In Brazil, critics are accusing far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of “lethal incompetence” after his administration failed to prepare for a mass vaccination program. Bolsonaro — who has called COVID-19 a “little flu” and has used homophobic slurs to mock face masks — shunned Pfizer’s offer to sell its vaccine to Brazil and has pinned all his hopes on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Bolsonaro also rejected China’s Sinovac vaccine, which has been promoted by São Paulo’s governor, who’s seen as a likely challenger to Bolsonaro’s reelection campaign in 2022.
President-elect Joe Biden officially won the Electoral College Monday, as electors met in their respective state capitals to formalize his victory, even as President Trump continued to claim without evidence he was the victim of a massive conspiracy to rig the election.
In Lansing, Michigan, authorities closed the state Capitol and surrounding buildings after receiving credible threats of violence. Michigan Republican lawmakers sanctioned GOP state Representative Gary Eisen after he suggested he was part of a group seeking to disrupt the Electoral College vote and refused to rule out the possibility of violence.
In Arizona, Electoral College members met in a secret location after 11 Democratic electors received threats.
Wisconsin’s Electoral College members were told to enter the state Capitol through an unmarked side door amid similar threats of violence. Wisconsin Republicans refused to accept Biden’s victory and met separately at the state Capitol to select what they called an “alternate slate” of electors casting votes for Trump.
In Delaware, President-elect Joe Biden called a Republican effort to overturn the election results by 17 state attorneys general — and backed by 126 Republican congressmembers — an “unprecedented assault on our democracy.”
President-elect Joe Biden: “In America, politicians don’t take power; people grant power to them. The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. And we now know nothing, not even a pandemic or an abuse of power, can extinguish that flame.”
Biden’s speech came as several top Republican senators publicly accepted Trump’s loss for the first time.
Michigan Congressmember Paul Mitchell said Monday he’s leaving the Republican Party after becoming disgusted with President Trump’s attempts to overturn the result of the 2020 election. He spoke with CNN.
Rep. Paul Mitchell: “This party has to stand up for democracy first, for our Constitution first, and not political considerations, not to protect a candidate, not simply for raw political power. And that’s what I feel is going on, and I’ve had enough.”
In Saudi Arabia, an oil tanker anchored in the port of Jeddah was hit by a boat filled with explosives on Monday. CBS reports it was the fourth assault targeting Saudi energy infrastructure in a month. No one has taken responsibility for the attack. Last month, Houthi rebels in Yemen took credit for firing a missile at a Saudi Aramco oil company distribution station in Jeddah. This comes as the Trump administration is considering designating the Houthis as a terrorist organization despite concerns the move could worsen the humanitarian crisis in Yemen by hindering the work of aid groups.
The United States has removed Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. The move is seen as part of a deal that saw Sudan and Israel agree to establish formal bilateral ties in October. In 1993, the Clinton administration placed Sudan on the list for hosting Osama bin Laden in Khartoum. The move had essentially cut off Sudan from the international finance system for nearly three decades.
The Trump administration has issued sanctions on a Turkish defense agency and four officials for Turkey’s purchase of a Russian-made missile defense system in 2017. The move came just days after the U.S. Congress passed a military spending bill that would have required the sanctions be imposed against Turkey, a NATO ally. Last week, the European Union agreed to sanction Turkey for drilling for gas in areas of the Mediterranean claimed by Cyprus.
In Nigeria, Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the mass kidnapping of more than 300 students from a boarding school in the northern state of Kankara. More than 100 gunmen on motorcycles raided the rural all-boys school on Saturday, sending hundreds of students fleeing into the surrounding forests. An audiotape of a Boko Haram leader claims the raid was meant to discourage “Western education” in Nigeria.
Officials with the Trump administration are acknowledging the email systems of the Pentagon, State Department and the Department of Homeland Security were all compromised in a major cyberattack that also targeted the Treasury and Commerce Departments, as well as nuclear laboratories and some Fortune 500 companies. The National Security Council held an emergency meeting Monday to discuss what has been described as the biggest breach of U.S. government data in years.
The hackers allegedly inserted malicious software into an update for network management software made by the private company SolarWinds, which has 300,000 customers worldwide. The Trump administration has not identified who was behind the attack, but multiple news agencies suggest it was the work of hacking groups backed by the Russian government.
The news comes at a time when the government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is without a director. President Trump fired the agency’s director, Chris Krebs, in November for claiming the election was the “most secure in American history.”
Maryland’s longest-serving female prisoner was ordered released on Monday. Eraina Pretty has been locked up for 42 years. She contracted COVID-19 earlier this year. The 61-year-old woman entered prison as an 18-year-old after she was convicted of being an accomplice in two murders. In 2015, she spoke to ABC News.
Eraina Pretty: “In 2003, I wrote Governor Ehrlich and asked him for lethal injection.”
Diane Sawyer: “You asked?”
Eraina Pretty: “Yes, because of the victims’ family and everybody. I wanted them to know that I was sorry for the crime that I had committed.”