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Wednesday morning news: December 20, 2023

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WORLD Radio - Wednesday morning news: December 20, 2023

News of the day, including the United States heads up a new multinational task force to protect ships in the Red Sea from attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen


The frigate Languedoc in the Strait of Hormuz, between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman Associated Press/Photo by Marine Nationale

Colorado high court boots Trump from ballot » For the first time in history, a court has invoked the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause to disqualify a presidential candidate — namely Donald Trump.

In a 4-to-3 decision, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump’s name should be removed from the state’s primary ballot.

Justice Melissa Hart heard here:

HART: For purposes of this case, what we need to do is figure out whether what happened on Jan. 6 constituted an insurrection.

When asked if the breach of the Capitol in 2021 was, in fact, better described as a riot … Trump attorney Scott Gessler responded:

GESSLER: We think it’d be properly characterized that way and not as insurrection.

The ruling overturned a district court's decision, and it applies only to the primary ballot and not the general election - for now.

The decision is on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court addresses the issue.

Numerous lawsuits seek to bar Trump from primary ballots in other states as well.

Red Sea task force » Warships from the U.S. Navy and from other nations will patrol the Red Sea to protect commercial shipping lanes from attacks by Iran-backed Houthi militants. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin:

AUSTIN: We have launched Operation Prosperity Guardian under the umbrella of combined maritime forces.

The Yemen-based Houthi rebels have terrorized commercial vessels with drone and rocket attacks along a critical trade route in the Middle East. And allowing that to continue could harm the global economy.

Countries taking part in the new task force include Canada, Spain, Norway, France, and Bahrain.

China, despite its regional naval presence, has not joined.

Israel latest » Meanwhile, family members of more than 130 Israeli hostages still held by Hamas met Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Ruby Chen was among them.

CHEN: The prime minister gave us hope in the meeting. It was a very intimate meeting with a small number of families.

Chen added though that at the end of the day, the prime minister is the one responsible for getting their loved ones home safely.

Western leaders have continued to work with Israeli officials behind the scenes, talking with mediators from Qatar in hopes of brokering another deal to free more of the hostages.

O’Connor funeral » President Biden was among those paying final respects Tuesday to a trailblazing Supreme Court justice.

BIDEN: Sandra Day O'Connor, daughter of the American West, was a pioneer in her own right, breaking down the barriers in legal and political worlds and the nation's consciousness.

The president heard there at the Washington National Cathedral near the close of two days of memorial services for the high court’s first female justice.

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts also honored the late justice.

JUSTICE ROBERTS: She had to demonstrate excellence as the 102nd member of the Supreme Court, all the while setting a model as the first woman on the job.

President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981, and the Senate unanimously confirmed her. She retired from the court 25 years later.

She died earlier this month at the age of 93.

Suit of Texas border law » The liberal activist group, the American Civil Liberties Union, is suing to halt a new Texas law that gives state police the power to arrest and deport illegal immigrants.

The White House blasted the law on Tuesday. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre:

Jean-Pierre: This is an extreme law that will not and does not make the communities in Texas safer. It just doesn't. 

The lawsuit claims the law is unconstitutional arguing that immigration law enforcement is strictly a federal responsibility.

Gov. Greg Abbott says the Biden administration has abdicated its duties, leaving Texas to fend for itself.

Tesla/Elon/Disney » A feud between Disney CEO Bob Iger and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, continues to escalate as the two business leaders stake out ground on opposite sides of the culture war. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN: Tesla has apparently removed the Disney-Plus app from the entertainment systems in its cars.

That follows Iger’s decision to pull advertising from Musk’s X platform, formerly Twitter, after Musk reposted a controversial message that many saw as anti-Semitic. Musk later sought to clarify his stance and visited with leaders in Israel.

He suggested Iger’s move was more political than ethical. He noted that Disney still advertises on the Chinese-owned TikTok, which has faced heavy criticism over its content.

Over the weekend, Musk ramped up criticism of Disney:

MUSK: I think they should be asking themselves, “what would Walt Disney think of Disney today?” I think he’s turning in his grave.

He said Disney is deeply infected with what he called the “woke mind virus,” and has become a haven of left-wing activists.

Iger himself recently conceded that Disney had begun to prioritize pushing left-of-center social messages over creating quality content.

For WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

I'm Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: Washington Wednesday. Plus, giving soldiers a seat at the holiday table this Christmas.

This is The World and Everything in It.


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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