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Today’s News: November 19, 2020

Todays Headline News

World News

Mexican Ambassador: Let’s Restart Mass Migration into U.S.

Breitbart – The United States should reopen itself to migration, amnesties, refugee inflows, asylum seekers, and more temporary contract workers, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States said Tuesday.

The U.S. immigration system “has to be based on facts and realities,” Ambassador Martha Bárcena Coqui told a forum arranged by the National Immigration Forum (NIF). She continued: ‘The facts and realities is the need to protect the most vulnerable, the need to keep open the generosity towards refugees, the need to recognize the complementarity of labor markets and demographic profiles, the need for temporary workers in the United States.”

The United States should not view migration as a security threat, she said, adding, “If you conceptualize migration as a national security issue, if you [push for] securitization of migration, and what is even worse, if you criminalize migration, then your approach always be policing, contentious [and] reduction of migration. So what we need is really to conceptualize migration …  as an economic and social and political phenomena.”

“With all due respect to Madam Ambassador, she should mind her own country’s business, not ours,” responded Mark Krikorian, the director of the Center for Immigration Studies.

“The Mexican ambassador is going to tell us what is in the best interest of Mexico,” responded Rosemary Jenks, policy director at NumbersUSA. “But that doesn’t mean we have to do it — we have to do what’s in the best interest of the United States. of American, of Americans and legal immigrants,” she told Breitbart News, adding:

You know we have the pandemic still raging, we have economic lockdowns still going on, we have unemployment way too high. We have underemployment way too high. We have American citizens hurting. We absolutely do not need to reopen mass immigration — and certainly don’t need to give amnesty and taxpayer benefits to people who came here illegally. If Mexico thinks its plan is to just open up its own southern borders in the hopes that America will open our southern borders, that’s just going to reignite the caravans. I hope that the Biden administration is planning for that because that’s not going to go well, and 2022 is not going to go well for Democrats.

More migrants are coming, the ambassador said, even though the coronavirus crash has blocked the northward flow for the moment:

The root causes of these migrations have [not] disappeared. On the contrary, we are seeing pent up, building pressure. People cannot move now because of the restrictions on movement because of the pandemic. But the root causes are still there, [for example], the drought in Central America  … a hurricane in Nicaragua and Honduras that have totally flooded Honduras.

The United States should amnesty many illegal migrants from all over the world, she said, and also import more migrants by accepting asylum applications at U.S. embassies, so the world’s migrants will not have to travel through Mexico. “What we would like to see, of course, is that the U.S. embassies in Central America could process even more of these requests for asylum, instead of having people crossing through Mexico and asking for asylum at the border.”

Landmark study shows face masks have no significant effect…

Do face masks work? Earlier this year, the UK government decided that masks could play a significant role in stopping Covid-19 and made masks mandatory in a number of public places. But are these policies backed by the scientific evidence?

Yesterday marked the publication of a long-delayed trial in Denmark which hopes to answer that very question. The ‘Danmask-19 trial’ was conducted in the spring with over 3,000 participants, when the public were not being told to wear masks but other public health measures were in place. Unlike other studies looking at masks, the Danmask study was a randomised controlled trial – making it the highest quality scientific evidence.

Around half of those in the trial received 50 disposable surgical face masks, which they were told to change after eight hours of use. After one month, the trial participants were tested using both PCR, antibody and lateral flow tests and compared with the trial participants who did not wear a mask.

In the end, there was no statistically significant difference between those who wore masks and those who did not when it came to being infected by Covid-19. 1.8 per cent of those wearing masks caught Covid, compared to 2.1 per cent of the control group. As a result, it seems that any effect masks have on preventing the spread of the disease in the community is small.

Some people, of course, did not wear their masks properly. Only 46 per cent of those wearing masks in the trial said they had completely adhered to the rules. But even if you only look at people who wore masks ‘exactly as instructed’, this did not make any difference to the results: 2 per cent of this group were also infected.

UK & EU suspend Brexit talks as Brussels negotiator tests positive for Covid-19

RT  – High-level talks between the UK and EU have been suspended after one of the EU’s negotiators tested positive for Covid. However, both sides have said their teams are ready to continue working in accordance with guidelines.

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, tweeted on Thursday that one of the officials on his team had “tested positive for Covid-19.” He said he decided, along with his British counterpart David Frost, “to suspend the negotiations at our level for a short period.”

However, the teams will continue their work “in full respect of guidelines,” Barnier added.

In turn, Frost tweeted that he was in close contact with Barnier about the situation. “The health of our teams comes first,” he said, thanking the EU Commission “for their immediate help and support.”

London and Brussels are still discussing the implications of the ongoing trade talks, and negotiators will act in line with public health guidelines, a UK government spokesman said.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

House Republicans call for hearings into violence against Trump supporters at MAGA march

Fox – EXCLUSIVE: The top Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are demanding Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney to hold a hearing to examine the violence against supporters of President Trump after the “Million MAGA March” in Washington, D.C. last weekend.

They are also calling for answers from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, claiming her “silence” on the issue is part of a “broader pattern of viewpoint discrimination.”

House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer, R-Ky., Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., and Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, penned a letter to Maloney, D-N.Y., after more than 20 people were arrested last weekend amid violent clashes between Trump supporters and counterprotesters in D.C.

Wayne County GOP members rescind votes to certify election, claim Dems ‘bullied’ them

Fox – The two Republicans on Michigan’s Wayne County Board of Canvassers claimed in signed affidavits Wednesday that they were bullied into siding with Democrats and have now rescinded their votes to certify.

The two Republicans — Monica Palmer and William C. Hartmann — were involved in a brief deadlock in the county’s election certification process Tuesday before initially voting to certify.

Wayne County, which includes Detroit, is Michigan’s most populous county, with more than 1.7 million residents.

The Associated Press reported that a person familiar with the matter said Trump himself reached out to the canvassers on Tuesday evening after the revised vote to express gratitude for their support. Then, on Wednesday, Palmer and Hartmann signed affidavits saying they believe the county vote “should not be certified.”

And on Thursday, the Trump campaign said it was withdrawing its lawsuit in the state, citing what happened in Wayne County.

“This morning we are withdrawing our lawsuit in Michigan as a direct result of achieving the relief we sought: to stop the election in Wayne County from being prematurely certified before residents can be assured that every legal vote has been counted and every illegal vote has not been counted,” said Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Both Republicans say they were called racists and subjected to threats for raising concerns about ballots that Democrats said were from predominately Black communities, Jenna Ellis, a lawyer for the Trump 2020 Campaign, told Fox News on Tuesday.

Cuomo admin in Supreme Court brief argues NY virus rules more lenient to churches than secular events

Fox – New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration argued in a Supreme Court brief filed Wednesday that rather than treating religious venues more harshly than secular venues, as the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn argues in an emergency application for an injunction with the Supreme Court, that New York’s coronavirus restrictions are actually more lenient to houses of worship than they are to places of business. 

The court battle between the state and the church comes amid a significant spike in coronavirus cases nationwide that has caused officials to re-institute school closures, bans on indoor dining and even in some cases essentially bar people from inviting others to their houses. 

Cuomo’s Oct. 6 order is not as strict as some across the country, but it identifies certain areas in the state where it will, based on positivity rates, limit certain activities and capacity in certain places. 

The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn argued that the limits in the order are unfair and discriminate against houses of worship. 

New York City’s public schools to shut down Thursday over COVID spike

Fox – New York City schools will shut down starting Thursday due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday. 

De Blasio said officials opted to close schools out of an abundance of caution after coronavirus test positivity rates hit the 3% threshold.

“We must fight back the second wave,” the mayor said on Twitter. 

NYC principals are being told to take necessary items home with them as remote teaching will begin in the morning.

Students will shift to remote learning during the indefinite shutdown and all school buildings will remain closed until further notice, NYC Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza informed parents in a letter sent to them on Wednesday. 

“Please note that this is a temporary closure, and school buildings will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so,” the letter, obtained by Fox News, said. 

“I know that for many of you, this decision to temporarily close school buildings that we recently opened up will be disappointing, and I understand,” Carranza wrote. “But by confronting these challenges together, we can continue to fight back against COVID-19. And I am confident that before long, we will be able to safely reopen our school buildings again.”

For days, the city has seen infection rates creeping upward, and de Blasio had previously warned closures could be imminent to keep children safe. 

California Republicans rip Newsom’s ‘hypocrisy’ after governor caught dining out amid pandemic

Fox – California Republicans rip Newsom for hypocritical highbrow dining excursion

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s extravagant lunch at one of California Wine Country’s most exclusive fine-dining establishments has drawn a storm of criticism — and it could wind up costing him more than just the tab.

The Democrat has been fending off critics for more than a week after seeming to violate his own coronavirus restrictions to celebrate a well-connected friend’s birthday.

“He’s the one telling people to change their Thanksgiving plans — yet he himself is gathering privately at an expensive restaurant that many Californians can’t afford,” Republican state Assemblyman James Gallagher told Fox News on Wednesday night.

The French Laundry, which offers meals that begin at $350 a plate, hosted Newsom, his wife, and others for a boujie birthday brunch honoring Jason Kinney, a lobbyist and friend of the governor.

Also in attendance: the CEO of the California Medical Association – who, like Newsom, should know a thing or two about that state’s COVID-19 guidelines – and that organization’s top lobbyist.

PA gov announces new COVID rules, including wearing a mask in your house

Fox – Pennsylvania is planning to take additional steps to address a sharp increase in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations, including requiring masks to be worn indoors with limited exceptions, officials said Tuesday.

In addition, starting Friday, anyone who enters Pennsylvania must be tested at least 72 hours before arrival, and if they can or do not get a test, they must quarantine for 14 days. The order does not apply to people who commute to neighboring states for work or health care, officials said, and will be largely self-enforced.

Rand Paul Is Already Standing In Joe Biden’s Way On Lockdown Measures

Redstate – Sen. Rand Paul isn’t having it when it comes to promises from the might-be Biden administration to lock the country back down and the Kentucky Republican is making it clear that should they try it, he will stand in their way.

On Sunday, Rand appeared on “The CATS Roundtable with John Catsimatidis” where he made his intentions to stop any lockdown from happening very clearly.

“I’m going to do everything I can to try to prevent Biden from locking us up and locking us down and forcing us to wear masks forever. We can’t go on like this forever.”

“Today, Biden’s talking more about a lockdown,” Paul continued. “This is absolutely why he’s going to be a terrible president if we get him. He’s going to ruin the country. Lockdowns don’t work. And in fact, all of the evidence on mandatory masks show that they don’t work either.”

“There’s about 10 different countries or venues, maybe 20, that instituted mandatory masks, and every one of them to a T, the infection rate or the COVID rate went up after the mask mandate,” Paul continued. “Now, this is just showing that … all these mitigation strategies — washing our hands, staying six feet apart — they really don’t work, frankly. And the virus, as the Wall Street Journal put it, is insidious. It does what it’s going to do. The only thing that’s going to stop it is either enough immunity among individuals in the community or a vaccine.”

Rand, a doctor himself, has been highly critical of lockdown procedures in the past and has been openly calling out Dr. Anthony Fauci for his ineffective measures in dealing with the virus.

Biden approaches 80 million votes…

AP – President-elect Joe Biden’s winning tally is approaching a record 80 million votes as Democratic bastions continue to count ballots and the 2020 election cracks turnout records.

Biden has already set a record for the highest number of votes for a winning presidential candidate, and President Donald Trump has also notched a high-water mark of the most votes for a losing candidate. With more than 155 million votes counted and California and New York still counting, turnout stands at 65% of all eligible voters, the highest since 1908, according to data from The Associated Press and the U.S. Elections Project.

The rising Biden tally and his popular vote lead — nearly 6 million votes — come as Trump has escalated his false insistence that he actually won the election, and his campaign and supporters intensify their uphill legal fight to stop or delay results from being certified, potentially nullify the votes of Americans.

“It’s just a lot of noise going on, because Donald Trump is a bull who carries his own china shop with him,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University. “Once the noise recedes, it’s going to be clear that Biden won a very convincing victory.”

Biden currently has an Electoral College lead of 290-232. But that does not include electors from Georgia, where Biden leads Trump by 0.3 percentage points as officials conduct a hand tally. The AP has not called the race, but if Biden’s lead holds he will win the Electoral College on 306-232 vote — the identical margin Trump won in 2016. Back then Trump described it as a “landslide.”

Trump sealed that victory with 77,000 votes across three battleground states, while Biden’s margin would be slightly narrower — about 45,000 votes across Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin.

That slimmer win, however, is still decisive by election law standards, notes Rick Hasen, a professor at the University of Irvine and an expert on voting.

While Biden’s margins in states like Arizona and Wisconsin seem small — between 12,000 and 20,000 votes — those races aren’t nearly narrow enough to be considered likely to flip through a recount or lawsuits. Recounts typically shift total votes by only a few hundred votes. In 2000, the Florida recount and legal battle for the White House was prompted by a 537-vote margin.

Team prepares for fight to end…

Trump’s team prepares for election fight to end in December

NBC – President Donald Trump’s allies are preparing for the end of his legal fight over the election results when the Electoral College meets in December, and they continue to push him to accept a conclusion to his presidency and make post-White House plans.

“The legal challenges are continuing, but those close to the president, and frankly the president, understand they’re futile,” a senior administration official said.

While Trump has scarcely been seen since President-elect Joe Biden was projected as the winner more than a week ago, he has regularly continued to fire off tweets contending — without evidence — that he won the election and that it was stolen because of rampant fraud.

As a result, the transition of power appears to be in suspended animation.

Trump and most of his staff continue to talk publicly as if he will remain in the White House for a second term. The Biden team is trying to launch a transition but without the official sanctioning that would allow it access to critical information and resources to smooth the handoff.

And while Trump’s unrelenting use of Twitter to litigate the election in the court of public opinion has drawn minimal response from within his party, it has left some on the outside questioning his endgame: Could he keep fighting until the Jan. 20 inauguration — or later?

Trump’s advisers are talking to him about what the end looks like — using the word “conclusion” rather than “concession.” One off-ramp being recommended as a “conclusion” is that he admits that Biden will enter the White House on Jan. 20 while continuing to allege the results are questionable, and simultaneously announces that he’s running for president in 2024, a senior administration official said.

The Dec. 14 cutoff his allies point to is likely to be forced on Trump. The Electoral College formally votes that day, shortly after the states certify their results. Even if Trump holds out on accepting the results until then, there is hope inside the administration that he would approve some formal intelligence briefings for Biden before then, a senior administration official said.

Privately, some Republican senators have acknowledged that Biden will be the next president. But most are expected to stay quiet until the Electoral College votes, a Republican strategist said.

Until then, his campaign continues to engage in litigation and demands for recounts. Trump’s campaign announced Wednesday that it would pay $3 million for a partial recount in Wisconsin.

While many of Trump’s allies admit it would take an extraordinary turn of events to reverse the outcome, they don’t see Trump or his campaign letting up until every last legal effort has played out and results have been certified.

Within the White House, chief of staff Mark Meadows is said be among those trying to move Trump toward accepting that he will be leaving on Jan. 20, but Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani continues to press Trump to keep the legal fights going, according to a person close to the White House.

“We’re going to continue to explore all of the fraud and abuse that’s been reported to us from the more than 11,000 credible tips we’ve received from our hotline and website,” Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller said.

Trump has continued to promote baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud, trying to undercut the credibility of the election. There has been no evidence of widespread fraud, and NBC News along with every major news organization has projected Biden to be the winner.

Those close to Trump have also been trying to move his attention to his post-presidency plans, talking about a potential run in 2024 and starting his own media venture. There has been hope that Trump would quietly accept the results by the end of the week and allow the formal transition process to begin. But a public pronouncement isn’t expected to come until later.

Trump has also been talking about a potential media partnership, perhaps with the right-wing news channel OANN or the Newsmax website, a person close to him said.

“He wants to make money, but more than that he wants attention,” an ally said.

Alaska Is Now The Second State To Approve Ranked-Choice Voting

Daily Caller – Alaskans voted for ranked-choice voting in statewide elections, according to The Washington Examiner.

Roughly 50 percent of Alaskans voted for the measure that will enable Alaskans to rank their choices of candidates from most favorable to least favorable, according to The Washington Examiner. Starting in 2022, the top four political candidates in the state will advance to the general election.

If one candidate receives more than half of first-choice votes, the candidate wins, Fox News reported. If a candidate does not receive over half of the votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, Fox News reported. The votes that ranked the eliminated candidates as the first choice would go to the second choice until a candidate receives over half of Alaskans’ votes, according to Fox News.

“We now have an electoral system that lives up to Alaska’s independent streak by saying, ‘To hell with politics, let’s do what is right for Alaska,’” said Shea Siegert, Campaign Manager & Spokesperson at Alaskans for Better Elections, according to The Washington Examiner. Alaskans for Better Elections supported the Ballot 2 initiative, according to Anchorage Daily News.

Maine first adopted ranked-choice voting in the 2016 elections, according to The Washington Examiner. It was implemented in its 2018 statewide elections and the 2020 presidential election, The Washington Examiner reported.

Economy & Business

Chinese president Xi Jinping has said China will open up its “super-sized” economy to import more high-quality goods and services.

BBC – China will also sign free trade pacts with more countries, he said on Thursday.

Mr Xi was speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum, which includes the US and Russia.

It is as yet unclear if US President Donald Trump will be speaking at the event, which continues on Friday.

Mr Trump has previously used the event to lay out his competing vision for the future of global trade.

China and the US have been involved in a trade war since 2018 with a number of flashpoint over import taxes and Chinese technology firms operating in America.

Mr Xi also used Thursday’s Apec speech to deny that China would be pulling away from other economies – known as decoupling – and warn against protectionism.

“We will not reverse course or run against the historical trend by ‘decoupling’ or forming a small circle to keep others out,” Mr Xi said.

Science & Technology

NASA makes historic SpaceX Crew Dragon launch

Fox – NASA has made its first operational SpaceX Crew Dragon launch, marking an important milestone for the space program.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:27 p.m. ET Sunday.  Shortly after launch, the first-stage booster rocket separated from Crew Dragon. It touched down on a drone ship floating in the Atlantic Ocean about 10 minutes after liftoff.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft, which was named Resilience by the crew, will reach the International Space Station around 11 p.m. ET Monday.

“Resilience rises,” tweeted NASA at liftoff. 

Health

CBD is not a narcotic, says EU court as it rules French ban is illegal

Guardian – The cannabis-derived compound CBD is not a narcotic drug because “it does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health”, the EU’s highest court has ruled.

The decision by the court of justice of the European Union deals a severe blow to efforts by some EU countries to limit the sale of CBD, while simultaneously giving the CBD industry a boost. Many products are currently sold in the EU in a legal grey area.

The ruling was made in relation to the prosecution in France of KanaVape, a company that exports CBD oil made from whole hemp plants.

Under French law, only the fibre and seeds of hemp – a variety of the cannabis plant containing less than 0.2% of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC – may be put to commercial use, not the flower.

The court ruled that the French ban on the marketing of hemp-derived CBD products contradicted EU law on the free movement of goods.

“The national court must assess available scientific data in order to make sure that the real risk to public health alleged does not appear to be based on purely hypothetical considerations,” the court wrote.

“A decision to prohibit the marketing of CBD, which indeed constitutes the most restrictive obstacle to trade in products lawfully manufactured and marketed in other [EU] member states, can be adopted only if that risk appears sufficiently established.”

It noted that two key UN conventions classifying illegal drug do not specifically mention CBD, although they mention “cannabis extracts”.

The ruling also highlighted that France had not banned synthetic CBD, which has the same properties but is not produced using the entire cannabis plant.

Colostrum More Effective Than Flu Vaccine

Mercola – A combination of colostrum and Bifivir, a supplement containing prebiotics and probiotics, was more effective at preventing flu than the flu vaccine.

The adjusted effectiveness rating of the 2018 to 2019 flu vaccine reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranged from 12% to 14% in people age 50 and older.

Colostrum boosts production of natural killer (NK) cells, a type of white blood cell that is part of the innate immune system.

Consider using several strategies to support your NK cells, including regular exercise, beta-glucans, probiotics and melatonin.

Fruit Lowers Blood Pressure and Risk for Diabetes

Mercola – Avocatin B is a bioactive compound found in avocados that helps reduce weight gain and improve insulin sensitivity.

The difference in blood pressure between those with diets highest in flavanols, such as those found apples and berries, compared to those with the lowest was between 2 and 4 mmHg

Eating small amounts of fruit can be an excellent way to increase your intake of beneficial antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, but moderation is key, especially if you have metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure and/or Type 2 diabetes.

Because fruit contains fructose, it can increase your risk of insulin resistance if you eat large amounts; examples of lower fructose fruits that are beneficial for most people include avocados, berries, kiwi and citrus fruits

Baby Bottles Release Millions of Microplastic Particles

Mercola – Plastic baby bottles release up to 16 million plastic particles for every liter of fluid; the hotter the temperature, the greater the number, reaching 55 million per liter at hot temperatures.

The researchers used purified water and not standard drinking water, which has microplastic particles and contributes to the pounds of plastic a person may consume in their lifetime.

Globally, infants up to 12 months old may be exposed to 14,600 to 4.55 million microplastic particles a day, depending on region, which is higher than previously recognized due to the widespread usage of polypropylene baby bottles.

Plastic may be released from tea bags and is found in sea salt and fruits and vegetables; DARPA is investigating the potential of turning plastic and paper waste into food for soldiers.

Consider taking steps to reduce exposure by avoiding plastic products such as baby bottles, containers, wraps and children’s toys; avoiding products with PVC; and talking with your pharmacists about pills coated with phthalates.