The Senate approves Amy Coney Barrett
A split Senate voted Monday night to reassign Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court less than six weeks after the death of her predecessor, Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
With an election upcoming in just eight days, Republicans overcame unanimous Democratic opposition to make Judge Barrett the 115th Supreme Court Justice and the fifth woman to sit on his bench. In a 52-48 vote, all but one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, supported Judge Barrett. It was the first time in 151 years that a judiciary was confirmed without a single vote from the minority party.
Democrats: Democratic leaders called the confirmatory vote a hypocritical Republican takeover of power who should have waited for voters to speak on election day – the stance Republicans took four years ago when they refused to hold hearings for any of the former presidents Barack Obama hold off candidate for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland.
Republican: Republicans said it was their right as a majority party to move forward and were delighted with their victory, despite staring at the possible loss of the White House and Senate.
What’s next: Judge Barrett could begin work on the court as early as Tuesday. Some of the first issues she might face, according to The Times’ Adam Liptak, include cases from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, all of which relate to deadlines for postal ballot papers.
Belarus protesters march on and on and on
When the Belarusians first took to the streets in the hundreds of thousands in August after President Aleksandr Lukashenko claimed a re-election victory widely viewed as fraudulent, many predicted it would only be a matter of days or weeks before the longtime authoritarian Fuehrer stepped back down.
Almost three months later, tens of thousands of demonstrators march on every Sunday, despite being beaten, detained, sprayed with pepper spray, fined and exiled, and singing, “Get away!” and waved the white-red-white flag of the opposition. “I have the feeling that we have entered a kind of tunnel,” said one protester. “There is no going back. We go on and on and on. “
On Monday, scattered groups of workers across the country responded to calls for a general strike. They were joined by university students who left their classes after an opposition march in the capital Minsk on Sunday, in which more than 100,000 people took part.
Quote: “We wait, wait until the regime may fall,” said Eduard Sventetsky, a strike leader. “It depends on the leaders who sit in the Kremlin in Moscow.”
Europe’s coronavirus numbers continue to rise
The number of coronavirus cases is increasing at an alarming rate in almost all European countries.
In the past seven days, the UK recorded 151,391 new cases, Germany 71,567 new cases and Belgium saw an increase of 83,156 cases, according to a New York Times database. Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with her governors at the end of the week to see if the country will impose new rules.
In France, the situation is “difficult not to be critical”, according to Jean François Delfraissy, the immunologist who heads the scientific council that advises the government on the pandemic. The country recorded 52,010 new cases on Sunday alone – a number that could make up half the actual total, according to official figures.
Spain and Italy extended restrictions last weekend to avoid second suspensions. Spain entered a new state of emergency and Italy once again tightened restrictions on bars, restaurants and gyms.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
Around 2,000 protesters gathered in Berlin on Sunday to demonstrate against the rules imposed by the government to keep infections at bay.
Melbourne, Australia, will end a strict lockdown of more than three months, officials said Monday after the city failed to register new coronavirus cases for the first time since June.
More than 41,000 Covid-19 patients have been hospitalized in the U.S., up 40 percent last month.
If you have 10 minutes, it’s worth it
How Trump employees wooed the Wall Street Journal
It was a story the White House hoped would turn the president’s race on its head: Joe Biden, the former vice president, was well aware of and benefited from his son’s business in Ukraine. But attempts by members of President Trump’s re-election campaign to include the story in the Wall Street Journal failed, and the story did not gain as much resonance as the campaign had hoped.
Our media columnist wrote about the White House’s secret latest effort to change the narrative and election.
The following also happens
Ant group: The Chinese financial technology titan is expected to raise around $ 34 billion if its shares start trading in Hong Kong and Shanghai in the coming weeks. This would make his IPO the largest it has ever been.
Climate change: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga set an ambitious climate target of CO2 neutrality for the country by 2050. Japan is the fifth largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.
“Very nice”: Kazakhstan, which banned the first “Borat” film, now welcomes the satire of Sacha Baron Cohen and has created tourism ads that borrow from his catchphrase.
Snapshot: Scientists found new evidence of small deposits of water and ice on the lunar surface, a potential resource for future astronaut visits. “Whenever we don’t have to pack water for our trip, we have the option to take other useful items with us,” a NASA scientist told The Times.
Lived life: Korean businessman Lee Kun-hee, who made Samsung a global giant but was convicted (and pardoned twice) for economic crimes, died in Seoul on Sunday at the age of 78.
What we read: This article in High Country News about pandemic fighting in Las Vegas, one of the largest US school districts. “It just felt so awesome to me – schools aren’t open, but slot machines?” said Amelia Leberberg, who writes the Coronavirus Schools Briefing.
Now a break from the news
Make the most of your time indoors: At Home brings you a comprehensive collection of ideas for what to read, cook, see, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the background story about …
The electoral college
A week before election day in the US, we take a look at the electoral college and its role in determining the presidential winner.
Many people, including some Americans, assume that the votes of the citizens alone determine the next president. You don’t. That responsibility rests with the electoral college: when Americans cast their ballots, they are actually voting for a list of voters chosen by their state’s political parties who have pledged to support that party’s candidate. (They don’t always do that.)
A total of 538 votes are in play in all 50 states and Washington, DC. 270 votes are required to win.
The party that wins a state usually receives all of its electoral votes. Most states have clear majorities, either for Democrats or Republicans. But in swing states, the race is so close that both candidates have a chance of winning.
Sometimes a candidate can win the referendum but lose the election because countries with smaller populations are over-represented in the electoral college. It did so in 2016 when Hillary Clinton won the referendum by more than three million votes, as well as several other elections in US history.
For years there have been debates about abolishing the system so that the referendum can determine the winner. The problem is linked to a party-political divide, however, as Republicans benefit from the electoral power of less populous rural states.
Thank you for joining me for this briefing. Until next time.
Thank you very much
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. Will Dudding wrote today’s backstory. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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