2020 U.S. Presidential Election & Global News

by Debra Brown

2020 Election

Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.


2020 U.S. Presidential Election

Millions of votes remain uncounted and no candidate can credibly claim victory as yet. There is no evidence of fraud.

More than 100 million people cast their ballots in early voting before Election Day, setting the US on course for its highest turnout in a century.

At least four states, including Texas, have surpassed their total 2016 general election voter turnout before Election Day, according to the U.S. Elections Project. 

Californians convicted of felonies but who are on parole will be allowed to vote in elections under a ballot measure, Proposition 17, that appeared to win approval by the state’s voters.

Oregon votes to decriminalize personal possession of certain drugs, and the state would establish a drug addiction treatment program funded by its marijuana tax revenue.


Gunman Kills At Least 4 In Vienna 

At least four people were killed and 14 others wounded, seven with life-threatening injuries, in a shooting spree in the city center of Vienna before police shot and killed a gunman the country’s interior minister described as an “Islamist terrorist.”

NPR’s Schmitz reports that Nehammer said the suspect was a 20-year-old dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia who was sentenced to 22 months in prison last year because he’d attempted to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State. The authorities now say there is no indication that other assailants took part in the rampage. He was released seven months later due to laws applying to young adults.

Witnesses said the gunman fired randomly into bars and cafes that were crowded on the last night before a nationwide lockdown because of the coronavirus. The gunman was killed by police within minutes.


Gunmen Storm Kabul University, Killing 19

Gunmen stormed Kabul University, killing students in their classrooms and firing on others as they fled, in the second attack on an educational institution in the city in just over a week, officials and witnesses said.

The three attackers killed at least 19 people including students before Afghan security forces shot the gunmen dead, authorities said.

The Taliban said their fighters were not involved in the assault. No other group immediately claimed responsibility.

A suicide bomber killed 24 people including teenage students at an education centre in Kabul on Oct. 24. Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack, without providing evidence.

Violence has plagued Afghanistan while government and Taliban negotiators have been meeting in Qatar to try to broker a peace deal and as the United States brings home its troops.


Judge Orders Immediate Sweep of 12 Postal Districts for Undelivered Ballots

A Federal District Court judge ordered an immediate sweep of 12 postal districts on Election Day searching for undelivered ballots after the Postal Service said in court that some 300,000 ballots it had received had not been scanned for delivery.

The judge, Emmet G. Sullivan of the District of Columbia, ordered the sweep to begin before 3 p.m. to “ensure that no ballots have been held up and that any identified ballots are immediately sent out for delivery.” He said he was particularly concerned about ballot delivery in districts where there has been slow processing of ballots for days, including Central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Detroit.

He ordered the Postal Service to provide him with an update on the sweep by 4:30 p.m. certifying that “sweeps were conducted and that no ballots were left behind.”

The USPS has turned down a federal judge’s order to sweep mail processing facilities serving 15 states, saying it would stick to its own inspection schedule.


Supreme Court Rules Favorably for Black Lives Matter activist

The Black Lives Matter movement got a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court.

The justices tossed out a federal appeals court decision that allowed a Black Lives Matter protest organizer to be sued by a police officer injured by an unknown assailant.

The officer, identified as John Doe, was struck in the face by a rock. He sued DeRay Mckesson, a Black Lives Matter activist, on the theory that he “knew or should have known … that violence would result.”

The 2016 incident in Baton Rouge, La., followed the shooting death of Alton Sterling by a white police officer, which triggered weeks of protests across the U.S.

The officer, who suffered injuries to his brain, jaw and teeth, also sued Black Lives Matter. That was tossed out on the theory that BLM is a social movement and cannot be sued.

The American Civil Liberties Union took up Mckesson’s cause after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, based in New Orleans, reversed a district judge’s ruling and ruled the lawsuit could go forward.


Poland Delays Abortion Ban as Nationwide Protests Continue

Poland’s rightwing government has delayed implementation of a controversial court ruling that would outlaw almost all abortion after it prompted the largest protests since the fall of communism.

The decision by the country’s constitutional tribunal promised to further tighten Poland’s abortion laws, which were already some of the strictest in Europe. The tribunal ruled that terminations should be illegal even in cases where a foetus is diagnosed with a serious and irreversible birth defect. This kind of abortion accounts for almost all of the small number of abortions performed legally in the country.

The tribunal’s decision, which was in response to a challenge from a group of rightwing MPs, has focused anger on the Law and Justice (PiS) party. PiS has ruled Poland since 2015 and has been accused of eroding democratic norms during its time in power, including by packing the constitutional tribunal with its supporters.

The protesters have ignored a ban on gatherings of more than five people, intended to slow the spread of coronavirus, and have come out in force. More than 100,000 people gathered in the streets of Warsaw for the largest gathering so far. They shouted pro-choice and anti-PiS slogans.


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