Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore
Friday, December 4, 2020, 4:18 PM

In a federal government workshop on the coronavirus, public health officials acknowledged that hundreds of thousands of Americans may have lingering symptoms from the virus ranging from chest pain to depression, writes the New York Times. Dr. Peter Piot, an infectious disease expert at the London School of Hygiene, explained that he experienced extreme fatigue and insomnia for nearly four months after his positive diagnosis. One panelist underscored the importance of reminding the public, and particularly underserved communities, that long-term effects are “as real and possible as dying from the virus itself.”

Major pharmacies are coordinating with the government to distribute a coronavirus vaccine, reports the Washington Post. CVS and Walgreens will be responsible for administering two-dose vaccines to 50,000 nursing homes across the country, a task which one healthcare expert calls “monumental.” Some executives at the two companies worry about the lack of coordination between the federal and state governments, while others say that their biggest challenge is ensuring a steady supply of the vaccine.

A week after the Supreme Court overturned New York City’s gathering restrictions on churches and synagogues, the Court issued an unsigned order last night asking that California judges review Gov. Gavin Newsom’s even tighter restrictions in Los Angeles. Lawyers for a California church say that in “Tier 1” regions of heightened risk, indoor services are banned completely, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A Liberian warlord is standing trial in Swiss court 25 years after allegedly committing atrocities during the country’s back-to-back civil wars from 1989 to 1997 and 1999 to 2003. According to the Times, Alieu Kosiah faces charges that range from murder to eating the heart of a victim while he served as a rebel commander. Liberia’s truth and reconciliation commission recommended a war crimes court be established more than a decade ago, but this is the first time a Liberian has stood trial for civil war atrocities.

The Ethiopian government claims that it has captured or killed most commanders in the separatist northern region of Tigray, while regional leaders say that civilians are protesting against occupying soldiers. Reuters writes that the European Union officials are concerned about malnourishment in the region—and about Ethiopia's refusal to allow comprehensive humanitarian aid.

Bangladesh has transported hundreds of Rohingya refugees to a controversial island facility in the Bay of Bengal, reports CNN. Human rights groups are expressing concern about the facility, which lacks adequate medical care and is prone to flooding during monsoon season. "Without appropriate assessments and adequate information for refugees about conditions on the island, the move is nothing short of a dangerous mass detention of the Rohingya people in violation of international human rights obligations," said Daniel Sullivan, Human Rights Watch’s senior advocate.

Buzzfeed News investigated what it is like inside a Xinjiang, China detention center for Uighur Muslims. One compound is the size of thirteen football fields, containing hallways, classrooms and cells wired with microphones. Accounts from former detainees reveal that prisoners are routinely interrogated and subject to violent beatings for speaking their native language, Kazakh. Sometimes they are even forced to sign “self-criticism” affidavits.

According to the Associated Press, socialist dictator Nicholas Maduro is expected to win the election Sunday for control of Venezuela’s National Assembly. Maduro won a presidential election in 2018 that was widely decried as rigged, leading young opponent Juan Guaido to seize control over the presidency until free elections were held. Guaido’s supporters are boycotting this weekend’s election on the grounds that the contest is rigged once again.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of the ChinaTalk podcast called “The Blunder Down Under? How China-Australia Relations Fell Off a Cliff.” He spoke with Yun Jiang, editor of the China Story, about the past three years of deteriorating relations between the two countries.

Andrew Kent explained who will have the power in the Biden-Harris administration over deciding whether to investigate Trump.

Lester Munson shared an episode of the Fault Lines podcast entitled “The Empire Strikes Back or a New Hope?” He spoke with Jamil Jaffer, Jodi Herman, and first-time guest Michael Gottlieb, a former special assistant to President Obama, about how President-elect Biden’s senior foreign policy and cabinet nominees might affect policy on Iran.

Ashley Deeks argued that the U.S. government should share classified information with tech platforms about potential attacks on cyber infrastructure or foreign interference.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast called “Can Democracies Play Offense on Disinformation?” As part of Lawfare’s Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Quinta Jurecic spoke with Alina Polyakova and Amb. Daniel Fried, the former U.S. ambassador to Poland, about their new paper on the topic.

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