December 5, 2020

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AP-AS-CHINA-US-MEDIA China criticizes US media controls as ‘political oppression’ BEIJING (AP) — China’s government has...

AP-AS-CHINA-US-MEDIA

China criticizes US media controls as ‘political oppression’

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government has demanded Washington stop ‘political oppression’ of Chinese media after more were required to register as foreign missions but gave no indication whether Beijing might retaliate. The latest order, which required Chinese newspapers and other outlets to register their employees in the United States, adds to conflict over technology and security that have plunged U.S.-Chinese relations to their lowest level in decades. A foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Liajian, said China “strongly opposes” the U.S. measures but gave no indication how Beijing will respond.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-GERMANY

As German corona cases surge, consumer confidence falls

BERLIN (AP) — A new survey shows German consumers are becoming increasingly pessimistic amid growing fears of new lockdown measures in Europe’s largest economy as coronavirus numbers continue to rapidly climb. The forward-looking GfK consumer climate index fell Thursday more strongly than predicted by economists to minus 3.1 points for November, from a value of minus 1.7 points in October. GfK consumer expert Rolf Buerkl says: “The rapid increase in infection rates is leading to a tightening of restrictions brought on by the pandemic. Fear of a second lockdown, should infections get out of control in the coming winter months, is also increasing.”

THAILAND-PROTESTS

Thailand cancels emergency decree in bid to calm protests

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s government has cancelled a state of emergency it had declared last week for Bangkok in a gesture offered by the embattled prime minister to cool massive student-led protests seeking democracy reforms. The decree had banned public gatherings of more than four people and allowed censorship of the media, among other provisions. It was challenged in court by an opposition party and a group of university students. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha went on national television on Wednesday night to appeal to pro-democracy protesters to reduce political tensions and promised to lift the emergency measure. As he was speaking, protesters marched near Government House to demand he step down. They said that if their demands were not met, they would return in three days.

UAE-GUANTANAMO DETAINEES

Sent from Gitmo to UAE, detainees fear final stop: Yemen

The United Arab Emirates is planning to send as many as 18 former Guantanamo Bay detainees to Yemen, after holding them in custody for as many as five years. The plans go against the promises the U.S. made when it sent the men to the UAE: that they would be integrated into society, helping them get jobs and find a home. Instead, they say they have languished in custody and have been treated inhumanely. Now the former Yemeni detainees’ families and lawyers say they face imprisonment or worse if they are sent back to Yemen.

ELECTION SECURITY-SPOOFED EMAILS

US officials link Iran to emails meant to intimidate voters

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials say Iran is behind a flurry of emails sent to Democratic voters in multiple battleground states that appeared to be aimed at intimidating them into voting for President Donald Trump. John Ratcliffe, the government’s top intelligence official, says, “These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries.” Ratcliffe and FBI Director Chris Wray insist the U.S. will impose costs on any foreign countries that interfere in the 2020 U.S. election and say the integrity of the election is still sound. The activities attributed to Iran mark a significant escalation at a time when most public election interference discussion has centred on Russia.

AP-FINANCIAL MARKETS

Global stocks follow Wall St. lower on lack of US aid plan

BEIJING (AP) — Global stocks and Wall Street futures have declined as investors watch for signs of progress in negotiations over a U.S. economic aid plan. Benchmarks in London, Frankfurt, Shanghai and Tokyo retreated. On Wall Street, futures for the S&P 500 index and Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 0.3%. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she made progress with the White House on more economic stimulus. Any agreement might face resistance in the Senate. Markets are swinging between optimism about possible development of a coronavirus vaccine and uncertainty about the U.S. economic outlook without an aid package.

ELECTION 2020-DEBATE

Face to face: Trump and Biden to meet for final debate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are set to square off in their final debate Thursday. It’s one of the last high-profile opportunities for the trailing president to change the trajectory of an increasingly contentious campaign. Some Trump advisers are urging him to trade his aggressive demeanour for a lower-key style, hoping Biden will get himself in trouble with verbal gaffes. But it’s hardly clear that the president will listen. There were supposed to be three debates, but the second was cancelled after Trump got COVID-19 and then objected to the resulting revised format.

ELECTION 2020-FOREIGN POLICY

Final debate could thrust foreign policy back into campaign

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden have starkly different visions for the international role of the United States — and the presidency. Advisers to both men believe the competing approaches – Trump’s pugnacious cry of “America First,” Biden’s pledge to reinvigorate a network of Western democracies – can appeal to voters in the final weeks leading up to Election Day. Biden once made his foreign policy experience a central part of his argument for the presidency. Trump at various points has tried to elevate his accomplishments in the international arena. But the coronavirus pandemic has dominated the general election campaign so far.

SUPREME COURT-BARRETT

Senate GOP to push Barrett forward over Dem boycott of vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite a Democratic boycott, Republicans are powering ahead to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court by Election Day. The Senate Judiciary Committee set to vote Thursday to recommend President Donald Trump’s nominee to the full Senate. Democrats are planning to boycott the session, but they don’t have the votes to stop Barrett’s ascent. Never before has the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court pick so close to a presidential election. The Senate is planning a rare weekend session to push Barrett’s nomination forward. Final confirmation by the Senate is expected Monday.

ELECTION 2020-SENATE-MAINE

‘Call them out’: In Maine, Gideon asks voters to punish GOP

CAMDEN, Maine (AP) — The Democrat who’s polling neck-and-neck with Republican Sen. Susan Collins in Maine was presiding over her local town council less than a decade ago. Sara Gideon was elected to the state Legislature eight years ago and is now House speaker. With the Democratic establishment behind her, Gideon has amassed more money than any other political candidate in state history in her bid to unseat the four-term senator. Gideon has raised more than $63 million for her campaign, compared to Collins’ $25 million. Ad tracking company Kantar/CMAG says the campaigns and outside groups have spent or allocated more than $110 million on campaign advertising through Election Day.

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