A non-partisan group supporting more youth participation in elections registered more than 55,000 young Texans to vote this year.
A non-partisan group supporting more youth participation in elections registered more than 55,000 young Texans to vote this year.
President interrupts his allegations of a ‘rigged election’ to offer a message of support for Joe Biden
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.
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.
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.
President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14.This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to Joe Biden on November 3.Behind in almost all the major polls, Trump stormed within a hair’s breadth in the key battlegrounds of winning reelection, and his unexpectedly robust performance helped put Republicans in a strong position for the post-Trump-presidency era. This is not nothing. But the president can’t stand to admit that he lost and so has insisted since the wee hours of Election Night that he really won -- and won “by a lot.”There are legitimate issues to consider after the 2020 vote about the security of mail-in ballots and the process of counting votes (some jurisdictions, bizarrely, take weeks to complete their initial count), but make no mistake: The chief driver of the post-election contention of the past several weeks is the petulant refusal of one man to accept the verdict of the American people. The Trump team (and much of the GOP) is working backwards, desperately trying to find something, anything to support the president’s aggrieved feelings, rather than objectively considering the evidence and reacting as warranted.Almost nothing that the Trump team has alleged has withstood the slightest scrutiny. In particular, it’s hard to find much that is remotely true in the president’s Twitter feed these days. It is full of already-debunked claims and crackpot conspiracy theories about Dominion voting systems. Over the weekend, he repeated the charge that 1.8 million mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania were mailed out, yet 2.6 million were ultimately tallied. In a rather elementary error, this compares the number of mail-ballots requested in the primary to the number of ballots counted in the general. A straight apples-to-apples comparison finds that 1.8 million mail-in ballots were requested in the primary and 1.5 million returned, while 3.1 million ballots were requested in the general and 2.6 million returned.Flawed and dishonest assertions like this pollute the public discourse and mislead good people who make the mistake of believing things said by the president of the United States.Elected Republicans have generally taken the attitude that the president should be able to have his day in court. It’s his legal right to file suits, of course, but he shouldn’t pursue meritless litigation in Hail Mary attempts to get millions of votes tossed out. This is exactly what he’s been doing, it’s why reputable GOP lawyers have increasingly steered clear, and it’s why Trump has suffered defeat after defeat in court.In its signature federal suit in Pennsylvania, the Trump team argued that it violated the equal-protection clause of the U.S. Constitution for some Pennsylvania counties to let absentee voters fix or “cure” their ballots if they contained an error while other counties didn’t. It maintained that it was another constitutional violation for Trump election observers not to be allowed in close proximity to the counting of ballots. On this basis, the Trump team sought to disqualify 1.5 million ballots and bar the certification of the Pennsylvania results or have the Pennsylvania General Assembly appoint presidential electors.By the time the suit reached the Third Circuit, it had been whittled down to a relatively minor procedural issue (whether the Trump complaint could be amended a second time in the district court). The Trump team lost on that question, and the unanimous panel of the Third Circuit (in an opinion written by a Trump appointee) made it clear that the other claims lacked merit as well. It noted that the suit contained no evidence that Trump and Biden ballots or observers were treated differently, let alone evidence of fraud. Within reason, it is permissible for counties to have different procedures for handling ballots, and nothing forced some counties to permit voters to cure flawed absentee ballots and others to decline to do so.Not that it mattered. The court pointed out that the suit challenged the procedures to fix absentee ballots in seven Democratic counties, which don’t even come close to having enough cured ballots to change the outcome in the state; the counties might have allowed, at most, 10,000 voters to fix their ballots, and even if every single one of them voted for Biden, that’s still far short of Biden’s 80,000-plus margin in the state.The idea, as the Trump team stalwartly maintains, that the Supreme Court is going to take up this case and issue a game-changing ruling is fantastical. Conservative judges have consistently rejected Trump's flailing legal appeals, and the justices are unlikely to have a different reaction.Trump’s most reprehensible tactic has been to attempt, somewhat shamefacedly, to get local Republican officials to block the certification of votes and state legislatures to appoint Trump electors in clear violation of the public will. This has gone nowhere, thanks to the honesty and sense of duty of most of the Republicans involved, but it’s a profoundly undemocratic move that we hope no losing presidential candidate ever even thinks of again.Getting defeated in a national election is a blow to the ego of even the most thick-skinned politicians and inevitably engenders personal feelings of bitterness and anger. What America has long expected is that losing candidates swallow those feelings and at least pretend to be gracious. If Trump’s not capable of it, he should at least stop waging war on the outcome.
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.”
Leslie Van Houten has spent nearly five decades in prison since she was arrested for 1969 killing spree.
‘You haven’t shown a single problem with the way the game was scored.”“Yeah, but the game was played at night, and the rulebook only permits day games.”If you can follow that argument, then you can grasp the Republican challenge to the 2020 election in Pennsylvania that was rejected by the commonwealth’s supreme court on Saturday night. That ruling, which is factually related to but separate from President Trump’s federal lawsuit that the Third Circuit threw out last Friday, is likely to end the election-litigation efforts in Pennsylvania, though it is still possible that the cases could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.Meantime in Georgia, attorneys Lin Wood and Sidney Powell are pressing on with a lawsuit filed, not on behalf of the president directly, but on behalf of Trump supporters, including members of the Republican-nominated Electoral College slate that would have cast the state’s votes if Trump had won. On Sunday, they won a minor victory -- on procedural grounds, not on the merits -- in their bid to convince a Georgia federal judge to decertify the GOP-controlled state government’s conclusion that President-elect Biden won a slim victory there.PennsylvaniaThe state lawsuit in Pittsburgh was brought by U.S. Representative Mike Kelly of northwestern Pennsylvania and other Republicans. They argued that the commonwealth’s constitution does not permit mass mail-in voting -- as distinguished from individualized absentee voting. They therefore challenged the state legislature’s 2019 Act 77, which permitted “no-excuse” mail-in voting. Act 77 marked a departure from prior Pennsylvania law, under which voters could only request absentee ballots based on legally approved reasons for not being able to vote in person. In 2020, the legislature further liberalized this accommodation due to COVID-19 concerns.The Republican plaintiffs had a legitimate point. Prior to Act 77, state law simply codified the Pennsylvania’s constitution, which authorizes absentee voting based on a generous list of excuses, but does not expressly authorize no-excuse mail-in voting. The plaintiffs thus found a sympathetic ear in commonwealth judge Patricia McCullough of Pittsburgh. Last week, she ordered a temporary stay in the certification process -- although the stay’s efficacy was debatable, since her order came after the state had certified the results (albeit before some ministerial tasks, such as the issuance of certificates to the Biden slate of electors, who will cast the commonwealth’s electoral votes).State election officials, who are Democrats, immediately appealed to the state supreme court, where their eventual victory was certain. That tribunal is a Democrat-dominated elected body and, as we’ve previously recounted, it has both flouted the plain terms of state law and extended mail-in voting beyond even the state’s constitutionally questionable authorization of it. There was zero chance that it would side with Republicans.Here, however, the court was on solid footing because the plaintiffs did not file lawsuits against the new mail-in voting when it was enacted. They waited for over a year, until after 2.6 million Pennsylvanians had availed themselves of the opportunity to vote by mail during a pandemic. Republicans were suddenly objecting now, not because the election was unfair, but because their presidential candidate lost. Indeed, some of the plaintiffs had run for office under the Act 77 mail-in procedures without objecting to them.Consequently, the court ruled that the doctrine of laches applied -- i.e., claims must be timely raised or they are forfeited. Moreover, to repeat a refrain we’ve been stressing for a while, there was a gross mismatch between the harm alleged and the remedy sought: The Republicans were asking that the mail-in ballots be thrown out or, in the alternative, that the election be voided and the (Republican-majority) state legislature be directed to choose the state’s electors (i.e., the Trump slate). This would disenfranchise either the 2.6 million Pennsylvanians who mailed in ballots or all of the commonwealth’s 6.8 million voters.In a concurring opinion, Judge David Wecht further contended that the court could not authorize the state legislature to choose electors. Although the Constitution empowers the state legislature to choose the manner of selecting electors, Judge Wecht observed (as I have also pointed out) that the commonwealth’s legislature did so long ago by enacting provisions that award Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes to the winner of the popular election.The court’s ruling on the issue of laches was unanimous. Two judges dissented in part, reasoning that the Republican plaintiffs’ construction of the state constitution appears sound, and that Act 77’s attempt to put a 180-day time-limit on challenges to its lawfulness should be unenforceable against challenges based on the state constitution (an issue the majority opinion sidestepped). The dissenters argued that the plaintiffs should be permitted to proceed with their objections to mass mail-in voting for the purpose of future elections, but not the 2020 election.GeorgiaIn Georgia, attorneys Lin Wood and Sidney Powell are pursuing their theory that the election was stolen from President Trump by cyber-fraud -- specifically, manipulation of the tabulation program, to which they claim Dominion voting machines are vulnerable, in order to switch Trump votes to Biden votes.Sunday turned out to be a frenetic day because Wood learned, apparently from state election officials, that the memories on voting machines were about to be reset (or “wiped,” as Wood put it). This was to occur on Monday (today) -- recall that Georgia will be holding a statewide run-off election for both U.S. Senate seats in just five weeks (i.e., on January 5). Wood objected because the reset would make it practically impossible for him and Powell to conduct a forensic examination into the Dominion software’s operation in the November election, which they contend is necessary to their case.U.S. district judge Timothy Batten initially issued a temporary injunction, directing state election officials to preserve the machines in their present condition while he deliberated over whether to permit a forensic examination. Judge Batten withdrew the injunction a few hours later when the state officials named in the Wood/Powell lawsuits explained that the counties, not the state, had control over the machines.Finally, on Sunday evening at 7:45 p.m., Batten convened an emergency conference, via Zoom, at which the lawyers countered that they were prepared to amend their complaints in order to add the officials in Cobb, Gwinnett, and Cherokee county as defendants. The state also contended that the forensic examination contemplated by the plaintiffs threatened state election security and could compromise its contractor’s proprietary and trade secrets, and thus should not be permitted absent a more compelling showing of wrongdoing than has been made to this point. Wood and Powell replied that these concerns could be assuaged by allowing the state’s own experts to participate in the examination, conducting it on videotape, and directing that the results be provided only to the court, for consideration of any appropriate protective orders against disclosure.At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Batten issued a temporary restraining order: For the next ten days, unless the court directs otherwise, Georgia is barred from permitting the erasure or alteration of data from the Dominion machines. In the meantime, the state is to provide the plaintiffs with a copy of its contract with Dominion, and must file by close of business Wednesday (December 2) a brief and any supporting affidavits in opposition to the forensic examinations.Another hearing in the case is set for Friday (December 4). To be clear, Judge Batten has not ruled on the merits of the case or even indicated that he will permit the forensic examination of the Dominion data. The injunction freezes matters for a few days so the court can consider the parties’ positions and make a more informed decision.
The Navy said Monday that it will decommission a warship docked off San Diego after suspected arson this summer caused extensive damage, making it too expensive to restore. Fully repairing the USS Bonhomme Richard to warfighting capabilities would cost $2.5 billion to $3 billion and take five to seven years, said Rear Adm. Eric H. Ver Hage of the Navy Regional Maintenance Center. The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days in July and was the Navy’s worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent memory.
A triumphant Abiy Ahmed praised his troops in Ethiopia's parliament on Monday (November 30) for their victory in the country's northern Tigray region, even as the forces he claims to have defeated said they were still fighting. His soldiers captured Tigray's capital Mekelle at the weekend, prompting a declaration that a military operation in the region was completed. "The defense forces never killed a single person in a single town. No soldier from any country could display a better competence. We have disciplined heroic soldiers." Abiy said they had carried out a "special surgery" in Mekelle and not destroyed the city, nor killed a single civilian in the region. But in a conflict where information has been difficult to verify, the rebellious Tigrayan People's Liberation Front has a different version of events. It says Mekelle suffered heavy bombardment. It also says the war is far from over - and claims to have shot down a plane and retaken a town. In a text message, TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael said he was close to Mekelle, fighting the, quote, "invaders". Abiy's spokeswoman dismissed suggestions that fighting is still ongoing, saying the "many delusions of a disintegrating criminal clique" were not their focus. However Debretsion's defiance raises the specter of a drawn out insurgency against a battle-hardened TPLF that, from the days when it toppled Ethiopia's Marxist dictatorship nearly three decades ago, has known how to exploit its mountains and borders with Eritrea and Sudan. The violence, in which diplomats believe thousands have died, has also stirred ethnic rivalries. When he took office in 2018, Abiy pledged to unite Ethiopia's 115 million people, but ethnic clashes had killed hundreds and uprooted hundreds of thousands from their homes even before the latest bloodshed.
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 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 of this year, 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.
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.
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
Fred Eshelman filed a lawsuit against True the Vote, claiming it failed to find evidence of voter fraud in the presidential election as promised.
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.
New Zealand's workplace regulator has filed charges against 13 parties following an investigation into a volcanic eruption on White Island in 2019 which killed 22 people. A surprise eruption on the White Island, also known by its Maori name of Whakaari, on Dec 9 last year, killed 22 people and injured dozens. Majority of them were tourists from countries like Australia, the United States and Malaysia who were part of a cruise ship that was travelling around New Zealand.