US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a towering women’s rights champion who became the court’s second female judge, died Friday at her home in Washington. She was 87, reports AP.
Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said.
Her death just over six weeks before Election Day is likely to set off a heated battle over whether President Donald Trump should nominate, and the Republican-led Senate should confirm her replacement, or if the seat should remain vacant until the outcome of his race against Democrat Joe Biden is known.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said late Friday that the Senate will vote on Trump’s pick to replace Ginsburg, even though it’s an election year.
Trump called Ginsburg an “amazing woman” and did not mention filling her vacant Supreme Court seat when he spoke to reporters following a rally in Bemidji, Minnesota.
Biden said the winner of the November election should choose Ginsburg’s replacement.
“There is no doubt — let me be clear — that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,” Biden told reporters after returning to his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, from campaign stops in Minnesota.
Chief Justice John Roberts mourned Ginsburg’s passing.
“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her — a tireless and resolute champion of justice,” Roberts said in a statement.
Ginsburg announced in July that she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver, the latest of her several battles with cancer.
Ginsburg spent her final years on the bench as the unquestioned leader of the court’s liberal wing and became something of a rock star to her admirers. Young women especially seemed to embrace the court’s Jewish grandmother, affectionately calling her the Notorious RBG, for her defense of the rights of women and minorities, and the strength and resilience she displayed in the face of personal loss and health crises.
Those health issues included five bouts with cancer beginning in 1999, falls that resulted in broken ribs, insertion of a stent to clear a blocked artery and assorted other hospitalizations after she turned 75.
Ginsburg was a mother of two, an opera lover and an intellectual who watched arguments behind oversized glasses for many years, though she ditched them for more fashionable frames in her later years. At argument sessions in the ornate courtroom, she was known for digging deep into case records and for being a stickler for following the rules.
She argued six key cases before the court in the 1970s when she was an architect of the women’s rights movement. She won five.
More than 3.4 million acres (about 13,759 sq km) have burned as US California suffered 7,860 wildfires this year, said officials.
State Governor Gavin Newsom came up with the information on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) and the US Forest Service continue to battle the blaze, aided by crews from Montana, Utah, Texas and New Jersey.
The state has more than 17,000 firefighters and 2,200 engines on the fire lines, Newsom said.
The August Complex Fire in Mendocino County, the state's largest-ever, continued growing Wednesday. It has burned through 796,651 acres (about 3,224 sq km) with 30 percent containment.
The Creek Fire, held at 220,025 acres (about 890 square km) in Fresno and Madera counties, was 18 percent contained Wednesday morning.
The North Complex fires in Butte, Plumas and Yuba counties remained stable with 273,335 acres (about 1,106 sq km) burned and containment reaching 36 percent, Cal Fire reported.
According to the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, a European Commission science agency, smoke from the deadly wildfires in U.S. west coastal California, Oregon and Washington will go across the Atlantic Ocean to affect the atmosphere above Europe by this weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Wednesday.
Read Also: 10 dead in California fire
Declaring "the dawn of a new Middle East," President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed historic diplomatic pacts with Israel and two Gulf Arab nations that he hopes will lead to a new order in the Mideast and cast him as a peacemaker at the height of his reelection campaign.
Hundreds of people massed on the sun-washed South Lawn to witness the signing of agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The bilateral agreements formalize the normalization of the Jewish state's already thawing relations with the two Arab nations in line with their common opposition to Iran and its aggression in the region.
"We're here this afternoon to change the course of history," Trump said from a balcony overlooking the South Lawn. "After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East."
The agreements do not address the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While the UAE, Bahrain and other Arab countries support the Palestinians, the Trump administration has persuaded the two countries not to let that conflict keep them from having normal relations with Israel.
Trump's political backers are looking for the agreements to boost his standing as a statesman with just seven weeks to go before Election Day. Until now, foreign policy has not had a major role in a campaign dominated by the coronavirus, racial issues and the economy. The pandemic was in the backdrop of the White House ceremony, where there was no social distancing and most guests didn't wear masks.
The agreements won't end active wars, but supporters believe they could pave the way for a broader Arab-Israeli rapprochement after decades of enmity and only two previous peace deals. Skeptics, including many longtime Mideast analysts and former officials, have expressed doubts about their impact and lamented that they ignore the Palestinians, who have rejected them as a stab in the back by fellow Arabs.
During the ceremony, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the brother of Abu Dhabi's powerful crown prince, thanked Israel for "halting the annexation of Palestinian territories," although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that Israel has only temporarily suspended its plans to annex West Bank settlements.
"Today, we are already witnessing a change in the heart of the Middle East — a change that will send hope around the world," al-Nahyan said.
Even the harshest critics have allowed that the agreements could usher in a major shift in the region should other Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, follow suit, with implications for Iran, Syria and Lebanon. Other Arab countries believed to be close to recognizing Israel include Oman, Sudan and Morocco.
"We are very down the road with about five different countries," Trump told reporters before the ceremony.
In addition to the bilateral agreements signed by Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, all three are signing a document dubbed the "Abraham Accords" after the patriarch of the world's three major monotheistic religions.
"This day is a pivot of history," Netanyahu said. "It heralds a new dawn of peace."
"Despite the many challenges and hardships that we all face — despite all that, let us pause a moment to appreciate this remarkable day."
The Palestinians have not embraced the U.S. vision. Palestinian activists held small demonstrations Tuesday inthe West Bank and in Gaza, where they trampled and set fire to pictures of Trump, Netanyahu and the leaders of the UAE and Bahrain.
A poll released Tuesday found that 86% of Palestinians believe the normalization agreement with the UAE serves only Israel's interests and not their own. The poll, carried out by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, was carried out Sept. 9-12 and surveyed 1,270 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Even in Israel, where the accords have received widespread acclaim, there is concern they might result in U.S. sales of sophisticated weaponry to the UAE and Bahrain, thus potentially upsetting Israel's qualitative military edge in the region.
Trump said he is OK with selling military aircraft to the UAE. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also welcomed the agreements but said she wants to learn details, specifically what the Trump administration has told the UAE about buying American-made F-35 aircraft and about Israel agreeing to freeze efforts to annex portions of the West Bank.
Bahrani Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani said Bahrain would stand with the Palestinians. "Today is a truly historic occasion," he said. "A moment for hope and opportunity."
And while the UAE and Bahrain have a history of suppressing dissent and critical public opinion, there have been indications that the agreements are not nearly as popular or well-received as in Israel. Neither country sent its head of state or government to sign the deals with Netanyahu.
Bahrain's largest Shiite-dominated opposition group, Al-Wefaq, which the government ordered dissolved in 2016 amid a yearslong crackdown on dissent, said there is widespread rejection of normalization. Al-Wefaq said in a statement that it joins other Bahrainis who reject the agreement to normalize ties with the "Zionist entity," and criticized the government for crushing the public's ability to express opinions "to obscure the extent of discontent" at normalization.
The ceremony follows months of intricate diplomacy headed by Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, and the president's envoy for international negotiations, Avi Berkowitz. On Aug. 13, the Israel-UAE deal was announced. That was followed by the first direct commercial flight between the countries, and then the Sept. 11 announcement of the Bahrain-Israel agreement.
President Donald Trump is set to preside Tuesday over the signing of historic diplomatic deals between Israel and two Gulf Arab nations.
The diplomatic deals could herald a dramatic shift in Middle East power dynamics and give Trump a boost ahead of the November election.
In a White House ceremony aimed at showcasing presidential statesmanship, Trump is hosting more than 700 guests on the South Lawn to witness the sealing of the agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Trump and his allies hope the occasion will burnish Trump’s credentials as a peacemaker at the height of his reelection campaign.
“This can lead to peace, real peace, in the Middle East,” Trump said in the Oval Office as he welcomed Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the brother of Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince.
“You can have peace without blood in the sand,” Trump added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Emirati and Bahraini foreign ministers are to ink the deals before the crowd, which will include representatives of supporting nations from the Washington-based diplomatic corps but few other dignitaries from overseas. Some congressional Democrats who have offered muted praise have been invited to attend.
In addition to the individual bilateral agreements signed by Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, all three will sign a trilateral document, officials said. The agreements are dubbed the “Abraham Accords” after the patriarch of the world’s three major monotheistic religions. Trump is expected to sign as a witness.
The agreements won’t end active wars but will rather formalize the normalization of the Jewish state’s already warming relations with the two countries. And, while not addressing the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they may pave the way for a broader Arab-Israeli rapprochement after decades of enmity, a pair of wars and only two previous peace deals.
Skeptics, including many longtime Mideast analysts and former officials, have expressed doubts about the impact of the deals and lamented that they ignore the Palestinians, who have rejected them as a stab in the back by fellow Arabs. Netanyahu has insisted that Israel’s plans to annex West Bank settlements is only suspended and remains on the table.
Yet even the harshest critics have allowed that the agreements could usher in a major shift in the region should other Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, follow suit, with implications for Iran, Syria and Lebanon. Other Arab countries believed to be close to recognizing Israel include Oman, Sudan and Morocco.
A poll released Tuesday found that 86% of Palestinians believe the normalization agreement with the UAE serves only Israel’s interests and not their own. Fifty-three percent of Palestinians described the agreement as a “betrayal” while 17% said it marked the “abandonment” of their cause.
The poll, carried out by the respected Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, found that 92% of Palestinians are opposed to Trump’s Mideast plan. The poll, carried out Sept. 9-12, surveyed 1,270 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.
Palestinian activists held small demonstrations Tuesday in different parts of the West Bank and in Gaza, where they trampled and set fire to pictures of Trump, Netanyahu and the leaders of the UAE and Bahrain.
Trump remains undeterred, telling “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday that the Palestinians are “difficult” to deal with. Eventually, he said, “Palestinians will be brought in because all of their supporters, all of the people that give them lots of money are coming into the deal so otherwise they’ll be left out in the cold.”
Also read: Trump nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
At least 19 people were killed in the past month and 3.2 million acres (about 12,950 square km) burned in fires across California until Sunday.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said 4,000 structures have also been destroyed in the fires.
Cal Fire Assistant Deputy Director Daniel Berlant said that wildfires have burned more than 3.2 million acres in California, an area larger than the state of Connecticut, reports Xinhua.
About 16,570 firefighters were battling 29 major wildfires statewide Sunday. The federal, state and local resources assigned to active wildfires include more than 2,200 fire engines, 388 water tenders, 304 bulldozers and 104 aircraft, Cal Fire said.
The August Complex in Mendocino and Humboldt counties, the largest fire in state history, grew more than 2,000 acres overnight to 877,477, and is 28 percent contained, Cal Fire officials said Sunday.
So far, 365 structures have been destroyed and 32 damaged, and 14,074 are threatened, according to an incident report of the Creek Fire that is covering 201,908 acres with 8 percent containment.
Officials fighting the Creek Fire in Fresno and Madera counties said that forecasted wind gusts of up to 35mph will continue to move the flames deep into canyons of the Sierra National Forest on Sunday. Their focus will be on structure defense, according to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Air quality in the San Francisco Bay Area remained unhealthy on Sunday morning.
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