20 Nov 2020
TRUMP CAMPAIGN DROPS MICHIGAN ELECTION SUIT; BIDEN'S COVID ADVISERS WARN ON
President Donald Trumps re-election campaign said on Thursday it was
withdrawing its lawsuit disputing vote results in Michigan, in another
faltering legal attempt to challenge the Nov. 3 victory of U.S.
President-elect Joe Biden.
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, Trump
lawyer Rudy Giuliani said in a statement.
President-elect Joe Biden's top coronavirus advisers warned on Tuesday that
President Donald Trump's stalling of the transition could hinder the
country's pandemic response, as Trump and his allies persisted in
challenging the Nov. 3 election results.
Trump's refusal to concede has put Biden's transition to the White House in
limbo, complicating his efforts to tackle a COVID-19 pandemic that has
killed more than 247,000 people in the United States and shows no sign of
In a call with reporters, former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who
co-chairs Biden's COVID-19 task force, said blocking Biden transition
advisers from meeting with government experts could harm their ability to
confront the pandemic next year.
Several doctors and nurses associations published a letter on Tuesday urging
the Trump administration to share critical COVID-19 data, such as equipment
inventories, medical supplies and hospital bed capacity, with Biden's team.
Biden, a Democratic former vice president who will take office on Jan. 20,
has also not been able to receive the classified intelligence briefings
normally afforded a president-elect.
UAE SUSPENDS ISSUANCE OF VISIT VISAS TO PAKISTAN, 11 OTHER COUNTRIES
The United Arab Emirates on Wednesday temporarily suspended the issuance of
new visas to visitors from Pakistan and 11 other countries until further
notice, the Foreign Office said.
The decision by the UAE authorities is believed to be related to the second
wave of COVID-19, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said in
We have learnt that the UAE has temporarily suspended the issuance of new
visit visas until further announcement for 12 countries, including
Pakistan, he said, adding that the government is seeking official
confirmation from the UAE authorities in this matter.
However, the suspension would not apply on already issued visas, the Foreign
It was not immediately clear how many categories of visas would be affected
by the suspension. The UAE has various visa categories, including business,
tourist, transit and student.
The other countries hit by the UAE governments fresh visa directives
include Turkey, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Kenya and
DEFENCE FUNDING BOOST 'EXTENDS BRITISH INFLUENCE', SAYS PM
A "once-in-a-generation modernisation" of the armed forces is required to
extend British influence and protect the public, Boris Johnson has said.
The prime minister told MPs a new four-year funding deal would protect
"hundreds of thousands" of jobs and create 40,000 new roles.
"I have decided that the era of cutting our defence budget must end, and it
ends now," he said.
Labour welcomed more defence spending but asked how it would be funded.
Outlining the new package in the Commons, the PM - speaking over video link
as he is self-isolating - said the benefits "will go far beyond our armed
Mr Johnson described the increase in defence spending as being worth £16.5bn
in new money over four years.
However economist Ben Zaranko, from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, said
that while this represented a big rise in spending, the figure of £16.5bn
was a "misleading way to present this announcement".
He continued: "It would be more accurate to say that by 2024-25, defence
spending will be £7bn higher than it would have been under previous plans."
Mr Johnson said: "Our plans will safeguard hundreds of thousands of jobs in
the defence industry, protecting livelihoods across the UK and keeping the
British people safe."
The PM pledged to end defence budget cuts, protect shipping lanes that
supply the country, press on with renewing the UK's nuclear deterrent and
restore Britain as "the foremost naval power in Europe" with a "renaissance
of British shipbuilding across the UK".
CHINA SAYS FIVE EYES SHOULD FACE REALITY ON HONG KONG
China on Thursday rejected the latest attack on its Hong Kong policy by the
U.S. and several of its allies, saying they should face up to the reality
that the former British colony has been returned to China.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian was responding to a statement on
Hong Kong issued by the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand, which
together make up an intelligence partnership known as the Five Eyes.
No matter if they have five eyes or 10 eyes, if they dare to harm Chinas
sovereignty, security and development interests, they should beware of their
eyes being poked and blinded, he said at a daily briefing.
The foreign ministers of the five nations said that a new Chinese government
resolution that led to the disqualification of four pro-democracy lawmakers
in Hong Kong appears to be part of a concerted campaign to silence all
The joint statement called the resolution a breach of Chinas international
obligations and its commitment to grant Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy
and freedom of speech.
AUSTRALIAN SPECIAL FORCES ALLEGEDLY KILLED 39 UNARMED AFGHANS
Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed prisoners and
civilians in Afghanistan, with senior commandos reportedly forcing junior
soldiers to kill defenceless captives in order to blood them for combat, a
four year investigation found.
Australia said on Thursday that 19 current and former soldiers will be
referred for potential criminal prosecution for allegedly killing the 39
Detailing the findings of a long-awaited inquiry into the conduct of special
forces personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016, Australias General
Angus John Campbell said there was credible information of 39 unlawful
killings by 25 Australian Special Forces personnel in 23 separate incidents.
All of those kills were outside the heat of battle, Campbell said.
These findings allege the most serious breaches of military conduct and
professional values, Campbell told reporters in Canberra.
The unlawful killing, of civilians and prisoners is never acceptable.
The report said the majority of those killed, which included prisoners,
farmers and other Afghan locals, were captured when they were killed and
therefore protected under international law.
PAKISTAN PM IMRAN KHAN VOWS TO DO EVERYTHING TO REDUCE VIOLENCE IN
AFGHANISTAN DURING HIS FIRST KABUL VISIT
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on November 19 met with Afghan President
Ashraf Ghani on his maiden visit to Kabul and vowed to do everything to
reduce violence in Afghanistan as the two leaders explored ways to deepen
the bilateral ties and discussed the reconciliation process, amidst an
uptick in violence that could jeopardise the peace push in the war-torn
President Ghani who received Mr. Khan upon his arrival at ARG Presidential
Palace, situated in the heart of Kabul, called his visit historic and said
it was an important message to help end violence".
On his part, Mr. Khan assured Mr. Ghani that his government would do
everything possible to help reduce violence in Afghanistan and bring a
The idea of visiting at a time when violence is increasing [in Afghanistan]
is to assure you, President Ghani, that the people and the government of
Pakistan have only one concern: peace in Afghanistan, Mr. Khan said while
addressing a joint press conference with the Afghan leader after their talks
on issues ranging from bilateral ties to the Afghan peace and regional
POMPEO, IN ISRAEL, VOWS NEW ACTION AGAINST BOYCOTT MOVEMENT
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that the U.S. will regard
the Palestinian-led boycott movement as anti-Semitic and cut off
government support for any organisations taking part in it, a step that
could deny funding to Palestinian and international human rights groups.
Mr. Pompeo announced the initiative during a visit to Israel in which he is
expected to make the first-ever appearance by a Secretary of State in an
Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. In another first, Mr. Pompeo
said he would visit the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in the
1967 war and later annexed in a move not recognised internationally.
"We will regard the global, anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic, Mr.
Pompeo said, referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
"We will immediately take steps to identify organisations that engage in
hateful BDS conduct and withdraw U.S. government support for such groups,
he said, adding that all nations should recognize the BDS movement for the
cancer that it is.
PAKISTANS NEW SOCIAL MEDIA RULES DRAW CRITICISM
Pakistan has notified new social media rules that have placed all internet
service providers on par with social media companies, drawing a sharp
reaction from stakeholders as well as digital rights activists who have
termed them as "draconian."
The Ministry of Information Technology on Wednesday issued ?Removal and
Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards)
Rules (RBUOC) 2020?, Dawn newspaper reported.
The rules were framed under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016
The RBUOC rules have placed all the internet service providers (ISPs) on par
with social media companies (SMCs).
Under the new rules, all the requirements of the social media platforms have
been applied to the ISPs as well.
The rules have also made it obligatory for the social media platforms with
more 500,000 users in Pakistan or on the list of ISPs and SMCs with the
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to register with it within nine
These companies have to establish a permanent registered office, with a
physical address preferably in Islamabad, within nine months.
A senior PTA official said that those clauses were essential as the social
media platforms had no presence in the country, but they were earning from
The RBUOC rules state that social media platforms have to appoint a focal
person in Pakistan to coordinate with authorities for compliance of the law
of the land.
The rules prohibit live-streaming through for the ISPs and the SMCs by
deploying online mechanism, related to terrorism, extremism, hate speech,
pornographic, incitement to violence and detrimental to national security.
The ISPs and the SMCs could be fined up to Rs500 million for failing to
abide by the directives of the PTA, while an appeal against the decision can
be filed in high court within 30 days of the PTA's order.
The Internet Service Providers of Pakistan (ISPAK) has rejected the new
rules and the association is likely to move the court against the new social