Nigeria blasphemy: Jailed 13-year-old boy wins Kano appeal



The 13-year-old was serving a 10-year sentence handed down by an Islamic court for comments about God.

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Would-be Canberra car salesman wins $46k after tribunal finds he was discriminated against over road rage offences


A Canberra man has successfully sued the ACT Government for more than $46,000 after he was refused a car sales licence because of two prior road rage convictions.

Last week the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) found the ACT Commissioner for Fair Trading had discriminated against the man when they rejected his application for a motor vehicles sales licence in 2018.

The would-be car salesman successfully argued two “irrelevant” criminal convictions were used as basis to reject his application, which he said led to financial and emotional distress.

Road rage incidents

ACAT heard the man had applied for the licence in 2018, but two separate criminal convictions for property damage and assault showed up during a police record check.

The tribunal heard first offence took place in 2016 when the man hurled a small sledgehammer through the front windscreen of another driver’s vehicle during a road rage incident.

The second conviction was from an incident two months later where the man spat in another driver’s face during a dispute, resulting in a good behaviour bond.

The man said he had been “blinded by ego” at the time of the road rage incidents.(Unsplash)

ACAT heard Access Canberra staff asked the man for a personal statement to explain the offending.

The man told government staff in an email that he suffered from a permanent back injury and had suffered a deterioration in his mental and physical health in the lead up to the incidents.

“As I reflect on the events and how I handled them, my only option at the time was to hang on to what I could as I embarked through this storm.”

‘Blinded by ego’

The man also claimed he had been “blinded by ego and pride” and had since addressed his behaviour.

“I am no longer the invincible young brave man I used to be,” he told Access Canberra staff.

“But the hardest battle for me has been to not allow the negative notions of the subsequent criminal records imposed on me to affect me mentally.

ACAT heard after discovering the man’s criminal record, the Commissioner for Fair Trading refused the man’s application due to the seriousness and “nature” of his previous offending.

Senior ACAT Member Heidi Robinson found that amounted to discrimination, and awarded the man $46,766 in damages.

“The intention of the amendments to the Discrimination Act are clear: a person’s criminal conviction should not ‘hound’ them for their whole life, keep them out of employment, or cause them to be subject to discrimination,” she wrote in her decision.

The government was also warned not to reject any of the man’s future applications based on his criminal convictions.

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North Albury’s Jim Holland wins first district title at age of 80 | The Border Mail


news, local-news,

A novice bowler who took up the game late in life is now a district champion. North Albury’s Jim Holland featured in the Hoppers side which won the Albury and District president’s reserve pairs final against Oaklands at Culciarn on Sunday. The 80-year-old, who has played social bowls at the club for three years and has just started his second season in the Hoppers’ grade seven pennant side, took some convincing to get on the greens. “I always said it was an old man’s game and my wife said ‘you’re 78, how old can you be’,” Mr Holland laughed. IN OTHER NEWS: He had some success at the start of the season when he teamed up with John Dawson and Troy Campion to win the second annual Allen ‘Salty’ Ross Memorial triples tournament at North Albury and was head-hunted by clubmate Rob Unsworth for a game in the district fours. “After we’d won Salty’s tournament (in October), ‘Unsie’ came over and said ‘there’s a president’s fours event coming up, would you consider being our lead?’,” Mr Holland said. “I was thinking ‘these guys are grade four and five players and I’m a grade seven player’, so I was pretty chuffed about it.” But he admitted some doubt began to creep in. “I was actually a bit worried I’d let the boys down, but when I saw the way I was playing, I got more confidence,” Mr Holland said. “For ‘Unsie’ to take his hat off to you, that’s something. “After two ends we were 5-0 down and we came back with a five and a four and it was mostly ones and twos from there.” The side will play at zone level later in the year

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Georgia Certifies Ossoff And Warnock Wins, Democrats Ready To Take Senate Control


Topline

Georgia certified the victories of Senators-elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock Tuesday, clearing the way for Democrats to take control of the U.S. Senate this week once Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is inaugurated and swears in the incoming senators.

Key Facts

Ossoff and Warnock’s victories were certified by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, after the two Democratic challengers narrowly beat out incumbent Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

The certified results will now have to be physically delivered to the secretary of the Senate in Washington D.C. before Ossoff and Warnock can take office.

Ossoff and Warnock are reportedly set to be sworn in by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Wednesday afternoon shortly after she’s inaugurated, according to multiple outlets.

Harris will also swear in Alex Padilla Wednesday, who will succeed the incoming vice president as California’s junior senator.

Once Ossoff, Warnock and Padilla are sworn in, Democrats will clinch the Senate majority, as both parties will hold 50 seats and Harris will give Democrats the tie-breaking vote as president of the Senate.

Surprising Fact

Ossoff, 33, will be the youngest senator to be sworn into office since President-elect Joe Biden, who took office in 1973 at 30 years old. Warnock will become the first Black senator from Georgia, as well as the first Black Democrat a former Confederate state has elected to the Senate. (Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican, was elected in South Carolina in 2016.) 

Key Background

Georgia’s certification brings to an end a contentious election season in the southern state, where President Donald Trump aggressively challenged the election results after Biden pulled off a narrow win. Despite multiple failed lawsuits, recounts and a phone call in which Trump overtly pressured Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s victory, Trump’s loss in the state was not changed, as the state’s Republican officials upheld the election results and debunked the president and his allies’ claims of voter fraud. The president’s attacks on Georgia’s election system may have ultimately helped Ossoff and Warnock in the runoff elections, as Democratic turnout remained high while the turnout in many Republican-leaning districts was lower. Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling noted on Twitter that the “drop off” in Republican turnout was driven by constituents of far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), two Trump allies who backed claims of election fraud, saying the Republicans “cost the GOP two Senate seats and control of the Senate.”

Further Reading

As Kamala Harris Resigns From Senate Seat, Here’s When Democrats Could Take Control Of Congress (Forbes)

Democrats Take Full Control Of Government As Ossoff, Warnock Win Georgia Senate Seats (Forbes)



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Uganda leader wins vote, rigging alleged


Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni has won a sixth term in office, election officials have confirmed, despite his top challenger Bobi Wine dismissing the results as “cooked-up” and “fraudulent”.

Polling chiefs also struggled to explain how the results of the election were compiled amid an internet blackout.

But 76-year-old Museveni, in power since 1986, dismissed the allegations of fraud in an evening address to the nation, saying Thursday’s election may turn out to be the “most cheating free” in Uganda’s history.

In a generational clash watched across the African continent, the 38-year-old singer-turned-legislator Wine was arguably Museveni’s greatest challenge yet in almost 35 years in power.

The self-styled “ghetto president”, Wine enjoyed strong support in urban centres where frustration with unemployment and corruption is high. He has claimed victory.

In a phone interview from his home, which he said was surrounded by soldiers, Wine urged the international community to “please call General Museveni to order” by withholding aid, imposing sanctions and using Magnitsky legislation to hold alleged human rights abusers accountable.

Wine repeated that all legal options are being considered, including challenging the results in court, and called for peaceful protests.

Uganda’s electoral commission said Museveni received 58 per cent of the vote and Wine 34 per cent, with voter turnout at 52 per cent in a process which the top US diplomat to Africa called “fundamentally flawed”.

Wine has said he is alone with his wife, Barbie, and a single security guard after police told a private security company to withdraw its protection ahead of Thursday’s election.

He said he will not leave Uganda and abandon its 45 million people to the kind of treatment he has faced.

The vote followed the East African country’s worst pre-election violence since Museveni took office in 1986.

Wine and other candidates were beaten or harassed, and more than 50 people were killed when security forces put down riots in November following Wine’s arrest.

Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, was detained several times while campaigning but never convicted. He said he feared for his life.

In response to his allegations of vote-rigging, Uganda’s electoral commission said Wine should prove it. Wine says he has video evidence and will share it once internet access is restored.

The commission also deflected questions about how countrywide voting results were transmitted during the internet blackout by saying “we designed our own system”.

Tracking the vote was further complicated by the arrests of independent monitors and the denial of accreditation to most members of the American observer mission, leading the US to call it off.

Tibor Nagy, the top US diplomat for Africa, tweeted: “Uganda’s electoral process has been fundamentally flawed.”

He called for the immediate and full restoration of internet access, and warned that that “the US response hinges on what the Ugandan government does now”.

Museveni, once praised as part of a new generation of African leaders and a long-standing US security ally, still has support among some in Uganda for bringing stability.

The UK called for the concerns about the election to be investigated.

“It is important these concerns are raised, investigated and resolved in a peaceful, legal and constitutional manner,” Britain’s minister for Africa James Duddridge said.

Uganda’s elections are often marred by allegations of fraud and abuses by security forces.

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Teenage driver Piastri wins Brabham award


Melbourne teenager Oscar Piastri has joined an honour roll including Mark Webber, Will Power and Daniel Ricciardo after being awarded the Sir Jack Brabham Award by Motorsport Australia.

The 19-year-old enjoyed a spectacular rookie campaign in the Formula Three championship, winning the title in a year disrupted by the global COVID pandemic.

First awarded in 2006, the Sir Jack Brabham Award is presented to Australian drivers who achieve notable success on an international level.

It is named in honour of Brabham – a three-time Formula One world champion who also raced at the iconic Indianapolis 500.

“To win this award is a massive honour,” said Piastri, who will be competing in Formula Two in 2021 on the next step towards his own Formula One ambitions.

“It’s very special … winning the award is one of those things where it’s a real honour to have it on your CV.

“It’s cool to get the award and it’s only going to bring good things for my career.”

Past winners of the award include IndyCar star Power, F1 race winners Ricciardo and Webber as well as rally champion Cody Crocker and Porsche factory works driver Matthew Campbell.

As well as his Formula Three success, Piastri also ended 2021 by test-driving Renault’s Formula One car.

His debut Formula Two championship campaign begins with testing next month before the eight-round season gets underway at the Bahrain Grand Prix in March.

SIR JACK BRABHAM AWARD WINNERS

2020: Oscar Piastri

2018: Will Power

2017: Matthew Campbell

2014: Daniel Ricciardo

2012: David Brabham

2011: Tony Gaze

2009: Marcos Ambrose/Mark Webber

2007: Will Power

2006: Cody Crocker/Ben Atkinson



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Rubicon Wins 2021 BIG Innovation Award


TipRanks

3 “Strong Buy” Stocks with Over 9% Dividend Yield

Markets ended 2020 on a high note, and have started 2021 on a bullish trajectory. All three major indexes have recently surged to all-time highs as investors seemingly looked beyond the pandemic and hoped for signs of a rapid recovery. Veteran strategist Edward Yardeni sees the economic recovery bringing its own slowdown with it. As the COVID vaccination program allows for further economic opening, with more people getting back to work, Yardeni predicts a wave of pent-up demand, increasing wages, and rising prices – in short, a recipe for inflation. “In the second half of the year we may be on the lookout for some consumer price inflation which would not be good for overvalued assets,” Yardeni noted.The warning sign to look for is higher yields in the Treasury bond market. If the Fed eases up on the low-rate policy, Yardeni sees Treasuries reflecting the change first.A situation like this is tailor-made for defensive stock plays – and that will naturally bring investors to look at high-yield dividend stocks. Opening up the TipRanks database, we’ve found three stocks featuring a hat trick of positive signs: A Strong Buy rating, dividend yields starting at 9% or better – and a recent analyst review pointing toward double-digit upside.CTO Realty Growth (CTO)We’ll start with CTO Realty Growth, a Florida-based real estate company that, last year, made an exciting decision for dividend investors: the company announced that it would change its tax status to that of a real estate investment trust (REIT) for the tax year ending December 31, 2020. REITs have long been known for their high dividend yields, a product of tax code requirements that these companies return a high percentage of their profits directly to shareholders. Dividends are usual route of that return.For background, CTO holds a varied portfolio of real estate investments. The holdings include 27 income properties in 11 states, totaling more than 2.4 million square feet, along with 18 leasable billboards in Florida. The income properties are mainly shopping centers and retail outlets. During the third quarter, the most recent reported, CTO sold off some 3,300 acres of undeveloped land for $46 million, acquired two income properties for $47.9 million, and collected ~93% of contractual base rents due. The company also authorized a one-time special distribution, in connection with its shift to REIT status; its purpose was to put the company in compliance with income return regulation during tax year 2020. The one-time distribution was made in cash and stock, and totaled $11.83 per share.The regular dividend paid in Q3 was 40 cents per common share. That was increased in Q4 to $1, a jump of 150%; again, this was done to put the company in compliance with REIT-status requirements. At the current dividend rate, the yield is 9.5%, far higher than the average among financial sector peer companies.Analyst Craig Kucera, of B. Riley, believes that CTO has plenty of options going forward to expand its portfolio through acquisition: “CTO hit the high end of anticipated disposition guidance at $33M in 4Q20, bringing YTD dispositions to nearly $85M, with the largest disposition affiliated with the exercise of a tenant’s option to purchase a building from CTO in Aspen, CO. Post these dispositions, we estimate >$30M in cash and restricted cash for additional acquisitions, and we expect CTO to be active again in 1H21.”To this end, Kucera rates CTO a Buy along with a $67 price target. At current levels, his target implies a 60% one-year upside potential. (To watch Kucera’s track record, click here)Overall, CTO has 3 reviews on record from Wall Street’s analysts, and they all agree that this stock is a Buy, making the analyst consensus of Strong Buy unanimous. The shares are priced at $41.85, and their average price target of $59.33 suggests room for ~42% growth in the year ahead. (See CTO stock analysis on TipRanks)Holly Energy Partners (HEP)The energy sector, with its high cash flows, is also known for its high-paying dividend stocks. Holly Energy Partners is a midstream transportation player in sector, providing pipeline, terminal, and storage services for producers of crude oil and petroleum distillate products. Holly bases most of its operations in the Colorado-Utah and New Mexico-Texas-Oklahoma regions. In 2019, the last full year for which numbers are available, the company saw $533 million in total revenues.The company’s revenues in 2020 slipped in the first and second quarters, but rebounded in Q3, coming in at $127.7 million. Holly reported at distributable cash flow – from which dividends are paid – of $76.9 million, up more than $8 million year-over-year. This supported a 35-cent dividend payment per regular share, or $1.40 annualized. At that rate, the dividend yields a strong 10%.Noting the dividend, Well Fargo analyst Michael Blum wrote, “Our model suggests the distribution is sustainable at this level as [lost revenue] is offset by inflation escalators in HEP’s pipeline contracts and contributions from the Cushing Connect JV project. About 80% of HEP’s distribution is tax-deferred.”Blum gives HEP a $20 price target and an Overweight (i.e. Buy) rating. His target implies a 38% upside for the next 12 months. (To watch Blum’s track record, click here)”Our rating primarily reflects the partnership’s steady, fee-based cash flows, robust yield and conservative balance sheet,” Blum added.For the most part, Wall Street agrees with Blum’s assessment on HEP, as shown by the Strong Buy analyst consensus rating. That rating is supported by 6 reviews, split 5 to 1 Buys versus Hold. The average price target, at $18.67, suggests that the stock has room to grow ~29% this year. (See HEP stock analysis on TipRanks)DHT Holdings (DHT)Midstreaming is only one part of the global oil industry’s transport network. Tankers are another, moving crude oil, petroleum products, and liquified natural gas around the world, in bulk. Bermuda-based DHT operates a fleet of 27 crude oil tankers, all rated VLCC (very large crude carrier). These vessels are 100% owned by the company, and range in tonnage from 298K to 320K. VLCCs are the workhorses of the global oil tanker network.After four quarters of sequential revenue gains, even through the ‘corona half’ of 1H20, DHT posted a sequential drop in revenues from 2Q20 to 3Q20. The top line that quarter fell from $245 million to $142 million. It’s important to note, however, that the 3Q revenue result was still up 36.5% year-over-year. EPS, at 32 cents, was a dramatic yoy turnaround from the 6-cent loss posted in 3Q19.DHT has a history of adjusting its dividend, when needed, to keep it in line with earnings. The company did that in Q3, and the 20-cent per regular share payment was the first dividend cut in 5 quarters. The general policy is a positive for dividend investors, however, as the company has not missed a dividend payment in 43 consecutive quarters – an admirable record. At 80 cents per share annualized, the dividend yields an impressive 14%.Kepler analyst Petter Haugen covers DHT, and he sees potential for increased returns in the company’s contract schedule. Haugen noted, “With 8 out of 16 vessels ending their TC contracts by end Q1 2021, we believe DHT is well positioned for when we expect freight rates to appreciate in H2 2021E.”Getting into more details, Haugen adds, “[The] main underlying drivers are still intact: fleet growth will be low (1% on average over 2020- 23E) and the US will still end up being a net seaborne exporter of crude oil, making further export growth from the US drive tanker demand. We expect spot rates to improve again during 2021E, shortly after oil demand has normalised. We expect average VLCC rates of USD41,000/day in 2022E and USD55,000/day in 2023E.”In line with his comments, Haugen rates DHT a Buy. His $7.40 target price suggests that this stock can grow 34% in the months ahead. (To watch Haugen’s track record, click here)The rest of the Street is getting onboard. 3 Buys and 1 Hold assigned in the last three months add up to a Strong Buy analyst consensus. In addition, the $6.13 average price target puts the potential upside at ~11%. (See DHT stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

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India wins admirers after gritty draw as Australia’s unedifying histrionics let them down at SCG


When television broadcasters first started using the statistics generated by cricket analysts CricViz, there was a widely-held suspicion that some of their offerings were what Mitchell and Webb would term numberwang. That scepticism soon passed.

On day one of the Sydney Test, the data seemed plainly unbelievable: statistically speaking, India’s Rishabh Pant was only the second-worst wicketkeeper in Test cricket, and the man in pole position was twice as bad.

You imagined Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim making Ravichandran Ashwin’s facial expressions distort even further.

Of course, like Mushfiqur, Pant is picked for what he can do with the bat.

To focus solely on his keeping is like critiquing Tony Soprano’s bookkeeping work at the Bada Bing.

Two summers ago at the SCG, Pant made an undefeated 159 that hinted at superstardom. In the intervening time, his fortunes have waxed and waned but not his relish for staring down Australia.

One does not simply judge Rishabh Pant on his keeping.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

Not much went India’s way in this game, but Pant’s involvement was an exception.

A horror blow from Pat Cummins seemed to have broken his arm in the first innings. It meant the tidier gloveman Wriddhiman Saha could be subbed in for Australia’s second innings before making way for Pant’s return as a second innings batsman — as remote as the chances seemed.

What a return it was. The cause was hopeless: survive 90 overs or chase down 407.

Not only did Pant declare himself fit to bat, he leapfrogged Hanuma Vihari and wandered out at number five, no padding on his arm.

Only 10 deliveries had been bowled at that point. Nathan Lyon had just dispatched Ajinkya Rahane and Australia seemed set to pounce.

Before play, Lyon eyed the fifth-day pitch like a gourmand appraising a buffet. With the first ball of his next over, he duly tempted Pant into an edge.

Nathan Lyon looks frustrated while kneeling down on the pitch. Matt Wade has his hands on his head
Nathan Lyon toiled through 46 overs in India’s second innings.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

Unfortunately, Tim Paine grassed it behind the wicket — a tough chance, but a bread and butter fifth-day dismissal.

Pant’s intent from there was immediately obvious and transformed the contest.

After a few sighters he started clubbing Lyon around the ground with impunity. A pair of sixes helped him to 50 from 64 deliveries and Cheteshwar Pujara dug in at the other end.

In the hours following, they were like bouncers guarding a steel door, Pujara stern, arms folded in front of his chest, Pant repelling the would-be intruders by repeatedly jabbing a finger into their chests.

When Pant was on 53, Paine dropped him again, then on 76 too.

India batsman Rishabh Pant slogs on day five of the third Test at the SCG.
Rishabh Pant started slowly and rapidly went through the gears.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

The chances were getting tougher, but thoughts started turning to the horror of Ben Stokes at Headingley two English summers ago.

Inevitably, Pant eventually took one risk too many. With the new ball one over away and the counter-attack raising the prospect of an upset, he tried to bring up his century with another lusty blow off Lyon and sent a leading edge to backward point.

The analysis: 12 boundaries, three sixes, 97 runs from 118 deliveries in a partnership of 148.

It will go in the record books as a half-century. But the way Pant took on the game elevated what should have been a regulation Australian victory into a bare-knuckle brawl.

It also inspired those who followed, which ensured a grandstand finish in which India brilliantly saved the game.

The heroes in the end were Ashwin and Vihari.

With Ravindra Jadeja and his broken hand waiting in the pavilion and Vihari labouring with a hamstring injury, Ashwin came out and was struck all over the body.

India batsman Ravichandran Ashwin hits the cricket ball away with a cross-batted shot during a Test at the SCG.
Ravi Ashwin played one of the most important innings of his Test career.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

For 10 minutes, he looked a walking wicket. But he was also at his most determined, and the partnership that ensued was more epic still than the one which had dominated the first half of the day.

The 62 runs were neither here nor there. The 256 deliveries the pair absorbed denied Australia certain victory.

The effect on the Australians was wholly unedifying.

The longer Ashwin and Vahari withstood what the home side threw at them, the more the ring of close fielders resembled a pack of hyenas, yapping away witlessly and with little more impact than the bowlers.

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Matthew Wade played the tough guy character he didn’t quite pull off with his bat. Paine offered an excruciating running commentary.

Simultaneous to that, a piece of footage from earlier in the day went viral: a stump camera showed Steve Smith petulantly scuffing the batting crease to remove the indentation where Pant had marked his guard, forcing the batsman to mark it again.

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For reasons that will surely come under close examination after this match, the broadcaster was allowed to run live and uncut a one-way argument between Ashwin and Paine, the latter already fined 15 per cent of his match fee for misbehaviour on day three.

Paine suggested the Australians had more friends in India than Ashwin. It is hard to envisage that being true after this game.

It was also self-defeating. In the Mitchell Starc over following that quip, Paine dropped a regulation chance provided by Vihari and the contest was done.

The only thing worse than the banter on Monday was the glovework.

Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine smiles as he puts his hand on the back of India batsman Ravi Ashwin after the SCG Test.
Tim Paine, left, and Ravichandran Ashwin were friends after the match had ended.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

Perhaps it can be argued that players don’t decide what goes to air. But knowing that anything might, and knowing how unwelcome this Indian team has been made to feel by the SCG crowd, Paine’s team provided an ungracious conclusion to a contest that would have been just as absorbing without the histrionics.

India will depart Sydney battered and bruised, but it has also won itself many admirers.

Towards the end of this match, news filtered through of the death of Colin McDonald, Australian opening batsman in the magical summer of 1960-61.

Frank Worrell’s West Indians were farewelled at the conclusion of that tour with a hero’s motorcade past half a million grateful Melburnians.

You’d hope Brisbane can give India a warmer send-off than what they received here.

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Biden wins amid chaos…


Washington: In an unprecedented assault on democracy in the US, thousands of supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building here and clashed with police, resulting in four deaths and interrupting a constitutional process by Congress to affirm the victory of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the election.

The Electoral College votes of Biden and Harris were finally approved early on Thursday after both the Senate and the House of Representatives rejected all objections raised by the Republicans to the votes in the states of Pennsylvania and Arizona.

 

In the presidential election held on November 3, Biden and Harris received 306 electoral votes, while President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence got 232. The counting of Vermont’s three electoral votes put Biden and Harris over the 270-threshold needed to win the presidency.

The 78-year-old Democratic leader and his 56-year-old Indian-origin deputy will be inaugurated on January 20, it was announced after the constitutional process was finally completed by a joint session of Congress.

In the violence on Wednesday, four people died, including one woman who was shot by a police officer, amid protests and rioting on Capitol Hill that resulted in dozens of demonstrators being arrested, police said.

 

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee called the rioting by pro-Trump demonstrators “shameful” during a news conference.

One woman was shot and killed by Capitol Police during the rioting. Police said three other people – a woman and two men – died after apparently suffering “separate medical emergencies” near the Capitol grounds.

At least 14 DC Metropolitan Police officers were injured, including one who was hospitalised after suffering serious injuries when he was pulled into a crowd and assaulted, Contee said.

Metro Police made 80 arrests related to unrest this week in downtown DC, including 68 arrests on Wednesday night, according to a mayor’s spokeswoman. Most were for violations of the mayor’s 6 p.m. curfew.

 

In a statement released just after the certification was finalised, Trump acknowledged his election loss. He said that even though he disagrees with the outcome, “there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.”

“I have always said we would continue our … fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”

The joint session of Congress, which is normally a ceremonial step, was halted for several hours when supporters of Trump breached the Capitol. Proceedings resumed and continued through the night after the building was cleeared.

 

Vice President Pence brought the Senate session back into order and proceeded with the verification process.

“The announcement of the state of the vote by the President of the Senate shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons elected President and Vice President of the United States, each for the term beginning on the 20th day of January 2021…,” Pence said following the count of all of the state’s Electoral College votes.

Earlier on Wednesday, thousands of angry supporters of Trump swarmed over the US Capitol, forcing lawmakers to evacuate their chambers and delaying by several hours a normally routine procedure clearing the way for Biden and Harris to be sworn in as president and vice president.

 

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced after hours of chaos around the white-columned edifice that police had secured the building.

“Today, a shameful assault was made on our democracy,” Pelosi said. “It was anointed at the highest level of government. It cannot, however, deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden,” she said.

Amidst the violence Biden said he was shocked and sad to see the US has “come to such a dark moment”.

“At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault. Unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times. An assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself. An assault on the people’s representatives and the Capitol Hill police, sworn to protect them. And the public servants who work at the heart of our Republic…,” he said in an address to the nation.

 

“Let me be very clear. The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America. Do not represent who we are. What we’re seeing are a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition. And it must end now,” Biden said.

“I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution by demanding an end to this siege,” he said.

Harris also demanded an end to the assault on the US Capitol by the supporters of Trump.

“I join President-elect Joe Biden in calling for the assault on the Capitol and our nation’s public servants to end, and as he said, “allow the work of democracy to go forward”,” Harris said in a tweet.

 

Trump has refused to concede the election. He alleges that there was a massive voters’ fraud and electoral malpractice. Election officials have denied the allegations.

All four living former US presidents — Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter — condemned the actions of the pro-Trump rioters who forced an evacuation of the House and Senate chambers of the US Capitol and underlined the need for a peaceful transfer of power.

Meanwhile, in an unprecedented move, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said on Thursday that President Donald Trump’s accounts on its popular social media platforms – Facebook and Instagram – would remain suspended until the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.

 

Announcing the decision, Zuckerberg said the risk of allowing President Trump to continue to use the platform during this period is “simply too great.”

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Australia’s Toby Price wins stage three of Dakar Rally, moving up to fourth in bike category



Australian Toby Price has won the third stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia as American Skyler Howes took the overall lead in the motorbike category.

Two times champion Price, who also won Sunday’s opening stage but started the day 29th after struggling on Monday, beat Argentine rider Kevin Benavides by a minute and 16 seconds after the 403km loop around Wadi Ad-Dawasir.

Price said navigating the course had been a challenge, but so far his Red Bull KTM bike had been holding up in the off-road, endurance race.

“The difficulty of the navigation means it’s hard to open the road,” he said.

“But it’s been a good day for me. The bike’s working well, I didn’t fall and I didn’t have any fuel problems like yesterday.

“[A] hard finish for all of us.”

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Riders and drivers in the Dakar Rally navigate sand dunes, rocks and rough terrain in Saudi Arabia, sometimes travelling more than 700km in a day.

The second stage had seen a clear-out of the standings, with Price finishing 32 minutes behind stage winner Joan Barreda.

The Australian’s strong stage moved Price back up to fourth, one minute 52 seconds off the lead, with Britain’s 2017 winner Sam Sunderland fifth.

Howes, who had been eighth overall overnight, finished fourth on his non-factory KTM to take the lead 33 seconds clear of Benavides.

Barreda dropped to eighth overall, the Spaniard now more than nine minutes behind Howes, after having to open the stage through the desert dunes.

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