ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

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December 31, 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:

U.S.

WORLD

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

Bill to raise checks to $2K blocked for third day in Senate (The Hill)

A bill to increase the amount of recently passed stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 was blocked for a third day in a row in the GOP-controlled Senate.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked an effort by Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to try to schedule a vote on the House-passed bill.

 

Biden's plan for Inauguration Eve: Lights, church bells for COVID lives lost (Axios)

To set the tone for his inauguration the next day, President-elect Biden will lead a memorial to remember and honor lives lost to COVID-19, with church-bell ringings and light shows across the country on Tue., Jan. 19, at 5:30 p.m. ET.  The Presidential Inauguration Committee is announcing Thursday morning that a D.C. ceremony, led by Biden, will feature lights around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool... PIC is inviting cities and towns around the country to join Washington, D.C., in illuminating buildings and ringing church bells at 5:30 p.m. ET [15 minutes after sunset] in a national moment of unity and remembrance,” the committee says.

COVID-19 vaccines arriving at (some) nursing homes. Here’s what families need to know (Sacramento Bee)

The nation’s unprecedented COVID-19 vaccination program wades into the very heart of the pandemic beginning Monday as shot-givers fan out to skilled nursing homes, where coronavirus deaths have hit in disproportionate numbers among California’s most elderly and infirm.

House votes to override Trump's veto of defense bill (CNN)

The House of Representatives on Monday voted to override President Donald Trump's veto of the sweeping defense bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act, delivering a bipartisan rebuke to the President.

Trump vetoes national defense bill, though Congress has votes to override (USA Today)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act, a $741 billion national security package that would raise troops' pay, direct the purchase of weapons and set military policies because it does not include provisions that he wanted.  The move is unlikely to stop the NDAA from being enacted.

Explosion in Nashville that damaged dozens of buildings is believed to be an intentional act (CNN)

A Christmas morning explosion that rocked downtown Nashville, injuring at least three people and damaging dozens of buildings, is believed to be an intentional act, authorities said.According to police, officers with the Metro Nashville Police Department were responding to a call of shots fired around 5:30 a.m. CT Friday when they came upon an RV parked in front of an AT&T transmission building at 166 2nd Avenue North. The RV was playing a recorded message that indicated a bomb would explode in 15 minutes,

Wheels Come Off For Bus Companies, Closing Down Travel Options For Poorer Americans (NPR)

…Demand for bus travel has fallen by more than 80% during the pandemic as public health authorities urge people to avoid travel where possible. That is raising concerns about the potential long-term damage to an essential transport method for millions of lower-income Americans even as air travel has shown signs of picking up since the Thanksgiving holiday period. And those who have to take the bus, for whatever reason, are finding fewer options, and often higher prices as a result.

Front-line essential workers and adults 75 and over should be next to get the coronavirus vaccine, a CDC advisory group says (Washington Post)

Grocery store employees, teachers, emergency workers and other people on the front lines of America’s workforce should be next to get the coronavirus vaccine, along with adults ages 75 and older, a federal advisory panel said Sunday. The recommendations, which came two days after regulators authorized a second coronavirus vaccine, will guide state authorities in deciding who should have priority to receive limited doses of shots made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. 

US experts debate: Who should be next in line for vaccine? (AP)

Deciding that health care workers and nursing home residents should be first in line for the initial, limited supplies of COVID-19 shots wasn’t that hard a call. Now U.S. health officials have to determine who should be next.

WORLD

Covid: France rewards frontline immigrant workers with citizenship (BBC)

Hundreds of immigrants in France working on the coronavirus frontline have had their service to the country recognised with fast-track citizenship. More than 700 have already been granted citizenship or are in the final stages of receiving it. They include healthcare professionals, cleaners and shop workers.

'Parting is such sweet sorrow': EU and UK clinch narrow Brexit accord (Reuters)



Britain clinched a narrow Brexit trade deal with the European Union on Thursday, just seven days before it exits one of the world's biggest trading blocs in its most significant global shift since the loss of empire.

U.S. embassy in Baghdad hit by rocket attack (NPR)

Rocket attacks by "Iran-backed militias" into an area housing the U.S. Embassy in Iraq killed at least one local civilian and damaged the embassy compound, according to U.S. diplomatic sources.

Landslide hits residential area in Norway, 10 hurt, 11 people missing (Reuters)



Ten people were injured, one of them critically, and 11 were classified as missing after a landslide in southern Norway swept away more than a dozen buildings in the early hours of Wednesday, police said.

Britain tightens lockdowns over virus mutation with ‘significantly faster’ transmission rates (Washington Post)

Faced with a newly emerging coronavirus mutation with "significantly faster" transmission rates, Britain on Saturday announced tightened pandemic restrictions that returned London and parts of the country to virtual lockdown and reversed earlier promises for relaxed rules over the holidays.

Covid: France and Germany among nations banning flights from UK (BBC)

European nations have begun to apply travel bans with the UK after it said that a more infectious coronavirus variant was "out of control" there. Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium are all suspending flights and travel, although the measures vary.

U.S. And EU Condemn Jailing Of Lawyer Who Reported On Coronavirus In Wuhan (NPR)

She was a lawyer. But when the coronavirus began raging in Wuhan, China, Zhang Zhan started reporting as a citizen journalist — offering a candid look at the situation on the ground. Then, after months of sharing videos and text updates on WeChat, Twitter and YouTube — the 37-year-old's social media feeds went dark in May. Authorities detained her, claiming she was spreading lies, according to The New York Times. And on Monday, she was sentenced to four years in prison.

Putin beefs up protections for former Russian presidents (Reuters)

President Vladimir Putin signed laws on Tuesday granting former Russian presidents expanded immunity from prosecution and allowing them to become senators for life in the upper house of parliament once they leave the Kremlin.... The new laws follow sweeping reforms... [that] allow him to run for two more six-year terms in the Kremlin if he chooses. He would otherwise have had to step down in 2024.... The other laws signed by Putin allow presidents to name up to 30 senators to the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house, and to join the Council themselves once they have left office.

French court finds accomplices to Charlie Hebdo attackers guilty (Reuters)



A French court found guilty on Wednesday 14 accomplices of the French Islamist militants behind the January 2015 attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

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

U.S.

Bill to raise checks to $2K blocked for third day in Senate (The Hill)

A bill to increase the amount of recently passed stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 was blocked for a third day in a row in the GOP-controlled Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked an effort by Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to try to schedule a vote on the House-passed bill.

Biden's plan for Inauguration Eve: Lights, church bells for COVID lives lost (Axios)

To set the tone for his inauguration the next day, President-elect Biden will lead a memorial to remember and honor lives lost to COVID-19, with church-bell ringings and light shows across the country on Tue., Jan. 19, at 5:30 p.m. ET.  The Presidential Inauguration Committee is announcing Thursday morning that a D.C. ceremony, led by Biden, will feature lights around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool... PIC is inviting cities and towns around the country to join Washington, D.C., in illuminating buildings and ringing church bells at 5:30 p.m. ET [15 minutes after sunset] in a national moment of unity and remembrance,” the committee says.

COVID-19 vaccines arriving at (some) nursing homes. Here’s what families need to know (Sacramento Bee)

The nation’s unprecedented COVID-19 vaccination program wades into the very heart of the pandemic beginning Monday as shot-givers fan out to skilled nursing homes, where coronavirus deaths have hit in disproportionate numbers among California’s most elderly and infirm.

House votes to override Trump's veto of defense bill (CNN)

The House of Representatives on Monday voted to override President Donald Trump's veto of the sweeping defense bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act, delivering a bipartisan rebuke to the President.

Trump vetoes national defense bill, though Congress has votes to override (USA Today)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act, a $741 billion national security package that would raise troops' pay, direct the purchase of weapons and set military policies because it does not include provisions that he wanted.  The move is unlikely to stop the NDAA from being enacted.

Explosion in Nashville that damaged dozens of buildings is believed to be an intentional act (CNN)

A Christmas morning explosion that rocked downtown Nashville, injuring at least three people and damaging dozens of buildings, is believed to be an intentional act, authorities said.According to police, officers with the Metro Nashville Police Department were responding to a call of shots fired around 5:30 a.m. CT Friday when they came upon an RV parked in front of an AT&T transmission building at 166 2nd Avenue North. The RV was playing a recorded message that indicated a bomb would explode in 15 minutes,

Wheels Come Off For Bus Companies, Closing Down Travel Options For Poorer Americans (NPR)

…Demand for bus travel has fallen by more than 80% during the pandemic as public health authorities urge people to avoid travel where possible. That is raising concerns about the potential long-term damage to an essential transport method for millions of lower-income Americans even as air travel has shown signs of picking up since the Thanksgiving holiday period. And those who have to take the bus, for whatever reason, are finding fewer options, and often higher prices as a result.

Front-line essential workers and adults 75 and over should be next to get the coronavirus vaccine, a CDC advisory group says (Washington Post)

Grocery store employees, teachers, emergency workers and other people on the front lines of America’s workforce should be next to get the coronavirus vaccine, along with adults ages 75 and older, a federal advisory panel said Sunday. The recommendations, which came two days after regulators authorized a second coronavirus vaccine, will guide state authorities in deciding who should have priority to receive limited doses of shots made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. 

US experts debate: Who should be next in line for vaccine? (AP)

Deciding that health care workers and nursing home residents should be first in line for the initial, limited supplies of COVID-19 shots wasn’t that hard a call. Now U.S. health officials have to determine who should be next.

WORLD

Covid: France rewards frontline immigrant workers with citizenship (BBC)

Hundreds of immigrants in France working on the coronavirus frontline have had their service to the country recognised with fast-track citizenship. More than 700 have already been granted citizenship or are in the final stages of receiving it. They include healthcare professionals, cleaners and shop workers.

'Parting is such sweet sorrow': EU and UK clinch narrow Brexit accord (Reuters)



Britain clinched a narrow Brexit trade deal with the European Union on Thursday, just seven days before it exits one of the world's biggest trading blocs in its most significant global shift since the loss of empire.

U.S. embassy in Baghdad hit by rocket attack (NPR)

Rocket attacks by "Iran-backed militias" into an area housing the U.S. Embassy in Iraq killed at least one local civilian and damaged the embassy compound, according to U.S. diplomatic sources.

Landslide hits residential area in Norway, 10 hurt, 11 people missing (Reuters)



Ten people were injured, one of them critically, and 11 were classified as missing after a landslide in southern Norway swept away more than a dozen buildings in the early hours of Wednesday, police said.

Britain tightens lockdowns over virus mutation with ‘significantly faster’ transmission rates (Washington Post)

Faced with a newly emerging coronavirus mutation with "significantly faster" transmission rates, Britain on Saturday announced tightened pandemic restrictions that returned London and parts of the country to virtual lockdown and reversed earlier promises for relaxed rules over the holidays.

Covid: France and Germany among nations banning flights from UK (BBC)

European nations have begun to apply travel bans with the UK after it said that a more infectious coronavirus variant was "out of control" there. Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium are all suspending flights and travel, although the measures vary.

U.S. And EU Condemn Jailing Of Lawyer Who Reported On Coronavirus In Wuhan (NPR)

She was a lawyer. But when the coronavirus began raging in Wuhan, China, Zhang Zhan started reporting as a citizen journalist — offering a candid look at the situation on the ground. Then, after months of sharing videos and text updates on WeChat, Twitter and YouTube — the 37-year-old's social media feeds went dark in May. Authorities detained her, claiming she was spreading lies, according to The New York Times. And on Monday, she was sentenced to four years in prison.

Putin beefs up protections for former Russian presidents (Reuters)

President Vladimir Putin signed laws on Tuesday granting former Russian presidents expanded immunity from prosecution and allowing them to become senators for life in the upper house of parliament once they leave the Kremlin.... The new laws follow sweeping reforms... [that] allow him to run for two more six-year terms in the Kremlin if he chooses. He would otherwise have had to step down in 2024.... The other laws signed by Putin allow presidents to name up to 30 senators to the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house, and to join the Council themselves once they have left office.

French court finds accomplices to Charlie Hebdo attackers guilty (Reuters)



A French court found guilty on Wednesday 14 accomplices of the French Islamist militants behind the January 2015 attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

 

Biden's plan for Inauguration Eve: Lights, church bells for COVID lives lost (Axios)

To set the tone for his inauguration the next day, President-elect Biden will lead a memorial to remember and honor lives lost to COVID-19, with church-bell ringings and light shows across the country on Tue., Jan. 19, at 5:30 p.m. ET.  The Presidential Inauguration Committee is announcing Thursday morning that a D.C. ceremony, led by Biden, will feature lights around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool... PIC is inviting cities and towns around the country to join Washington, D.C., in illuminating buildings and ringing church bells at 5:30 p.m. ET [15 minutes after sunset] in a national moment of unity and remembrance,” the committee says.

COVID-19 vaccines arriving at (some) nursing homes. Here’s what families need to know (Sacramento Bee)

The nation’s unprecedented COVID-19 vaccination program wades into the very heart of the pandemic beginning Monday as shot-givers fan out to skilled nursing homes, where coronavirus deaths have hit in disproportionate numbers among California’s most elderly and infirm.

House votes to override Trump's veto of defense bill (CNN)

The House of Representatives on Monday voted to override President Donald Trump's veto of the sweeping defense bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act, delivering a bipartisan rebuke to the President.

Trump vetoes national defense bill, though Congress has votes to override (USA Today)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act, a $741 billion national security package that would raise troops' pay, direct the purchase of weapons and set military policies because it does not include provisions that he wanted.  The move is unlikely to stop the NDAA from being enacted.

Explosion in Nashville that damaged dozens of buildings is believed to be an intentional act (CNN)

A Christmas morning explosion that rocked downtown Nashville, injuring at least three people and damaging dozens of buildings, is believed to be an intentional act, authorities said.According to police, officers with the Metro Nashville Police Department were responding to a call of shots fired around 5:30 a.m. CT Friday when they came upon an RV parked in front of an AT&T transmission building at 166 2nd Avenue North. The RV was playing a recorded message that indicated a bomb would explode in 15 minutes,

Wheels Come Off For Bus Companies, Closing Down Travel Options For Poorer Americans (NPR)

…Demand for bus travel has fallen by more than 80% during the pandemic as public health authorities urge people to avoid travel where possible. That is raising concerns about the potential long-term damage to an essential transport method for millions of lower-income Americans even as air travel has shown signs of picking up since the Thanksgiving holiday period. And those who have to take the bus, for whatever reason, are finding fewer options, and often higher prices as a result.

Front-line essential workers and adults 75 and over should be next to get the coronavirus vaccine, a CDC advisory group says (Washington Post)

Grocery store employees, teachers, emergency workers and other people on the front lines of America’s workforce should be next to get the coronavirus vaccine, along with adults ages 75 and older, a federal advisory panel said Sunday. The recommendations, which came two days after regulators authorized a second coronavirus vaccine, will guide state authorities in deciding who should have priority to receive limited doses of shots made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. 

US experts debate: Who should be next in line for vaccine? (AP)

Deciding that health care workers and nursing home residents should be first in line for the initial, limited supplies of COVID-19 shots wasn’t that hard a call. Now U.S. health officials have to determine who should be next.

WORLD

Covid: France rewards frontline immigrant workers with citizenship (BBC)

Hundreds of immigrants in France working on the coronavirus frontline have had their service to the country recognised with fast-track citizenship. More than 700 have already been granted citizenship or are in the final stages of receiving it. They include healthcare professionals, cleaners and shop workers.

'Parting is such sweet sorrow': EU and UK clinch narrow Brexit accord (Reuters)



Britain clinched a narrow Brexit trade deal with the European Union on Thursday, just seven days before it exits one of the world's biggest trading blocs in its most significant global shift since the loss of empire.

U.S. embassy in Baghdad hit by rocket attack (NPR)

Rocket attacks by "Iran-backed militias" into an area housing the U.S. Embassy in Iraq killed at least one local civilian and damaged the embassy compound, according to U.S. diplomatic sources.

Landslide hits residential area in Norway, 10 hurt, 11 people missing (Reuters)



Ten people were injured, one of them critically, and 11 were classified as missing after a landslide in southern Norway swept away more than a dozen buildings in the early hours of Wednesday, police said.

Britain tightens lockdowns over virus mutation with ‘significantly faster’ transmission rates (Washington Post)

Faced with a newly emerging coronavirus mutation with "significantly faster" transmission rates, Britain on Saturday announced tightened pandemic restrictions that returned London and parts of the country to virtual lockdown and reversed earlier promises for relaxed rules over the holidays.

Covid: France and Germany among nations banning flights from UK (BBC)

European nations have begun to apply travel bans with the UK after it said that a more infectious coronavirus variant was "out of control" there. Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium are all suspending flights and travel, although the measures vary.

U.S. And EU Condemn Jailing Of Lawyer Who Reported On Coronavirus In Wuhan (NPR)

She was a lawyer. But when the coronavirus began raging in Wuhan, China, Zhang Zhan started reporting as a citizen journalist — offering a candid look at the situation on the ground. Then, after months of sharing videos and text updates on WeChat, Twitter and YouTube — the 37-year-old's social media feeds went dark in May. Authorities detained her, claiming she was spreading lies, according to The New York Times. And on Monday, she was sentenced to four years in prison.

Putin beefs up protections for former Russian presidents (Reuters)

President Vladimir Putin signed laws on Tuesday granting former Russian presidents expanded immunity from prosecution and allowing them to become senators for life in the upper house of parliament once they leave the Kremlin.... The new laws follow sweeping reforms... [that] allow him to run for two more six-year terms in the Kremlin if he chooses. He would otherwise have had to step down in 2024.... The other laws signed by Putin allow presidents to name up to 30 senators to the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house, and to join the Council themselves once they have left office.

French court finds accomplices to Charlie Hebdo attackers guilty (Reuters)



A French court found guilty on Wednesday 14 accomplices of the French Islamist militants behind the January 2015 attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

 

 



 


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