CATHOLIC VALUES COLUMNIST
Several races see recounts after midterm elections
Several electoral races are still up in the air following last week’s midterm elections, which saw the Democrat Party regain control of the House of Representatives but the Republicans hold on to the Senate. In Georgia and Florida, the Democratic nominees for governor have refused to concede to their Republican opponents until every ballot is counted and a recount is already underway in Florida. Arizona’s Senate race between Democrat Krysten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally has not been called as of Monday. The Florida Senate race between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democrat incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson also had a recount ordered, with Scott holding a 0.15 percent lead over Nelson. The Florida recounts must be completed by Thursday at 3 p.m.
More fires devastate California
The Camp Fire near Paradise, California, has left 29 people dead as of Monday, the largest recorded number of deaths in modern California history from a single fire. More than 200 people are still unaccounted for, meaning more bodies may be found. The fire is similar to one in Northern California last year, which devastated areas of Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties. More than 6,000 homes and 110,000 acres have been burned, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The Woolsey Fire, taking place in Southern California, had consumed 85,000 acres and was only 15 percent contained as of Sunday. At least two people have died in that fire.
Vatican tells USCCB not to vote on bishop accountability measures
During the opening of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual meeting on Monday, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo announced the Vatican had asked the USCCB to not vote on two proposals regarding bishops that dealt with the clergy sex abuse crisis. DiNardo, president of the USCCB, said the Vatican had asked the U.S. bishops to wait until after a February meeting between Pope Francis and presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the world that will focus on a universal response to the sex abuse scandal. The two proposals regarded standards of episcopal conduct and a special commission to review complaints against bishops for violating the standards. DiNardo said he and other bishops were disappointed at the Vatican’s response, adding that the conference had high expectations for moving along with its plans.
100-year anniversary of Armistice Day marked
The 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I, known as Armistice Day, was recognized by several world leaders during a ceremony in Paris on Sunday. U.S. President Donald Trump was among 60 heads of state and government that came together to recognize the occasion, which featured a moment of silence at exactly 11 a.m. Paris time, the moment when the armistice ending the war was signed back in 1918. During the ceremony, Trump praised the American and French soldiers who had contributed to ending the world war, calling them patriots. Trump’s remarks came after French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech, which also praised patriotism while condemning nationalism, which some interpreted as a jab against Trump.
Secret N. Korea missile sites located by U.S. analysts
More than half of an estimated 20 secret North Korean missile development sites have been located, U.S. analysts said on Monday. Thirteen facilities used to produce missiles and other technologies were located in the search, which used commercial satellite imagery. The findings cast doubt on the intents of North Korea following its June meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, which many have called historic. The analysts called for an inspection of the facilities, which pose a significant threat to the United States and its allies, according to an AP report. The same news report said the findings come on the heel of North Korea calling off a round of negotiations with the United States after the United States refused to lift sanctions on North Korea.
El Salvador abortion
The case of a 20-year-old Salvadoran woman accused of attempting to murder her baby after conceiving the child in rape went to trial in El Salvador on Monday. If convicted, Imelda Cortez would face up to 20 years in prison. Cortez was raped by her stepfather and conceived the child, and law enforcement accused her of trying to murder the child after giving birth to the baby in a latrine last April. Cortez denied the allegations, but the Salvadoran court will consider medial evidence presented by doctors to determine if she intentionally tried to induce an abortion, according to Reuters. El Salvador is known for having some of the strictest abortion laws in the world and considers abortion to be illegal in all circumstances, with no exceptions. A petition that called for Cortez to be free has received almost 50,000 signatures. A decision on Cortez’s fate should be reached by the end of the week.