Week of 12/19/16-12/23/16
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The Electoral College met yesterday.
Yesterday, the 538 members of the Electoral College met to cast their votes for America’s next president and vice president. Electors from the same state met, usually at their state capitol. Next, a certificate of vote is prepared with each state’s results, and is mailed or delivered via courier to the National Archives (to be filed in the country’s official records), and delivered to Congress. On Jan. 6 at 1 p.m., members of the House of Representatives and the Senate will meet in the House chamber to tally the votes. Vice President Joe Biden will facilitate the count, because he’s the current president of the Senate. During the vote, each state’s vote is opened and read in alphabetical order. The winner is decided based on which candidate received the majority of the votes (at least 270). Though there is a possibility of an objection arising against an individual vote or the results from a state, it’s not likely to affect the final decision — Congress has never sustained an objection to any electoral votes. After the Electoral College’s ballots are finalized, the last step for the President-Elect is to take office on Jan. 20.
Sen. John McCain says Russian hacking threatens to destroy world order.
The Arizona Republican and chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called for a select committee investigation into the CIA’s findings of Democrats’ emails being hacked by Russia. He said that Russia’s cyber attacks (which allegedly were a bid to aid President-elect Donald Trump in defeating Hillary Clinton) threaten to “destroy democracy” and disrupt the world order that was established after World War II in the 1940s. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have been rejecting McCain’s calls, who have supported proposals of investigations, but want them conducted by House and Senate committees that already exist. McCain has ratcheted up the pressure on McConnell, sending him a letter cosigned by Sen. Lindsey Graham, incoming Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer and top Senate Armed Services Committee Democrat, Sen. Jack Reed.
Cold weather eases as warm front moves across the nation.
At least nine East-coast deaths and one in Southwest Michigan have been blamed on icy winter roads this week. Extreme cold weather advisories have been posted from Colorado to Vermont and airports have reported hundreds of delays and cancellations — but a warm front is expected to push temperatures up as high as the 40s in some parts of the country. Though the Midwest has been hit hard by the dangerously cold temperatures this week, warm weather is moving toward the region. The weather is expected to warm very early in the week, and precipitation is expected to increase dramatically from last week.
Russia and France agreed on a United Nations monitoring plan for the Aleppo evacuation.
On Sunday, the two nations agreed on a U.N. plan to monitor evacuations from eastern Aleppo and distribution of humanitarian aid to the Syrian city. The evacuations faced another major setback Sunday when buses taking civilians and rebels out of Aleppo were set on fire. Syrian media blamed a Sunni terrorist group, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, which has been linked to al-Qaeda. The group sometimes fights alongside American-backed rebels in Syria. Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the U.N., had said earlier that his country would veto a “disaster” that France proposed for monitoring Aleppo. Russia drew up its own resolution, and Russia and France reached a compromise deal not long after.
The doctor who invented the Heimlich maneuver died on Saturday.
Dr. Henry J. Heimlich, the inventor and namesake of the Heimlich maneuver, died at 96 years old on Saturday. Heimlich was a thoracic surgeon, and passed away in a Cincinnati hospital after suffering a heart attack. Heimlich claimed earlier this year that the first time he had ever used the 42-year-old maneuver was May 23, to save a woman from choking (although he made a similar statement in 2003). When Heimlich first proposed the life-saving technique, many were suspicious: it seemed to be unsafe and difficult for an untrained person to perform, and many believed it would cause internal injuries to a choking person. But when Heimlich came up with it, choking was causing roughly 4,000 deaths every year; it was the sixth leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Other than the Heimlich maneuver, Dr. Heimlich created and possessed patents for many medical techniques and devices. Most notably, these include mechanized aids for chest surgery used widely during the Vietnam War, treatment plans for chronic lung disease and methods of reteaching stroke victims how to swallow.