ABC Action News tracks tropical developments in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
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- Christian Science Monitor
- Associated Press
Surveillance footage of ballot processing on election night in Atlanta is fueling a false social media narrative of “suitcases filled with ballots” hidden under a cloth-covered table and tallied without supervision, even as top state officials confirm election workers followed standard procedure. The video showed regular ballot containers on wheels — not suitcases — and both a state investigator and an independent monitor observed counting until it was done for the night, finding no evidence of improper ballots, state and county officials said on Friday.
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Bangladesh has started moving Rohingya families from a port near its border with Myanmar, to a remote island in the Bay of Bengal. Some 1,600 refugees were relocated on Friday on naval vessels - despite complaints by human rights groups that they were being coerced. Bhasan Char is a flood-prone island that emerged from the sea just 20 years ago. But Bangladesh's government says some Rohingya must be taken there to ease overcrowding in refugee camps. Two Rohingya being relocated told Reuters their names appeared on lists compiled by government-appointed local leaders without their consent. While, an 18-year-old woman said her husband had put their names on the list thinking it was for food rations. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority group which fled Myanmar for Bangladesh, following a military-led crackdown in 2017. The UN has accused Myanmar of having genocidal intent, but the government there says its forces were targeting militants. There are now more than a million Rohingya living in crowded, squalid conditions in Bangladesh's refugee camps, where they're at risk of getting diseases.
- The Independent
Educator says she wants to keep on teaching when Joe Biden becomes president
- The Week
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Conservative evangelical Christians have proven some of Donald Trump’s staunchest allies during his presidency. As his administration draws to a close, some of those backers are approaching President-elect Joe Biden with skepticism, but not antagonism. Christian conservatives who stood by Trump through moments of crisis and success are hardly comfortable with his loss, and several have yet to fully acknowledge Biden as the winner of the election amid ongoing, unfounded fraud claims by the president.
- The Telegraph
Caving to Brussels on fish and level playing field risks leaving UK a 'permanent client state', Boris Johnson warned
Caving to Brussels on fish and the level playing field to secure a post-Brexit trade deal risks turning Britain into a permanent “client state”, senior Conservative MPs have warned Boris Johnson. With the UK on the cusp of reaching an agreement with the European Union, a group of “die-hard” backbenches have urged the Prime Minister not break his promises to Leave voters in last year’s election. It comes amid fears that Mr Johnson could be forced to grant a flurry of last-minute concessions after intensive lobbying from French president Emmanual Macron to secure more preferable terms on fishing, state subsidies and non-regression clauses. Under British plans designed to placate the French, Mr Johnson has reportedly agreed to defer repatriating up to half of the fishing quotas for several years. However, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, told The Daily Telegraph that fishing was a “totemic issue”, adding that the UK needed to start with control over “100 per cent”. “We have to be treated like Norway is treated,” he added. “We’re not looking for an increase, we are looking for control. From there we negotiate with other countries what access they get. It’s as simple as that.” Meanwhile, there is growing concern that the so-called level playing field – a common set of rules and standards designed to ensure Britain does not give advantages to its business which undermine the EU - will prevent Britain from diverging in the future. The two sides are still believed to be at odds over the policing of the arrangement, particularly over how it will be policed and how to future-proof the agreement to ensure fair competition over time. The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has also called for further concessions from the UK on state aid, with Mr Macron determined to prevent subsidies being used to undercut French businesses. Last night Theresa Villiers, the former environment secretary, warned that the UK was now at the point of “maximum danger”, adding that “regulatory autonomy is a core part of delivering Brexit.” “This is the main means by which the EU could potentially tie us into their laws and their court. I see this as the main threat to getting Brexit done,” she added. “There are level playing field agreements in the Canada deal and arbitration mechanisms that are acceptable. But on the other end of the spectrum we are locked in as a client state.” However, several MPs said any potential backlash was likely to be limited to several dozen hardliners, meaning Mr Johnson is unlikely to face any major challenge in pushing the trade deal through Parliament. “It’s very much the ones that caused Theresa May a lot of trouble,” said one. “There’s an element of this which is that nothing will be good enough for them except no deal. As long as it looks reasonable I think most people will wear it.” Dr Liam Fox, the former trade secretary and prominent Brexiteer, added: “We have to be realistic and if we want to get the best for the majority of the British economy we will have to make some compromises. Trade agreements are not a series of ultimata, they are a negotiation.”
A Chinese official's tweet of an image of an Australian soldier that sparked a furious reaction from Canberra was amplified across social media by unusual accounts, of which half were likely fake, an Israeli cybersecurity firm and Australian experts said. The digitally altered image of an Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife to the throat of an Afghan child was tweeted by China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Monday. Twitter declined Australia's request to remove the tweet.
- The Week
New market-friendly agricultural laws are unfair and exploitative, protesting farmers say.
- Associated Press
It took Luis Salgado years of manual labor to save enough money to open a small fresh produce store, so when torrential floods swept away $1,500 worth of apples, bananas and other fruits, he decided there was no longer a future for him in Honduras. Salgado had already been struggling to eke out a profit after measures to curb the novel coronavirus such as additional cleaning cut into his meager revenues. Back-to-back hurricanes Eta and Iota internally displaced more than half a million people in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, according to International Organization for Migration data.
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- The Telegraph
China is conducting "human testing" to create "biologically enhanced soldiers," the head of US intelligence has claimed as he warned that Beijing poses the biggest threat to America's national security. In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, warned that the US must be prepared for an "open-ended" confrontation with China which he likened to the Cold War. Mr Ratcliffe, who oversees America's intelligence agencies, said he believed China's intention was to "dominate" the planet in every sense: economically, militarily and technologically. He claimed that US intelligence showed China has "conducted human testing on members of the People’s Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities". "There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing’s pursuit of power," he said. Mr Ratcliffe said his unique vantage point on the current security threats facing the US had led him to conclude that "the People’s Republic of China poses the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom world-wide since World War II". He went on to outline in granular detail China's strategy of economic espionage, which he framed as: “rob, replicate and replace.” “China robs US companies of their intellectual property, replicates the technology, and then replaces the US firms in the global marketplace,” he said.