Arizona and Wisconsin officially declare Biden beat Trump in those states – CNBC

Election workers count ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC), in Phoenix, Arizona, November 6, 2020.

Jim Urquhart | Reuters

Arizona and Wisconsin on Monday officially declared that Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in each of those states’ elections, damaging Trump’s long-shot efforts to reverse his projected loss in the Electoral College.

Trump, who won both states in the 2016 election, failed to invalidate votes for Biden in legal challenges in Arizona and through a recount of two counties’ results in Wisconsin. Biden, the former Democratic vice president, narrowly defeated the incumbent Republican in both states.

Arizona, which has 11 Electoral College votes at state earlier Monday certified its election results. Biden had beat Trump by more than 10,000 votes there.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Chairperson Ann Jacobs later in the day signed a so-called determination of the results in that state, which has 10 electoral votes.

Biden outpolled Trump by more than 20,000 votes in the Badger State.

A determination gives the losing candidate, in this case Trump, the right to appeal the results and to seek a recount. Trump has five days to do so.

Trump’s campaign already had paid $3 million for a recount of the votes in Wisconsin’s Milwaukee and Dane counties, which went heavily for the Democratic nominee Biden in the election.

On Sunday, officials said the recount found that Biden had actually gained 87 more votes in both counties.

Biden is projected to clinch 306 such votes nationwide, compared with 232 for Trump.

Biden is the first Democrat since 1996 to win Arizona’s presidential contest.

Before signing the canvass documents certifying the election, Arizona’s Secretary of State Katie Hobbs praised her state for conducting “easily the smoothest” and “most secure election in recent history” even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Despite the unprecedented challenges, Arizonans showed up for our democracy,” said Hobbs, who is a Democrat.

She also took a swipe at the flurry of claims of widespread fraud being spread by Trump and some of his surrogates.

“This election was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona’s laws and elections procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary,” Hobbs said.

Trump falsely claims that he won the election as he refuses to concede to Biden. The president has lashed out at some officials in his own party, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who have declined to take steps to block the certification of the elections in their states.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, lauded his state’s handling of the election, as well.

“The system is strong, that’s why I have bragged on it so much,” Ducey said at the signing event. “This is America, and no voter should be disenfranchised.”

“The votes have been tabulated, all 15 counties have certified their results,” he added.

The certification was conducted at the same time as members of Trump’s legal team, led by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, alleged an array of unproven conspiracies about election fraud at a hearing in Phoenix.

Jenna Ellis, the Trump campaign’s senior legal advisor, later tweeted, “The certification of Arizona’s FALSE results is unethical and knowingly participating in the corruption that has disenfranchised AZ voters.”

“BUT, this in no way impacts the state legislature’s ability to take back the proper selection of delegates,” added Ellis, who attended the hearing with Giuliani.

Trump and his legal team for weeks have tried to reverse Biden’s projected win through a series of lawsuits and recount requests in multiple states.

Those efforts have failed across the board, as the Trump campaign either lost or withdrew legal challenges to ballots, or as states that conducted recounts confirmed that Biden had defeated Trump.

On Sunday, Wisconsin said a recount of two counties, which the Trump campaign had requested, verified Biden had won the state’s popular vote. That recount cost the Trump campaign $3 million.

At the hearing, Giuliani urged Republican state legislators to defy Biden’s popular vote win and select pro-Trump electors.

“What is the right count, or how can we get as close to the right count as possible? If we can, then have the courage to select that person to get the electors, because that person won the honest vote,” Giuliani said.

“In history, I swear to God, you will be heroes,” Giuliani told the GOP officials at the hearing. “If you can’t make a determination, then don’t certify.”

Arizona certifies election win for Biden over Trump – CNBC

Election workers count ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC), in Phoenix, Arizona, November 6, 2020.

Jim Urquhart | Reuters

Arizona on Monday certified its presidential election results, delivering another win for President-elect Joe Biden in spite of efforts by allies of President Donald Trump to reverse the outcome of the race.

The Grand Canyon State’s certification will hand 11 Electoral College votes to Biden, who is projected to clinch 306 such votes nationwide, compared with 232 for Trump.

Biden is the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Arizona since 1996.

Before signing the canvas documents certifying the election, Arizona’s Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, praised her state for conducting “easily the smoothest” and “most secure election in recent history” even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Despite the unprecedented challenges, Arizonans showed up for our democracy,” Hobbs said.

She also took a swipe at the flurry of claims of widespread fraud being spread by Trump and some of his surrogates.

“This election was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona’s laws and elections procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary,” Hobbs said.

Trump falsely claims that he won the election as he refuses to concede to Biden. The president has lashed out at some officials in his own party, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who have declined to take steps to block the certification of the elections in their states.

Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, lauded his state’s handling of the election, as well.

“The system is strong, that’s why I have bragged on it so much,” Ducey said at the signing event. “This is America, and no voter should be disenfranchised.”

“The votes have been tabulated, all 15 counties have certified their results,” he added.

The certification was conducted at the same time as members of Trump’s legal team, led by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, alleged an array of unproven conspiracies about election fraud at a hearing in Phoenix.

Trump and his legal team for weeks have tried to reverse Biden’s projected win through a series of lawsuits and recount requests in multiple states.

Those efforts have failed across the board, as the Trump campaign either lost or withdrew legal challenges to ballots, or as states that conducted recounts confirmed that Biden had defeated Trump.

On Sunday, Wisconsin said a recount of two counties, which the Trump campaign had requested, verified Biden had won the state’s popular vote. That recount cost the Trump campaign $3 million.

At the hearing, Giuliani urged Republican state legislators at the hearing to defy Biden’s popular vote win and select pro-Trump electors.

“What is the right count, or how can we get as close to the right count as possible? If we can, then have the courage to select that person to get the electors, because that person won the honest vote,” Giuliani said.

“In history, I swear to God, you will be heroes,” Giuliani told the GOP officials at the hearing. “If you can’t make a determination, then don’t certify.”

This is developing news. Please check back for updates.

How to make healthy food choices

We’ve all been told from a young age to eat well. But it’s easy to forget why – and how – we should maintain a balanced diet. Learn the benefits of eating well and get a step-by-step guide to making healthy food choices.

Why eat well?

We’ve all heard it before, but it’s true: eating well is really good for you. When you eat a well-balanced diet:

  • your energy levels will be optimised
  • you’ll feel healthier and stronger
  • your immune system will be tougher
  • you’ll think more clearly and handle stress better
  • your chances of developing diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease will decrease.

It’s all about balance

A balanced diet is one where you eat a wide variety of mostly healthy foods in moderation. There’s a big difference between eating well and becoming obsessive about calories, portion size and ‘clean eating’. Being healthy isn’t just about the way you look or how much you weigh.

No food is off-limits when you maintain a healthy diet – it’s just a question of how often you eat it and how much of it you eat. So, don’t overthink it, and definitely don’t feel guilty if you eat a piece of cake or a cookie occasionally.

Your healthy choices cheat sheet

Basically, it goes like this: The foods in the circle are your ‘everyday’ foods. The foods on the bottom right of the chart are your ‘sometimes’ foods. It doesn’t mean you can’t eat them, just that you shouldn’t eat them regularly.

Three (important) foodie facts

1. Drink water. Water constitutes up to 60% of the human body, so when you feel thirsty, your hands-down best choice is water. Treat soft drinks, energy drinks and even juices as an occasional treat.

2. Don’t fear fats. Fats are part of a healthy diet. But not all fats are the same. Unsaturated fats, like those found in avocados, nuts and olive oil, should play an important part in your diet. Avoid saturated and trans-fats – found in butter, fried food, pastries and cakes – as much as possible.

3. Cut down on sugar. In 2015, the World Health Organization made a strong recommendation that adults reduce their sugar intake to less than 10% of their total daily calories. As a rough guide, this means fewer than ten teaspoons of sugar per day. Just one can of soft drink contains this amount of sugar, so you can see that you’ve got to keep a close eye on the sweet stuff.

How to change your eating habits

If you want to change your eating habits, you’ll need to have the right attitude. Here are a few tips on how to approach eating well:

  • Don’t try to change your eating habits completely right away. Make it a gradual process.
  • Start with achievable goals, like having one piece of fruit every day, or adding salad or veggies to a meal.
  • Experiment with various healthy foods and see which ones you like. The world’s greatest chefs know that ‘healthy’ food doesn’t mean ‘flavourless’ food.
  • Allow yourself occasional treats. You’re more likely to stick with eating well if you don’t feel deprived.

Source

Fruits and vegetables that last the longest

Whether you’re using it to make celery juice or you’re adding it to broths, soups, stews, or casseroles, celery is a staple cooking ingredient. While you might not enjoy celery’s bland, watery flavor and crisp texture on its own, it’s an essential component of mirepoix, the flavor base for most French recipes. Combined with onions and carrots, celery can add a ton of flavor and depth to your cooking.

So how do you keep it from getting sad and limp in the refrigerator? Wrap it in aluminum foil! It might sound like an odd way to store a vegetable, but celery produces ethylene gas, which speeds up ripening. When that gas is trapped inside a plastic bag with celery, it speeds up spoilage. Wrap it in foil, though, and you’ll keep the moisture inside while letting the gas out. You can reuse the foil several times if you’re worried about creating waste.

Source

Bill Kristol mocked for suggesting ‘serious conservatives’ should support Biden Cabinet pick Neera Tanden – Fox News

Never Trumper Bill Kristol was mocked on Monday for claiming that “serious conservatives” should support far-left Neera Tanden landing a Cabinet-level position in the Biden administration.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to name Tanden, the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, as director of the Office of Management and Budget, according to a person familiar with the transition process granted anonymity to speak freely about internal deliberations. Kristol, who has gone from prominent conservative to anti-Trump pundit, took to Twitter to endorse the selection.

“Serious conservatives, responsible moderates, and hard-headed liberals should want a tough-minded OMB head. OMB is where Cabinet secretaries’ ill-considered projects go to die, where programs are evaluated, where trade-offs are made. Neera Tanden is the right person for the job,” Kristol tweeted.

BIDEN CHOOSES AN ALL-FEMALE SENIOR WHITE HOUSE PRESS TEAM

Kristol was once a highly influential conservative but he has drifted to the left in recent years and is an outspoken critic of President Trump.  

“The View” co-host Meghan McCain, who serves as the show’s token conservative, blasted Kristol for the suggestion.

“Please don’t insult me and say as a serious conservative I should be supporting the head of the hard-left advocacy group Center for American Progress. Intellectually dishonest and craven on your part Bill,” McCain responded.

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman wrote, “If someone in 2014 told you this tweet would exist six years later, try to process your reaction.”

MCENANY DISMISSES REPORTERS SHOUTING QUESTIONS DURING BRIEFING: ‘I DON’T CALL ON ACTIVISTS’

Journalist Glenn Greenwald responded, “Put this tweet up in the American History Museum under the title ‘Democrats in the Trump Era’ and you’ll be all done with that part of history.”

Many others blasted Kristol’s tweet, too:

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

No, Georgia’s governor cannot ‘overrule’ its secretary of state on voting. – The New York Times

President Trump on Monday morning inaccurately described Georgia’s vote counting process and implausibly urged the state’s Republican governor to “overrule” its Republican secretary of state.

The tweet was the latest of Mr. Trump’s continuing assault on election results in Georgia and its top Republican officials, which has ignited an intraparty feud in the state.

Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia does not have the authority to do what Mr. Trump is suggesting. Moreover, signature verification is already part of the vote counting process.

When absentee ballots are received, Georgia’s election officials verify the signature on the envelopes. The ballots and envelopes are then separated to protect privacy, so rechecking the envelopes during a recount would be meaningless.

“Georgia law prohibits the governor from interfering in elections. The secretary of state, who is an elected constitutional officer, has oversight over elections that cannot be overridden by executive order,” a spokesman for Mr. Kemp told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The notion that “the governor has inherent executive authority to suspend or investigate or somehow interfere with this process — that’s just not true,” said Anthony Michael Kreis, a constitutional law professor at Georgia State University. “There is no plausible case here whatsoever.”

Unlike the federal government, Georgia does not have a unitary executive and its governor and secretary of state have separate duties. Even the governor’s emergency powers are limited.

Mr. Kreis said that Georgia’s code was “very clear” on the kinds of things a governor can do in a state of emergency. Mr. Kemp can move resources and funds and enact temporary measures, Mr. Kreis said, but “he does not have the authority to expressly interfere with elections.”

Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, continued to push back on Mr. Trump’s and his allies’ baseless claims of mass voter fraud in a news conference on Monday.

“The truth matters, especially around election administration,” Mr. Raffensperger said. “There are those who exploit the emotions of many Trump supporters with fantastic claims, half-truths, misinformation and frankly, they’re misleading the president as well, apparently.”

Coronavirus latest: UK targets asymptomatic Covid cases with plans to expand testing

Peter Wells in New York

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out his “winter plan” for dealing with coronavirus over the coming months including setting out conditions that could potentially result in a repeat of a “pause” on economic activity the state undertook earlier this year.

Mr Cuomo said New York, and the US more broadly, entered a different and “new phase” of coronavirus spread, including the onset of colder weather, government policies and a change in new behaviour. Nearly every state in the country has experienced an increase in coronavirus cases, hospitalisations and deaths this month.

The governor revealed five main factors that would guide activities and crisis responses in New York state through the holiday season and winter months, with a particular focus on hospitals and an acknowledgement that many new Covid-19 cases have stemmed from small gatherings of people, rather than bars or large events.

Data including coronavirus hospitalisation rates, death rates and hospital bed and staff capacity will now be added to the list of metrics governing the state’s colour-coded system for dealing with Covid-19 micro-clusters.

Mr Cuomo said he was “worried” about overwhelming the hospital system and said hospitals would have to enact plans to identify staff shortages, balance patients across their networks and prepare to build field hospitals or add bed capacity.

“We will have a limited ability to bring resources from upstate to downstate like in the spring, or from downstate to upstate because literally every region is dealing with an increase now,” he warned.

“We’re going to add, on top of yellow, orange, red [zones], an emergency stop provision where, if we hit a real hospitalisation crisis, we could potentially do a New York pause,” Mr Cuomo said, referring to his executive order last spring that banned many non-essential businesses. He added that California has also introduced an emergency pause in recent weeks.

He added that scope exists to have additional restrictions in orange- and red-zones before “hitting the pause button”. Officials were waiting for data following the Thanksgiving holiday to determine relevant thresholds for hospitals.

The other elements of the governor’s winter plan included: testing, keeping schools open, the role of small-gathering spread and vaccination.

Mr Cuomo said about 65 per cent of new Covid-19 cases were a result of small gatherings of people, unlike the spring and summer months when bars, restaurants and large events were responsible for the spread of the virus.

Coronavirus latest: Cuomo puts hospitals at core of New York’s ‘winter plan’ for Covid

Peter Wells in New York

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out his “winter plan” for dealing with coronavirus over coming months including setting out conditions that could potentially result in a repeat of a “pause” on economic activity the state undertook earlier this year.

Mr Cuomo said New York, and the US more broadly, entered a different and “new phase” of coronavirus spread, including the onset of colder weather, government policies and a change in new behaviour. Nearly every state in the country has experienced an increase in coronavirus cases, hospitalisations and deaths so far this month.

The governor revealed five main factors that would guide activities and crisis responses in New York state through the holiday season and winter months, with a particular focus on hospitals and an acknowledgement that many new Covid-19 cases have stemmed from small gatherings of people, rather than bars or large events.

Data including coronavirus hospitalisation rates, death rates and hospital bed and staff capacity will now be added to the list of metrics governing the state’s colour-coded system for dealing with Covid-19 micro-clusters.

Mr Cuomo said he was “worried” about overwhelming the hospital system and said hospitals would have to enact plans to identify staff shortages, balance patients across their networks and prepare to build field hospitals or add bed capacity.

“We will have a limited ability to bring resources from upstate to downstate like in the spring, or from downstate to upstate because literally every region is dealing with an increase now,” he warned.

“We’re going to add, on top of yellow, orange, red [zones], an emergency stop provision where, if we hit a real hospitalisation crisis, we could potentially do a New York PAUSE,” Mr Cuomo said, referring to his executive order in spring that banned many non-essential businesses. He added that California has also introduced an emergency pause in recent weeks.

He said, though, that there was scope to have additional restrictions in orange- and red-zones “before you get to hitting the pause button.” Officials were waiting for data following the Thanksgiving holiday to determine relevant thresholds for hospitals.

The other elements of the governor’s winter plan included: testing, keeping schools open, the role of small-gathering spread and vaccination.

Mr Cuomo said about 65 per cent of new Covid-19 cases were a result of small gatherings of people, unlike the spring and summer months when bars, restaurants and large events were responsible for the spread of the virus.

Georgia investigates voter registration groups – Atlanta Journal Constitution

*The group America Votes, which allegedly sent absentee ballot applications to people at addresses where they have not lived since 1994.

In a statement provided to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the group said it has mailed applications to the list of voters maintained by the Secretary of State’s Office.

“We’re pleased that so many Georgians have already applied to vote by mail this election and will continue our work to make sure every voice is heard in January,” the group said.

*The group Vote Forward, which allegedly attempted to register a dead Alabama woman to vote in Georgia.

*The New Georgia Project – founded by former Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams – allegedly sent voter registration applications to people in New York City.

*The group Operation New Voter Registration Georgia allegedly told college students in Georgia they could change their residency to here, then change it back to their home state after the election.

“Let me be very clear again: Voting in Georgia when you are not a resident of Georgia is a felony, and encouraging college kids to commit felonies with no regard for what it might mean for them is despicable,” Raffensperger said.

The secretary did not provide additional details of the allegations. Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system manager, said he assumes the groups will say the incidents were legitimate or accidental.

“But that’s why you investigate,” he said.

Sterling said Georgia voters have already requested 940,000 absentee ballots for the Jan. 5 election – a total sure to rise. By comparison, some 1.3 million people cast absentee ballots in the November general election.

Some 1,040 ballots have already been returned and accepted, he said.

Supreme Court census case: Justices skeptical of Trump’s move to exclude undocumented immigrants – Vox.com

If the Supreme Court decides to actually decide Trump v. New York, a case asking if President Trump can exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 census count, Trump is very likely to lose.

Both Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett appeared very skeptical of acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall’s attempt to defend Trump’s policy, which is unambiguously unconstitutional, during Monday’s oral arguments. Add in the three liberal justices, and that’s a majority of the Court that may be opposed to Trump’s policy. Only Justice Samuel Alito offered much of a defense of it, so it’s possible a ruling will be more lopsided than a 5-4 ruling.

But the case is procedurally very messy. Several justices expressed doubts that the Court has jurisdiction to hear it now, though they could potentially take it up again after the census is finalized.

It’s also unclear whether the Court should rule on this case on the expedited schedule originally proposed by Trump’s Justice Department. The Justice Department had asked for the case to be decided before a December 31 statutory deadline to transmit the results of the 2020 census to Trump. But Wall seemed to concede early in Monday’s arguments that the Commerce Department is “not currently on pace” for that milestone, so Trump may not be able to meet a January 10 deadline to inform Congress of the new census’s impact on representation in the US House of Representatives.

President-elect Joe Biden, meanwhile, becomes president at noon on January 20. And once he becomes president, he can render this case moot by rescinding Trump’s policy excluding undocumented immigrants from the census, assuming that the census has not been finalized by that point.

The Trump administration, in other words, appears to be engaged in a disorganized race against the clock to implement an unconstitutional policy before Trump’s term expires. And the justices appear uncertain about whether to end it now, or whether to let it play out and potentially invalidate Trump’s policy later.

Trump’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census is unconstitutional

The New York case turns on a memorandum Trump issued in July, which provides that “for the purpose of the reapportionment of Representatives following the 2020 census, it is the policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status.” Thus, if Trump gets his way, undocumented immigrants will not be counted when House representation is doled out to each of the 50 states following the census.

About 10.6 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States, and nearly 20 percent live in California. So the nation’s largest blue state could lose as many as three House seats if Trump succeeds in his plans to cut these immigrants out of the apportionment count. (The Republican-leaning state of Texas could also be hit hard, but Texas’s Republican legislature is likely to draw gerrymandered maps that would impose the cost of any lost House seats on Democrats. California, by contrast, uses a bipartisan redistricting commission to draw legislative lines.)

Trump’s memo violates the unambiguous text of the Constitution. Under the 14th Amendment, “representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed.” Undocumented immigrants are “persons.”

To get around this constitutional requirement, Trump claims that the 14th Amendment should not be read literally. “Although the Constitution requires the ‘persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed,’ to be enumerated in the census,” Trump says in his memo, “that requirement has never been understood to include in the apportionment base every individual physically present within a State’s boundaries at the time of the census.”

On this narrow point, Trump is correct. There are some foreign nationals, such as tourists and foreign diplomats, who generally are not counted by the census, even if they are physically present when the census is being taken. “The term ‘persons in each State,’” Trump’s memo notes, “has been interpreted to mean that only the ‘inhabitants’ of each State should be included.”

Yet, while Trump is largely correct that only “inhabitants” of a state are counted for purposes of the census, Trump then claims a broad power to determine who counts as an inhabitant and who does not — and then he wields this assumed power to insist that undocumented immigrants are not inhabitants of the state where they reside.

But this claim cannot be squared with the meaning of the word “inhabitant.” As the lower court that ruled against Trump in New York held, “it does not follow that illegal aliens — a category defined by legal status, not residence — can be excluded” from the census by claiming that they are not “inhabitants” of a state. “To the contrary,” the court explained, while quoting from Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, “the ordinary definition of the term ‘inhabitant’ is ‘one that occupies a particular place regularly, routinely, or for a period of time.’”

Many undocumented immigrants reside in a state for “many years or even decades,” the court continued. Such individuals are clearly “inhabitants” of the state where they live, even if they are not lawfully present.

Trump’s newest appointee to the Court, Barrett, offered a forceful rebuttal to the attempt to defend Trump’s policy. “A lot of the historical evidence and longstanding practice really cuts against your position,” Barrett told Wall. She added that there is evidence that “in the founding era, an ‘inhabitant’ was a dweller, who lives and resides in a place.”

Thus, an immigrant who has resided in a state for many months or years — or even one who has only lived there briefly — would count as an “inhabitant.”

Kavanaugh, another Trump appointee, also said that he believes there are “forceful constitutional and statutory arguments” against Trump’s position. So it is very likely that a majority of the Court will vote to reject Trump’s policy — if, that is, the Court decides this case at all.

Trump’s lawyers defended a very different policy than the one laid out in Trump’s memo

The policy laid out in Trump’s July memo is categorical. The memo states that “it is the policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status.” So, the memo suggests that any undocumented immigrant should be excluded from the census for apportionment purposes.

But acting Solicitor General Wall spent time in oral arguments claiming that the administration isn’t sure how many undocumented immigrants it will be able to identify, or whether Trump will try to exclude more than a “subset” of the estimated 10-11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. This subset, which might only include immigrants who are currently being detained with an eye towards removal, could be much smaller than the total number of undocumented immigrants in the country.

The reason why the question of how many immigrants will be excluded matters is because of a doctrine known as “standing.” Broadly speaking, a plaintiff may not challenge a federal policy unless they can show that there is a “substantial risk” that they will be injured by that policy.

As a general rule, a state has standing to challenge a census-related policy if they are likely to lose House seats under that policy. But it is far more likely that one of the plaintiff states will lose representation if millions of undocumented immigrants are excluded from the census than if only maybe tens of thousands of immigrants are excluded.

For this reason, several justices suggested that maybe the Court should wait to decide this case until after we know how many immigrants Trump will exclude.

If the Court goes down that path, it’s unclear what happens next. As noted above, Trump might not manage to send the final House appointment results to Congress before he leaves office. So the justices could be able to sit on this case until January 20, let President Biden rescind Trump’s memo, and then declare the case moot.

Alternatively, the Court could dismiss the case, let Trump do whatever he is going to do, and then the plaintiff states could file a new lawsuit as soon as Trump sends his apportionment results to Congress. Under this alternative outcome, Trump would win a temporary victory, but Trump’s policy would still most likely fall victim to future litigation.

Kavanaugh and Barrett also appeared to entertain a third possibility. The Court could strike down the categorical exclusion of undocumented immigrants laid out in Trump’s July memorandum, but they could also permit Trump to issue a new memorandum that might exclude certain subcategories of undocumented immigrants (such as people currently in immigration detention). The plaintiff states could then file a new lawsuit challenging the legality of that new memorandum.

In any event, it appears unlikely that Trump’s original policy will stand. There appear to be at least five Supreme Court members — and potentially more than five — who think that Trump does not have the power to categorically exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment count.

The open question is whether the Court will decide this case quickly, or whether they will string this case out, potentially raising a cloud of uncertainty over the apportionment process for months or more.

Such a cloud could have significant costs, as it will cut into the time that states need to use to draw new congressional maps using the new census data. But, at the very least, Trump’s unconstitutional policy looks likely to fall — eventually.

New York implements emergency hospital measures as Covid cases surge, Gov. Cuomo says – CNBC

The New York State Department of Health is implementing emergency measures to help hospitals cope with the surge in Covid cases and hospitalizations as the outbreak grows more severe across the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

Cuomo said if some parts of the state hit a “real hospitalization crisis,” the state could implement a regional New York Pause, which “is basically a stop.” He added that the No. 1 priority is ensuring the state has enough hospital capacity to treat all patients.

“We are now worried about overwhelming the hospital system,” Cuomo said at a news briefing. “If those numbers continue to increase, which we expect they will, you will see serious stress on the hospital system.”

Implementing emergency measures means a few things. First, hospitals need to identify retired nurses and doctors, Cuomo said, adding that “we’re already experiencing staff shortages.”

The state is also forgoing elective surgeries in Erie County, which Cuomo said has been hit particularly hard. He added, however, that elective procedures could be halted in other parts of the state, too, if hospitals begin to become overwhelmed.

“It’s a new phase in the war against Covid,” Cuomo said. “It’s a war in terms of preparation and mobilization.”

Cuomo also said the state is mandating “load balancing” of patients within hospital systems so that one hospital in a certain area doesn’t become overwhelmed while others have more capacity. Cuomo said failing to do so will be considered malpractice by the hospital systems.

Cuomo said the failure to implement load balancing in the spring is what caused Elmhurst hospital to become overwhelmed early in the pandemic. The conditions at the Queens hospital, where 13 Covid-19 patients died in a single day, were equated to a war movie. He added that the state is preparing to implement “statewide surge and flex” in which hospital systems must coordinate with one another to balance the load if need be.

“It’s in the patient’s best interest to distribute the patient load over the system. We’re not going to live through the nightmare of overwhelmed hospitals again,” Cuomo said. “If a hospital gets overwhelmed, there will be a state investigation.”

The state is also preparing plans for emergency field hospitals, which will add 50% bed capacity to hospitals, he said. Cuomo also urged hospitals to prepare to staff those field hospitals and confirm their stockpiles of personal protective equipment such as masks and gowns that keep health workers from getting infected. Cuomo said hospitals are supposed to have a “90-day stockpile of PPE.”

Cuomo said the state will launch a dashboard that tracks these emergency hospital metrics.

Ken Raske, president of Greater New York Hospital Association, which represents more than 250 hospitals, said that hospitals’ abilities to respond to the current outbreak will be “a total team effort.”

“The spring was brutal,” he said at the news briefing. “We were all worried about replicating the situation we saw so vividly in Italy with people lined up in the hallways. That never came to pass, thank God. We learned a lot.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio noted at the briefing that the number of daily new deaths in the city is far lower than it was in the spring, when hundreds died every day for weeks. He added that the city’s intensive care units are not as stressed as they were in the spring, either.

Cuomo and the other officials at the briefing said they were concerned about the rising cases, hospitalizations and deaths, especially because the effect of Thanksgiving travel and gatherings is yet to be seen. But Cuomo said the state can avoid another crisis.

“We know what we’re dealing with this time in a way we did not know in the spring,” he said. “Everything is a potential crisis, unless it’s managed properly. I think we’re going to be fine here on all of it, but we have our work cut out for us.”

Global response is needed to prevent a debt crisis in Africa

The writer is president of South Africa and chair of the African Union

The G20 summit ended last weekend with a call for “immediate and vigorous measures” to address the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Among these is a looming sovereign debt crisis, particularly in Africa. Urgent and collective action is needed there to stave off that crisis and to maintain the invaluable social gains that the continent has made.

In the early 2000s, multilateral debt relief provided a much needed reprieve for heavily indebted, poor countries around the world. Many African nations took the opportunity. Their economies grew and their development indicators improved. Nevertheless, some countries’ debt became unsustainable as ultra-low interest rates allowed them to increase borrowing.

Indeed, based on the latest IMF and World Bank analysis, six sub-Saharan African countries are now in debt distress, while 11 are at high risk of distress. Before the pandemic, sub-Saharan Africa’s debt load was forecast at 56.4 per cent of gross domestic product for this year; the current projection is for 65.6 per cent. To stop this rising level of debt turning into a crisis, several steps need to be taken now.

The first has partly been made through the G20 debt service suspension initiative. This has benefited 46 countries, and deferred $5.7bn of debt payments. It has also recently been extended by six months until the end of June 2021, and may be extended further to the end of 2021. Africa accounts for 38 of the 73 eligible countries.

Unfortunately, there are several obstacles to the region taking full advantage of the initiative. There remains a risk that major credit rating agencies will put countries on negative credit review if they seek relief from private creditors under the scheme. This possibility has deterred some countries from requesting debt service suspension from private creditors — even though that would support economic recovery and future creditworthiness.

Furthermore, the lack of participation by the private sector and multilateral development banks have constrained the initiative, currently limited to official government-to-government loans. Private and multilateral creditors account for about $18bn and $7bn, respectively, of the $49bn of payments due from eligible countries from May to the end of the year.

The second step is an allocation of the IMF’s special drawing rights. This is a low-cost way of adding to countries’ international reserves, allowing them to reduce their reliance on more expensive domestic or external debt. However, neither this proposal nor an alternative solution — the reallocation of existing SDRs to countries that need them most — have received the necessary support.

The third step is a sovereign debt restructuring framework. The G20’s new common framework is a move in the right direction in that it seeks to facilitate orderly treatment for DSSI-eligible countries via broad creditor participation. But its success will depend on whether there is appropriate burden sharing by private lenders. Currently, the DSSI lays the burden of repayment on official bilateral creditors.

Lastly, countries need continued technical assistance to improve debt transparency and their debt management offices.

Implementing these steps would give substance to the sentiments recently expressed by the G20. The pandemic “marks a defining moment in our history,” it declared. “Building on the benefits of our interconnectedness, we will address the vulnerabilities revealed by this crisis, take the necessary steps to recover stronger, and work to ensure that future generations are safer.”

For three decades, Africa has worked strenuously towards a more sustainable future. The world cannot allow short-term debt dynamics to derail its march towards a green, digitally enabled and globally connected future.

Daily briefing: ‘Sistine Chapel of the ancients’ discovered in Colombia


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Tens of thousands of ice-age paintings stretch across nearly 13 kilometres of remote cliffs. Plus, DeepMind makes a protein-folding breakthrough and a top Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated.

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A protein’s function is determined by its 3D shape.Credit: DeepMind

An artificial-intelligence (AI) network developed by Google offshoot DeepMind has made enormous progress in solving one of biology’s grandest challenges — determining a protein’s 3D shape from its amino-acid sequence. The breakthrough is likely to transform biology, say scientists, and should aid in drug design. AlphaFold came out on top, by far, in a biennial protein-structure prediction challenge called CASP, short for Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction. AlphaFold’s predictions are comparable in quality to structures determined experimentally by X-ray crystallography or cryo-electron microscopy. “This will change medicine. It will change research. It will change bioengineering. It will change everything,” says evolutionary biologist Andrei Lupas..

Nature | 8 min read

Iran’s most senior nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was killed on Friday in an attack on a highway outside Tehran. The physicist was head of the ministry of defence’s research and innovation organization and is alleged to have led a covert Iranian nuclear-weapons programme. The murder could complicate efforts to revive the 2015 deal between Iran and six global powers that limited its nuclear capabilities in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions on the country.

BBC | 6 min read

Archaeologists have documented tens of thousands of ice-age paintings that stretch across nearly 13 kilometres of cliff face in Colombia. They depict patterns, figures, handprints and animals, including now-extinct species such as mastodons, palaeolamas, giant sloths and ice-age horses. The discovery was made last year but is only now being revealed to coincide with the release of a television documentary that includes the art. The paintings are in the Serranía de la Lindosa, near the Chiribiquete national park, another site that is rich with prehistoric art.

The Guardian | 6 min read

Read more: FARC and the forest: Peace is destroying Colombia’s jungle — and opening it to science (Nature | 6 min read, from 2018)

Palaeoanthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi compares her hand with a handprint created around 12,000 years ago at Cerro Azul in the Guaviare department of Colombia, near the newly discovered site.Marie-Claire Thomas/Wild Blue Media

Features & opinion

“The elegance and creativity of Ashkin’s ideas were extraordinary,” writes former US secretary of energy Steven Chu of his former colleague, physicist Arthur Ashkin, who has died aged 98. “He remained indefatigably enthusiastic about science, working in his home basement into his nineties.” Arthur Ashkin won the 2018 Nobel Prize for his development of ‘optical tweezers’, beams of laser light that can grab and control microscopic objects such as atoms and viruses. Ashkin described how Chu was discouraged from working with him by their Bell Labs bosses, and shared his ‘eureka’ moments in a 2011 interview in Nature Photonics.

Nature | 5 min read

In trying to be rigorous, scientists frequently pack presentations with content from journal articles. The usual result is a confused audience, befuddled by rapid-fire speaking, too much data and too many opaque slides, argues David Rubenson, director of the scientific-communications firm No Bad Slides. Instead, he recommends pinpointing the goals of your talk first and then tailoring the level of detail to the ‘least expert’ person in your audience.

Nature | 5 min read

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How COVID vaccines are being divvied up around the world


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Canada leads the pack in terms of doses secured per capita.

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An injection syringe of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, used for a trial in a hospital in Ankara, Turkey.Credit: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Vaccine developers who have already reported promising phase III trial results against COVID-19 estimate that, between them, they can make sufficient doses for more than one-third of the world’s population by the end of 2021. But many people in low-income countries might have to wait until 2023 or 2024 for vaccination, according to estimates from the Duke Global Health Innovation Center in Durham, North Carolina.

Manufacturers have scaled back their short-term production estimates over time, says Rasmus Bech Hansen, chief executive of Airfinity, a life-sciences market analytics firm in London. But the makers of the three vaccines that seem closest to widespread distribution — AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna — estimate a total production capacity of 5.3 billion doses for 2021, which could cover between 2.6 billion and 3.1 billion people, depending on whether AstraZeneca’s vaccine is administered in two doses or one and a half (see ‘Vaccine pre-orders’). And a vaccine created at the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow could cover another 500 million people per year outside Russia from 2021, says the Moscow-based Russia Direct Investment Fund, which is supporting its development. (It hasn’t disclosed capacity within Russia.)

Source: data from Airfinity, up to 19 November / Nature tabulations.

Most of this capacity is already spoken for. The 27 member states of the European Union together with five other rich countries have pre-ordered about half of it (including options, written into their contracts, to order extra doses, and negotiations that have been disclosed but not yet finalized). These countries account for only around 13% of the global population.

If six other leading vaccine candidates are included, the total number of doses for which disclosed deals are in place rises to 7.4 billion, with expansion options or ongoing negotiations accounting for another 2.9 billion doses, according to Airfinity’s calculations. When these other vaccines are included, the total number of doses secured by the same five countries and the EU remains at around half of the total, because those wealthy enough to place bets on a number of candidates bought up broad portfolios of products early in the pandemic.

Counting up all vaccine deals per capita, Canada leads the pack, with nearly nine doses per person (see ‘Best and worst supplied’). “Canada has done exactly what we would expect a high-income country to do, and they’ve done the right thing by their country,” says Andrea Taylor at Duke.

But this also means that doses won’t be distributed equitably. “Now that we are seeing really good results, everyone is feeling more optimistic. They are starting to make deals,” says Taylor. “But it’s quite a scary picture at the minute, because so many countries are missing.”

Source: data from Airfinity, up to 19 November

Local manufacturing deals are also likely to determine where the first shipments of vaccines go, says Bech Hansen. India, for example, has secured more than 2 billion doses of vaccine, in part by leveraging access to the manufacturing capabilities of the Serum Institute of India in Pune, the world’s largest vaccine maker.

This leaves dwindling short-term supplies for low- and middle-income countries. Most of these countries seem to be relying on contributions from COVAX, a joint fund for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines led by Gavi, a funder of vaccines for low-income countries based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Health Organization, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) in Oslo. It has secured an estimated 700 million vaccine doses so far and wants to provide 2 billion by the end of 2021, with the aim of providing coverage to at least 20% of the population of participating countries. More than 189 countries have signed up to COVAX, including wealthy economies that have joined to subsidize vaccine access.

Ultimately, countries with excess doses might donate these to COVAX. That’s not how the fund was intended to work, says Taylor; it doesn’t help with equitable distribution because high-income countries are likely to ensure their own vaccine needs are met before they pass on excess doses. “But I think that’s how things are going to play out,” she says.

The prices of the vaccines also vary, and differ from deal to deal. AstraZeneca, based in Cambridge, UK, has said it will provide its vaccine at around US$3–4 per dose, which is between five and ten times cheaper than the estimated prices of other leading candidates, such as those made by New York City-based Pfizer and Moderna in Cambridge, Massachusetts. AstraZeneca has pledged to provide the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis for the “duration of the pandemic”, and in perpetuity to low- and middle-income countries. Other firms have not made these commitments.

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Congress returns facing government shutdown deadline, calls for stimulus amid coronavirus surge – CNBC

The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2020.

Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Congress comes back to Washington this week with two thorny issues to resolve before the end of the year.

Lawmakers need to pass a spending bill by Dec. 11 to prevent a government shutdown. Meanwhile, they will have to decide whether to approve another coronavirus relief bill as rampant infections stress hospitals and trip up the U.S. economic recovery.

The challenges will test a divided Capitol’s capacity to govern after months of gridlock fueled in part by a contentious 2020 election. Congress’ ability to pass legislation this month will shape the federal government and private sector’s power to reduce the damage caused by the pandemic in the coming months.

The GOP-controlled Senate will convene on Monday afternoon following its Thanksgiving break. The Democratic-held House will meet Wednesday.

Appropriators have reached agreement on an overall $1.4 trillion price tag for a spending bill, according to NBC News. They still need to decide where all of the money will go.

Both Republican and Democratic leaders want to approve legislation to keep the government running through the end of the fiscal year, September 2021. Failure to reach a deal in time could mean passing a short-term bill with spending set at current levels.

Meanwhile, Congress will have to decide whether and how to address overlapping health and economic crises worsened by a recent wave of Covid-19 infections across the country. Twenty-one states recorded records for coronavirus hospitalizations Sunday, and more state and local officials have tightened restrictions to slow the spread.

An expansion of unemployment benefits, moratorium on federal student loan payments and some protections from eviction will expire at the end of the year. Millions of Americans are already struggling to cover costs.

Republicans and Democrats have disagreed for months on the steps Congress needs to take to address the virus and the economic damage it has caused. Democratic congressional leaders and President-elect Joe Biden have pushed for Congress to approve a bill that costs at least $2.2 trillion this year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he wants to send more aid in the coming weeks — but aims to include about $500 billion in new spending.

The sides have not held formal talks on a stimulus package since the 2020 election on Nov. 3. Despite a lack of progress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly said she thinks Congress can craft a relief bill that can pass both chambers.

“I’m optimistic that we will have bipartisanship to put something together to go forward because I do believe that many of our colleagues understand what’s happening in their districts and want to make a difference,” she told reporters on Nov. 20 before the Thanksgiving break.

Also that day, McConnell called for lawmakers to pass “urgent and targeted measures” such as a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses and funding for vaccine distribution.

While some members of McConnell’s caucus have resisted spending any more money on relief efforts, others have pushed for aid during the virus surge. Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who returned to Washington this week after a positive Covid-19 test and quarantine period, called on his colleagues Monday to “pass long overdue relief legislation.”

House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus in October. Among other measures, it would have reinstated the $600 per week federal unemployment insurance that expired earlier this year, sent a second $1,200 direct payment to most Americans, set up a second round of PPP loans and authorized more than $400 billion in state and local government aid.

A $500 billion Senate GOP bill that Democrats blocked in October included a $300 per week enhanced jobless benefit, more PPP funding and liability protections for businesses. It would not have allocated money for stimulus checks or state and municipal aid.

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Supreme Court Weighs Trump Plan To Exclude Undocumented Immigrants In Census Case – NPR

The Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case involving the Trump administration’s desire to exclude undocumented immigrants from a key census count. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption

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Andrew Harnik/AP

The Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case involving the Trump administration’s desire to exclude undocumented immigrants from a key census count.

Andrew Harnik/AP

At the U.S. Supreme Court Monday, skeptical justices questioned the Trump administration’s lawyer over a plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from a key census count — the first time unauthorized immigrants would not be counted for purposes of drawing new congressional districts.

While questioning Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, Justice Samuel Alito said excluding all the illegal immigrants present in the United States “seems to me a monumental task.”

“I would think you would be able to tell us whether that remains a realistic possibility at this point,” he said.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump appointee, noted that the fact that undocumented immigrants have never been excluded in the Census “really cuts against your position.”

Questioned repeatedly by justices both liberal and conservative, Wall could not say with certainty whether the Census Bureau would be able to send to the president reliable figures on even a small category of undocumented immigrants — those in ICE detention — for exclusion. With a Dec. 31 deadline looming, he said the situation is “fluid.”

That prompted most justices to look for an exit ramp that would allow a later challenge to whatever Trump decides to do.

But that too posed problems, with states waiting anxiously to start the process of drawing new congressional districts. If we wait, asked Chief Justice John Roberts, wouldn’t that be like “unscrambling the egg”?

Monday’s arguments before the Supreme Court come just days after a lower court in Washington, D.C., tossed out one of the multiple lawsuits over Trump’s memo calling for the census apportionment counts to be altered.

Three lower courts previously declared that memo to be unlawful. The three-judge panels in New York, California and Maryland unanimously found that it violates a federal law that requires the president to report to Congress each state’s number of seats in the House of Representatives based on the “whole number of persons” in each state as determined by the census.

But the panel in D.C., made up of mostly Trump-appointed judges, found that the case is not ready for a court to review. In a split decision, the court decided that it should not step in until after the president actually delivers the numbers to Congress.

That process is likely to take place after Trump’s presidency.

The Census Bureau recently concluded it cannot finish putting together the first set of census numbers by the legal reporting deadline of Dec. 31.

After finding “processing anomalies” in this year’s census results, the bureau’s career staff determined they need to run more quality checks until at least Jan. 26, almost a week after the end of Trump’s term.

That timing would mean the process for reapportioning House seats and Electoral College votes among the states takes place under the watch of President-elect Joe Biden, who has condemned Trump’s memo and said that “in America, everyone counts.”

Supreme Court skeptical of Trump’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from census – NBC News

The U.S. Supreme Court seemed wary on Monday of approving President Donald Trump’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census figures that are used to calculate each state’s representation in Congress and share of billions of dollars from a host of federal programs.

But it was unclear after 90 minutes of oral argument exactly how the court would deal with the issue given that the Census Bureau concedes it has no idea yet how many people would be excluded or when it will have the answer. The justices appeared to be reluctant to act immediately to block the plan.

“Career experts at the Census Bureau confirmed with me that they still don’t know even roughly how many illegal aliens they will be able to identify, let alone how their number and geographic concentration may affect apportionment,” said Jeffrey Wall, the acting U.S. solicitor general.

Oct. 17, 202000:25

Lawyers for the states opposing the plan and groups affected by it told the justices that it would shift money and political power away from states with large immigrant populations and would violate the Constitution and federal law.

The Constitution requires a census every 10 years, and the results determine how many members of Congress each state gets in the House of Representatives. The data is also used to calculate a local government’s share of $1.5 trillion in funds under many federal programs.

In July, Trump issued a memo that said people who are undocumented should not be included in the final count. Under his plan, the Census Bureau would report two sets of figures to the White House — one including everyone counted and another allowing him to leave out undocumented immigrants. The president could then report the smaller number to Congress for use in reapportionment.

The president’s memo said states with policies “that encourage illegal aliens to enter this country and that hobble federal efforts to enforce the immigration laws passed by the Congress should not be rewarded with greater representation in the House of Representatives.”

California, Florida, and Texas would each lose one seat in the House, and Alabama, Minnesota, and Ohio would each retain a seat they would otherwise lose due to population shift, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. Other predictions show Arizona losing a seat, too, and Montana gaining one.

The states would lose an equal number of Electoral College votes, which are based on the size of their U.S. House delegations.

“The memorandum treats counting people as a reward to be withheld from states that house undocumented immigrants, even though our laws view counting people for apportionment as fact-finding, not giving or withholding a reward,” New York’s solicitor general, Barbara Underwood, told the court.

Wall said federal law gives the president authority to direct how the census is conducted and that the term in the Constitution, which says the census must count “the whole number of persons in each state,” has been generally understood to mean usual residents.

But several members of the court, including some conservative justices, seemed to doubt the president had such a sweeping power to modify the census results.

“If an undocumented person has been in the country for, say, 20 years, even if illegally, why would such a person not have a settled residence?” asked Amy Coney Barrett, the newest justice.

The court struggled, however, with what to do. Some justice suggested waiting until the Census Bureau actually transmits the figures to the White House or until the president gives Congress the population data to be used for figuring how many seats each state gets in the House.

Wall counseled waiting. “Based on my understanding from the Census Bureau, there is a real prospect that the numbers will not affect the apportionment,” he said.

The court took the case on a fast track in order to issue a decision before the president is required to submit the census report to Congress in early January.

Biden’s Economic Team Suggests Focus on Workers and Income Equality – The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. formally announced his top economic advisers on Monday, choosing a team that is stocked with champions of organized labor and marginalized workers, signaling an early focus on efforts to speed and spread the gains of the recovery from the pandemic recession.

The selections build on a pledge Mr. Biden made to business groups two weeks ago, when he said labor unions would have “increased power” in his administration. They suggest that Mr. Biden’s team will be focused initially on increased federal spending to reduce unemployment and an expanded safety net to cushion households that have continued to suffer as the coronavirus persists and the recovery slows.

In a sign that Mr. Biden plans to focus on spreading economic wealth, his transition team put issues of equality and worker empowerment at the forefront of its news release announcing the nominees, saying they would help create “an economy that gives every single person across America a fair shot and an equal chance to get ahead.”

Mr. Biden’s picks include Janet L. Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair, as Treasury secretary; Cecilia Rouse of Princeton University, to head the White House Council of Economic Advisers; and Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress think tank, to run the Office of Management and Budget. All three have focused on efforts to increase worker earnings and reduce racial and gender discrimination in the economy.

Ms. Tanden said in February that rising income inequality was the consequence of “decades of conservative attacks on workers’ right to organize” and that labor unions “are a powerful vehicle to move workers into the middle class and keep them there.”

The two other nominees to Mr. Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey, are economists who have pushed for policies to advance workers and labor rights, and who advised Mr. Biden in his campaign as he built an agenda that featured several longstanding goals of organized labor, like raising the federal minimum wage and strengthening “Buy America” requirements in federal contracting.

Ms. Boushey has also been a vocal advocate of policies to help working families, including providing up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. In an interview last week, Ms. Boushey said such a policy was especially critical during the pandemic, “when lives are at stake.”

William E. Spriggs, the chief economist for the A.F.L.-C.I.O. labor union, hailed the selections, saying in an email on Monday that “we have not had a C.E.A. as focused on the role of fiscal policy and full employment since President Johnson.”

The team has embraced increased federal spending to help households and businesses during the pandemic, a position that was highlighted in an op-ed article that Ms. Tanden and Ms. Boushey wrote with two co-authors in March, urging policymakers to spend big even though it would require borrowing large sums of money.

“Given the magnitude of the crisis,” they wrote, “now is not the time for policymakers to worry about raising deficits and debt as they consider what steps to take.”

Mr. Biden also named Adewale Adeyemo, a senior international economic adviser in the Obama administration, as deputy Treasury secretary.

The nominees, who require Senate confirmation, will be introduced on Tuesday. Another of Mr. Biden’s picks, the former Obama adviser Brian Deese, has been tapped to lead the National Economic Council but was not included in Monday’s announcement.

Mr. Biden’s team includes several labor economists, including Ms. Yellen, who has been a longtime champion of workers and has at times suggested allowing the unemployment rate to run low for a longer period of time without worrying about inflation — an idea some economists thought imprudent but which has since become more widely accepted. While at the Fed, she balanced her preference for a strong labor market with inflation concerns and political constraints.

In the early 2000s, Ms. Yellen was instrumental in persuading the Fed’s policy-setting committee to coalesce around targeting a 2 percent inflation rate instead of the zero inflation rate that Alan Greenspan, the Fed chair at the time, originally favored. The Fed raises rates to slow the economy and offset inflationary pressures, so targeting slightly higher inflation opened the door to longer periods of cheap borrowing that can lead to stronger economic demand and lower unemployment.

Image
Credit…Lexey Swall for The New York Times

As Fed chair from 2014 to 2018, Ms. Yellen favored a patient approach to policy-setting that weighed concerns that prices might heat up as joblessness dropped against a preference for pulling more workers into the labor market.

In one wonky 2016 speech, she suggested that allowing the labor market to expand without raising interest rates might help to reverse damage by pulling people in from the sidelines and prompting others to look for better jobs. She was criticized for the remarks, and later backed away from such an approach in word if not in deed. She and her colleagues lifted interest rates to fend off inflation pressures, but did so at a very slow pace, prompting criticism. Those rate increases have since been viewed as too aggressive and faulted for prematurely snuffing out a more robust labor market expansion.

Ms. Yellen also walked a careful line when it came to issues like inequality. In one 2014 speech, she suggested that widening income and wealth inequality might be incompatible with American values — “among them the high value Americans have traditionally placed on equality of opportunity” — a remark Republicans criticized.

Much has changed since Ms. Yellen was at the Fed — in ways that could allow her to embrace some of her more labor-friendly instincts if she is confirmed to the Treasury. While the Treasury secretary’s direct economic power is somewhat limited, the position holds significant sway as a fiscal policy adviser to Congress and the president, as well as oversight of tax policy through the Internal Revenue Service.

Inflation, once seen as a real and looming threat, has been low for more than a decade. Inequality, once labeled a political and liberal issue, is increasingly recognized as a real economic constraint by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Yet some progressive groups have raised concerns that Mr. Biden’s team could pivot too quickly to try to reduce the federal budget deficit once the pandemic subsides, citing past comments by Ms. Yellen and Ms. Tanden.

Economists on the left have become increasingly comfortable with deficit spending, and Ms. Yellen has long favored government intervention as a way to get the economy going during times of trouble. But she has also said America’s debt load is unsustainable, and has generally favored taxation as an offset to increased spending.

Mr. Biden, too, has expressed support for borrowing money to aid the current recovery, but sought to offset the cost of other economic proposals — like an infrastructure bill and actions to mitigate climate change — with tax increases on high earners and corporations.

In a 2018 interview at the Charles Schwab Impact conference in Washington, Ms. Yellen said the U.S. debt path was “unsustainable” and offered a remedy: “If I had a magic wand, I would raise taxes and cut retirement spending.” Last year, she described the need to overhaul the nation’s social safety net programs as “root canal economics.”

But Ms. Yellen has made clear that she does not see deficit reduction as a priority during the current crisis and that the federal government should spend what is necessary to weather the pandemic. In July, she testified before Congress with Ben S. Bernanke, another former Fed chair, and called for substantial federal support.

“With interest rates extremely low and likely to remain so for some time, we do not believe that concerns about the deficit and debt should prevent the Congress from responding robustly to this emergency,” she said. “The top priorities at this time should be protecting our citizens from the pandemic and pursuing a stronger and equitable economic recovery.”

Credit…Eric Thayer for The New York Times

Many Republicans, however, have once again begun warning about the deficit and citing mounting debt levels as a reason to avoid another large virus spending package.

Bridging those concerns will fall to both Ms. Yellen and Ms. Tanden, whose role as the White House budget director will put her in the center of fiscal fights with Congress.

Some liberal groups have raised concerns over Ms. Tanden’s 2012 remarks to C-SPAN about potential cuts to safety-net programs as part of a long-term deal to reduce federal debt.

In that interview with the network, Ms. Tanden said that the restructuring of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid must be “on the table” in conversations about long-term deficit reduction and noted that the Center for American Progress had made such proposals.

But in 2017, as Republicans prepared to approve a $1.5 trillion tax cut, Ms. Tanden showed no desire to return to deficit reduction in a future administration. “The rule seems to be deficits only matter for Democratic presidents,” she wrote on Twitter. “And that rule needs to die now. We should not have to clean up their mess.”

Liberal senators, including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, cheered the selections of Mr. Biden’s team, including Ms. Yellen and Ms. Tanden. Mr. Brown said on Twitter that Ms. Tanden was “smart, experienced, and qualified” and demanded that Senate Republicans confirm Mr. Biden’s team.

Republicans did not unite in opposition, though when asked about Ms. Yellen, Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, criticized her as being a “good example of the corporate liberals.”

“She’s somebody who clearly has done the bidding of the big multinational corporations,” he said. “Her record on trade is astoundingly terrible.”

Liberal economists welcomed the picks. “There are reasons to be hopeful,” said Stephanie Kelton, a professor at Stony Brook University and the author of the book “The Deficit Myth,” which makes a case that budget deficits are not inherently bad.

Ms. Kelton helped with economic agenda-setting during the Biden campaign as a task force member, and said the fact that people like Mr. Bernstein and Ms. Boushey were included among the economic thinkers was a reason to hope that progressive ideals would have a voice at the table. That said, Ms. Kelton said she remained wary that there would be continued attention to deficits and deficit reduction.

Newsmax Rises On Wave Of Resentment Toward Media — Especially Fox News – NPR

Sean Spicer (left), the former White House press secretary and an on-air personality for Newsmax, listens during a March coronavirus task force briefing at the White House. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

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Evan Vucci/AP

Sean Spicer (left), the former White House press secretary and an on-air personality for Newsmax, listens during a March coronavirus task force briefing at the White House.

Evan Vucci/AP

Right now, Newsmax TV is trying to outfox Fox News.

No media outlet has done more to bolster President Trump over the past four years than Fox News. Yet the acknowledgment by Fox’s reporters, anchors and even many opinion hosts that Democratic nominee Joe Biden won the election has provided an opening for the network’s much smaller rival to peel off Trump’s fans.

“It was an organic thing across social media and elsewhere,” Newsmax founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy said in an interview. He said the message was: “Take a look at Newsmax. Their coverage is more fair.”

“More fair” meaning more willing to deny political reality.

Trump is touting Newsmax on social media. He has ladled his Twitter feed with healthy servings of resentment toward Fox News. Fox was the first network to project that Biden had won the key state of Arizona, signaling Trump would likely lose; his anger was further stoked by its recognition of Biden as the president-elect. Contrast that with Newsmax: Nearly a month after Election Day, it has not formally designated Biden as the winner of the national race despite multiple recounts and decisive outcomes in numerous courtrooms.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted that Fox News was “virtually unwatchable.” Earlier, he retweeted the Hollywood-actor-turned-conspiracy-theorist Randy Quaid reading aloud the president’s tweets claiming Fox’s daytime ratings had collapsed and blaming it for Trump’s reversal of fortunes in the 2020 elections.

There has been a lot of talk about Trump TV and whether the soon-to-be-former president might join forces with Newsmax or some combination of other far-right platforms. Ruddy says that’s unlikely, but he’s happy that the president is shining light on his upstart network.

As the campaign season crested into Election Night and the days that followed, 1 million people started to tune into Greg Kelly’s show on Newsmax each evening. That’s 10 times the audience the former Fox host drew earlier in the year, though it has declined somewhat. Other Newsmax hosts have seen similarly steep ascents. Fox News declined comment for this story. And its ratings remain far larger, still dwarfing Newsmax.

Yet Fox has been hurt by the Trump blasts and the Newsmax surge. And officials there have certainly noticed. According to CNN, Fox has told its producers to warn guests they should not appear on Newsmax if they want airtime on Fox as well.

Trump appeared Sunday morning on Maria Bartiromo’s Fox News program; she has evolved from a financial journalist to a muscular source of support and consolation for the president. Nonetheless, online he keeps promoting Newsmax and its even smaller right-wing rival OANN, the One America News Network, a home for conspiracy theorists and conspiracy theories. (OANN’s president, Charles Herring, did not respond to questions he asked NPR to pose in writing; its White House correspondent, Chanel Rion, did not reply to a request for comment.)

Newsmax is missing few opportunities to siphon alienated Trump fans away from Fox. On the air, its personalities include former Trump White House spokesman Sean Spicer, former National Rifle Association TV host Grant Stinchfield and former BuzzFeed and Independent Journal Review wunderkind, serial plagiarist and conspiracy theorist Benny Johnson, who has all but lifted his on-air persona from Fox’s Tucker Carlson, the current ratings king of cable news.

Kelly has ramped up the rhetoric in his current incarnation as a Newsmax star, bashing Biden, bolstering Trump and mocking his former employer, too.

“Fox does seem to be going through something of an identity crisis,” he told viewers recently. “They’re not very supportive of the president these days — they seem to be bending over backward to hurt him.”

And if you thought Fox gave a lot of airtime to Trump advocates making unfounded claims, at least its hosts and journalists sometimes push back. Fox News reporter Eric Shawn, who hosts on weekends, unraveled many of Trump’s claims in the Bartiromo interview a few hours after it aired Sunday. Newsmax has doubled down on conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated assertions, with appearances from the president’s repeatedly defeated attorney Rudy Giuliani, rogue Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and pro-Trump personalities Diamond and Silk. The duo are former stars of Fox Nation, Fox News’ streaming service for those who want their opinions even more purely conservative. And they have made the false and outrageous claim that COVID-19 was unleashed to hurt Trump at the polls.

“Really, it is just an audio-visual extension of Trump Twitter,” said Kurt Bardella, a former Republican congressional staffer and spokesman for Breitbart News turned anti-Trump activist. He says Newsmax believes cynicism sells.

“There’s no question that this is 100% opportunistic,” Bardella said in an interview. “I don’t believe that the majority of people who are part of Newsmax actually believe what they’re saying. They just see it as an opportunity to get an audience so that they can make more money.”

Newsmax’s Ruddy — a longtime friend of Trump’s — says he’s sympathetic to the president’s repeatedly disproved claims of widespread election fraud but doesn’t actually endorse them. Rather, he said, he wants to encourage a free flow of ideas that can’t be found elsewhere.

“I don’t want to start censoring opinions of people on Newsmax, like I wouldn’t expect NBC to start censoring people that come on MSNBC,” Ruddy said.

Newsmax has become the fourth-highest-rated cable news channel, at least for now, well behind Fox, MSNBC and CNN but above the two major business networks, Fox Business and CNBC. And Fox’s own ratings — while still high — have fallen from stratospheric heights.

For all that, Bardella had a warning for Ruddy: Enjoy your moment. You’re not preparing for a world after Trump.

“[Ruddy] is acting purely as a capitalist at this point,” Bardella said. “And I do think that it’s a shortsighted approach, because there is a limitation to how many people are going to be willing to change their behavior, if only because Donald Trump says so.”

DeepMind claims major breakthrough in understanding proteins

DeepMind, the UK-based artificial intelligence company owned by Alphabet, has said it can predict the structure of proteins, a breakthrough that could dramatically speed up the discovery of new drugs.

Scientists have spent decades trying to work out how proteins, which begin as strings of chemical compounds, fold into three-dimensional shapes, which then define their behaviour.

Identifying the shape of even a single protein can take years, but DeepMind said its AlphaFold system was able to provide accurate results, to within the width of an atom, within days.

“This advance is our first major breakthrough in a longstanding grand challenge in science,” said Demis Hassabis, founder and chief executive of DeepMind, adding that he hoped it would have “a big impact on our ability to understand disease and the biology of life”. DeepMind was acquired by Google in 2014 for £400m.

An understanding of proteins and the ways in which they behave could help researchers with their work on almost all diseases, including Covid-19.

“Even tiny rearrangements of these vital molecules can have catastrophic effects on our health, so one of the most efficient ways to understand disease and find new treatments is to study the proteins involved,” said John Moult, the organiser of a global competition to solve protein folding.

There are also practical uses for DeepMind’s program in other scientific fields, such as finding enzymes that can be used to break down waste.

AlphaFold was trained on around 170,000 known structures over a few weeks. “To see DeepMind produce a solution for this, having worked personally on this problem for so long and after so many stops and starts wondering if we would ever get there, is a very special moment,” said Mr Moult.

“It will be exciting to see the many ways in which it will fundamentally change biological research,” said Professor Venki Ramakrishnan, Nobel laureate and president of the Royal Society, dubbing it a “stunning advance”.