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DNC to make history with Kamala Harris nomination: Live updates | US & Canada News

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  • Democrats nominated former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday night. Wednesday will see Democratic luminaries like former State Secretary and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak, along with Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, the first Black, Asian American vice-presidential candidate.
  • The convention has seen an unexpectedly high number of Republicans endorse Biden with an outsized share of screentime for members of the opposing party. The endorsements have caused some to question whether the Democrats’ rising progressive wing, headed by Senator Bernie Sanders, is being sidelined.  
  • Former President Barack Obama, the party’s lionised figurehead, will give the final speech about his former vice president. Obama is expected to touch on Biden’s decency, a common theme of the convention, along with his policy proposals. 

Here are the latest updates: 

Wednesday, August 19 

23:38 GMT – Clinton to stress the need to vote  

Former State Secretary Clinton, who challenged Trump in 2016, is expected to call on voters to turn out for Biden during her speech at the DNC.

“For four years, people have said to me, ‘I didn’t realise how dangerous he was.’ ‘I wish I could go back and do it over.’ Or worst, ‘I should have voted.’ Well, this can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election. If you vote by mail, request your ballot now, and send it back as soon as you can”, she will say, according to prepared remarks released before the event. 

Hillary Clinton, accompanied by former President Bill Clinton, right, pauses while speaking to staff and supporters at the New Yorker Hotel in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, where she conceded her defeat to Republican Donald Trump after the hard-fought presidential election [Andrew Harnik/AP Photo]

Clinton was heavily favoured to win in 2016 and did win the popular vote, but Trump’s victory in several “swing” states, often by razor-thin margins, clenched his victory in the Electoral Colege. 

“If you vote in person, do it early. Bring a friend and wear a mask. Become a poll worker. Most of all, no matter what, vote. Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are.”

22:23 GMT – Obama to deliver harsh criticism of Trump

Former President Barack Obama looks poised to deliver his sharpest critique of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, after three years of largely upholding the political norm that presidents not criticise their successors.  

“He’s shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves,” Obama will say, according to prepared remarks released ahead of the event. 

Obama Biden hug

Former President Barack Obama hugs then-Vice President Joe Biden after presenting him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington in 2017 [Yuri Gripas/Reuters]

Obama’s comments echo those of his wife, Michelle, who delivered a speech sharply critical of Trump’s demeanour and handling of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday night, saying, “he’s in over his head.” 

Trump has long criticised the Obama administration as corrupt and incompetent. 

Obama will also speak about his relationship with Biden.

“Twelve years ago, when I began my search for a vice president, I didn’t know I’d end up finding a brother,” he was expected to say. “Joe and I came from different places and different generations. But what I quickly came to admire about him is his resilience, born of too much struggle; his empathy, born of too much grief.”

21:36 GMT – Harris expected to use prosecutorial skills on Trump 

Vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor from California who made history as the first Black woman and Asian American on a major US presidential ticket, is expected to aggressively press the case against Trump’s re-election on November 3 during her speech at the convention.

Harris will likely aim to speak directly to millions of women, young Americans and voters of colour, constituencies the party needs if Biden is to defeat Republican Trump.

She gained prominence in the Senate for her exacting interrogations of Trump nominees, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Attorney General Bill Barr.

Harris is sure to continue with criticisms over Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic downturn.

She provided a preview of her role as Biden’s VP candidate last week, when she argued that the case against Trump, 74, and Vice President Mike Pence, 61, was “open and shut”.

21:15 GMT – What to expect on the DNC’s third night 

Democrats are going to make US history with Kamala Harris as the vice-presidential nominee, backed by party heavy-hitters like former State Secretary Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama. 

Clinton, who challenged Trump in 2016 as the US’s first female presidential candidate, is likely to speak on the importance of women voting as 2020 marks the 100-year anniversary of the success of the women’s suffrage movement.

Obama is likely to use his significant oratory skills to motivate voters to turn out for Biden, for the sake of his former vice president – and his own legacy. 

Read more here

21:02 GMT – DNC’s second night watched by 18.2 million people 

A total of 18.2 million people watched the second night of the virtual Democratic National Convention, according to early Nielsen Media Research.

APTOPIX ELECTION 2020 DNC

The American flag on top a of state name sign near the stage where Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., will speak on third day of the Democratic National Convention in Delaware [Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo]

Tuesday evening featured a keynote address delivered by 17 rising stars of the Democratic Party, a coast-to-coast roll call of delegates, appearances by former US President Bill Clinton and former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and John Kerry, and a headline speech from Joe Biden’s wife, Jill.

Democrats formally nominated Joe Biden for president, more than three decades after his first unsuccessful run for the White House.

The viewership total was roughly the same as the first night. 

20:32 GMT – Trump lashes out at Goodyear

US President Donald Trump used his Twitter account to “cancel” Goodyear Tires over an image reportedly from one of their factories which “banned” Make America Great Again hats and “Thin Blue Line” apparel, which is used to show support for police, according to the president. 

“Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES – They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less! (This is what the Radical Left Democrats do. Two can play the same game, and we have to start playing it now!),” Trump tweeted, in an apparent reference to “cancel culture”, which liberal activists call on others to stop supporting a person or brand whose conduct they find problematic. 

Goodyear released a statement following the publication of “the visual in question was not created or distributed by Goodyear corporate.” 

The company did ask associated to “refrain from workplace expressions in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party, as well as similar forms of advocacy that fall outside the scope of racial justice and equity issues”.





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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US commission: Put India, Russia on religious freedom blacklist | Human Rights News

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An independent United States’ commission has called for India, Russia, Vietnam and Syria to be added to a State Department blacklist on religious freedom.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent government panel that gives recommendations to presidential administrations and Congress, said the four countries should be designated as “countries of particular concern” (CPC) on the State Department list, which currently includes Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

In particular, the recommendation of India as a CPC, the second year the commission has done so, has in the past been controversial.

The report said the “religious freedom conditions in India continued their negative trajectory”, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government “promoted Hindu nationalist policies resulting in systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom”.

It pointed to allegations of police complicity in violence against Muslims during deadly riots last year in New Delhi and continued concerns about a citizenship law championed by Modi that critics have said defines Muslims as non-Indian.

New Dehli did not immediately respond to the newest annual report, but last year dismissed the recommendation as “biased” and a “new level of misrepresentation”.

The report also said Sudan, Bahrain and Central African Republic no longer met the “high threshold” to be recommended for the State Department’s special watch list (SWL). All three countries had been recommended for that list in the previous annual report.

Biden administration recommendations

In further recommendations to the Biden administration, the commission called for a review of policies for blacklisted countries that currently have waivers in place to protect them from US penalties for abuses of religious liberties.

It called on the administration to review the waivers for Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan “and make appropriate policy changes to demonstrate meaningful consequences and encourage positive change commission”.

Commissioners also called on the Biden administration to raise its cap on refugee admissions. The administration has said it will announce a new cap by May 15, after facing blowback for plans to keep the administration of President Donald Trump’s historically low quota.

The Biden administration, the commission said, should also officially label the persecution of Rohingya in Myanmar as “genocide” and lift the cap on refugee admissions.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Anurima Bhargava, a civil rights lawyer and vice chair of the commission, said they were urging “the administration to definitively and publicly conclude that the atrocities committed, and that are ongoing against the Rohingya people by the Burmese military constitute genocide, and acting accordingly, as a State Department recently determined regarding China’s genocide of Uighur and other Turkic Muslims.”

In China, the report said, religious freedom had again “deteriorated” in 2020, as the government targeted “religions perceived to have foreign connections, such as Christianity, Islam, and Tibetan Buddhism”. The commission cited reports the persecuted groups were subject to surveillance, detention, torture, and rape.

Commissioner, Johnnie Moore, a Trump appointee to the panel, said “the Democratically-appointed and Republican-appointed commissioners on this commission speak with one voice on the threats of the of the Communist Party in China.”

“This is the more than the consensus view, this has become the passion of this commission,” he said.

Coronavirus pandemic

The report released Wednesday also noted the effect of the coronavirus pandemic, with Chairwoman Gayle Conelly Manchin saying the pandemic had an overall net negative effect on freedom of religion.

While some restrictions on religious gatherings were in line with public health concerns, there were also instances “where minorities were targeted in a much stricter fashion and their activities restricted much more harshly than other religions”.

“There were countries that literally blamed the COVID-19 virus on a particular religion, that they were responsible for the spread of … the virus across their country,” she said.

The report specifically cited Dalits in India blamed for spreading the coronavirus, suggestions in Iran that the coronavirus was a Jewish conspiracy, Protestant Christians accused of spreading the virus in Russia, and a Saudi lockdown on the majority Shia province of Qatif.

Meanwhile, the commissioners praised some blacklisted countries, including Eritrea, for releasing religious prisoners during the pandemic.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Sri Lanka archbishop criticises gov’t over Easter attacks probe | Sri Lanka News

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On the second anniversary of the Easter attacks, the head of Sri Lanka’s Catholic church says he was ‘deeply saddened’ by the lack of progress in the investigation.

The head of Sri Lanka’s Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday accused the government of stalling investigations into Easter Sunday bombings two years ago that killed 279 people.

Nearly 200 people were arrested within days of the attacks on hotels and churches, but no one has yet been charged.

Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, who led commemorations on the second anniversary Wednesday, said he was “deeply saddened” by the lack of progress in the investigation.

“We have to stress that what is happening at the moment is an attitude of ‘no care’ where all factors are not properly investigated,” the cardinal said at a commemorative service in Colombo.

Catholic priests and nuns march while holding images of the victims of April 21’s Easter Sunday bomb attack in 2019, next to St. Sebastian’s Church, one of the attacked churches, during the second anniversary, in Katuwapitiya, Sri Lanka, April 21, 2021 [Dinuka Liyanawatte/REUTERS]

Al Jazeera’s Minelle Fernandez, reporting from Negombo, Sri Lanka, said Ranjith accused the government of political posturing and the need to protect alliances had hindered the probe.

“He went as far a few days ago as saying that the bombings had nothing to do with religious extremism, but rather were about politics and people who wanted to ensure essentially grabbing power,” she added.

The cardinal has previously called for former president Maithripala Sirisena to be prosecuted for failing to prevent the attacks despite advance warnings.

An investigation ordered by Sirisena soon after the bombings found that he and his intelligence officials had precise information from India about the attack 17 days earlier, but failed to act.

Sirisena, who did not offer himself for re-election in November 2019 polls, is currently a legislator with the party of his successor Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Although none of the 200 in custody have been indicted, 16 Muslim men among them were charged on Tuesday in connection with desecrating Buddhist statues in December 2018.

The authorities have said that the destruction of the statues in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka was the forerunner to the Easter Sunday attacks four months later.

Anniversary service

Wednesday’s multi-faith remembrance service was held at the St. Anthony’s Church where 56 people died in the attacks, which came 10 years after the end of Sri Lanka’s 37-year Tamil separatist war.

Cardinal Ranjith appealed to the country’s Muslims on Wednesday to join Catholics in determining the truth behind the Easter bombings.

Two local groups that had pledged allegiance to the ISIS [ISIL] group have been blamed for the attacks.

A family member kisses the grave of one victim of April 21’s Easter Sunday bomb attack in 2019, next to St. Sebastian’s Church, one of the attacked churches, during the second anniversary [Dinuka Liyanawatte/REUTERS]

Islamic cleric Hassan Moulana, who also spoke at the service, said Muslims around the world condemn the attacks and that Islam offers no justification for the crime.

He said the Muslim community in Sri Lanka has disowned the attackers and has not allowed their bodies to be buried in its cemeteries to show their acts are not part of Islam.

Last week Sri Lanka banned 11 organisations, including the ISIL (ISIS) group and al-Qaeda.

Anyone linked to the groups – the other nine of which are local religious and social organisations – faces up to 20 years in jail, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in a gazette notification.

Muslims, who make up nearly 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s 21 million people, have faced increased attacks from majority Sinhala Buddhist hardliners following the end of a civil war between Tamil separatists and government forces in 2009.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Bitcoin: After weekend dip, chart watchers share crypto clues | Banks News

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Bitcoin has yet to recover from its unexplained weekend swoon, and now the investing public is on edge about the notoriously volatile token’s next move. Enter the chart watchers.

Noting that “a chart is a chart is a chart,” Tallbacken Capital Advisors’s Michael Purves sent a note Wednesday with a technical analysis of the coin’s trading patterns. Bitcoin’s recent highs weren’t confirmed by its relative strength index, among other things, and its upward momentum is fading, he said.

“From purely a technical perspective, the bullish case looks highly challenged here in the near term,” after its recent rally, wrote Purves, chief executive officer at the firm.

It’s another sign that Bitcoin has become too big for Wall Street to ignore. With more firms allowing customers to dabble in the asset and more institutional money tied to its performance, no wonder chart watchers are capitulating and now lending their expertise to the growing batch of analysis.

Earlier, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s analysts also chimed in with their take. The last few times Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou witnessed such negative price action in Bitcoin, buyers returned in time to prevent deeper slumps. This time, the strategist is worried.

If the largest cryptocurrency isn’t able to break back above $60,000 soon, momentum signals will collapse, strategists led by Panigirtzoglou wrote in a note Tuesday. It’s likely traders including Commodity Trading Advisers (CTAs) and crypto funds were at least partly behind the buildup of long Bitcoin futures in recent weeks, as well as the unwind in past days, they said.

“Over the past few days Bitcoin futures markets experienced a steep liquidation in a similar fashion to the middle of last February, middle of last January or the end of last November,” the strategists said. “Momentum signals will naturally decay from here for several months, given their still elevated level.”

In those three previous instances, the overall flow impulse was strong enough to allow Bitcoin to quickly break out above the key thresholds, yielding further buildups in position by momentum traders, JPMorgan noted.

“Whether we see a repeat of those previous episodes in the current conjuncture remains to be seen,” the strategists said. The likelihood it will happen again seems lower because momentum decay seems more advanced and thus more difficult to reverse, they added. Flows into Bitcoin funds also appear weak, they said.

Bitcoin rose as high as $64,870 around the time of the Nasdaq listing of Coinbase Global Inc., but has retreated back to $55,000. The cryptocurrency is still up about 90% year-to-date.

The coin, down five of the last six sessions, is struggling to overtake its 50-day moving average around $56,819. For many chartists, that’s a bearish indicator since it tends to determine price momentum trends. Should Bitcoin be unable to breach its short-term trend line, it could move lower and test the $50,000 level, about a 10% decline from where it’s currently trading. The next area of support would be its 100-day moving average around $49,212. That would signify a 11% retreat from Wednesday’s trading levels.

Tallbacken’s Purves, who says the coin’s 2017 breakout and subsequent decline is a useful case study, also points Bitcoin’s daily MACD signal — or the moving average convergence divergence gauge — which has turned bearish in the intermediate-term. And its performance is still correlated to Cathie Wood’s uber-popular ARK Innovation ETF.

“Trading Bitcoin on the bullish side right now does not appear to have favorable risk-reward and if you have made profits, it seems like a good time to go to the sidelines for now,” Purves wrote.

To be sure, he said, it’s difficult to conclude how much further it could decline. Key to the issue will be how strongly institutional buyers step in. “While upside momentum is clearly looking challenged here, it is inconclusive how much downside risk remains,” he wrote in a note. “It is entirely possible that Bitcoin could simply consolidate in a range for some time.”

Bitcoin fell as much as 4.3% Wednesday to $54,341 before recouping some losses. Smaller and alternative coins that had run up in recent days also suffered declines Wednesday, with Dogecoin — the poster-child for crypto risk-taking — declining roughly 15% to trade around 31 cents. That’s down from a high of 42 cents the day prior, according to CoinMarketCap.com.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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