By William James LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's upper house on Monday voted to give parliament powers to block or delay a final deal on departure from the European Union, defeating Prime Minister Theresa May's government. The House of Lords voted 335 to 244 in favor of a 'meaningful vote' amendment to May's Brexit blueprint that could allow parliament to send ministers back to the negotiating table in Brussels or even halt the Brexit process if it disapproved of the final deal. "This is not ... about creating a constitutional crisis, nor is it about asking the Commons (the lower house) to take on the negotiations ... it is to ask the Commons and parliament to decide whether the outcome of the negotiations is good enough," said Dianne Hayter, the opposition Labour Party's Brexit spokeswoman. The result had been expected, and was the seventh time in recent weeks that the government has been defeated in the Lords on the legislation that will formally terminate Britain's EU membership. The Lords amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill have been criticized by the government and can be overturned in the lower house, where May has a working majority, albeit a slim one. The government suffered an eighth defeat when lawmakers backed an amendment requiring ministers to seek parliamentary approval for their negotiating mandate in the next round of Brexit talks on Britain future relationship with the bloc. TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT The government has committed to giving parliament a vote on the final deal, but has framed this as a choice between accepting the terms it has negotiated with Brussels and rejecting them and leaving without a deal. The 'meaningful vote' amendment passed in the Lords on Monday went further, saying that the government must take a course of action decided by the House of Commons if its exit deal is rejected. Martin Callanan, the government's Brexit minister in the Lords, said during the debate: "I do not believe that it is in the best interests of the country to redefine the nature of our democracy in this way. It is a well established feature of our constitution that the executive represents the country in international diplomacy." In a statement immediately after the vote, he said he was disappointed at the outcome and would consider its implications. "What this amendment would do is weaken the UK's hand in our negotiations with the EU by giving parliament unprecedented powers to instruct the government to do anything with regard to the negotiations – including trying to keep the UK in the EU indefinitely," his statement said. The government does not have a majority in the upper house, meaning that when peers from opposition parties and politically neutral members join forces, they are almost guaranteed to win. May's majority in the lower house of parliament is likely to be severely tested next month when she is expected to call on her divided Conservative Party to throw out the changes. (Reporting By William James; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Richard Balmforth)
- Yahoo News
U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Va., told the Yahoo News "Skullduggery" podcast that President Trump's supporters claiming voter fraud share a lot in common with the people searching for Bigfoot.
- Yahoo News
Rep. Ilhan Omar proposed the legislation in April but concerns about an impending wave of evictions has continued to grow.
- Associated Press
The leader of a pro-gun group that stages armed protests against police violence has been charged with pointing a rifle at federal officers while in Kentucky for a demonstration. John F. Johnson, who calls himself “Grandmaster Jay,” is facing a federal charge of assaulting task force officers. A complaint filed in federal court in Louisville said Johnson pointed a rifle, which had a flashlight mounted to it, at officers who were on a roof in downtown Louisville on Sept. 4.
- The Daily Beast
Earlier this week, Project Veritas released the first of what it promised would be many shocking revelations from CNN’s internal editorial meetings, which founder James O’Keefe appears to have infiltrated and recorded over the course of several weeks.First, the right-wing group tried to make hay out of the fact that one high-level CNN staffer considered Fox News host Tucker Carlson to be racist—while simultaneously misidentifying the staffer in question. Their latest bombshell? CNN President Jeff Zucker thinks Rudy Giuliani is “crazy.”According to Project Veritas’ website, O’Keefe believes it will be “virtually impossible for the American public to take CNN’s reporting seriously after listening to these tapes.” And yet, once again, nothing that Zucker has said should surprise anyone who has been paying attention to Giuliani, especially in the weeks since Trump lost the presidential election to Joe Biden.“There is a term for what Rudy Giuliani is suspected of being, which is ‘useful idiot,’” a voice identified as Zucker’s can be heard saying in a tape made just a couple of days after the man formerly known as “America’s mayor” started pushing material supposedly obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop.He goes on to call Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the election a “really important story,” adding, “It gets tied to the Hunter Biden email disinformation campaign. That’s the way we do this, because it’s all tied and part-and-parcel of one. I know Washington is working on putting that all together.”In a more recent call, when another staff member suggests that the “real craziness is the client,” referring to President Trump, “not the lawyers,” the voice ID’d as Zucker agrees before saying, “I think you raise a good point about not just pawning it off on the crazy legal team, but the client is the one who is directing the crazy legal team.”Other comments from Zucker that seem to have outraged Project Veritas concern the baseless allegations of pedophilia against Biden that circulated online, especially among QAnon Facebook groups, in the run-up to the election.“The president of the United States has just retweeted a post accusing Joe Biden of being a pedophile to his 86 million followers which is just beyond,” he says on another tape. “You know it also is just unacceptable that the president of the United States is trafficking in this and doing it.”Once again, an exposé intended to make Zucker and CNN look bad has only revealed that they are simply adhering to reality.Project Veritas’ CNN Sting Uncovers Explosive News That Tucker Carlson Is RacistRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- The Telegraph
Murderers and rapists could be barred from claiming asylum as part of Priti Patel's crackdown on immigration
Murderers and rapists to be prevented from claiming asylum, says Priti Patel, after the Jamaican deportation flight row. In an interview with The Telegraph, the Home Secretary said it was “completely wrong” that convicted killers and rapists released from jail should be able to exploit the asylum system to remain in the UK. She also indicated that asylum will be “streamlined” to prevent migrants making multiple claims that can be lodged and heard hours or even minutes before their removal. It will be part of a major reform of Britain’s “completely broken” asylum system, which is due to be unveiled in the new year. Her comments came after a murderer, two rapists and two would-be killers were among 23 criminals who escaped deportation to Jamaica early on Wednesday morning after lodging 11th hour appeals including claims for asylum. One was removed from the flight just minutes before the flight after a judge granted a stay.
- Associated Press
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has named Tina Flournoy, a veteran Democratic strategist and aide to the Clintons, as her chief of staff, the transition team announced Thursday. Flournoy's appointment as Harris' top staffer adds to a team of advisers led by Black women. Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian heritage, is the nation's first female vice president.
In an editorial, the government-backed China Daily said it viewed as "worrisome signs" Washington's decision to limit visitor visas for members of the Chinese Communist Party and their families and a ban on Xinjiang cotton imports. "Even if the incoming administration has any intention of easing the tensions that have been sown, and continue being sown, some damage is simply beyond repair, as the sitting U.S. president intends," the paper added. China's ambassador to the United States became the latest of the Asian nation's senior officials to signal a desire to reset the increasingly confrontational relationship as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office in January.
He is the first to be arrested under a controversial anti-conversion law passed last month.
- Yahoo News Video
In a lengthy video posted to his Facebook page, President Trump offered more baseless allegations of voter fraud. Trump said his remarks, which ran some 46 minutes, “may be the most important speech I’ve ever made.”
- Associated Press
A top Pakistani court on Wednesday declared the country’s ailing former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who lives in exile in London, a fugitive from justice after he failed to return home to face additional corruption charges. The move by the Islamabad High Court comes months after Sharif was given the chance to voluntarily return home. The next court hearing will be held in a week’s time, when the judges will discuss whether to proceed with the hearings and try Sharif in absentia.
- The Week
President-elect Joe Biden said when it comes to the Department of Justice, he is "not going to be telling them what they have to do and don't have to do."Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were interviewed by CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday, and the discussion turned to reports that President Trump is contemplating preemptively pardoning his adult children, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Biden said this "concerns me in terms of what kind of precedent it sets and how the rest of the world looks [at] us as a nation of laws and justice."Biden promised that he is "not going to be saying, 'Go prosecute A, B, or C,' I'm not going to be telling them. That's not the role, it's not my Justice Department, it's the people's Justice Department. So the persons or person I pick to run that department are going to be people who are going to have the independent capacity to decide who gets prosecuted, who doesn't."Harris, who once served as California's attorney general, added that the administration will assume that "any decision coming out of the Justice Department ... should be based on the law, it should not be influence by politics, period."More stories from theweek.com 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims What Trump is doing isn't politics. It's something much worse. The Donald goes down to Georgia
- Architectural Digest
From a private island to a tiny Vermont tree houseOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
A bilateral trade deal between Taiwan and the United States would reinforce U.S. support for the democratic island in the face of "unrelenting intimidation" from China, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Friday. Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has long angled for a trade deal with its most important diplomatic and military backer, and in August Tsai announced a relaxation on imports of U.S. pork and beef, removing a stumbling block.
- Business Insider
Attorney for Jared Kushner and a Trump fundraiser investigated by DOJ in alleged bribery-for-pardon scheme
The New York Times reported that a lawyer for President Trump's son-in-law was investigated by the Justice Department this summer.
- Associated Press
Authorities in Bangladesh have begun relocating thousands of Rohingya refugees to an isolated island despite calls by human rights groups for a halt to the process, officials said Thursday. The United Nations has also voiced concern that refugees be allowed to make a “free and informed decision” about whether to relocate to the island in the Bay of Bengal. The island's facilities are built to accommodate 100,000 people, just a fraction of the million Rohingya Muslims who have fled waves of violent persecution in their native Myanmar and are currently living in crowded, squalid refugee camps.
- The Week
There appears to be growing support among Senate Republicans for a bipartisan coronavirus relief bill introduced earlier this week, reports The Washington Post.The $908 billion package — championed by moderate Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Susan Collins (D-Maine), and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) — is in between what Democratic leadership is pushing for and what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has suggested. The moderates suggested an unemployment boost and money for state governments, but no stimulus checks.While McConnell on Thursday continued to resist the bipartisan bill, pushing instead for his version, which the White House has endorsed, other Republican senators got on board with the package. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Tex.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) signaled they were open to the bipartisan bill.Democratic leaders said they believed the $908 billion package should be the basis for negotiations. Several Republicans echoed that, saying it wasn't exactly what they wanted but it made for a good starting point.McConnell didn't comment directly on the bipartisan proposal, but instead urged lawmakers to pull the trigger on his version, which he called "a serious and highly targeted relief proposal including elements which we know the president is ready and willing to sign into law."More stories from theweek.com Biden says he's concerned about reports Trump is considering preemptive pardons 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims What Trump is doing isn't politics. It's something much worse.
Philippine police on Friday threatened to cane people who violate social distancing protocols as the Southeast Asian nation fights the spread of the coronavirus during the festive season. The Philippines celebrates one of the world's longest Christmas seasons, starting as early as September, and crowds have started to flock to sprawling malls and shopping centres despite the pandemic. Police general Cesar Binag, commander of the coronavirus task force, told a news conference that police and soldiers would patrol in public areas in the capital Manila, the hotspot of COVID-19 cases, carrying 1 meter rattan sticks to measure distancing.
- USA TODAY
Five executions are scheduled before Joe Biden, who opposes capital punishment, takes office. Ninety current and former law officials want a halt.
- Associated Press
The killing of a young Black man last month by a white man who complained that he was playing loud music has roiled Ashland, Oregon, forcing the liberal college town that is famous for its Shakespeare festival to take a hard look at race relations. The death of Aidan Ellison, 19, added another name to the list of Black men and women whose killings have sparked a nationwide reckoning with racism and fueled a surge in a Black Lives Matter movement. On Nov. 23, Robert Keegan fired a single shot into Ellison's chest after complaining about the music late at night in a motel parking lot.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday he would not replace his outgoing chief-of-staff Alfonso Romo and will close down his office in order to save money. Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday that Romo, a longtime ally and millionaire entrepreneur known for his outreach to business groups, would step down after two years in the job. The leftist president said Romo would continue to act as a go-between for the government and the private sector, a role that has often been strained over Lopez Obrador's skepticism about private sector involvement in areas such as energy.