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US elections: Who is Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden? | News



Joseph Robinette Biden Jr is a 77-year-old former vice president nominated by the Democratic Party to take on President Donald Trump in the November 3 presidential election.

The Scranton, Pennsylvania born Biden has spent most of his adult life in elected office. He won a seat representing the state of Delaware in the US Senate at the age of 29 – one of the youngest ever elected to the chamber. Before that, Biden had worked as a lawyer and served for two years on a county council in Delaware, where his Irish-Catholic family had relocated when he was a child. 

US elections: Biden promises to reverse many of Trump’s changes

The son of a car salesman, Biden’s career in the chamber earned him a reputation as a straight-talking moderate, willing to work with the opposing party to get legislation passed.

However, with a three-decade-long congressional career, and a Democratic Party that has moved farther left in recent years, Biden’s record in the chamber has come under increased scrutiny. 

Critics have denounced his drafting of a 1994 crime bill that has been blamed for causing the mass incarceration of minorities and his eulogising of Senate colleague Strom Thurmond, a man who began his political career as a segregationist. He has also faced criticism for his role as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the controversial grilling of Anita Hill during the Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Clarence Thomas in 1991. Hill had accused Thomas of sexual harassment.

Third presidential run 

Biden’s 2020 bid for the presidency is his third. Campaigns in 1988 and 2008 both fizzled. The first ended amid allegations of plagiarism. The second resulted in then-candidate Barack Obama choosing the elder politician as his running mate. 

Biden served as vice president during Obama’s two terms, from 2008 to 2016. The pair developed a close relationship from what had initially been a more strategic pairing, with Biden credited for using his working-class roots, folksy flourishes and experience to help shore up support for the country’s first Black president from older white Americans in key northern swing states. 

US elections: Democratic nominees reveal policy positions

Obama endorsed Biden in April of 2020, saying his former running mate embodied “the spirit of looking out for one another”.

On the campaign trail, the former vice president has been known to espouse “Bidenism” – pithy wisdoms often attributed to family.

“My dad had an expression,” he said at the beginning of his 2020 campaign. “He said, ‘Joey, a job is about a lot more than a pay cheque. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect.'” 

The off-the-cuff style, however, has also left Biden prone to gaffes, including proclaiming during a 2020 radio interview “You ain’t Black” if you support Trump. 

Family tragedy

Biden has also shown a talent for giving a personal touch to his public persona, speaking about his severe stutter as a child that earned him the nickname “Dash”.

He has also been open about the family tragedies that have marked his time in office. 

Biden’s first wife, Neilia Hunter, and infant daughter, Naomi, were killed in a car crash while out Christmas shopping in 1972 – just weeks after Biden had first won election to the Senate. 

Biden’s sons Beau, 4, and Hunter, 2, were badly injured in the wreck and Biden was famously sworn into the Senate beside his sons’ hospital beds. He later went on to marry Jill Biden and have another daughter, Mary. 

In 2015, during Biden’s second term as vice president, Beau, who had followed him into politics and served as the Attorney General of Delaware, died from a brain tumour at age 46. Biden briefly swore off running for office after the death. 

Joe Biden presents US election as a fight for the nation’s soul

Meanwhile, Biden’s younger son Hunter’s career as a lawyer and lobbyist, including a five-year term on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, has been the target of unsupported corruption allegations. 

An alleged attempt by Trump allies, and the president himself, to dig up dirt on the younger Biden was central to impeachment proceedings against the president beginning in 2019. 

Unifying candidate

Biden’s popularity has grown steadily throughout the election season after initially facing a formidable challenge from progressive Senator Bernie Sanders. The early primary upsets led the Biden campaign to rework some policies ahead of the general election, in an attempt to appeal to the growing progressive base. 

The former vice president has also done little to distance himself from his voter-energising former boss, largely embracing the suggestion that his presidency will be an Obama redux. 

Along with running mate Kamala Harris, Biden continues to pitch himself as a reassuring and experienced force who can unify the country following four years of Trump. If he wins the election, he would also be the oldest person to assume the presidency in US history, turning 78 by the time he would take office. 

In accepting the party’s nomination during the Democratic National Convention in August, Biden envisioned his presidency as “the end of this chapter of American darkness”.

The election, he said, is nothing short of a “battle for the country’s soul”. 

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Yellen: Private funds also needed to tackle climate change | Climate News




The cost of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 could climb to $2.5 trillion over 10 years for the US alone, according to one estimate.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said private financing, and not just government spending, will be needed to tackle the “existential threat” of climate change.

The overall cost of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 — in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement that the U.S. has rejoined — could run to $2.5 trillion over 10 years for the U.S. alone, according to one estimate, Yellen said in a speech to a virtual conference Wednesday organized by the Institute of International Finance.

“It’s going to be tremendously important for the financial services industry to marshal and allocate capital that’s needed to make the transition toward net-zero” emissions, she said in a question-and-answer segment that followed the speech. “Massive investments are likely to be needed and the bulk has to be private.”

The Treasury chief also highlighted the need to strengthen financial risk disclosures — making them more reliable, consistent and comparable across markets and countries — so investors can accurately gauge risks and opportunities.

Yellen pledged that the U.S. will help developing countries that are especially vulnerable to threats from climate change, but stopped short of making any specific financial promises on that front.

The infrastructure-focused economic proposal that President Joe Biden unveiled last month, including money to address climate change, “will be the most significant public investment in America since the 1960s, dramatically reducing U.S. emissions by greening the electricity and transportation sectors,” Yellen said.

Biden Summit

Yellen’s comments come as Biden convenes the leaders of 40 nations, corporate executives and union leaders in a two-day virtual summit on the climate change, with a focus on how to galvanize finance in the endeavor.

While many recent international climate-change discussions have focused on the role of multilateral development banks and formal climate-assistance programs, the conversation at the summit will include a more expansive look at the role of private funds in propelling clean energy and building resilience, administration officials said Wednesday.

Yellen said the Treasury is involved in a number of initiatives aimed at removing hurdles, including efforts to improve financial reporting and increasing the reliability of climate-related disclosures.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council, a multi-agency body of regulators chaired by Yellen, will be the Treasury’s principal tool in attempting to minimize financial-sector risks associated with climate change, she said.

“It’s FSOC’s job to understand these risks, to coordinate across U.S. regulatory agencies in assessing the risks and, if necessary and appropriate, acting to mitigate risks to overall U.S. financial stability,” she said in the Q&A.

Global Harmonization

Yellen said U.S. officials will also work with the multilateral Financial Stability Board and other international bodies to make reporting requirements consistent and comparable across borders. She endorsed a “solid framework” for climate-related disclosures from an FSB task force chaired by Michael R. Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

Yellen didn’t offer any specific new pledge of additional U.S. government funding to help developing nations adapt to a warming planet or build clean-energy projects.

Rich countries promised in 2009 that by 2020 they’d collectively devote $100 billion annually to climate finance, but have fallen far short. As the world’s No. 2 emitter of greenhouse-gas emissions, the U.S. is under pressure to loosen its purse strings.

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‘Chad is not a monarchy’, rebels warn interim president 




Gen Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno

Gen Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno

The son of the late President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad has been named interim president of the central African nation by a transitional military council.

Wednesday’s announcement comes a day after 37-year-old Gen Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno was named head of the 18-month council as the army announced the death of his 68-year-old father from injuries sustained while visiting troops on the front line.

A rebel force known as the Front for Change and Concord in Chad, known by its French acronym FACT, has advanced from the north in recent days toward the capital, N’Djamena. The group had been based in neighbouring Libya. The rebel group released a statement Tuesday vowing to take the capital and depose the younger Deby.   
“Chad is not a monarchy,” the statement read. “There can be no dynastic devolution of power in our country.”
A day before his death, the elder Deby was declared the winner of Chad’s April 11 election with 79 per cent of the vote, giving him a sixth term in office. Most opposition groups had boycotted the poll, citing arrests and a government ban on opposition rallies.  

Deby had ruled Chad since coming to power in a December 1990 coup, making him one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders. Opponents called him an autocrat and criticized his management of Chadian oil revenue. In 2008, a different rebel force reached N’Djamena and came close to toppling Deby before French and Chadian army forces drove them out of the city.
In the West, however, Deby was seen as an important ally in the fight against Islamist extremist groups in West Africa and the Sahel, like Nigeria-based Boko Haram.
The Libya-based FACT had attacked a border post on the day of the election and then moved hundreds of kilometres toward the capital. On Monday, the Chadian army said it had inflicted a heavy loss on the rebels, killing more than 300 of them.

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COVID vaccine scarcity and fake doses hamper efforts in Americas | Latin America News




Amid a limited supply of vaccines, COVID-19 cases have been on the rise across the Americas, PAHO officials said.

Amid a scramble to secure enough coronavirus vaccines in the Americas, there are reports of fake doses proliferating on the black market in several countries in the region, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.

“We have received some information from Mexico, Argentina and Brazil that some doses have been offered through social media, illegal markets offering vaccines that probably are falsified,” Jarbas Barbosa, assistant director of PAHO said during a weekly news conference.

“They are not real vaccines or maybe they are stolen doses from a health facility that no one can assure that they were properly stored,” Barbosa said.

A woman receiving a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, during a vaccination day campaign in Duque de Caxias near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Ricardo Moraes/Reuters]

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer had identified counterfeit vaccines in Mexico and in Poland. According to the report, 80 people in Mexico had been jabbed with fake doses in a clinic, after paying $1,000 per dose.

According to the report, the people who received the fake vaccines were not adversely affected. Citing authorities, the report said in Poland the fake vaccines were seized before they were administered.

During Wednesday’s news conference, PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said the organisation was also concerned about vaccine hesitancy. She said “insidious rumours and conspiracy theories” were “inspiring fear and costing lives”.

She said PAHO was working with tech companies to tackle misinformation that has quickly proliferated on the internet and on social media sites.

“Because unreliable information spreads quickly, PAHO is collaborating with tech companies like Twitter, Google, and Facebook to address fake news and ensure the public can easily find accurate information,” she said.

The reports of fake vaccines and vaccine hesitancy in the Americas came amid a scarce supply of vaccines in the region, and a rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Brazil has so far vaccinated 11.6 percent of its population and Mexico has vaccinated 8.7 percent. Other nations in the region are lagging behind [Ricardo Moraes/Reuters]

“Latin America is the region that currently has the greatest need for vaccines,” Etienne said, “this region should be prioritised for distribution of vaccines.”

“No one will be safe until we are all safe.”

Nearly half of the world’s coronavirus deaths during the weekend were in the Americas, Etienne said, adding that nearly every country in Central America is reporting a rise in infections. Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, she said were the worst hit.

“Over the weekend, the world reached a tragic milestone – more than three million have lost their lives to COVID, and nearly half of these deaths happened right here in the Americas,” Etienne said.

Chile is seeing a plateau in cases, while Brazil is reporting a drop. But despite the drop, Etienne said, cases in Brazil “remain alarmingly high.” Argentina ranked third regionally in the weekly number of new cases. Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia and Uruguay were also seeing a worsening. And Mexico, after weeks of decline in new cases, is seeing a slight increase.

Regionally, the United States and Chile have made the most progress in their vaccination campaigns – both have vaccinated about 40 percent of their population – according to Our World in Data.

Uruguay has inoculated more than 30 percent of its population while Brazil has so far vaccinated 11.6 percent and Mexico has vaccinated about 8.7 percent. Other nations in the region are lagging behind.

During the news briefing, officials said most of the region’s countries are relying on the global COVAX mechanism, which aims to equitably distribute vaccines to developing nations.

Etienne said more than 4.2 million vaccine doses have so far been supplied to 29 countries in the Americas through COVAX, and more doses are on the way.

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