10 things you need to know today: November 15, 2020

Violent clashes break out after pro-Trump demonstration in D.C., BioNTech founder: 'We could have a normal winter next year,' and more

People participate in the “Million MAGA March”
(Image credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

1. Violent clashes break out after pro-Trump demonstration in D.C.

Tensions flared overnight in Washington, D.C., after thousands of President Trump's supporters marched to the Supreme Court on Saturday to protest the presidential election results, despite there being no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Counterprotesters clashed with some of the demonstrators as evening fell. The Associated Press reports there were fistfights, at least one stabbing, and at least 20 arrests made throughout the day. Two police officers were reportedly injured and several firearms were recovered by law enforcement. Earlier in the day, Trump's motorcade passed through the crowd en route to his Virginia golf club, and the president appeared to follow how the rest of the evening played out, taking to twitter to blame antifa for the violence and urge D.C. police to "do your job and don't hold back." Pro-Trump crowds gathered in several other cities throughout the U.S., as well.

The Associated Press NBC News

2. BioNTech founder: 'We could have a normal winter next year'

Ugur Sahin, the co-founder of BioNTech, told BBC on Sunday that the company's coronavirus vaccine, which is being co-developed with Pfizer and was found to be 90 percent effective in an interim trial analysis, likely won't immediately bring down infection numbers if it's unveiled later this year, but he believes "we could have a normal winter next year." The plan, he said, is to deliver 300 million doses worldwide by April 2021, which should begin to curb the spread of the virus, and after that it will be "absolutely essential" to "get a high vaccination rate before autumn/winter next year." Sahin said he's "confident" that will be the case thanks to the number of vaccine companies helping Pfizer and BioNTech increase the supply.

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BBC Politico

3. Judge invalidates stricter DACA rules

Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York ruled Saturday that Trump administration rules limiting applications and renewals for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects immigrants living in the U.S. since childhood without legal permission, were invalid, restoring the program to full operation as intended by the Obama administration. In July, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf issued a memorandum that only offered DACA renewals for one year, rather than two, and closed off the program for new applications. From there, the administration would decide whether to end the program entirely. But Garaufis ruled Wolf's policy was improperly issued because he hadn't been properly appointed to his acting position since the Senate has not taken up his nomination. It is the fifth judicial ruling to find that Wolf's appointment violates federal job vacancy law.

The Wall Street Journal CNN

4. China headlines major Asia-Pacific free trade agreement

Leaders from 15 Asia-Pacific nations on Sunday signed what analysts have said by some measures is the largest free trade agreement in history. The 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations joined up with Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea to cement the pact, which could add nearly $200 billion to the global economy by 2030, according to some estimates. While The Financial Times described the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as a "fairly shallow agreement" that is not expected to lead to large overall tariff reductions, it's still considered a step toward making Asia a more coherent trading zone, akin to the European Union. It's also the first free trade deal between China, Japan, and South Korea, although India's absence is viewed as significant. It will reportedly take some to ratify the RCEP.

Agence France-Presse The Financial Times

5. Armenians leave homes as villages come under Azerbaijani control

Territorial concessions included in a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement went into effect Sunday, and Armenians have begun leaving parts of the Nagorno-Karabakh region en masse, though Azerbaijan agreed to extend the withdrawal deadline for another 10 days. Some of the departing Armenians are setting fire to their homes, The Associated Press reports. The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed territory, which is officially recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has been controlled by ethnic Armenians for decades, flared up in recent months. The fighting resulted in Azerbaijan seizing the key city of Shusha, leading to the ceasefire, which Russia plans to enforce with 2,000 peacekeepers. It's unclear how many Azeris will return to the region after being displaced in 1994. The Armenians who are leaving their homes cast doubt on the possibility that they could live peacefully beside the returning Azeris, per AP, and many remain uncertain of where their next destination will be.

The Associated Press Al Jazeera

6. Vietnam braces for typhoon, hurricane heads toward Central America

Typhoon Vamco made landfall in Vietnam on Sunday, bringing with it winds that have topped out at 150 miles per hour. Vietnamese provinces in its path had planned to evacuate 468,000 people by Saturday evening. Before reaching Vietnam, Vamco struck the Philippines, killing 67 people. It was the deadliest of 21 storms to hit the archipelago this year. Meanwhile, Central America is bracing for Hurricane Iota's "potentially catastrophic" winds and "life-threatening storm surge." The storm, which the National Hurricane Center said is rapidly strengthening, is headed toward Nicaragua and Honduras. Iota is the 13th hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season and a record-breaking 30th named storm.

CNN Fox News

7. Israel to move forward with controversial settlement plan, watchdog says

Peace Now, a settlement watchdog group, said the Israel Land Authority announced Sunday that it is moving forward with the construction of hundreds of homes in an east Jerusalem settlement, a move that could cut off parts of the city claimed by Palestinians in the West Bank. Peace Now said the decision is a "lethal blow to the prospects of peace" and accused Israel of "taking advantage of the final weeks of the" Trump administration, which has generally remained distant from issues surrounding settlement construction. The incoming Biden administration, on the other hand, is expected to take a firmer stance against expansion.

The Associated Press

8. Tigray forces fire across Eritrean border as Ethiopia conflict intensifies

Forces from Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, which is mired in an escalating conflict with the Ethiopian federal government, fired rockets across the border into Eritrea, a neighboring country that Ethiopia recently struck a groundbreaking peace deal with two decades after the two nations fought in a war. The Tigrayan forces alleged Ethiopian soldiers were using an Eritrean airport to attack Tigray. Elsewhere in Ethiopia on Sunday, gunmen have reportedly killed dozens of people in a bus attack in the country's western region. The number of reported casualties is currently 34, but the toll is reportedly expected to rise. There is no information about the perpetrators and no known link between the attack and the military operations in Tigray.

BBC Al Jazeera

9. 2 killed in pro-democracy protests in Peru

Two protesters were killed on Saturday after massive pro-democracy protests took place in the capital, Lima, and several other cities and towns throughout the South American country. The demonstrations have taken place throughout the week; Saturday was the first day with reports of fatalities. The unrest began after the removal of President Martín Vizcarra and the subsequent installation of a de facto government, which many Peruvians consider a coup, The Guardian reports. Protesters have demanded the resignation of new President Manuel Merino, and Peru's current speaker of congress has called a multi-party meeting to discuss it. Police reportedly detained 30 protesters on Saturday and were accused of repressing largely peaceful demonstrations. Images appear to show riot police deploying tear gas to break up the crowds.

The Guardian

10. Dustin Johnson looks to close out Masters, capture green jacket

The final day of the Masters Tournament kicked off Sunday morning at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, with Dustin Johnson in command. The U.S.'s Johnson, who is an impressive 16-under par through the first three rounds, is holding on to a seemingly secure four-shot lead over Australia's Cameron Smith, Mexico's Abraham Ancer, and South Korea's Sungjae Im, though CBS Sports notes he has lost 54-hole leads at majors before. Johnson is one of the top golfers in the world, but the 36-year-old has only captured one major in his career, the 2016 U.S. Open. He's seeking his first green jacket, having finished in a tie for second at the 2019 Masters.


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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.