In our news wrap Thursday, police in Hong Kong arrested at least 60 people they say violated coronavirus rules and a new national security law banning large protests. Pro-democracy activists had gathered to oppose a holiday marking the founding of Communist China. Also, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation to limit each of the state’s counties to one drop-off location for mail-in ballots.
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In the day's other news: Information has surfaced about Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett having signed a 2006 newspaper ad that called for overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court abortion rights decision, saying that it was — quote — "an exercise of raw judicial power with a barbaric legacy."
President Trump had said that her view on Roe is not known. The ad was not included in the documents Barrett submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee ahead of her confirmation hearing.
The Trump administration is further slashing refugee admissions to the U.S. In a late-night memo, the State Department announced that it intends to admit only 15,000 refugees into the country in the 2021 fiscal year that started today. That is down from 18,000 during the previous fiscal year. It is another record low in the modern refugee program.
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation today limiting each of the state's counties to just one drop-off location for mail-in ballots. Abbott said that the move was meant to strengthen election security. But with, for example, Harris county, the home of Houston, with a population of 4.7 million, Texas Democrats argued that it is a form of voter suppression.
Amazon is reporting more than 19,000 of its workers have tested positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic. That amounts to almost 1.5 percent of its work force. It's the first time the company has shared information about the number of cases among its more than 1.3 million front-line workers across the country.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, an incorporated village on Long Island, has filed for bankruptcy, citing financial pressure from clergy sex abuse lawsuits. More than 200 lawsuits have been filed against the diocese since 2019, after a state law extended the statute of limitations.
Today, the bishop explained the decision.
What became clear was that the diocese was not going to be able to continue to carry out its spiritual, charitable and educational missions if it were to continue to shoulder the increasingly heavy burden of litigation expenses associated with these cases.
Rockville Centre is now the largest of more than 20 U.S. dioceses to file for bankruptcy amid the scandal.
In Russia, a war of words between the Kremlin and recovering opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Moscow accused the politician of working with the CIA, after Navalny blamed President Vladimir Putin for poisoning him in August with a Soviet era nerve agent. Navalny threatened to sue the Kremlin's spokesman over the CIA claim and he demanded evidence.
In Hong Kong, police arrested at least 60 people they say violated coronavirus rules and a new national security law that bans large protests. Pro-democracy activists gathered downtown in opposition to a holiday marking the founding of communist China. Police then detained and searched people in the street, as those in the crowd spoke out.
Roger Tsang (through translator):
A lot of people want to voice out their demands peacefully. But, due to the severe police brutality, lots of us feel like our personal safety is under threat. The co-called peacefulness is an illusion.
This year's pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have paled in comparison to last year's massive near-daily demonstrations, on account of the pandemic and the security law that was enacted in June.
Trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange ground to a halt today due to a technical failure in its computer systems. It was the first time the world's third largest stock exchange experienced an all-day outage since it switched to its fully electronic system in 1999. It is still unknown what caused the malfunction, but trading is set to resume tomorrow.
Back in the U.S., trading was light on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 35 points to close at 27817. The Nasdaq rose 159 points, and the S&P 500 added nearly 18.
The Washington Monument reopened to the public today after a six-month closure due to the pandemic. Coronavirus safety procedures are now in place, including mandatory face coverings and limited elevator capacity. The monument will also be closed for one hour each day to clean and disinfect.
And former President Jimmy Carter celebrated his 96th birthday today and another year as America's longest-living president. Carter has largely withdrawn from public view during the pandemic, but he remains active in politics through the Carter Center in Atlanta, which, for the first time, is monitoring a U.S. election, after declaring the country as a — quote — "backsliding democracy."