The Washington Post – Marc Fisher, Shayna Jacobs and Pam Kelley / America’s 250,000 covid deaths: people die, but little changes
- From the start of the pandemic, public health officials and many political leaders hoped that covid’s frightening lethality — the death toll will hit 250,000 this week — might unite the country in common cause against the virus’s spread.
- But the nation’s deep divisions — political and cultural — as well as the virus’s concentrated impact on crowded urban areas in the early months, set the country on a different path.
- More than eight months into a pandemic that shows no sign of abating, it has become clear that although close experiences with covid-19 do change some people’s attitudes, many Americans stick to their original notions, no matter what sorrows they’ve seen, no matter where they live.
- About three-fifths of U.S. deaths from the virus have occurred in the 28 states and territories where President-elect Biden won. Yet there is no automatic correlation between the politics of a place and how people react to the death toll in their community.
- The New York Times – Eliza Shapiro / New York City to close public schools again as virus cases rise
The Guardian – Christopher Knaus / Australian special forces involved in murder of 39 Afghan civilians, war crimes report alleges
- Australian special forces were allegedly involved in the murder of 39 Afghan civilians, in some cases executing prisoners to “blood” junior soldiers before inventing cover stories and planting weapons on corpses, a major report has found.
- For more than four years, the Maj Gen Justice Paul Brereton has investigated allegations that a small group within the elite Special Air Services and commandos regiments killed and brutalised Afghan civilians.
- In some cases, allegedly members of this group committed atrocities like slitting throats, gloating about their actions, keeping kill counts, and photographing bodies with planted phones and weapons to justify their actions.
- In all cases, the report finds it “was or should have been plain that the person killed was a non-combatant”. The vast majority of victims had been captured and were under control, giving them the protection under international law.
- The Economist / As America pulls out of Afghanistan the Taliban fight on
Financial Times – James Shotter / Poland revokes immunity of judge who criticised judicial reform
- The disciplinary chamber of Poland’s Supreme Court has revoked the immunity of a judge who has been an outspoken critic of the government’s judicial overhaul, amid a deepening clash between Warsaw and Brussels over the rule of law.
- The removal of Igor Tuleya’s immunity relates to his involvement in a contentious case three years ago and comes as Poland and Hungary threaten to veto the EU’s €1.8tn budget and pandemic recovery package.
- Polish prosecutors had requested the removal of Mr Tuleya’s immunity, claiming that he had overstepped his powers by allowing journalists to hear and record his ruling on a disputed 2016 parliamentary vote that should have been issued behind closed doors.
- Earlier this year the EU’s top court ordered Poland to suspend the chamber’s activities because of concerns over its lack of independence. Mr Tuleya said before the decision on Wednesday to revoke his immunity that he would ignore it.
- Euractiv / Slovenia PM backs Hungary, Poland in EU rule of law row
South China Morning Post – Stuart Lau / European leaders call for unity with US against China
- EU leaders are looking to US President-elect Joe Biden to work with Europe to tackle Beijing, with Germany and France calling for unity against countries like China, Russia and Iran.
- In a rare joint opinion piece, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his German counterpart Heiko Maas outlined their call in The Washington Post on Monday, less than two weeks after the US election.
- Both the US and the EU have long complained about restrictions on market access in China, which on Sunday signed the world’s largest trade deal with Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and 10 Southeast Asian nations.
- Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told the BBC on Monday that it would be wise for the US and the EU to settle disputes regarding Boeing and Airbus before they embark on policies to confront China over unfair trade practices.
- Politico – Sophie Wilmès, Jean Asselborn and Stef Blok / The case for renewed transatlantic cooperation
- Financial Times – Patrick Jenkins / Why financial literacy matters more than ever