Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore
Monday, October 12, 2020, 3:54 PM

Rejecting calls to change Georgia’s voting system to paper ballots, a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Georgia held last night that the state’s new touch-screen system can remain in place. The New York Times reports that some voters have experienced 90-minute delays and technical glitches using the $108 million technology. “Implementation of such a sudden systemic change under these circumstances,” wrote Judge Amy Totenberg in her ruling, “cannot but cause voter confusion and some real measure of electoral disruption.”

According to the Washington Post, there is also a legal dispute in North Carolina about how voters may correct their mail-in ballots. Last month the State Board of Elections said that voters can fix errors in their ballots by sending a completed affidavit to local elections officials. Two federal judges have since halted the policy, arguing that the state board had spoken too close to Election Day and allowed voters to avoid a key authentication process. There are now almost 7,000 deficient ballots that won’t be counted unless voters are permitted to fix them.

After Chinese doctors detected the country’s first case of locally transmitted COVID-19 in two months, all 9.5 million people in the city of Qingdao will be tested, writes the New York Times. The Chinese government has conducted similar mass testing campaigns in the Wuhan and Xinjiang provinces.

The South China Morning Post warns that India and China’s conflict over the Himalayan Ladakh region “could become a permanently contested militarised zone much like disputed Kashmir.” Despite eighteen rounds of negotiations between the two major powers, thousands of troops remain stationed along the Line of Actual Control while bullets fly and landmines explode. Ladakh’s bloodiest moment this year came when China objected to Indian road construction in May, leading to clashes that killed 20 Indian soldiers and at least 45 Chinese soldiers.

U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings began today in the Senate Judiciary Committee for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. According to the Wall Street Journal, Democrats warned that Barrett would harm Americans by repealing the Affordable Care Act. Republicans, in turn, warned of the dangers of court-packing, which some Democrats have proposed in response to Barrett’s nomination.

The baseless QAnon conspiracy theory is growing popular with Germany’s far-right, writes the New York Times. The conspiracy theory, which originated in the U.S., has an estimated audience of 200,000 Germans, which is likely the largest following among non-English-speakers. “The mythology and language QAnon uses — from claims of ritual child murder to revenge fantasies against liberal elites — conjure ancient anti-Semitic tropes and putsch fantasies that have long animated Germany’s far-right fringe,” explains the Times.

A week after a widely disputed presidential election in Kyrgyzstan sent protesters into the streets, the Kyrgyz parliament has installed Sadyr Japarov, a convicted kidnapper, as its next prime minister. The Wall Street Journal observes that tensions will continue rising until the current president resigns.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined a three-tiered system of lockdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19, reports CNBC News. Regions will either be classed “medium,” “high” or “very high” based on their infection rate, and Johnson said that most of England is in a medium zone with limited restrictions. Very high-risk cities like Liverpool will have to close their pubs, gyms and casinos until the virus is contained.

North Korea unveiled a massive new ballistic missile on Saturday during a military parade, writes the Washington Post. Although North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un claimed beforehand that the missile was intended as a deterrent, Seoul-based researcher Lee Ho-Ryung argues that “the target is clearly the United States.” South Korea’s military expressed concern today about the new weapon and said it’s now determining whether the missile was real.

BBC News reports that Armenia and Azerbaijan have resumed fighting after a short-lived ceasefire. The two neighbors in the South Caucasus are fighting for control of Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnically Armenian enclave surrounded by Azerbaijani territory, and approximately 500 people have died in the past month of the conflict.

ICYMI: This Weekend on Lawfare

Thomas Juneau wrote in Lawfare’s Foreign Policy Essay series about the United Arab Emirates’s intervention in Yemen.

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