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December 7, 2020  (San Diego’s East County) - East County Magazine's World Watch helps you be an informed citizen on important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:



For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.


This week: Congress poised to buy more time on spending, coronavirus talks (The Hill)

Congress is poised to punt a deadline for government funding talks as negotiators try to lock down a yearlong deal and a long-stalled coronavirus bill.  Lawmakers face a Dec. 11 deadline to fund the government and prevent a holiday government shutdown, with the date also viewed as an unofficial cliff for coronavirus relief negotiations.. Helping feed momentum for leadership to cut a deal, a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers introduced a framework last week for a $908 billion bill..though as of late last week they hadn’t yet worked out language on liability protections or state and local aid.  In a hurdle for the bipartisan group, Democrats have been wary of McConnell’s push for liability protections while a swath of GOP senators view more money for states and cities as a non-starter. 

Supreme Court blocks strict COVID-19 restrictions on some New York houses of worship (USA Today)

The Supreme Court placed religious freedom before pandemic precautions Wednesday night, blocking recent rules in New York that severely restricted gatherings at houses of worship in areas hit hardest by COVID-19. The court's new, more conservative majority ruled 5-4 that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's limits on churches, synagogues and other houses of worship to 10 or 25 worshipers in hard-hit regions violated the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause. Previously, they were allowed to operate at 25% capacity.

UPS places shipping cap on some of its largest retailers as holiday shopping booms (CNN)

UPS is placing shipping limits on some of its largest retailers as online shopping picks up steam during the holidays.

The restrictions will take effect this week and run throughout the holiday season, the company said. Retailers were notified of their shipping capacity in tandem with the newly enforced limits.

As first lady, Jill Biden plans to push for debt-free community college (Yahoo News)

Dr. Jill Biden has devoted her life to the field of education, and that won’t change when she becomes first lady next month. According to a source close to her, Biden will advocate for debt-free community college.

Trump Pardons Michael Flynn, Ending Case His Justice Dept. Sought to Shut Down (New York Times)

The president’s former national security adviser twice pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador.

Justice Department investigating potential presidential pardon bribery scheme, court records reveal (CNN)

The Justice Department is investigating a potential crime related to funneling money to the White House or related political committee in exchange for a presidential pardon, according to court records unsealed Tuesday in federal court. The case is the latest legal twist in the waning days of President Donald Trump's administration after several of his top advisers have been convicted of federal criminal charges and as the possibility rises of Trump giving pardons to those who've been loyal to him. The disclosure is in 20 pages of partially redacted documents made public by the DC District Court on Tuesday afternoon.

Biden cabinet: John Kerry named climate envoy as inner circle gets key posts (BBC)

US President-elect Joe Biden is to nominate one of the leading architects of the Paris climate agreement as his climate envoy.  Ex-US Secretary of State John Kerry was one of several named for top positions by the Biden transition team on Monday.  It marks a big break with the climate policy under the Trump administration as Mr. Biden makes good on his campaign pledge to tackle climate change.

DOJ Has Not Found Fraud That Would Reverse Biden Win Over Trump, Attorney General William Barr Says  (NBC 7)

T he U.S. Department of Justice has not found evidence of large-scale ballot fraud that would reverse President-elect Joe Biden's projected win over President Donald Trump in the election, Attorney General William Barr said in a new interview.  Barr's statement to The Associated Press undercuts claims by Trump, his lawyers and many of his political allies that he was the victim of a massive voting fraud that swindled him out of a win.

Biden to require walking boot after fracturing his foot Politico)

President-elect Joe Biden will need a walking boot after sustaining small fractures to his right foot while playing with one of his dogs, according to his doctor.


Hundreds ill, 1 dead due to unidentified disease in India (Associated Press)

At least one person has died and 200 others have been hospitalized due to an unidentified illness in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, reports said Monday.  The illness was detected Saturday evening in Eluru, an ancient city famous for its hand-woven products. Since then, patients have experienced symptoms ranging from nausea and anxiety to loss of consciousness, doctors said.  

A 45-year-old man who was hospitalized with symptoms similar to epilepsy and nausea died…

Going undercover in the schools that chain boys (BBC)

When I meet Ahmed, he is shackled in a room all alone. There are marks on his body from the beatings he has been given. He doesn't know how old he is, but he's probably about 10. The school I find him in is one of 23 Islamic educational institutions in Sudan, known as khalwas, that I filmed in undercover ..I witnessed and filmed many children, some just five years old, being severely beaten, routinely shackled, and imprisoned without food and water by the sheikhs, or religious men, in charge of the schools. Some of the children who did not appear in our documentary told me they had been raped…There are nearly 30,000 khalwas across the country, according to the Sudanese government.

Assassinated Iranian nuclear scientist shot with remote-controlled machine gun, news agency says (CNN)

The Iranian nuclear scientist assassinated Friday east of Tehran was shot by a remote-controlled machine gun operating out of another car, the semi-official Fars News Agency said Sunday. With top Iranian officials blaming Israel, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and others have promised revenge for the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was the country's chief nuclear scientist..

At least 600 civilians were killed in northern Ethiopia massacre, rights commission says (CNN)

At least 600 civilians were killed during an attack in northern Ethiopia in early November because of their ethnicity, a state-appointed human rights commission said Tuesday.

Mexico arrests alleged mastermind of massacre of Mormon women and children (Reuters)

Mexico captured a gang leader accused of being the mastermind behind the massacre of nine women and children of U.S.-Mexican origin, authorities confirmed on Wednesday, a move that Washington hailed as a victory for bilateral cooperation.

U.S. imposes sanctions on 14 Chinese officials over Hong Kong crackdown (Reuters)

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on 14 Chinese officials on Monday, the U.S. Treasury’s website showed, in new designations linked to Beijing’s disqualification of elected opposition legislators in Hong Kong. The move, first reported by Reuters overnight, targeted individuals who are all members of China’s National People’s Congress, as Republican President Donald Trump’s administration keeps up pressure on Beijing in his final weeks in office.



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