Turkey begins requiring negative PCR test for travel

A woman wears a protective face mask while walking on Galata bridge in Istanbul, Turkey amid the outbreak of COVID-19. (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:05 PM PT – Saturday, December 26, 2020

Turkey has begun requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to board an incoming plane. Turkey’s health minister announced the new policy Friday, which bars those who fail to comply.

All passengers flying in from Britain, South Africa or Denmark will be required to quarantine in addition to providing a negative test result. This is a change from Turkey’s previous policy, which only required a test for those showing symptoms.

One traveler said her trip to Amsterdam was derailed since she couldn’t get a PCR test on such short notice.

“Yesterday at 20 past 8 p.m., I got an email from Eurostar that if I want to go to Amsterdam, I need a PCR test,” the traveler said. “But how can I get PCR test in the night or even in one day?”

These new international requirements are effecting travelers worldwide. Only more changes are expected to come as countries continue to issue new policies to combat the pandemic.

MORE NEWS: Congress Is Focused On COVID-19 Relief Bill, Gov’t Funding

Original Article

Cincy Police Close Street for Suspicious RV Following Nashville Blast

Cincy Police Close Street for Suspicious RV Following Nashville Blast Cincy Police Close Street for Suspicious RV Following Nashville Blast (Dreamstime)

By Brian Trusdell | Friday, 25 December 2020 08:07 PM

Police in Cincinnati closed a downtown street for approximately two and a half hours Friday to investigate a parked recreational vehicle before giving the ''all clear” and reopening the area.

The unusual action came hours after a recreational vehicle exploded in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, Christmas morning after broadcasting alerts for anyone who could hear them to clear the area.

"We take anything like this extremely seriously. We got units here as quickly as possible and cleared all the traffic out of the area,” Cincinnati Police Sgt. Jerry Hodges told the Cincinnati Enquirer. ''I understand people on heightened alert these days," Hodges said. "Everything turned out great."

Police said they were alerted to the RV at about 4:30 p.m. by security and police at the city’s federal building. Using K-9 units, the RV was cleared about 7 p.m. There were conflicting reports — such as one by local CBS/CW affiliate WKRC, which said the RV’s engine was running. Others, such as the Enquirer, said the engine was not running but that an internal generator could be heard starting, apparently to maintain temperature.

The RV was owned by a local man but had out-of-state license plates due to a recent purchase.

"Out of an abundance of caution, based on the incident in Tennessee we are using Explosive Detection K9s to clear the scene," officials told the Enquirer. "At this time there is nothing else indicating there is anything else of a suspicious nature."

Fauci Acknowledges He Increased His Estimates on Herd Immunity

Fauci Acknowledges He Increased His Estimates on Herd Immunity anthony fauci speaks at press conference Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 25 December 2020 01:26 PM

Dr. Anthony Fauci admits he has been slowly increasing his estimates on what the U.S. would need to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.

According to The New York Times, many epidemiologists have been estimating since the start of the pandemic that it would take 60% to 70% of the population to acquire resistance to the coronavirus in order for the disease to fade away.

And the Times noted Fauci, the most prominent U.S. infectious disease expert, tended to agree during the pandemic’s early days. But about a month ago he raised the estimate to ''70, 75%.'' In a Dec. 16 interview with CNBC he said: ''75, 80, 85%'' and ''75 to 80-plus percent.''

Fauci concedes he has been deliberately moving the goal posts, partly based on new science and his gut feeling the U.S. is finally ready to hear what he really believes.

He said it may take close to 90% immunity to stop the virus.

Now that some polls show that many more Americans are ready for vaccines, Fauci said he felt he could deliver the message that a return to normal might take longer than first believed, the Times noted.

''When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent,'' Dr. Fauci said. ''Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, 'I can nudge this up a bit,' so I went to 80, 85.''

A Gallup poll last month showed that 58% of Americans are now willing to get the vaccine. The number is up from a low of 50% in September.

Sen. Blackburn Praises Nashville Law Enforcement for Quick Action

Sen. Blackburn Praises Nashville Law Enforcement for Quick Action marsha blackburn sits behind table Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. (Jason Andrew-Pool/Getty)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Friday, 25 December 2020 12:45 PM

Sen. Marsha Blackburn Friday praised members of the Nashville Police Department for their quick action in the wake of a massive explosion that rocked the mostly empty streets in the city early Christmas morning.

"This is a time when we are so grateful that we have members of the police, that thin blue line that continues to stand between chaos and calm, for the good work that they have done this Christmas morning when this tragedy, this unspeakable, unseemly tragedy, has occurred in downtown Nashville," the Tennessee Republican told Fox News.

Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said that police had been responding to a call about shots being fired just before 6 a.m. local time but found no signs of a shooting. However, the officers noticed a suspicious vehicle and called for a hazardous response unit. While they waited, the vehicle exploded.

Blackburn said there will be more information from the FBI, which is leading the investigation into the explosion, which officials said was apparently set off intentionally.

The senator said her office has been in touch with state, local, and federal authorities, and that the explosion is a "tragic situation."

"We are of course concerned for safety and security, and we are grateful for the first responders and law enforcement who found it suspicious, again, cordoning off the area and working to protect people that live in this downtown area," said Blackburn.

The section where the explosion took place is a "very busy" part of the city, Blackburn said.

"You are down around Broadway," she said. "Of course in Nashville, we have lots of bars and venues, live music venues. You have the Country Music Hall of Fame that is within a few blocks of this area, as is the Symphony Hall, as is the arena, so it is a very busy area. Other times, there is a lot of pedestrian traffic in this area. We are just so grateful for law enforcement and people that were watching and felt this was suspicious."

Bidens Send Christmas Message to America

Bidens Send Christmas Message to America jill and joe biden stand onstage Joe Biden walks offstage with his wife, Jill Biden, after speaking Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 25 December 2020 12:10 PM

Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, taking time to recognize the many Americans who are struggling this year, wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

Their comments came in a two-minute video posted to his Twitter account Friday morning.

''Jill and I wish you and your family peace, joy, and happiness this season,'' Biden said. ''But we know for so many of you in our nation, this has been a very difficult year. And we’re reminded in this season of hope our common humanity and what we’re called to do for one another.

''Many of our fellow Americans are struggling to find work, literally put food on the table, pay their rent or their mortgage. We’re reminded we’re on this Earth to care for one another, to give what we can, and to be a source of help and hope to friend and stranger alike."

His wife noted this is also a season of gratitude.

''And we’re so thankful for the frontline and essential workers who have put themselves at risk for all of us — and for the scientists and researchers who worked to deliver vaccines that are an incredible scientific breakthrough.''

The Bidens concluded their message by saying: ''So from our family to yours: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.''

McRaven Calls Pentagon’s Post-Esper Team ‘Inexperienced’

McRaven Calls Pentagon's Post-Esper Team 'Inexperienced' mark esper answers questions at a table Former Sec. of Defense Mark Esper in July 2020. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

By Cathy Burke | Sunday, 29 November 2020 11:35 AM

Retired Navy Adm. William McRaven, a former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command and a critic of President Donald Trump, said Sunday the Pentagon’s new team after Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s firing is “inexperienced.”

In an interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” McRaven said he isn’t questioning the competence of Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, Michael Ellis, a new general counsel at the National Security Agency, and new Pentagon advisor retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor.

But he said they were made with a political agenda in mind.

“The new team, maybe they’re good folks but they are inexperienced,” McRaven said. “And what they are trying to do, of course, is to push forward President [Donald] Trump’s agenda, particularly when it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan, and drawing down the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“What I’ve said before is, look, we can have reasonable policy discussions on how many people we ought to have in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he continued.

“But what we don’t want to do is we don’t want to rush to failure. We don’t want to pull everybody out of Afghanistan and risk putting the troops … in greater harm’s way.”

He added the new team “appears” to be “really rushing to get a lot of Trump’s agenda resolved before a President [Joe] Biden comes on.”

Original Article

Brett Favre: Sports Fans Don’t Want Political Messaging At Games

Brett Favre: Sports Fans Don't Want Political Messaging At Games brett favre wears a headset and speaks into a mic. Former NFL player Brett Favre speaks during Super Bowl LIV on Jan. 31, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM )

By Cathy Burke | Sunday, 29 November 2020 09:15 AM

Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Brett Favre says fans don’t want “political messaging mixed with their sports,” and that a drop in television viewers reflects that.

In an interview last week on Sinclair Broadcasting’s “America This Week,” the former Green Bay Packers field general said he doesn’t judge anyone who does or doesn’t kneel during the national anthem at football games.

“I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that,” he said of the controversy over the social justice gesture.

“I’m not saying who’s right or wrong,” he said, adding, “There’s a lot of things that need to be fixed in this world. We can all work together.”

But he defended his remarks in a video question to President Donald Trump during a virtual town hall held by “America This Week,” remarking there was a reason behind a drop in NFL viewership on TV.

”Fans clearly don’t want political messaging mixed with their sports, so how do leagues deal” with racism, Favre asked Trump — a remark that angered some watchers, host Eric Bolling noted.

“I don’t pay attention,” Favre replied to Bolling.

“Most people thought it was a good question,” he said. “All the haters can’t wait to get on their phones.”

Favre also said “all of us … the older generation” are worried about the direction the country is headed.

“It’s frightening what it’s going to be like in 20-30 years from now but I can’t imagine it being pleasant,” he said.

Favre spoke openly about his opioid addiction during his early years with the Packers following a shoulder separation he suffered in his first year with the team.

“I remember vividly getting hurt,” he said, adding he’d just turned 22. “I started eating pain pills.”

“With every injury I had after that, I made it seem like it was worse off than it really was,” he said, adding “That's really how it started. This went on for three, four years.”

“Like most people who it happens to young, before you know it, it's got a hold of you. And, of course, I thought I had it controlled,” he said.

“At my peak, I was taking 16 in one night…all 16 at one time… If I did that today, right now, it would probably kill me,” he said, lamenting that from 1992 to 1996, things were “a blur.”

“I was deceiving myself, I guess because I was playing well. I won three MVPs, how could I have a problem?” he recalled. But along with a drinking problem, he said he suffered two seizures and realized he had to stop.

“I knew something bad was gonna happen… I realized I was at the end of my rope,” he said. “Ultimately I flushed them down the toilet” and “I quit drinking a year later.”

Brett Favre: Sports Fans Don’t Want Political Messaging At Games

Brett Favre: Sports Fans Don't Want Political Messaging At Games brett favre wears a headset and speaks into a mic. Former NFL player Brett Favre speaks during Super Bowl LIV on Jan. 31, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM )

By Cathy Burke | Sunday, 29 November 2020 09:15 AM

Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Brett Favre says fans don’t want “political messaging mixed with their sports,” and that a drop in television viewers reflects that.

In an interview last week on Sinclair Broadcasting’s “America This Week,” the former Green Bay Packers field general said he doesn’t judge anyone who does or doesn’t kneel during the national anthem at football games.

“I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that,” he said of the controversy over the social justice gesture.

“I’m not saying who’s right or wrong,” he said, adding, “There’s a lot of things that need to be fixed in this world. We can all work together.”

But he defended his remarks in a video question to President Donald Trump during a virtual town hall held by “America This Week,” remarking there was a reason behind a drop in NFL viewership on TV.

”Fans clearly don’t want political messaging mixed with their sports, so how do leagues deal” with racism, Favre asked Trump — a remark that angered some watchers, host Eric Bolling noted.

“I don’t pay attention,” Favre replied to Bolling.

“Most people thought it was a good question,” he said. “All the haters can’t wait to get on their phones.”

Favre also said “all of us … the older generation” are worried about the direction the country is headed.

“It’s frightening what it’s going to be like in 20-30 years from now but I can’t imagine it being pleasant,” he said.

Favre spoke openly about his opioid addiction during his early years with the Packers following a shoulder separation he suffered in his first year with the team.

“I remember vividly getting hurt,” he said, adding he’d just turned 22. “I started eating pain pills.”

“With every injury I had after that, I made it seem like it was worse off than it really was,” he said, adding “That's really how it started. This went on for three, four years.”

“Like most people who it happens to young, before you know it, it's got a hold of you. And, of course, I thought I had it controlled,” he said.

“At my peak, I was taking 16 in one night…all 16 at one time… If I did that today, right now, it would probably kill me,” he said, lamenting that from 1992 to 1996, things were “a blur.”

“I was deceiving myself, I guess because I was playing well. I won three MVPs, how could I have a problem?” he recalled. But along with a drinking problem, he said he suffered two seizures and realized he had to stop.

“I knew something bad was gonna happen… I realized I was at the end of my rope,” he said. “Ultimately I flushed them down the toilet” and “I quit drinking a year later.”

Original Article

Michigan Democrat On List Of Possible Biden Picks To Head CIA

Michigan Democrat On List Of Possible Biden Picks To Head CIA elissa slotkin sits and listens Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D- Mich., during a hearing before the House Committee on Homeland Security on Capitol Hill in July 2020. (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

By Cathy Burke | Sunday, 29 November 2020 08:04 AM

Newly reelected Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., a former intelligence officer who worked for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, is reportedly on the list for Joe Biden’s CIA director.

The New York Times reported that Slotkin is among a number of possibilities that also include former CIA director Michael Morell, Thomas Donilon, a former national security adviser in the Obama administration, Sue Gordon, a former principal deputy director of national intelligence, and Vincent Stewart, who led the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Slotkin, 44, who did three tours in Iraq as a CIA officer before working in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and for the National Security Council, suggests she’s happy where she is, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“While Congresswoman Slotkin appreciates being named alongside such qualified candidates to lead the CIA, she is honored to serve the people of Michigan’s 8th District, and looks forward to doing so for a second term in Congress,” Slotkin's spokeswoman, Hannah Lindow, told the Free Press on Saturday.

Politico has reported that Slotkin is a moderate who recently advised Democrats that President Donald Trump has a loyal base for good reason.

“[Trump] doesn’t talk down to anybody. He is who he is, but he doesn’t talk down to anyone," she told Politico. "And I think that there is a certain voter out there because of that who identifies with him and appreciates him."

The CIA’s current director, Gina Haspel, appointed by Trump in 2018, was the first woman to be confirmed by the Senate to lead the agency.

Original Article

Biden Considering Cindy McCain for UK Ambassador Role

Biden Considering Cindy McCain for UK Ambassador Role Biden Considering Cindy McCain for UK Ambassador Role Cindy McCain. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Saturday, 28 November 2020 12:31 PM

Joe Biden is eyeing Cindy McCain as a potential U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, according to multiple sources.

“It’s hers if she wants it,” a source told The Times of London about McCain, the widow of the late Sen. John McCain. “She delivered Arizona. They know that.”

Biden was the first Democrat to win Arizona since 1996.

McCain, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, is a known Anglophile. She and former Sen. Jeff Flake are both being credited for endorsements that helped Biden win in their state. Both have been floated for posts in the Biden administration, reports The Hill, with McCain being considered for a top ambassador role or another diplomatic post.

She currently serves on Biden's transition team on the advisory board. She has never held public office but is said to have had a front-row seat to international diplomacy while traveling with her husband, a frequent target of barbs from Trump.

McCain told ABC's "The View," which her daughter Meghan co-hosts, that the Biden administration will be "all-inclusive and there is a role for Republicans."

Biden has also signaled that he could reach across the aisle and name Republicans to key posts in his administration, including in his Cabinet.

Original Article

Pa. Judge Opines State’s Mail-in Ballot Procedures Likely Illegal

Pa. Judge Opines State's Mail-in Ballot Procedures Likely Illegal a graphic showing a 2020 pennsylvania ballot box with votes flying into it (Dreamstime)

Bob Van Voris Saturday, 28 November 2020 12:33 PM

A Pennsylvania judge who Nov. 25 blocked the state from going forward with additional steps that might be required to certify the state's presidential vote said in a written opinion that changes to the Pennsylvania's mail-in balloting procedures were likely illegal.

The order is delayed while the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considers the case, filed by Pennsylvania Republicans, on an expedited basis. Friday night's opinion simply provides the judge's reasoning for ordering a temporary delay.

It is unclear exactly what further steps in the process can be delayed, but the plaintiffs suggested there were several, including the assembly of electors. The Electoral College vote to certify the Nov. 3 election results does not take place until Dec. 14.

A federal appeals court Friday had rejected President Donald Trump's attempt to revive a lawsuit in which his campaign was seeking to undo Pennsylvania's certification Joe Biden's victory in the state.

A three-judge panel resoundingly dismissed the campaign's goal of striking out tens of thousands of ballots, saying there were no claims of fraud in the lawsuit, or proof.

The decision potentially tees the case up for the U.S. Supreme Court, and the president has openly mused the 6-3 conservative majority could deliver the election to him. But most legal experts doubt the high court will take up a case which will not change the race. Biden would still win the presidency without Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes, and Georgia, Michigan and Nevada have also certified results in his favor.

"Voters, not lawyers, choose the president," the federal appeals court in Philadelphia said.
"Ballots, not briefs, decide elections. The ballots here are governed by Pennsylvania election law. No federal law requires poll watchers or specifies where they must live or how close they may stand when votes are counted. Nor does federal law govern whether to count ballots with minor state-law defects or let voters cure those defects."

In its ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit took apart the Trump campaign's legal arguments, as it refused to force the lower-court judge who dismissed the case to allow the campaign to file a revised complaint.

Trump is trying to invalidate tens of thousands of mail-in ballots and asking the appeals court for an emergency order blocking "the effects" of Pennsylvania's certification of votes.

Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis said in a tweet the campaign would appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Trump campaign brought an expedited appeal of the lower-court judge's ruling. U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann on Saturday rejected both the request to file a new complaint and the idea of blocking certification, saying the campaign’s suit was speculative and based on "strained legal arguments" that were without merit.

The combined rulings from Brann and the appeals court are the highest-profile courtroom defeats for Trump since the Nov. 3 election. Suits filed by the campaign and its GOP allies have failed in Michigan, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona as judges declined to toss out millions of votes based on claims tied to a vast and implausible conspiracy theory about corrupt Democratic election workers.

The appeals panel, with all three members appointed by Republican presidents, said the campaign's ultimate goal of setting aside 1.5 million mail-in ballots from the defendant counties for an audit and "statistical analysis" to look for improper ballots would not be fair to voters, especially when there is no allegation of fraud in the complaint.

"There is no allegation of fraud (let alone proof) to justify harming those millions of voters as well as other candidates," the appeals court said.

Original Article

New Jersey Woman Accused of Sending Money to Terrorists

New Jersey Woman Accused of Sending Money to Terrorists New Jersey Woman Accused of Sending Money to Terrorists (Dreamstime.com)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Saturday, 28 November 2020 11:40 AM

A New Jersey woman has been arrested on charges that she was sending money to a foreign terrorist organization in Syria, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Authorities say Maria Bell, 53, of Hopatcong, is charged with allegedly sending money to a member of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a Syrian terrorist organization that is fighting against the Assad regime, reports NJ.com.

The complaint charges her with one count of knowingly concealing the provision of material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. It also says that Bell, a former member of the U.S. Army and Army National Guard, used her expertise in specialized weapons training to "guidance concerning operational security issues, firearms purchases, and military knowledge.”

The complaint alleges Bell started communicating with one member of HTS in February 2017 and sent thousands of encrypted communications to that person, including asking if he or she was "ready to fight in front line with other fighters."

Bell allegedly sent at least 18 payments for a total of $3,150 to people in Turkey and Syria who support HTS, knowing the money would support acts of terrorism, according to federal officials.

The State Department added HTS to its database as a foreign terrorist organization in May 2018, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean Sovolos, during Bell's first court appearance, described her as a danger to the community and a flight risk, saying that when she was arrested officers recovered 136 operable handguns and rifles, 15 canisters of ammunition, and a short-range rocket launcher inside her two-bedroom home.

Her lawyer said most of the weapons were antiques and she got them after the death of her husband, who had worked at an armory.

Bell faces up to 10 years in prison.

Over 700 Gang Members in Central America Arrested in US-Aided Actions

Over 700 Gang Members in Central America Arrested in US-Aided Actions Over 700 Gang Members in Central America Arrested in US-Aided Actions (Dreamstime)

Friday, 27 November 2020 08:14 PM

El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have brought criminal charges against more than 700 members of cross-border criminal organizations, primarily the MS-13 and 18th Street gangs, in a U.S.-assisted effort, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Friday.

"The U.S. Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners in Central America are committed to continued collaboration in locating and arresting gang members and associates engaged in transnational crimes," said U.S. Attorney General William Barr, according to the statement.

The charges resulted from a one-week coordinated law enforcement action under Operation Regional Shield (ORS), a DOJ-led initiative to combat transnational organized crime that brings together authorities from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and the United States.

Tackling transnational human smuggling networks and gangs, including MS-13, is a top priority for U.S. President Donald Trump.

Prosecutors in El Salvador this week filed criminal charges against 1,152 members of organized crime groups in the country, primarily MS-13 and 18th Street gangs, the statement said.

The national civil police captured 572 of the defendants on charges involving terrorism, murder, extortion, kidnapping, money laundering, human trafficking and human smuggling, among others.

In Guatemala, authorities executed 80 search warrants, arrested 40 individuals and served 29 arrest warrants against people already in custody, all of whom are members of the 18th Street gang and MS-13, the DOJ said. Guatemalan authorities seized drugs and a firearm, and filed charges for extortion, illicit association, conspiracy to commit murder and extortive obstruction.

In Honduras, the one-week joint operation resulted in the arrest of over 75 MS-13 and 18th Street gang members and five police officers and the execution of over 10 search warrants.