World media - POLSKA УКРАЇНА

 Biden Fractures Foot While Playing With His Dog

Over the years, White House pets have played a role – making the occupants a little more human. President-elect Joe Biden’s dog Major may have overdone that duty. On Saturday, Biden slipped while playing with 2-year-old German shepherd. On Sunday, Biden was diagnosed with hairline fractures of two bones in his midfoot and will likely wear a walking boot for the next several weeks, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, director of executive medicine at George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, told reporters.Biden adopted Major, a rescue, in 2018. He adopted his other dog, Champ, in 2008 shortly after the presidential election. Champ is also a German shepherd.The Bidens have said they plan to bring both dogs with them to the White House. They are also rumored to be adding a cat to the family.“I love having animals around the house,” Jill Biden told Washington’s Fox 5 earlier this year. Not everyone has felt a need for a furry White House companion.President Trump has not had any pets in the White House during his time in office, the first president without resident animals in roughly 100 years, according to White House historians.At a rally last year, Trump dismissed dogs in the White House as no more than a prop.”I don’t know. Feels a little phony, phony to me. A lot of people say, ‘Oh, you should get a dog,’ ‘Why?’ ‘It’s good politically.’ I said, ‘Look, that’s not the relationship I have with my people.’”The Biden campaign launched a website Dog Lovers For Joe, with the slogan “Choose Your Human Wisely.” There’s a long tradition of presidential pets. President Barack Obama had two Portuguese water dogs, Bo and Sunny. President George W. Bush had a number of pets during his eight years in office, including Spot, an offspring of Millie, his father and former president’s dog. President Bush also had a cat, India. Those past First Dogs and First Cats may have some advice for the next White House resident: Play nice.

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Biden Names All-Women Communications Team

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced an all-women communications team Sunday. “Communicating directly and truthfully to the American people is one of the most important duties of a president, and this team will be entrusted with the tremendous responsibility of connecting the American people to the White House,” Biden was quoted as saying in a press release from the transition team office. “These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better,” he added. Kate Bedingfield, who served as the communications director for the Biden-Harris campaign, was named the White House communications director.  “It will also be an honor to work alongside the incredible women who are taking on these roles together,” Bedingfield wrote on Twitter, detailing her relationship with the other women named to the team. Bedingfield previously worked for Biden when he was the vice president in the Obama administration. I’m unspeakably proud to have the opportunity to serve as White House Communications Director for @joebiden. Working for him as VP and on this campaign gave me insight into what kind of capable, compassionate, clear-eyed president he will be and it will be a profound honor to 1/— Kate Bedingfield (@KBeds) November 29, 2020Pili Tobar, who served as deputy director of America’s Voice, an immigration reform advocacy group, will serve as her deputy. Ashley Etienne, who served as the communications director for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was named as the communications director for Harris. Symone Sanders, who worked for Senator Bernie Sanders during his bid to be the Democratic nominee, will serve as a senior advisor and chief spokesperson for the vice president.   Jen Psaki, who held several communications positions under the Obama administration, has been named White House Press Secretary.  Karine Jean-Pierre, who worked for NBC and MSNBC as a political analyst, will serve as her deputy. Biden’s transition to the presidency officially began last week after a government agency declared him the apparent winner of the 2020 presidential election, even as President Donald Trump continues his long-shot attempt to upend Biden’s victory at the polls. Biden has named a number of people to positions in his administration, including members of his national security team, secretary of state, and secretary of the treasury. 

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Wisconsin Ballot Recount Affirms Biden Win Over Trump

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden gained 87 votes in Wisconsin as a partial recount of ballots cast was completed Sunday, cementing his 20,000-vote victory over President Donald Trump in the Midwestern political battleground state.The Trump campaign paid $3 million for the recount of the 800,000 votes in the two most heavily Democratic areas of the state, in Wisconsin’s biggest city of Milwaukee and in Madison, the state capital, in hopes of upending Biden’s claim to the state’s 10 electoral votes.Instead, however, Wisconsin became the latest state where Trump, a Republican, has failed in recounts to overturn the November 3 vote favoring his Democratic challenger or win lawsuits alleging vote and vote-counting fraud cost him a second four-year term in the White House.  Biden holds an unofficial 306-232 advantage in the Electoral College that determines the outcome of U.S. presidential elections, not the national popular vote, although Biden leads there, too, by more than 6 million votes.  Biden is set to be inaugurated as the country’s 46th president on January 20, and, at 78, its oldest leader. Last week, he named his first Cabinet nominees and plans to announce the names of key economic officials this week.  The Electoral College balloting occurs on December 14, with the largest states casting the most votes. Trump said last week he would leave the White House when his term ends, if Biden, as expected, wins the Electoral College vote.Trump has yet to concede the election, and his campaign has lost more than 30 lawsuits contesting the outcome in key states.Ahead of the outcome of the recount in Wisconsin, Trump said Saturday on Twitter, “The Wisconsin recount is not about finding mistakes in the count, it is about finding people who have voted illegally, and that case will be brought after the recount is over, on Monday or Tuesday. We have found many illegal votes. Stay tuned!”Election workers, right, verify ballots as recount observers, left, watch during a Milwaukee hand recount of presidential votes at the Wisconsin Center, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Nov. 20, 2020.But in Dane County, where Madison is located, election official Scott McDonell said the recount uncovered no instances of fraud and that the second look at the vote count there should “reassure” the public about its accuracy.Trump, however, continued his unfounded accusations about irregularities in the election in a Sunday interview with Fox News’s Maria Bartiromo.“Joe Biden did not get 80 million votes,” Trump contended. “I got 74 million votes, and everybody thought it was over” on Election Night.“And then all the mail-in voting started happening,” he said. “This election is a total fraud.”Democrats supporting Biden, by millions more than Republicans voting for Trump, cast mail-in ballots that often were counted in the days after the election, in some instances because state laws did not permit them to be counted until after polls closed.Without evidence, Trump alleged, “They stuffed the ballot boxes, you know that. How come there are thousands of dead people voting?”“My mind will not change in six months,” he concluded. “There was tremendous cheating.”Trump said his campaign is pursuing appeals of lawsuits he has lost to the U.S. Supreme Court.Increasingly, Republican officials, although hardly all of them, are acknowledging Biden’s victory.On Sunday, Republican Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, who is overseeing the inauguration planning at the U.S. Capitol, told CNN, “We’re working with the Biden administration, the likely administration, on both the transition and the inauguration as if we’re moving forward,” although he stopped short of acknowledging Trump lost the election.Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas is one of a few Republicans to refer to Biden as the president-elect.”The transition is what is important. The words of President Trump are not quite as significant,” Hutchinson told “Fox News Sunday.” 

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Dozens Reported Detained in Anti-Lukashenko Marches in Belarus 

Authorities in Belarus have detained dozens of protesters amid ongoing demonstrations aimed at ousting strongman Alexander Lukashenko from the presidency. 
 
At least 130 people were reported detained in Minsk and Barauliany, according to the Vyasna human rights group. Other detentions were reported across the country. This is the second week in which the Belarus demonstrations have been held under the rubric March of Neighbors. The opposition has adopted the strategy as a way of decentralizing the protests and making it more difficult for police to round up activists. RFE/RL’s Belarus Service reported that law enforcement used tear gas and stun grenades against some demonstrators. Mobile Internet services were not available in Minsk and the central metro stations were closed. 
 
It was unclear how many people participated in the demonstrations. 
 
Belarus has seen nearly continuous protests since a disputed presidential election on August 9 gave Lukashenko a sixth presidential term. The United States and the European Union have not recognized Lukashenka’s reelection. 
 
The opposition has been calling for Lukashenko’s resignation, the release of all political prisoners, and a new election. 
 
During a visit to a Minsk hospital on November 27, Lukashenko implied that he would resign if a new constitution was adopted. 
 
“I will not work as president with you under the new constitution,” state media quoted him as saying. 
 
Lukashenka has called several times for a new constitution, but the opposition has dismissed the statements as a bid to buy time and stay in power. 
 
A former collective farm manager, Lukashenka, 66, has ruled Belarus since 1994. Demonstrations were reported in almost all districts of the capital. 
 
One video posted on social media appeared to show police in Minsk dragging away an unconscious person near the Pushkin metro station. It was unclear how many people participated in the demonstrations. 
 
Belarus has seen nearly continuous protests since a disputed presidential election on August 9 gave Lukashenko a sixth presidential term. The United States and the European Union have not recognized Lukashenko’s reelection. 
 
The opposition has been calling for Lukashenko’s resignation, the release of all political prisoners, and a new election. 
 
During a visit to a Minsk hospital on November 27, Lukashenko implied that he would resign if a new constitution was adopted. 
 
“I will not work as president with you under the new constitution,” state media quoted him as saying. 
 
Lukashenko has called several times for a new constitution, but the opposition has dismissed the statements as a bid to buy time and stay in power. 
 
A former collective farm manager, Lukashenko, 66, has ruled Belarus since 1994. 

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US Health Experts: Coronavirus Vaccines on the Way, but Precautions Still Paramount   

Two top U.S. coronavirus experts assured Americans Sunday that vaccines against the pandemic would soon become available but warned that not taking precautions against the spread of the virus before then could prove disastrous. “We should have enough vaccine by the end of the year to immunize 20 million Americans and we have to immunize for impact,” Admiral Brett Giroir, the White House virus testing chief, told CNN. “But the American people have to do the right things until we get that vaccine widely distributed.” FILE – Adm. Brett Giroir, director of the U.S. coronavirus diagnostic testing, testifies at a Senate committee hearing, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, June 30, 2020.Giroir described two prospective vaccines, which are now under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as “lifesaving,” saying, “This puts an end to the pandemic.” But until then, he said, “The American people have to do the right things until we get that vaccine widely distributed, wear a mask, avoid indoor crowded spaces, all the things you know.”   Giroir said he believes there will be a “smooth, professional transition” in handling the vaccine distribution from the administration of outgoing President Donald Trump to that of President-elect Joe Biden when he is set to be inaugurated on January 20. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, speaking to ABC’s “This Week” show, said, “Help is on the way,” and that the initial supply of vaccines might be available by mid-December. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing on the federal government response to COVID-19, Capitol Hill, Sept. 23, 2020.Fauci said health experts are “empathetic about the fatigue” of Americans being careful about becoming exposed to the virus. But he said wearing face masks and people physically distancing themselves from others “do make a difference.” Millions of Americans curtailed their traditional family gatherings for last Thursday’s annual Thanksgiving holiday, yet millions of others ignored warnings from health care experts against traveling to visit far-flung relatives for fear of spreading the virus. “I don’t see how we’re not going to have the same thing” happen with people traveling — and potentially spreading the virus — for Christmas visits with their families, Fauci said. He said there is “a considerable risk” for people getting together. FILE – Travelers wait to check in for flights at LaGuardia Airport, Nov. 25, 2020, in Queens, New York.Fauci called on state and municipal officials to “close the bars, keep the schools open,” to keep “the community level of spread low.” “Let’s try to get the kids back, and let’s try to mitigate the things that maintain and just push the kind of community spread that we’re trying to avoid,” Fauci said. “And those are the things that you know well – the bars, the restaurants where you have capacity seating indoors without masks.” “Those are the things that drive the community spread — not the schools,” he said. Teresa Nguyen, a respiratory therapist, treats a patient inside a room for people with COVID-19 at a hospital in Hutchinson, Kan., Nov. 20, 2020.The assessments came as the United States topped 13 million confirmed cases on Friday, just six days after it reached 12 million cases. The highly contagious virus that causes the COVID-19 disease has killed more than 266,000 Americans, more than in any other country, according to the Johns Hopkins University. More than 91,000 infected individuals are currently hospitalized in the U.S., an all-time high, with more than 18,000 in intensive care units.   

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Court Orders France to Rethink 30-Person Limit on Worship 

France’s highest administrative court on Sunday ordered a rethink of a 30-person attendance limit for religious services put in place by the government to slow down the spread of coronavirus.The measure took effect this weekend as France relaxes some virus restrictions, but it faced opposition by places of worship and the faithful for being arbitrary and unreasonable. Even before the ruling, several bishops had announced they would not enforce the restrictions and some churches were expected defy it.The Council of State has ordered that Prime Minister Jean Castex modify the measure within three days.French churches, mosques and synagogues started opening their doors again to worshippers this weekend — but only a few of them, as France cautiously starts reopening after its latest virus lockdown.Many people expressed irritation outside several Paris churches where priests held services for groups that numbered over 30.“People respected social distancing perfectly, each to his place and with enough space so I don’t think there’s anything to worry about here,” Laurent Frémont told The Associated Press on his way home after Mass.To attend Mass, they had to book tickets online and give their names on their way in. However, the church’s protocol didn’t seem to help limit the number of people inside the building.Asked whether they would stay if the crowd was too large, most said they would. “I really think you couldn’t do better from a sanitary point of view,” said Humbline Frémont.For some, the new rules stirred up fears. French Catholics were sharing rules and recommendations on social media for how to behave if the police arrive at a church for a head count.Farid Kachour, secretary general of the group running the mosque of Montermeil, a heavily immigrant suburb northeast of Paris, says that his mosque simply wouldn’t open with too few people permitted.“We can’t choose people” allowed to enter for prayer. “We don’t want to create discontent among the faithful,” he said.Kachour noted that Muslims pray five times a day, further complicating the situation. To respect the rules, the mosque would need 40 services a day to allow all the faithful to pray, he said.Places of worship were allowed to continue during France’s latest nationwide lockdown, which is coming to an end in December, but regular prayer services were banned due to health concerns. Around the world, some religious services have been linked to coronavirus clusters, including superspreading events.France has reported over 52,000 virus-related deaths, the third-highest pandemic death toll in Europe after Britain and Italy.“Non-essential” shops reopened in France on Saturday, but bars and restaurants will not reopen before Jan. 20. 

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Opposition Calls on Hungary’s Orban to Sack Museum Head for Likening Soros to Hitler 

A leading Hungarian opposition party joined calls on Sunday for Prime Minister Viktor Orban to sack the head of a state-funded museum for making extreme anti-Semitic comments likening U.S. financier George Soros to Adolf Hitler.Nationalist Orban has long vilified Soros, a Hungarian Jew who emigrated after World War II, as part of a general campaign against immigration. Orban accuses Brussels of trying to force Hungary to accept migrants under the influence of Soros. In an op-ed published on Saturday, Szilard Demeter, who heads the Petofi Literary Museum and serves as a government cultural commissioner, called Soros “the liberal Fuhrer” and wrote that Europe was Soros’ “gas chamber” with “poisonous gas” flowing from the capsule of multicultural open society. Demeter issued a statement on Sunday that he would withdraw the article, saying his critics were right that “the Nazi parallel could unintentionally hurt the memory of the victims.” Earlier Hungarian Jewish groups including the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities called his op-ed “unforgivable” and “an ugly provocation”. The main leftist opposition party the Democratic Coalition called for Demeter’s immediate dismissal. “The Democratic Coalition expects from the government that Szilard Demeter should be unemployed by the end of today. A man like him has no place in public life, not just in a European country but anywhere in the world,” it said. The government has not replied to emailed Reuters questions on whether they shared Demeter’s views. FILE – Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrive ahead of a meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels, Belgium Sept. 24, 2020.Referring to a budget row between Poland and Hungary and the European Union, Demeter said Poles and Hungarians were the “new Jews” who were targeted by liberals who tried to expel them from the bloc. Poland and Hungary have said they would block a new European Union budget and coronavirus recovery fund if rule-of-law conditions are attached. Israel’s embassy tweeted that it utterly rejected “the use and abuse of the memory of the Holocaust for any purpose… There is no place for connecting the worst crime in human history, or its perpetrators, to any contemporary debate, no matter how essential.” Soros has been at odds with Orban’s government for years for pouring funds into liberal organizations and institutions in Hungary. In 2019 the Central European University he founded said it was being forced out of the country by the nationalist government and moved most of its operations to Vienna. 

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