Pivotal Mississippi abortion case begins at supreme court

Good morning.

The most important abortion rights case in decades, which will decide the future of abortion access across the country, begins today.

The US supreme court is is scheduled to convene at 10am ET and is expected to begin hearing oral arguments in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which centers on whether the state of Mississippi can ban abortion at 15 weeks gestation.

Campaigners warn the case poses a direct threat to the legal underpinnings of Roe v Wade, a landmark 1973 decision that guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion.

Presently, Roe v Wade protects the right to terminate a pregnancy up to the point a fetus can survive outside the womb, widely regarded as 24 weeks. A full term pregnancy is 39 weeks.

Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 three days before his first debate against Joe Biden, the former president’s fourth and last chief of staff has revealed in a new book.

Mark Meadows also writes that though he knew each candidate was required “to test negative for the virus within 72 hours of the start time … Nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there”.

Trump, Meadows says in the book, returned a negative result from a different test shortly after the positive.

Nonetheless, the stunning revelation of an unreported positive test follows a year of speculation about whether Trump, then 74 years old, had the potentially deadly virus when he faced Biden, 77, in Cleveland on 29 September – and what danger that might have presented.

The first accuser in Ghislaine Maxwell’s child sex trafficking trial testified in Manhattan federal court yesterday that she was just 14 when the British socialite allegedly lured her into Jeffrey Epstein’s abusive orbit.

This accuser, who used the name “Jane” in court, alleged that Maxwell was sometimes present when this abuse occurred and participated on some occasions.

Epstein, a New York financier and convicted sex offender who counted Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew among his acquaintances, killed himself at a New York City jail in August 2019, while he was awaiting his own sex-trafficking trial. Maxwell, 59, the daughter of the late British press baron Robert Maxwell, was arrested in New Hampshire in July 2020.

Maxwell is on trial for six counts related to her alleged involvement in Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor teenagers. She has pleaded not guilty.

A 15-year-old student opened fire at his Michigan high school on Tuesday, killing three other students and wounding eight other people, authorities say.

Oakland county undersheriff Mike McCabe identified the three students who were killed as a 16-year-old boy and two girls aged 14 and 17. He said two of the wounded were undergoing surgery as of Tuesday evening and six others were in stable condition. One of the people wounded was a teacher, authorities said.

The suspect’s motives for the attack at Oxford high school in Oxford Township, near Detroit, were not yet known, McCabe said at a news conference. The suspect’s parents advised their son not to talk to investigators, as is his right.

The teenager’s father bought the gun – a 9mm pistol – on Black Friday, four days before the shooting, according to Detroit Free Press.

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Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor 80 years ago not only ensured the US’s entry into the second world war. It inadvertently but categorically changed baseball history. One day after the attack, Major League Baseball’s owners were expected to approve the move of the American League’s St Louis Browns to Los Angeles for 1942. But in the aftermath of the attack, the owners unanimously rejected the move. Had the owners approved it, it would have changed the landscape of American professional sports, and might have generated more sweeping social, cultural and economic shifts.

It has been another record year for renewable energy, despite the Covid-19 pandemic and rising costs for raw materials around the world, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). About 290GW of new renewable energy generation capacity, mostly in the form of wind turbines and solar panels, has been installed around the world this year, beating the previous record last year. On current trends, renewable energy generating capacity will exceed that of fossil fuels and nuclear energy combined by 2026.

Not everyone in Japan is looking forward to observing the time-honoured tradition of the bonenkai (forget-the-year) party season – a period where groups of colleagues get together to drink, eat and drink some more, even as the country begins to rediscover its gregarious side after 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic. Many workers have said they will be mounting silent protest when they imbibe alongside their colleagues, and, crucially, their bosses. Respondents to a survey said they dreaded the tradition, while one described bonenkai as nothing but “utter torment”.

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