Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore, Tia Sewell
Thursday, November 5, 2020, 1:58 PM

Vote-counting continues today in the key swing states of Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia. The Trump campaign has now launched multiple legal battles over counting ballots in several battleground states, writes the Wall Street Journal. Politico reports that the Biden campaign, while preparing for the ensuing legal fights, is confident that they are on pace to win 270 electoral votes.

Twitter has continued to flag the president’s tweets as “disputed” and potentially misleading about the election process, according to the Washington Post. President Trump falsely claimed last night that he had won Pennsylvania (not all votes had been tallied) and tweeted baselessly that Democrats had stolen the election. The Post also reports that Twitter prevented the ability to retweet or like the president’s tweets. While Facebook placed similar warnings on some of the same misleading claims, the company did not prevent users from sharing or liking the posts. The fact that you have the same accounts violating the rules over and over again that don’t get punished is going to be something the platforms are going to have to addre-ss,” said Alex Stamos, a Lawfare contributor and former chief security officer of Facebook.

For the first time since the pandemic began, the U.S. on Wednesday recorded more than 100,000 new cases of coronavirus, writes the New York Times. Hospitalizations have increased by about 64 percent since the beginning of October.Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska, Maine and Minnesota also set single-day case records yesterday. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said in an interview on Friday that the nation “could not be possibly positioned more poorly” as colder temperatures are driving people indoors.

Officials plan to track the efficacy and side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine with a smartphone-based system once such a vaccine is cleared for widespread use, reports the Wall Street Journal. The extra surveillance measures are designed as additional safety precautions given the expected speed and scale of the vaccine’s rollout.

The president of Kosovo has resigned to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at a special court based in the Hague, reports the Associated Press. President Hashim Thaci served as a guerilla leader during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia in the late 1990s. Thousands of ethnic Albanias were killed during the war, and Thaci is charged with murder, enforced disappearances and torture alongside nine other ex-rebel leaders.

A United Nations women’s rights committee is pushing for the release of prominent Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul, writes BBC News. Al-Hathloul, a women’s reform advocate, was involved in the campaign for Saudi women to drive at the time that she was detained in 2018. She is one of roughly a dozen Saudi women arrested for supposedly posing a threat to the state’s national security. Her family says that she has been on a hunger strike for the past month and has suffered electrocution, whippings and sexual harassment.

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said Wednesday that Austrian intelligence officials first received information about the alleged gunman in the Nov. 2 attack in Vienna back in July, according to Reuters. Nehammer told press that Slovak intelligence service had flagged the attacker but “evidently something went wrong” with the communications. The minister also confirmed that the gunman acted alone in the Vienna terrorist shooting that left five dead on Monday.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of Rational Security entitled “The ‘Still Counting’ Edition.” Benjamin Wittes, Tamara Cofman Wittes, Susan Hennessey and Shane Harris discussed the latest news on the presidential election and foreign interference.

Abby Lemert and Eleanor Runde shared their biweekly round-up of U.S.-China technology policy and national security news.

Howell also shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast featuring a conversation between ChinaTalk’s Jordan Schneider and Adam Tooze, a professor at Columbia, about the diplomatic, economic and human rights situations in China.

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