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US Supreme Court Rejects Trump-Backed Challenge To Election

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The United States Supreme Court has on Friday rejected an unprecedented attempt to throw out election results in four battleground states that was backed by President Donald Trump and more than 100 other elected Republicans.

The lawsuit, filed this week by the state of Texas, sought to invalidate results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In a brief statement explaining the court’s decision, the court rejected the suit without a hearing, saying Texas did not have legal standing to bring the case to challenge the results in other states: “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.”

President-elect Joe Biden won all four states and Trump has made repeated unsubstantiated assertions that “illegal votes” cost him a second presidential term.

The Democratic candidate who won seven million more votes than the president nationwide defeated Trump by a margin of 306 to 232 votes in the US electoral college, which chooses the US president.

The lawsuit was supported by 19 state attorneys general and 127 Republican members of Congress.

The court said “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.”

The Texas attorney-general, Ken Paxton, a Republican currently under federal investigation, had asked the US high court to dismiss over 20m votes in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, four battleground states that carried Joe Biden to victory.

Earlier on Wednesday, Trump tweeted “We will be INTERVENING in the Texas (plus many other states) case,”. “This is the big one. Our Country needs a victory!”

Also, according to a video posted to Twitter Trump said at a White House Hanukkah party on Wednesday night, “all I ask for is people with wisdom and with courage, that’s all,” adding that “because if certain very important people, if they have wisdom and if they have courage, we’re going to win this election in a landslide.”

However, the Friday’s ruling represents a setback for Trump, who has previously suggested without evidence that the result of November’s presidential election would be settled in the Supreme Court.

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US: Biden To Reinstate COVID-19 Travel Ban

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A public health official in United States has said that president Joe Biden will on Monday formally reinstate COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-U.S. travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders.

The principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr Anne Schuchat told Reuters news agency in an interview stating that “we are adding South Africa to the restricted list because of the concerning variant present that has already spread beyond South Africa.”

Schuchat added that the CDC was “putting in place this suite of measures to protect Americans and also to reduce the risk of these variants spreading and worsening the current pandemic.”

Biden is reversing an order from President Donald Trump in his final days in office that called for the relaxation of the travel restrictions as of Tuesday.

More than 25 million persons in the United States have now been confirmed with COVID-19, about a quarter of the world’s total infections.

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Dog Spent Days Outside Turkish Hospital Waiting For Sick Owner

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A devoted dog has spent days waiting outside a hospital in northern Turkey where her sick owner was receiving treatment.

The pet, Boncuk (Bon-DJUK), which means bead, followed the ambulance that transported her owner, Cemal Senturk, to hospital in the Black Sea city of Trabzon on Jan. 14. She then made daily visits to the facility, private news agency DHA reported on Wednesday.

Senturk’s daughter, Aynur Egeli, said she would take Boncuk home but the dog would repeatedly run off and return to the hospital.

Hospital security guard Muhammet Akdeniz told DHA: “She comes every day around 9 a.m. and waits until nightfall. She doesn’t go in.”

“When the door opens she pokes her head inside,” he said.

On Wednesday, Boncuk was finally reunited with Senturk when he was pushed outside in a wheelchair for a brief meeting with his dog.

“She’s very used to me. And I miss her, too, constantly,” he told DHA.

Senturk was discharged from the hospital later on Wednesday and returned home with Boncuk. (AP)

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Hungary approves Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine

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Hungary has become the first country in the European Union to give preliminary approval to the Russian coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V.

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff confirmed both the Russian jab and the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine have been approved.

Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto has been scheduled to travel to Moscow for further talks, where he is expected to discuss a shipment and distribution plans.

Hungarian health officials are also in Beijing for discussions on the approval and immediate delivery of one million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, already being used in Serbia.

Sinopharm is a Chinese company that announced last month phase three trials of its jab showed 79% effectiveness.

At least 140,000 Hungarians have already been vaccinated with it.

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