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Israelis defy COVID lockdown to protest Trump pal Benjamin Netanyahu

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and US President Donald Trump have developed a close relationship. (AFP/File / JACK GUEZ)

Israelis kept up weekly protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, defying lockdown restrictions imposed by authorities aimed at stemming a surge in coronavirus cases.

The parliament in Israel, which currently has one of the world’s highest Covid-19 infection rates per capita, last week approved a law restricting demonstrations during an emergency lockdown.

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Part of draconian measures, it restricts people from moving more than one kilometre (less than a mile) from their homes.

Anti-Netanyahu protests have been staged each Saturday since July to denounce the prime minister’s handling of the virus pandemic and the economy.

In the latest demonstration, people waved Israeli flags and held up signs addressed to Netanyahu, whom many accuse of corruption, saying “Go away”, AFP reporters said.

The demonstrators largely respected social distancing measures unlike in Tel Aviv where thousands took to the streets and clashed with police.

“Police units at the scene are responding to the incidents and illegal protests,” he added.

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With more than 280,000 coronavirus infections confirmed so far and over 1,900 deaths in a population of nine million, Israel currently has the world’s highest weekly infection rate per capita.

Public anger has also deepened in recent days in Israel over a bitterly unpopular lockdown after high-profile figures reportedly violated the restrictions, including Netanhayu’s wife Sara who summoned a hairdresser to the premier’s official residence.

Only essential workers are allowed to leave their residences, adding further stress to an already battered economy, while Jews have been barred from gathering with friends and family over the High Holidays.

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The health ministry meanwhile urged ultra-Orthodox Jews to observe hygienic measures and social distancing and hold prayers outdoors on Saturday night when they observe the Simhat Tora holiday.


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Mnuchin is trying to block the Biden White House from giving Americans unspent COVID-19 funds

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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is part of the team of President Donald Trump's administration working to make life difficult for the incoming administration.

Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that there is about $455 billion in unspent funds from the CARES Act, which Congress passed to help Americans get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Mnuchin plans to place the money into the agency’s General Fund, a Treasury Department spokesperson said Tuesday. That fund can only be tapped with 'authority based on congressionally issued legislation," the report said, citing, the Treasury’s website.

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Ivanka and other advisors told Trump to ‘suck it up’ and allow the transition to proceed: report

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According to a new report from NBC News, President Trump's recent acceptance of a formal transition of power to the incoming Biden administration came after a meeting with his top advisers in the midst of growing pressure from Republicans and business leaders.

"The advisers argued that the combination of snowballing calls from Republicans in Congress to begin the transition, disastrous public appearances by attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell and mounting legal setbacks were creating a public relations problem — and that Trump needed to shift course to protect his brand,' as one ally put it," NBC News' Carol E. Lee, Peter Alexander and Hallie Jackson report.

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2020 Election

Wisconsin voters frustrated with GOP’s ‘ridiculous’ push to throw out votes: ‘I don’t understand what Republicans are thinking’

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Voters in Dane County, Wisconsin are confused by President Donald Trump and Republicans' efforts to toss legal ballots out in an effort to overturn the results of the election.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, voters have shared details about their voting experience for the 2020 general election along with their reactions to the post-election legal battle.

On Monday, election officials in Dane and Milwaukee counties — where recounts are currently underway — were expected to block the Trump campaign's efforts to throw out a "broad categories of ballots." Although the effort could end up in court, voters are displeased with the ordeal.

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