World Newsletter

WORLD NEWS
23 Nov 2020

TRUMP BLOCKADE THWARTS US PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN AS WORLD RECOGNIZES

WINNER

 

The world is moving forward to work with the new president-elect, Joe Biden,

even as President Donald Trump refuses to concede.

More world leaders have congratulated United States President-elect Joe

Biden than have Republican politicians in the United States.

Major US allies Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany were quick to

recognise Biden's victory and to extend congratulations. Ireland, too.

Biden spoke with the leaders of Australia, Japan and South Korea on

Wednesday evening, Biden's transition team said in a statement.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussed the challenge of

containing the coronavirus and laying the groundwork for a global economic

recovering, the Biden team said in a read-out of the calls.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan offered Biden his congratulations and

Biden complimented Suga for his steady leadership during the recent

governing transition in Japan.

Speaking with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, Biden praised Korea's

leadership in addressing the pandemic and said he looked forward to working

with Moon on the challenge of North Korea.

A stack of messages for Biden from foreign leaders is piling up at the US

State Department but the Trump administration is preventing Biden from

seeing them, CNN reported, citing a source. The State Department

traditionally has coordinated international contacts between incoming

presidents and foreign heads of state.

Nations whose leaders had warm relationships with Trump have been slower to

acknowledge Biden's victory while the president still refuses to concede.

The leaders of Russia, Brazil, Mexico, China and North Korea have yet to

congratulate Biden.

The list of prominent Republicans who have broken with President Trump to

congratulate Biden is short. Only four Senate Republicans have recognised

Biden as the winner and offered congratulations.

Former 2012 presidential nominee, Senator Mitt Romney was the first

high-profile Republican to extend congratulations to Biden within hours of

the race being called by the AP.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski followed Romney with a statement acknowledging

"Biden is the projected winner," offering her congratulations saying she

would "emphasise collaboration and bipartisanship" in seeking to work with a

Biden administration.

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska offered his congratulations to Biden in a

statement. "I congratulate the next president, Joe Biden, and the next vice

president, Kamala Harris," Sasse said.

Maine Senator Susan Collins issued a statement on November 9, offering Biden

congratulations on his "apparent victory".

Several Republican members of the House of Representatives and Republican

governors also offered congratulations. But they were exceptions. Most

Republican officeholders have followed Trump's lead in refusing to

acknowledge Biden's win.

 

 

DONALD TRUMP WINS ALASKA, TALLY NOW 217

 

US President Donald Trump has won the closely-fought presidential election

in the state of Alaska, winning three electoral college votes and taking his

tally to 217.

Republicans have also retained the Alaska Senate seat, giving it 50 seats in

the 100-member Senate of the United States. When the election was called in

Alaska, Trump had received 56.9% of the total votes counted and

President-elect Joe Biden from the Democratic Party with 39.1%.

Biden has already been declared winner of the November 3 poll with 279 of

the 538 electoral college votes. Trump has refused to concede and has filed

lawsuits.

 

 

EU DEFENDS LGBTIQ RIGHTS IN ITS FIRST EVER EQUALITY STRATEGY

 

The European Commission unveiled proposals to defend the rights of people

who identify themselves as "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex,

or questioning."

The LGBTIQ measures are part of the first-ever equality strategy from the

European Union's executive arm, laying out targeted actions for the coming

five years, including a push for all EU nations to follow.

"Everyone should feel free to be who they are -- without fear or

persecution," Vera Jourova, EU vice-president for values and transparency,

said in a statement on Thursday. This is what Europe is about and this is

what we stand for."

The commission called on all 27 EU nations to adopt an equality strategy,

saying that even in countries with a wide acceptance and support for equal

rights, "it has not always translated into clear improvements in LGBTIQ

people's lives."

The EU's plan promises targeted actions, such as legal protection against

discrimination at work and hate crime and help cross-border recognition of

rainbow families.

The EU strategy is adopted "at a time where we are witnessing the erosion or

back-sliding of fundamental rights in some member states," the commission

said.

 

 

XI JINPING CHALLENGES JOE BIDEN WITH MOVE TO SNUFF OUT HONG KONG DISSENT

 

President Xi Jinping effectively neutered the most democratic institution

under China's rule, sending a message to Joe Biden that no amount of

pressure will prompt him to tolerate dissent against the Communist Party.

China's top legislative body on Wednesday passed a resolution allowing for

the disqualification of any Hong Kong lawmakers who aren't deemed

sufficiently loyal. Chief Executive Carrie Lam's government immediately

banished four legislators, prompting the remaining 15 in the 70-seat

Legislative Council to resign en masse.

"This move makes it clear that dictatorship has descended onto Hong Kong and

that Chinese Communist Party can eradicate all opposing voices in the

legislature," Fernando Cheung, one of the lawmakers, told Bloomberg News.

"There's no more separation of powers, no more 'one country, two systems,'

and therefore no more Hong Kong as we know it."

 

 

UK CONSIDERS SANCTIONS AS CHINA 'BREACHES' HK TREATY

 

Britain on Thursday said China had broken its main bilateral treaty on Hong

Kong by imposing new rules to disqualify elected legislators in the former

British colony, cautioning that it would consider sanctions as part of its

response.

The British flag was lowered over Hong Kong when the colony was handed back

to China in 1997 after more than 150 years of British rule - imposed after

Britain defeated China in the First Opium War.

Hong Kong's autonomy was guaranteed under the 'one country, two systems'

agreement enshrined in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration signed by

then Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British PM Margaret Thatcher.

"Beijing's imposition of new rules to disqualify elected legislators in Hong

Kong constitutes a clear breach of the legally binding Sino-British Joint

Declaration. China has once again broken its promises and undermined Hong

Kong's high degree of autonomy," Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

UK summoned China ambassador to express its deep concerns and Raab's deputy,

Nigel Adams, told parliament that it was considering possible sanctions on

individuals over China's actions. He didn't name Hong Kong Chief Executive

Carrie Lam.

Meanwhile, Canada said it would make rules easy for Hong Kongers to study

and work in response to new Chinese security rules.

 

 

SAUDI KING CALLS FOR 'FIRM STANCE' AGAINST IRAN

 

Saudi Arabia's King Salman urged world powers on Thursday to take a "firm

stance" against its arch-rival Iran, as expectations mount that U.S.

President-elect Joe Biden will seek to revive a 2015 nuclear deal with

Tehran.

The king's remarks come a day after the UN nuclear watchdog, the

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), warned that Iran's stockpile of

enriched uranium has risen to more than 12 times the limit permitted under

the deal since President Donald Trump withdrew from it in 2018.

"The kingdom calls on the international community to take a firm stance

towards the Iranian regime," the king said in his address to the Shura

Council, the top government advisory body.

 

 

ISLAMIC STATE GROUP CLAIMS ATTACK AT SAUDI WWI CEREMONY

 

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility on Thursday for the explosion

the previous day at a cemetery in Saudi Arabia where American and European

officials were commemorating the end of World War I. The blast wounded three

people.

IS said in a post on its online Telegram channel on Thursday that its

fighters were able to plant the explosive device at the Non-Muslims Cemetery

in the kingdom's coastal city of Jiddah.

In a statement posted on one of its Telegram channels, IS said a group of

its militants were able to plant the explosive devise at the in the city of

Jiddah. It provided no evidence but said the device went off when diplomats

from ``the Crusader countries'' had gathered there.

One U.K. national suffered minor wounds, according to the British

government. Greece's Foreign Ministry said a Greek policeman serving in the

country's consulate in Jiddah was wounded. A Saudi security officer was also

lightly wounded, Saudi state media quoted a local official as saying.

 

 

IN RUINS, SYRIA MARKS 50 YEARS OF ASSAD FAMILY RULE

 

On Nov. 13, 1970, Hafez Assad, a young career air force officer, took power

in Syria in a bloodless coup, the latest in a succession of military

takeovers since independence from France in 1946. Few expected him to last.

Yet 50 years later, the Assad family still rules Syria.

The country is in ruins from a decade of civil war, but Bashar Assad kept

his hold on power with the same tools as his father: repression, brutal

bloodshed, shrewd diplomacy and a staunch refusal to compromise.

His rule is different from his father's in some ways and he depends on

allies like Iran and Russia.

 

 

74 MIGRANTS DROWN AFTER BOAT BREAKS DOWN OFF LIBYA COAST:?UN

 

The UN migration agency says at least 74 migrants have drowned after a

Europe-bound ship broke down off the coast of Libya.

The tragedy on Thursday is the latest in a series of at least eight

shipwrecks in the Central Mediterranean since October 1.

The boat was carrying over 120 migrants, including women and children, when

it capsized off the coast of the Libyan port of al-Khums. That's according

to the International Organization for Migration. Only 47 people were rescued

by the Libyan coast guard and fisherman and brought to shore.

 

 

JERRY RAWLINGS, GHANA'S UNLIKELY DEMOCRAT, PASSES AWAY

 

Jerry Rawlings, who seized power twice in military coups but is now credited

as a driving force behind Ghana's emergence as a stable democracy, died on

Thursday at the age of 73, a source at the presidency said.

His takeovers in 1979 and 1981 were marked by authoritarian rule and the

executions of senior military officers, including General Frederick Akuffo,

whom he overthrew in the first coup.

But Rawlings went on to oversee Ghana's transition to multi-party democracy,

winning election in 1992 and 1996 before stepping down in 2001.

Today, Ghana is considered one of West Africa's most mature democracies and

regularly sees power change hands between its two main parties.

A presidential election is scheduled for December 7 between incumbent Nana

Akufo-Addo, main challenger John Mahama, Akufo-Addo's predecessor whom he

defeated at the polls in 2016, and other smaller party candidates.

The source at the presidency said Rawlings had died on Thursday morning, but

provided no further details.

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