America

US government holds off enforcing ban on TikTok

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 04:58

The US government announced Thursday it would delay enforcement of a ban on TikTok, saying it would comply with a court order in favor of the Chinese-owned social media sensation.

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The Trump administration has insisted on the need to ban the fast-growing app, saying it has links to the Chinese government through its parent company ByteDance, and that user data could be obtained by Beijing.

The hit short-form video app — which has some 100 million users in the US — was given a reprieve after the Commerce Department said it was holding off on banning it owing to an injunction by a federal judge issued on October 30.

“The department is complying with the terms of this order,” it said in a statement, adding that the ban “will not go into effect pending further legal developments.”

The government has launched an appeal against the judge's decision in the case, which was brought by TikTok influencers.

The White House has said..

Obama reflects on Biden election, Trump’s ‘birther’ conspiracy — and ‘bantam cock’ Sarkozy

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 10:02

Donald Trump’s exit from the White House will not be enough to heal America’s deep divisions, former president Barack Obama writes in his forthcoming memoir. He also delivers his verdicts on the foreign leaders he encountered, describing France’s Nicolas Sarkozy as having “his chest thrust out like a bantam cock’s”.

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In the first tome of “A Promised Land,” which goes on sale on Tuesday, America's first Black president reflects on the four years since he left office.

“Our democracy seems to be teetering on the brink of crisis – a crisis rooted in a fundamental contest between two opposing visions of what America is and what it should be,” the 59-year-old Obama writes in an adapted and updated excerpt from his memoir, published on Thursday in The Atlantic.

The crisis “has left the body politic divided, angry, and mistrustful”, he says.

It has also “allowed for an ongoing breach of institutional norms, procedural safeguards..

Pompeo’s meetings in France to be held in ‘complete transparency’ with Biden team, says Macron

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 16:25

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leaves Friday for a seven-nation trip that includes France, where his meetings will be held in “complete transparency towards the team of president-elect Joe Biden”, according to a statement by French President Emmanuel Macron's office. The visit comes days after the top US diplomat raised eyebrows by insisting the 2020 US presidential election had not been decided and that President Donald Trump would prevail.

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Pompeo’s trip to seven European and Middle Eastern countries is aimed at shoring up the outgoing Trump administration’s priorities, notably its anti-China and Iran policies.

But the usual US foreign policy issues are likely to be overshadowed by an extraordinary moment in global politics: While most of the world has accepted the results of the November 3 presidential election, the top US diplomat – as well as the US president and much of his Republican Party – have not.

Pompeo’s t..

Trump election lawsuits suffer setbacks, major GOP law firm steps down

Issued on: 14/11/2020 – 16:54

Republicans suffered setbacks to court challenges over the presidential election in three battleground states on Friday. That same day, the law firm Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, which has been in the limelight for its work for President Donald Trump’s campaign, withdrew from a major Pennsylvania case.

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The legal blows began when a federal appeals court rejected an effort to block about 9,300 mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day in Pennsylvania. The judges noted the “vast disruption” and “unprecedented challenges” facing the nation during the Covid-19 pandemic as they upheld the three-day extension.

Chief US Circuit Judge D. Brooks Smith said the panel kept in mind “a proposition indisputable in our democratic process: that the lawfully cast vote of every citizen must count.”

Republicans have also asked the US Supreme Court to review the issue. However, there are not enough late-arriving ballots to change the resul..

Pompeo arrives in France at start of awkward Europe and Middle East tour

Issued on: 14/11/2020 – 15:48

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in France Saturday at the start of a seven-nation tour of Europe and the Middle East, a trip that is certain to be awkward since all the countries on his schedule have congratulated Joe Biden over his victory in the US presidential race while the top US diplomat has not accepted the poll results.

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In an arrival tweet posted Saturday, Pompeo highlighted the “shared values: democracy, freedom, and rule of law” between the US and France. “The strong relationship between our countries cannot be overestimated, and I’m looking forward to my discussions here in Paris,” he said.

Great to be in France, the United States’ oldest friend and Ally. Our partnership is built upon our shared values: democracy, freedom, and rule of law. The strong relationship between our countries cannot be overestimated, and I’m looking forward to my discussions here in Paris. pic.twitter.com/NMPa0aX7V0

— Secretary P..

SpaceX astronauts prepare for lift-off in first ‘operational’ flight to ISS

Issued on: 15/11/2020 – 11:13

Four astronauts were poised to launch on the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Resilience” to the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday, the first of what the US hopes will be many routine missions following a successful test flight in late spring.

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Three Americans — Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker — and Japan's Soichi Noguchi will blast off at 7:27 pm Sunday (0027 GMT Monday) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

In May, SpaceX completed a demonstration mission showing it could take astronauts to the ISS and bring them back safely, thus ending almost a decade of reliance on Russia for rides on its Soyuz rockets.

“The history being made this time is we're launching what we call an operational flight to the International Space Station,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters Friday.

The launch will be attended by Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence.

The crew will dock at th..

In a Twitter tizzy, Trump says Biden ‘won’ but reasserts rigged, fake news claims

Issued on: 15/11/2020 – 15:01

President Donald Trump appeared on Sunday to publicly acknowledge for the first time that his Democratic rival Joe Biden “won”, but insisted he was not conceding the November 3 presidential election, reiterating his false claims that the vote was rigged.

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“He won because the Election was Rigged,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning.

He won because the Election was Rigged. NO VOTE WATCHERS OR OBSERVERS allowed, vote tabulated by a Radical Left privately owned company, Dominion, with a bad reputation & bum equipment that couldn’t even qualify for Texas (which I won by a lot!), the Fake & Silent Media, & more! https://t.co/Exb3C1mAPg

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2020

But in a volley of subsequent tweets in all-caps, Trump insisted the election was rigged and that Biden’s victory was only “in the eyes of the fake news media”.

Trump has yet to officially concede the 2020 US presidential election to Biden who was cal..

Peru in political crisis amid mass protests over president’s impeachment

The head of Peru’s congress demanded the “immediate resignation” of acting President Manuel Merino on Saturday after at least three people were killed during demonstrations in the capital Lima. Protesters were calling for the reinstatement of popular ex-president Martin Vizcarra, who was impeached on November 9.

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At least three people were killed in Lima on Saturday after a group of hooded demonstrators threw rocks and fireworks at police, who responded with tear gas. Peru has seen repeated protests against right-winger Merino’s interim government since his centrist predecessor Vizcarra was ousted on Monday.

The protests are “probably the largest in Peru in 20 years”, Gino Costa, an MP and former interior minister, told the Financial Times.

Vizcarra was removed from office by parliament members accusing him of corruption and decrying what they saw as his mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ex-president described Merino’s new ministry as “illegal and il..

Nicaraguan presidential challenger Cristiana Chamorro placed under house arrest

Nicaraguan presidential challenger Cristiana Chamorro placed under house arrest

Nicaraguan presidential challenger Cristiana Chamorro has been placed under house arrest and could now be disqualified from running for office, according to local officials. Chamorro, a journalist and the daughter of former Nicaraguan President Violeta Barrios, is likely the only opposition candidate to challenge incumbent Daniel Ortega, who is seeking a fourth term in the November…

Biden will seek to raise taxes on richest Americans to fund sweeping education and child care proposals

Biden will seek to raise taxes on richest Americans to fund sweeping education and child care proposals

President Joe Biden is preparing to outline the next step of his economic agenda during a joint session to Congress next week and his proposal to pay for it is expected to include new taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Multiple sources familiar with the discussions underway tell CNN that Biden’s forthcoming American Family Plan could nearly…