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Federal court rejects challenge on Pennsylvania


2020-11-23 浏览

A US federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit critical to President Donald Trump’s long-shot bid to overturn his November 3 election loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, calling his legal claim a “Frankenstein’s Monster.”

The Trump campaign had sought to prevent state officials from certifying the results of the election in the state.

US District Judge Matthew Brann in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, described the case as “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.”

Brann said that he “has no authority to take away the right to vote of even a single person, let alone millions of citizens.”

The lawsuit before Brann was filed on November 9 and had alleged inconsistent treatment by county election officials of mail-in ballots.

Some counties notified voters that they could fix minor defects such as missing “secrecy envelopes” while others did not.

“This claim, like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together,” wrote Brann.

Brann, nominated by former President Barack Obama, is a Republican and, according to his biography, a member of the Federalist Society, a group of conservative and libertarian lawyers, law students and scholars.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said he will appeal. “Today’s decision turns out to help us in our strategy to get expeditiously to the US Supreme Court.”

The campaign will ask the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia to review the ruling on an accelerated timetable. A majority of that circuit’s judges were nominated by Republican presidents. Four were nominated by Trump.

For Trump to have any hope of overturning the election, he needs to reverse the outcome in Pennsylvania, which is scheduled to be certified by state officials on Monday.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for the rule of law, and for the voters of Pennsylvania, whom the Trump campaign sought to disenfranchise on the flimsiest legal theory imaginable,” wrote election law scholar Rick Hasen on Twitter.

The Trump campaign has filed dozens of lawsuits in six closely contested states.

But its only victories extended the Election Day voting hours at a handful of polling places in Nevada and set aside some provisional ballots in Pennsylvania.

Attempts to thwart the certification of the election have failed in courts in Georgia, Michigan and Arizona.

In the Pennsylvania case, Brann also denied a campaign request to amend the suit to claim violations of the US Constitution. The campaign wanted Brann to allow Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled state legislature to appoint electors who would back for Trump at the Electoral College vote on December 14.

Under Pennsylvania law, the candidate who wins the popular vote in the state gets all the state’s electoral votes.

Biden’s Georgia win contested

US President Donald Trump’s campaign requested a recount of votes in the Georgia presidential race on Saturday, a day after state officials certified results showing Democrat Joe Biden won the state, as Trump’s legal team presses forward with attacks alleging widespread fraud without proof.

Georgia’s results showed Biden beating Trump by 0.25 percent. State law allows a candidate to request a recount if the margin is less than 0.5 percent.

State’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp formalized the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors.

The Trump campaign asked the secretary of state for a recount in an election dogged by unfounded accusations of fraud.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

COVID-19 vaccines could reach first Americans by mid-December


2020-11-23 浏览

US health-care workers and others recommended for the nation's first COVID-19 inoculations could start getting shots within a day or two of regulatory consent next month, a top official of the government's vaccine development effort said on Sunday.

Moncef Slaoui said the US Food and Drug Administration would likely grant approval in mid-December for distribution of the vaccine produced by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech, launching the largest inoculation campaign in US history.

The FDA's outside advisers are slated to meet on December 10 to review Pfizer's emergency-use application for its vaccine, which the company said was found to be 95 percent effective against infection from the highly contagious respiratory virus.

A second pharmaceutical company, Moderna Inc, is expected to seek separate approval later in December for its COVID-19 vaccine.

Appearing on several network news shows on Sunday morning, Slaoui sketched out a timeline for getting the initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine from FDA authorization into the arms of those who will be first in line to receive it.

"Within 24 hours from the approval, the vaccine will be moving and located in the areas where each state will have told us where they want the vaccine doses," Slaoui told NBC's "Meet the Press."

"So I would expect, maybe on day two after approval on the 11th or 12th of December, hopefully the first people will be immunized across the United States," he said on CNN's "State of the Union" program.

Once emergency-use approval is granted, Slaoui said, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an advisery panel on immunization practices will recommend who should receive the vaccine first.

Slaoui said they are likely to include doctors, nurses and "front-line" emergency medical personnel, as well as individuals considered to be at the highest risk of severe illness and death from the virus, such as the elderly.

Public health authorities in each state will be responsible for administering the vaccine roll-out, with the first doses distributed to the states proportionate to their populations, he said.

President-elect Joe Biden and his advisers have voiced concern that President Donald Trump's continued refusal to share vaccine data and distribution plans with Biden's transition team could cause delays after the next administration takes office on January 20.

Slaoui said he hoped for a smooth hand-off and did not expect the vaccination effort to be derailed.

Surging cases and super-spreaders

Details on the timeline emerged as coronavirus infections continued to rage out of control across the country, further straining hospitals besieged with growing numbers of COVID-19 patients.

Public health experts worried that the surge will only worsen, as millions of Americans prepared to travel and congregate in family groups for Thanksgiving celebrations, despite warnings that they stay at home to avoid spreading the disease.

Many people were scrambling to get tested before Thursday's holiday, leading to long lines at screening sites in New York City and elsewhere. Most pharmacies offering COVID-19 tests in suburban Chicago were fully booked.

"I believe COVID rates will increase just as I believe most New Yorkers will put on weight," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lamented at a Sunday press conference.

Cuomo also said the city was investigating reports of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish wedding that drew some 7,000 people to a reception in Brooklyn, video footage of which showed throngs of maskless guests celebrating shoulder to shoulder.

The United States surpassed 12 million COVID-19 cases on Saturday, as the nation's death toll climbed to more than 255,000 since the pandemic began.

Reuters data showed the pace of new infections quickening, with nearly 1 million more cases documented over the past six days, compared with the eight days it took to get from 10 million to 11 million cases.

The epicenter of the US pandemic has also shifted in recent weeks, with the Midwest and Rockies leading the nation in terms of rapidly escalating infections.

"It's really spread across the country," Dr Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University, said on "Fox News Sunday."

"It's not just in big cities, but it's in rural locations, small towns."

While the prospect of effective vaccines has brought new hope to a country whose social and economic life has been upended by the virus, public distrust of inoculations runs high. In a recent Gallup poll, just 58 percent of Americans said they planned to get a COVID-19 vaccine, up from 50 percent in September.

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said vaccine distribution also brings formidable logistical challenges.

"Vaccines don't save lives, vaccinations safe lives," he told ABC on Sunday. "The much bigger step is actually getting those vaccinations to the American people. That's hard."
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Germany regrets US withdrawal from Open Skies arms control treaty


2020-11-23 浏览

Germany "deeply regrets" US quitting from the Opens Skies Treaty, a major international arms control agreement, and remains committed to the treaty as a key part of regional arms control measures, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Sunday.

"We deeply regret that the US decided to take this step and is now doing it. Our stance on the treaty has not changed: we see it as an important part of the arms control architecture," Maas said in a statement.

The US move to abandon the arms control treaty on Sunday marked the end of a six-month notification process since the world's superpower submitted the notice of its decision to exit the treaty in May.

The treaty, which became effective in 2002, allows its 34 State Parties to conduct short-notice, unarmed reconnaissance flights over the others' entire territories to collect data on military forces and activities.

Mass also said that Germany is committed to efforts to overhaul the treaty so as to improve its role in confidence building between its members.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Xi: New growth model offers opportunities


2020-11-20 浏览

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday expounded on how China’s unlocked market potential, wider opening-up and deepening international cooperation under the new development paradigm will offer more development opportunities and bring shared prosperity to the world.

Addressing the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Dialogues via video link, Xi said the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated changes unseen in a century in the world, warning of increasing risks and uncertainties in the world economy caused by mounting unilateralism and protectionism.

“However, peace and development remain the underlying trend of our times. Meeting challenges through cooperation is the only way forward for us in the international community,” Xi noted.

Taking into account China’s domestic development and changes in the external environment, the country’s top leadership has made a strategic decision to foster a new development paradigm with the domestic circulation as the mainstay and internal and external circulations reinforcing each other.

Elaborating on the new paradigm, Xi said China will expand domestic demand as a strategic priority and ensure smooth flow of economic activities, vigorously make scientific and technological innovations to foster new growth drivers, while continuing to deepen reform and energize the market.

As China has effectively contained the virus and brought production and life back to normal, Xi said the fundamentals sustaining the country’s steady and long-term economic growth remain unchanged, noting China has full confidence and ability to maintain stable economic performance.

China has embraced its best quarterly economic performance of the year in the third quarter, with a year-on-year expansion of 0.7 percent in the first nine months, as the first major economy to return to growth following the economic fallout of COVID-19.

By fostering the new development paradigm, China is not pursuing a closed-door circulation, but open and mutually reinforcing domestic and international circulations, Xi noted.

“It is clear that no economic recovery from the current global economic slowdown is possible without China being a major part of the equation,” noted Rohana Mahmood, chair of APEC Business Advisory Council.

Xi said the new development paradigm will enable China to fully unlock its market potential and create greater demand for other countries.

“As China’s economy grows, our people naturally want to lead an even better life. This will create more demand for a greater variety of quality products, technologies and services from across the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, Xi vowed that China will further cut tariffs and government instituted transaction costs, and open a number of demonstration zones for creative promotion of import trade to increase import of quality goods and services.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Amazon announces 2020's best books of the year


2020-11-20 浏览

Amazon on Thursday announced its 2020's Best Books of the Year, selecting Brittany K. Barnett's "A Knock at Midnight" as the top pick.

The process of choosing the Best Books of the Year begins the year prior, as the Amazon Books Editors begin debating the list for January's Best Books of the Month. The editors collectively read thousands of books each year in service of creating an editorially curated list and reviews each month, the company said.

These monthly lists culminate in the Best Books of the Year, which includes an overall Top 100 for 2020 as well as top lists for individual genres like literature & fiction, mystery and thriller, children's books, cookbooks, food & wine, and young adult.

"It's been a year, and the editorial team set out to create a list that reflected what we've collectively been experiencing, hearing and seeing in 2020, and also the books that gave us a welcome respite from the anxieties of the world," said Sarah Gelman, Editorial Director of Amazon Books.

"I am deeply grateful and honored that 'A Knock at Midnight' was chosen Best of the Year. There are hundreds of thousands of Americans buried alive under unjust laws, and I hope this book draws attention to their plight and inspires people to take action to push for impactful change," Brittany K. Barnett said.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Putin praises China as good example of combating COVID-19


2020-11-20 浏览

China sets a good example for other countries of how to successfully contain the COVID-19 pandemic, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

"China has shown to the world that one can successfully defeat the coronavirus," Putin said Tuesday during the 12th BRICS Summit hosted by Russia via video conference.

"China's anti-pandemic results are indeed significant and remarkable, setting a good example for other countries," he said.

The BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- should step up cooperation when it comes to fighting the pandemic, he added.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Wuhan finds COVID-19 on imported beef packaging


2020-11-19 浏览

Authorities in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, found that an imported frozen beef packaging sample tested positive for COVID-19, local health authorities said on Wednesday.

The 1,313 pieces of imported frozen beef products, weighing 27 tons, were imported from Brazil to customs in Tianjin Municipality. They arrived at a cold storage in Wuhan on September 25. The whereabouts of the products have been made clear and relevant investigations are under way.

Local authorities have sealed the products, disinfected the area and conducted nucleic acid tests on relevant personnel.

As of 8pm Wednesday, 400 environmental samples gathered from the cold storage, 115 packaging samples and 145 employees working there have tested negative for COVID-19.

Previously, Wuhan had ordered a thorough inspection of all the imported frozen food products across the city.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

China gets back stolen cultural relics from UK


2020-11-19 浏览

A total of 68 pieces of cultural relics have returned to China from Britain, the National Cultural Heritage Administration announced on Wednesday.

The cultural relics, which were smuggled overseas, were retrieved through the joint efforts of the administration with the country’s foreign affairs and customs authorities since January.

The cultural relics include glazed tricolor pottery from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), blue and white pottery from the Song Dynasty (960-1279), a stone horse from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and other treasures.

The retrieved cultural relics, dating back as far as the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476BC), through the Warring States Period (475-221BC) and on to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), are exhibited on the administration’s website.

With diverse ware types and fine quality, some of the cultural items have significant historical, artistic and scientific values, said Guan Qiang, deputy head of the administration.

The artifacts were returned home after a long journey of 25 years. Captured by the British police in 1995 when smuggled to Britain, they were later identified by NCHA personnel as lost cultural relics of China.

However, the buyer of the relics refused to negotiate and the items were held in custody by the British police until this year. In January, the British police informed China that the buyer was missing and the prosecution limitation period had been terminated, and offered assistance to help return the artifacts to China.

Guan said the return of the Chinese cultural relics is a successful example of cooperation between China and the UK in combating cultural relic smuggling under the framework of the 1970 Convention.

The 1970 Convention urges state parties to take measures to prohibit and prevent the illicit trafficking of cultural property, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization official website. China joined the convention in 1989, and the UK joined in 2002.

In recent years, the NCHA has intensified its efforts to seek lost relics from overseas and bring them back to China.

The Nanjing Museum has received a batch of 361 relics and artifacts that had been returned by the United States. The relics and artifacts, mostly burial objects from ancient Chinese tombs, date back from the Neolithic Age to the Qing Dynasty. They include stone tools, jade ware, bronze ware, pottery, coins, wood carvings and building components.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Pelosi wins bid to lead Democrats in US House


2020-11-19 浏览

US Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday chose House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to lead the party into the Joe Biden era and preside over their narrow House majority as the most powerful person in Congress.

The 80-year-old Pelosi — the highest-ranking woman in US congressional history and outgoing President Donald Trump's chief nemesis on Capitol Hill — ran unopposed for the top job.

She was nominated in a virtual leadership election, the first of its kind as the nation grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm thrilled, I'm excited, and I can't wait to be working with the new president of the United States, Joe Biden and (vice president) Kamala Harris," Pelosi said.

In accepting the nomination she pledged to take action to help "crush" the COVID-19 crisis and prioritize achieving "justice" for Americans on the issues of health care, economic security, the courts and climate change.

Biden called Pelosi to congratulate her and say "he looks forward to working with her and Democratic leadership in the House on a shared agenda to get COVID-19 under control and build our economy back better," his transition team said.

A formal House floor vote for the speakership occurs in January after the new congressional session begins, and shortly before Biden takes office as president. She is widely expected to win.

Pelosi has led her caucus since 2003. Two years ago the veteran lawmaker representing San Francisco agreed to serve in the post through 2022 at most, a move that likely cleared the way for her easy renomination.

The House Democratic caucus, in a tweet, hailed the nomination of their "fearless leader."

But tensions have simmered. In the November 3 election, Democrats fell well short of their stated aim to expand their 233-202 majority, failing to oust a single Republican incumbent and losing at least 10 seats.

Some close races were still being counted, but when the dust settles Pelosi will find she is leading a shrunken majority.

Asked on Wednesday about whether she would abide by her commitment to step down by late 2022, she said her earlier remarks stand.

"I don't want to undermine any leverage I may have, but I made the statement," Pelosi said.

While there have been calls within the ranks for new blood atop the ideologically fractured conference, the three chief positions went once again to the trio of now-octogenarians led by Pelosi.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, 81, and Majority Whip James Clyburn, 80, the highest ranking Black member, were also re-elected.

The top contested race was for assistant speaker, the No.4 party position, and it showcased potential members of a new generation of Democratic leaders.

Congresswoman Katherine Clark, 57 and currently the vice chair of the Democratic caucus, prevailed over the more progressive Democrat David Cicilline, 59, the first openly gay member of House leadership.

Republicans have painted their Democratic rivals as "radical" leftists eager to foist "socialism" on America, a message they reiterated on Tuesday after their own House vote re-elected party leadership including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Xi stresses sticking to socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics


2020-11-18 浏览

President Xi Jinping has called for sticking to the path of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, and promoting the modernization of China's governance system and capacity in line with the rule of law.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivered the statement in a speech to the central conference on work related to overall law-based governance held in Beijing on Monday and Tuesday.

The meeting noted that Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law represents the latest achievement in adapting Marxist theories on the rule of law to the Chinese context, serving as the fundamental guideline for law-based governance in China.

Presided over by Li Keqiang, the event was attended by Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Zhao Leji, and Han Zheng. Wang Huning delivered a concluding speech.

Noting the major achievements in promoting law-based governance, which was put forward by the CPC Central Committee since the 18th CPC National Congress, Xi set forth the requirements for current and future work.

Stay on correct path

Xi urged upholding Party leadership on law-based governance, saying that Party leadership is the fundamental guarantee for ensuring that governance in China is law-based and calling for promoting law-based governance to guarantee the effective implementation of the Party's line, principles and policies.

A people-centered approach must be taken, Xi said, noting that the fundamental goal of promoting law-based governance is to protect the people's rights and interests. People's happy life must be guaranteed by the rule of law, he added.

Xi said efforts should be made to ensure that China stays on the path of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics.

He underscored adopting a mindset consistent with the rule of law and taking a law-based approach when handling deep-seated obstacles to economic and social development, as well as providing long-term institutional guarantees for the development of the cause of the Party and the country.

He stressed the need to adhere to Constitution-based governance, calling for unswervingly upholding the leadership of the Party, the people's democratic dictatorship and the people's congress system, which are enshrined in the Constitution.

Noting the importance of promoting the modernization of China's governance system and capacity along the path of the rule of law, Xi urged efforts to respond to major challenges, withstand major risks, overcome major obstacles, and address major conflicts in accordance with the law.

He called for efforts to continue fostering a system of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, and actively advance legislation in key areas including national security, scientific and technological innovation, public health, bio-safety and ecological civilization.

Guiding document

He said the country should pursue coordinated progress in law-based governance, law-based exercise of state power, and law-based government administration, and promote the integrated development of rule of law for the country, the government and the society.

Highlighting work to ensure sound lawmaking, strict law enforcement, impartial administration of justice, and the observance of the law by everyone, Xi said efforts should be made to enable the people to see that justice is served in every judicial case.

Xi stressed taking a coordinated approach to promoting the rule of law at home and in matters involving foreign parties, demanding efforts to better safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.

A high-quality team of professionals with both integrity and ability should be fostered for legal work, Xi said.

He stressed that leading officials at various levels must faithfully implement major decisions and plans made by the CPC Central Committee on law-based governance.

Law-based governance should be promoted under the guidance of scientific theories, Xi said.

Li Keqiang said Xi's speech serves as a guiding document for the work of law-based governance in the new era. He called for sincere efforts to develop a good grasp of it and act on it.

Wang Huning said that it is imperative to study Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law, grasp it in a comprehensive, faithful way, and apply it in the daily practice of law-based governance.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

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