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  • Analysis: 2020, and the American chorus' newly loud voices
    on Oct 31, 2020 at 7:00 am

    An election is approaching unlike any in recent memory, guaranteed to be a signpost in the long tale of what America is becoming and how it gets there. This notion, emerging as 2020 unfolds in its own weird way, has one particularly notable trait: It accepts that while your United States and your neighbor’s may in some ways overlap, and in other ways not at all, they’re equally American nonetheless.

  • Death toll reaches 26 in quake that hit Turkey, Greek island
    on Oct 31, 2020 at 5:41 am

    Rescue teams on Saturday plowed through concrete blocks and debris of eight collapsed buildings in search of survivors of a powerful earthquake that struck Turkey’s Aegean coast and north of the Greek island of Samos, killing at least 26 people. The quake hit Friday afternoon, toppling buildings in Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city, and triggering a small tsunami in the district of Seferihisar and on Samos. At least 24 people were killed in Izmir, including an elderly woman who drowned, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD.

  • Ivory Coast elections: Voters go to the polls amid opposition boycott
    on Oct 31, 2020 at 5:06 am

    President Alassane Ouattara is running for a third term which his opponents say is illegal.

  • Show your work: AP plans to explain vote calling to public
    on Oct 31, 2020 at 4:27 am

    The Associated Press, one of several news organizations whose declarations of winners drive election coverage, is pulling back the curtain this year to explain how it is reaching those conclusions. If necessary, top news executives will speak publicly in interviews about the process, said Sally Buzbee, senior vice president and executive editor. Given high interest in the presidential race, the complicating factor of strong early voting and President Donald Trump’s warnings about potential fraud, television executives are making similar promises of transparency.

  • Who is voting? Who is winning? Early vote only offers clues
    on Oct 31, 2020 at 4:19 am

    As early voting breaks records across the U.S., political analysts and campaigns are reviewing reams of data on the voters, looking for clues to key questions: Who is voting? Registered Democrats are outpacing registered Republicans significantly — by 14 percentage points — in states that are reporting voters’ party affiliation, according to an Associated Press analysis of the early vote. Meanwhile, polls show Republicans have heeded President Donald Trump’s baseless warnings about mail voting, and large numbers intend to vote on Election Day.

  • Biden, Obama make a final appeal to Michigan's Black voters
    on Oct 31, 2020 at 4:07 am

    Joe Biden enters the final weekend of the presidential campaign with an intense focus on appealing to Black voters whose support will be critical in his bid to defeat President Donald Trump. The Democratic presidential nominee is teaming up with his former boss, Barack Obama, for a swing through Michigan on Saturday. The memories of Trump’s upset win in Michigan and the rest of the upper Midwest are still searing in the minds of many Democrats during this closing stretch.

  • Saudi man crashes car into gates of Mecca's Grand Mosque
    on Oct 31, 2020 at 2:31 am
  • Iran spreading election propaganda and targeting U.S. state voter rolls, officials say
    on Oct 31, 2020 at 1:59 am

    The FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency both issued advisories Friday warning that Iran is spreading propaganda and targeting U.S. state websites, including election sites, in “an intentional effort to influence and interfere with the 2020 U.S. presidential election.” The FBI sent a FLASH bulletin to various states, saying an Iranian group is “creating fictitious media sites and spoofing legitimate media sites to spread anti-American propaganda and misinformation about voter suppression.”

  • Trump’s Inner Circle Braces for Disaster
    on Oct 31, 2020 at 12:14 am

    With just a few days left before Election Night and the president trailing in numerous state and national polls, Donald Trump’s inner circle is increasingly whispering the same thought: Our guy blew it.A forecast of a Biden White House is not one they welcome. But it’s one many of them have come to finally accept after a year of coronavirus deaths, economic devastation, and racial and civil unrest have throttled an administration run by a man they believe has failed to rise to the occasion, even on just a purely messaging front.“I believe the betting markets, which say there’s a 60 percent chance that Biden wins, and a 40 percent chance that Trump does,” Stephen Moore, a conservative economist who advises President Trump on economic and COVID-19-related matters, said in an interview Thursday.Explaining his pessimism, Moore cited several factors, including the still-rising cases of the virus in certain parts of the United States.Moore said he had hoped that the Gross Domestic Product report that came out on Thursday would have given the president’s campaign a boost. He even recalled visiting the White House last month, during which he told the president that the report was “going to be a real ‘October surprise,’” that he could “really play… up for the voters,” and that the two of them then brainstormed ways to aggressively promote the coming numbers.But shortly after the positive-looking report came out on Thursday—showing that the economy grew at a 33.1 percent annual rate last quarter—Moore found it hard to muster optimism about the political benefits of it. “I really don’t have a good feeling about this,” he conceded.Trump Said He’d Ban Foreign Lobbyist Fundraising. Now They’re Bankrolling His Campaign.Were Moore alone in his skepticism, it could be written off as the superstitious, cup-half-empty musings of an adviser who abjectly is terrified of a Biden presidency. But he’s not alone. Out of the 16 knowledgeable and well-positioned sources across Trumpworld—campaign aides, Republican donors, senior administration officials, and close associates of the president and his family—whom The Daily Beast interviewed for this story in the week leading up to Election Day 2020, only five gave Trump comfortable odds at winning. Doug Deason, a high-dollar Trump donor from Dallas, pegged Trump’s odds at “75 percent or better,” for instance.Six others were confident, to varying degrees, that President Trump would be relegated to one-termer status. The remaining five gave him roughly 50/50 odds. Of those five, two—a White House official and a friend of the president’s—started sounding increasingly pessimistic as the conversation went on.Dan Eberhart, chief executive at Canary and another major Trump donor who contributed $100,000 to Trump Victory this cycle, told The Daily Beast on Thursday evening that if he could go back in time, he wouldn’t have given a dime of that to the joint fundraising committee for the president’s re-election.“I think Trump has a 25 percent chance of winning the election. His campaign focused on exciting his base not on pursuing people in the center. COVID was a massive headwind that minimized the roaring Trump economy,” Eberhart said. “The president has struggled to maintain message discipline. And the left is highly motivated to vote, as seen by the record turnout so far. That’s not to say there’s not a window for the president to win. It’s just being realistic that he’s the underdog in this contest.”The businessman continued. “If I could redo my donations this cycle, I would put it all on red again,” he said. “Honestly, I would have put all my donations towards holding the Senate. I never thought the Senate would be in play.”Trump Taps Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow to Oversee Post-Election Legal BattlesEberhart doesn’t appear to be the only Trump donor with a bit of buyer’s remorse. According to data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics, of the more than 1,100 individuals who gave the $5,400 legal maximum to Trump’s 2016 campaign (or who exceeded the maximum and had to be issued refunds), about 450 of them have not donated a penny to the president’s re-election campaign this cycle.The president has far more donors this cycle of every donation range, including those who’ve given the legal maximum, than he did during the 2016 campaign. But if each of those 450 donors had also maxed out to Trump’s 2020 campaign, they would have provided a substantial $2.5 million in additional funding.And some high-dollar donors to Trump’s 2017 inauguration festivities haven’t just stopped giving to the president altogether; they’re actively bankrolling the Democratic opposition.Reached for comment on Friday afternoon, Jason Miller, a top Trump adviser on the campaign replied, “Mood is great. President Trump will be re-elected. I don’t worry about the bedwetters too much.”But other senior aides to Trump are also girding themselves for the president’s fury over the election results. Three sources familiar with the matter said Trump has repeatedly stressed how low of an opinion he has of Biden as a candidate, and has said how deeply embarrassing it would be for him if he managed to lose to him this year.Aides and close associates who’ve spoken to the president in recent days say that he has consistently argued behind closed doors that he is going to emerge victorious, ignoring much of the available polling data and declining to talk much, if at all, about what would happen if he didn’t. Trump will regularly argue that it doesn’t even make sense that Biden could win, when you look at his crowd sizes in the campaign’s closing weeks versus Biden’s.“If it were anyone else, I’d call it denial,” said one such associate.Two Trump administration officials working on foreign policy told The Daily Beast in the past week that they’re convinced the president will lose, and have instead prioritized making it harder for a President Biden to reverse their policy advancements—including with regards to re-entering the Iran nuclear deal.Still, there are those close to President Trump and in prominent GOP circles who say they remain convinced that Trump will win in a walk, pollsters and naysayers be damned.“I say there’s a 70 percent he’s re-elected, and a 30 percent chance that Biden wins,” said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and an outside adviser to Trump. “I think most of the establishment polls are just plain crazy. I think they’re done badly. I think they’re missing what’s actually going on…[Trump] is clearly going to win the electoral college, but lose the popular vote…[due to] Illinois, California, and New York.”Describing his private conversations with Trump during the 2020 election cycle, Gingrich added, “Every time I talk to the president, I say very simply what I said to him in October of 2016: ‘You’re gonna win.’”Blame Game Begins After Trump’s Nebraska Rally Sh*tshowRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

  • Malaysia Is Divided by Failures That Go Beyond Any One Man
    on Oct 31, 2020 at 12:00 am
  • UN defeats Russia resolution promoting women at peace tables
    on Oct 30, 2020 at 11:38 pm
  • Who is voting? Who is winning? Early vote only offers clues
    on Oct 30, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    As early voting breaks records across the U.S., political analysts and campaigns are reviewing reams of data on the voters, looking for clues to key questions: Who is voting? Registered Democrats are outpacing registered Republicans significantly — by 14 percentage points — in states that are reporting voters’ party affiliation, according to an Associated Press analysis of the early vote. Meanwhile, polls show Republicans have heeded President Donald Trump’s baseless warnings about mail voting, and large numbers intend to vote on Election Day.

  • Never flagged as a danger, Nice attacker traveled unimpeded
    on Oct 30, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    The 21-year-old Tunisian behind the attack that killed three in a Nice, France, church had small-time run-ins with the law as a teen, but nothing that alerted Tunisian authorities to possible extremist leanings. Italy’s interior minister, Luciana Lamorgese, told The Associated Press on Friday that Issaoui had not set off warning bells with Tunisian authorities or intelligence services.

  • Merkel's party mired in leadership 'conspiracy theories' as hopeful Friedrich Merz cries foul
    on Oct 30, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    Angela Merkel’s CDU party in Germany has been rocked by internal warfare in recent days after leadership hopeful Friedrich Merz claimed that the party establishment was trying to sabotage his leadership bid. On Tuesday, Mr Merz made the astonishing claim that the party conference had been postponed the day before, not for the official reason that rising coronavirus infections had made it impossible, but because people at the top of the party didn’t want him to take over and thus in all likelihood became the next Chancellor. “Since Sunday, the last stage of the plan ‘stop Merz’ has been enacted with the full support of the party establishment here in Berlin,” the millionaire businessman told Die Welt newspaper. Asked whether Angela Merkel was behind the plan, Mr Merz didn’t explicitly name the Chancellor, but said that “there is huge pressure and unfortunately much of the party leadership can’t stand up to it.” The comments have caused outcry inside a party renowned for its self-discipline. Outgoing leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer admonished Mr Merz, saying “to mind there are too many conspiracy theories doing the rounds these days.” Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer, who won against Mr Merz in a leadership contest in 2018 but gave up the role on the back of poor state election results, said that she “knows nobody” who wants to stop him becoming leader. Mr Merz and the Chancellor were once adversaries before Ms Merkel ousted him from his role as Bundestag faction leader in 2002. When she failed to include him in her first cabinet, he stepped back from front line politics in 2009 and took up lucrative advisory roles at Blackrock and other large companies. Response to Mr Merz’s claims of a conspiracy have even been negative among sections of the media normally supportive of him. The business paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung called him “a populist and a narcissist – of which there are enough in world politics.” The next election will take place on September 26 next year, with the CDU leading in polling. The centre-right party is an election winning machine, but a key element of this success has been to keep internal disputes behind closed doors.

  • Tanzania elections: President Magufuli in landslide win amid fraud claims
    on Oct 30, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    John Magufuli is re-elected by a landslide – but the opposition has dismissed the results.

  • State leaders facing 2nd wave resist steps to curb virus
    on Oct 30, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    Even as a new surge of coronavirus infections sweeps the U.S., officials in many hard-hit states are resisting taking stronger action to slow the spread, with pleas from health experts running up against political calculation and public fatigue. Days before a presidential election that has spotlighted President Donald Trump’s scattershot response to the pandemic, the virus continued its resurgence Friday, with total confirmed cases in the U.S. surpassing 9 million.

  • U.S. Says Virus Can't be Controlled. China Aims to Prove It Wrong.
    on Oct 30, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    The United States is hitting records in daily coronavirus cases. But China, the country first afflicted with the scourge, is having a different experience.Unlike the Trump administration, which has said it is prioritizing opening the economy while essentially giving up on controlling the pandemic, China moved aggressively to stop the virus. The result: China’s economy is growing, and life there is returning to a semblance of normal, while the United States is struggling with a third wave of infections and the prospect of new restrictions.Economic growth in China has surged, hitting 4.9% in the latest quarter, and consumer spending has slowly started to recover. Residents are once again flocking into malls, bars, concert halls and hair salons, while schools, subways and offices are crowded.China has effectively sealed off its borders from the outside world and doubled down on efforts to eradicate the virus. When a crop of cases emerges, the government swiftly shuts down vast areas and quickly tests millions of people to help keep local transmissions near zero.China’s authoritarian government has the ability to act in a way that democracies that must be accountable to the public cannot. But it has demonstrated that the way to open the economy is to first safeguard public health.While Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, has said the United States is “not going to control the pandemic” but will focus on getting vaccines and therapeutic treatments to combat the disease, China’s approach has helped to restore confidence and allow businesses to reopen.During a recent national holiday in China, when hundreds of millions of people went on trips nationwide, tourists crammed shoulder to shoulder to celebrate along the banks of the Huangpu River in Shanghai, some without masks. At Yellow Mountain, in the eastern province of Anhui, thousands of people squeezed into narrow hiking trails, bumping into each other as they passed by granite peaks and pine trees.”People aren’t panicked anymore,” said Eric Xie, who works at an internet company in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. “You can eat at restaurants, go to movies and play sports. Life has basically returned to normal.”As with much in the COVID era, the normalcy comes with an asterisk. Xie said he rarely goes on work trips anymore, instead speaking with clients by video. He said people had largely grown accustomed to wearing masks on subways and buses, even though Hangzhou has not had a coronavirus case in months.”It has become a habit,” he said. “It’s just part of life. People accept it.”China’s success would have seemed improbable when the virus emerged in the central city of Wuhan late last year.The Chinese government was denounced for trying to initially cover up the virus and to silence those who tried to warn about the outbreak. The decision to lock down Wuhan, a city of 11 million, for 76 days was widely criticized as inhumane and damaging to the livelihoods of ordinary families.For months, President Donald Trump has been one of Beijing’s fiercest opponents. He has railed against the “China virus” on Twitter and has made attacks on the Chinese Communist Party a centerpiece of his campaign.But China now represents the extreme, Communist version of a highly managed, scientifically backed approach that has worked in South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and other democracies. To varying degrees, they are emphasizing the collective good over personal freedoms, a formula that has allowed them to keep cases relatively low.In these places, people take heed when officials mandate masks and impose social distancing restrictions, even if sometimes begrudgingly. They put up with mandatory quarantines and invasive government tracking efforts. They support closing the borders and limiting entry, in most cases, to residents only.By contrast, the pandemic has become highly politicized in the United States, where there have been more than 9 million cases and 228,000 deaths. Wearing masks has become a divisive issue, and many Americans have resisted government limits on their movements.As with much in China, the government leaves little room for dissent or debate over its authoritarian approach to combating the virus, and the population is forced to acquiesce to the party’s demands. Yet many people in China say they are relieved that the pandemic seems to be under control, especially as the United States and countries in Europe confront a crush of new cases.”People don’t feel the restrictions are too severe,” said Vivian Gao, 26, who works at a cultural tourism company in Shanghai. “The results are good.”When tourism came to a halt amid the outbreak, Gao’s company cut her salary for several months by two-thirds, to about $300 a month, straining her budget. Now she says the firm’s employees have all returned to the office, and customers are once again lining up to shop and dine.”Life is back on track,” said Gao, whose salary has been restored.Gao said she believed China’s top-down model was better equipped to handle the pandemic than the U.S. political system, which she said placed too much emphasis on individual freedom.”In China, a word from a superior can be heard immediately and implemented quickly,” Gao said. “It’s the difference between individualism and collectivism.”The distinction between the two countries has fueled a propaganda frenzy, with officials highlighting the surge in cases in the United States to tout the strength of China’s authoritarian system and deflect attention from domestic problems.The Chinese foreign ministry has said the pandemic has “torn the emperor’s new clothes” off American democracy. A recent commentary in Global Times, a brash tabloid controlled by the party, called the situation in the United States a “huge human rights tragedy,” echoing language that American politicians often use against China.The failure of many western countries to contain the pandemic has helped Chinese President Xi Jinping bolster his party, which came under attack for its early missteps in handling the crisis.”The message is, ‘Look at the way the United States and Europe are dealing with a simple matter of life and death — and look at how your government under the Communist Party and Xi Jinping have dealt with the exact same issue,'” said Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.Tsang said the party’s success in handling the pandemic would strengthen Xi’s grip on power, especially if the Chinese economy continues to outperform other countries. “It will simply reinvigorate him in his efforts to tighten up control of society,” he said.China, though, can’t declare outright victory.The economy remains in a precarious position, and its strength depends in large part on whether the party can maintain a sense of confidence among the public. With a vaccine still many months away, business owners worry the virus could resurface and once again bring life in China to a standstill.Jane Shao, president of Lumiere Pavilions, a Chinese movie theater chain, said sales had largely recovered since last year because customers believe they can be safe in public. The widespread use of apps in China that verify people’s health has helped reduce fears about the virus, she said.Even so, Shao said there was a “long way to go” and that she was worried about the possibility of scattered outbreaks.”I can’t expect we will live in a panic-free society before vaccines are introduced,” she said.The country is also navigating a fine line between encouraging people to be vigilant about the virus and fueling paranoia.When a single asymptomatic case of the coronavirus was detected last week in Kashgar, in the western region of Xinjiang, authorities rushed to lock down the city. Officials demanded that more than 4 million people undergo tests for the virus, eventually finding nearly 200 cases, largely asymptomatic.The mass testing effort followed similar drives in the cities of Wuhan, Beijing, Qingdao and Urumqi, after clusters of cases emerged.China’s authoritarian hammer has been a staple of its strategy from the outset, helping it move quickly and bluntly to vanquish resurgences of the virus. But the government’s tactics also provoked anger among residents, who say authorities have at times reacted too harshly.Yibulayinaji, a 38-year-old owner of a pilaf stand in Kashgar, said shops had been ordered to close, and residents were staying indoors.”We don’t know when they’ll allow us to reopen, but right now, we can’t do any business,” he said in a telephone interview. “We can’t go out. We can’t go anywhere.”This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

  • If 2020 is like 2000, Trump believes he's got the votes
    on Oct 30, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    More than 86 million Americans have already voted in the presidential election, but President Donald Trump thinks he can count on one hand the votes that will determine the outcome. “I think this will end up in the Supreme Court,” Trump said last month of the election. On Friday, the president on Twitter sharply criticized their decision involving an extended deadline for receiving mailed-in ballots in North Carolina as “CRAZY and so bad for our Country.”

  • Voting, virus, race are hot topics in state high court races
    on Oct 30, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    The high courts in a number of states are on the ballot Tuesday in races that will determine whether Republicans or Democrats have a majority, and the stakes are high for both sides. This year alone, state supreme courts have been thrust into the spotlight to decide politically charged cases over voting rights, race and governors’ coronavirus orders. Among the most hotly contested races are the ones for two high court seats in Michigan, where a Republican-leaning majority has undercut emergency virus restrictions by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

  • As Trump faces uncertain future, so do his signature rallies
    on Oct 30, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    They began to arrive more than 40 hours before President Donald Trump took the stage in this stretch of rural Pennsylvania where horse-drawn buggies remain a common sight. “I am the crazy Trumper,” declared Kyle Terry, 33. As President Donald Trump faces an uncertain future, so too does a fixture of the American political scene over the last five years: the Trump campaign rally, a phenomenon that has spawned friendships, businesses and a way of life for Trump’s most dedicated supporters.

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