Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 29, 2020

Tim O'Donnell
Pennsylvania mail ballots.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images


Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses GOP election lawsuit

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled unanimously to reject a Republican lawsuit, led by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), that argued the Keystone State's law permitting universal mail-in voting was unconstitutional. The high court said the "petitioners advocated the extraordinary proposition that the court disenfranchise all 6.9 million Pennsylvanians who voted in the general election," but "failed to allege that even a single mail-in ballot was fraudulently cast or counted." The justices also criticized the petitioners for filing the lawsuit more than a year after the bill was passed by Pennsylvania's GOP legislature. "The want of due diligence demonstrated in this matter is unmistakable," the justices wrote. The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice meaning the plaintiffs are barred from bringing another action on the same claim. The decision was yet another blow for the Trump campaign and its allies seeking to overturn election results. [NBC News, The Washington Post]


Trump to give first 1-on-1 interview since election

President Trump will sit down for his first one-on-one interview since the general election Sunday. He's set to appear on Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo at 10 a.m. ET. The president still hasn't conceded the presidential race to President-elect Joe Biden despite his legal team's string of court defeats and lack of evidence to boost their allegations of widespread voter fraud. Trump has clashed with Fox in recent weeks after the network projected Biden would win Arizona early on election night. As recently as Saturday, he urged his followers to "watch almost anything else," especially "during the weekends," which is when his interview his scheduled, although he has not taken issue with Bartiromo. [Fox News, The Daily Beast]


Rising COVID-19 infections force new restrictions in some places while others report encouraging news

Several countries and cities around the world are tightening restrictions as coronavirus infections continue to raise, though some countries have reported more encouraging news. Hong Kong will suspend all in-person classes at schools as of Wednesday amid an uptick in cases, while South Korea is expanding mitigation measures outside Seoul, and multiple San Francisco Bay Area counties moved into California's most restrictive reopening tier. But in Germany cases are gradually declining, Poland reported the lowest number of new infections in more than a month, the Czech Republic will allow shops and restaurants to reopen next week, and Iran reported its lowest number of fatalities in a month. The United Kingdom, meanwhile, is gearing up to grant approval for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The first injections could take place as soon as Dec. 7, The Financial Times reports. [Bloomberg, The Mercury News]


At least 34 reportedly killed in 2 Afghan suicide bombings

At least 31 Afghan security force members were killed and 24 others wounded after an attacker reportedly drove a military humvee packed with explosives onto an army base outside the city of Ghazni on Sunday. The car bomb was then reportedly detonated. So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack. Per Reuters, a spokesman for the Taliban did not confirm or deny the group's involvement. Another suicide bomber targeted the convoy of Attajan Haqbayat, the council chief in the southern Zabul province, on Sunday, killing at least three people and wounding 21 others. Haqbayat survived the attack with minor injuries. No one has claimed responsibility for that incident, either; Reuters notes Haqbayat is an outspoken critic of the Taliban. [The Associated Press, Reuters]


Ethiopia says military operations are over, begins search for Tigray leaders

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Friday that the "federal government is now fully in control" of the Tigray region's capital, Mekelle, after a successful military offensive, Reuters reports. Abiy said police are searching for leaders of the Tigray People's Liberation Front, who have been fighting the government's forces throughout November, and aim to "bring them to the court of law." He added that military operations have ended and the government's focus is now "rebuilding the region and providing humanitarian assistance." TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael said Tigrayan forces would keep fighting, but are withdrawing from around Mekelle. On Sunday, rockets launched from Tigray hit neighboring Eritrea's capital, Asmara, for the third time since the conflict began. The TPLF has accused the Ethiopian government of enlisting the Eritrean military's support. [Reuters, Al Jazeera]


Washington archbishop officially becomes 1st Black American cardinal

Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., officially became the first Black American to earn the rank of cardinal Saturday. Gregory was among 11 men who traveled to the Vatican after Pope Francis had chosen to elevate them to the College of Cardinals last month. There were 13 new cardinals selected, but two opted out of going to Rome over coronavirus concerns. The 72-year-old Gregory will be eligible to vote for the next pope, should it be necessary, until he turns 80. The ceremony inside St. Peter's Basilica reflected the times, as the new cardinals sat in socially distanced rows while wearing masks. Gregory and the other new cardinals quarantined for 10 days and tested negative for COVID-19 multiple times before the ceremony. [The Washington Post]


David Prowse, the original Darth Vader, dies at 85

David Prowse, a British actor best known for portraying Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died after a short illness, his management company announced Saturday. He was 85. Prowse was a former bodybuilder and weightlifting champion who had several roles in which he played monsters and villains before George Lucas invited him to audition for both Vader and Chewbacca. Prowse said he chose the former because "everyone remembers the villain." While he appeared in all three original trilogy films, it was actually James Earl Jones who provided the character's voice, and Lucas cast Sebastian Shaw for the role when Vader's helmet is finally removed at the end of the third film. Despite playing an iconic pop culture figure, Prowse said he was most proud of his role as the "Green Cross Code Man" in a British road safety campaign. [The Guardian, CNN]


Vanderbilt's Fuller becomes 1st woman to play in Power 5 football game

Sarah Fuller, a goalkeeper for Vanderbilt women's soccer team, suited up for the Commodore football team Saturday and became the first woman to play in a Power 5 football game when she took the third quarter kickoff. Two women have played college football at the FBS level — Katie Hnida of New Mexico and April Goss of Kent State — but neither were on a team in the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, or Pac-12. While she did not get a chance to kick a field goal or an extra point — Vanderbilt lost 41-0 — Fuller said "it's awesome" that "I can represent all the girls out there that have wanted to do this or thought about playing football." Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said he would "love" to have her stick with the team "if she wants to kick and she's available." [ESPN]


Mysterious Utah monolith disappears

A mysterious metal monolith invoking images from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey that was placed in a desert in southeastern Utah has disappeared, the federal Bureau of Land Management's Utah office said in a statement Saturday. The monolith prompted theories of alien placement, but is believed to be a clandestine work of pubic art that was illegally placed. It was removed by an "unknown party." Officials aren't quite how it was installed, but it was embedded soundly in the rock. A spokesman for the Utah Department of Public Safety said earlier this week that "somebody took the time to use some type of concrete-cutting tool or something to really dig down, almost in the exact shape of the object." [The New York Times, CNN]


Tyson draws with Jones in return to the ring

Mike Tyson fought Roy Jones Jr. to a draw in an eight-round exhibition boxing match at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday night. The 54-year-old Tyson was back in the ring for the first time in 15 years to face the 51-year-old Jones. Both fighers have held the heavyweight title. Per USA Today, Tyson was aggressive early in the bout, scoring several body shots against Jones who at one point in the second round looked hurt. But he stayed on his feet and was able to go the distance. Tyson said he was glad he got the return "under my belt" and said he plans to keep fighting more exhibitions. [USA Today, CBS Sports]