trump by deriding the U.S. electoral process either. Regardless, the White House hasn't read out any calls with foreign leaders since October. > Trump just claimed that foreign leaders are calling him to say "that's the most messed up election I've ever seen." The White House has read out zero phone calls with foreign leaders since the end of October. Nearly every major US ally has called Joe Biden to congratulate him.> > -- Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) November 29, 2020More stories from theweek.com How camp explains Trump Americans are choosing death over deprivation The Electoral College is only getting worse