Tag: national

The Latest: Senate panel ends confirmation hearing for day | National politics

Feinstein and Democrats are expected to focus on healthcare during the hearings. Feinstein still faces criticism for her comments during Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearing to be a federal judge. Feinstein had joined Republicans on the panel in asking Barrett about her Roman Catholic faith, but then went further by telling Barrett, then a Notre Dame law professor, that “when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you.″

Republicans are pushing to confirm Barrett before Election Day.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham says Judge Amy Coney Barrett is in a “category of excellence” as a law professor and legal scholar.

Graham, R-S.C., praised Barrett as he opened Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Republican-led panel. Barring a dramatic development, Republicans appear to have the votes to confirm the 48-year-old conservative appellate judge to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court.

Graham acknowledged “the COVID problem in America is real,″ but said, “We do have a country that needs to move forward safely.” Barrett was wearing a face mask, as were all the roughly 100 people in the cavernous hearing room.

Graham cited Barrett’s testimony that she follows the judicial philosophy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom she clerked two decades ago. He called that a good summary of “who Amy Barrett is in terms of the law.″

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Judge throws out Trump campaign’s challenge to Pennsylvania’s poll-watching law | National politics

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Election 2020 Lawsuits Glance

In this Sept. 29, 2020, file photo Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke fills out an application for a mail-in ballot before voting at the opening of a satellite election office at Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania has seen a frenzy of election-related lawsuits as state officials prepare for some 3 million people, about half the expected turnout, to cast mail-in ballots. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Saturday threw out a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s campaign, dismissing its challenges to the battleground state’s poll-watching law and its efforts to limit how mail-in ballots can be collected and which of them can be counted.

Elements of the ruling by U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan could be appealed by Trump’s campaign, with barely three weeks to go until Election Day in a state hotly contested by Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Trump’s campaign wanted the court to free county election officials to disqualify mail-in ballots where the voter’s signature may not match their signature on file and to remove a county residency requirement in state law on certified poll watchers.

It also wanted the court to bar counties from using drop boxes or mobile sites to collect mail-in ballots that are not “staffed, secured, and employed consistently within and across all 67 of Pennsylvania’s counties.”

The lawsuit was opposed by the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, and the state Democratic Party.

The decision comes as Trump claims he can only lose the state if Democrats cheat and, as he did in 2016′s campaign, suggests that the Democratic bastion of Philadelphia needs to be watched closely for election fraud.

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National Independent Venue Association Begs Government to Save Concert Industry from “Mass Collapse”

The post National Independent Venue Association Begs Government to Save Concert Industry from “Mass Collapse” appeared first on Consequence of Sound.

Today, Donald Trump halted all negotiations with Congress regarding further COVID-19 relief until after the election. The abrupt political move, which comes across like the actions of a manic drugged up on steroids, will undoubtedly impose even more financial hardship on a country that’s already months-deep into an economic crisis.

The National Independent Venue Association, having already suffered major losses the last few months — including the shuttering of Washington, DC’s iconic U Street Music Hall just yesterday — has now responded to Trump’s decision.

“We have been sounding the alarm since April that if our members don’t get emergency assistance, they will go under forever — and it’s happening,” said Audrey Fix Schaefer, director of communications for NIVA. “This is real. We need help.”

The urgent statement continued,

“We urge Congress and the White House to continue negotiations and reach a deal quickly or there will be a mass collapse of this industry. The Save Our Stages Act has already passed the House and has strong bipartisan support with more than 160 Congresspeople cosponsoring because they know independent venues can be part of our country’s economic renewal once it’s safe to welcome people back — if our venues can survive this pandemic. We’re also hoping for the sake of our furloughed employees that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will be extended, as people are suffering through no fault of their own.”

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NIVA was formed earlier this year in response to the pandemic and represents roughly 2,800 venues from all over the US. The organization was one of the main proponents of the “Save Our Stages Act”, a bipartisan bill that guarantees six months of financial support to “keep venues afloat, pay employees, and preserve a critical economic sector for communities across America.”

The House of Representatives successfully passed the “Save Our Stages Act” just last Friday, agreeing to set aside a potentially industry-saving $10 billion dollars for the independent venue community. However, the Senate won’t get a chance to weigh in due to Trump’s shutdown of all coronavirus relief negotiations. Without proper financial aid, it’s estimated that 90% of independent music venues could close for good.

National Independent Venue Association Begs Government to Save Concert Industry from “Mass Collapse”
Lake Schatz

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One McCormick Lecture Series Kicks Off with National Society of Black Engineers | News

Leah Payne, president of the Northwestern NSBE chapter, discussed the organization’s goals and accomplishments.

Northwestern Engineering’s One McCormick lecture series kicked off on October 7 with a presentation by Leah Payne (’22), a chemical engineering major and president of the Northwestern chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.

During her virtual lecture that drew 125 attendees, Payne gave on overview of the goals of NSBE as well as the accomplishments of the Northwestern chapter.

In an effort to build community and enhance connectivity amongst the dynamic network at the McCormick School of Engineering, the One McCormick lecture series provides faculty and students with a venue to present their efforts at Northwestern Engineering. Initially, the series will focus on the student experience, including diversity, health and wellness, and student success. 

Julio M. Ottino

“We cannot afford to have disconnected pieces,” said Julio M. Ottino, dean of Northwestern Engineering, in his introduction. “Why? Because we want ideas, and the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas, but more importantly, we want a wide range of ideas. We want a diversity of ideas. Diverse ideas emerge from a diverse network. We need to educate each other.”

Payne explained how NSBE aims to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community. As part of the national organization, which has 500 chapters and nearly 16,000 active members in the US and abroad, NSBE’s Northwestern chapter works with students at Evanston Township High School to increase youth involvement in STEM and has held workshops to engage K through 12 minority students. In addition, the group supports its own members with academics, such as study groups, and professional development opportunities, including networking with representatives from Google and Facebook. 

After her presentation, Payne took questions from attendees, including how faculty can support NSBE. 

“The best thing faculty can do is make sure they have a good enough connection with (students) so if they are having issues within their classes, they’re comfortable talk to them — and to keep having those conversations,” she said.

Conversations with the wider community is important because they are “ensuring that both faculty and staff — and students — are aware of the issues that Black students are being affected by and experience and face within McCormick and Northwestern,” she added.

The next event is Wednesday, October 14, featuring the Northwestern chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. Registration is required to attend.

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Motley Fool to Leave Hong Kong, Citing National Security Law

(Bloomberg) — Motley Fool, the investing news site, said it will shut its Hong Kong operations because of the growing uncertainty of doing business in the city.

a group of people in uniform: Riot police raise a purple flag warning protesters of actions that violate the new national security law, during a protest on National Day in Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. Riot police flooded Hong Kong streets on a tense National Day, a show of force intended to back up leader Carrie Lam's morning declaration that stability had returned to the Asian financial center.

© Bloomberg
Riot police raise a purple flag warning protesters of actions that violate the new national security law, during a protest on National Day in Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. Riot police flooded Hong Kong streets on a tense National Day, a show of force intended to back up leader Carrie Lam’s morning declaration that stability had returned to the Asian financial center.

The publication, which expanded into Hong Kong in 2018, made the decision because of the difficulty foreseeing how the company would fare in the city in the coming years in the wake of the turmoil that’s been gripping the financial hub since last year, Hayes Chan, lead analyst at Motley Fool Hong Kong, wrote on the site this week.


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Chan cited the flaring of the anti-Beijing protests last year, followed by the national security law and the ongoing decoupling between the U.S. and China as factors contributing to uncertainty and the publication’s decision.

Media Tycoon’s Arrest Sends Warning to Hong Kong’s Free Press

The controversial new law, which went into effect in late June and grants Beijing sweeping powers to clamp down on dissent in the name of national security, has raised concerns that freedoms will deteriorate in one of the most freewheeling cities in the world. Soon after the legislation’s enactment, the New York Times announced it would move some of its Hong Kong operations to Seoul, South Korea.

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Irish government clashes with scientists over national lockdown

Ireland’s government has clashed with top scientific advisers after rejecting their call for a new national lockdown to tackle surging coronavirus infections. 

The request on Sunday night to place the entire country under the most severe restrictions came only three days after public health officials said there was no need for new national measures. 

The weekend move blindsided Micheál Martin’s government, provoking an angry response from ministers. Another comprehensive lockdown would shut large parts of an economy that is still struggling after the spring shutdown in which 600,000 jobs were lost.

After fraught talks with health officials and an emergency cabinet meeting, the prime minister gave a televised speech on Monday night to impose new hospitality sector restrictions that stopped well short of a national lockdown. Police overtime has also been increased to step up enforcement of the current restrictions.

The decision to defy health advice is the first big divergence between the government and health officials since the pandemic began in March. 

“The potential implications of such a move are severe and very different from those we faced earlier this year. It could involve the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, with these concentrated in families and communities which are already facing difficulties,” said Mr Martin. 

But it was Leo Varadkar, deputy premier, who laid bare the acute tension between the government and the national public health emergency team, telling a TV interviewer that the demand to shut the economy was not “thought through” and came without consultation.

“I think what happened the last couple of days wasn’t good for anyone . . . and really wasn’t good for the Irish people, many of whom were worried sick today wondering whether they had a job tomorrow, wondering whether they were shuttering their business for the last time,” said Mr Varadkar. 

Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s deputy premier, speaking to the media in March
Leo Varadkar, deputy premier, said that the demand to shut the economy was not ‘thought through’ and came without consultation © Aiden Crawley/EPA-EFE

He accused top health officials of not grasping the implications of the advice they were giving.

“None of them would have to tell somebody that they were losing their job and none of them would have to shutter a business for the last time. And I’m not talking about the economy, I’m talking about something that could have happened to half a million human beings tomorrow.” 

Eoin O’Malley, associate professor of politics at Dublin City University, said it would not have been politically sustainable for the government to close the economy, but added that the rise in infection rates presented risks.

“I think there would have been hell to pay for it. That said, they are taking a huge risk in rejecting their advice because if there is a big escalation in deaths and hospitalisations they will no longer have any cover for their decisions,” he said.

“The [health emergency team] is very narrowly focused and probably the government is trying to think more broadly about society and the economy and the other impacts.” 


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Labour MP calls for second national lockdown

Labour councillor Claudia Webbe speaks during a leadership campaign rally in support of Jeremy Corbyn at Ruach City Church in Kilburn, north London. (PA)
Labour councillor Claudia Webbe speaks during a leadership campaign rally in support of Jeremy Corbyn at Ruach City Church in Kilburn, north London. (PA)

A Labour MP has called for another national lockdown as coronavirus rates rose dramatically after an IT glitch caused 16,000 cases to go unreported.

Claudia Webbe, who was suspended from the Labour party last week after she was accused of sexual harassment tweeted: “Govt has lost total control of #COVID19. A national lockdown is needed. Extend both the eviction ban for renters & furlough scheme. Protect jobs & introduce a #WealthTax.”

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has maintained that a second national lockdown would be a “government failure”.

Starmer said in September that a second lockdown would take an “immense toll on people’s physical and mental health and on the economy”, and accused the government of losing control of the testing system.

On Sunday, it was revealed that nearly 16,000 cases of coronavirus went unreported in daily case figures between 25 September and 2 October due to an IT glitch, reportedly caused by an Excel spreadsheet reaching its maximum file size.

The error means efforts have been delayed to trace contacts of a person who tested positive.

Read more: Where did the missing 16,000 positive coronavirus tests come from?

On Monday, Labour accused the government of overseeing a “shambolic” system.

Leicester East MP Webbe, who back in June called on the government to introduce the first local lockdown, also called for an eviction ban and furlough scheme extension.

Watch: Starmer: Second national lockdown would be sign of government failure

The furlough scheme is due to end this month, to be replaced by the government’s new wage subsidy programme, the job support scheme, from 1 November.

Labour has demanded the government further extend the eviction ban to ensure people do not lose their homes as a result of the pandemic.

Read more: Rishi Sunak: ‘I don’t want to be prime minister’

Webbe was elected as a Labour MP in December’s general election after nearly 10 years as a councillor in Islington, north London. Earlier in her career, she had been an adviser to Ken Livingstone while he was mayor of London.

Last week Webbe was charged with harassing a woman after a file of evidence was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) by the Metropolitan Police.

Diane Abbott and Claudia Webbe address protesters during a solidarity rally in Windrush Square, Brixton, south London, to show support for the Windrush generation in 2018. (PA)
Diane Abbott and Claudia Webbe address protesters during a solidarity rally in Windrush Square, Brixton, south London, to show support for the Windrush generation in 2018. (PA)

Webbe is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 11 November to face one count of harassment between 1 September, 2018, and 26 April, 2020.

Jenny Hopkins, from the CPS, said: 

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Civil society coalition starts petition demanding dismissal of Health Minister Terawan – National

A coalition of civil society groups, academics and social organizations has started an online petition urging President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to fire Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto for his alleged incompetence in handling the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

“We think that Terawan Agus Putranto has failed to carry out his duties in handling the pandemic as health minister,” the coalition wrote in a petition filed through change.org. “Therefore, we demand that President Jokowi dismiss Terawan from his position as health minister and replace him with someone more competent.”

The petition was started on Wednesday by the National Network on Domestic Worker Advocacy (Jala PRT), the head of students’ executive board of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN Jakarta) Sultan Rivandi, the head of the University of Indonesia’s Student Executive Body (BEM UI) Manik Marganamahendra, Irma Hidayana of LaporCOVID-19 (Report COVID-19) community and Supinah as a labor representative.

As of the time of writing, 5,772 people have signed the petition.

“From the beginning, the minister has taken the pandemic lightly. He has not been serious in handling [the pandemic]. He is also unable to overcome issues such as protecting health workers and containing the spread of COVID-19,” the petition said.

According to the World Health Organization, as of Sunday, Indonesia ranks 23rd among the countries with the highest rate of COVID-19 infections, with 299,506 cases, only second to the Philippines in Southeast Asia. Indonesia also has one of the highest death tolls in Asia, with more than 11,000 deaths.

In September, Amnesty International also listed Indonesia among the countries with the highest estimated numbers of health workers who have died from COVID-19. 

Calls for Terawan’s removal have been made as early as March when another civil society coalition consisting of human rights watchdogs KontraS and Amnesty International Indonesia, among other groups, said he had “an arrogant and antiscience attitude”.

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Government grant allows England’s National League to restart

Government funding to cover the loss of matchday revenue will ensure the 2020/21 season in England’s fifth-tier National League will start as planned on Saturday.

Plans for a supporters’ return to stadiums has been put on hold due to a spike in coronavirus infections in the UK.

However, there are fears that dozens of clubs lower down the football pyramid could go bust if they are forced to play behind closed doors for up to six months.

In a statement, the National League said: “In recent weeks, the National League and the Football Association have been engaged with Government to address the revenue shortfall expected by member clubs caused by the pause to the safe return of spectators.

“The National League has now received confirmation of significant financial grant-aid support from the Government to compensate clubs for essential revenue lost from fans not returning in October, and has communicated with its member clubs to provide reassurance ahead of the season start.”

The English Football League (EFL), which represents the three divisions below the Premier League, is in talks with the top-flight clubs over a bailout to cover their costs for the season.

Britain’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has put pressure on the Premier League to step in and help out rather than leaving the lower leagues to turn to the public purse.

“We’re all agreed the Premier League needs to step up to the plate and they’re having intensive discussions with the EFL over how they can support those clubs,” said Dowden earlier this week.


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