Tag Archives: u.s

COVID-19: U.S approves chloroquine for treatment.


The Food and Drug Administration on Sunday (FDA) issued an emergency-use authorization for a pair of anti-malaria drugs as health officials work to combat the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) said in a statement that the authorization would allow 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate and 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate to be donated to the Strategic National Stockpile. The doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate were donated by Sandoz, while the chloroquine phosphate was developed by Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

The products will be “((distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible)),” HHS said.

President Trump has repeatedly touted the anti-malaria drugs as a possible coronavirus “game changer,” despite warnings from health officials that not enough is known about their effects on COVID-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said during a press briefing earlier this month that much of what is known about the drug is based on “anecdotal reports.”


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: U.S recommend chloroquine to cure coronavirus.


United States President, Donald Trump says the country has approved the use of Chloroquine for the treatment of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.

NobleReporters quoted Trump as saying that the US had approved its use on Thursday.


“We’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately, and that’s where the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has been so great,” Trump told reporters.

“They’ve gone through the approval process — it’s been approved. They took it down from many, many months to immediate. So we’re going to be able to make that drug available by prescription,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

Gabbard retires from Presidential race, support Biden.


U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran who campaigned to end “forever wars,” dropped her long-shot bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday and endorsed front-runner Joe Biden in a video posted on Twitter.

“Although I may not agree with the vice president on every issue, I know that he has a good heart, and he’s motivated by his love for our country and the American people,” said Gabbard, 38.


She has served as a congresswoman from Hawaii since 2013 and is the first Hindu elected to Congress.

The endorsement was somewhat of a surprise, given Gabbard’s past support for Biden’s main rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.


But she noted that recent state nominating contests had made it clear that Democratic voters had chosen the former vice president to take on Republican President Donald Trump in November’s general election.

In spite of remaining mired far behind Biden and Sanders, Gabbard had stayed in the race even as better-known rivals dropped out.


In all nine state contests over the last two weeks, she finished behind other contenders who had already abandoned their campaigns but still appeared on ballots.

She earned her only two delegates by finishing second in American Samoa, where she was born.


Biden has won at least 971 delegates of the 1,991 delegates needed to clinch the nomination, while Sanders has collected 737, according to Edison Research – an advantage for Biden that is widely seen as virtually unassailable.

Gabbard, a major in the Hawaii National Guard who was deployed in Iraq from 2004 to 2005, is a fierce opponent of what she calls “forever wars”.


In spite of her liberal views on most other issues, she has won praise from some Trump supporters and conservative media outlets, where she frequently appears as a commentator.

She has consistently opposed U.S. intervention in Syria, going so far as to meet secretly with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in January 2017 during President Barack Obama’s administration, sparking fierce criticism from some in her own party.

She became embroiled in an ugly war of words in October after 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Gabbard was being “groomed” to disrupt the 2020 election as a third-party candidate.

In January, Gabbard sued for defamation, seeking at least 50 million dollars in damages from Clinton for harming her reputation by allegedly suggesting she was a Russian asset


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: China govt feud after U.S calls coronavirus ‘Chinese Virus’.

says, US military may have brought the pandemic to Wuhan


A spat between the US and China over the novel coronavirus escalated on Tuesday as President Donald Trump angered Beijing by referring to the pathogen as the “Chinese Virus.”

The two countries have sparred over the origin of the virus for days, with a Chinese official promoting conspiracy theories claiming it was brought to China by the US army and American officials using terms seen as stigmatising a nation.


“The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus,” Trump tweeted Monday night.

He doubled down on the comment on Tuesday morning while Tweeting about how US states were being affected, saying: “Some are being hit hard by the Chinese Virus, some are being hit practically not at all.”


Trump’s allies had previously referred to the pandemic as the “Chinese coronavirus”, but Beijing said on Tuesday it was “strongly indignant” over the phrase, which it called “a kind of stigmatisation”.

The United States should “immediately stop its unjustified accusations against China,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters.


A commentary by the official Xinhua news agency said using “racist and xenophobic names to cast blame for the outbreak on other countries can only reveal politicians’ irresponsibility and incompetence which will intensify virus fears”.

The war of words reignited diplomatic tensions between the two countries, which have tussled over trade and other disputes since Trump took office.


Trump’s comments were also criticised inside the US, with warnings it could incite a backlash against the Asian-American community.

“Our Asian-American communities — people YOU serve — are already suffering. They don’t need you fueling more bigotry,” tweeted New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, whose state is one of the hardest-hit by the virus in the US.


The World Health Organization said more cases and deaths had been reported in the rest of the world than in China.

The new coronavirus virus was first detected late last year, with China’s own health officials initially saying its source was a live animal market in the central city of Wuhan, whose government had initially tried to cover up the outbreak.


But China has sought to distance itself from the virus, saying the origin is still unknown, while seeking global goodwill by offering aid to countries facing serious outbreaks.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a phone call he initiated with top Chinese official Yang Jiechi, voiced anger that Beijing has used official channels “to shift blame for COVID-19 to the United States”, the State Department said.


Pompeo “stressed that this is not the time to spread disinformation and outlandish rumours, but rather a time for all nations to come together to fight this common threat”, the department added.

The State Department on Friday summoned the Chinese ambassador, Cui Tiankai, to denounce Beijing’s promotion of a conspiracy theory that had gained wide attention on social media.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian suggested on Twitter last week that “patient zero” in the global pandemic may have come from the United States.

“It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation,” tweeted Zhao, who is known for his provocative statements on social media.


#Newsworthy…

(When you think it’s over) – U.S launches air raids in Iraq.

…after deadly rocket attack.


The United States has launched a series of air raids in Iraq against several locations of an Iran-backed militia that it blamed for an earlier rocket attack that killed and wounded US and British troops.

Among the facilities attacked late on Thursday was an airport under construction in the holy city of Karbala, an Iraqi airport official confirmed.


Iraq’s military said in a statement that the US air raids hit four locations in the country.

In a statement, the Pentagon said the US conducted “defensive precision strikes” against Kataib Hezbollah facilities across Iraq.


“These weapons-storage facilities include facilities that housed weapons used to target US and coalition troops,” it said.

Separately, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described the air raids as a “proportionate” response to the rocket attack south of the capital, Baghdad that killed two US troops and a British soldier.


“UK forces are in Iraq with coalition partners to help the country counter terrorist activity and anyone seeking to harm them can expect a strong response,” Raab said in a statement.

NobleReporters, heard that aside from Kataib Hezbollah, other militia groups under the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) were also hit south of Iraq’s capital as well as in Babylon and Karbala.


So far, there have been injuries reported following the attacks, but no confirmation on fatalities, she said.

A US official told The Associated Press news agency news agency that the raids were a joint operation with the British. The officials spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.


Earlier on Thursday, US President Donald Trump gave the Pentagon the authority to respond after a rocket barrage killed two US troops and a British soldier, again raising tensions with Iran after the two countries came to the brink of war earlier this year.

Washington had blamed Kataib Hezbollah for a strike in December that killed a US contractor, leading to a cycle of tit-for-tat confrontations that culminated in the January 3 US assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and a retaliatory Iranian missile attack that left more than 100 US troops with brain injuries.


In the latest rocket attack, responsibility for which has not been claimed, some 14 US-led coalition personnel were also wounded, including US , British, Polish and others. Private industry contractors were among the wounded.

Following the retaliatory attack, Iran warned Trump against taking “dangerous actions”.


“Instead of dangerous actions and baseless accusations, Mr Trump should reconsider the presence and behaviour of his troops in the area,” foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a statement.

N.Rs learnt it remains to be seen how the militia groups will respond to the retaliatory strikes, but added that the latest attacks are likely to once again ignite calls in Iraq for the expulsion of US troops.

She noted that the Popular Mobilisation Forces commanders have already come out to condemn the latest raids “as a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.”

Kataib Hezbollah was one of the Iraqi militia groups that helped defeat the ISIL (ISIS) group.


#Newsworthy…

Pastor jailed for raping women in spiritual bath.


Michael Oluronbi, originally from Nigeria and living in Birmingham, was found guilty of rape against six women and a man in January, actions described by a judge as “one of the worst cases of sexual abuse of multiple children to come before the courts”.


The feared’ evangelical pastor who used his trusted position to abuse children and adults over 20 years has been jailed for 34 years according to Daily Mail.

Some of his offences were carried out after he convinced victims, five of whom attended his church, to take part in ‘spiritual bathing’, which he claimed would ‘cleanse’ them of evil spirits.


During the trial at Birmingham Crown Court, a jury heard that some of his young female victims became pregnant multiple times but were taken to abortion clinics by qualified pharmacist Oluronbi, to cover up what was happening.

He was convicted of 15 counts of rape, seven counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault – as his sentencing hearing heard there were at least 88 separate occasions on which he raped his victims.


The 60-year-old’s wife Juliana was jailed for 11 years after being found guilty of three counts of aiding and abetting rape after helping arrange some of the terminations.

Sentencing ‘arrogant’ Oluronbi on Friday, Judge Buckingham said:


You claimed that God was instructing you to conduct holy baths. Its real purpose was to fulfil your insatiable sexual appetite. The children feared you and this enables you to continue your grip. Your offending has had an extreme and severe impact on all of your complainants. Any attempt to suggest otherwise would be without foundation. You abused your position of trust, they trusted you like God. You did this because you are an arrogant, selfish and vain man. In my judgment, your offending must be one of the worst cases of sexual abuse of multiple children to come before the courts.

The religious leader was brought to justice after one of his victims, now an adult, came forward.

When eventually confronted about his offenses, Oluronbi said ‘the devil made me do it’.

In statements read to the court by the prosecution, one of the victims said the defendant’s actions made her question if her life was worth living.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Togo admit first case


Togo on Friday confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus after a 42-year-old woman tested positive following her return from a trip to Benin, Germany, France, and Turkey.

The presidency in the West African nation of eight million people said the patient, who lives in the capital Lome with her family, was “currently isolated in a treatment center for infectious diseases” after testing positive on Thursday.


“From February 22 to March 2, 2020, she visited Benin, Germany, France, and Turkey before returning to Togo via the land border with Benin,” the presidency said in a statement.

It said all people who had contact with the patient in the country “have been identified and put in quarantine.”

In sub-Saharan Africa, Senegal has registered four cases, all foreign nationals, and South Africa, Nigeria and Cameroon have one case each since the outbreak emerged in December in China.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Donald Trump Signs $8.3bn Aid Bill.


US President Donald Trump has signed an $8.3bn (£6.4bn) emergency bill to help fight the deadly coronavirus which is causing tension all over the world.
With confirmed cases reaching 233 – in addition to 14 deaths – Mr Trump urged calm, adding: “It’ll go away.”

The White House has faced criticism for its response, and has acknowledged the US does not have enough test kits to meet rising demand.


Results are being awaited of tests on passengers on board a cruise ship being held off San Francisco, California.

United State President, Donald Trump

Dozens of passengers were tested on Thursday after a passenger died and at least four others became infected on a previous voyage by the ship, the Grand Princess.

More than 100,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide and over 3,400 deaths, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University. The majority of cases and deaths are in China, where the virus first emerged in December.


#Newsworthy…

U.S’s Bloomberg suspend his presidential campaign.


Michael Bloomberg, who spent hundreds of millions of dollars to self-fund his 2020 presidential run, announced Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign after a poor performance on Super Tuesday, according to a source familiar.


The state of play

Bloomberg opted to skip campaigning in early states, staking his candidacy on a string of Super Tuesday victories to launch him to frontrunner status, but that plan was ultimately felled by the resurgence of Joe Biden’s campaign.

Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar both exited the race between the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday and chose to back Biden — along with Beto O’Rourke.
On Super Tuesday, Biden scored surprise victories in states like Texas, Massachusetts and Minnesota — and racked up huge wins across the South.


While Bloomberg was viable in multiple states, he didn’t win any — and his only victory was in the territory of American Samoa.

The big picture

Bloomberg’s self-funding drew backlash from an increasingly progressive party that is sceptical the role of big money in politics. Bloomberg was one of two billionaires in the race, joined by Tom Steyer, who dropped out over the weekend.


Bloomberg’s record as mayor of New York City drew controversy, particularly his support of stop-and-frisk. He apologized for the policy in November, acknowledging that it unfairly targeted people of colour.

He faced criticism for his use of non-disclosure agreements after being accused of harassment and gender discrimination by former female employees of Bloomberg LP.


He also faced an ethical conflict related to his ownership of Bloomberg News. The eponymous founder refused to allow his company’s journalism arm to investigate him as a candidate, forcing it to extend that policy to all 2020 Democrats.

Bloomberg moved to directly take on President Trump from the start of his run. Both campaigns took out 60-second ad slots during the Super Bowl, and Bloomberg became a repeated target of Trump’s tweets.

Trump gave Bloomberg a signature nickname — “Mini Mike” — and said he “is going nowhere, just wasting his money.”

What’s next

Bloomberg has pledged to pay his massive staff to continue to work through November to support whoever becomes the eventual Democratic nominee.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Iran reject U.S assistance.


Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday dismissed a US offer to help the Islamic republic fight its coronavirus outbreak, charging that “vicious” American sanctions are depriving the country of medicine.

Iran has scrambled to halt the rapid spread of the virus that has claimed 92 lives out of 2,922 confirmed infections in the past two weeks.

It has shut schools and universities, suspended major cultural and sporting events, and cut back on work hours.


“Those who have deprived the people of even medicine and food through sanctions, who have done the most vicious things… they appear with a mask of sympathy and say that we want to help the nation of Iran,” Rouhani said, in a clear reference to the United States.

US President Donald Trump had said Saturday he was ready to aid Iran with the virus outbreak if the Islamic republic asked for assistance.


An Iranian woman wears a protective mask in the capital Tehran on March 4, 2020.
“Our people know well that you are lying,” Rouhani said in response, speaking at the weekly meeting of his cabinet in remarks aired on state television.

Washington pulled out of a landmark nuclear deal and reimposed crippling sanctions on Tehran in 2018.


Humanitarian goods, especially medicine and medical equipment, are technically exempt.

But international purchases of such supplies are forestalled by banks wary of conducting any business with Iran for fear of falling foul of the US sanctions.

President Hassan Rouhani

Rouhani said the US must first lift sanctions blocking medicine purchases to prove its honest intent to help.

“This is the first step… to free banking relations for purchasing medicine, transferring medicine and shipping medicine and food,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: U.S Govt Finally Report Death Of Patient In Washington


Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King County in Washington said the patient was a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is no evidence the deceased contracted the virus through travel, leading to speculaion of a domestic “community spread” of the disease, a new phase for the United States that began this week on the West Coast.

Health officials in Washington further disclosed that 27 patients and 25 staff members in a long-term care center in Washington have symptoms associated with COVID-19. The Life Care Center of Kirkland said in a statement that new patients and visitors were being turned away, and patients and staff “with symptoms or who were potentially exposed are quarantined.”


President Donald Trump and US officials previously said in a press briefing that the late coronavirus patient was a woman. A senior administration official later blamed the mix up on Redfield, who tweeted later on Saturday that the “CDC erroneously identified the patient as a female” during a briefing with Trump and Pence.

Shortly after the announcement of the Washington death, President Donald Trump held a White House news conference to announce that the United States is issuing more travel restrictions and warnings to help prevent spread of the virus. He also said he is meeting with pharmaceutical executives to discuss an approach towards a coronavirus vaccine.


Trump added;

“We respectfully ask the media and politicians and everybody else involved not do anything to incite the panic, because there’s no reason to panic at all.”

On Sunday, Australia and Thailand also recorded their first fatalities from coronavirus. A 78-year-old Australian man died after being infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan last month.

Thailand, which has had 42 cases of the virus, said a 35-year-old man who died was also suffering from dengue fever.

More than 85,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in 57 countries around the world and almost 3,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.


#Newsworthy…

Visa Ban: Nigerian govt. hold rally in U.S

…Nigeria is a nation of progressive people who are there to add value


A Federal Government team on Tuesday visited the U.S. state of Delaware to campaign against the recent immigrant visa restriction on Nigeria and seek development cooperation.

The delegation, led by the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, also comprised the Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Mrs Tolulope Akande-Sadipe.

At separate meetings with top officials of the Delaware state government, the Nigerian delegation denounced the immigrant visa restriction on Nigeria by the administration of President Donald Trump.


Those visited were the Governor of the state, Mr John Carney; Mayor of the City of Wilmington, Mike Purzycki; President of the Wilmington City Council, Hanifa Shabazz, and some Delaware lawmakers.

Trump had cited Nigeria’s alleged noncompliance with U.S. information sharing and security protocols at airports as grounds for the policy, which came into effect on Feb. 21.


The policy has suffered condemnation from a section of the U.S. media and politicians, including Joe Neguse Neguse, a Colorado Democratic federal lawmaker.

Dabiri-Erewa said Nigeria ought not to be in the list, citing the enormous contributions of its nationals to the development of the U.S. economy, a fact acknowledged by her hosts.


She rallied the support of the governor, the Wilmington mayor and council president, and the lawmakers for the ban to be lifted.

The NIDCOM CEO said that the information-sharing and security gaps cited by Trump were already being addressed, adding that Nigeria had started capturing the biometrics of passengers arriving in the country at points of entry.


On development, the NIDCOM boss said that Nigeria and Delaware had a lot to gain from economic and educational cooperation as well as cultural exchange, among others.

She told the Nigerian community present, that government had initiated policies and programmes to harness their huge potentials for national development.


Also speaking, Akande-Sadipe said that NIDCOM in collaboration with the House Committee were out to change the bad narrative about Nigeria and build bridges of cooperation.

“ When we build bridges it leads to development and at the end of the day the narrative changes.


“Nigeria as a nation is not what people see on TV or what they have read on social media. Nigeria is a nation of progressive people who are there to add value,’’ she said.

Both officials invited their hosts to the 2020 edition of the Door of Return programme scheduled to hold in Badagry, Lagos, from Oct. 21 to 25.

In separate reactions, the Delaware officials welcomed the idea of economic cooperation and cultural exchange with Nigeria.

They lauded the contributions of the Nigerian community to the development of the state.


#Newsworthy…

U.S Economy: Trump, Obama fights on Twitter. (Who deserves credit?)


President Donald Trump berated his predecessor, Barack Obama, as each sought credit Monday for the booming U.S. economy.

The robust U.S. economy – including the low 3.6% unemployment – is a central talking point for Trump on the campaign trail.


However, Obama appeared to take a subtle dig with a tweet earlier Monday marking the 11th anniversary of the 2009 economic stimulus.

“Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history,” Obama posted on Twitter.


Trump blasted back, accusing Obama of doing a ‘con job’.

“Did you hear the latest con job? President Obama is now trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration. He had the WEAKEST recovery since the Great Depression, despite Zero Fed Rate & MASSIVE quantitative easing. NOW, best jobs numbers….”


As USA Today reported, Democrats responded by praising Obama’s tweet and arguing that Trump is reaping the benefits of the work his predecessor did.

Republicans, however, accused Obama of seeking credit for Trump’s policies, an argument Trump echoed later.


“He had the WEAKEST recovery since the Great Depression, despite Zero Fed Rate & MASSIVE quantitative easing. NOW, best jobs numbers,” Trump posted of Obama.

Trump has argued that his emphasis on reducing regulations and the 2017 tax bill has spurred economic growth


Democrats noted that unemployment and stock prices began increasing under the Obama years as they bounced back from the Great Recession, a trend that continued into Trump’s presidency. Trump loyalists pointed out that the unemployment rate is at its lowest point in decades while the stock market has been hitting record highs.

“With an economy this good, it’s no wonder Barack Obama is trying to take credit,” Scalise said. “But I believe the saying is: ‘You didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.’ @realDonaldTrump made that happen.”

Barrack Obama

Donald Trump

Who do you think deserve the credits?


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Victim evacuated from flights heading to U.S


More than a dozen infected Americans from a coronavirus-riddled cruise ship off Japan flew on evacuation flights to the US with other passengers on Monday, as the epidemic claimed more lives in China to take the death toll above 1,700.


The COVID-19 virus has infected more than 70,500 people in its epicentre of China and sparked panic buying, economic jitters and the cancellation of high-profile sporting and cultural events.

With fresh cases emerging daily in Japan, the government has advised citizens to avoid mass gatherings and cancelled public events, including annual celebrations in central Tokyo for the Emperor’s birthday and the amateur portion of the city marathon, affecting around 38,000 runners.


Beijing’s municipal authorities have ordered everyone arriving in the capital to self-quarantine for 14 days, the presumed incubation period of the virus. State media said China may postpone its annual parliament session, which has been held in March for the last 35 years.

Outside China, the biggest cluster of infections is from the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan’s Yokohama, where an additional 99 cases were revealed on Monday.


That brought the total to 454 diagnosed despite passengers being confined to their cabins during a 14-day quarantine.

As criticism grows of Japan’s handling of the ship crisis, governments are scrambling to repatriate their citizens, with Canada, Australia, Italy, and Hong Kong poised to follow Washington in removing nationals from the vessel.


Early Monday more than 300 passengers were transferred onto coaches via makeshift passport control and loaded onto two planes.

The first flight touched down at Travis Air Force Base in California shortly before midnight Sunday, with the second landing early Monday at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.


Before they boarded the flights, US officials were informed 14 of them tested days earlier had received positive results. Authorities allowed them to fly but isolated them from other passengers in a “special containment area”.

Those on board were expected to undergo a further 14-day quarantine period on US soil.


“I am happy and ready to go,” Sarah Arana told AFP before leaving the ship. “We need a proper quarantine. This was not it.”

Australia became the latest country to order its citizens evacuated from the ship, with more than 200 citizens still on board due to be rescued on Wednesday.


Forty other US passengers tested positive for the virus and were taken to hospitals in Japan, said Anthony Fauci, a senior official at the National Institutes for Health.

It was not immediately clear if they were already counted among the 355 confirmed cases on the ship.


In China, authorities have placed about 56 million people in Hubei under quarantine, virtually sealing off the province from the rest of the country in an unprecedented effort to contain the virus.

New cases outside the epicentre have been declining for the last 13 days. There were 115 fresh cases outside the central province announced Monday, sharply down from nearly 450 a week ago.

Chinese authorities have pointed to the slowing rise in cases as proof their measures are working, even as the death toll climbed to 1,770 with more than 11,000 recovering.

But World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned it is “impossible to predict which direction this epidemic will take”.


#Newsworthy…

Reasons Donald Trump was acquitted – Pelosi open up

…slammed Republican senators


Donal Trump wasn’t acquitted of the impeachment charges against him because he didn’t have a proper trial with witnesses, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Pelosi said the president is “not vindicated” despite Republican senators voting against removing Trump from office.

“You can’t have an acquittal unless you have a trial and you can’t have a trial without witnesses and documents,” Pelosi told Amanpour. “So he can say he was acquitted, and the headlines can say acquitted but he’s impeached forever, branded with that and not vindicated.”


The White House has been contacted for comment.

Pelosi also slammed Republican senators for not having the “courage” to vote guilty on the impeachment charges against Trump, despite some acknowledging that the president’s actions on Ukraine weren’t right.


But she praised Mitt Romney, the sole Republican senator who voted to convict on one of two articles of impeachment. “God bless him,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi also defended her decision to rip up her copy of Trump’s State of the Union speech moments after his address ended last Tuesday.


Democrats celebrated the viral moment, but Republicans accused her of metaphorically “ripping up” Trump’s accomplishments and guests.

Pelosi told CNN that it “wasn’t a planned thing,” but she decided to do something to “get attention” after realizing during the address that “almost every page had something in it that was objectionable.”


She said: “One of my disappointments is the fact that with all that we have done legislatively, whether it’s equal pay for equal work, raising the minimum wage, gun violence protection, issues that relate to our children, the list goes on.

“We had very little press on it. It seems if you want to get press, you have to get attention. I thought, well, let’s get attention on the fact that what he said here today was not true.”

Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump

Immediately after the State of the Union, Pelosi said that she tore up the speech “because it was the courteous thing to do considering the alternative” and branded it “a manifesto of mistruths.”

The White House tweeted a response to the incident, criticizing Pelosi’s actions. “Speaker Pelosi just ripped up: One of our last surviving Tuskegee Airmen. The survival of a child born at 21 weeks. The mourning families of Rocky Jones and Kayla Mueller. A service member’s reunion with his family. That’s her legacy,” the White House said.


#Newsworthy…

U.S election: Could it be Bernie Sanders?


Bernie Sanders is firmly the front-runner in the race to become the Democratic challenger to Republican President Donald Trump, fresh from a victory this week in the second state-by-state contest. His support is fervent but is his party, let alone the country, ready to embrace such an unusual candidate?

Bernie Sanders likes to call his presidential campaign a revolution, but these days it feels more like a touring rock concert.


The Vermont senator may seem like an unlikely front-man for bands like Vampire Weekend and The Strokes, but both have served as his warm-up acts, playing at recent campaign rallies.

But the thousands of fans in packed arenas reserve their loudest cheers for the scruffy-haired 78-year-old candidate with a clipped Brooklyn accent.


After nearly a year marathon of rallies, meetings, debates and ground-laying, the Sanders campaign is now entering a sprint of near-nonstop activity that will carry it through dozens of states across the country – an impressive test of endurance for a man who just months ago was hospitalised for a heart attack.

“Bernie Sanders is the only candidate that has given me the courage to believe that we cannot only demand bold, radical change, but that it’s actually very attainable,” said Aletha Shapiro, who travelled to New Hampshire from Long Island, New York, to help the Sanders campaign.


“If the people stick together, we can actually put power back in the hands of the people.”

The end result of all this effort was a split decision in Iowa, as former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg claimed the most delegates to the Democratic National Convention even though Sanders won a few thousand more votes.


In New Hampshire, Sanders finished narrowly ahead of Buttigieg again, with the two tied in the state’s delegate count.

That didn’t stop Sanders from claiming victory both in Iowa and New Hampshire on Tuesday night, however, and looking ahead to a showdown with Trump in November.


A simple guide to US primaries and caucuses
How Bernie Sanders always beats the odds
“The reason we won tonight in New Hampshire, we won last week in Iowa, is because of the hard work of so many volunteers,” he said. “Let me say tonight that this victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump.”

The crowd, packed into a college gymnasium, responded with deafening applause, as though the volume of their cheers could will their beloved candidate to more victories in the days ahead.


“It was electric,” said Scott Sandvik, a music teacher from Boston. “I really think it was a release of tension after a nail-biter of an election.”

If the Sanders “revolution” does take hold – an outsider campaign pitted as much against the Democratic Party’s establishment as it is the incumbent president – New Hampshire could very well be seen as where it all began.


But the campaign still has a long road ahead.

Short presentational grey line

Another shot at the prize
Four years ago, Sanders also followed a tight result in Iowa with a victory in New Hampshire. That contest was actually more decisive – a 20-point win over Hillary Clinton, who was considered the prohibitive favourite entering the race.


Sanders’ 2016 New Hampshire triumph, however, was a springboard into an empty pool.

He followed his win in the overwhelmingly white New England state with a narrow loss in Nevada and a drubbing in South Carolina, where the Democratic voting population is majority black. Although there were a few bright spots after that – victories in Michigan and Wisconsin – Clinton spent the next few months pulling away from Sanders in the nomination race.


Now Sanders is back, hoping history doesn’t repeat itself. Facing a more crowded field, he appears to be in a much better position, as the nomination fight becomes a state-by-state slog on a battleground that stretches the breadth of the nation.

There is no Clinton machine waiting to do battle against the Sanders insurgency this time around. Instead, the Vermont senator heads out of New Hampshire along with a ragtag mix of candidates all scrambling for a foothold.


Joe Biden, the apparent front-runner through much of 2019, is grievously wounded by poor showings in in the first two contests. Elizabeth Warren, the other candidate appealing to the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, has finished behind Sanders twice now and shows no signs gaining any ground.

Meanwhile, the continued presence of Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar among the moderates of the party ensures middle-of-the road and establishment Democrats will remain divided.

Buttigieg has money, but a thin resume and doubts about his appeal to the more diverse rank-and-file of the Democratic Party. Klobuchar is counting on media coverage of her late surge in New Hampshire to make up for depleted campaign coffers and a virtually non-existent national organisation.

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Who is Bernie Sanders?
Sanders had his first political victory in Burlington, Vermont, where he toppled the reigning six-term Democrat in 1981 for the mayoral seat by a margin of just 10 votes
Despite efforts by establishment Democrats to thwart his early career, Sanders served four terms as mayor before being elected to the US House of Representatives in 1990 – the first independent politician in four decades to do so
He won his current senate seat in 2007 and is currently in his third term
Sanders has an older brother, Larry, who lives in the UK and is currently the health and social care spokesman for the Green Party

How Bernie Sanders always beat the odds

Meanwhile, Sanders has risen in national polls as Biden falters. He boasts a veteran campaign structure that has basically been up and running since 2015, and a donor and volunteer network that spans the nation.

His $25m (£19m) fundraising haul in January alone will ensure he has more than enough resources to compete in every state on the crowded March primary calendar.

He has been officially or unofficially supported by figures from Labour MP Diane Abbott to YouTube star Joe Rogan. On Friday, he picked up another endorsement, from New York mayor and erstwhile 2020 candidate Bill de Blasio.

If Bernie Sanders isn’t the Democratic front-runner at this point, the word has little meaning. He’s far from a lock for the nomination, but his path ahead appears to be the clearest of any of his competitors.

On Tuesday night, Sanders essentially said as much.

“The reason I believe we are going to win is because we have an unprecedented grass-roots movement from coast to coast of millions of people,” he said. “The reason that we are going to win is that we are putting together an unprecedented multi-generational, multi-racial movement.”

History is certainly on Sanders’ side. Putting the Iowa popular-vote result in his column means the Vermont senator joins Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, both eventual nominees, as the only non-incumbents to win there and New Hampshire. In fact, no candidate has finished outside the top two in New Hampshire and gone on to the nomination.

“I think the people of the United States will unite around his message supporting the true hard working people of this country,” said Tomas Amadeo of Hooksett, New Hampshire, echoing the optimism of many at the New Hampshire Sanders rally.

“He can resonate with people of all ages.”

The current disposition of the Sanders campaign has his supporters hoping for the best, however, a big chunk of the Democratic establishment and moderates in the party are fearing the worst.

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Incoming fire
Last Friday, in the spin room before the Democratic candidate debate in Manchester, senior Sanders campaign adviser Jeff Weaver was clear-eyed about what’s in store for his candidate, as a Democratic establishment that views Sanders as a meddlesome and disruptive outsider prepares to fight back.

“There’s always a target on his back,” he said of Sanders. “They won’t stop until they’re beaten. Well, we’re ready for it.”

In Iowa, Sanders was the subject of negative television advertisements from both the left and the right. The conservative Club for Growth aired a spot that painted the Vermont senator as an extremist – and said that his health was suspect after his heart attack last fall.

A pro-Israel Democratic group ran an advert featuring Iowa voters saying Sanders couldn’t beat Trump.

“It is no secret that our campaign is taking on the political establishment and the big-money interests who are now running negative ads against us in Iowa,” Sanders said in response. “The billionaire class is getting nervous, and they should.”

There’s reason to believe Sanders’ political-jujitsu strategy could be effective.

In 2016, as the Republican establishment finally acknowledged the threat that Donald Trump’s candidacy posed, its scions – including 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney – began to speak out. Their attacks only made Trump stronger, however, as he painted them as the “swamp’s” last-gasp efforts to stop him.

“The establishment has never taken Sanders seriously, and now that they’re having to they’re going to attack him,” said Caleb Gates, a Sanders supporter from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who joined Sanders at a volunteer organisation event the day before the Iowa Caucuses.

“But I think that will only increase his appeal to a lot of people, especially those who are not politically active.”

In New Hampshire, Biden and Buttigieg hit at Sanders directly, both warning he was too extreme to be the party’s nominee and that his ideological views were too rigid.

Buttigieg accused Sanders of “dividing people with the politics that says, ‘If you don’t go all the way to the edge, it doesn’t count’, a politics that says, ‘It’s my way of the highway’.”

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What are his key campaign promises?
“Medicare for All” single-payer health system
Eliminate medical and student loan debt
Free public colleges, universities, trade schools
Green New Deal
Wealth tax
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The wildcard
Time and again, it’s the “electability” criticism that is used as a cudgel against Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist.

One recent poll indicated that more than half of Americans would not vote for a “socialist” president. Trump, at his rallies, regularly promises to his cheering support that “American will never be a socialist nation”.

The “conventional” view of a Sanders candidacy can be summed up in in a tweet by Sean Trende, an elections analyst with the website RealClear Politics.

“Bernie Sanders is a complete wildcard,” he wrote. “He could win by 10 points or lose by 20.”

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A blunter take by a Sanders critic was offered by the New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait in a column that particularly irked the Sanders faithful.

“No party nomination, with the possible exception of Barry Goldwater in 1964, has put forth a presidential nominee with the level of downside risk exposure as a Sanders-led ticket would bring,” he wrote. “To nominate Sanders would be insane.”

When the stakes are so high – defeating Trump has been a central focus of Democrats since the day he was elected in 2016 – why, they ask, would the party choose a candidate so far away from the comfortable middle of American politics?

Moderate members of Congress, in particular, have expressed apprehension about sharing a ticket with the independent-minded Vermont senator who only joined the Democratic Party to run for president.

Dean Phillips, a newly elected congressman from Minnesota who has endorsed Klobuchar, told CNN that Sanders could have a “disastrous” effect on congressional races in November, jeopardising the majority Democrats won in the 435-seat chamber in 2018..

“There are probably are probably 25 to 30 seats that absolutely would be impacted directly by having a self-avowed socialist at the top of the ticket,” he said. “He’s not a Democrat, you know, and that’s something that I wish was better understood.”

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Redefining ‘electability’
The Sanders campaign clearly realises that winning the “electability” debate is essential to securing the party’s 2020 nomination. It’s why they hand out “Sanders beats Trump” stickers at their campaign events and chanted the refrain at his New Hampshire victory celebration.

They’re quick to cite head-to-head polling that shows little significant difference between a Sanders-Trump matchup and one between Trump and Biden, the candidate frequently offered as the safe and electable option. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll had Biden on top 50-44, while Sanders led Trump 49-45 – a statistically insignificant difference.

They also argue that the entire debate about electability is framed incorrectly. American politics, they say, isn’t a battle for the middle, it’s a battle of ideas and a battle for authenticity.

“What we did last time was nominate someone who was down the middle and another Washington person who wasn’t going to change anything,” said Pat Miguel Tomaino of Boston. “There are people hurting in this country who bought a lot of fake change from Donald Trump, and now we’re all suffering for it.”

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Media caption‘We voted for Obama, then Trump’
Tomaino, who volunteered for Sanders in New Hampshire, added that the economic collapse of 2008 destroyed the trust many Americans have in the current economic and political order, and unless the Democratic Party acknowledges this and adjust to the new reality, it’s going to lose to Trump again.

“We have no illusion about elites coming to save us or tinkering around a little bit for a better technocratic way of ordering an elitist system where just 1% benefit,” he said.

“We know that Bernie Sanders doesn’t want any of that. We know he has our back, and we have his.”

To pull this off, however, the Sanders campaign has to successfully identify and turn out voters who have sat out past elections. They’re counting on the younger voters who polls show overwhelmingly back Sanders for the nomination, as well other disaffected Americans who have been marginalised by the system.

In Iowa, at least, the results were not encouraging. Although young voters made up a larger share of caucus participants, the total numbers were down from 2008, when Barack Obama’s first campaign was electrifying many Democrats.

New Hampshire’s numbers were better, but early indications are the higher turnout was in part due to moderate and independent voters showing up to support Klobuchar and Buttigieg.


“I’ve always believed strongly that our case for winning this nomination and also beating Trump is that we can expand the base,” said Faiz Shakir, the Sanders campaign manager.

“We have the most ambitious and difficult path to winning this nomination because it requires by, by its nature, that people will be brought into this process.”

He added that he thought the campaign had laid the groundwork for increased turnout in the states ahead, but there is reason the whole party should be concerned.


“We’ve got much more work to do,” he said.

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Take a closer look at the other candidates
Banner showing some 2020 Democratic presidential candidates


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New states, new troubles
As the focus turns to Nevada, which holds its caucus a week from Saturday, Sanders is facing criticism from a different direction. The state’s powerful culinary union is circulating literature suggesting Sanders’s plan for replacing private health insurance with a government-run programme will abolish their union-negotiated plans.

The union then released a statement saying that Sanders supporters, upon learning of the union’s criticism, had “viciously” attacked the organisation.

Already Sanders’ Democratic opponents, sensing a vulnerability in Nevada, are positioning themselves as defenders of union healthcare plans.

“Let’s be clear: attacks on the union are unacceptable,” Klobuchar wrote in a tweet. “I come from a family of proud union members and I know when unions are strong, America is strong”

Four years ago Nevada was the staging ground for Clinton’s counterattack, as she won over union support in Las Vegas hotels and restaurants – even without an outright endorsement.

If Sanders stumbles in Nevada again, the momentum he gained over the past two weeks could be lost, opening the door for one of the candidates he beat in New Hampshire – or for another, unexpected candidate who looms on the horizon in the weeks ahead.

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Enter the billionaire
After Iowa and New Hampshire, the outcome of the race may uncertain, but it has at least followed a somewhat predictable course. The field is narrowing as candidates struggle at the ballot box or run out of money. The hardiest campaigns have moved on to the later battlegrounds.

That may all head out the window soon.

There hasn’t been a presidential candidate quite like Michael Bloomberg.

The New York multi-billionaire is sitting out the first four Democratic nomination contests, and instead using his vast resources to campaign in later states, which award the lion’s share of delegates to the Democratic national convention, where the party’s standard-bearer will ultimately be decided.

The Democratic 2020 race – in five charts
How Bloomberg could shake up 2020 race
The Bloomberg challenge presents one additional, unprecedented hurdle Sanders must clear if he wants to be the party’s nominee – a circumstance not lost on the senator’s team.

“He’s standing there waiting on Super Tuesday to try to block us if some if these other people can’t,” said Weaver of the Sanders campaign. “So, this race has got a long way to go and the ruling class in this country will do whatever it takes to stop Bernie Sanders.”

Sanders’s supporters have been even more blunt.

“It’s not subtle at all what Michael Bloomberg is doing,” says Tomas Armadeo of Hookset, New Hampshire. “It’s very egregious how he’s buying and funding his own way into this election. And I think people are going to see that.”

Not everyone considers Bloomberg’s presence as a threat, however.

“Bloomberg’s a perfect foil for Bernie because Bernie has been railing against the billionaire class for decades,” said Gates of Cedar Rapids. “And the chances of running against an actual billionaire, I think that plays right into his strengths.”

That may be easy to say at this point, but if Bloomberg does become a serious obstacle for Sanders – and if he either denies the Vermont senator a majority of the delegates at the convention or becomes the nominee himself – there could be hell to pay from the Sanders faithful.

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has spent millions campaigning

Outside a Sanders canvassing rally in Newton, a tiny town in central Iowa, campaign volunteer Krissy Haglund hands out leaflets and says Bloomberg is a “test for the American people”.

“I think it’s a test to see if they’re willing to believe that money should be out of politics.”

Four years ago Haglund, a physician from Minneapolis, Minnesota, said the American people missed the “gift” that Sanders was offering them. And when presented with the choice between Clinton and Trump, she opted to vote for the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

This time around, she’s not sure she’d be able to support anyone but Sanders.

“I feel as though Bernie is in a class by himself and none of the other candidates are even close,” she said. “And I think if he doesn’t get it, it will be because of politics and not that he hasn’t earned it in the numbers or from the American people.”

And if it’s Bloomberg, she’s definitely looking elsewhere.


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