Report: Companies donated $170M to GOP election objectors

WASHINGTON — Corporations and industry groups have donated at least $170 million in recent years to Republicans who voted to reject President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump. That’s according to a new report by the government watchdog group Public Citizen. The report examines corporate and trade association contributions made since the 2016 election cycle to the 147 members of Congress who, at Trump’s behest, last week objected to the certification of November’s election. Giving by such groups has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol last week by Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol to stop the vote.

US to block cotton from China

WASHINGTON — The US government says it will halt imports of cotton and tomatoes from the Uighur region of China in its most sweeping action yet to pressure the Communist Party to stop a campaign against ethnic minorities. Officials say Customs and Border Protection will use its authority to block products suspected of being produced with forced labor to keep out cotton, tomatoes and related products from the Xinjiang region of northwest China. The region is a major global supplier of cotton, so the order could have significant effects on global commerce. The Trump administration has already blocked imports from individual companies linked to forced labor in Xinjiang.

Defiance of virus dining bans grows

BORING, Ore. — A growing number of restaurants nationwide are opening for indoor dining in defiance of strict COVID-19 regulations in their states, saying they are targeted unfairly and are barely hanging on. In Oregon, a movement to defy an indoor-dining ban began quietly on Jan. 1 and is gaining steam despite warnings from state inspectors and surging COVID-19 case numbers. Democratic Gov. Kate Brown has also threatened restaurants with the revocation of liquor and slot machine licenses in a standoff that’s increasingly attracting the attention of far-right groups such as the People’s Rights network.

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