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Trump backs off mail voting attacks in Florida as Democrats build huge advantage
MIAMI — After claiming inaccurately for weeks that mail voting is rife with fraud, President Donald Trump is now backing off his attacks on mail ballots in his home state.
“Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
Trump’s tweet — in stark contrast to numerous others in recent weeks warning of a rigged election — comes as Republican mail ballot registration lags behind Democrats in Florida ahead of the November election, which will be held under the cloud of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Republicans have requested about 1.3 million mail ballots ahead of the Aug. 18 primary election, while Democrats have requested 1.9 million. Democrats have held up their lead as a significant achievement in a state where Republicans have for years held the advantage in registering and turning out mail voters.
That gap has widened noticeably since Trump began to assail mail voting in reaction to efforts by different states to automatically send mail ballots to all registered voters as a means to avoid Election Day voting crowds and the spread of COVID-19. Since then, isolated instances of mail ballot fraud have been caught around the U.S., but experts continue to say that systemic election fraud is rare.
Trump, who votes by mail in Florida, has repeatedly argued that Florida’s mail ballot program is appropriate because it is an “absentee” system by which voters receive ballots when they can’t vote in person because they are away. In fact, a mail ballot is available to any Florida voter who requests one.
— Miami Herald
Yale student’s lawsuit claims online courses were inferior
HARTFORD, Conn. — A Yale University student from Ohio has sued the Ivy League school in federal court, and is seeking a refund of tuition from when the university went from in-person learning to online this past spring.
Jonathan Michel claims the online experience was inferior and that Yale breached its contract with him and other students and unjustly enriched itself when it did not refund tuition. His lawyers are seeking class-action status so that they can represent other students.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in New Haven.
Karen Peart, a spokeswoman for Yale, said the university believes the lawsuit is legally and factually baseless and that it intends to mount a vigorous defense.
Similar lawsuits have been filed against colleges and universities across the nation in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. UConn, Columbia, Cornell, Pace, Fordham, Michigan State, Drexel and Vanderbilt universities, as well as the California State University system and the University of California, have been sued.
In his lawsuit, Michel claims that the online learning Yale instituted March 23 “cannot replace the comprehensive educational experience promised by” Yale, such as “access to facilities, materials, and faculty, and the opportunity for on campus living, school events, collaborative learning, dialogue, feedback and critique are essential to the in-person educational experience.”
It is improper, the lawsuit claims, for Yale to pass the costs of the closure onto students and their families and that they are entitled to a partial refund of tuition and fees, which total about $55,000.
— The Hartford Courant
UN: North Korea thought to be progressing in development of nuclear weapons
NEW YORK — North Korea appears to be making progress in the development of nuclear weapons, according to a classified United Nations report, details of which were confirmed to dpa on Monday.
North Korea “probably developed miniaturized nuclear devices to fit into the warheads of its ballistic missiles,” diplomatic sources said, citing the report.
The document on compliance with sanctions against North Korea emphasized that the assessments were based on information from a member country.
It asserted that North Korea was continuing its nuclear program, including the production of highly enriched uranium and the construction of an experimental light-water reactor.
The report noted that North Korea, of late, had not tested any intercontinental or middle-range missiles, but there were eight tests of short-range missiles in March.
“However, the Peoples Republic of Korea has maintained its nuclear facilities and has continued to produce fissile material. It has continued to develop infrastructure and capacity for its ballistic missile program,” the report found, according to diplomatic sources.
Asked about the report, a spokesperson from the South Korean Defense Ministry said that it was assumed that North Korea’s ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead had already reached a “meaningful level.”
Warren asks SEC about insider trading in Trump’s Kodak pharmaceuticals announcement
WASHINGTON — Shares of Kodak began to soar last week even before President Donald Trump’s announcement that the company was in line for a $765 million government loan to support the manufacture of pharmaceutical ingredients.
But was any of the unusual volume attributable to insider trading? That’s what Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants the Securities and Exchange Commission to explore.
“The Monday, July 27, trades are not the only questionable stock trade involving Kodak and the company’s Defense Production Act deal with the Trump administration. The Kodak chairman and other members of Kodak’s board of directors appear to have purchased substantial amounts of company stock last month, ahead of the public announcement, at a time when Kodak and the Trump administration were negotiating the deal in secret,” the Massachusetts Democrat wrote in a letter to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.
Warren’s letter, dated Monday and shared with CQ Roll Call ahead of its public release, pointed to reporting that some of the stock trading might be attributable to disclosures by local media in upstate New York, but she suggested that should have triggered more transparency by Kodak even before the president’s announcement on July 28.
“While the report may resolve questions about the individuals who purchased the stock after seeing those public disclosures, it also opens up new questions about how Kodak handled what appears to be ‘non-intentional disclosure of material nonpublic information,'” Warren wrote.
The letter asks Clayton to determine whether the people involved in the July 27 stock trading were aware of the discussions with the White House that led to the agreement under the Defense Production Act.
— CQ-Roll Call
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