Turkish Cypriot Leader Sworn In With ‘Two States’ Call


Ankara-backed Ersin Tatar, the newly elected Turkish Cypriot leader, took the oath of office Friday and immediately called for a two-state solution on the divided island.

Voters in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Sunday narrowly elected the right-wing nationalist as president at a time of heightened tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.

The supporter of a permanent partition edged out previous Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, 72, a supporter of reunification with the Greek Cypriot south.

“Equal sovereignty between the two peoples on the island and cooperation on the basis of two states is a necessity for us,” he said at a swearing-in ceremony in northern Nicosia, in the presence of Vice President Fuat Oktay of Turkey, the only country that recognises the TRNC.

Tatar, 60, clinched his surprise victory in a second round of elections.

Cyprus has been divided since Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third in 1974 in reaction to a Greek-engineered coup aiming to annex the island.

On Monday, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, the Greek Cypriot leader, and Tatar agreed in a phone call to meet in the UN-patrolled buffer zone that has for decades separated the north and the south.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said he wants to rekindle talks between the two sides following the north’s elections.





Outgoing Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci (R) and the newly elected leader Ersin Tatar arrive at a handover ceremony in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) for a handover ceremony
 AFP / Birol BEBEK

The last attempt at UN-mediated negotiations collapsed in Switzerland in July 2017.

The UN is now expected to convene a meeting between the two sides, Turkey, Greece and former colonial ruler Britain.

In his victory speech Sunday, Tatar said he would return to the negotiating table “when necessary”, but said that Turkish Cypriots would “not compromise” on certain points essential to their “sovereignty”.

“Our neighbours in the south and world community should respect our fight for freedom,” Tatar said.

The TRNC is economically and politically dependent on Turkey — not least because some 30,000 Turkish troops are on Cypriot soil.

In a call with Tatar after his victory, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said their cooperation would continue “starting with activities related to hydrocarbons”.

Northern Cyprus is a centrepiece of Turkey’s strategy in the eastern Mediterranean, including a bitter dispute with Greece and Cyprus over oil and gas reserves.

The European Union has deplored Turkey’s drilling for hydrocarbons in disputed waters and warned Ankara against further “provocations”.





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Lexington – Donald Trump’s effort to sow mistrust is looking like an own-goal | United States


PERHAPS IT WAS only a matter of time before the land of billion-dollar election campaigns supersized the vote itself. The great wave of early voting America has experienced over the past two weeks is nonetheless bracing. By the time Donald Trump and Joe Biden are due to hold their debate this week, around 50m ballots will have been cast—almost 40% of the total in 2016. The president, it must be said, is leaving his comeback awfully late.

A tour of polling stations in North Carolina—up and down Interstate 85, which links the battleground state’s main conurbations—illustrated this new voting season. Beginning in the sprawling suburbs of Charlotte, shortly before sunrise, Lexington witnessed voters queuing up around the block, silent or in hushed conversation with a companion, with sometimes a child or two in tow. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” marvelled the Republican commissioner of Union County, Richard Helms, outside a fire-station-site in suburban Indian Trail. His county, on the city’s outer edge, cast 103,000 votes in 2016. Mr Helms expected it to have cast 40,000 by the end of this week.

Proceeding north via Winston-Salem to preppy Durham, then to the former mill-town of Henderson, close to the Virginia border, to visit a last polling-site after sunset, there were similar scenes in each place. A telltale cluster of campaign signs outside a school, fire-station or college building; a steady trickle and often a long line of silent voters; grim head-shakes or nods to the partisan “poll-greeters” handing out their lists of names. And when the voters were asked to say what was most important about this election, a great deal more fear, anguish, and even tears than are usually evident when a mature democracy votes.

“Everything is evil,” exclaimed Claudia, a middle-aged Latina in Indian Trail, to explain why she was taking such pains to vote early. Ahead of her in the line, Beverly, a first-time early-voter and independent, pointed to her T-shirt, which read: “=>÷”. “We need new leadership,” she said—a sentiment that Rob, standing behind her with his wife and bleary-eyed toddler son, munching on Goldfish crackers, did not share. “We’re here because of Biden’s corruption and 47 years in politics without doing anything,” he said.

There is good news here. Despite covid-19, the chaos of decentralised electoral governance, and Republican efforts to exploit it for partisan gain, the election seems—at this early stage—to be going fairly well. Most states have expanded their time-frames and opened more sites for early voting. North Carolina and other states have facilitated kerbside voting, enabling high-risk voters to cast ballots in person. A feared shortage of volunteers seems not to have transpired. Several of the poll-greeters Lexington met had come forward, out of a redoubled sense of duty, for the first time.

Some of the enduring concerns about Republican efforts to suppress non-white votes, in Georgia and Texas especially, have been slightly allayed. In North Carolina, black voters’ ballots are more than twice as likely to be rejected as the average postal vote. Yet they can be resubmitted. A worst-case projection—that 0.4% of Democratic votes could be rejected in the state—should be compared with the rejection of 2% of votes during the primaries.

Worse news is that one of America’s few shared civic rituals has become as politicised as everything else. The early-vote surge has been driven by Democrats—as indicated by the fact that registered Democrats are over one-and-a-half times as likely to have voted as registered Republicans. Most are voting by post. In contrast, registered Republicans, who used to dominate mail-voting, are in most states likelier to vote early in person. This looks like a response to Mr Trump’s insistence that postal voting is “fraudulent”—and another indication that Republicans, again in response to his misinformation, are less careful about covid-19. Almost the only unmasked voters Lexington spoke with were Trumpers. They included the Republican poll-greeter in Indian Trail, a friendly retiree called Phyllis, who said she took a daily handful of vitamins and zinc pills to ward off covid but considered mask-wearing an instrument of pernicious government control “that the whole world is waking up to”.

Republicans and Democrats seem increasingly to inhabit different realities. Little wonder they lined up together in mistrustful silence. “Normally you’re talking and laughing when you come to vote,” said Alejandro, a burly Democrat in Henderson. “This year there’s so much fear and anger everybody’s just doing what they have to do.” Most voters from the city’s black majority said that they were voting in person, despite being worried about covid, because they were afraid their ballot would not count if they mailed it in. And voting was the only form of political expression one woman said she could take part in. For fear of her “violent” white pro-Trump neighbours, she had not dared to display a Democratic sign in her yard this year for the first time. “I decided I’d rather have peace than express myself,” she said, as her eyes filled with tears.

Some of these changes to the country’s electoral culture are likely to be long-lasting. Americans of different races and political hues could end up voting almost as separately as they worship. On the other hand, the immediate cause of their disunity, Mr Trump, seems increasingly likely to be on the way out.

A taste of his own medicine

The Democratic early-vote lead does not predict his defeat. It will be somewhat pegged back by his supporters on election day. Yet it is graphic evidence of Democratic enthusiasm—which is in itself likely to generate further enthusiasm. It should also insure the Democrats against late mishaps—such as the tropical storm long-range forecasters foresee in Florida on election day—to which Republicans will remain vulnerable. Moreover, as a boomeranged consequence of the president’s efforts to undercut mail-in voting, the Democratic advantage points to another important factor in Mr Trump’s struggles: his stunning ineptitude.

Dig deeper:
Read the best of our 2020 campaign coverage and explore our election forecasts, then sign up for Checks and Balance, our weekly newsletter and podcast on American politics.

This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition under the headline “The blue wave”

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Qantas to chase new Asian routes, with flights to UK and United States unlikely for another year


Australians are unlikely to fly to the United States or UK on Qantas for another year, with its chief executive outlining that this could “potentially” happen “by the end of 2021”.

“For some of our big destination like the United States and the UK, it’s going to need a vaccine given the high prevalence of the virus in both of those locations,” Qantas Group boss Alan Joyce said at the company’s AGM in Sydney on Friday.

“But we are getting more and more confident about the opportunities and the potential for a vaccine in helping getting those operations up by potentially by the end of 2021.”

He said it was “going to take some time to recover international travel back”.

Mr Joyce had previously said he did not expect that international flights, except for New Zealand, would resume before July 2021.

The company has been running some very limited international flights, largely to help the Federal Government with repatriating Australians stuck overseas.

It was also revealed that the company, which owns both Qantas and Jetstar, is expecting a further $100m in losses for the first quarter of this financial year, as border restrictions drag on due to COVID-19.

“The unexpected closure of several domestic borders in July meant our recovery has been delayed,” Mr Joyce said.

“We had expected group domestic to be operating at about 60 per cent of pre-COVID levels by now. Instead, the continued border closures mean capacity is now below 30 per cent.

“This delay resulted in a $100 million negative impact on earnings for the first quarter of FY21, and will have an impact on Q2 as well.”

The flying kangaroo recorded a $2 billion loss for 2019-20, with the coronavirus pandemic slashing its full-year revenue by 21 per cent.

The company’s chairman Richard Goyder used the AGM to criticise ongoing domestic border closures.

“Even as numbers in Victoria come under control and New South Wales shows how small clusters can be managed, there is some frustrating inertia around the Queensland and Western Australian borders,” he said.

“And that seems to ignore the broader economic and social risk involved with staying shut — especially as Federal income support winds down.”

However, Mr Joyce said that “assuming” Queensland and NSW borders open in coming weeks, the airline could go back to flying about half of its pre-COVID domestic flights by Christmas.

“We know that latent travel demand is strong,” he said.

The airline had just bought a new fleet of Airbus A380 when COVID-19 hit.

Mr Joyce said it was “heartbreaking” that the large planes with significant first class capacity had been sent straight to “the desert for storage”.

“They’ll be there for some years,” he said.

Union takes aim at virtual AGM

The Transport Workers Union held this “fake AGM” at the same time as Qantas Group’s meeting.(Supplied: TWU)

Around 18,000 of the company’s staff are still stood down.

The airline’s AGM was done virtually this year due to COVID-19, meaning shareholders could only write in questions.

On Friday, the Transport Workers Union held an “alternative AGM” and used an actor, complete with an Irish accent, to play Mr Joyce.

In a parody of recent events, the fake Mr Joyce addressed the union’s concerns about outsourcing workers by saying outsourcing would “take the pressure off everybody”.

Mr Goyder hit back at these claims during the AGM, dubbing the union “misleading”.

“They’ve been extremely misleading and have been overlooking the fact that COVID has presented extreme times,” he said.

Airline will chase Asian markets instead

The airline flagged plans to prioritise Asian markets as speculation mounts about Australia forming COVID-19 “bubbles” with countries with low case numbers.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison flagged last month that international arrivals from South Korea, Japan and countries in the Pacific could potentially avoid hotel quarantine.

“Both Qantas and Jetstar are keeping a close eye on new markets that might open up as a result of these bubbles — including places that weren’t part of our pre-COVID network,” Qantas chairman Richard Goyder said.

“By early next year, we may find that Korea, Taiwan and various islands in the Pacific are top Qantas destinations while we wait for our core international markets like the US and UK to re-open.”

The airline has also announced two of its board’s directors will go and will not be replaced, reducing its size by 20 per cent.

“We consider this appropriate under the circumstances when the company is scaling back at all levels,” Mr Goyder said.

Barbara Ward and Paul Rayner have been on the company’s board since 2008. 



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Liberalism and its contradictions – Who could object to the Equality Act? | United States


WHEN SHE was ripping through the water during swimming races as a little girl, it did not occur to Nancy Hogshead-Makar that she might one day make a career out of it. But that changed during high school, when she won a full athletic scholarship to university. Four years later Ms Hogshead-Makar won three gold medals at the 1984 Olympics.

Her achievements would have been impossible without Title IX, a brief one-paragraph amendment made to the Civil Rights Act in 1972, when she was ten years old. Title IX banned discrimination “on the basis of sex” in educational institutions that receive federal funding. This meant that most schools and all universities were legally required to provide equal opportunities in activities. It covered things like scholarships; it also resulted in the provision of separate programmes for girls.

Its effect on female participation in sport was immediate and dramatic. Two years after Title IX was passed, the number of girls playing high-school sports jumped from under 300,000 to 1.3m. Today the figure is 3.4m. The lost ground it enabled women to make up has been one of the biggest achievements in the battle for sexual equality in America. It has also had important knock-on effects: research suggests that girls who play sport stay in education longer and get better jobs.

Nearly half a century later, there is still some way to go: Ms Hogshead-Makar, who went on to become a lawyer and establish Champion Women, a women’s-rights non-profit, says many universities do not comply with Title IX’s requirements. And yet some of its protections may soon be erased.

This is because of the demands of another group that has long suffered discrimination: transgender men and women. Their call to be recognised as members of the gender with which they identify—amplified by the merging of their rights with those of gay and lesbian Americans—has led to demands for an Equality Act, which would ban “discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity and sexual orientation”. The House of Representatives passed it in 2019; Joe Biden has said making it law would be a priority during his first 100 days in the White House.

A federal anti-discrimination law of this kind is sorely needed. In its absence a clashing patchwork of laws and regulations has sprung up across states, counties and cities. Conflicts over such matters are increasingly decided by the courts; they should be settled by elected lawmakers. Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN, which campaigns for the rights of LGBT students, says the passing of the Equality Act would be “a transformative moment of liberation for millions of Americans who have had to live as second-class citizens”.

The problem is that parts of the bill appear to put the needs of transgender people above those of women. This is because the act redefines “sex” in Title IX and other amendments of the Civil Rights Act to include “gender identity” rather than making transgenderism a protected category of its own. Its definition of “gender identity” is fuzzy and appears to downplay the reality of sex, listing as it does, “gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth.” The way the act is written suggests that women-only spaces, from public bathrooms to sports teams and prisons, would have to be open to transgender women.

The problem is clearest-cut when it comes to Title IX. That is because although opening up spaces once reserved for females to transgender women carries security and privacy concerns, these can be mitigated to an extent: toilets can be made both unisex and more private (prisons would pose more of a problem). But the protections of Title IX are rooted in the differences between the sexes, chiefly, the physical advantages bestowed by testosterone, which allows boys of average sporting ability to run faster or jump higher than exceptionally talented girls. The Equality Act would require female sports teams to include transgender players, even if their transition from male to female was not obvious: if, for example, they had not taken testosterone-suppressing drugs.

Transgender activists tend not to accept that this is unfair. When asked what she thought about transgender girls with undiminished levels of testosterone racing against female runners and trouncing them (as has happened in at least one state with such a policy) Ms Byard of GLSEN said, “But they are girls! They are girls. Men don’t compete in women’s sports.”

Let’s talk about sex

This denial of the meaning of “sex”, which is reflected in the language of the Equality Act, is a poor ground on which to build policy. The implications could extend well beyond spaces once reserved for women. Doriane Coleman, a law professor at Duke University, points out that if policymakers are not allowed to ‘see’ sex, “all the centres of excellence at research hospitals that currently exist to collect data on and then study sex differences in immunology, cancer, you name it, would be defunded and, indeed, become verboten”.

Ways exist to prevent discrimination against transgender Americans without denying the reality of sex. In prisons, where transgender women housed with men are much more likely to be sexually assaulted than other inmates, wings could be set aside for them. In sport, some champions of Title IX have suggested that transgender girls who have not been through puberty as males (because they have taken testosterone blockers and then oestrogen) could be included in women’s teams. A system of adjusted scores and start lines, according to testosterone levels, could also be introduced. “This is about testosterone, not whether someone is transgender or not,” says Donna Lopiano, adjunct professor of sports management at Southern Connecticut State University and a former college sports director who is lobbying for a change to the wording of the act.

Such solutions are unlikely to satisfy some feminists, who believe no person born a man should win a women’s contest. For many trans activists, these work-arounds would amount to a denial of gender identity and the continued perpetuation of discrimination. Negotiating a path through these clashing demands would be messy and time consuming. But ending discrimination against one group of people should not depend on discriminating against another.

This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition under the headline “Liberalism and its contradictions”

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The presidential election comes down to these 9 states


With two weeks to go until Election Day on Nov. 3, President Trump faces a challenging poll position, but the president predicts that “we’re going to win.”

Trump, speaking on a conference call Monday with campaign advisers and staffers, noted that “I wouldn’t tell you that maybe two or three weeks ago. We’re going to win.”

THE LATEST FOX NEWS 2020 BATTLEGROUND POWER RANKINGS

And hours later, Trump touted to reporters before boarding Air Force One in Phoenix that “we’re doing incredibly well.”

President Trump speaks to reporters at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The numbers currently don’t appear to add up so well for the president. An average of the latest national polls indicate Trump trailing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden by nearly 10 points. That’s a bigger deficit than he faced against 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton two weeks before the presidential election four years ago.

Four years ago, Trump narrowed the gap, though Clinton ended up winning the national popular vote by 2 points.

But it’s the states and their electoral votes that decide who wins the White House – and thanks to victories in six key battleground states that he flipped from blue to red, Trump trounced Clinton in the Electoral College vote.

Fast forward four years and Biden has the slight edge in many of the key battlegrounds, according to an average of the most recent public opinion surveys.

WHAT THE MOST RECENT FOX NEWS NATIONAL POLL SHOWS IN THE BIDEN-TRUMP SHOWDOWN

But Trump still has an avenue to victory.

While the national polls were relatively close to the mark in 2016, surveys in many of the key battlegrounds appeared to under-sample Trump supporters, and Trump narrowly won three states – Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin – where an average of the final polls indicated Clinton on top. And he outperformed the polls in a couple of other battlegrounds.

The question now is whether the current surveys are counting the broad swath of voters they missed four years ago. And separate from the polls, Republican voter registration is up in several key states, including Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

(Source: Fox News)

With the former vice president’s margins over Trump slightly narrowing in the key battlegrounds, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon warned supporters in a memo on Saturday that “the very searing truth is that Donald Trump can still win this race, and every indication we have shows that this thing is going to come down to the wire.”

“The reality is that this race is far closer than some of the punditry we’re seeing on Twitter and on TV would suggest,” O’Malley Dillon emphasized. “In the key battleground states where this election will be decided, we remain neck and neck with Donald Trump.”

Here’s a look at the nine states that will likely decide who wins the presidential election.

Florida

With 29 electoral votes up for grabs, Florida is the largest of the traditional battlegrounds.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks to supporters at a campaign event Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks to supporters at a campaign event Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Twenty years ago, it was the state that decided the presidential election between then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore. President Bush won the state by five points in his 2004 reelection.

President Barack Obama carried the state by razor-thin margins in both 2008 and 2012. Then, four years ago, Trump narrowly edged out 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

An average of the most recent polling in the state shows Biden holding a slight lower-single-digit lead over the president. An average of the most recent public opinion polls indicates Biden with a slight lower single digit edge over Trump. Both of the standard bearers and their running mates have campaigned in the state in recent days or will return later this week.

Biden – during his most recent stop last week in the Sunshine State – highlighted to supporters that “Here in Florida you can determine the outcome of this election. We win Florida and it’s all over.”

Arizona

Arizona has long backed Republicans in presidential elections.

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Tucson International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Tucson International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Bill Clinton in 1996 was the only Democratic candidate to win the state since 1952. But Trump carried the state by just 3 points four years ago.  An average of the most recent public opinion polls in Arizona indicates Biden with a lower single digit advantage over the president in the battle for the state’s 11 electoral votes.

As with Florida, the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be doing him no favors with the state’s crucial senior voters.

North Carolina

North Carolina’s seeing plenty of candidate traffic, and its airwaves are being flooded with ads.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak during a campaign event at Riverside High School in Durham, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak during a campaign event at Riverside High School in Durham, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Then-Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama carried the state in 2008 by a razor-thin margin over Sen. John McCain. Four years later, GOP nominee Mitt Romney won the state’s 15 electoral votes by roughly 2 percentage points over President Obama.

Polls on the eve of the 2016 presidential election indicated Trump with a 0.8% edge over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump ended up winning the state by 3.6 points.

Fast forward four years and Biden currently has a lower-single-digit edge over the president in an average of the most recent polls.

Pennsylvania

Four years ago Trump became the first Republican presidential nominee to win Pennsylvania since George H.W. Bush in 1988. Trump carried the state by less than 1 percent over Clinton, to capture Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.

But the Biden campaign has heavily concentrated on Pennsylvania, which is the former vice president’s native state. And during his nearly four decades in the Senate representing Delaware, Biden was known as Pennsylvania’s third senator.

An average of the most recent public opinion polls in Pennsylvania indicates Biden with a mid-single-digit advantage over the president.

Wisconsin

Like Pennsylvania, Trump in 2016 broke the Democrats’ quarter-century winning streak in Wisconsin with a narrow victory over Clinton.

But as is the case in Pennsylvania, Trump is underperforming with key constituencies, including suburban voters. Also working against the president – the coronavirus – which has hit Wisconsin particularly hard.

An average of the most recent public opinion polls in Wisconsin indicates Biden with a mid-single-digit advantage over the president in the battle for the state’s 10 electoral votes.

Ohio

Ohio has long played a crucial role in presidential elections. It was the state that famously put President George W. Bush over the top in 2004, as he won a second term in the White House.

Obama narrowly carried the state in 2008 and 2012. Four years ago, it appeared it would be another close contest, with an average of the polls on the eve of the election indicating Trump narrowly ahead of Clinton. But Trump ended up swamping Clinton by eight points, flipping the state from blue to red and winning Ohio’s 18 electoral votes.

Trump’s margin of victory was the largest by any presidential candidate in nearly three decades. Fast forward four years and Ohio – at the beginning of this presidential cycle  — wasn’t expected to be a battleground.

But the race has tightened and both campaigns are heavily investing in the Buckeye State. An average of the latest polls indicates the race is basically all tied up in Ohio.

Iowa

Obama carried Iowa by six points in the 2012 election, but Trump flipped the Hawkeye State four years ago, topping Clinton by nine points, even though the final surveys suggested a much closer margin.

As with Ohio, it wasn’t on the battleground radar a year ago.

But Iowa’s very much in the spotlight now, with an average of the latest public opinion surveys in the state indicateing Biden with a slight lower-single-digit edge.

Georgia

Southerner Bill Clinton in 1992 was the last Democrat to carry Georgia in a presidential election.

Long a red state, Georgia tightened in the 2016 election, when Trump captured the state’s 16 electoral votes by just 5 points. The president, apparently playing some defense, held a rally in the state late last week.

An average of the last public opinion surveys in Georgia suggests Biden with a razor-thin lower-single-digit edge.

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Michigan

Democrats carried Michigan for a quarter century in presidential elections until Trump won the state by a tight margin four years ago.

But the president’s support among White working-class voters doesn’t appear to be matching the 2016 levels and Black turnout, which was down four years ago, appears to be re-energized.

An average of the most recent public opinion polls in Michigan indicates Biden with an upper-single-digit lead over the president in the battle for the state’s 16 electoral votes.



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Voters in Florida, other states report ominous ‘vote for Trump’ emails


Law enforcement and election officials are investigating threatening emails sent to voters in multiple Florida counties pressuring them to vote for President Donald Trump and claiming to be from a far-right group with a history of violent confrontations.

The emails, which appeared to be sent from “info@officialproudboys.com,” said the group had obtained contact information about the voter and threatened to “come after” the person if they don’t vote for Trump 

The Proud Boys, a group that catapulted to national attention in September when Trump dodged a chance to condemn them, denied responsibility and condemned the emails. 

“No, it wasn’t us. The people (who sent the emails) used a spoofing email that pretended to be us,” Enrique Tarrio, international chairman of the Proud Boys, told USA TODAY. “Whoever did this should be in prison for a long time.”



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RNC to spend $25M on TV ads in battleground states in final stretch to Election Day


The Republican National Committee will spend $25 million on television ads in a battleground state advertising blitz beginning Tuesday and running for the final two weeks before Election Day, Fox News has learned.

The RNC on Tuesday will launch television ads in a number of key states, including Arizona, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

TRUMP PREDICTS ELECTION DAY VICTORY 

The buy comes on the heels of the RNC committing to spend $60 million on digital efforts to get out the vote in the final stretch of the campaign.

An RNC official told Fox News that roughly $14 million of the $25 million total will be spent on advertising targeted to seniors, with a focus on protecting Medicare.

“Joe Biden’s health care plan would be an inevitable step toward single-payer health care, leading to higher taxes, less quality of care, and a complete upheaval of our health care system,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Fox News.

“As part of the RNC’s multi-pronged effort to target and turn out voters, we will be telling the truth about Biden’s socialized health care plan while aggressively highlighting how President Trump has improved Medicare and lowered premiums,” McDaniel continued. “These ads will drive that message home in the final days.”

An RNC official told Fox News that Democrats are intent on making health care a top issue in the 2020 race, and that these new ads “will serve as an important reminder of the contrast that exists between President Trump and Joe Biden on health care plans.”

The official told Fox News that the ads will cast Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s health care plan as one that would “lead to single payer health care,” and could “jeopardize access to quality care, especially for seniors.” The ads will also highlight that the Biden plan would “give taxpayer-funded health care to illegal immigrants.”

An RNC official touted the president’s health care record, saying that he lowered Medicare Advantage premiums by “34% nationwide–the lowest level in 14 years.”

One ad, which will begin running in Michigan Tuesday, addresses senior citizens, and touts Medicare under President Trump.

“Attention fellow seniors: This election will determine your medicare benefits,” a narrator says in the ad. “Under President Trump, Medicare premiums in Michigan have gone down 53%. But with the Biden-Harris health care plan, Medicare will change.”

The ad warns that “private insurance” would be “eliminated,” and hospitals would close.

“You could even lose your doctor,” the ad says. “Protect your Medicare coverage. Vote for President Trump.”

The ad then directs viewers to a website called “Seniors Beware” to learn more about the differences between Trump and Biden’s health care plans.

Former Vice President Biden’s health care plan is aimed at protecting and building upon the Affordable Care Act by giving Americans more choice, reducing health care costs, and making our health care system “less complex to navigate.”

Biden’s health care platform vows to give every American access to “affordable health insurance,” as well as a “public health insurance option,” and aims to expand coverage to low-income Americans by offering premium-free access to a public option for individuals who would be eligible for Medicaid.

The RNC buy comes as part of a joint effort with the Trump campaign, totaling $55 million on paid advertising in the final two weeks. Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien called it a “heavy buy,” and added that they are “confident as ever” in their “pathway to victory.”

“We very much like where we’re at,” Stepien said Monday. “We have more than sufficient air cover almost, almost three times as much as in 2016.”

He added: “The goal of this is to ensure that we’re supporting our ground troops, and they certainly have the air cover they need to bring this campaign to a successful close.”

The Trump campaign ads will run in the key battleground states of Arizona, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio. 



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US Election 2020: Could the Latino vote flip Republican states to Biden? | US News


If there is one American community that you might think has more reason than most to be wary of Donald Trump, it is the millions of Latinos across the country.

Yet the man who once labelled Mexicans as “rapists and criminals” and vilified migrants before and after the last election does maintain some support in the Latino community.

And the president has been making an aggressive last-minute push for the Latino vote ahead of 3 November. It is a slice of the electorate that could prove decisive.

Voters in the Latino community are, of course, as diverse in their political views as any group in America. And whether it is the Cuban-Americans of Florida or the Mexican-Americans in the southwest, Mr Trump is just as polarising as for the rest of the country.

How important is the Latino vote?

Image:
Pollster Joshua Ulibarr says the Biden campaign is chasing that Latino vote

This will be the first US election in which Latino voters make up the largest minority group.

The shifting demographics in America have been a growing feature of recent elections with the move towards a “majority minority” face of the nation.

The country is changing, especially in states like California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada and Mr Trump’s anti-immigration policies and the perception he is focused more on his white, working-class base has energised the minority vote.

“Latinos have become more active and more energised,” said pollster Joshua Ulibarri, “and with a shifting white vote, that is the winning coalition that Democrats are chasing”.

Which are the states to watch?

Caitlin Montoya
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Caitlin Montoya says people in the US have more reason than ever to vote in this election

In the state of Arizona, one in five voters this time will be Latino. Mr Trump beat Hillary Clinton by four percentage points in 2016 but the polls this time show him behind Joe Biden and Latino interest in the election is surging, particularly among young voters in the urban centres like Phoenix.

“I think a lot of people have more reason to come to the polls this time,” said Caitlin Montoya.

She said “unseen Democrats” are especially engaged, “because they see how much chaos there’s been these past four years and they want a competent president”.

Tania
Lopez
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Tania Lopez believes voters have become tired of the divisive nature of US politics

The strong connections to Mexico within the community in Arizona made Mr Trump’s comments about the country especially distasteful.

“I was bummed out when he won in 2016 and I think people have just got more tired the more he opens his mouth,” said Tania Lopez.

Her work colleague Phanessa Salazar agreed. “He’s said so many harsh things to so many different minority people, not just Latinos, he just in general has a foul mouth and that’s something we don’t need representing our country.”

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How to win a US election

But there is a familiar divide within the Latino community in Phoenix. “There’s a lot of conservative Hispanics, it is prominent in the catholic culture,” said Montoya.

“But hopefully people can see past that and care more about their rights, their people’s rights and their family’s rights.”

Who are Trump’s Latino supporters?

You don’t have to look far to find the very vocal and engaged “Latinos for Trump” at his events.

It is often reported that as many as 30% of Latino Americans support Donald Trump and the popular view is that the majority of those are men.

“Trump’s appeal is a big puzzle to figure out,” said Mr Ulibarri. “The group Trump most appeals to is Hispanic men, college graduate Hispanic men and younger Hispanic men.”

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He said Mr Trump’s projection of himself as a strong leader focused on the economy and job creation is especially successful.

“Latino men have to be the providers, we have to be the ones earning the wages, bringing in the money, so Trump’s appeal, better, stronger jobs, has worked on these men in the past,” he added.

Add to that Mr Trump’s tough rhetoric on places like Cuba and Venezuela, this too has proved popular in Latino communities linked to those countries.

The Trump campaign’s attempt to reach young men might be falling flat though. At the Tres Leches coffee shop, Emmanuel Lupercio said: “It just shows he’s desperate. It hasn’t worked.”

But Democrats are nervous and they have been accused of taking the Latino vote for granted in recent years and neglecting that economic conversation with the community.

Emmanuel Lupercio
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Emmanuel Lupercio thinks the Trump campaign’s attempts to win over Latino men has failed

So, could Trump win the Latino vote?

No. And the president knows it.

In 2016 just one in five Latinos voted for him. But his campaign’s push for Latino votes is strategic.

“The president is not trying to win the majority of Latino voters,” said Mr Ulibarri. “All he has to do is win enough of the Latino vote to make it impossible for Democrats to put that winning coalition together.”

Carmen Zamora
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Carmen Zamora hopes young Latinos go out and vote

Mr Biden will win votes in the Latino community and amongst Latino men in particular but he needs to win with percentages in the 60s to flip states like Arizona, Florida, Texas and Georgia from red to blue. The question is: will he reach those numbers?

Young voters in Arizona are worried that other generations will be too willing to accept the status quo.

Carmen Zamora runs the Casa de Lola plant nursery and will vote for the first time this year.

She said: “I see my parents and they’re not doing the research, they’re not getting involved. We need the community to vote.

“There is a lot of tradition and religion that goes hand in hand. I hope our voice as a minority gets heard and I hope the younger generation go and vote so that we can see change happen.”

Judith Esqueda
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Judith Esqueda fears people won’t turn out and vote again because of apathy

At the counter of Tres Leches, Judith Esqueda offered her bleak assessment: “I’m sad about the election. I don’t think most people are going to vote.

“Last election there was a lot of talk about voting, when it was ridiculous who was running for president, but nobody voted ‘contra’, nobody tried to go against him.

“I’m not sure if they will this time. So, there’s a dread.”



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Why Trump and Biden campaigns are trying to flip states they’ve lost



Las Vegas

President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden went on offense Sunday, with each campaigning in states they are trying to flip during the Nov. 3 election that is just over two weeks away.

Trump began his day in Nevada, making a rare visit to church before a fundraiser and an evening rally in Carson City. Once considered a battleground, Nevada hasn’t swung for a Republican presidential contender since 2004.

Biden, a practicing Catholic, attended mass in Delaware before campaigning in North Carolina, where a Democrat hasn’t won in the White House race since Barack Obama in 2008.

Both candidates are trying to make inroads in states that could help secure a path to victory, but the dynamics of the race are remarkably stable. Biden enjoys a significant advantage in national polls, while carrying a smaller edge in battleground surveys.

With Trump seated in the front row at the nondenominational International Church of Las Vegas, the senior associate pastor, Denise Goulet, said God told her the president is the apple of his eye and would secure a second term.

“At 4:30, the Lord said to me, ‘I am going to give your president a second win,’” she said, telling Trump, “you will be the president again.”

Trump offered brief remarks, saying “I love going to churches” and that it was “a great honor” to attend the service. The president also said that “we have a group on the other side that doesn’t agree with us,” and he urged people to “get out there on Nov. 3 or sooner” to vote. He dropped a wad of $20 bills in the collection plate before leaving.

Despite the pandemic, there were no efforts to social distance or limit singing, which health officials classify as a high-risk activity. Few attendees wore masks inside the church.

Trump also attended a fundraiser at the Newport Beach home of top GOP donor and tech mogul Palmer Luckey, which raised $12 million for his election. The Beach Boys performed.

The message was far different later in the day, when Biden attended a virtual discussion with African American faith leaders from around the country.

Biden held up a rosary, which he said he carries in his pocket every day, and described it as “what the Irish call a prisoner’s rosary” since it was small enough to be smuggled into prisons.

“I happen to be a Roman Catholic,” Biden said. “I don’t pray for God to protect me. I pray to God to give me strength to see what other people are dealing with.”

Earlier, at a drive-in rally in Durham, North Carolina, Biden focused heavily on promoting criminal justice changes to combat institutional racism and promised to help build wealth in the Black community.

He noted that Trump had said at one of his rallies that the country had turned the corner on the pandemic.

“As my grandfather would say, this guy’s gone around the bend if he thinks we’ve turned the corner. Turning the corner? Things are getting worse,” Biden said.

In addition to public polling that indicates Biden has an edge, the former vice president enjoys another considerable advantage over Trump: money. Over the past four months, his campaign has raised over $1 billion, and that has enabled him to eclipse Trump’s once-massive cash advantage.

That’s become apparent in advertising, where Biden and his Democratic allies are on pace to spend twice as much as Trump and the Republicans in the closing days of the race, according to data from the ad tracking firm Kantar/CMAG.

Though Trump has pulled back from advertising in Midwestern states that secured his 2016 win, he’s invested heavily elsewhere, including North Carolina, where he is on pace to slightly outspend Biden in the days ahead.

In Nevada, which Trump came close to winning in 2016, Democrats are set to outspend Trump in the closing days by a more than 3-to-1 ratio.

Trump’s visit to the state is part of an aggressive schedule of campaign events, where he has leaned heavily on a law-and-order message.

As he tries to keep more voters from turning against him, Trump has sought to paint Democrats as “anti-American radicals” on a “crusade against American history.” He told moderate voters they had a “a moral duty” to join the Republican Party.

If elected, Biden would be only the second Roman Catholic president in U.S. history and first since John F. Kennedy. Biden speaks frequently about his faith and its importance in his life.

Biden started his day with Mass in Delaware at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine, as he does nearly every week. He and his wife, Jill, entered wearing dark-colored face masks. She carried a bunch of flowers that including pink roses.

The church is a few minutes’ drive from Biden’s home. Biden’s son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015, is buried in the cemetery on its grounds. Joe and Jill Biden visited the grave after the service.

Trump attends church far less often but has drawn strong support from white Evangelical leaders and frequently hosts groups of pastors at the White House. Trump often goes to the Church of Bethesda-By-The Sea near Mar-a-Lago in Florida for major holidays, including Easter, and he attended a Christmas Eve service last year at Family Church in West Palm Beach before the onset of the pandemic.

As the virus forced most churches to pause in-person services this spring, Trump announced plans to tune into live-streamed worship led by some leading evangelical supporters, including Texas-based megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress’ Easter service and a March service by Georgia-based pastor Jentezen Franklin.

___

Slodysko reported from Washington and Weissert from Durham, North Carolina. Associated Press Writer Elana Schor in Washington contributed to this report.



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Western Australia records three new COVID-19 cases, including two on ships off state’s coast


Three new cases of COVID-19 have been reported overnight in Western Australia, including two infections linked to the Key Integrity and AL Messilah cargo ships currently offshore of the state.

The third case is an international worker who is in a quarantine hotel run by the state government.

The new cases bring WA’s total infections since the pandemic began up to 714, while there are still 20 active cases.

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan has criticised the Federal Government, NSW and the NT for allowing 25 New Zealand travellers to board flights to Perth and exit the current international travel bubble arrangement. (9News)

WA Health said in a statement that the Key Integrity, from Manila in the Philippines, is expected to sail from the Geraldton Port today for Fremantle where it will be managed by authorities, along with the Unites Arab Emirates live export ship Al Messilah.

Crew members are being interviewed as part of contact tracing efforts and all of them are now being allowed to disembark the cargo ships.

Health Minister Roger Cook said the trend was “deeply concerning”, after four ships with coronavirus-positive crew members had arrived in Western Australian waters in the past three weeks.

Two infections have been detected on ships docked in Western Australia. (9News)

The state government is afraid COVID-19 infections are slipping through the cracks, and is demanding the Commonwealth do more.

Mr Cook told the government to “get off your butt” and enforce stronger standards with overseas countries.

Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is a 24/7 service free of charge to all Australians. Visit the site here or call 1800512348
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