World News

Trump calls Romney a 'RINO' after GOP senator targets president's 'undemocratic action'

Sen. Romney on Trump legal action: It’s important for democracy that we don’t allege fraud

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney joins Chris Wallace on ‘Fox News Sunday.’

President Trump took aim Friday at one of his most vocal Republican critics – Sen. Mitt Romney – calling the him a “RINO.”

The president’s Twitter swipe at the senator from Utah and 2012 GOP presidential nominee came hours after Romney called Trump’s efforts to reverse President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in this month’s election a “undemocratic action.”


Fox News, the Associated Press and other news networks projected nearly two weeks ago that Biden would win enough electoral votes to defeat Trump and become president-elect. Trump has yet to concede, as he hopes that a spate of lawsuits he has filed, a couple of recounts in key states or blocking some crucial states from certifying the vote will reverse Biden’s victory.

This week the president has repeatedly tweeted that “I WON THE ELECTION,” has vowed that “I concede NOTHING!” while continuing to charge that there was “VOTER FRAUD ALL OVER THE COUNTRY!”

And the president on Friday afternoon is meeting at the White House with the top two Republicans in Michigan’s legislature, sparking speculation Trump’s hoping the state’s GOP-dominated legislature would appoint a friendly set of electors, which overturn Biden’s victory in the state.

Romney criticized Trump on Thursday night.

“Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the President has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election," Romney emphasized in a statement posted to Twitter. "It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American President.”

Trump fired back on Friday morning, slamming Romney as a “RINO,”  which stands for Republican In Name Only, and suggesting that Romney "feels he got slaughtering by Obama 'fair and square.'"


Trump for years has attacked Romney for “choking” in the days before the 2012 presidential election, when the then-GOP presidential nominee was neck and neck with President Obama in the polls before Obama won the election.

Romney lost to Obama by a bigger electoral count – 332 to 206 – than Biden’s 306 to 232 current lead in the Electoral College count over Trump. But Romney lost the popular vote to Obama by roughly 5 million votes. Biden currently holds a roughly 6 million vote lead over the president in the national popular vote.

Another Republican senator, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, also criticized the president on Thursday.

Sasse said in a statement that he is telling his constituents to look at what the Trump legal team court argues rather than what they’re saying in public.


"Based on what I've read in their filings, when Trump campaign lawyers have stood before courts under oath, they have repeatedly refused to actually allege grand fraud — because there are legal consequences for lying to judges," Sasse wrote in his statement. "President Trump lost Michigan by more than 100,000 votes, and the campaign and its allies have lost in or withdrawn from all five lawsuits in Michigan for being unable to produce any evidence."

But the criticism from Sasse and Romney, who was the only GOP senator to vote to convict the president during this year’s impeachment trial in the Senate, is not shared by most fellow Republicans in the chamber, who for now are standing with the president.

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Grab a Google Nest Mini for £4 with this HUGE Black Friday cashback deal

DEAL hunters get ready, we’ve found a huge offer on Google’s Nest Mini smart speaker.

The small device is currently on sale for Black Friday, but this deal is better than you might think.

 Right now, you can get Google’s smallest smart speaker for JUST £4 by taking advantage of cashback.

That’s because the diminutive Nest Mini is part of Currys PC World’s early black Friday discounts.

  • Google Nest Mini, £4 (£15 cashback with Topcashback) – here

Available in chalk, charcoal or coral, it’s priced at a low £19, saving £21 on the regular £30 RRP.

But new members to cashback site Topcashback can earn £15 bonus cashback by signing up and making an order worth £15 or more.

As the Nest Mini is currently on sale for £19 at Currys, it qualifies for the cashback deal.

So, if you’re not yet with Topcashback, you can get your £15 new member bonus when ordering the mini – knocking the effective price to a low, low, £4.

That’s an unbelievable price, £26 cheaper than the Nest Mini usually retails for, and one which is very hard to beat. Even during Black Friday.

Here’s how to get the deal:

  1. Sign up to Topcashback here.
  2. When logged in, go to Topcashback’s Currys PC World page
  3. Click the ‘Get cashback now’ button
  4. Shop at Currys through TCB and order your Nest Mini
  5. Wait for the cashback to roll into your account.

Topcashback’s new member £15 bonus offer is running until Monday November 30, so you’ve got some time left – just as long as the Nest Mini remains available at Currys.

If you miss it, you can always use the cashback offer for another order – as long as it’s over £15 in value.

More Great Black Friday Deals

Take a look at some of the other Black Friday deals we’ve found around the web

  • 101 Black Friday deals
  • TV
  • Broadband
  • Gaming
  • Tech
  • Sky
  • BT 

All prices in this article were correct at the time of writing, but may have since changed. Always do your own research before making any purchase.

You can save up to £120 in early Black Friday Samsung Smartwatch deals.

Find the latest Nintendo Switch Black Friday deals with our guide.

Don'tforget to keep an eye on our Black Friday Tech deals page.

If you click on a link in this story we will earn affiliate revenue.

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World News

Lost ‘mass extinction’ with a MILLION years of rain may have led to rise of dinosaurs

ONE million years of continuous rain, volcanic eruptions and climate change may have caused a long lost mass extinction event.

This is according to scientists who think the Carnian Pluvial Episode (CPE), that occurred around 233 million years ago, is being overlooked as a time of mass change for the creatures on our planet.

The extreme time period may have given rise to the dinosaurs as recent fossil evidence has suggested that a large number of plants and animals were killed off.

A study in the journal Science Advances, claims that one third of marine life at the time was also killed off.

The CPE may not have caused as much extinction as other events but the researchers think it was a very important "turnover".

Without it, many of the animals that have evolved today may not have came to be.

Lead study author Jacopo Dal Corso told EOS: "A key feature of the CPE is that extinction was very rapidly followed by a big radiation.

"A number of groups that have a central role in today's ecosystems appeared or diversified for the first time in the Carnian [a period around 237 to 227 million years ago]."

Study coauthor Mike Benton added that the period saw "the rise of modern reefs and plankton in the oceans and the rise of modern tetrapod groups, including frogs, lizards, turtles, crocodilians, dinosaurs, and mammals…along with some important plant groups such as conifers, and some new groups of insects."

The researchers went as far as to call the lesser discussed time period the "dawn of the modern world".

It's thought the extreme weather and volcanic events at the time acidified the oceans and killed off lots of creatures while letting other ones thrive.

More research is required to support this study further and try and find out more about the time period.

A timeline of life on Earth

The history of our planet in a nutshell…

  • 4.6billion years ago – the origin of Earth
  • 3.8billion years ago – first life appears on Earth
  • 2.1billion years ago – lifeforms made up of multiple cells evolve
  • 1.5billion years ago – eukaryotes, which are cells that contain a nucleus inside of their membranes, emerge
  • 550million years ago – first arthropods evolve
  • 530million years ago – first fish appear
  • 470million years ago – first land plants appear
  • 380million years ago – forests emerge on Earth
  • 370million years ago – first amphibians emerge from the water onto land
  • 320million years ago – earliest reptiles evolve
  • 230million years ago – dinosaurs evolve
  • 200million years ago – mammals appear
  • 150million years ago – earliest birds evolve
  • 130million years ago – first flowering plants
  • 100million years ago – earliest bees
  • 66million years ago – extinction of the dinosaurs
  • 55million years ago – hares and rabbits appear
  • 30million years ago – first cats evolve
  • 20million years ago – great apes evolve
  • 7million years ago –first human ancestors appear
  • 2million years ago – Homo erectus appears
  • 300,000 years ago – Homo sapiens evolves
  • 50,000 years ago – Eurasia and Oceania colonised
  • 40,000 years ago – Neandethal extinction

In other archaeology news, an impressive 100 Ancient Egyptian painted coffins and 40 statues have been unearthed at the Saqqara necropolis near Cairo.

Sacrificed llama mummies have been dug up in Peru and they're almost perfectly preserved after 500 years.

And, a Viking temple dedicated to Old Norse gods like Thor has been unearthed by archaeologists.

What do you think about the mass extinction research? Let us know in the comments…

We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at [email protected]

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Tech hub rentals lose luster as coronavirus fuels urban exodus

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Rental prices within the nation's tech hubs dwindled last month amid an exodus of workers seeking larger living spaces as shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic force them to work from home.

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The desire for more space coupled with the fact that tech companies are extending their remote-working policies, "is putting pressure on rents in the most expensive urban metros and tech hubs," Danielle Hale, chief economist, said of the findings in a new report from her organization.

The Transamerica Pyramid, center, and Salesforce Tower above Columbus Avenue in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Overall, San Francisco saw the biggest declines with monthly rents for studio, one-bedroom and two-bedrooms falling 33.3%, 26.3% and 23.4% respectively.

Neighboring counties including Santa Clara and San Mateo also saw double-digit drops, according to the report.


Manhattan, Boston, Seattle and Washington, D.C., which are some of the most expensive locales in the country, followed San Francisco with among the largest year-over-year declines.

The median studio rent in Manhattan was $2,395 in October, decreasing roughly 20% from the prior year although it was higher than in September. The median rent for a one-bedroom unit was $3,250, down 16.7%.


While rental growth rates across the nation remain far below pre-COVID times, the declines are starting to narrow, according to the report.

Nationally, the median studio unit rent in October was $1,316, down 0.8%, while the median one-bedroom rent was $1,495, up 1.1%.


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Twilio and Stripe are seeing explosive growth in 2020, highlighting a major software industry trend that's getting gobs of VC investment

  • Companies like Twilio and Shopify have seen their stock price multiply during the coronavirus pandemic, while startups like Stripe, Postman, MessageBird, and Auth0 have raised funding this year.
  • These companies all specialize in APIs, or application programming interfaces, which link together features from different applications, allowing them to "talk" to each other.
  • Companies like Amazon, DoorDash, Postmates, Uber, Airbnb, Yelp, and Lyft rely on APIs for payment processing, location data, making calls, and more.
  • Tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, and Adobe have also invested heavily in APIs by building them for customers or acquiring startups that specialize in them.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Whether you know it or not, you probably use apps built with application programming interfaces every day. 

APIs are tools that link together data and features from multiple different apps to allow them to essentially "talk" to each other. People can make payments on DoorDash or Postmates thanks to Stripe's APIs, make calls directly from Airbnb and Yelp's apps thanks to Twilio's APIs, and get location updates on Uber thanks to Google Maps' APIs. 

API use has become has become so critical for companies, that there's been an outcropping of firms that specialize in building APIs specific to categories like security, payments, feature management, search, shipping, content management, databases, and more. And many of those companies are seeing strong growth. 

For instance, the e-commerce platform Shopify's stock price has more than doubled since the beginning of the year, while the cloud communications platform Twilio has seen its stock nearly triple. And in April, the payments platform Stripe raised $600 million in funding at a whopping $36 billion valuation. 

Experts don't see this growth slowing down either, citing the need for companies to use APIs to build more effective products faster as they move to a cloud-based software model. And as companies move their businesses online during the coronavirus pandemic, the growth of API companies has accelerated, too.  

"[Using APIs] unleashes flexibility – the ability for you to take code and help you innovate," Chee Chew, chief product officer at Twilio, told Business Insider. "It also allows you to take code and change it and adapt readily."

The value of using an API 

Developers love APIs because they allow them to build better products, more quickly. They essentially offer developers a prepackaged solution for a given capability that they can easily customize. Sure, developers could build those same functionalities themselves, but they would be starting from scratch on something that has already been created by domain experts.

Using APIs built by companies that specialize in them, like Twilio and Stripe, allows developers to cut out some steps, which speeds up the app-building process, comes with built in reliability, and still allows plenty of flexibility. 

"They become building blocks for developers to build on it faster," the CEO of API development platform Postman, Abhinav Asthana, told Business Insider. "Developers are driven by consumer and business needs. Consumers want broader functionality. [APIs are] the fastest way to build it and focus on what the company is good at."

Why API startups are so hot right now

About 20 years ago, integrating APIs into your project was a much more complex process, according to Gartner research analyst Mark O'Neill, but it's become a "hot area" because that has changed. 

"APIs as a concept are not new, but what is new is what skills are there, and there's a lower barrier of entry and more usage for APIs," O'Neill told Business Insider. As companies like Stripe and Twilio have seen such success, "investor interest" has risen as well, he said. 

For instance, startups like Auth0, MessageBird, Netlify, Postman, RapidAPI,, Stedi, Strapi, and Stripe have all raised funding this year. 

Bessemer partner Ethan Kurzweil says his firm has been looking into API companies since about 2011, but venture capitalists are now even more interested.

Read more: Twilio chief product officer says the firm's $3.2 billion acquisition of Segment will help it give small companies the data-crunching superpowers of huge enterprises

"All these companies that have APIs, like Okta, Atlassian – they have all done really well. In the private markets, it's similarly reflected. There's the same kind of buying pattern," Kurzweil told Business Insider. "There's more interest now than before."

API companies also are becoming more specialized. For example, travel API startups like Duffel and Impala have emerged, and the company Foursquare has even transitioned into an API company to provide location data.

As APIs become more specialized and companies increasingly move to the cloud, cofounder and CEO of web hosting startup Netlify Matt Biilmann predicts that in the future, there will be an API for every possible use case. 

"The more we take this architectural approach of figuring out how we as developers build things as developers, it's easy to separate out functionality," Biilmann told Business Insider. "The more we do that, the more opportunities there are to come in and build APIs."

Tech giants are investing heavily in APIs, too

And it's not just startups that are leaning into APIs, either. For many tech giants, they have also become a major source of business. Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Google Cloud build specialized APIs for their services.  For example, the Google Maps APIs have become widely used by companies like Uber, Walt Disney, Trulia, Allstate, and more.

Recent years have brought a surge of mega-acquisitions in the space, too. 

For example, Adobe acquired the e-commerce API platform Magento and the marketing API company Marketo for a combined $6.4 billion, while Salesforce acquired the API company MuleSoft for $6.5 billion in 2018. Twilio recently acquired the customer data API startup Segment for $3.2 billion.

Twilio chief product officer Chee ChewTwilio

"There is a need for bringing this type of connectivity of data and for sharing data between multiple applications and multiple platforms," Siti Panigrahi, managing director at Mizuho, told Business Insider.

In addition, financial services companies have increasing interest in banking APIs that can help them easily comply with financial regulations. For example, Mastercard is acquiring Finicity and Visa plans to acquire Plaid (although it's facing an antitrust lawsuit). In both cases, a legacy credit card company is bringing on an API startup.

The coronavirus pandemic increased the need for APIs

There's also a greater need for APIs as even traditionally brick-and-mortar businesses have had to digitize.

In a survey of over 13,500 tech employees conducted by Postman, 84% of respondents said that APIs play a significant role in digital transformation initiatives. 

Abhinav Asthana, CEO of Postman, said conversations with VC firms were "illuminating" without the formal pitch process.Postman

"Almost everything is being digitally driven," Postman's Asthana said. "Because of that, there is much more demand for APIs. Every business will have a virtual storefront. That is powered through APIs. They need to build their own software and for that, they need to acquire APIs."

APIs for digital commerce, healthcare, and logistics have become even more widely used as companies react to the pandemic. In a short time, companies have had to completely re-architect so that their businesses are available online, and building with APIs speeds up that process.

Nearly half of the respondents for Postman's survey said they will increase their investment of time and resources into APIs over the next year, despite a tough economic environment.

"One of the things that help is that organizations are trying to create solutions as fast as possible," Forrester principal analyst Jeffrey Hammond, said. "You don't want to go out and build that out of scratch."

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at [email protected], Signal at 646.376.6106, Telegram at @rosaliechan, or Twitter DM at @rosaliechan17. (PR pitches by email only, please.) Other types of secure messaging available upon request. 

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Orr’s Big ‘If,’ Powell Recovery Alert, Trump China Ban: Eco Day

Welcome to Friday, Asia. Here’s the latest news and analysis from Bloomberg Economics to help take you through to the weekend.

  • New Zealand central bank governor Adrian Orr said a new community case of Covid-19 in Auckland is a reminder of the uncertainties around the economic outlook
  • Three of the world’s top central bankers warned Thursday that the prospect of a Covid-19 vaccine isn’t enough to put an end to the economic challenges created by the pandemic
  • Donald Trump signed an order prohibiting U.S. investments in Chinese firms determined to be owned or controlled by the military
  • Congressional Republicans are slowly and incrementally moving past refusal to acknowledge the outcome of the presidential election
  • Alternative, high-frequency data show that economic activity in a number of major advanced economies dropped sharply in the first weeks of November, says Björn van Roye
  • Japan’s sharp economic rebound in the last quarter likely recovered only around half the growth lost during the pandemic
  • India’s main holiday season — culminating with Diwali, the festival of lights — appears to be giving a much needed boost to demand
  • Who’s No. 1? Bloomberg Economics’s guide to the world in 2050
  • The Trump administration is stepping back from negotiations on a new stimulus package and leaving it to the Senate majority leader
  • Policy makers from the largest economies are set to meet Friday to iron out the details of a plan for debt relief to the poorest countries
  • Joe Biden will need to repair a global economic order damaged by Donald Trump, write Shawn Donnan and Jenny Leonard
  • Just eight months after they swung into action to avert a crippling depression and credit crunch, central banks are in the uncomfortable position of relying on governments to power fragile rebounds
  • Stephanie Flanders and Lucy Meakin look at the lost opportunities for Asia’s lockdown generation in their weekly Podcast
  • After Donald Trump’s election in late 2016, the then-president-elect took an unprecedented phone call from Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-Wen, shattering decades of diplomatic protocol

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James A. Baker III: Election 2020 — American democracy is being undermined by bad polling

Polling industry’s 2020 debacle

Trump calls campaign polls deliberately wrong.

Too many opinion pollsters have come to resemble Lucy in the cartoon strip “Peanuts.” Ahead of the presidential elections of 2016 and 2020, they held the political football in place to tee up certain Democratic victories. But at the last second, the ball was pulled away and the entire country landed flat on its back when the Republican candidate fared much better than expected.

It would be funny if it weren’t a sad reality that American democracy is being undermined by bad polling that consistently favors one side over the other. Though not as ingrained in our national heritage as politicians and the press, polling is an important component in the governance of the nation, as it presents snapshots of the positions Americans take on the challenges that confront us. Elected leaders, candidates for public office and constituents often rely on polling as they make their choices on issues that affect the health of the nation.


Accurate information is critical to political discourse, and everyone loses when so many pollsters are consistently wrong. Polls that repeatedly favor one side create false expectations that adversely influence the actions of both sides. The favored side becomes overconfident and suffers when the results on Election Day don’t meet expectations. And the disfavored side is disadvantaged in both fundraising and voter turnout by the appearance that the outcome is foreordained.


Sadly, Americans too often don’t get straight information from pollsters. When this is done knowingly or intentionally, it could be considered a form of voter suppression. For weeks this fall, Americans received a daily dispatch telling them that Donald Trump was facing a loss of near-historic proportions. At the same time, we were confidently assured that Democrats would take control of the Senate and add to their lead in the House. We were also assured that the pollsters had corrected their well-noted mistakes of 2016, when they predicted that Hillary Clinton would become the 45th president.


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Asian markets higher Tuesday as regional airline, tourism and travel stocks lead the way

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HONG KONG/BOSTON - Asian share markets mostly shot higher on Tuesday driven by regional airline, tourism and travel stocks as global investors applauded progress in the development of a coronavirus vaccine which lifted confidence in a world economic recovery.

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Pfizer Inc PFE.N said its COVID-19 vaccine, developed with German partner BioNTech SE BNTX.O, was more than 90% effective in preventing infection, marking the first successful results from a large-scale clinical trial.

“Markets will remain on the lookout for more promising vaccine data in addition to news of a fiscal reboot,” PineBridge Investments portfolio manager Mary Nicola told Reuters.


The vaccine news sparked renewed optimism in equities around the world but oil prices slipped in Asian trade after posting the biggest one-day percentage gain in five months.

However, some analysts sounded caution over the speed in which the vaccine could be implemented.

Asian share markets mostly shot higher on Tuesday driven by regional airline, tourism and travel stocks as global investors applauded progress in the development of a coronavirus vaccine which lifted confidence in a world economic recovery. (AP Photo

“Given more tests are needed, then the approval process. Manufacturing and distribution would mean the vaccine, if truly effective, is still months away from mass deployment,” said Tai Hui, chief Asia market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.

Brazil’s health regulator said on Monday it had suspended clinical trials for China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine after adverse effects had emerged.

Japan's Nikkei 225 .N225 rose 1.1% after reaching a 29-year high in early trade and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 .AXJO rose 1.6%.


Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures .HSI was up 1% in early trade but there was marginal weakness in China as the CSI300 Index .CSI300 slipped by 0.24%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was 0.12% higher.

Airline, travel and tourism stocks across Asia were beneficiaries of the optimism prompted by the vaccine announcement.

Qantas Airways QAN.AX gained 8.6% to hit its highest level since March, Japan Airlines 9201.T shot 17.6% higher and ANA Holdings 9202.T rose 16.4%.

In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific Airways 0293.HK shares jumped 14.9%, the best since July.

“Markets will get ahead of themselves in the short term with the vaccine news but longer term it feels like it is going higher,” Ord Minnett advisor John Milroy said from Sydney.


Early Tuesday, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga instructed his cabinet to design a fresh stimulus package to help revive the nation’s flagging economy to offset the ongoing effects of coronavirus..

The stronger performance on Asian markets followed the positive lead overnight from the United States and Europe.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 2.95%, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 1.17% while the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 1.53%. E-mini futures for the S&P 500 EScv1 rose 0.47%.

Pfizer’s announcement jolted European shares to an eight-month high, building on expectations of more stable trade policies following the U.S. election.

While stocks have also rallied on the assumption that Democrat Joe Biden would be the next U.S. President, the top Republican in U.S. Congress on Monday did not acknowledge Biden as president-elect, raising concerns about a rough transition of power.

Senator Mitch McConnell said in a speech President Donald Trump was well within his rights to look into charges of election “irregularities” but did not offer any evidence of fraud.

The Australian dollar AUD= fell 0.18% versus the greenback at $0.7272.

The yen strengthened 0.3% to 105.03 per dollar, while sterling GBP= was last trading at $1.3174, up 0.09% on the day.


The vaccine news also sent long-dated U.S. Treasury yields sky-rocketing in their biggest one-day jump since March. The yield curve, an indication of risk appetite, hit its steepest level since March.

Bonds had their biggest selloff since recoiling from March peaks. The yield on benchmark 10-year U.S. government debt US10YT=RR, which rises when prices fall, jumped 10.3 basis points on Monday and held above 0.9% on Tuesday at 0.9099%

The CBOE Market Volatility index .VIX, a barometer of investor anxiety, hit its lowest closing level since late August.

Oil prices surged, posting their biggest daily percentage gain in more than five months as the vaccine news and an OPEC output deal fueled optimism about rebounding demand..

However, in Asian trade some of the momentum fell away.

Light crude oil CLc1 fell by 1.49% during the Asian session to $39.69 a barrel while brent crude LCOc1 slipped 1.25%.

Spot gold XAU= added 0.32% to $1,867.6 an ounce.

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How Pelosi could face a rocky path to the speakership next year

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House Democrats are just starting to come to terms with the consequences of a tiny majority in the 117th Congress, beginning on January 3, 2021.

Such a small majority could potentially pose a challenge for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to return to the Speaker’s suite.

The reason? It’s about the math. It’s about the math. It’s about the math.

The ENTIRE House elects the Speaker of the House. In fact, by rule, it’s the VERY FIRST THING the House must do after constituting a quorum of members on January 3, 2021.

So, if the House is comprised of 435 members, the House Speaker needs 218 votes. The Speaker needs an outright majority, not just a plurality of the House at that given moment.


This is a problem for Pelosi if the House Democratic Caucus is whittled down to a figure in the low 220s. Say, 223 or 222 Democrats, after all the races are called. Pelosi, or any successful candidate for Speaker, can’t dip below 218.

Some Democrats could oppose Pelosi because of Democrats failing to add seats in this election. Others could vote nay simply because they want a change at the top. Pelosi has been the Democratic Leader or Speaker since 2003. She became Democratic Whip in 2001. Such longevity in leadership is almost unheard of.

The late House Speaker Sam Rayburn, D-Texas, was either Speaker, Majority Leader or Minority Leader in every Congress between 1937 and 1961.

Pelosi secured 220 votes for Speaker at the start of the current Congress out of 430 total votes cast.

There were defections. Some of the defections came from Democrats who lost or who appear to have lost this fall. Still, others remain on board. Here’s a look at Democrats who voted present or voted for someone besides Pelosi in 2019:


Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., appears to have lost. He voted for Joe Biden.

Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., voted present.

Rep. Jason Crow, D-Co., voted for Sen. Tammy Duckworth D-Ill.

Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C. lost his race. He voted for Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.

Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, voted for Bustos.

Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wisc., voted for the now late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga..

The race of Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., still hasn’t been called. He voted for Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass.

The race of Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, is still up in the air. He voted for Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla.

Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., voted for Stacey Abrams.

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., appears to have lost. He voted for Duckworth.

Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., voted for Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., voted for Bustos.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., voted present.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., was a Democrat at the time. He voted present.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., appears to have won her race. She also voted for Bustos

So, expect a lot of pressure on Cooper, Crow, Golden, Kind, Rice, Schrader, Sherrill and Slotkin when it comes to their vote for Speaker.

Remember, Pelosi didn’t have the votes to become Speaker immediately after Democrats captured the majority in the fall of 2018. But she wrapped everything up by January.


“She’s the best vote counter,” said Pelosi’s former Chief of Staff Danny Weiss in an interview. “She’ll know what kind of deal to arrange in order to get the needed votes.”

And, you can’t beat someone with nobody.

“I would still put the odds on her as the favorite because of the combination of skills that she brings and because of the absence for the moment of another, singularly unifying person in the caucus,” said Weiss.

That said, there is a movement by some Democrats to draft House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to become Speaker. Jeffries quietly tinkered with a bid two years ago had Pelosi stumbled. But Pelosi soon marshaled enough votes. And, it’s unclear if anyone could get within striking distance of 218 votes on the floor.

Former Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., ran against Pelosi in late 2010 after Democrats lost control of the House. But Shuler didn’t come close to beating Pelosi. She vanquished the former NFL first round draft pick in the Democratic Caucus vote, 150-43.

“If you were going to challenge Nancy Pelosi, it is an uphill battle,” said Shuler in an interview. “There’s no better politician. She understands the game better than anyone.”

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, challenged Pelosi in a leadership race in 2016 after Democrats failed to win the House.

Without question, Pelosi is the best vote counter in Congress.

Shortly before the leadership 2016 vote, myself and another reporter asked Pelosi how much support she had from her caucus as she rushed into the Democraic Cloakroom off the floor. It was hard to hear Pelosi over the din in the hallway. But I thought she said “three fourths.”

“Three-fourths?” I asked to clarify as Pelosi disappeared into the cloakroom.

Without missing a beat, Pelosi stuck her head back around the door of the cloakroom and into the hall.

“Two-thirds, Chad,” Pelosi corrected, waving her finger. “Two-thirds.”

Democrats cast their ballots for Minority Leader in a closed door meeting a few days later. Pelosi defeated Ryan.

She garnered precisely 67 percent of the vote.

Ryan is not running against Pelosi this year.

And, even if there was someone to run against Pelosi, could they command 218 votes on the floor?

Pelosi drew plaudits from Democrats for going head-to-head with President Trump over the past few years. Pelosi eventually rolled the President during the 2018-2019 government shutdown. Democrats will remember that. But, if Biden prevails, could the lack of a foil for Pelosi work against her?



Former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, stepped down in 2015 after his support eroded. By the same token, there’s a reason why House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., didn’t matriculate to Speaker after Boehner stepped aside. McCarthy lacked the votes.

The House of Representatives is barred from doing anything until it elects a Speaker at the start of a new Congress.

A vote for Speaker hadn’t gone to a second ballot since 1923. House Speaker Frederick Gillett, R-Mass., finally prevailed on the ninth ballot a few days after voting began.

In 1849, the House burned an entire month trying to select a Speaker before settling on Howell Cobb, D-Ga.,. But that was nothing compared to 1856. In that instance, the House devoted two months to electing Nathaniel Banks, D-Mass., on the 133rd ballot.

And you thought the biggest challenge facing Congress was certifying the electoral college results in January?

This could get messy.

House Democrats are scheduled to hold internal leadership elections starting on November 17. It’s unclear if the House could delay those elections.

“I feel like we don’t have enough information to make a decision,” conceded one House Democrat. “We have races which aren’t even done yet.”

And therein lies the rub.

No one knows who is President yet.

No one knows how many seats Democrats will have.

No one knows how they will cast their ballots for Speaker on January 3.

There’s a lot to figure out.

But the math remains the same: 218. And it’s unclear what is the right cocktail of votes to elect the next Speaker of the House.

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China says its importers choosing voluntarily to cut back on Australian goods

  • China said on Tuesday reduced imports of Australian products like wine, coal and sugar were the result of buyers' own decisions, after media said Beijing had told importers to stop buying a range of Australian goods amid a deterioration in ties.
  • The Australian Financial Review, citing unnamed sources, said on Monday Chinese officials met food and wine importers last week and warned them not to make new orders for Australian wine and farm products.
  • The South China Morning Post, citing sources, said China was expected to block imports of sugar, red wine, lobster, barley, coal and copper ore and concentrates from Australia.

China said on Tuesday reduced imports of Australian products like wine, coal and sugar were the result of buyers' own decisions, after media said Beijing had told importers to stop buying a range of Australian goods amid a deterioration in ties.

The Australian Financial Review, citing unnamed sources, said on Monday Chinese officials met food and wine importers last week and warned them not to make new orders for Australian wine and farm products.

The South China Morning Post, citing sources, said China was expected to block imports of sugar, red wine, lobster, barley, coal and copper ore and concentrates from Australia.

It said a ban on wheat was likely to follow, although a date had not yet been set. Reuters could not independently confirm the reports.

Asked whether the government had instructed importers to stop buying Australian products, China's Foreign Ministry told Reuters: "Relevant companies reducing imports of relevant products from Australia are acting on their own initiative."

China last week started new customs inspections on Australian lobster, halted imports of timber from northeastern Queensland state, and banned barley shipments from grain exporter Emerald Grain amid a deterioration in ties between the two countries that has already hurt trade in other farm goods.

"Whilst we shouldn't jump to conclusions, we are working closely with the various industries who have been the subject of these reports," Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said in a statement on Tuesday.

"We also continue to make enquiries with Chinese authorities to seek clarity and to encourage them to address areas of concern."

China said on Monday that its halt on timber imports from Australia came after it found pests in several earlier shipments, while inspections on lobster were aimed at guaranteeing food safety.

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