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Bloomberg December 14th 2020

Burgess COMMENTARY

Peter Burgess
Challenges multiply Bloomberg Politics Unsubscribe 6:26 AM (3 hours ago) to me Bloomberg It’s an arcane part of the U.S. presidential election process that typically passes with little notice, even from keen political observers. But add today’s meeting of members of the Electoral College to the myriad peculiarities of 2020. Nearly six weeks after the Nov. 3 election, President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win by 306 votes to President Donald Trump’s 232 will be formalized as electors in each state vote. The constitutionally mandated procedure across the 50 states and the District of Columbia may help conclude a chaotic election season punctuated by Trump’s refusal to concede and his frequent insistence, without evidence, that the vote was “rigged” against him. Significantly, it’s a moment some Republican lawmakers have targeted as the end of Trump’s attempts to overturn the results as far as they’re concerned. Now what for Biden and for a U.S. public more divided than ever as it's ravaged by the worst pandemic in a century? The president-elect plans to address the nation in the evening about the vote and “the strength and resilience” of American democracy, and his advisers are insisting he’ll enter the White House with a “clear mandate” from the American people. The test now will be to try to unify the country, fight Covid-19 and provide economic relief. Yet as shown by a “global intrusion campaign” of cyber-attacks on U.S. government agencies, reportedly by hackers from Russia — a country with which Biden as vice president wanted to reset relations — his administration will face mounting challenges both at home and abroad. — Kathleen Hunter Biden leaves a hospital in Philadelphia on Saturday after a scan of a foot he injured playing with his dog. Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net. Global Headlines Never-ending story | Brexit talks continue after the latest in a long line of deadlines came and went yesterday with the U.K. and the European Union agreeing to take another shot at closing a deal. Officials now say that an agreement could be struck this week, after both sides said they’re prepared to go the “extra mile.” The U.K. will leave the EU customs union and single market on Dec. 31, deal or no deal. Christmas gloom | Chancellor Angela Merkel finally got her way when she sent Germany into a hard lockdown after less rigorous restrictions introduced last month failed to stem the virus spread. All non-essential shops will be closed from Wednesday, employers urged to shutter workplaces and schoolchildren encouraged to stay at home under the measures, which are to last at least until Jan. 10. Merkel consistently called for tighter curbs, but the federal states refused to go along until a crisis meeting yesterday. Trump and other top U.S. officials will be offered the newly approved coronavirus vaccine within days as part of a plan to ensure continuity in government, Jennifer Jacobs reports. Red Sea tension | An explosion rocked a tanker after it was hit by an “external source” in the Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah yesterday, a sign of mounting attacks in the Red Sea. Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who are fighting a Saudi-led force backing the government there, have previously used sea mines to target ships in Saudi Arabian waters. Reality check | While political momentum is building for action against global warming, the lack of near-term detail means the planet could still be on track for an environmental catastrophe. As Jess Shankleman and Laura Millan Lombrana explain, a six-hour summit of leaders this weekend heard pledges of only incremental steps, which doesn’t bode well for the upcoming round of climate talks next year in Glasgow. Thinning ice in the Arctic made this year’s navigation season for natural gas tankers the longest on record, the latest sign of accelerating climate change in the Earth’s northernmost latitudes. Muslim anxiety | French President Emmanuel Macron's description of Islam as a religion in crisis has some Muslims saying they feel they’re being made into scapegoats after a series of horrific attacks by Islamic radicals, Ania Nussbaum reports. Macron’s government last week introduced a draft law to fight “separatism,” a term he’s coined for groups that don’t integrate and are susceptible to extremism. What to Watch This Week A bipartisan group of lawmakers is readying a two-part proposal that could be released as soon as today with $908 billion in pandemic relief aimed at helping to boost the battered U.S. economy. The U.S. decision to rescind Sudan’s almost three-decade designation as a state sponsor of terrorism paves the way for the North African country to boost its ravaged economy. Panama has suspended flights from Venezuela, cutting off one of the few remaining air corridors out of the country. The Prime Minister of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, Ambrose Dlamini, has died, after he was diagnosed with Covid-19 last month. Thanks to all who responded to our pop quiz Friday, and congratulations to Han-Ywan Hu who was the first to name Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro as the president who regained control of his nation’s National Assembly after the opposition boycotted elections. And finally ... In January, most people had never heard of the coronavirus or Covid-19. Now everyone from the youngest schoolchild to the most vulnerable pensioner has. As Rodney Jefferson outlines in Bloomberg’s The Year in Pictures, 2020 will be etched into the collective psyche as the year when the pandemic took a huge human toll — more than 1.6 million lives so far — and upended how and where we work, travel, learn, worship and socialize. A family carries the coffin of a person who died from the coronavirus at the Nueva Esperanza cemetery in Lima, Peru, on June 17. Photographer: Angela Ponce/Bloomberg Like Balance of Power? Get unlimited access to Bloomberg.com, where you'll find trusted, data-based journalism in 120 countries around the world and expert analysis from exclusive daily newsletters. You received this message because you are subscribed to Bloomberg's Balance of Power newsletter. Unsubscribe | Bloomberg.com | Contact Us Bloomberg L.P. 731 Lexington, New York, NY, 10022
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