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Weekend Review: Protests in India Rage On
Protests in India continued this week as tens of thousands of farmers joined the demand to repeal controversial laws enacted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September. Many Indians believe these laws will further erode protections for farmers by allowing more free market activity around the sale, pricing, and storage of food from farms.
The concern among citizens is that the new laws could allow private hoarding of agricultural commodities and make it easier for corporations to take over farming in India. It has been speculated that Modi attempted to push the laws through quietly without using proper procedures while using the pandemic as a distraction.
On November 26, more than 250 million people reportedly joined the largest known general strike in history, staged in solidarity with Indian farmers.
Protesters have been met with water cannons and tear gas from armed security forces.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called clashes “concerning” while supporting the right for the farmers to peacefully assemble. The Indian foreign ministry warned that such statements could have “a seriously damaging impact on ties between India and Canada.”
A fake tweet attributed to vice president-elect Kamala Harris also offered support to the farmers. Harris, the daughter of an Indian immigrant, denied the post was real through her media team. Though she has spoken of having a deep connection to India, she has not yet commented on the current plights of protesting Indians.
Demonstrations are anticipated to continue into next week.
Georgia governor pressured by Trump to overturn Biden’s GA win
According to a source who spoke with CNN, President Trump reportedly called Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to try and influence him to overturn the state’s election results.
Trump allegedly asked Kemp to call a session to select electors that would support a win for Trump over president-elect Joe Biden. The source added that Trump also wanted Kemp to call for an audit of absentee ballots.
The governor allegedly responded by denying he has such authority, according to CNN’s source. The White House declined to comment on the report.
On Saturday, Trump held a rally in Valdosta, GA to further discredit the results in Georgia. He assured his supporters, “If I lost I’d be a very gracious loser.”
Though the rally was supposed to help boost the campaigns of Georgia Republicans who are running for re-election, the president took the opportunity to claim he is the victim of a rigged election. Georgia Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue were given little time to speak and were hardly mentioned by Trump.
The current president’s prospects for remaining for a second term have long been dwindling. Reportedly, the president is now considering pardons for as many as 20 associates before leaving office.
Coronavirus surging in US
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), warned that things “are going to get a lot worse” as Covid-19 surges in the US.
He predicted that the country will have topped 300,000 deaths by the end of the year, a number he fears will be increasing by 4,000 people a day by that time.
Meanwhile, a moratorium on rent evictions enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to expire at the end of the month. Back rent will be due on January 1, 2021, meaning an eviction crisis is just around the corner.
That moratorium helped more than 23 million people temporarily avoid eviction but not all tenants were aware of their rights. Furthermore, states are uniquely enforcing the order, so evictions have continued in spite of it.
Second stimulus excludes direct payments to taxpayers
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week to discuss a second stimulus package. Pelosi and McConnell are in talks over a $908 billion deal that offers payments to state and local governments, among other actions.
The deal also offers businesses a temporary shield from liability for coronavirus infections. It does not offer any direct payments to taxpayers, though millions have fallen into poverty since the start of the pandemic.
Sen. Bernie Sanders said he will not support the proposal unless it is “significantly approved” while Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated taxpayers “need that check.”
While progressive legislators are concerned, McConnell told the New York Times that he and Pelosi are “both interested in getting an outcome”. The parties must come to an agreement on spending before December 11.