President Donald Trump has fired Chris Krebs, the government’s cybersecurity director, over his assertion that the Nov. 3 election wasn’t digitally compromised. Trump’s latest effort to discredit President-elect Joe Biden’s victory came the same day that Michigan’s Republican election officials, settling for future election reforms, lifted their block on certifying Detroit-area results to affirm the state’s 16 electoral votes for Biden. Even GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, who’s denied accusations that he asked Georgia officials to trash legal ballots, gave Vice President-elect Kamala Harris a fist-bump on the Senate floor, where other GOP senators were heard congratulating her.
Five days before Inauguration Day, President Trump plans to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan and another 500 from Iraq. The announcement was criticized by members of Trump’s own party, including Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye in Afghanistan, who said it would leave America “vulnerable to emboldened terrorists.” Military analysts said that significantly reducing the number of troops in each country could hamstring President-elect Biden — despite his advocacy as vice president for such a drawdown — by forcing him to order large redeployments to regain lost ground.
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3. Palestinians, Israelis Resume Cooperation
After stopping in protest six months ago over since-halted Israeli plans to annex West Bank settlements, the Palestinian Authority has agreed to resume institutional security, financial and logistical cooperation with the Jewish state. The arrangements, which include things like the two sides helping each other track wanted criminals and collect taxes, date back to the Oslo agreements of the 1990s. Meanwhile, Israel’s Defense Forces said it carried out airstrikes against Syrian government and allied Iranian targets after finding bombs planted by Iranians in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Syrian media reported that three of its soldiers were killed.
Amid the whirlwind of setting up a new administration, Vice President-elect Harris made a last-minute entrance at the Capitol yesterday, casting a decisive vote to halt confirmation of President Trump’s choice for the Federal Reserve Board. Nominee Judy Shelton’s unorthodox views, such as reestablishing a gold standard for the dollar, were opposed by three GOP senators. That, combined with the fact that two other Republicans are in isolation due to COVID-19 exposure, allowed Democrats the chance to temporarily block Shelton’s confirmation. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’ll hold another vote when more Republicans are available.
Help Us Reset America: 2020 has shown that the issues we need to solve as a nation are bigger than ever. From racial injustice to economic opportunity, from loneliness to digital surveillance, these concerns impact our mental well-being and physical health. As we move beyond the election, OZY will continue to lead the conversation, bringing a wide variety of voices to the table to find the path forward. We want to kick this off at SXSW in 2021 — and could use your help to make sure that happens. Please click here to visit the SXSW website, create an account and vote up our panel. And in the meantime, join us on social media to continue the conversation.
Need a little beat … to get you through the week? Check out this week's playlist on OZY, featuring the game-changing artists you love and rising stars you'll soon love.
Jaws is no match for Oz. Tourists have long flocked to see great white sharks while researchers cage-dived to observe the prehistoric apex predators in Cape Town’s False Bay. But in just the last few years, they’ve disappeared, OZY reports. While South Africa’s government blamed two nearby orcas, researchers say the sharks’ departure coincides with a recent boom in fishing the smaller sharks that great whites eat, 95 tons of which are shipped annually to feed fish ’n’ chips-munching Australians. Now tour operators and scientists are seeking a crackdown on overfishing to revive the majestic beasts.
2. Twitter Debuts ‘Fleets’ That Expire in 24 Hours
No regrets. Or at least no retweets, likes or lasting shame unless somebody saves screenshots. Yesterday Twitter debuted Fleets, which disappear after a day, emulating Snapchat and Instagram Stories. The feature has already gotten some iffy reviews, with social media maven Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asking if others are “stressed” by it. Some wonder if it’ll embolden trolls and the peanut gallery has observed it shares a name with a major enema brand. While it’s unclear how fleeting this idea might be, Twitter’s also going after the invitation-only Clubhouse platform by testing strictly controlled voice chatrooms.
He’s calling it a “green industrial revolution.” And that’s a mouthful for a conservative leader. Yet Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil a $16 billion plan today to fight climate change while potentially creating 250,000 new jobs. One of its most notable provisions promotes electric vehicles by banning the sale of new diesel and gasoline cars within a decade — five years earlier than current plans dictate. The initiative, which Greenpeace predicts will inject $5.6 billion into Britain’s economy, is aimed at moving the U.K. toward its goal of being carbon-neutral by 2050.
She will always love you. Fans of the “9 to 5” singer were quick to praise Parton’s $1 million donation back in April as a significant contribution to a COVID-19 vaccine. The Tennessee native’s gift went to researchers at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University, whose work helped Moderna develop the vaccine that tests showed this week to be the world’s most effective. “I just wanted to do good,” Parton said during an interview. To show your gratitude, you can buy her latest album, A Holly Dolly Christmas, or simply watch her holiday Netflix special dropping on Sunday.
A tragic mishap has claimed the life of 36-year-old French daredevil Vincent Reffet, known for roaring through the air attached to mini jet engines and a carbon-fiber wing. A spokesperson for his Dubai Jetman team announced the death “with unimaginable sadness” and said they were “working closely with all relevant authorities” investigating the incident. Reffet once boarded an aircraft in flight over the Alps, and he made headlines in 2015 with inventor Yves Rossy by flying alongside an Airbus A-380. The stuntman also set a world record for base-jumping off the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.