By Andrew R.C. Marshall and Manuel Mogato TACLOBAN, Philippines (Reuters) - The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan's rampage through the Philippines is closer to 2,000 or 2,500 than the 10,000 previously estimated, President Benigno Aquino said on Tuesday as U.S. and British warships headed toward his nation to help with relief efforts. "Ten thousand, I think, is too much," Aquino told CNN in an interview. "There was emotional drama involved with that particular estimate." Aquino said the government was still gathering information from various storm-struck areas and the death toll may rise. "We're hoping to be able to contact something like 29 municipalities left wherein we still have to establish their numbers, especially for the missing, but so far 2,000, about 2,500, is the number we are working on as far as deaths are concerned," he said. The official death toll stood at 1,774 on Tuesday. Philippine officials have been overwhelmed by Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons on record, which tore through the central Philippines on Friday and flattened Tacloban, coastal capital of Leyte province where officials had feared 10,000 people died, many drowning in a tsunami-like wall of seawater. Aquino revealed the lower estimated toll after the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington set sail for the Philippines carrying about 5,000 sailors and more than 80 aircraft to accelerate relief efforts. It was joined by four other U.S. Navy ships and should arrive in two to three days, the Pentagon said. "The weather is pretty bad out there, so we are limited by seas and wind," Captain Thomas Disy, commander of the USS Antietam, a missile cruiser that is part of the carrier group, said in Hong Kong. "But we are going to be going as fast as we possibly can." Relief supplies poured into Tacloban along roads flanked with corpses and canyons of debris as the rain fell again. Rescue workers scrambled to reach other towns and villages still cut off, which could reveal the full extent of the casualties and devastation. "There are hundreds of other towns and villages stretched over thousands of kilometers that were in the path of the typhoon and with which all communication has been cut," said Natasha Reyes, emergency coordinator in the Philippines at Médecins Sans Frontières. "No one knows what the situation is like in these more rural and remote places, and it's going to be some time before we have a full picture." She described the devastation as unprecedented for the Philippines, a disaster-prone archipelago of more than 7,000 islands that sees about 20 typhoons a year, likening the storm to "a massive earthquake followed by huge floods." About 660,000 people have been displaced and many have no access to food, water or medicine, the United Nations said. Britain is also sending a navy warship with equipment to make drinking water from seawater and a military transport aircraft. The HMS Daring left Singapore and expects to arrive in two or three days. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the development lender was considering boosting its conditional cash transfer program for the Philippines in the wake of the storm. CORPSE-CHOKED WASTELAND Aquino has declared a state of national calamity and deployed hundreds of soldiers in Tacloban, a once-vibrant port city of 220,000 that is now a wasteland without any sign of a government, as city and hospital workers focus on saving their families and securing food. "Basically, the only branch of government that is working here is the military," Philippine Army Major Ruben Guinolbay told Reuters in Tacloban. "That is not good. We are not supposed to take over government." Tacloban's government was wiped out by the storm, said Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas. Officials were dead, missing or too overcome with grief to work. Of the city's 293 police officers, only 20 had shown up for duty, he said. "Today, we have stabilized the situation. There are no longer reports of looting. The food supply is coming in. Up to 50,000 food packs are coming in every day, with each pack able to feed up to a family of five for three days," he said. Corazon Soliman, Secretary of the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development, said aid had reached a third of Tacloban's 45,000 families. Most of its stores remain closed - either destroyed or shut after widespread looting. "Those that opened saw their goods wiped out of their shelves right away," Soliman said. CHAOS AT AIRPORT Two Philippine Air Force C-130 cargo planes landed at Tacloban airport early on Tuesday, but unloaded more soldiers than relief supplies. Among dozens of troops was a unit of Special Forces, underscoring concerns about civil disorder. The Special Forces immediately deployed at the airport to hold back angry and desperate families waiting in heavy rain in the hope of boarding the planes returning to Manila. "Get back! Get back in the building!" shouted air force officials through megaphones, gesturing the crowds back inside the wrecked terminal. Many had walked for hours from their destroyed homes, carrying meager possessions. The sick, infants and the elderly were taken on board first. Pale-faced babies were passed over the crowd and carried on with several injured people. Many people wept and begged officials to let them on. Residents told terrifying accounts of being swept away by a surge of water in city hopelessly unprepared for power of Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Yolanda. Some stayed behind to protect their property, including Marivel Saraza, 39, who moved her six children farther inland before Haiyan struck, but stayed behind to look after her home only a stone's throw from the sea. She ended up battling through chest-high water to reach higher ground, while the storm surge destroyed her two-storey concrete home. "My house just dissolved in the water," she said. Saraza now struggles to feed her children. The government gave her 2 kg (4.4 lb) of rice and a single can of sardines - barely enough for a family meal - so her husband foraged for fruit farther inland. But trees have been flattened by winds of 314 kph (195 mph) and rice fields inundated with salt water. RELIEF EFFORTS PICKING UP Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the economic damage in the coconut- and rice-growing region would likely shave 1 percentage point off of economic growth in 2014. "Fixation over numbers at this stage is not going to be useful," Purisima, the top finance ministry official, told reporters. "I was overwhelmed by the pictures, not the numbers." The overall financial cost of the destruction was harder to assess. Initial estimates varied widely, with a report from German-based CEDIM Forensic Disaster Analysis putting the total at $8 billion to $19 billion. International relief efforts have begun to gather pace, with dozens of countries and organizations pledging tens of millions of dollars in aid. U.N. aid chief Valerie Amos, who has traveled to the Philippines, released $25 million for aid relief on Monday from the U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund. Rescuers have yet to reach remote parts of the coast, such as Guiuan, a city of 40,000 people that was largely destroyed. "We don't need aerial surveys. It won't help the people of Guiuan," one resident posted on the Armed Forces Facebook page. "You've already done an aerial survey and you've seen the extent of the damage, seen the devastation that Yolanda brought... The people are desperate, hungry and feeling dejected. WE ARE CRYING FOR HELP!!!" The typhoon also leveled Basey, a seaside town in Samar province about 10 km (6 miles) across a bay from Tacloban. About 2,000 people were missing in Basey, its governor said. (Additional reporting by Rosemarie Francisco and Karen Lema in Manila; Phil Stewart and Susan Heavey in Washington; Michelle Nichols at the United Nations, Belinda Goldsmith in London and Greg Torode in Hong Kong; Writing by Jason Szep and Jim Loney; Editing by Nick Macfie and Doina Chiacu)
- The Week
Florida attorney reportedly under investigation after telling Republicans to change 'your address for the next 2 months' for Georgia runoffs
A Florida attorney is reportedly under investigation after trying to register to vote in Georgia ahead of the January runoff election and encouraging other Republicans to change "your address for the next two months" so they can vote in the state as well, WSB-TV reports.Attorney Bill Price in a Facebook video that has since been deleted was reportedly seen speaking to members of the Bay County GOP in Florida last month, saying "we have to do whatever it takes" to "hold the Senate" and that he's "moving to Georgia" for the January runoff."And if that means changing your address for the next two months, so be it," Price says. "I'm doing that. I'm moving to Georgia and I'm gonna fight and I want you all to fight with me."Price reportedly says in the video he's "moving to my brother's house in Hiram, Georgia and I'm registering to vote." Then, he reportedly tells the Florida Republicans his brother's name and his address, and when a woman asks if they "can truly register at that address," he reportedly responds, "Sure."Georgia's office of Secretary of State told Fox News that "registering without the intention of permanent residency is a felony," as "only permanent residents are eligible to vote in Georgia." According to Fox, Price says in the video he will "move back to Florida on Jan. 6." Price told WSB-TV these were just "humorous comments" and that he "did not change my voter registration." But according to the report, he did register to vote using his brother's Georgia address the day after he made the remarks, and he's now under investigation. Price admitted to Fox News that he filled out the voter registration but claimed, "I wanted to see how easy it was to do it. I'm not actually moving to Georgia. I was joking." Read more at WSB-TV. > "If that means changing your address for the next two months,so be it.I'm doing that. I'm moving to Georgia."Our 6 investigation reveals deleted video-a FL attorney telling GOP members how to move to GA,vote in runoffs. It's illegal.There's more,& an investigation @wsbtv gapol pic.twitter.com/or2PgWQrT1> > -- Nicole Carr (@NicoleCarrWSB) December 2, 2020More stories from theweek.com 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims Trump reportedly derailed a GOP meeting about the Georgia Senate runoffs by praising QAnon Trump DOJ takes final crack at Facebook, alleging it hired foreign workers over U.S. citizens
- The Daily Beast
Earlier this week, Project Veritas released the first of what it promised would be many shocking revelations from CNN’s internal editorial meetings, which founder James O’Keefe appears to have infiltrated and recorded over the course of several weeks.First, the right-wing group tried to make hay out of the fact that one high-level CNN staffer considered Fox News host Tucker Carlson to be racist—while simultaneously misidentifying the staffer in question. Their latest bombshell? CNN President Jeff Zucker thinks Rudy Giuliani is “crazy.”According to Project Veritas’ website, O’Keefe believes it will be “virtually impossible for the American public to take CNN’s reporting seriously after listening to these tapes.” And yet, once again, nothing that Zucker has said should surprise anyone who has been paying attention to Giuliani, especially in the weeks since Trump lost the presidential election to Joe Biden.“There is a term for what Rudy Giuliani is suspected of being, which is ‘useful idiot,’” a voice identified as Zucker’s can be heard saying in a tape made just a couple of days after the man formerly known as “America’s mayor” started pushing material supposedly obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop.He goes on to call Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the election a “really important story,” adding, “It gets tied to the Hunter Biden email disinformation campaign. That’s the way we do this, because it’s all tied and part-and-parcel of one. I know Washington is working on putting that all together.”In a more recent call, when another staff member suggests that the “real craziness is the client,” referring to President Trump, “not the lawyers,” the voice ID’d as Zucker agrees before saying, “I think you raise a good point about not just pawning it off on the crazy legal team, but the client is the one who is directing the crazy legal team.”Other comments from Zucker that seem to have outraged Project Veritas concern the baseless allegations of pedophilia against Biden that circulated online, especially among QAnon Facebook groups, in the run-up to the election.“The president of the United States has just retweeted a post accusing Joe Biden of being a pedophile to his 86 million followers which is just beyond,” he says on another tape. “You know it also is just unacceptable that the president of the United States is trafficking in this and doing it.”Once again, an exposé intended to make Zucker and CNN look bad has only revealed that they are simply adhering to reality.Project Veritas’ CNN Sting Uncovers Explosive News That Tucker Carlson Is RacistRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- The Telegraph
Former US president Bill Clinton did visit Jeffrey Epstein's infamous private island despite his claims to the contrary, his former associate has claimed. Doug Band, who worked for Mr Clinton for around two decades, claimed the former president flew on Epstein's jet dozens of times and visited the convicted sex offender's private Carribean island in January 2003. Although ignorant of Epstein's crimes at the time, Mr Band claimed in an interview with Vanity Fair that he attempted to keep his boss away from the financier after a 2002 trip to Africa. Mr Band told the magazine the trip had left him with a bad impression of Epstein and he advised Mr Clinton to end his relationship with the multimillionaire financier. The two men were friends in the 2000s, with Mr Clinton taking several trips on Epstein’s private jet, which has come to be known as the "Lolita express" after it was alleged that the financier used the jet to traffic underage girls between his various properties.
The Atlantic Fleet will confront the Russian navy, which has been "deploying closer and closer to our East Coast."
- Yahoo News Video
A lawyer for President Trump on Tuesday urged a federal appeals court to halt a lawsuit accusing the U.S. president of exploiting his family name to promote a marketing scam targeting poor and working-class people.
The shootings occurred in August in Kenosha, Wisconsin amid civil unrest sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. Rittenhouse's lawyers have said he was helping protect property and that he acted in self defense. Rittenhouse, 17, was charged with first-degree homicide and five other criminal counts related to the shootings, in which Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber were killed and Gaige Grosskreutz was wounded.
- The Week
The Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear a case from President Trump's legal team that seeks to challenge the state's presidential election results, The Washington Post reports.On Thursday, the court ruled that Trump's team should have taken up the matter with a lower court. The ruling is yet another blow to Trump's longshot effort to overturn his election loss in several states; he has claimed voter fraud led to President-elect Joe Biden's victory, but there is no evidence of widespread fraud.Trump lost to Biden in Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes. The campaign alleges that Wisconsin election officials improperly accepted thousands of ballots in two of the state's most Democratic counties. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com Florida attorney reportedly under investigation after telling Republicans to change 'your address for the next 2 months' for Georgia runoffs 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims Trump reportedly derailed a GOP meeting about the Georgia Senate runoffs by praising QAnon
- USA TODAY
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been a top official dealing with the pandemic.
- NBC News
The Bond Fire started with flames at one home, before it reached nearby vegetation and spread out of control.
- Associated Press
Connecticut police arrested two men and seized an estimated $15 million in marijuana after discovering a storage facility was being used illegally as a hub for pot distribution in the Northeast, authorities said Thursday. West Haven police said local officers and agents with the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration found 1,700 pounds (770 kilograms) of marijuana on Wednesday when they stopped a U-Haul truck while investigating what they called an international marijuana trafficking operation. “The investigation revealed that individuals were utilizing a storage facility in West Haven as a hub to distribute large quantities of marijuana throughout the tri-state area,” West Haven police said in a statement, referring to the area that includes Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.
- The Telegraph
Back in July, the US attorney general Bill Bar was dutifully echoing Donald Trump's warnings that mass mail-in voting was vulnerable to election fraud. Mr Barr's forceful repetition of the unfounded claims were met with heavy criticism from opponents, who accused the country's top law enforcement official of using his position to boost Mr Trump's chances of re-election. After the vote, Mr Barr attracted criticism once more when he authorised prosecutors to pursue allegations of vote counting "irregularities" before election officials had certified the results - a significant reversal from long-standing Justice Department policy. So it was a severe blow to the president's hopes of overturning the election results when Mr Barr publicly declared on Tuesday night: "To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election". Democrats were quick to crow over the admission by the head of the Justice Department, one of the president's closest allies. "If you've even lost Bill Barr... it’s time to pack it up," said Adam Schiff, a senior Democrat congressman.
U.S. House of Representatives Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Thursday he is more optimistic that a coronavirus relief bill can get done in Congress now that the national election is over. "The election is over so I'm more optimistic now that we can get something done," McCarthy, whose party is in the minority in the House, told reporters. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is also a Republican, said earlier Thursday said there was some positive movement in efforts to reach a compromise.
- Architectural Digest
From a private island to a tiny Vermont tree houseOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Independent
Donald Trump not named in documents related to investigation
Man, 41, had no teeth and could barely speak after his mother locked him in their suburban apartment for 28 years, say reports
A 70-year-old Swedish woman has been arrested for imprisoning her son in her Stockholm flat. He was found by a relative covered in wounds and pus.
- The Telegraph
Joe Biden delivered an apparent further blow to British hopes of a quick trade deal with the US, suggesting he would concentrate on building up industries at home first. The president-elect echoed the language of Donald Trump, saying he would put "America first". "I want to make sure we’re going to fight like hell by investing in America first," Mr Biden said in an interview with the New York Times. "I’m not going to enter any new trade agreement with anybody until we have made major investments here at home and in our workers." His top priority will be getting a generous stimulus package through Congress to counter the economic impact of the pandemic. Mr Biden mentioned energy, biotech, artificial intelligence, infrastructure and education as areas where his administration would invest heavily. His comments were made in the context of how the US would compete with China when he is in the White House. But they appeared to signal a further setback for a US-UK trade deal. It followed Mr Biden's public intervention last week when he said there must be no guarded border in Ireland. In September, he warned that the Good Friday Agreement must not become a "casualty of Brexit" and that a UK-US trade deal was dependent on that. Mr Biden has been a strident critic of China's human rights record and indicated he will maintain a tough trade posture towards Beijing, including keeping tariffs imposed by Mr Trump. He said: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs. I'm not going to prejudice my options." Mr Biden said he would pursue policies targeting China's "abusive practices" such as "stealing intellectual property, dumping products and illegal subsidies to corporations". He added: "The best China strategy, I think, is one which gets every one of our - or at least what used to be our - allies on the same page. "It’s going to be a major priority for me in the opening weeks of my presidency to try to get us back on the same page with our allies." On Iran, Mr Biden stood by his view that his administration would lift sanctions if Tehran returned to "strict compliance with the nuclear deal."
- The Independent
When first lady Melania Trump revealed the Christmas decorations for her last holiday season in the White House, one aspect that stood out was a room dedicated to the Kennedys. The Vermeil Room on the ground floor of the executive mansion features a collection of 1,600 display pieces of silver-gilt tableware, and this year holiday decorations were themed on president John F Kennedy and first lady Jackie.
- Associated Press
BEN-GURION INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Israel (AP) — Hundreds of Ethiopian immigrants arrived on Thursday to a festive ceremony at Israel’s international airport, as the government took a step toward carrying out its pledge to reunite hundreds of families split between the two countries. Many were dressed in traditional Ethiopian robes, and many women held babies in their arms.
- The Telegraph
Indian police arrest Muslim man under 'love jihad' law for allegedly attempting to convert Hindu woman to Islam
A Muslim man has been arrested under a controversial anti-Muslim "love jihad" law in India after a Hindu father accused him of harassing his daughter to convert to Islam and marry him. The man was arrested on Thursday from his village in Uttar Pradesh state, under the new legislation approved five days earlier. In his complaint the woman's father claimed that three years ago the man had ‘harassed’ his teenage daughter, with whom he went to high school, pressuring to convert to Islam by offering her ‘allurements’ in order to marry him. He claims the man had threatened to kidnap his daughter if she refused. Police said the father, who strongly objected to his daughters association with a Muslim man, had similarly accused the man at the time of kidnapping his daughter, but the case was closed after the girl was found and denied having been abducted. Local media reports indicated that the two were in a relationship, but this has not been confirmed. The woman, who has not been named, married someone else in June, but in his complaint after the approval of the ‘love jihad’ law last week, her father claimed the man continued pursuing and harassing her. Under the law, which carries a 10-year sentence and a £500 fine, all marriages between Muslims and Hindus can be annulled if it is proved the woman had converted solely for that purpose. Hindu women who want to change their religion to Islam after marriage need to apply to the local district authorities for permission to do so. The law was passed by the ruling Hindu fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata Party, the BJP, which believes that Muslim men have launched a "love jihad" to turn Hindu women Muslim, which would dilute India’s Hindu majority. Hindu’s constitute around 80 per cent of India's population of 1.3 billion, while Muslims comprise around 15 per cent. Over the past six years in power, the BJP has increased its political and electoral support across India, primarily by portraying Muslims as the ‘enemy’ poised to ‘dominate’ Hindus. Opposition parties and critics have called the ‘love jihad’ legislation ‘regressive’ and accused the BJP of normalising anti-Muslim sentiment, charges the nationalist have ignored. In October, a leading Indian jewellery brand was withdrawn by its manufacturer after one of its advertisements featuring an inter-faith Hindu-Muslim family was viciously trolled online by BJP supporters. Senior BJP ministers accused Netflix of the same in a scene in The Suitable Boy television series, in which a Hindu woman kisses a Muslim man. Senior BJP leaders are demanding legal action against the producer and director of the series for this ‘outrage’. In the meantime, other than Uttar Pradesh at least four other Indian states, all ruled by the BJP, are readying to pass identical ‘love jihad’ legislation.
- The Week
FBI directors are appointed for 10-year terms, largely to insulate them from political pressure, and presidents rarely cut those terms short. President Trump did, firing FBI Director James Comey soon in May 2017 — prompting the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller — and he has come close to firing Comey's successor, Christopher Wray, several times, The New York Times reports. President-elect Joe Biden plans on returning to the regular norms and customs. Wray, like Comey, is a Republican.Biden is "not removing the FBI director unless Trump fired him," a senior Biden adviser tells the Times. Advisers also said Biden is leaning toward appointing David S. Cohen as CIA director, though he hasn't made any final decision. Cohen, a former deputy CIA director, is backed by Biden's choice for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, the Times reports, and "ensuring an easy partnership between Ms. Haines and the CIA director is a priority of the new administration."Trump soured on Wray soon after appointing him, and it took an intervention by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Attorney General William Barr to talk Trump down from firing him over the summer, the Times reports. Trump reportedly told advisers in the fall that he would fire Wray right after the election. If he follows through, Biden will be able to pick a director of his choosing.More stories from theweek.com Florida attorney reportedly under investigation after telling Republicans to change 'your address for the next 2 months' for Georgia runoffs 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims Trump reportedly derailed a GOP meeting about the Georgia Senate runoffs by praising QAnon