Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore
Monday, October 5, 2020, 2:40 PM

A far-right extremist attacked a Jewish student yesterday in northern Germany, reports the New York Times. The assault, which left the young student with serious head wounds, coincides with anti-Semitic crimes nearly doubling in Germany over the past three years. The president of the World Jewish Congress has called on Germany to teach its citizens that “hatred of any kind is never permissible,” adding that “the long-term viability of Jewish life in Germany depends on it.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) altered its guidance about in-person schooling after a Trump administration official intervened, writes Politico. In early September, Department of Health and Human Services official Paul Alexander told CDC officials that characterizing teenagers over eighteen as “pediatric patients” was “misleading” and told them that older teenagers are less susceptible than younger children to COVID-19. According to CDC official Charlotte Kent, Alexander’s requests—which were similar to career civil servants’—complicated her efforts to change the report, because she wanted to avoid the perception of political influence.

President Trump remains hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after being admitted on Friday, experiencing a high fever, lowered blood oxygen levels and coughing after contracting the coronavirus. The president’s medical team said on Saturday that he is receiving steroids to bolster his immune system, a measure that the New York Times notes is typically reserved for serious illness. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Trump aide Kellyanne Conway and three Republican senators have also tested positive for the virus, all of whom attended a Rose Garden celebration of Judge Amy Coney Barrett last Saturday.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of targeting civilians in their ongoing conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a majority-Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan. According to CNN, the Armenian government alleges that the Karabakh capital of Stepanakert faced rocket fire today. Azerbaijan countered that 24 civilians have died since late September from Armenian artillery and rockets. CNN notes that propaganda offensives by both sides make it difficult to tell which accounts are accurate.

Nicaragua’s legislature is considering a law that will require foreign journalists to register with the government, writes the Washington Post. Another bill would provide for up to four years of jail time for anyone who spreads “false and/or misrepresented information which causes alarm,” a measure that will likely pass in the coming week due to the governing Sandinista party’s congressional majority. Julio López, director of a press advocacy group in Nicaragua, said the new legislation “represents the continuity of the regime’s repression of independent journalism”—a cry of alarm echoed by U.S. officials like Acting Assistant Secretary of State Michael Kovak.

The United States is scrambling to catch up with China to secure rare-earth minerals, reports the Wall Street Journal. Last week, President Trump signed an executive order authorizing use of the Defense Production Act to mine resources which are used in batteries and electronics. “To dislodge China’s overwhelming dominance of rare earth, in particular, is a multi, multiyear process,” said TechMet Chief Executive Brian Menell. “There are no quick fixes.”

The New York Times has profiled the ongoing negotiations between Afghanistan and the Taliban. Many of the key players in the negotiations are the children of officials and insurgents who played major roles in the Soviet conflict in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

The New York Police Department is training officers to prepare for widespread civil unrest after the presidential election, writes the Wall Street Journal. Officers are undergoing two and a half days of classroom instruction on handling violent protests, as well as four and a half hours of training and role-playing at a Queens police academy. Deputy Chief Samuel Wright told the Journal that the police haven’t undergone such intensive crowd-control training since at least the 1990s.

Negotiators for the U.S. and Russia met in Finland today to discuss nuclear arms control, according to Deutsche Welle. Their focus was the future of the New START, a treaty set to expire in February 2021 that limits strategic nuclear weapons.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Brian Kalt explained the rules for replacing an ill presidential candidate who won’t drop out of the race.

James Piazza argued that white Americans’ demographic anxiety plays an important role in driving their political preferences.

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