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Top U.S. & World Headlines — November 10, 2020
As U.S. Faces Out-of-Control Pandemic, Pfizer Raises Hope for Vaccine, But Many Questions Remain
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced that a Phase 3, late-stage study found their potential COVID-19 vaccine showed more than 90% effectiveness. The two-dose vaccine still faces several challenges, including how to store and transport it, since it must be refrigerated at subzero temperatures. Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist Laurie Garrett says the news is hopeful, but urges caution. "There's been no scientific release. There's no published data," she says. "We don't have anything to go with except what the lawyers at Pfizer massaged carefully into a single-page press release. So, we have to take that with a big caveat."
"An Unprecedented Attack on Democracy": Trump Escalates Effort to Overturn Biden Election Victory
Republicans have aligned behind President Trump as he continues to make baseless accusations of widespread voter fraud and refuses to concede that he lost the presidential election to Joe Biden. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defended President Trump's decision not to concede, and Attorney General William Barr upended long-standing Justice Department policy by announcing federal prosecutors could investigate "specific allegations" of voter fraud, a move that led to the resignation of Richard Pilger, the director of the Justice Department's Election Crimes Branch. The Trump campaign has launched a barrage of lawsuits seeking to invalidate last week's election results, including one in Pennsylvania attempting to block state officials from certifying Joe Biden's election victory. So far no evidence has emerged of voter fraud as alleged by the Trump campaign. "This is an unprecedented attack on democracy," says Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. "The voters have spoken, and what we're seeing is a president who refuses to recognize and embrace the will of the people."
Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat Dies from COVID as Palestinians Battle Virus & Apartheid System
Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, has died at 65 after he became infected with COVID-19. Erekat was a key Palestinian negotiator involved in peace talks for over three decades and stood in staunch opposition to the Trump administration's Middle East plan, which he called the "fraud of the century," and condemned recent agreements normalizing relations between Israel and Gulf nations. "One must really reflect and admire the tireless commitment he had to communicating the Palestinian cause as best he saw fit … and the important voice that he brought to the conversation at a time when many people around the world had not really heard from Palestinians, particularly Palestinians living in Palestine, on the ground," says Palestinian American analyst Yousef Munayyer.
Top U.S. & World Headlines — November 9, 2020
WWF on Sunset TV: Polar Bears
Polar bears rely on sea ice to survive, but as temperatures rise, their sea ice melts. WWF is working to save habitats of species across the globe. Please visit WWFprotects.org to become a monthly donor today. Monthly donors provide resources we need to support WWF’s global conservation work. Learn more: WWFprotects.org Credits: BBC Natural History / Getty Images Robert Harding Video / Getty Images Robert Harding Video / Getty Images Henry Harrison / Pond 5 Henry Harrison / Pond 5 WOWstockfootage / Getty Images Henry Harrison / Pond 5 Multi-bits / Getty Images Multi-bits / Getty Images BlackBox / Dissolve BlackBox / Dissolve BlackBoxGuild / Shutter Song Title: "Say Something" Performed By: A Great Big World / Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino Written By: Ian Axel, Chad Vaccarino and Mike Campbell
Bree Newsome & Prof. Eddie Glaude: The Black Lives Matter Movement Helped the Democrats Defeat Trump
As President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris prepare to take power, we continue to look at the growing debate over the direction of the Democratic Party. House Majority Whip James Clyburn went on several Sunday talk shows to criticize calls to "defund the police" and argued the phrase hurt Democratic congressional candidates. "It is actually insane that we would think the way to respond to the scale of problems that we confront as a nation is to harken back to an older form of politics that … seems to try to triangulate and appeal to this Reagan Democrat that they are so obsessed with," responds Eddie Glaude, author and chair of Princeton University's Department of African American Studies. "It makes no sense that we would go back to the politics that produced Trump in the first place." We also speak to artist and antiracist activist Bree Newsome Bass, who argues Black voters "are scapegoated when it's convenient, and then we are thrown under the bus when it's convenient … That's a dynamic that has to end."
Ro Khanna: Progressives Helped Biden Win. We Can't Stop Push for Green New Deal & Medicare for All
Former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris are set to take power, after a projected more than 150 million ballots were cast in the 2020 election. A debate is growing over the future of the Democratic Party as progressive lawmakers push back on Biden's centrist policy proposals and consideration of Republicans for Cabinet positions. Congressmember Ro Khanna, Democratic of California, says progressive policies, such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, have popular support. "The policies that we are advocating are not just for deeply blue districts," Khanna says. "They are policies that will help people in the Midwest, in the South, across this country."
Labor Organizer: I Witnessed Bush Steal 2000 Election in Florida. We Can’t Let Trump Steal This One
We look at Donald Trump’s attempts to undermine the U.S. presidential election with Jane McAlevey, a union organizer, negotiator and senior policy fellow at UC Berkeley’s Labor Center who was an eyewitness to the 2000 Florida recount. She says the 2000 election holds lessons for today, when Democrats allowed Republicans to claim a controversial victory. “We have to have a counternarrative. We have to have very large numbers of people in the streets,” she says.
As President Trump is doubling down on unsubstantiated claims of election rigging as election workers continue counting ballots in several states, concern is growing that some Trump supporters may use violence to disrupt the process. Trump's supporters have protested at ballot-counting locations in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Detroit and Philadelphia, where police arrested two men after receiving a tip that men armed with AR-15s were driving from Virginia to attack the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where votes are still being counted. Meanwhile, Trump's former campaign manager Steve Bannon called for the beheading of Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray. "Trump and the extremist Republicans, who constitute a minority of the population and have a minority of the votes, are trying to consolidate their minority rule," says investigative journalist Allan Nairn. "Things wouldn't even be close now if you just based the presidency, like most countries do, on who gets the most votes."
Arizona's Blue Shift Rooted in Years of Grassroots Latinx Organizing Against GOP's Xenophobia
One of the crucial states that could decide the presidential election is Arizona, where Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump with thousands of ballots left to count. Trump won Arizona in 2016, and if Biden's lead holds, he will be just the second Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1948. "The lion's share of the credit belongs to sustained community organizing in the state," says Marisa Franco, director and co-founder of Mijente, a national digital organizing hub for Latinx and Chicanx communities. She says the Trump administration has been disastrous for immigrants and immigrant rights groups, and a second term would be even worse. "A shift in administration would give us a fighting chance," she says.
Juan González: The Media Has It Wrong. Record Latinx Turnout Helped Biden. White Voters Failed Dems
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden appears to be inching toward victory as counting continues in several key states that could put him over 270 electoral votes, the threshold needed to win the Electoral College and take the White House. President Trump and his supporters, meanwhile, have attacked the process and falsely claimed Democrats are stealing the election, and the Trump campaign has launched a barrage of legal challenges in swing states related to ballot counting. With the results closer than many pollsters had predicted, Democracy Now! co-host Juan González says "a false narrative" is taking root that Latinx voters were primarily to blame for the weak Democratic result. "The main story is that people of color, especially Latinos, flocked to the polls in numbers that far exceeded what the experts had expected, while the total number of votes cast by white Americans barely increased from the last presidential election," says González. "How come none of the experts are asking why white voters underperformed the Democratic Party?"
Virtual 360 Everest Trek Part 11 Gorak Shep
Join our virtual trek to the south side of Mount Everest and the top of Kala Patthar, in immersive 360 VR video, with this limited series from Jon Miller and The Rest of Everest! In Part 11 we head to our final overnight destination of Gorak Shep - a small encampment of seasonal lodges next to a dry and sandy lakebed at 17,000 feet / 5,164m. Gorak Shep is the last stop for most climbers and trekkers before Everest Base Camp and/or Kala Patthar.
Battleground Texas: GOP Sues to Toss 127K Votes as Trump Caravan Tries to Force Biden Bus Off Road
This weekend, a caravan of Trump supporters in Texas tried to run a Biden campaign bus off the road, ahead of a ruling by the Texas Supreme Court Sunday rejecting a Republican effort brought by a QAnon supporter to throw out nearly 127,000 early votes from 10 drive-thru polling locations in Harris County, but now a similar lawsuit has been filed in federal court. The drive-thru polling locations allowed any registered voter to cast their ballot in a car instead of going inside polling centers, as polls show a close race between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden in Texas, a traditionally Republican state. Susan Hays, a special counsel to Harris County on election matters, says the drive-thru locations have been "enormously popular" during the pandemic, and tossing those ballots undermines the democratic process. "An election contest is the remedy to any issues with the voting process, not lawsuits that happen before the election," she says.
"Let the People Pick the President": The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College
As Donald Trump and Joe Biden made their final campaign pushes in battleground states that could decide the election, we speak with author and journalist Jesse Wegmen about the case for abolishing the Electoral College system altogether and moving toward a national popular vote for electing the president. Two of the last three presidents — George W. Bush and Donald Trump — came to office after losing the popular vote. "The Framers who met at the Constitutional Convention really had no idea what they were doing when they established how to pick a president," says Wegman, New York Times editorial board member and author of "Let the People Pick the President."
Native American Voters Could Decide Key Senate Races While Battling Intense Voter Suppression
Native American voters could sway key Senate races in next week's election in Montana, North Carolina, Arizona and Maine. Investigative journalist Jenni Monet says that for many tribal citizens, the contest is not just about Democrats and Republicans. These voters "support those who understand their sovereignty," says Monet, who writes the newsletter "Indigenously." She is a tribal citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna.
"Fighting for Democracy": Carol Anderson on Voter Suppression & Why Georgia Could Go Blue
As the 2020 campaign enters its final days, we go to Georgia, where two Senate seats are up for grabs and both Republican incumbents face stiff opposition. Joe Biden is also spending significant time in the state, which no Democratic presidential candidate has won since 1992. "Georgia is truly in play," says Emory University professor Carol Anderson. "We have had grassroots organizing and mobilizing, registering folks to vote, working through getting through all of the voter suppression barriers to bring people out to the polls in unprecedented numbers." Anderson is the author of "One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy."
Adopt a Dolphin update October 2020
Adopt a Dolphin with Whale and Dolphin Conservation. Latest news on what the bottlenose dolphins of the Moray Firth in Scotland have been up to this month from our field officer, Charlie Phillips. Adopt a dolphin at: https://uk.whales.org
Alicia Garza on Being Targeted in Armed White Supremacist Plot as Trump Stokes Fires of Racism
This election season, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza says President Trump is “stoking fires he has no intention of controlling” and inciting far-right extremists. She was recently approached by the FBI after agents found her name on a list in the home of a white supremacist in Idaho who was arrested on weapons charges. “Racial terror has always been used as a form of control, particularly during periods of people fighting for social change,” she says.
Muslims in Trump Country: “Natours Grocery” Tells Story of Palestinian American Family in Virginia
As the presidential race enters its final full week, we speak with filmmaker Nadine Natour about “Natours Grocery,” her new documentary short that tells the story of her Palestinian American family living in Trump’s America. Natour’s immigrant parents own a store in the highly conservative town of Appomattox, Virginia, which voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump in 2016. The Natours say they don’t talk about politics or religion with their customers to avoid confrontation, but as they strive to build bridges with their neighbors, President Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric inspires a backlash in Appomattox. “In the election of Donald Trump we saw a lot of that bubbling racist sentiment toward immigrants, towards Muslims, become part of the mainstream discourse,” says Natour. “You really could see a shift in attitudes.” “Natours Grocery” premieres tonight as part of ”POV Shorts” on PBS.
Jeremy Scahill: Trump Has Incited White Supremacists & Emboldened Police to Act Outside the Law
As the 2020 presidential campaign enters its final two weeks, we look at the past four years of the Trump presidency with investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept. His podcast “Intercepted” has just released the fourth chapter in a seven-part audio documentary titled “American Mythology,” which critically examines the Trump presidency and places it within a larger historical context. Scahill says Trump has empowered white supremacist vigilantes and given permission to law enforcement to act extrajudicially to enforce a racist status quo, but he cautions that “Donald Trump is not an aberration of U.S. history or some anomaly, but he’s a very overt representation of many of the absolute most violent, destructive, racist, xenophobic trends in U.S. history.”
Ex-Mexican Military Head Arrested in U.S. on Drug Charges. Should He Be Tried for Massacres, Too?
We speak with legendary Mexican investigative journalist Anabel Hernández about a case that has sent shockwaves throughout Mexico: the U.S. arrest of Mexico's former defense secretary for allegedly working with a major drug cartel while heading Mexico's military. General Salvador Cienfuegos served as secretary of defense from 2012 to 2018 in the former government of President Enrique Peña Nieto and has long been accused of human rights abuses, including refusing to allow investigators to interview soldiers who may have been involved in the 2014 disappearance and likely massacre of 43 students from a teachers' college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero. Hernández's book "Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers" links top Mexican government officials to the world's most powerful drug cartels, and she has received so many death threats that the National Human Rights Commission assigned her two full-time bodyguards. Despite the danger, she has continued to report. We are also joined by John Gibler, author and independent journalist based in Mexico, and examine how Mexican soldiers were involved in the 2014 disappearance and apparent massacre of the 43 students in Ayotzinapa.
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