Friday morning news – November 20, 2020

Coronavirus surge, holiday plans strain U.S. testing capacity » Long lines for COVID-19 tests are once again forming across the country—straining the nation’s testing system. 

Lines twisted around multiple city blocks at testing sites across New York City this week.

New Yorker Syron Townsend waited for hours on a sidewalk Thursday. 

TOWNSEN: It seems like, speaking to my friends, for the most part, everywhere they’re going the lines are crazy.

In Los Angeles, thousands lined up outside Dodger Stadium for drive-thru testing.

The rush on testing centers comes amid a surge in new cases as families hope to gather safely for Thanksgiving.

Scott Becker is CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories. 

BECKER: As those cases increase, demand increases. Turnaround time may increase. So it’s like a dog chasing its tail, quite frankly. 

The fact that testing problems are only now emerging—more than a month into the latest surge shows that testing capacity is far greater than it was in the summer. 

But many experts say testing capacity is still well short of what’s needed to control the virus.  

Jobless claims rise for first time in 5 weeks » The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week for the first time in more than a month. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Labor Department reported that 742,000 Americans applied for jobless benefits. That was up from 711,000 the previous week.

And it could be a sign that the surging coronavirus is once again pressing down on the economy. 

Of the roughly 20 million Americans now receiving some form of unemployment benefits, about half will lose those benefits when two federal programs expire at the end of the year.

That as Congress remains deadlocked on another coronavirus relief package. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Giuliani asserts “national conspiracy” to steal election » Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani asserted Thursday that Democrats participated in a “national conspiracy” to steal the election. 

GIULIANI: I think the logical conclusion is, this is a common plan, a common scheme. It comes right directly from the Democrat Party and it comes from the candidate, clearly. 

He also claimed communist countries like China, Cuba, and Venezuela were involved in funding the effort. 

Giuliani said he can prove his claims, but he can’t show the evidence right now because of pending court cases and for fear that witnesses might face retribution. 

But some Republicans are pressing the campaign and its lawyers to tone down the rhetoric unless or until they can prove their allegations. Former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove told Fox News… 

ROVE: They’d better come up with proof and go to court, because these are serious allegations that basically say our election was manipulated by a combination of foreign and domestic actors and stolen. And that cannot be left just simply out there. It needs to be either proved or withdrawn. 

Among Giuliani’s more specific claims that Pennsylvania had two sets of rules for red and blue voting districts. He said people living in Democratic areas were given chances to fix incorrect ballots, while people living elsewhere were not. He said it was “clearly illegal” and “clearly voter fraud” though in court this week, he told a judge that the Trump campaign’s complaint was not a fraud case. 

Since Election Day, the campaign and its allies have filed 21 legal challenges. To this point, they have not won any of those cases. 

Pompeo visits Israeli West Bank settlement » Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday became the first top American diplomat to visit an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

POMPEO: You can’t stand here and stare out at what’s across the border and deny the central thing that President Trump recognized that previous presidents had refused to do, that this is a part of Israel. 

And in a State Department policy shift, Pompeo announced that products from the settlements can be labeled “Made in Israel.”

The two moves reflected the Trump administration’s acceptance of Israeli settlements, which the Palestinians view as a violation of international law and a major obstacle to peace.

Pompeo also announced that the United States would brand a Palestinian-led boycott against Israel as “anti-Semitic.” The move would bar any groups that participate in the boycott from receiving government funding. 

But it’s a move that could be quickly reversed by the next administration.

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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