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New monolith sighted on top of mountain in California, San Luis Obispo County
New  monolith sighted on top of mountain in California,  San Luis Obispo County
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

After a monolith structure had been spotted in Utah and subsequently been removed by an unknown party, another mysterious metal monolith has appeared in the US. Local media has reported that the monolith stands atop a mountain in California and that unlike its Utah sibling, the monolith in California wasn't strongly attached to the ground and looked like it could be easily knocked over.

Regional News • Americas • United States
The U.S. National Labor Relations Board alleges that Google illegally spied on workers before firing them
The U.S. National Labor Relations Board alleges that Google illegally spied on workers before firing them
Credit: Mitchell Luo

According to a complaint to be filed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Tuesday, Google violated US labor laws by spying on workers who were organizing employee protests, then firing two of them.

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Mike Pompeo is hosting a 900-person indoor Christmas party at the State Department amid Covid-19 surge
Mike Pompeo is hosting a 900-person indoor Christmas party at the State Department amid Covid-19 surge
Credit: U.S. Department of State from United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has invited over 900 people to his "Diplomacy at Home for the Holidays" event at the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room, the Washington Post reports. The event is set to take place on December 15 and has come under scrutiny by various health officials.

Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, said he was "flabbergasted" and warns that this event could repeat "what we saw in the White House Rose Garden following the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett."

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Amazon reportedly has Pinkerton agents surveilling workers who try to unionize
Amazon fulfilment centre in Fife, Scotland
Amazon fulfilment centre in Fife, Scotland Credit: Scottish Government (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Dozens of leaked documents from Amazon’s Global Security Operations Center reveal the company’s reliance on Pinkerton operatives to spy on warehouse workers and the extensive monitoring of labour unions, environmental activists, and other social movements.

"The documents say Pinkerton operatives were inserted into an Amazon warehouse in Wroclaw, Poland, to investigate an allegation that warehouse workers were circumventing sort of the application process for applying to warehouse jobs, so I would say that it goes directly against what Amazon is saying. They indeed, at least in this one instance we know, if these documents are correct, that Amazon has used Pinkertons explicitly to spy on warehouse workers.", said Lauren Gurley of Motherboard magazine.

Regional News • Americas • United States
US reports 100,000 Covid-19 hospitalisations and over 200,000 new cases
US reports 100,000 Covid-19 hospitalisations and over 200,000 new cases
Credit: The National GuardStaff Sgt. Caleb Vance/West Virginia National Guard, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The United States reported over 200,000 new Covid-19 cases nationwide on Wednesday and logged its highest daily death count with 3,157 fatalities. The number of people admitted to the hospital has surpassed 100,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

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Bush, Clinton, Obama volunteer to get Covid-19 vaccine on camera to prove it's safe
Bush, Clinton, Obama volunteer to get Covid-19 vaccine on camera to prove it's safe
Credit: Obama: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza; Bush: White house photo by Eric Draper; Bob McNeely, The White House[1] – Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Former U.S. presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have stated they plan to get the Covid-19 vaccine on camera to prove its safety.

"A few weeks ago President Bush asked me to let Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx know that, when the time is right, he wants to do what he can to help encourage his fellow citizens to get vaccinated," so Freddy Ford, Bush's chief of staff.

Clinton's press secretary said Wednesday that "President Clinton will definitely take a vaccine as soon as available to him, based on the priorities determined by public health officials" and that he would do it "in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same."

On Thursday, Obama told SiriusXM host Joe Madison during an interview that he trusted Anthony Faucy "completely". "I promise you that when it's been made for people who are less at risk, I will be taking it," so Obama, adding that he "may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science, and what I don't trust is getting Covid."

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U.S. states are investigating Facebook Inc for possible antitrust violations and plan to sue it next week
U.S. states are investigating Facebook Inc for possible antitrust violations and plan to sue it next week
Credit: unsplash.com / Greg Bulla

A group of U.S. states led by New York is investigating Facebook Inc for possible antitrust violations and plans to file a lawsuit against the social media giant next week, four sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

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DOJ investigates potential White House "bribery-for-pardon" scheme
President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr
President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr Credit: The United States Department of Justice, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Justice Department is investigating an alleged "bribery-for-pardon" scheme at the White House, according to heavily redacted documents made public by the DC District Court on Tuesday afternoon.

The documents do not name the individuals involved, but allege that an individual offered "a substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of the sentence."

Prosecutors are further investigating a "secret lobbying scheme" in which two unidentified people acted as lobbyists to senior White House officials "without complying with the registration requirement of the Lobbying Disclosure Act".

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Georgia election official Sterling (R) asks Trump to "stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence"
Georgia election official Sterling (R) asks Trump to "stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence"
Credit: @GabrielSterling, Courtesy of Twitter

Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager and a Republican, has asked President Donald Trump to tone down his rhetoric disputing the election results to "stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence."

"Mr President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia. We’re investigating, there’s always a possibility, I get it. You have the rights to go to the courts. What you don’t have the ability to do – and you need to step up and say this – is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get shot, someone is going to get killed, and it’s not right. It’s not right," so Sterling at a press conference on Tuesday.

Sterling had received threats after election results were announced and had police protection around his home last week.

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Arizona, Wisconsin certified Biden's victories on Monday
Arizona, Wisconsin certified Biden's victories on Monday
Credit: The White House, and United States Senate, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Arizona and Wisconsin certified President-elect Joe Biden's narrow victory on Monday. The two states are the latest to reject President Donald Trump's bid to stop states certifying their results, alleging widespread voter fraud without evidence.

"There’s no basis at all for any assertion that there was widespread fraud that would have affected the results," so Josh Kaul, Wisconsin’s Democratic attorney general.

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Arizona certifies Biden US election victory
Arizona certifies Biden US election victory
Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Arizona has certified the results of the US elections after Arizona's Secretary of State Katie Hobbs announced that Biden was ahead of Trump by about 10,500 votes after the recount. Governor Doug Ducey has signed the documents.

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Biden names all-female senior press team
Kate Bedingfield and Jen Psaki
Kate Bedingfield and Jen Psaki Credit: Biden-Harris Transition

President-elect Joe Biden on Sunday tapped Jen Psaki, a former White House communications director in the Obama administration, to be the new White House Press Secretary. In addition, deputy Biden campaign manager Kate Bedingfield will serve as communications director as the head of an all-female communications team when Biden takes office on Jan. 20, 2021

"I am proud to announce today the first senior White House communications team comprised entirely of women," Mr Biden said in a statement. "These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better."

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AOC raises $200k for charity during Among Us stream
AOC raises $200k for charity during Among Us stream
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / AOC

The US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) has hosted a Twitch live stream of the game Among Us to raise awareness and money for charitable causes such as food pantries and eviction defense.

On her fundraising page she wrote that "This week, as some families celebrate Thanksgiving, others face food & housing insecurity at levels not seen since the Great Depression," and managed to raise over $200,000. In total, over 104,000 people watched the stream concurrently and she had been joined by multiple other popular streamers such as HasanAbi, Disguised Toast, Myth, Jacksepticeye, xQc and others.

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Metal monolith in Utah desert was removed on Friday evening “by an unknown party”, Officials Say
Metal monolith in Utah desert was removed on Friday evening “by an unknown party”, Officials Say
Credit: Courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol

The bureau said it had not removed the monolith, which it considers “private property.”

The Utah Department of Public Safety said on Monday that it had found the object while surveying for bighorn sheep.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Los Angeles issues stay-at-home order, bans all gatherings
Los Angeles issues stay-at-home order, bans all gatherings
Credit: unsplash/Joel Muniz

Los Angeles County has issued a new stay-at-home order as Covid-19 infections surge, reporting 4,544 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on Friday. Starting Monday, the county prohibits all private and public gatherings with people outside a household for three weeks.

Indoor retail businesses are allowed to remain open at 20% of capacity, and exceptions are made for churches protests as they "are constitutionally protected rights".

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Federal appeals court rejects Trump campaign's efforts to challenge Pennsylvania election results
Federal appeals court rejects Trump campaign's efforts to challenge Pennsylvania election results
Credit: The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Third Circuit Court has rejected the Trump campaign’s latest efforts to challenge Pennsylvania's election results on Friday, after Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani argued the case in a lower court last week. Giuliani had insisted that "Pennsylvania continues to cover up the allegations of massive fraud."

"Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here," so Judge Stephanos Bibas, who Trump nominated to the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017.

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Homes hosting large gatherings during pandemic will be cut water and power in Los Angeles
Homes hosting large gatherings during pandemic will be cut water and power in Los Angeles
Credit: unsplash.com / Dillon Shook

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that he is authorizing the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to shut off utility service to properties where large parties and gatherings are held in violation of public safety orders

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Trump says he will leave White House if Electoral College declares Biden the winner of the election
Trump says he will leave White House if Electoral College declares Biden the winner of the election
Credit: 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment "The Old Guard" from Joint Base Myer - Henderson Hall, Va., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump has said he would leave the White House on January 20 if the Electoral College declares President-elect Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

When asked whether he would leave the White House, Trump responded: "Certainly I will. And you know that. If they do, they made a mistake." He added that it would be "a very hard thing to concede" under the current circumstances and again claimed that the "election was a fraud" without giving concrete evidence.

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Trump pardons former national security adviser Mike Flynn
Michael Flynn at a campaign rally for Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Michael Flynn at a campaign rally for Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Donald Trump has granted his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn a "full pardon", the President wrote in a tweet Wednesday.

In 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador and later cooperated with prosecutors. He later accused the government of trying to frame him and withdrew his guilty plea.

"It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving," Trump wrote on Twitter.

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White House gives approval for Biden to receive President's Daily Brief
An Economic Daily Briefing meeting in the Oval Office, March 11, 2009.
An Economic Daily Briefing meeting in the Oval Office, March 11, 2009. Credit: The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The White House has formally approved for President-elect Joe Biden to receive the President's Daily Brief. The classified intelligence briefing typically contains information about pressing national security issues. It's unclear when Biden will receive his first briefing.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Joe Biden on election as U.S. president
President Xi Jinping
President Xi Jinping Credit: Global Panorama (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message on Wednesday to congratulate Joe Biden on being elected U.S. president.

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US considers lifting entry bans for Europeans
Cologne Bonn Airport in April 2020
Cologne Bonn Airport in April 2020 Credit: © Raimond Spekking (via Wikimedia Commons) (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Reuters reports that the White House is considering lifting travel bans for Brazil, UK, Ireland and numerous European countries. Even though President Trump has not made a final decision on the matter, the White House coronavirus task-force, as well as public health and federal agencies, back the plan to reopen the borders for international travel.

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General Services Administration has informed President-elect Joe Biden's team that they can begin formal transition process
General Services Administration has informed President-elect Joe Biden's team that they can begin formal transition process
Credit: unsplash/ René DeAnda

Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, informed President-elect Joe Biden and his team in a letter on Monday that her office is ready to begin the formal presidential transition.

"Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official -- including those who work at the White House or GSA -- with regard to the substance or timing of my decision. To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination," so Murphy, adding she did not make a decision "out of fear or favoritism."

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Twitter and Facebook to transfer presidential accounts to Biden on Inauguration Day
Twitter and Facebook to transfer presidential accounts to Biden on Inauguration Day
Credit: @POTUS, via Twitter

Twitter has said it would transfer all accounts associated with the White House, including the @POTUS account, to President-elect Joe Biden on January 20, the company told Politico. Facebook has also stated it would transfer control of all presidential accounts on its platform to the Biden adminstration.

"Twitter is actively preparing to support the transition of White House institutional Twitter accounts on January 20th, 2021. As we did for the presidential transition in 2017, this process is being done in close consultation with the National Archives and Records Administration," a Twitter rep said.

The @realDonaldTrump account will remain under Donald Trump's control after Biden's inauguration, but will lose the special protections it gets due to Trump's status as a world leader and therefore will be subject to the same rules as the majority of the users on the platform.

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Biden to announce his firs cabinet picks on Tuesday
Biden to announce his firs cabinet picks on Tuesday
Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

President-elect Joe Biden is set to announce his first cabinet appointments on Tuesday, his incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said Sunday in an interview on ABC’s “This Week".

Klain further added that the inauguration events on January 20 would be downsized due to Covid-19 and involve virtual aspects similar to the Democratic National Convention in August.

"Obviously this is not going to be the same kind of inauguration we had in the past. We know people want to celebrate. There is something here to celebrate. We just want to find a way to do that as safely as possible," so Klain.

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Pennsylvania: Judge dismisses Trump's lawsuit that sought to invalidate millions of mail-in ballots
Pennsylvania: Judge dismisses Trump's lawsuit that sought to invalidate millions of mail-in ballots
Credit: The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

On Saturday, Pennsylvanian Judge Matthew W. Brann dismissed a lawsuit by the Trump campaign that sought to delay the certification of Pennsylvania’s vote results, claiming widespread improprieties with mail-in ballots in the state.

Brann stated that his "court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusation" and that "this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state."

Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer, said in a statement he would appeal against the ruling: "Today's decision turns out to help us in our strategy to get expeditiously to the US Supreme Court."

Regional News • Americas • United States
US reported 195,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, over 2.7m cases since the beginning of November
US reported 195,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, over 2.7m cases since the beginning of November
Credit: unsplash/Jakayla Toney

The United States have reported 195,000 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the country's highest daily case count since the start of the pandemic. Since the start of November, there have been over 2.7 million confirmed Covid-19 cases in the US, with White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr Deborah Birx warning that the current spread is "faster" and "broader" than before.

Health officials have urged people not to travel or visit friends and family during Thanksgiving week to not further fuel the spread of the virus.

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Donald Trump Jr. tested positive for Covid-19
Donald Trump Jr. tested positive for Covid-19
Credit: Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Donald Trump Jr., President Donald Trump's eldest son, tested positive for the Covid-19 earlier this week and "has been quarantining out at his cabin since the result", said a spokesperson.

"He's been completely asymptomatic so far and is following all medically recommended COVID-19 guidelines," the spokesperson said.

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Biden wins Georgia recount by 12,284 votes

Georgia has finished its statewide audit of the presidential race, confirming that US President-elect Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump. The final results show that Biden beat Trump by 12,284 votes.

"Georgia's historic first statewide audit reaffirmed that the state's new secure paper ballot voting system accurately counted and reported results," Georgia's Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger (R) said in a statement. "This is a credit to the hard work of our county and local elections officials who moved quickly to undertake and complete such a momentous task in a short period of time."

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CDC recommends that Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving
CDC recommends that Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving
Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Public Domain)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against travel for Thanksgiving and has posted updated guidelines for safely celebrating the holiday.

"The reason that we made the update is that the fact that over the week we've seen over a million new cases in the country," Dr Erin Sauber-Schatz, the CDC's lead for Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force, told reporters in a conference call.