Retired Special Forces Master Sgt. George Vera was worried he’d never be able to paddleboard again, but thanks to a local company, they have made it possible.
- Yahoo News
- Yahoo News
- USA TODAY
President-elect Joe Biden said he'd "be happy" to join former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in getting the vaccine.
- Associated Press
- The Week
President Trump's Pentagon purge isn't over yet.Since losing the 2020 election, Trump has systematically ousted top Defense Department officials and replaced them with people more favorable to him. That removal operation even extended to the typically nonpartisan Pentagon Defense Business Board on Friday, where the White House fired nine members and installed Trump allies in their place.On Friday, nine members of the board received a "form letter" telling them their "membership on the Defense Business Board has expired or is coming to an end, its now-ousted chair Michael Bayer tells Politico. Bayer said he was "surprised" the White House would make this kind of "11th-hour move" regarding an advisory board with a "record of nonpartisan support." "This kind of a move really will weigh heavily on people on the future and their willingness to serve on these outside advisory boards if they're going to be subjected to political loyalty tests," Bayer added.In the members' place, the White House installed a collection of loyalists, including Trump's 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Also installed was David Bossie who, along with Lewandowski, was among Trump allies who've been challenging the 2020 election results.Trump also recently nominated Scott O'Grady, another loyalist, to a top Pentagon spot. O'Grady, along with freshly pardoned former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, shared a wild petition on Twitter that compels Trump to "declare limited martial law to temporarily suspend the Constitution" and hold a new presidential election.After the election, Trump removed former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the top official overseeing the Defeat ISIS Task Force, and members of the Defense Policy Board, including former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright.More stories from theweek.com 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims 5 scathingly funny cartoons about the NFL's COVID problem Abolishing the Electoral College is closer than you think
- Associated Press
Iran's death toll from the global pandemic has risen above 50,000, state television said Saturday, as the country grapples with the worst outbreak in the Middle East. A two-week partial lockdown in the capital of Tehran and other major cities helped slow, but not stop the rising wave of deaths from the coronavirus over the past few weeks. President Hassan Rouhani warned Saturday that the lockdown could be extended to more cities or reimposed on the capital, if people do not abide by health measures.
- Christian Science Monitor
U.S. lawmakers unveiled the final version of a massive annual defense policy bill on Thursday that defies President Donald Trump's plans to withdraw troops from Germany and keep the names of Confederate generals on military bases, setting the stage for a veto fight in the last weeks before he leaves office. The $740 billion, 4500-page National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, is the result of months of negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives. Among other things, the bill expresses support for the continued presence of U.S. forces in Germany and limits the ability of the Department of Defense to reduce the number of active-duty service members there below 34,500 without an assessment of its impact.
- Associated Press
- The Telegraph
Labour will be 'putting two fingers up' to voters if it fails to back Brexit deal, Sir Keir Starmer warned
Labour will be putting "two fingers up to voters" if it refuses to back a Brexit trade deal, Sir Keir Starmer has been warned, as a prominent Remainer MP said they would vote for it. Amid splits at the top of the party on whether to withhold support for an agreement, shadow business minister Lucy Powell suggested Labour would struggle to win back voters in “Red Wall” seats if it attempted to abstain. Arguing that a “skinny deal” could be “built on” in future, Ms Powell added that it was better than no deal - which she said would be a “catastrophe” - and was therefore “quite hard for us to oppose”. Echoing her concerns, Chris Bryant MP, a staunch Europhile, revealed he intended to back the deal and urged his colleagues to do the same. Writing for The Telegraph, the former foreign minister said that even if Boris Johnson failed to strike the “comprehensive deal we were promised” the alternative of no trade deal would be “even worse.” While Sir Keir has hinted he intends to back a deal, Anneliese Dodds, the shadow chancellor, is said to be one of several shadow cabinet ministers who believe Labour should abstain to avoid being blamed for any economic fallout. Other sceptics include shadow trade secretary Emily Thornberry and shadow justice secretary David Lammy, both prominent remainers, as well as shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray. On Friday evening Lord Kinnock, the former Labour leader, also waded into the row, telling peers that backing the deal would be politically "lethal" for the party. "We must abstain and explain that this is the rational course when faced with a damaging ‘yes’ and a disastrous ‘no’,” he wrote in a private Whatsapp group. However, Ms Powell, who helped lead a review into last year’s crushing election defeat, argued that it was better to be “strong” than refusing to take a position either way. “It’s not just about Brexit, although Brexit was a big symbolic expression of Labour losing touch with its traditional voter base,” she told Huffington Post. “And we can’t keep putting two fingers up to people if we want them to vote for us again and support us and be part of the agenda that we want for the future.” According to Labour insiders, Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow home secretary, and Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, are also in favour of a deal. Mr Bryant, the MP for Rhondda in Wales, warned that a no deal exit would lead to tariffs on Welsh lamb that would make the meat unaffordable in the EU, where half is sold at present. He also voiced alarm about the security implications of leaving without a deal, adding: “If the Prime Minister does what I expect him to do, namely negotiate some kind of minimalist trade deal with the EU at the very last minute – I expect I will vote for it and I would encourage all my Labour colleagues to do the same.” enior Labour source told The Telegraph a final position was likely to be hammered out over the next few days, adding that the party would need to have come to “collective decision” either before or soon after any deal is struck. Allies of Sir Keir allies have also been frustrated by leaks suggesting the shadow cabinet is divided and are determined to prevent a repeat of the public rows that plagued Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. They believe they are an attempt by advocates of an abstention to bounce Sir Keir into sitting on the fence. While they insist no position has been reached, they have warned that there will be no room for dissent on the frontbench once a decision has been taken. However, a number of shadow cabinet figures believe that proponents of a deal have become too preoccupied on the Red Wall rather than focussing on the issues that will define the next four years. One source told The Telegraph that some in the party appeared to be trying to “refight the last election” rather than thinking of the “bigger picture.”
- The Week
President-elect Joe Biden said when it comes to the Department of Justice, he is "not going to be telling them what they have to do and don't have to do."Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were interviewed by CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday, and the discussion turned to reports that President Trump is contemplating preemptively pardoning his adult children, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Biden said this "concerns me in terms of what kind of precedent it sets and how the rest of the world looks [at] us as a nation of laws and justice."Biden promised that he is "not going to be saying, 'Go prosecute A, B, or C,' I'm not going to be telling them. That's not the role, it's not my Justice Department, it's the people's Justice Department. So the persons or person I pick to run that department are going to be people who are going to have the independent capacity to decide who gets prosecuted, who doesn't."Harris, who once served as California's attorney general, added that the administration will assume that "any decision coming out of the Justice Department ... should be based on the law, it should not be influence by politics, period."More stories from theweek.com 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims 5 scathingly funny cartoons about the NFL's COVID problem Abolishing the Electoral College is closer than you think
- Associated Press
Lebanon's Hezbollah said Friday it is suing a former Christian lawmaker and a website affiliated with a Christian political party for defamation, after they accused the Shiite militant group of being responsible for the devastating explosion at Beirut's port this summer. Hezbollah’s legal representative Ibrahim Mussawi said the accusations, leveled by Fares Souaid and the website of the right-wing Lebanese Forces party, were misleading. Mussawi, also a Hezbollah lawmaker, told a press conference outside the courts house that blaming the group threatens to disrupt social peace in Lebanon, at a time when the United States is exerting maximum pressure on his party and its allies.
- Reuters Videos
Thousands of people had began marching peacefully in Paris when the clashes erupted between police and pockets of protesters, most dressed in black and their faces covered. Some used hammers to break up paving stones. The protesters were denouncing police brutality and President Emmanuel Macron's security policy plans which the demonstrators say would restrict civil liberties. In one incident, police charged after fireworks were launched at their lines. Hooded youths smashed one store window. There were violent clashes between protesters and police in a similar protest last week.
- The Week
After six months spent pushing for a more-than $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is fine with something smaller.Earlier this week, a team of bipartisan lawmakers unveiled a $908 billion coronavirus relief. It's smaller than the $1.5 trillion deal the House's bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus drew up in September, and yet this time around, President-elect Joe Biden's win and forthcoming coronavirus vaccines have Pelosi ready to accept it.Pelosi went on to explain that she had held out for a bigger bill with longer-lasting provisions before she knew who would be the next president — essentially, she thought she wouldn't get a second chance at a stimulus package if President Trump was re-elected. But with "a president who recognizes that we need to depend on science to stop the virus" and that "America's families need to have money in their pockets," Pelosi said she was confident she could work out many more smaller relief provisions in the future.> "A new president and a vaccine" -- Pelosi on why there's momentum for coronavirus relief legislation now when there wasn't before the election pic.twitter.com/6PLwrmE305> > — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 4, 2020What hasn't changed is that millions of Americans are still out of work, likely in more dire straits than they were a few months ago as unemployment benefits begin to expire and bills continue to pile up.Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) still hasn't said he'll back the bipartisan relief bill, but a growing number of Senate Republicans have said they're willing to support it.More stories from theweek.com 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims 5 scathingly funny cartoons about the NFL's COVID problem Abolishing the Electoral College is closer than you think
- Business Insider
These are the states that have announced how many COVID-19 vaccine doses they will receive in the first round of distribution
New York, California, and a few other states have already announced how many doses of the coronavirus vaccine they expect to receive.
- Associated Press
The United Nations' human rights chief lamented a deteriorating situation in Belarus and said Friday that reported beatings of protesters by security forces may in some cases amount to torture. Michelle Bachelet, the high commissioner for human rights, told the U.N. Human Rights Council there has been no improvement since a September debate about Belarus and “recent weeks have seen continued deterioration, particularly with respect to the right of peaceful assembly.”
- 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.”