England Romps To 3-0 T20 Series Win Over South Africa

England Romps To 3-0 T20 Series Win Over South Africa

CAPE TOWN, South Africa: England swept the Twenty20 series against South Africa 3-0 with a blistering 99 not out from Dawid Malan seeing the tourists romp to a nine-wicket win in the final game in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Malan’s 99 came from just 47 balls and made a difficult run chase look like a breeze as England overhauled South Africa’s 191-3 with more than two overs to spare.

England finished on 192-1 in 17.4 overs, with Malan and Jos Buttler (67 not out) sharing an unbroken partnership of 167 for the second wicket to take England charging home at Newlands. It was England’s highest partnership in T20s and the eighth-highest of all time.

The only disappointment was Malan missing out on a second T20 international century, which he could have got if he’d hit what turned out to be the last ball of the game for a boundary. Instead, with him on 98 and England needing one to win, he took a single out on the off side and then appeared to realize his error.

England had plenty of deliveries left and Malan would have been forgiven for taking his time to ensure he got his hundred.

Malan hit 11 fours and five sixes and South Africa had no answer to the world’s top-ranked T20 batsman, or to Buttler, who clobbered his 67 from 46 balls. The victory was England’s most convincing of the series.

South Africa appeared in good position to take something from the series when Faf du Plessis (52 not out) and Rassie van der Dussen (74 not out) put on 127 for the fourth wicket. Their stand resurrected South Africa from 64-3 and set up what was a challenging target until Malan and Buttler took the South African bowling apart.

England has won seven of its last eight T20 series and last lost a series in 2018 against India. This tour of South Africa was organized on short notice to fill gaps left in both teams’ schedules due to the coronavirus pandemic. But it further boosted England’s confidence and provided vital preparation ahead of the T20 World Cup next year.

England and South Africa will also play three one-day internationals on this tour. England is the reigning 50-over world champion.

All of the games on are being played in Cape Town or the nearby city of Paarl to limit travel by players and officials during the pandemic.

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Published at Tue, 01 Dec 2020 20:51:07 +0000

Trump ally: ‘No voter fraud to overturn election’

Trump ally: ‘No voter fraud to overturn election’

William Barr

Reuters

US Attorney General William Barr says his justice department has found no proof to back President Donald Trump’s claims of fraud in the 2020 election.

“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” said the top US law enforcement agent.

His comments are seen as a big blow to Mr Trump, who has not accepted defeat.

He and his campaign have filed lawsuits in states that he lost, as they begin certifying Joe Biden as the winner.

President-elect Biden defeated the incumbent Mr Trump by a margin of 306 to 232 votes in the US electoral college, which chooses the US president. And in the popular vote, Mr Biden won at least 6.2 million more votes than Mr Trump.

Since 3 November’s election, Mr Trump has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud, and members of his legal defence team have spoken of an alleged international plot to hand Mr Biden the win. On Tuesday, after Mr Barr’s statements were released, the president tweeted several times alluding to voter fraud, again without proof.

“There’s been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results,” Mr Barr, who is seen as a top Trump ally, told AP News on Tuesday, referring to the assertion that ballot machines were hacked to give more votes to Mr Biden.

  • What legal challenges remain for Trump?

  • ‘In his mind, he will not have lost’

Mr Barr said that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security have investigated that claim, “and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that”.

Last month, the top lawyer issued an order to US attorneys, allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities, before the 2020 presidential election was certified.

“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all, and people don’t like something they want the Department of Justice to come in and ‘investigate,'” he added. He also told the AP that he had appointed a veteran prosecutor to continue investigating the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged election meddling.

Reacting to his comments, Trump campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said in a joint statement: “With the greatest respect to the Attorney General, his opinion appears to be without any knowledge or investigation of the substantial irregularities and evidence of systemic fraud.”

Meanwhile, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said of Mr Barr’s statement: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”

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Analysis box by Anthony Zurcher, North America reporter

It was getting late in the day for the US Justice Department to take action that would give life to Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election. On Tuesday, however, Attorney General Bill Barr effectively ended even the slightest hope that federal investigators would provide the president with a political lifeline.

That the justice department did not find “fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election” shouldn’t come as a surprise. The president’s own lawyers have yet to present any such evidence in their lawsuits challenging the voting results. What is noteworthy, however, is that Barr chose to comment publicly rather than stay silent and let the lack of any announced findings or charges speak for itself.

According to news reports, Trump has been complaining privately about the lack of support he’s received from Barr and the FBI in his attempts to attribute his defeat to fraud. He is already feuding with Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia – two traditionally conservative states he lost to Joe Biden – for failing to echo his concerns.

Barr may be just the latest target of the president’s anger.

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In Mr Trump’s first post-election TV interview on Sunday, he told Fox News that he would continue to pursue every legal challenge available.

“My mind will not change in six months,” he said by phone, adding: “There was tremendous cheating here.”

He also floated the idea of having a special counsel appointed to investigate the election. Any such special counsel would have to be approved by Mr Barr.

Mr Barr is not the first senior US official to declare the election free from tampering.

Chris Krebs, who headed the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, was fired last month after he disputed Mr Trump’s fraud claims. The 2020 election “was the most secure in American history,” he had said.

On Monday, Trump lawyer Joe DiGenova drew swift condemnation after he called for violence against Mr Krebs.

“Anybody who thinks the election went well,” he told The Howie Carr Show podcast, “like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity, that guy is a class A moron.

“He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.”

That threat was condemned on Tuesday in a blistering tirade from Georgia’s voting systems manager.

Gabriel Sterling, a Republican, said Mr Trump would bear ultimate responsibility for any violence that results from the election fraud claims the president has stoked.

Published at Tue, 01 Dec 2020 23:43:48 +0000

Low Pressure Area to Intensify into Depression, Southern States to Receive Rains Next Week: IMD

Low Pressure Area to Intensify into Depression, Southern States to Receive Rains Next Week: IMD

Policemen walk along a deserted beach road during heavy rain as cyclone Nivar approaches Puducherry on Wednesday. (AFP)

Policemen walk along a deserted beach road during heavy rain as cyclone Nivar approaches Puducherry on Wednesday. (AFP)

Under its influence, various parts in southern states were likely to receive rainfall starting December 1, the IMD said in a series of tweets.

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  • Last Updated: November 28, 2020, 14:19 IST
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A low pressure area over south Andaman Sea and adjoining Bay of Bengal was “very likely” to concentrate into a depression in the next 48 hours and intensify further before moving towards the Tamil Nadu coast, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Saturday. Under its influence, various parts in southern states were likely to receive rainfall starting December 1, the IMD said in a series of tweets.

“A Low Pressure Area lies over South Andaman Sea adj SE (south east) Bay of Bengal and Equatorial Indian Ocean. It is very likely to concentrate into a depression during next 48 hours and likely to intensify further thereafter,” it said. It is likely to move nearly westwards and reach south Tamil Nadu coast around December 2, it said.

Under its influence, scattered to widespread rainfall activity was “very likely” over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karaikal, Kerala, Mahe, Lakshadweep, south coastal Andhra Pradesh and south Rayalaseema on Tuesday and Wednesday, the weather office said. IMD also forecast isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall with moderate thunderstorm and lightning over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal during this period.

Isolated heavy falls with moderate thunderstorm and lightning was also very likely over south coastal Andhra Pradesh during December 1 and 2 and over Rayalseema and Lakshadweep area on Wednesday, it added.

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Published at Sat, 28 Nov 2020 08:49:54 +0000

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh: Iran vows to avenge scientist’s assassination

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh: Iran vows to avenge scientist’s assassination

Iran’s president has blamed Israel for the killing of a top nuclear scientist on Friday, and said it would not slow down the country’s nuclear programme.

Hassan Rouhani said Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s killing showed Iran’s enemies’ deep “hatred and despair”.

Israel has not commented, but it has previously accused him of being behind a covert nuclear weapons programme.

President Rouhani’s comments follow calls from Iranian military and clerical leaders to avenge the killing.

Fakhrizadeh was killed in an ambush on his car by gunmen in the town of Absard, east of the capital Tehran.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes.

  • Country profile: Iran

  • Iran nuclear crisis in 300 words

How has Iran reacted?

“Once again, the evil hands of global arrogance were stained with the blood of the mercenary usurper Zionist regime,” (a term referring to Israel), President Hassan Rouhani said in a statement, according to state TV.

“The assassination of martyr Fakhrizadeh shows our enemies’ despair and the depth of their hatred… His martyrdom will not slow down our achievements.”

Hossein Dehghan, military adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed to “strike” the perpetrators like thunder.

Prominent Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in an undated photo

Reuters

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the international community to “condemn this act of state terror”. “Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today,” he said in a tweet.

Iran’s UN ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said the killing was a clear violation of international law, designed to wreak havoc in the region.

Mr Zarif blamed Israel for the attack saying it had “serious indications of Israeli role”.

Fakhrizadeh’s name was specifically mentioned in Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s presentation about Iran’s nuclear programme in April 2018.

There has been no comment from Israel on the killing. The New York Times quotes three US officials, including two intelligence officials, as saying Israel was behind the attack.

What’s the context?

News of the killing comes amid fresh concern about the increased amount of enriched uranium that the country is producing. Enriched uranium is a vital component for both civil nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons.

A 2015 deal with six world powers had placed limits on its production, but since US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, Iran has been deliberately reneging on its agreements.

Joe Biden has pledged to re-engage with Iran when he becomes US president in January, despite long-standing opposition from Israel.

The former head of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), John Brennan, said the killing of the scientist was a “criminal” and “highly reckless” act that risks inflaming conflict in the region.

In a series of tweets, he said Fakhrizadeh’s death “risks lethal retaliation and a new round of regional conflict”.

Mr Brennan added that he did not know “whether a foreign government authorised or carried out the murder of Fakhrizadeh”.

What happened to Mohsen Fakhrizadeh?

In a statement on Friday, Iran’s defence ministry said: “Armed terrorists targeted a vehicle carrying Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, head of the ministry’s research and innovation organisation.

“After a clash between the terrorists and his bodyguards, Mr Fakhrizadeh was severely injured and rushed to hospital.

“Unfortunately, the medical team’s efforts to save him were unsuccessful and minutes ago he passed away.”

Map showing Absard and location of killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

Iranian media reports said the attackers opened fire on the scientist in his car.

Fars news agency earlier reported there was a car explosion in Absard town, with witnesses reporting that “three to four individuals, who are said to have been terrorists, were killed”.

It is not clear what happened to the gunmen after the attack.

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Why was he targeted?

By Paul Adams, BBC Diplomatic Correspondent

As head of the ministry of defence’s research and innovation organisation, Fakhrizadeh was clearly still a key player. Hence Benjamin Netanyahu’s warning, two years ago, to “remember his name”.

Since Iran started breaching its commitments under the terms of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the country has moved ahead rapidly, building stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and enriching to a purity above the level permitted under the deal.

Iranian officials have always said such moves are reversible, but developments in research and development are harder to eradicate.

“We cannot go backwards,” Iran’s former ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said recently.

If Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was the key player Israel alleges, then his death could represent someone’s effort to put the brakes on Iran’s forward momentum.

With the US president-elect, Joe Biden, talking about taking Washington back into the deal with Iran, the assassination could also be aimed at complicating any future negotiations.

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Who was Mohsen Fakhrizadeh?

Fakhrizadeh was the most renowned Iranian nuclear scientist and a senior officer of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

He has long been spoken about by Western security sources as extremely powerful and instrumental in Iran’s nuclear programme.

According to secret documents obtained by Israel in 2018, he led a programme to create nuclear weapons.

At the time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he identified Fakhrizedeh as the head scientist in the programme, and urged people to “remember that name”.

In 2015, the New York Times compared him to J Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who directed the Manhattan Project that during World War Two produced the first atomic weapons.

A professor of physics, Fakhrizadeh is said to have led Project Amad, the alleged covert programme that was established in 1989 to research the potential for building a nuclear bomb. It was shut down in 2003, according to the IAEA, though Mr Netanyahu said the documents retrieved in 2018 showed Fakhrizadeh led a programme which secretly continued Project Amad’s work.

The IAEA has long wanted to speak to him as part of its investigations into Iran’s nuclear programme.

Suspicions that Iran was using the programme as a cover to develop a nuclear bomb prompted the EU, US and UN to impose crippling sanctions in 2010.

The 2015 deal that Iran reached with the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany saw it limit its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief.

Since President Trump abandoned the deal, it has floundered. Earlier this month, the IAEA said Iran had more than 12 times the amount of enriched uranium than permitted under the deal.

Meanwhile, tensions between the US and Iran have escalated, peaking in January with America’s assassination of Gen Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force.

Published at Sat, 28 Nov 2020 08:16:36 +0000

Two Arrested for Posing as UK Tax Department Officials, Running Fake Call Centre in Delhi

Two Arrested for Posing as UK Tax Department Officials, Running Fake Call Centre in Delhi

A 36-year-old man and his associate were arrested for allegedly posing as officials of the UK tax department and duping several UK-based citizens through a fake call centre in central Delhi’s Rajinder Nagar area, police said on Wednesday. The accused, Parvinder Singh, was operating the call centre illegally for the last one-and-a-half years in partnership with his brother-in-law Pankaj Kapoor (40), they said.

They had not obtained any license or permission from the competent authority and had set up their office on the sixth floor of a building at Rajinder Place, police said. Kapoor was a property dealer before he partnered with Singh, they said. An action was taken against them after police were informed about the fake income tax centre on November 7. On reaching the spot, 19 people, including six women, were found working on their laptops and systems. They were engaged in making and receiving calls via internet and Singh was supervising their activities. When questioned, he could not give a satisfactory reply, said Sanjay Bhatia, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central).

Later, police found that the employees at the call centre posed themselves as officials of the UK tax department and approached UK-based citizens through VOIP calls by gaining access to their data via various online websites, he said. Police said that this way, the accused were causing wrongful loss to government exchequer and cheating people based in abroad. A case was registered in this regard at Prasad Nagar police station and based on further investigation, Singh was arrested in the case while 19 others who worked at the call centre under him were interrogated and released after being questioned, the DCP said.

Singh’s associate was also arrested in connection with the case, he said. “During interrogation, Singh disclosed that being a partner, Kapoor also regularly received huge cash share of the cheated amount. The two targeted people after gaining access to their mobile numbers through online websites and social media platforms. “They started the operations of their call centre with around 20 seats and recruited employees through advertisements in newspapers and other platforms,” Bhatia said.

The accused was running the call centre on the pretext of operating a tour and travel agency and the employees worked in shifts according to the UK-based timings. They called up their potential targets in the UK and asked them to pay their due taxes and received the cheated amount in a fake account created by them for the purpose, he said. Initially, they contacted the account holders and even threatened them about the consequences if they do not transfer money in the accounts, following which he received payments. The payment was later converted into Bitcoin through a person who gave cash to the accused after deducting his commission, the DCP said.

Singh also disclosed that one Sourabh is an accomplice of Kapoor, who through Havala and other means, brought cheated money into India for Kapoor and him, he said. Police recovered cash worth Rs 19,64,400, 32 laptops, five mobile phones, head phones and various other items from the fake call centre.

Published at Wed, 18 Nov 2020 14:50:08 +0000

Covid vaccine: Pfizer says it’s ‘94% effective in over-65s’

Covid vaccine: Pfizer says it’s ‘94% effective in over-65s’

Vials of vaccine against the coronavirus

Getty Images

The coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech appears to protect 94% of adults over 65 years old.

More data released from their ongoing phase three trial suggests it works equally well in people of all ages, races and ethnicities.

The companies say they will now apply for authorisation for emergency use of the jab in the US.

The findings are based on two doses given to more than 41,000 people around the world.

Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech published preliminary data showing

the vaccine offered 90% protection against Covid-19 and there were no safety concerns.

This was followed by impressive data on another vaccine, made by US company Moderna, suggesting nearly 95% protection.

‘Reassuring’

Wednesday’s data from Pfizer and BioNTech, which builds on last week’s data, suggests the vaccine is 95% effective based on 170 cases Covid-19 developing in volunteers.

Just eight were in the group given the vaccine, suggesting it offers good protection. The rest of the cases were in the placebo group given a dummy jab.

Scientists said the data was further encouraging news, with Prof Trudie Lang from the University of Oxford, saying we are in “a remarkable and very reassuring situation”.

“To go from identifying a new virus to having several vaccines at the point of applying for regulatory approval is an incredible milestone for science,” she said,

Although the full trial data has yet to be published, the companies say there have been no serious safety concerns. But they did notice headaches and fatigue in about 2% of volunteers given the vaccine.

There is also evidence that the vaccine protects against severe Covid – but this is based on only 10 cases.

However it’s still unclear how long protection from the vaccine lasts and if it stops people transmitting the virus.

In the trial, 42% of all participants are from diverse ethnic backgrounds and 41% are aged between 56 and 85 years old.

The trial, which is testing people at 150 sites in the US, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina, will collect data on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for another two years.

The companies behind it expect to produce up to 50 million doses of the vaccine this year and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

The UK has pre-ordered 40 million doses and should get 10 million by the end of the year.

It has also ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is planning to release data from its phase three trial soon.

Vaccine development

There are hundreds of vaccines in development around the world, and about a dozen in the final stages of testing, known as phase three.

The first two to show any results – made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – both use an experimental approach, called mRNA, which involves injecting part of the virus’s genetic code into the body to train the immune system.

Antibodies and T-cells are then made by the body to fight the coronavirus.

The Sputnik vaccine, developed in Russia, has also released early data from phase three based on a smaller number of volunteers and Covid cases.

Graphic

There are some logistical challenges with mRNA vaccines, namely the need to store them at cold temperatures.

The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at around minus 80C, although it can be kept in a fridge for five days.

Moderna’s vaccine needs to be stored at minus 20C for up to six months and kept in a standard fridge for up to a month.

Vaccine comparison

Published at Wed, 18 Nov 2020 14:40:49 +0000

Delhi Past 3rd Coronavirus Peak, No Chance of Lockdown, Says Health Minister Satyendra Jain

Delhi Past 3rd Coronavirus Peak, No Chance of Lockdown, Says Health Minister Satyendra Jain

Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain on Monday said the national capital is past the third peak of the Covid-19 wave and denied rumours of another lockdown in the city-state.

“There is no need to be worried about absolute numbers. I can definitely say that the peak of the third wave in Delhi is over. The first wave came in June, the second wave came in September and the third wave in November. Slowly, numbers will start coming down,” Jain told reporters at a briefing.

Asked to explain the rationale behind the claim, Jain pointed to the positivity rate in the capital during the previous peaks which he said was the main indicator instead of the absolute case numbers. “In June, the weekly average positivity rate was 37%. In the second peak, we had positivity rates of 12%, 13%, 14%… in the third wave, the positivity rate touched a maximum of 15% and has started declining,” the AAP minister said.

Jain attributed the sharp spike in Delhi’s caseload to increase in the number of tests. “If the positivity rate goes up with the increasing number of tests, then it is a cause for worry. If the positivity rate is less, then we should be cautious that’s all,” he said.

Quoting from the serological surveys, the minister said roughly 50 lakh people in Delhi had already been diagnosed as Covid-positive two-and-a-half months ago.

“Delhi had conducted a sero survey in which 25% people were found to be positive. After that, the next two surveys also showed 25% people as positive. The scientists said cases which are three to four months old have falling levels of anti-bodies and, therefore, cannot be detected. This means that two-and-a-half months ago, 25% people in Delhi or 50 lakh people were already positive. The rising numbers we see are because of more tests being done,” Jain said, essentially de-linking the absolute number of cases from judging whether a peak has been reached.

The minister said Delhi is conducting 3,000 tests per million, adding that no other state has matched these numbers.

On the city’s rising mortality rate, Jain said, “When winters begin, mortality rate among old aged people does increase. If you check the data, overall deaths are not increasing. You take the monthly death figures, and compare the same to that in the previous years month-to-month, and they are not increasing. If a person is sick and also has Covid, the death is attributed to Covid,” he said.

Published at Mon, 16 Nov 2020 07:38:15 +0000

Covid: Michigan and Washington State clamp down as US cases pass 11 million mark

Covid: Michigan and Washington State clamp down as US cases pass 11 million mark

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaking 16 October 2020

Getty Images

Michigan and Washington are the latest US states to bring in strict measures to try and curb the spread of Covid-19.

High schools and colleges are to halt on-site teaching and restaurants are prohibited from offering indoor dining in Michigan from Wednesday.

Indoor restaurant dining is also banned in Washington State, and gyms, cinemas, theatres and museums will close.

Covid cases have now topped 11 million in the US, with daily cases rising by more than 100,000.

On average, more than 900 people a day are dying with the virus, and the overall death toll is now at least 246,210.

The Trump administration struck an optimistic tone on Friday, saying they hoped to distribute 20 million doses of an approved vaccine in December, and for each month after that – although vaccines have yet to get official approval.

Number of daily cases and deaths in the US

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President Donald Trump again ruled out putting the US into lockdown, but many states are introducing their own restrictions as fast rising cases threaten to overwhelm their healthcare systems.

How worried are the state governors?

Both Michigan and Washington State have seen covid cases double in recent weeks.

Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer said the state was “at the precipice” and could soon suffer 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths a week unless action is taken.

As well as suspending in-person teaching and indoor dining, Ms Whitmer also ordered the closure of public entertainment venues for a period of three weeks.

The curbs announced in Washington State come into effect on Monday evening and will last a month.

“Today, Sunday, November 15, 2020, is the most dangerous public health day in the last 100 years of our state’s history,” Governor Jay Inslee said.

“A pandemic is raging in our state. Left unchecked, it will assuredly result in grossly overburdened hospitals and morgues; and keep people from obtaining routine but necessary medical treatment for non-Covid conditions.”

What’s the situation elsewhere in the US?

California on Friday became the second state, after Texas, to hit one million Covid cases, prompting local officials to hit pause on reopening efforts.

In other developments:

  • Republican governors in Iowa, Ohio, West Virginia, Utah and North Dakota issued mask mandates
  • Ohio’s governor threatened to shut bars and gyms if the outbreak worsens
  • In Minnesota, bars and restaurants must shut by 22:00 local time
  • Wisconsin and Nevada residents were asked to stay at home for two weeks to avoid a return to restrictions
  • The Democratic governors of California, Oregon and Washington State issued a travel advisory, discouraging non-essential travel and requesting people to quarantine post-travel
  • New York ordered bars and restaurants that serve alcohol to close by 22:00 local time; gatherings are limited to 10 people; the city could also close schools on Monday
  • The city of Chicago has a stay-at-home advisory, and non-essential businesses must close by 23:00 local time; gatherings are limited to 10 people
  • The city of Detroit moved all students to remote learning due to the virus spikes
  • Indiana halted reopening and limited social gatherings and events
  • Maryland ordered restaurants to reduce indoor capacity to 50%

Concerns as another holiday approaches

Outbreaks in the spring and summer followed US schools’ spring breaks and the national Labor Day holiday weekend – and now experts are concerned that as Thanksgiving approaches on 26 November, the spikes will again worsen.

That is the situation playing out across the border in Canada, where people celebrated their Thanksgiving a month ago. The country’s top doctors say that the holiday is partly why cities and provinces are now seeing record infections.

Data shows that the majority of the US has rising “community spread” of the virus – situations where people get the virus without any known contact with a sick person.

Indoor gatherings pose a large risk to spreading the virus, and as the holiday centres around eating together, wearing masks is not feasible.

One analysis from Georgia Institute of Technology researchers found the risk of having a Covid-positive individual at even a gathering of 10 people could be close to 100% in the worst-hit parts of the US.

Back in October, Dr Fauci cautioned that the “sacred” American tradition of gathering together at Thanksgiving was “a risk”.

“You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering, unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected,” Dr Fauci told CBS News.

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Published at Mon, 16 Nov 2020 07:43:09 +0000

US election results: Trump sues as path to victory over Biden narrows

US election results: Trump sues as path to victory over Biden narrows

Donald Trump and Joe Biden each claim to be ahead in the US presidential election, even as the final outcome hangs on a razor’s edge and both sides ramp up for legal action.

The Trump campaign is challenging vote counts in the key states of Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

The BBC projects Mr Biden won Michigan. US media forecast he took Wisconsin. No result has emerged in Pennsylvania.

Winning all three of these Rust Belt states would hand Mr Biden victory.

Mr Biden stopped short of declaring he had won, but said he was confident he was on course to defeat Donald Trump.

Overall turnout in Tuesday’s election was projected to be the highest in 120 years at 66.9%, found the US Election Project.

Mr Biden had the support of 70.5 million voters, the most won by any presidential candidate ever. Mr Trump has pulled in 67.2 million votes, four million more than he gained in 2016.

The bitter election race was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, which hit a new record high of 103,000 daily cases in the US on Wednesday, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

What are the campaigns saying?

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware: “When the count is finished we believe we will be the winners.”

He added: “I will govern as an American president. The presidency itself is not a partisan institution.”

The Democratic challenger said he was feeling “very good” about Pennsylvania, although the campaign of Republican President Trump said it was “declaring victory” in the state on the count of “all legal ballots”.

Senior Trump campaign aide Jason Miller said: “By the end of this week it will be clear to the entire nation that President Trump and Vice-President Pence will be elected for another four years.”

Can Trump still win?

Mr Biden has the edge in the race to accumulate the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. The Democrat has 243 votes, while the Republican has 214.

In the US election, voters decide state-level contests rather than a single, national one. Each US state gets a certain number of electoral college votes partly based on its population and there are a total of 538 up for grabs.

If Mr Trump does lose Wisconsin (10 Electoral College votes), he must win Georgia (16 votes), North Carolina (15), Pennsylvania (20) and either Arizona (11) or Nevada (6) to prevail.

The president has a one-point lead in both North Carolina and Georgia and the two candidates were neck-and-neck in Nevada with most votes counted. The Trump campaign is hopeful it can still take Arizona.

Mr Biden has a three-point advantage in the once reliably conservative sunbelt state with nearly 90% of votes counted, and CBS has categorised it as a “likely” win for the Democrat.

But the state’s Republican Governor Doug Ducey said in a statement on Wednesday that “the results have shifted greatly hour by hour” with hundreds of thousands of votes outstanding.

What legal challenges are afoot?

The Trump campaign said the president would formally request a Wisconsin recount, citing “irregularities in several Wisconsin counties”.

Incomplete results indicate the margin between Mr Trump and Mr Biden in Wisconsin is less than one percentage point, which allows a candidate to seek a recount.

The campaign also filed a lawsuit in Michigan to stop counting there because it contended it had been denied “meaningful access” to observe the opening of ballots and the tally.

In Detroit, Michigan, police were called on Wednesday afternoon to guard the doors to a vote-counting facility as some protesters outside demanded access to monitor the process. According to the Detroit Free Press, there were already some 200 people observing the vote inside the building.

Officials were seen covering up the windows to the TCF Center, where postal ballots were being tabulated.

The Trump campaign also filed two lawsuits in Pennsylvania to halt all vote counting “until there is meaningful transparency”.

The president has a three-point lead in the Keystone state, but many thousands of votes remain to be counted.

Mr Trump is also suing Georgia to halt the vote count there. His campaign said a Republican poll observer in the southern state had witnessed 53 late absentee ballots being illegally added to a pile of votes in Chatham County.

Mr Trump won Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania in his against-all-odds 2016 victory.

In the early hours of Wednesday, he announced from the White House that he had won his re-election bid and was prepared to take the matter to the Supreme Court.

The Trump campaign is asking Republican donors to help fund legal challenges.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said: “The fight’s not over. We’re in it.”

Mr Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, tweeted asking supporters to contribute $5 to help pay for litigation that could “stretch on for weeks”.

Biden campaign senior legal adviser Bob Bauer said there were no grounds for Mr Trump to invalidate lawful ballots.

What were the other key results?

Mr Biden’s hopes of a decisive early victory on election night were thwarted as Mr Trump defied pollsters’ predictions by over-performing in key battlegrounds.

The president held several important states, including Texas, Ohio and Iowa.

He also comfortably won his adopted home state of Florida, the most hotly fought battleground of the night, despite two visits there by Mr Biden’s ally and former boss, ex-President Barack Obama.

But Mr Biden fended off his rival’s attempts to pick up New Hampshire and Minnesota.

What did the exit polls reveal?

Some political analysts were surprised by data that showed Mr Trump doubled his support among black voters to 12%, compared with four years ago.

He also boosted his vote share among Hispanic men to 36%, according to the exit polls, compared with 28% in 2016.

African Americans and Latinos are two vital electoral blocs for Democrats.

The president shed votes, though, among white men, the demographic that propelled him to the White House four years ago.

However, Mr Trump also increased his support significantly among white women (55% on Tuesday versus 47% in 2016).

What about the congressional races?

Democrats dreamed of an electoral blue wave sweeping away a Republican party that has been recast in Mr Trump’s image. But those hopes were dashed.

Their chances of winning Senate control appeared to be dwindling as the dust settled from election day. Democrats won two seats in Colorado and Arizona, but lost another in Alabama.

A Senate race in North Carolina remained undecided, and another in Georgia was heading for a run-off vote in January.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he felt “pretty good” about the remaining contests. Republicans currently control the chamber by 53-47.

Mr McConnell and Trump ally Lindsey Graham were both re-elected in their seats of Kentucky and South Carolina respectively.

Republicans also held on to other Senate seats in Maine, Montana, Texas and Iowa.

There was another unexpected setback for Democrats in House of Representatives races. The party had hoped to gain 15 seats in the lower chamber of Congress, which they currently control.

Instead they face a reduced majority after seven of their incumbents lost and the party failed to beat a single Republican.

One of the incoming Republican lawmakers, in Georgia, has been described as a supporter of the fringe, pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory.

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Published at Thu, 05 Nov 2020 02:26:38 +0000

Rohit Sharma’s Return for SRH vs MI Game Has Fans Questioning his Australia Tour Ommission Again

Rohit Sharma’s Return for SRH vs MI Game Has Fans Questioning his Australia Tour Ommission Again

IPL 2020: 'Separate CBI Enquiry on Rohit Sharma Injury' - Fans Confused As Rohit Sharma Returns to Playing XI; Question BCCI on Australia Tour Ommission

“There should be a separate CBI inquiry on Rohit Sharma injury” – one user tweeted this in jest on Tuesday after Rohit Sharma, who had missed Mumbai Indians’ last three games owing to a hamstring niggle, was back leading the side for MI’s final league game against Sunrisers Hyderabad. And that tweet pretty much sums up the saga surrounding Rohit’s injury. This very injury niggle had seen Rohit miss out on the tour of Australia and even lost out his vice-captain position to KL Rahul. But, on the day the national selectors announced the squad, Rohit was seen hitting the nets – in a video posted by MI social media team – fuelling speculations and conspiracy theories about his injury and his omission. Ranging from BCCI playing politics to Virat Kohli’s dirty tricks, social media users had a field day, but without any substantial evidence.

Adding more fuel to the fire on Tuesday, Saurav Ganguly, the BCCI president, had this to say about the player. “Rohit is injured at the moment. Otherwise, why would we leave out a player like him. He is the vice-captain of the national (limited-overs) team,” Ganguly told PTI in an exclusive interview. A few hours later there was Rohit walking out for the toss and stating that it looks (fitness) loos fine. Rohit was asked post-match about his hamstring and again the Mumbaikar replied in an affirmative tone.

Naturally, this had Rohit Sharma fans up in arms again with many questioning the BCCI and his omission from the Australia Tour. Here’s how they reacted:

‘Separate CBI Enquiry on Rohit Sharma Injury’ – Fans Confused As Rohit Sharma Returns to Playing XI; Question BCCI on Australia Tour Ommission



Published at Wed, 04 Nov 2020 03:03:49 +0000