An area transformed into a cemetery of 200 crosses made with charred trees set up by firefighters after a wildfire hit Sant Salvador de Guardiola, near Igualada
An area transformed into a cemetery of 200 crosses made with charred trees set up by firefighters after a wildfire hit Sant Salvador de Guardiola, near Igualada
The allegations, provided without credible evidence of widespread fraud or misconduct, have been rebuffed in courts in other states.
Seattles is preparing to slash the city's police budget just as homicides in the city climb to their highest level in more than a decade.Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is set to sign a city budget that includes an 18 percent cut to the Seattle Police Department, a move that comes after police reform activists demanded the police budget be reduced by half. Calls for police reform have abounded in cities across the country since May, when George Floyd died at the hands of police in Minneapolis.The city council voted last week to slash about $69 million in funding for officer training, salaries and overtime, and get rid of vacant positions in the police department as well as transfer parking officers, mental health workers, and 911 dispatchers out of the department. The goal is to ultimately reinvest in alternatives to police in situations such as mental health crises.Meanwhile, Seattle had seen 55 murders this year as of Monday, the highest level since at least 2008, the last year of data available. The troubled city is also suffering a spike in violent crime, with 8,418 burglary incidents, up from to 7,634 last year, according to police.The mayor, a Democrat, said last week that she believes the city is "laying the groundwork to make systemic and lasting changes to policing.""We have rightly put forward a plan that seeks to ensure SPD has enough officers to meet 911 response and investigative needs throughout the city, while acknowledging and addressing the disproportionate impacts policing has had on communities of color, particularly Black communities," Durkan said in a statement.Police Chief Carmen Best resigned over the summer amid disagreements with the city council over the cuts to the police budget.In June, rioters claimed and barricaded off several blocks in the city’s downtown Capitol Hill neighborhood, calling it the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone, or CHOP, after police abandoned their East Precinct to vandals and arsonists. Police agreed not to respond to calls from within the “autonomous zone” unless they were life-threatening.Later that month, however, Durkan, who previously predicted the autonomous zone would usher in a “summer of love” and said her decision to withdraw police from the area reflected her “trust” in protesters, announced the city would begin dismantling the zone, citing incidents of violence. A shooting inside the zone left a 19-year-old dead and another critically injured. Police said they were met by a violent crowd that blocked their access to the victims.
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.
There were no visible wounds to the body and a cause of death hadn't yet been determined for the 26-year-old, police said.
Republicans are already signaling they won't vote to confirm Neera Tanden, President-elect Joe Biden's choice to run the Office of Management and Budget, next year -- and some have even cast doubt on whether she'll receive a committee hearing. One reason for their antipathy is her prolific activity on Twitter, which includes a fair amount of criticism of GOP lawmakers. Indeed, it appears Tanden was expecting this, since she has seemingly deleted a fair number of tweets over the last few weeks.But GOP critics are calling the lawmakers complaining about Tanden's social media presence hypocrites, especially since President Trump and a few of his own appointees haven't shied away from using the platform to ridicule political and personal opponents (and sometimes presumed allies) over his four years in office.> Do republicans feel even the slightest bit sheepish talking about a Biden nominees tweets when they supported a president who governed largely by tweet?> > -- Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) December 1, 2020In fact, throughout Trump's term, it wasn't uncommon for Republican lawmakers to say they hadn't actually seen the president's posts.> Many Republican senators who always professed to be unfamiliar with Trump tweets are very familiar with Tanden tweets https://t.co/xZPi3mivFU> > -- Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) November 30, 2020But, The Washington Post's Paul Waldman argues, the lawmakers likely aren't all that concerned about Tanden's Twitter use, but are instead using it as part of a strategy to make it more difficult for Biden to assemble the Cabinet he wants. > When you hear Republicans air specific concerns about Biden nominees remember that Obama nominated Merrick Garland because Republicans specifically mentioned him as a Supreme Court nominee they'd support. > > This is their rope-a-dope strategy. Don't fall for it. /1> > -- Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) December 1, 2020More stories from theweek.com Team of retreads Americans are choosing death over deprivation Obama tells Stephen Colbert he messed up by not giving Dolly Parton the Presidential Medal of Freedom
A photo of an Australian soldier drinking beer from the prosthetic leg of a dead Taliban fighter emerged on Tuesday, as the Chinese and Australian governments continued to trade blows over alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan. The photograph of the soldier drinking from an apparent “war trophy” in an unauthorised bar in Afghanistan in 2009 was one of several obtained by Guardian Australia. Another shows two soldiers dancing with the leg. The bar, known as the Fat Lady’s Arms, was set up inside Australia’s special forces base in Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan province. Some soldiers claimed in the Guardian that the practice was widely tolerated by officers at high levels, and even involved some of them. Taking property without the consent of the owner may be classified as pillaging, a war crime which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. The revelations came as China hit back at the Australian government, which had criticised a social media post by senior official Zhao Lijian featuring a doctored image of an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child. The post was a reference to the findings of the Brereton inquiry which implicated Australian forces in the alleged murder of prisoners or civilians in Afghanistan. In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in Canberra said the Australian Government was attempting to deflect attention from war crimes committed by Australian forces, to stoke the fires of “domestic nationalism”, and to pin the blame for the deteriorating relationship between the countries on China. While the Brereton inquiry largely absolved the Australian military’s top brass of responsibility for the alleged crimes, the report noted that a “warrior culture” had developed in the special forces which contributed to offences, a culture of which senior officers could not have been unaware. Australian historian and lecturer on asymmetrical warfare and counter-insurgency, Dr Philip Chilton, told The Telegraph that Australia’s special forces “are bred to have a warrior culture”, and that it is “problematic” that the report appeared to “exonerate the higher command for responsibility for any of this”. While the Department of Defence has not confirmed the authenticity of the photographs, in June 2018 Fairfax Media reported that Australian troops had been using the prosthetic leg taken from an Afghan man as a drinking vessel. The Department of Defence said in a statement that all credible allegations of wrongdoing will be investigated. “The report has been redacted to remove names and details that could identify individuals against whom the Inquiry has found credible information to support allegations of criminal wrongdoing or other misconduct... Where there is information provided to Defence not addressed as part of the Afghanistan Inquiry [headed by Justice Brereton], these matters will be investigated thoroughly and acted on,” a spokesperson said. “It is critical that all matters are considered carefully, and any actions are undertaken according to the ADF’s longstanding and well-established processes, ensuring the rights of individuals to due process and fair hearing are protected.”
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.
Turkey's seismic exploration vessel Oruc Reis returned to port on Monday from disputed Mediterranean waters, less than two weeks before a European Union summit where the bloc will evaluate possible sanctions against Ankara. NATO members Turkey and Greece have conflicting claims to continental shelves and rights to potential energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions flared in August when Ankara sent Oruc Reis to map out energy drilling prospects in waters also claimed by Greece.
The woman, 39, was wounded Saturday as loved ones were gathered at the grave of her son, Sincere Pierce, to say goodbye.
The Electoral College is a political abomination. As I have written before, rather than protecting the influence of small states, it grants overwhelming power to a handful of states that randomly happen to have a close partisan balance, which are mostly fairly large. Worse, it allows popular vote losers to win — which has happened twice in the last 20 years. Indeed, theoretically a candidate could lose the popular vote four to one and still win the electoral vote.Moreover, since 2012 the divergence between the Electoral College and the popular vote has been steadily growing. As I'll show below, while Joe Biden won a clear victory in the popular vote, he just barely squeaked through in the Electoral College. This idiotic anachronism must be destroyed.Let's take a look at this over the last two decades. One way to examine this question is to look at the most "efficient" way that losing candidates could have won the Electoral College. In other words, if we add up the state totals for previous elections going back to 2000, how might the losers have won by flipping the least number of votes?Using data from U.S. Elections Atlas, and 2020 data from the The New York Times (including a rough extrapolation assuming Biden wins 80 percent of the mail-in votes that haven't been counted yet in New York state), I calculated how the popular vote losers could have won the Electoral College — or lost, in the case of George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016.In 2000, of course, Bush officially "won" Florida by 537 votes, and therefore the presidency with 271 electoral votes, while Al Gore won the popular vote by about 550,000. (In reality, Gore probably would have won a fair recount in Florida if it hadn't been stopped by a conservative Supreme Court on nakedly partisan grounds, but I'm going to ignore that for the time being since it doesn't matter for this particular argument.) That means a flip of just 269 votes in one state from one candidate to the other would have changed the result. In 2004, Bush won re-election with a margin of about three million votes, and 286 electoral votes. John Kerry famously could have won if he had just flipped Ohio, where the margin was just 118,601 votes. However, it would have been slightly more efficient in vote terms to flip New Mexico, Iowa, Nevada, and Alaska, with a cumulative margin of 117,411. That means a flip of just 58,706 votes would have given Kerry the presidency.In 2008, Barack Obama steamrolled John McCain with a popular vote margin of over 9.5 million, and 365 electoral votes. But it would have taken relatively few vote changes to overturn even that landslide result. Obama won Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Rhode Island, Maine, New Mexico, Nevada, Vermont, Delaware, New Hampshire, Indiana, and North Carolina by a cumulative margin of just 1.436 million votes — therefore flipping just 718,138 would have given McCain an additional 97 electoral votes and victory. Similarly in 2012, Mitt Romney could have won by taking the nine closest states in terms of total votes, requiring only 384,188 flips. Then in 2016, Trump of course squeaked out an Electoral College victory with tiny margins in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — just 38,868 flips would have given Clinton the win.That finally brings me to 2020. Biden won the popular vote easily, with a margin maybe in the neighborhood of 6.9 million or so (depending on what happens in New York.) But it would have taken just 33,139 flips in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin to deliver a Trump second term.Bringing this all together: If we plot these minimum vote flips to change the Electoral College result as a percentage of the popular vote margin, we can get a sense of how badly it diverges from the principle of one person, one vote:Courtesy: U.S. Elections AtlasWhat this shows is that the Electoral College is routinely on the edge of handing the popular vote loser the presidency even when it doesn't happen — and it seems to be getting worse. In 2008 and 2012, it would have taken a flip of 7.5 percent and 11 percent of the popular vote margin (still not great), but in 2016, flipping just 1.3 percent of the margin would change the result. The 2020 election, meanwhile, is the worst result since 2000 — though Biden did win, a flip of a mere 0.48 percent of the popular vote margin (or something like 0.02 percent of the total vote) would have let Trump win. Moreover, while the 2008 flipping scenario outlined above relies on implausible large percentage swings in small states like Vermont, Biden's victory depended on razor-thin margins in three swing states.All this speaks for itself. But before Republicans get too smug about cooking up justifications for the Electoral College because it happens to help them at the moment, consider that in 2004, flipping just 1.9 percent of the popular vote margin would have delivered the presidency to the Democrat even though Bush got three million more votes. Because the Electoral College's rules are so goofy and arbitrary, it is very easy to imagine demographic trends handing the Dems a near-automatic victory every time — if Texas went solidly blue, for instance. It would be better and fairer for everyone if the presidency simply went to the candidate that got the most votes.More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead. GOP Sen. Josh Hawley tries to explain how Democrats are both 'Marxists' and 'corporatists'
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!"
Despite a government ban and arrests of hundreds of activists, Pakistani opposition supporters rallied in a central city on Monday, calling on Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign over alleged bad governance and incompetence. The rally in the city of Multan was held a day after police, on orders from the government, carried out the arrests and banned the gathering, defending the move as necessary to combat the coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan. Authorities in Multan also switched off the area's mobile phone network.
The recent Armenia-Azerbaijan war, a result of failed diplomacy, has thrown up a new victor and paved the way for Turkey to extend its influence.
James Dixon put his bare hands in the food at the home where his victim was the host’s boyfriend. A Chicago man has been charged with murder after a fight over some Thanksgiving leftovers. James Dixon, 28, allegedly stabbed 52-year-old Vincell Jackson as the man was being escorted out of a house following a holiday gathering.
The New Georgia Project, a voter registration group formerly led by Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock, is under investigation for allegedly sending ballot applications to non-residents, the Georgia secretary of state said Monday.Warnock was CEO of the group, which was originally founded by failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, until February. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced the group, and three others, are under investigation for improper registration activities.While Raffensperger, a Republican who has been vocal in debunking President Trump’s claims of election fraud, said that he has not seen signs of widespread, systemic fraud, there is evidence of "third-party groups working to register people in other states to vote here in Georgia."Raffensperger said the New Georgia Project "sent voter registration applications to New York City," in a potential violation of state law."Voting in Georgia when you are not a resident of Georgia is a felony," Raffensperger said. "These third-party groups have a responsibility to not encourage illegal voting. If they do so, they will be held responsible."Warnock served as CEO of the group, which describes itself as a “nonpartisan effort to register and civically engage Georgians” from 2017 until February 21, 2020, according to the Washington Free Beacon. He has said he organized voter mobilization drives for the New Georgia Project, including an effort to register 80,000 new minority voters in 2014.The group says it has registered "nearly 400,000 people from underrepresented communities to vote in Georgia.”Warnock, who is competing against incumbent senator Kelly Loeffler (R., Ga.) in a runoff race that could decide party control of the Senate, had called past voter fraud probes against the group “alarmist.”In 2014, the secretary of state's office conducted an investigation into the New Georgia Project after contractors working for the group were accused of forging voter registration applications. The case was referred to law enforcement three years later, though no charges were ever brought.Warnock claimed in 2017 that "using the word voter fraud is alarmist, and it was totally unnecessary." He argued that the New Georgia Project had "excellent internal controls and that we have followed the law," as evidenced by the lack of charges brought against the group.Three other voter registration groups are also under investigation, Raffensperger said, including America Votes, which allegedly sent "absentee ballot applications to people at addresses where they have not lived since 1994."Vote Forward allegedly registered a dead Alabama voter in Georgia while Operation New Voter Registration Georgia is accused of recommending college students temporarily change their residency for the purpose of voting in the state.
China on Monday said it is sanctioning leaders of U.S. government-affiliated bodies that promote democracy around the world in response to what it calls practices that “blatantly meddle in Hong Kong affairs.” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the measures would cover the senior director for Asia at the National Endowment Democracy, John Knaus, the regional director for the Asia-Pacific at the National Democratic Institute, Manpreet Singh Anand, and two of the institute’s officials responsible for Hong Kong. Hua gave no details and the institute said in a news release that it had no further information but that it “remains steadfastly committed to these core principles and to continuing our work in support of democracy worldwide.”
Switzerland is emerging as a model for how the coronavirus can be contained without a national lockdown, after daily new infections halved since the start of November despite pubs, restaurants, gyms and sports remaining open in much of the country. The figures were hailed as a triumph for the “Swiss special way” by Swiss government doctors last week, and will be seen as evidence that regional tiers can work in the UK. Rather than ordering a general lockdown, Switzerland allowed regions to decide their own measures and only the worst-hit imposed tough restrictions. But critics have charged that the success came at too high a price, after the country experienced some of the highest death rates in Europe. Switzerland has been described as the “new Sweden” after it refused to follow the UK and other countries into a second lockdown this month. The Swiss government imposed only minimal restrictions at a national level, including a limit of ten on private gatherings, an 11pm curfew for restaurants and the compulsory use of facemasks in crowded areas.
A grim discovery has been made in Stockholm, Sweden: A man in his forties found wounded in an apartment -- and may have been held captive there by his own mother for nearly 30 years. The mother -- a 70-year-old woman whom neighbors thought lived alone -- has been arrested. The man was reportedly found by a relative on Sunday (November 29). Swedish media say he was found lying on a blanket on the floor, toothless, unable to speak, and covered in sores and injuries. One of the neighbors spoke to Swedish television: "We haven't lived here that long. We moved in June this year. But she's been very nice and sweet. We had a baby in the summer so she was like 'oh, have you had a baby' and she told us that she had a child that was born prematurely and so on. But we've felt that she been a nice, elderly neighbor." Swedish news outlets are reporting that the son was taken out of school aged about 12, and that he was found next to two almanacs from the nineties in the apartment, packed with clutter. Stockholm prosecutor Emma Olsson says the mother is denying charges of false imprisonment and grievous bodily harm. There was no immediate explanation of why the son had been held.
One person was shot dead and four others injured after police in Henderson, Nevada, say a man and woman fired at people while driving on Thanksgiving.
The lawsuit is being pushed by allies of President Donald Trump in an effort to declare him the winner of Michigan's electoral votes.