United States Senate

Regional News • Americas • United States
Kamala Harris halts travel after two people linked to the campaign test positive for Covid-19
Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Kamala Harris will halt campaign travel due to two positive Covid-19 cases in people involved in the Biden-Harris presidential campaign. Harris tested negative as recently as Wednesday.

The two cases are a flight crew member and Harris' communications director, Liz Allen.

Campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said, "Neither of these people have had contact with Vice President Biden, Senator Harris or any other staffers since testing positive or in the 48 hours prior to their positive test results."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Graham announces that the Supreme Court confirmation hearings will proceed as scheduled
Lindsey Graham
Lindsey Graham Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham has announced that despite multiple republican senators testing positive for Covid-19, the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett and committee vote will move forward as scheduled.

While the hearings are scheduled for the 12th of October, the vote is scheduled for the 22nd of October.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin third GOP senator to test positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours
Senator Ron Johnson
Senator Ron Johnson Credit: Office of Senator Ron Johnson (Public Domain)

Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is the third senator who has tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours. On Friday, Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina both tested positive for Covid-19 after having attended the White House event on Saturday.

"Senator Johnson was exposed to someone who tested positive for covid-19 on Sept. 14. He stayed in quarantine for 14 days without developing symptoms and tested negative twice during that time. He returned to Washington on Sept. 29 and shortly after was exposed to an individual who has since tested positive. After learning of this exposure, the senator was tested yesterday afternoon. This test came back positive," so his spokesman Ben Voelkel.

Johnson "feels healthy and is not experiencing symptoms" and will self-quarantine.

Regional News • Americas • South America
José "Pepe" Mujica confirms he will shortly be leaving his senatorial seat both because of his age and health concerns
José "Pepe" Mujica confirms he will shortly be leaving his senatorial seat both because of his age and health concerns
Credit: Agência Brasil Fotografias / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Former Uruguayan President José "Pepe" Mujica confirmed this Sunday, before casting his vote in the departmental and municipal elections that took place in that country, that he will shortly leave his seat as senator both due to his age and health-related issues.

Mujica had already hinted on another occasion that he would leave the Senate in October, but this Sunday he announced that if he can, he will "leave it earlier." "I am about to leave because of my age, because I have a chronic immunological disease and it is logical that politics obliges social relations. If I have to take care of myself, I cannot speak, I cannot go to one side, I cannot go to the other, I am a bad senator ", argued the former president, 85 years old.

Regional News • Americas • United States
McConnell promises Barrett would receive a vote in the "weeks ahead"
Senator Mitch McConnell
Senator Mitch McConnell Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised that Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett will receive a vote in the "weeks ahead, following the work of the Judiciary Committee."

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham confirmed that hearings would start on October 12 with opening statements from Barrett herself and members of the Judiciary Committee, followed by questions from the committee and testimony from legal experts and Barrett's associates.

"I expect the nominee will be challenged and that's appropriate to challenge the nominee. If they treat Judge Barrett like they did Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh it's going to blow up in their face big time," so Graham on Fox News Saturday.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump again declines to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost the election
Trump again declines to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost the election
Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

President Donald Trump has again declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost the election when asked by reporters.

"We want to make sure that the election is honest, and I’m not sure that it can be," the President told reporters before heading to a campaign rally in Florida.

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany assured that Trump would "accept the results of a free and fair election" and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell stated that the "winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Cindy McCain endorses Joe Biden
Cindy McCain endorses Joe Biden
Credit: @cindymccain (Courtesy of Twitter)

Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Republican Senator John McCain, endorses Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

"My husband John lived by a code: country first. We are Republicans, yes, but Americans foremost. There's only one candidate in this race who stands up for our values as a nation, and that is @JoeBiden," Ms McCain tweeted Tuesday. "Joe and I don't always agree on the issues, and I know he and John certainly had some passionate arguments, but he is a good and honest man. He will lead us with dignity," she added.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Two Republican senators break ranks with Trump on plans for Ginsburg's replacement
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska Credit: TALK MEDIA NEWS PHOTO ARCHIVES (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she would not support Trump's move to quickly fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court opened by Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.

Murkowski said in a statement: "I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia. We are now even closer to the 2020 election – less than two months out – and I believe the same standard must apply."

On Saturday, Senator Susan Collins of Maine voiced similar concerns. Collins is locked in a tight re-election battle, while Murkowski’s current term extends two more years.

Regional News • Americas • United States
McConnell pledges to bring Trump's SCOTUS nominee to a Senate vote
Senator Mitch McConnell
Senator Mitch McConnell Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) pledged Friday to bring President Trump's Supreme Court nominee replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to a Senate vote.

"President Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate," so McConnell.

Senate Majority Whip John Thune is backing McConnell, saying: "I believe Americans sent a Republican president and a Republican Senate to Washington to ensure we have an impartial judiciary that upholds the Constitution and the rule of law. We will fulfil our obligation to them."

CNN reports that "GOP aides are skeptical that there is enough time to confirm a nominee before November 3" as the process usually takes around two to three months but "that process could be sped up if McConnell, who controls the majority of the chamber, has the votes to confirm a replacement."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump contradicted CDC on vaccine timeline and importance of mask-wearing
Dr. Robert R. Redfield addresses a briefing on the latest information about the Coronavirus.
Dr. Robert R. Redfield addresses a briefing on the latest information about the Coronavirus. Credit: The White House (Public Domain)

President Donald Trump claimed Dr Robert Redfield was "confused" when he stated masks may be effective Covid-19 protection and that results from coronavirus vaccination would be visible on the second or third quarter of 2021.

Redfield, the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), made both claims during a session of the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday.

Trump, answering reporters, said: "I think he made a mistake when he said that. It's just incorrect information."

"I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine, because the immunogenicity may be 70%. And if I don't get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me. This face mask will," the director of the CDC told lawmakers in the Senate.

Regional News • Americas • United States
27 prominent Republicans announce they’ll endorse Joe Biden
Jeff Flake
Jeff Flake Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

More than two dozen former Republican members of Congress officially announced Monday, before the start of the Republican National Convention, that they would endorse Joe Biden.

Former Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona and former Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania are among those supporting the Democratic presidential nominee through "Republicans for Biden."

Trump is still overwhelmingly popular among Republicans, a point made by Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh, who dismissed the significance of the endorsements.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Joe Biden picks Kamala Harris as his running mate
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has announced Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. She will be the first black woman to serve in the role.

Harris, once a rival for the Democratic nomination, had long been considered the front-runner for the VP position. She was born in Oakland, California to two immigrant parents: an Indian-born mother and Jamaican-born father.

Regional News • Americas • United States
US Senate bans TikTok from phones owned by government
US Senate bans TikTok from phones owned by government
Credit: Solen Feyissa (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a unanimous decision, the senate of the United States has decided that the social media app TikTok will be banned from all government-owned devices.

This step comes after President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to ban the app for everyone in the United States.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Republican senator Tom Cotton says slavery was a "necessary evil"
United States Senator Tom Cotton (l) with Judge Brett Kavanaugh (r)
United States Senator Tom Cotton (l) with Judge Brett Kavanaugh (r) Credit: Office of Senator Tom Cotton / Public domain

In an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas Republican senator Tom Cotton said the "role of slavery can't be overlooked," and that America shouldn't be portrayed as "an irredeemably corrupt, rotten and racist country" but rather "as an imperfect and flawed land, but the greatest and noblest country in the history of mankind."

Cotton, who was seen as a possible presidential candidate for 2024, further stated: "We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country. As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction."

Regional News • Americas • United States
US Senate committee approves TikTok ban bill
US Senate committee approves TikTok ban bill
Credit: Solen Feyissa

The "No TikTok on Government Devices Act" bill by Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was unanimously approved bu the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday. The bill states U.S. federal employees would be barred from using Chinese-owned mobile video app TikTok on government-issued devices.

The bill now moves to the Senate floor.

Law
Berlin: Domestic violence and child abuse cases rise during Covid-19 pandemic
Berlin: Domestic violence and child abuse cases rise during Covid-19 pandemic
Credit: unsplash.com / hoch3media

The violence protection outpatient clinic of the Berlin Charité and the Berlin family courts raised concerns. In the first quarter of 2020, cases of domestic violence and child abuse in court rose 7.5% year over year.

In June 2020, the number of injuries to be treated in the Charité after domestic violence even increased by 30%. Child abuse increased by 23% in the first half of the year.

The Berlin Senator for Justice also makes the lockdown measures responsible.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Senator announces that United States have officially withdrawn from World Health Organization

The United States Senator Bob Menendez has announced via his Twitter account that the United States Congress has been informed that the President of the United States Donald Trump has officially withdrawn the United States from the World Health Organization.

Regional News • Asia
House of the United States pass sanctions against China over Hong Kong security law
House of the United States pass sanctions against China over Hong Kong security law
Credit: unsplash.com / ElevenPhotographs

In a unanimous vote the United States House of Representatives has passed a bill sanctioning banks that are in business with Chinese officials responsible for the national security law and action against the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stated that "The law is a brutal, sweeping crackdown against the people of Hong Kong, intended to destroy the freedoms they were promised".

The bill is pending Senate approval and the signature of President Donald Trump.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Mississippi to replace state flag displaying Confederate emblem
The Mississippi state flag
The Mississippi state flag Credit: Michaelswikiusername at English Wikipedia / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

On Sunday, the Mississippi state legislature passed a bill to remove the Confederate emblem from the state's flag, the last remaining state flag to display the Confederate insignia. The Mississippi House voted 91 in favour and 23 opposed of removal, the Senate vote was 37 to 14. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) said he would sign the legislation into law.

Regional News • Americas • United States
United States Senate discusses bill to regulate encryption
United States Senate discusses bill to regulate encryption
Credit: Santeri Viinamäki (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The "Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act", introduced by senators Graham, Blackburn, and Cotton would force manufacturers of devices and systems with encryption to be able to decrypt data upon request of public authorities or court orders.

The law is tied to other regulations regarding surveillance and national security including Section 215 of the Patriot Act. For technology companies, the only reason to not unencrypt data would require proof that it is "technically impossible" and then they could be forced by the government to redesign their systems.