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VP Mike Pence takes centre stage at US Republican convention | News

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Vice President Mike Pence will take centre stage at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday to make the case that his boss, President Donald Trump, will bring back the United States economy to its pre-pandemic heights if given four more years in office.

Pence, who will be renominated as Trump’s running mate after on-and-off speculation that he might be dropped from the ticket, is the highest-ranking official to address the four-day convention aside from the president, who has made daily appearances.

Pence has served as the chair of the Trump White House’s coronavirus task force, managing the federal government’s response to the virus which has been criticized for failures. The pandemic – the worst public health crisis in a century – is still raging.

COVID-19 has killed more than 180,000 people and wrecked the US economy, putting tens of millions of Americans out of work. Republicans have barely mentioned the coronavirus in the first two days of their convention programme. 

A White House official said Pence would not shy away from speaking about the virus and the administration’s work to tackle it. He is proud of that work, said the official, who noted that Pence’s appointment to lead the effort showed Trump’s confidence in him, the Reuters News Agency reported.

Aside from COVID-19, the Trump administration faces several other potential domestic crises. After months of racial unrest following the police killing of George Floyd, the city of Kenosha in the political swing state of Wisconsin was reeling on Wednesday after two people were shot dead in another night of violent protests. Police in Illinois arrested and charged 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse with murder. Trump said he is sending National Guard troops and federal law enforcement agents to Wisconsin at the request of the state’s governor.

Separately, a potentially catastrophic hurricane was churning towards landfall on Wednesday in Texas and Louisiana and will test the administration’s emergency response capabilities. California is battling some of the largest wildfires in its history.

Hurricane Laura, a category-4 storm packing 20-foot storm surge, will be making landfall in Texas and Louisiana at about the same time as Pence’s speech [NOAA Handout via Reuters]

Loyal deputy

A former governor of Indiana, Pence has served as a loyal lieutenant to Trump, a former New York businessman and reality television star who had no governing experience when he became president in January 2017.

The vice president, a conservative Christian, serves as a key connector between Trump and evangelical voters, a powerful and influential part of the Republican political base.

Another White House official told Reuters that Pence would offer an optimistic vision for the country in his speech, while also providing a contrast with Democratic candidates former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris.

Trump and Pence

Pence is known for his loyalty to President Trump [David T Foster/Pool via Reuters]

The first two days of the Republican gathering were peppered with ominous predictions of radical socialism and chaos if Democrats were to win the White House in the November vote.

First Lady Melania Trump struck a more compassionate note in her address from the White House Rose Garden, acknowledging the suffering from the pandemic as well as the harsh reality of racial unrest.

Pence will speak from Baltimore’s Fort McHenry, the inspiration for the US national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, providing a patriotic landmark as a backdrop and allowing space for an outdoor live audience.

Both parties’ conventions have been dramatically scaled back, taking place mostly virtually and without large live audiences to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Other speakers scheduled on Wednesday include Second Lady Karen Pence, Senators Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Joni Ernst of Iowa, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and Kellyanne Conway, who announced earlier this week that she would be stepping down as White House adviser.

Trump plans to speak before a crowd on the White House South Lawn on Thursday, the convention’s last day.

Kenosha police clear protesters

Police in riot gear clear a park during clashes with protesters who threw rocks and bottles outside the Kenosha County Courthouse late Tuesday, August 25, 2020, The protests followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake two days earlier [David Goldman/AP Photo]

Trump is trailing Biden in national opinion polls and Republicans are hoping he will get a boost from a convention that is highlighting his re-election themes of “law and order” and a soaring economy before the coronavirus outbreak.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday, indicated Biden held his lead over President Donald Trump in a national opinion poll taken August 19 to 25, with 47 percent of registered voters backing Biden and 40 percent supporting the Republican incumbent.

A total of 17 million people watched the mostly virtual Republican National Convention’s first night on Monday, according to Nielsen, fewer than the 19.7 million viewers who watched the first night of the Democratic National Convention.

The 17 million RNC number reflects the audience across 11 TV networks between 10pm (02:00 GMT) and 11pm and does not include online and streaming viewers. Fox News had the biggest audience, with 7.1 million viewers.

Ratings for the first night of the virtual Democratic National Convention reflected viewers across 10 US TV networks on August 17.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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21 workers trapped in flooded mine in China’s Xinjiang | China News

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CCTV says rescuers have located 12 of the 21 trapped miners.

Eight miners have been rescued and 21 remain trapped in a coal mine in China’s Xinjiang region after flooding cut power underground and disrupted communications, according to state media.

The accident happened in Fengyuan coal mine in Hutubi County on Saturday evening, when staff were upgrading the site, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Rescuers had located 12 of the 21 trapped miners, broadcaster CCTV said, but it was unclear if they were all together.

Rescue personnel were trying to pump water from the flooded shaft and have been piping air into the mine.

Pipes were being laid but the pumping operation was going to be challenging, CCTV said.

Mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record and enforcement of regulations is often lax.

In January, 22 workers were trapped in a mine in east China’s Shandong province after an explosion damaged the entrance, leaving workers stuck underground for about two weeks.

Eleven men were pulled out alive, 10 died and one miner remained unaccounted for.

In December, 23 miners died after being trapped underground in the southwest city of Chongqing – just months after 16 others died from carbon monoxide poisoning at another coal mine in the city.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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African Champions League: CR Belouizdad join Sundowns in quarter-finals

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Amir Sayoud in action for Algerian club CR Belouizdad
Amir Sayoud opened the scoring for Algerian club CR Belouizdad as they beat South African hosts Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0.

Algerian champions CR Belouizdad earned the win they needed over hosts Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa to clinch a place in the African Champions League quarter-finals.

Amir Sayoud took his tally in the competition to seven when he gave Belouizdad the lead over Sundowns in Pretoria on 29 minutes.

That advantage was doubled just before half-time as Ahmed Gasmi headed home a cross from Zinelaabidine Boulakhoua.

It was a measure of revenge for the Algerians who were embarrassed by Sundowns on home soil in the reverse fixture when the South Africans won 5-1 in February.

In Friday’s other Group B game DR Congo’s TP Mazembe, who were already out of contention to make the last eight came from behind to clinch a 2-1 win over Sudan’s Al Hilal.

The Sudanese club had needed a win to have any chance at all of progressing.

Al Hilal made the ideal start in their bid to win against former African champions Mazembe – Eid Mugadam gave them the lead after just two minutes in Lumbumbashi – but 16 minutes later Hilal contributed to their own downfall as Ivorian defender Mohamed Ouattara scored an own goal to level the game at 1-1.

Mazembe won the game thanks to a goal from Isaac Tshibangu, who scored just moments after he came on as substitute.

The draw for the quarter and semi-finals will be held on 30 April at the Confederation of African Football’s headquarters in Cairo.

Friday’s Group B results:

  • TP Mazembe (DR Congo) 2-1 Al Hilal (Sudan)
  • Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) 0-2 CR Belouizdad (Algeria)



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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Ghana's farmers eye sweet success from chocolate

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Ghana is the world’s second largest cocoa producer but sees little of the profits from chocolate – for now.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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