Duterte to seek China help if Covid worsens

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MANILA TIMES)

 

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Duterte to seek China help if Covid worsens

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said he would seek the help of China if the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak in the Philippines worsens.

Duterte made the statement as he bared that Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed willingness to assist the country in its fight against the deadly disease.

“President Xi Jinping for all of his goodness to us wrote me a letter and said that he is willing to help, all we have to do is to ask. Ako ang tingin ko (What I think), maybe there will be a time, if things deteriorate, that I have to call on China to help. He said they have managed the crisis very well in his country and he is very much willing to help,” Duterte said in his address to the nation on Thursday night.

Cash, subway tickets disinfected to curb spread of COVID-19 amid outbreak in China

“To the Chinese government, to the people, especially to President Xi Jinping, thank you for the consoling words and maybe, I hope that it would not reach to that point but maybe we will need your help,” he added.

China has made major strides in its battle against the virus, prompting Xi to visit Wuhan, the epicenter of the global epidemic, on Tuesday and declare that it has “basically curbed” the spread of the disease.

On Wednesday, Duterte met with China’s Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian in Malacañang, where they discussed continued economic cooperation and coronavirus response by the two countries.

During the call, Duterte extended sympathies to the Chinese people affected by the coronavirus, which has infected over 80,000 people including some 3,000 deaths in China, where the virus originated.

The Philippines is now under a state of public health emergency after the health department reported the first known local transmission.

On Thursday, Duterte placed Metro Manila under “community quarantine,” closing it to land and domestic air and sea travel for one month due to the coronavirus.

The health department has raised the highest Code Red Sub-level 2 because of “sustained community transmission.”

The government’s inter-agency task force will issue protocols on Friday on who will be allowed to travel to and from Metro Manila during the month-long community quarantine.

The country has so far 52 confirmed cases, including five deaths, as of Thursday, according to the Department of Health. CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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Taking out his iPad, PM Modi made on the spot trade presentation to Trump

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Taking out his iPad, PM Modi made on the spot trade presentation to Trump

According to those present at Hyderabad House, PM Modi took upon himself to remove the misgivings of US President Donald Trump that India was treating his country unfairly with little effort being made to address an adverse trade deficit.

INDIA Updated: Feb 28, 2020 12:57 IST

Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to US President Donald Trump during a meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to US President Donald Trump during a meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.(REUTERS)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his favorite gadget, an iPad to make an impromptu presentation to US President Donald Trump on Tuesday at Hyderabad House in an effort to dispel all misgivings on bilateral trade with India. He also used a time-window before lunch was served at Hyderabad House to explain both the Citizenship Amendment Act and the nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution to the satisfaction of the US president.

Trade is one of the big outstanding issues between the two countries, which couldn’t agree on a widely anticipated trade deal that was expected to be signed during this visit. However, both say they are working on a larger deal.

According to those present at Hyderabad House, PM Modi took upon himself to remove the misgivings of US President Donald Trump that India was treating his country unfairly with little effort being made to address an adverse trade deficit.

Watch what Donald Trump said on CAA debate, Pakistan terror, at Delhi briefing

It is learnt that PM Modi took out his iPad and showed President Trump what India had done during his tenure to reduce the trade deficit from $31 billion in 2014 to $24.2 billion in 2018—a decline a 22% over four years. PM Modi also showed that India’s hydrocarbon imports from the US went from zero in 2013 to $9 billion now and likely to reach $12 billion by the end of the year, with the US exporting oil, coal and liquefied natural gas to India.

He revealed that Indian students in US were contributing nearly $ 6 billion each year to the American treasury by spending dollars in education. PM Modi then pointed out to the growing military hardware imports to India during President Trump’s tenure with more multi-billion dollar defense deals in the pipeline. India is buying $3 billion worth of helicopters this year, for instance. President Trump indicated to PM Modi that his country is willing to supply any top-of-the-line defense equipment including armed drones and fighters to India and that New Delhi was free to buy from anyone provided that the equipment was better in comparison to American hardware. Both PM Modi and President Trump spoke about bilateral trade in comments to media at Hyderabad House.

On CAA, PM Modi explained to the US president that the proportion of those belonging to minority communities in Pakistan and other Muslim nations in India’s neighborhood, including Christians, has fallen and that the law is aimed only at providing security and dignity to those mistreated in the neighborhood. He explained that CAA was not aimed at depriving any one of citizenship rights, the people present during the meeting said.

On the issue of J&K, Modi explained how despite all his efforts, Pakistan was targeting India through terrorists, the people added.

Interestingly, even as Modi pointed out the security challenges that India faces from Pakistan, President Trump repeated his willingness to mediate between the two estranged neighbors, the people said. According to them, PM Modi heard out President Trump.

Trump Plans On Ending State Level Medical And Personal Marijuana Sales

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HILL NEWS)

 

President  Trump is once again threatening to derail medical cannabis access in the majority of U.S. states that regulate its access and use.

In his recently released 2021 federal budget proposal, the president has called for ending existing federal protections that limit the federal government from interfering in the state-sanctioned regulation of medical cannabis. Doing so would place thousands of medical cannabis providers and the millions of patients who rely on them at risk for criminal prosecution.

Some context: since 2014, Congress has repeatedly approved spending legislation forbidding the Justice Department from using federal funds for the explicit purpose of preventing states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia regulate the production and dispensing of medical cannabis products to over three million patients. All of these programs, and the patients served by them, would be at risk if the president gets his way.

To those following this issue closely, the president ’s latest move hardly comes as a surprise. Despite Trump mentioning during his campaign that he supported medical marijuana and a general states-rights approach to cannabis policy, his presidency has consistently proven these words to ring hollow.

Most recently, Marc Lotter, the director of strategic communications for Trump’s 2020 campaign, stated in an interview that the administration is intent on keeping marijuana illegal under federal law. “I think what the president is looking at is looking at this from a standpoint of a parent of a young person to make sure that we keep our kids away from drugs,” he said. “They need to be kept illegal, that is the federal policy. I think the president has been pretty clear on his views on marijuana at the federal level, I know many states have taken a different path.”

Let’s be clear — the policy that the administration wants to keep in place is the same failed policy that has existed since 1970, which opines that the cannabis plant should remain classified in the same category as heroin and possesses no accepted medical value. This position doesn’t comport with either public opinion or scientific reality

The data speaks for itself. It is not an alternative fact that state-regulated medical marijuana has been proven to possess important benefits to millions of patients while not undermining public safety or health.

To date, these regulatory programs are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies has not negatively impacted workplace safety, crime rates, traffic safety, or youth use patterns. Additionally, they have stimulated economic development and created hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue. That is why more and more states are enacting medical cannabis laws while existing states are continually expanding them. No state that has passed a medical cannabis access law has ever repealed it.

Americans almost universally know that patients are not criminals and that marijuana indisputably has medical value in the treatment of a wide range of ailments. A recent poll from Quinnipiac University found an eye-popping 94 percent of Americans support the legal use of medical cannabis.

It makes no political sense for the president to try and put this genie back in the bottle and it up to Congress to see that he does not.

Justin Strekal is the Political Director for NORML, where he serves as an advocate to end the federal prohibition of marijuana and to reform our nation’s laws to no longer discriminate against its consumers. 

Donald, Melania, Ivanka, and Jared Visited the Taj Mahal. Their Poses Spoke Volumes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE DAILY BEAST)

 

Donald, Melania, Ivanka, and Jared Visited the Taj Mahal. Their Poses Spoke Volumes.

TOGETHER FOREVER

Donald, Melania, and Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner posed in front of the Taj Mahal, joining a long tradition of celebrities using the historic site to promote their own image.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty

Melania Trump stood in front of the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a symbol of devotion to his wife, Mumtaz, and watched her open-mouthed husband bellow to photographers.

Her high-necked, ivory jumpsuit matched the exterior of the famed marble mausoleum (CNN’s Kate Bennett identified the one piece as made by Trump’s stylist, Hervé Pierre). It came with a moss green sash made of “vintage Indian textile” that slightly clashed with her husband’s canary yellow tie.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty

Still, the First Lady—known for looking absolutely miserable when out with her husband—appeared happy, or at least flashed a few more step-and-repeat smiles than normal. One tabloid described the pair as “loved-up,” which is as big of a stretch as the notion that burger-loving Trump enjoyed his meatless Monday in India. Still, the Trumps were able to hold hands for a while, and they stood close while watching a flock of birds fly away, like two characters from a gothic poem.

Ivanka, too, arrived with Jared Kushner in tow, though she kicked her husband out of her own picture. In a poppy-patterned turquoise dress, which matched the reflection pool she stood in front of, Ivanka mugged with her vacant-eyed but determined smile.

If you have any doubts about any future political aspirations for this “presidential adviser,” then (take a deep breath and) look at her Taj Mahal photo op. Despite all those “Unwanted Ivanka” detractors, just like the building itself, she endures. In Ivanka’s words, such resilience is “awe inspiring.” Others might call her seemingly ceaseless, free vacations (thinly) disguised as diplomacy, a horror scenario.

Ivanka Trump

@IvankaTrump

The grandeur and beauty of the Taj Mahal is awe inspiring! 🇺🇸 🇮🇳

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The Taj Mahal was completed after ten years of construction in 1653, outlasting threats from the Japanese Air Force in World War II and Pakistan’s bomber pilots in the late ’60s. But the historic site, frequently referenced as a Wonder of the World, has succumbed to one thing: the rich and powerful using it as a backdrop to make coded statements to the world.

The tradition began in earnest with the 1992 image of Princess Diana on a marble bench, her body a lithe strip in a cherry red blazer, nearly dwarfed compared to the gargantuan building behind her. She went to the site alone, without her husband Prince Charles, implying a fissure in their not-so-storybook romance.

But Diana was not the first celebrity photo op at the Taj Mahal. In 1962, Jackie Kennedy took a solo trip to India and Pakistan, at a time when First Ladies did not often dabble in foreign diplomacy. For her pilgrimage to the spot, she wore a preppy blue and green sheath, projecting the Camelot-era’s sunny confidence.

Four years later, George Harrison snapped a selfie in front of the site, looking very anti-Kennedy in his counterculture duds: an unbuttoned cotton shirt and dark sunglasses.

Since then, plenty of other young and famous men have come to the mausoleum in search of themselves, or at least a performative version of it.

In 2015, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the Taj Mahal was an example of “what people can build—and what love can motivate us to build,” using the elegant language of a good copywriter to plug his company after paying respects. That same year, Leonardo DiCaprio visited too, while in the country working on a climate change documentary. It was a “secret trip;” DiCaprio asked tourists not to take pictures, because he was working.

In 1995, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton also sat on one of the Taj Mahal’s benches for photographers, sitting close and smiling, visual code for girl power. Five years after that, the first daughter would return with her father, Bill.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty

In wide-angle snapshots of Donald and Melania strolling in front of the Taj Mahal, the yuge building’s scope leaves the pair looking tiny, nearly as tall as the shrubs which line the monument’s grassy aisles. Trump, who’s got a thing for screaming about his own bigness, might not appreciate how tiny he looks.

But for a man who views the presidency as just another prize to show off that he’s won, the Taj Mahal visit was a success. The man whose legacy was once a knockoff-named casino now has got his photo in front of the real thing, joining the star-studded ranks of those who came before him. And as we’ve seen from this optics-obsessed administration so many times before, the facade is all that matters.

Hosni Mubarak: Former Egyptian President dies aged 91

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Hosni Mubarak: Former Egyptian President dies aged 91

Hosni MubarakImage copyright REUTERS
Image caption Hosni Mubarak was president of Egypt for 30 years

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak – ousted by the military in 2011 – has died in Cairo at the age of 91.

Mubarak spent three decades in office before a popular uprising swept Egypt.

He was found guilty of complicity in the killing of protesters during the revolution. That conviction was overturned and was freed in March 2017.

His death was confirmed by Egyptian state news on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, the Al-Watan website reported that he died at a military hospital.

Mubarak underwent surgery in late January and was photographed with his grandson as he recovered.

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On Saturday, however, Mubarak’s son Alaa said that the former president remained in intensive care.

Who was Mubarak?

Born in 1928, Mubarak entered the air force as a teenager and went on to play a key role in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

He became president less than a decade later, following the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, and played a key role in the Israel-Palestinian peace process.

But despite the billions of dollars in military aid Egypt received during his time in office, unemployment, poverty and corruption continued to grow.

Discontent boiled over in January 2011, after similar protests in Tunisia led to the overthrow of the president there. Mubarak was forced to step down 18 days later.

Just over a year after Mubarak’s overthrow, Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist politician, won Egypt’s first democratic presidential election.

The new president lasted less than a year in office. Amid mass protests, he was ousted in a military coup led by Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Gen Sisi went on to win two presidential elections. Morsi died in prison in 2019.

In 2012, Mubarak was sentenced to life imprisonment over the deaths of some of the 900 protesters who were killed by security forces during the uprising a year earlier.

Both he and his two sons were also convicted of corruption.

But the more serious charges against Mubarak were later overturned and he was released in 2017.

Which One Would It Be?

Which One Would It Be?

 

This title is something that I just had cross across my mind a few moments ago. Turns out it is a short thought but with a very real possibility of coming true, maybe. And, is the thought here, what if is the answer to the question, what if, one of these Democratic candidates for President was going to be our Nations next President whether we like the person at all, or not, which one would you choose? I know that it is still months away, this Presidential voting season, yet eventually we are all going to have to choose someone, even if we choose to not vote at all, that is still a vote you gave away to someone else to do for you.

 

I am not saying that Donald Trump won’t be our next President, or some yet unannounced candidate Or even Mr. Putin. What I am saying is what if, what if one of those top dozen of so candidates running for the office of President, which one would you honestly say is your first choice? Maybe even who would then be your choice for VP? I guess I am just not fully satisfied with the choices, I am not fully sold on anyone of them, are you? I guess my leanings are as an independent that leans toward the conservative/moderates in the Democrats direction. I have turned my face from the Republican side of the Isle mainly because of folks like Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and Fox News. Hate, hate and more hate, very sad. This is not the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan.

 

Mr. Biden they say is probably the most ‘conservative’ yet for me I just don’t trust him and as far as I believe, to old, and I am a 63 year old saying that. I don’t know who is going to win, I certainly have not been shown such a thing. What if, just what if now, what if (already to old) Bernie Sanders was our next President and lets say, Senator Warren as the VP? What if? I am being serious, what if one of the folks was going to be our next President, who would you choose? This short article was designed to be a little snack for your inner thoughts, I hope you enjoyed this food for your thoughts on this matter. May God have mercy on us all, no matter what flesh and bones sits in That Chair.

Brazil: Bolsonaro pardon of police may include murder

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BRAZILIAN NEWS AGENCY 247)

 

Bolsonaro pardon of police may include murder

Jair Bolsonaro has announced that he will release the Christmas pardon for police officers who have committed murder, while intending to include in the decree other crimes that would preclude receiving the benefit.

Jair Bolsonaro
Jair Bolsonaro (Photo: REUTERS / Adriano Machado)
 

247 – Jair Bolsonaro will release Christmas worship to police officers who have committed murder. Technicians also consider the ban on granting benefits to security agents convicted of offenses against sexual dignity, pedophilia, corruption and criminal organization. 

The decree of pardon, which will be published by Friday (20) is being prepared by the Ministry of Justice and the General Secretariat of the Presidency. 

According to a report by O Globo , the text will bring an unusual format – to establish specific rules for a professional category: that of police officers, who are part of Bolsonaro’s electoral base.

The decree will also state that they are unable to receive pardon sentenced – including police – for heinous crimes, torture, drug trafficking and terrorism, as prohibited by the Constitution. Some types of homicide are considered heinous under Brazilian law, such as those practiced in a typical death squad activity and the offense in a qualified manner, such as when committed for futile reasons or for reward.

Brazil: 68% Believe Lula Would Beat Bolsonaro in Elections

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Vox Populi: 68% Believe Lula Would Beat Bolsonaro in Elections

Lula remained a 508-day political prisoner at the Curitiba Federal Police after conviction in the triple case – in a sentence by former judge Sérgio Moro, who was awarded the post of Bolsonaro minister, journalist Esmael Morais points out

(Photo: Ricardo Stuckert | Reuters)
 

By Esmael Morais, in his blog – Vox Populi states that 68% of the population believes that former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (PT) would have beaten Jair Bolsonaro in 2018 if he was not prevented from competing for Planalto Palace due to unjust imprisonment.

According to the institute, had there been a confrontation between Lula and Bolsonaro, the petista would have been victorious with 51% of the voting intentions.

Vox Populi still reports that the same 51% consider the current government worse or much worse than the petista.

Former President Lula says the poll numbers have renewed his hopes to counter Jair Bolsonaro’s already failed misrule.

Lula remained a 508-day political prisoner at the Curitiba Federal Police after conviction in the triple case – in a sentence by former judge Sérgio Moro, who was awarded the post of Bolsonaro minister.

Brazil: Lula’s approval increases and 60% consider Bolsonaro government to go wrong

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Vox: Lula’s approval increases and 60% consider Bolsonaro government to go wrong

According to a Vox Populi poll released on Saturday, Lula’s approval jumped from 48% to 55%. Meanwhile, for 60% of respondents, the Bolsonaro government is on the wrong track.

(Photo: Ricardo Stuckert | Reuters)
 

247 – A Vox Populi poll of the first year of Jair Bolsonaro’s government, made at the request of the Workers’ Party, held December 2-10, reveals that Lula’s popularity has increased. In April, while still a political prisoner, Lula had 48% appreciation. Already at liberty, in December, Lula gained 55% of popularity.

Bolsonaro, on the other hand, goes the opposite way. 60% of respondents consider that the occupant of Planalto is going the wrong way and 34% consider him to be a worse president than Lula.

The search for Vox Populi matched 2,004 people. 

Brazil: Majority considers fair release of Lula, says Datafolha

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Majority considers fair release of Lula, says Datafolha

According to a survey by the Datafolha Institute, 54% of respondents approve the release of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, after a ruling by the Supreme Court against arrest after co-ordination in the second instance.

(Photo: Paulo Pinto / FotosPublicas)
 

247 – For the majority of the population it was fair to release President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who served 580 days as a political prisoner for Lava Jato. This is what the latest Datafolha survey points to. 

According to the survey, 54% of respondents believe that Lula’s release was fair, compared to 42% who consider it unfair. They said they did not know 5% of respondents.   

The survey polled 2,948 people between December 5 and 6 in 176 municipalities across the country. The margin of error is plus or minus two percentage points.    

The former president won freedom after the Supreme Court ruling that changed the court’s old understanding and found unconstitutional the arrest of convicted defendants who still have pending appeals in higher courts, as is the case of Lula – indicates report by Felipe Bächtold in Folha from S. Paulo. .