WRTV News at 11 | Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020
WRTV News at 11 | Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020
While President Trump continues his increasingly desperate efforts to overturn the November election, Arizona and Wisconsin certified results Monday showing Joe Biden won both states.
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.
Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest surged to a 12-year high in 2020, official government data showed on Monday, with destruction soaring since President Jair Bolsonaro took office and weakened environmental enforcement. In 2020, destruction of the world's largest rainforest rose 9.5 per cent from a year earlier to 11,088 square kilometers (2.7 million acres) - seven times the size of London - according to data from Brazil's national space research agency Inpe. That means Brazil will miss its own target, established under a 2009 climate change law, for reducing deforestation to roughly 3,900 square kilometers. The consequences for missing the target are not laid out in the law but could leave the government open to lawsuits. The official annual measure, known as PRODES, is taken by comparing satellite images from the end of July 2020 with those from the beginning of August 2019. These dates are chosen to coincide with the Amazon's dry season, when there is less cloud cover to interfere with the calculations. The Amazon is the world's largest rainforest and its protection is crucial to stopping catastrophic climate change because of the vast amount of carbon dioxide it absorbs. The latest annual destruction is a substantial increase from the 7,536 square kilometers that were deforested in 2018, the year before Mr Bolsonaro took office. While environmentalists blamed the government for the rise, federal officials hailed the figures as a sign of progress in fighting deforestation, as the increase was far lower than the 34 per cent increase recorded in 2019. "While we are not here to celebrate this, it does signify that the efforts we are making are beginning to bear fruit," Vice President Hamilton Mourao told reporters at Inpe headquarters in the Sao Paulo satellite city of Sao Jose dos Campos.
The administration’s blasting crews are swiftly tearing through the remote Peloncillo Mountains in forbidding terrain with dynamite, reflecting an increasing urgency to install the structure
Suspected members of the Islamic militant group Boko Haram killed at least 40 rice farmers and fishermen in Nigeria as they were harvesting crops in the country's northern state of Borno, officials said. The attack Saturday in a rice field in Garin Kwashebe came on the same day that residents were casting votes for the first time in 13 years to elect local councils, although many didn’t go to cast their ballots. Malam Zabarmari, a leader of a rice farmers association in Borno state, confirmed the massacre to The Associated Press, saying at least 40 and up to 60 people could have been killed.
It's been four months since Congress' coronavirus relief bill expired, and the Senate and House still seem no closer to agreeing on a new one.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and the White House have debated for months over what to include in the next stimulus package, with Senate Republicans seeking a far smaller bill than Democrats. But McConnell said Monday that some Democrats are now willing to accept "half a loaf" rather than delay relief any longer, pushing the onus on Pelosi to bring a smaller package to the House.House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill months ago, while Senate Republicans have refused to accept a price tag anywhere close to that. But McConnell said Monday that "there is no reason" Congress shouldn't pass something by the end of the year, especially since some Democrats seem willing to accept Republicans' slimmer proposals; Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), for example, said Monday that "both sides are going to have to compromise."Pelosi also doesn't have quite the negotiating power she had before the 2020 election given that Democrats ended up losing seats in the House, McConnell added. He failed to acknowledge that President-elect Joe Biden will be bringing his Democratic administration to the White House in less than two months.While boosted unemployment insurance expired with the CARES Act at the end of July, unemployment benefits for some Americans may disappear altogether if a new bill isn't passed soon. Federal unemployment programs for people who aren't covered by traditional jobless benefits, as well as extended benefits for those who have exhausted state unemployment, are set to expire at the end of the year, along with an eviction moratorium and other provisions.More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation How camp explains Trump The Electoral College is only getting worse
As cases of coronavirus once again soar in Pakistan, volunteers are accepting shots of an experimental Chinese vaccine. Thousands of volunteers are being recruited to trial a vaccine from Chinese manufacturer CanSinoBio as part of an agreement that will reportedly see Pakistan receive millions of doses of any finished shots. Pakistan and other countries in Asia and Africa are used to receiving huge Chinese investment to build highways, ports, railways and powerplants. Now, the Covid-19 pandemic has provided Beijing with a new soft power tool, as it uses its medical expertise to bolster its global ambitions. Under this vaccine diplomacy, countries are helping Chinese scientists host vaccine trials in return for sharing the finished drugs when they are available. China has also joined a United Nations-backed global scheme for the distribution of Covid-19 vaccine, which has been shunned by America. Recent polling has shown growing public suspicion of China in the West, partly amid accusations it bungled or covered up the early stages of the pandemic. There has also been growing scepticism of China's Belt and Road initiative to build a twenty first century Silk Road across Asia. The country's vaccine programmes offered a new opportunity to build trust in the developing world, and also secure its own people, said Yu Jie, senior research fellow on China at the Chatham House think tank. “We know from this pandemic, that no country is alone, China itself cannot completely eliminate Covid-19. Imported cases always come from neighbouring countries of China. In a way yes, China is conducting vaccine diplomacy, but to some extent China is also helping itself because if all the neighbouring countries get out of this pandemic, then China will be safer.” China's early success quashing the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan has also left vaccine developers with the problem of needing to conduct efficacy trials in countries where volunteers stand a chance of catching the disease. Trials of Chinese vaccines are underway in Pakistan, Brazil, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Pakistani officials have said they will in return receive millions of doses on a priority basis. China has a well established drug manufacturing sector, but until now has not been a leading vaccine maker, said Ben Cowling, professor of public health at Hong Kong University. He said Chinese Covid-19 vaccine development had stuck to tried and tested methods of using inactivated virus, rather than some of the new genetic technologies used by Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca. As a result, its vaccines may not work as well, but they were likely to be cheap and straightforward to make. “They really do represent possibilities in terms of vaccinating in Pakistan, other parts of the world, Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, South America. “I think a lot of countries will be very interested in getting hold of these Chinese vaccines and Chinese vaccine manufacturers will be very interested in opening up those markets to their vaccines.” China's manufacturing might will be needed to creating the vast volumes of vaccine needed in the coming months, he said. As many as 10 billion doses could be needed in the next two years and Western manufacturers would not be able to cope, he said. “So the Chinese manufacturing capacity is going to be valuable, not necessarily for Europe, but for places, like Pakistan, Africa and other parts of the world.”
Republicans have indicated that Joe Biden's prospective nomination of Neera Tanden to the Office of Management and Budget would not pass the Senate with a GOP majority.Tanden, a former Hillary Clinton aide and current president of left-wing think tank Center for American Progress, has a history of comments criticizing various Republican senators, whose approval she would need to head OMB."Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell [R., Ky.] has broken the Senate, he has broken the Supreme Court, and in conjunction with President Donald Trump, he has broken our democracy," Tanden wrote in a statement during the confirmation process for Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Tanden also criticized Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine) during the confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh.> Neera Tanden, who has an endless stream of disparaging comments about the Republican Senators’ whose votes she’ll need, stands zero chance of being confirmed. https://t.co/f6Ewi6OMQR> > -- Drew Brandewie (@DBrandewie) November 30, 2020"Neera Tanden, who has an endless stream of disparaging comments about the Republican Senators’ whose votes she’ll need, stands zero chance of being confirmed," Drew Brandewie, spokesman for Senator John Cornyn, wrote on Twitter on Monday."There’s the sacrifice to the confirmation gods…" commented Josh Holmes, former chief of staff to McConnell.Tanden is the first prospective cabinet nominee to generate considerable resistance among Republicans. Moderate senators Collins, Mitt Romney (R., Utah), and Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) have indicated that they will support Biden's cabinet picks as long as they are "mainstream." The nominees so far include Clinton aide Jake Sullivan for national security adviser, and Antony Blinken for secretary of state.Among Democrats, Tanden has drawn criticism for her apparent hostility to the progressive wing of the party. Tanden was an informal adviser to the Clinton campaign in 2016, which held off progressive challenger Bernie Sanders in the primary only to be defeated by Donald Trump in the general election.
The news that former Vice President Joe Biden would become the next president of the United States was met in Russia with grim resignation, bordering on despair. Experts on Russian state television have described Biden’s presidency as “Obama’s third term” and predicted a slew of new sanctions dreaded by the Kremlin. This anticipation revived the wave of racist attacks against former President Barack Obama, which were commonplace during his administration.Overt racism in Russian state media is far from uncommon but nonetheless continues to be shocking. Tigran Keosayan—the husband of Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the Kremlin-funded RT and Sputnik—took racist mockery to new lows on his program Mezhdunarodnaya Pilorama (“International Sawmill”). Keosayan described Barack Obama as “the dark page of American history,” while introducing a highly offensive sketch by an actress in blackface impersonating the former president, which was first reported by the Moscow Times.The purported portrayal of Obama was tasteless and crude, with the actress in a bandana gesticulating as a rapper and describing the former president as a “chocolate bunny.” The show, which aired on NTV—a network funded by state-owned gas company Gazprom, mocked “Black Lives Matter” and claimed that none of Obama’s relatives know how to write. The sketch concluded with a recommendation that rather than read Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, viewers should opt for “reading the label on the bathroom air freshener.”Facing worldwide condemnation for the latest racist episode, Margarita Simonyan—heralded as one of the most influential women in news media—attempted to backpedal, using her husband’s Armenian ethnicity as some kind of an excuse for his indefensible racism. She described the offensive sketch as a “parody of Obama” and disingenuously claimed, “As someone who is part of an ethnic minority in Russia, Tigran regularly makes fun, on the air, of his large 'ethnic' nose and his belonging to a 'Black' community (look it up if you don't know which ethnicities are referred to as 'Black' in Russia).”Despite Simonyan’s clumsy excuses, her husband is not the only one who considers himself somehow entitled to mock Black Americans. In June, RT’s editor-in-chief shared a despicably racist article from the Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, which made references to “muscular criminal Negroes,” described “twerking” as the “national Negro dance,” recommended the use of amphetamines, and encouraged violence and death.Russian state media outlets have long expressed their desire for civil unrest in the United States. The author of the article, Dmitry Steshin, urged, “Beat the whites until they turn Black.” Simonyan shared the article, describing it as a piece of “good advice from an international journalist to the negroes of Minnesota and the United States.”Simonyan’s husband followed up the obscene sketch on his program with a ludicrous assertion: “There is no racism in Russia.” It was no more believable than the notorious Soviet claim, “There is no sex in the USSR.”Read 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.
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.
Thousands of protesters met at various locations, mostly in remote residential areas of the capital, and marched through the streets demanding the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko, a witness said. Police did not immediately answer calls seeking comment. Belarus has been in crisis since a presidential election in August that the opposition says was rigged, something Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, denies.
Christopher Krebs and his team spent years working to build the new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and help protect U.S. elections, among other critical infrastructure, before President Trump abruptly fired him over Twitter for putting out a joint statement calling the 2020 election the "most secure in American history." Krebs explained on Sunday's 60 Minutes why he's so sure the election was free from hacking and foreign meddling, and why Trump and his fringy lawyers are wrong to allege otherwise."I'm not a public servant anymore, but I feel I still got some public service left in me," Krebs told Scott Pelley, explaining why he's speaking out publicly. "And if I can reinforce or confirm for one person that the vote was secure, the election was secure, then I feel like I've done my job."Krebs said his biggest priority after gaming out "countless" scenarios for foreign election interference was paper ballots. "Paper ballots give you the ability to audit, to go back and check the tape and make sure you go the count right," he said. "And that's really one of the keys to success for a secure 2020 election — 95 percent of the ballots cast in the 2020 election had a paper record associated with it." You can see how that worked in the Georgia hand recount, he added.Krebs said he found the efforts from Trump and his lawyers to "undermine confidence in the election, to confuse people, to scare people" upsetting because it's actively "undermining democracy" but also because the some of the tens of thousands of election workers putting in 18-hour days are now "getting death threats for trying to carry out one of our core democratic institutions, an election."In 60 Minutes Overtime, Krebs explained why he set up the CISA "Rumor Control" site, and why he's especially proud of his explainer on the impossibility of hacking voting results.Krebs also said he isn't aware of anyone at the White House asking CISA to throw doubt on the integrity of the election, and he explained that his team frequently briefed everyone from local election officials to Cabinet agencies and the White House about CISA's efforts. "Everybody, for the most part, got it," he said."I had a job to do, we did it right, I would do it over again 1,000 times," Krebs said. "CISA did the right thing. ... State and local election officials did the right thing."More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation How camp explains Trump The Electoral College is only getting worse
A top Iranian security official on Monday accused Israel of using “electronic devices” to remotely kill a scientist who founded the Islamic Republic's military nuclear program in the 2000s. Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the country’s Supreme National Security Council, made the comment at the funeral for Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, where Iran's defense minister separately vowed to continue the man’s work “with more speed and more power.” Israel, long suspected of killing Iranian nuclear scientists over the last decade, has repeatedly declined to comment on the attack.
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.
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.