Jittery public awaits news as presidency remains in flux

Election challengers, left, wait outside after an election official, right, closed the door to the central counting board, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Detroit. Officials were saying the challenger quotas were met by Republicans, Democrats and Independent observers.

STATE

EL PASO (AP) — El Paso hospitals are near a “breaking point” as 3,100 new cases of the coronavirus were reported there Wednesday, an official said.

“Hospitalizations continue to rise sharply and unfortunately more people we know will continue to succumb to the complications of this disease,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, El Paso’s city and county health authority.

“Our hospitals are near breaking point, we need everyone to do their part to stop this virus,” he said.

There were 1,041 hospitalizations Wednesday, health officials said.

NATION

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — They clung to their cocktails and proclaimed themselves sick with dread. They relentlessly checked the news and went outdoors for fresh air. They bemoaned a wipeout wave that never came and held out hope their favored candidate still would eke out a win.

With the fate of the White House undecided Wednesday, a jittery and bitterly divided America braced for rocky days to come and the possibility a man they despise would be leading the nation.

“I can’t turn on the news. I don’t feel good at all,” said 61-year-old Tammy Lewandowski, a supporter of President Donald Trump in Milwaukee, where former Vice President Joe Biden emerged as the state’s winner. That’s an outcome Lewandowski fears will amount to a loss of law and order and rioting. “I feel like we lost our country. I don’t know that anything will be the same again.”

On the other side of the divide but just as troubled, women gathering at a Fems for Dems gathering in the affluent Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills moaned and dropped their heads into their hands as the returns came in early Wednesday, some considering switching from red wine to tequila. Even as they held out hope, they knew they hadn’t won what they wanted: a nationwide repudiation of Trump.

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal appeals court has allowed a Trump administration rule that would deny green cards to immigrants who use public benefits like food stamps to go back into effect while it considers the case.

The Election Day development was the latest dizzying twist in a legal battle over the controversial rule that the Trump administration argues helps ensure those who are self-sufficient come to the country.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman in Chicago struck down the rule and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services stopped applying it to pending applications. Government attorneys appealed, and the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put a hold on the ruling the next day, allowing the restrictions to take effect again.

USCIS spokesman Matthew Bourke said Wednesday that the agency would immediately restart applying the rule to pending cases, but not “re-adjudicate any applications or petitions that were approved” in light of Monday’s decision.

NEW YORK (AP) — The retrial of a former CIA software engineer charged with leaking secrets to WikiLeaks in an espionage case will begin June 7, a judge said Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty set the date for Joshua Schulte over the objections of a defense lawyer who said it would be impossible to properly prepare for a trial that started before August.

Earlier this year, a jury deadlocked on the most serious espionage charges alleging that Schulte stole a massive trove of the agency’s hacking tools and gave it to the organization that publishes news leaks.

After the retrial, Schulte, 32, also faces child pornography charges at a separate trial.

WORLD

BRUSSELS (AP) — With a deadline looming ever more menacingly, the European Union’s chief negotiator on the post-Brexit trade deal with Britain Wednesday publicly blamed London for a lack of progress in the two sides’ belated attempt to reach an even rudimentary agreement.

“At this stage, there are still too many difficulties remaining on important topics,” Michel Barnier said on his way to brief the envoys of the 27 member states.

In a Twitter comment later, Barnier said that “Despite EU efforts to find solutions, very serious divergences remain.”

Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost said he agreed that “wide divergences remain on some key issues.”

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dubai’s budget carrier flydubai said Wednesday that it would start flying twice daily to Tel Aviv later this month, becoming the first Emirati airline to announce regular service after a U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

Direct flights on flydubai between Dubai and Tel Aviv, two of the region’s financial hubs, will begin Nov. 26, the carrier said, the result of a bilateral air travel pact signed last month. The state-owned carrier is already selling tickets on its website.

In recent weeks, planes carrying dozens of Israelis, eager to make public their long-secret business ties with the UAE, have touched down in Dubai to meet for talks with their Emirati counterparts. Other national carriers have started cargo flights. The two countries have inked a raft of other commercial deals to deepen their ties, including for visa exemption for Israeli travelers.

Flydubai said the 14 weekly flights would significantly boost commercial relations between the UAE and Israel, as well as open up a crucial new hub for Israelis traveling to the Far East and Africa, shaving several hours off the journey times. The diplomatic deal has set off a flurry of excitement in Israel, where tourists have for years faced travel restrictions due to Israel’s reputation as a political pariah in the Arab world.