Barack Obama: One election won’t stop US ‘truth decay’

first_imgAmerica faces a huge task in reversing a divisive conspiracy culture, Barack Obama tells the BBC.- Advertisement –last_img

Obama absent from Democratic White House race but looming large

first_img“The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it,” Obama told a fund-raising meeting in November.Though he did not single out a particular candidate, he said most voters did not have the same views as “the activist wing of our party” — a veiled warning about the shift to the left promised by Bernie Sanders.”Obama is extremely popular within the Democratic Party, and particularly with African-Americans, a key voting bloc in many states” including South Carolina, said Kyle Kondik, an analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.”I can understand why candidates would want to make it seem as though he is backing them.” For someone who has gone out of his way to stay off the political radar, Barack Obama could hardly loom larger over the bitter battle for the Democratic White House nomination.The 44th president of the United States has been quoted dozens of times in primary debates and starred (unwittingly) in campaign ads in the run-up to the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday.But Obama has so far strictly adhered to his pledge to remain out of the fray in terms of endorsing a particular candidate — though he has launched a few warnings from the sidelines during the primary process. What about Bernie? Of course, no one is using his connection with the nation’s first black president more arduously than Joe Biden, Obama’s vice president who is seeking a boost to his flagging campaign to take on President Donald Trump.Biden is “running as Obama’s understudy and heir,” Kondik said. The pair spoke on Tuesday ahead of the South Carolina contest, which is vital to Biden’s chances, The New York Times reported.But Sanders is riding high as the frontrunner, and the party’s moderates are nervous about the 78-year-old senator’s chances against the Republican incumbent.”The establishment is freaking out,” blared CNN. “Running Bernie Sanders Against Trump Would Be an Act of Insanity,” concluded a column in New York magazine.Nevertheless, next week’s Super Tuesday contests could leave Sanders with a virtually unassailable lead.”If there is a way to stop — or at least slow — Sanders, most Democratic insiders are convinced it’s this: former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama get behind an alternative candidate to the Vermont senator,” CNN commentator Chris Cilizza wrote this week.”Not only that, but the Obamas make their endorsements soon — like pre-Super Tuesday — and they urge all of the other candidates to get out of the race ASAP.”Back in November, Politico reported that Obama planned to make a public statement if Sanders got too far out in front, in a bid to block him from winning the nomination. ‘No plans to endorse’If Obama did speak out, his opinion would resonate, but few think that will happen.”President Obama has several friends in this race, including, of course, his own esteemed vice president,” his spokeswoman Katie Hill said this week in a statement.”He has said he has no plans to endorse in the primary because he believes that in order for Democrats to be successful this fall, voters must choose their nominee.”In 2016, Obama threw his weight behind Hillary Clinton, his onetime secretary of state, only when it became clear that she would beat Sanders for the nomination.But the former US leader has made his views known on elections abroad, formally endorsing Emmanuel Macron in France and Justin Trudeau in Canada during their campaigns.The rare comment from Obama’s spokeswoman came as part of a condemnation of what she called a “despicable ad” from a pro-Trump PAC in which Obama’s comments were taken “out of context” to disparage Biden.center_img Would Obama speak for Sanders? But he has stayed silent about the many Democrats using his speeches in their ads in a bid to imply they have his support.Biden of course has leveraged their friendship and partnership, but billionaire Michael Bloomberg, progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg have also sought to associate themselves with Obama’s legacy in some way.And all of them have quoted him to back up their policy positions.”As Barack Obama said, we should pay attention to where the voters of this country are. And spending nearly $60 trillion is not where they are,” tweeted moderate presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar, as she bashed Sanders’ platform.Former presidents generally shy away from endorsing candidates after they leave office, with the notable exception of Bill Clinton — who backed his wife in the 2008 and 2016 primaries, Kondik explained.”I have no idea if Obama might endorse, but there has been no indication that he will. He, like many other Democrats, may honestly be conflicted about who he might back,” the analyst added.But if Sanders goes on to win the nomination, Kondik said he would be “curious to see whether Obama will speak” at the party’s nominating convention in July. Topics :last_img read more

Hong Kong police arrest more than 200 as pro-democracy protests return

first_imgImages beamed live from the working class district of Mong Kok showed riot police pushing back some reporters and firing pepper spray amid chaotic scenes.Footage showed protesters being subdued on the ground, scuffles and people bleeding.Police fired pepper spray at journalists and activists, and conducted stop and search operations on members of the public and media.The Hong Kong Journalists’ Association (HKJA) said some members of the press were prevented from filming. Hong Kong authorities arrested more than 200 people during pro-democracy protests, media reported on Monday, after a sing-along demonstration at a shopping mall spilled out on to the streets of the Chinese-ruled city.Hundreds of riot police were deployed to disperse the protesters on Sunday, with some members of the media caught up in the chaos that evoked memories of the sometimes violent unrest that rocked the global financial hub last year.Several media outlets, citing sources, said more than 200 people were arrested. Police said they could not confirm the number. The Hospital Authority said 18 people were taken to hospital. “Some journalists who were sprayed by pepper spray were not allowed to receive immediate treatment, and they were requested to stop filming,” said Chris Yeung, chairman of the HKJA.Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The outbreak of coronavirus and strict rules to curb its spread had brought a relative lull in anti-government protests this year, but the recent arrest of democracy activists and renewed concern about Beijing’s tightening grip on the city have revived the movement.Police in riot gear told protesters they were staging an illegal assembly and violating anti-virus measures that bar gatherings of more than eight people.Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong was arrested for “disorderly conduct in a public place”, police said.Video footage showed Kwong apparently being pushed to the ground and then surrounded by officers. He was later taken to hospital after he said he was feeling unwell.The financial hub is gearing up for protests over the next few months, with activists calling for two million people to gather for an annual march on July 1 that marks the anniversary of its handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997. center_img Topics :last_img read more

Religious Affairs Ministry issues protocol for reopening houses of worship

first_imgThe circular also requires the implementation of rigorous health procedures, including the deployment of special personnel in charge of monitoring physical distancing and the installation of sanitation facilities at the entrances and exits of all houses of worship.In addition, building managers are required to track the number of visitors at any given time to ensure physical distancing measures are adhered to.“Children and elderly individuals who are vulnerable to diseases should be forbidden from praying at houses of worship,” the circular reads.The circular also states that, in the case of special public events held at houses of worship, such as weddings, building managers are required to limit the number of visitors to no more than 30 people, or 20 percent of the building’s capacity. In addition, all attendees must test negative for COVID-19.Indonesians have turned to virtual congregations in recent months with houses of worship temporarily closed. However, the outbreak has not stopped many mosques from hosting congregational prayers, including mass Idul Fitri prayers.According to the official government count, Indonesia had at least 26,473 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,613 deaths as of Sunday.Topics : The Religious Affairs Ministry has issued new guidelines for houses of worship, which are set to reopen soon as part of the so-called “new normal” after being closed for weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak.In a circular issued on Friday, Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said the new guidelines were in response to people’s desire to pray at their respective houses of worship. The guidelines would still comply with prevailing health procedures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.“Houses of worship must set the best example on curbing the spread of COVID-19,” Fachrul said. The circular states that houses of worship may only reopen if the COVID-19 basic reproduction number, R0 or R-naught, as well as its effective reproduction number, Rt, in their respective areas are below a certain threshold.Houses of worship that want to reopen must obtain a letter confirming that the area is “safe from COVID-19” from their local COVID-19 task force.The letter may be revoked if new COVID-19 cases are found in the area surrounding the house of worship or if the house of worship is found to have violated the guidelines.Large houses of worship that regularly receive visitors from other regions may request special permission from their respective regional heads.last_img read more

‘Long way to go:’ LGBT+ employees are few in corporate America

first_imgLGBT+ Americans are largely absent from the highest ranks of corporate America, where they often feel insulted and isolated, a study showed on Tuesday, putting into question the efficacy of efforts at inclusion and diversity.The findings come despite business support for events such as pride parades and corporations speaking out against anti-LGBT+ measures such as those seeking to bar same-sex couple adoption, said authors of the study by McKinsey & Co., a top US management consulting firm.In corporate America, LGBT+ workers are significantly underrepresented and are more often subject to demeaning jokes and comments than are their straight colleagues, the study said. The US Supreme Court last week delivered a landmark victory for LGBT+ rights by ruling that federal law barring workplace discrimination includes protection for gay and transgender employees.More than 200 corporations became involved in the case by signing court documents in support of the expanded protection.An estimated 4.5% of Americans identify as LGBT+, according to the Williams Institute, a research center at the University of California. Of those, 58% are women and 42% are men.But in corporate America, LGBT+ men make up 3.1% of entry-level employees and 2.9% of top executives, the report found.LGBT+ women make up 2.3% of entry-level employees, 1.6% of managers and just 0.6% of top corporate executives.The researchers surveyed about 65,000 employees from about 300 corporations in 2018 and 2019.Among those companies, only four chief executives were openly LGBT+ and none were transgender, it said.In the study, LGBT+ respondents reported that they repeatedly had to explain their gender identity to colleagues, something nearly half said they had to do at least once a week.LGBT+ women were twice as likely as women overall to experience “onlyness,” being the only one with their gender identity or sexual orientation, and seven times more likely to feel that way than straight white men, the report found.Among LGBT+ women of color, two-thirds said they experienced “onlyness.”Underrepresentation and isolation combined have led to a greater likelihood of LGBT+ people being vulnerable to sexist jokes, demeaning remarks and sexual harassment, the report said.More than half of the LGBT+ women said they had experienced sexual harassment at work, 1.4 times more than straight women and 1.9 times more than LGBT+ men, it said.  Topics :center_img “Support is at an all-time high for the LGBT+ community in corporate America, but we’re not where we want to be,” said Ana Mendy, a co-author of the study.”We have a long way to go to translate good intention into actual results,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.Among the efforts at corporate inclusion, hundreds of major consumer brands have become regular sponsors of annual LGBT+ pride events and donated millions of dollars to LGBT+ causes.Corporations also have been transforming recruitment practices and marketing tactics to attract an LGBT+ workforce and LGBT+ consumers.last_img read more

ATP unveils revised rankings systems due to COVID-19 stoppage

first_imgThe men’s Tour will resume on Aug. 14 with the Citi Open, ATP 500 event in Washington, D.C.Among the key elements of the revised system, a player’s ranking will now be comprised of his “Best 18″ results over the 22-month period. A player cannot count the same tournament twice in his breakdown.The ATP also said tour-level tournament points added in 2020 that count in a player’s ranking breakdown will remain on a player’s ranking for 52 weeks, or until the event in question is played again in 2021, whichever comes first.”The temporary changes to the rankings system have been made in consultation with the four Grand Slam tournaments and the ITF,” the ATP said in a news release.”Should the 2021 season be impacted by COVID-19, further adjustments to rankings will be considered.” Topics : A revised system for calculating world rankings when the tennis season resumes in August following a five-month stoppage due to the COVID-19 pandemic was unveiled by the governing body of men’s tennis (ATP) on Monday.The rankings, a determining factor in a players’ ability to enter events and receive seedings, traditionally operate on a “Best 18” results basis over 52 weeks but will now cover a 22-month period from March 2019 through December 2020.International tennis ground to a halt in mid-March, with Wimbledon being cancelled and the French Open being moved to September, and rankings were frozen.last_img read more

It can be easy to fall in love with a property and pay too much – here’s how to negotiate like a pro

first_imgFollow these five tips for negotiating so you don’t pay too much.THE majority of home buyers are only in the market a few times in their lives, so negotiating on a property price can bit a bit awkward if you aren’t used to it.According to Darren Piper of Universal Buyers Agents said there were five things all buyers should do to help them negotiate like a pro.ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT“Successful negotiators are assertive and challenge everything – they know that everything is negotiable,” Mr Piper said.He labelled this “negotiation consciousness’’ and said this was what made a big difference between negotiators.SHUT UP AND LISTENMr Piper said he was amazed by all the people he met who couldn’t stop talking.“Negotiators are detectives – they ask probing questions and then shut up. The other negotiator will tell you everything you need to know – all you have to do is listen.”DO YOUR HOMEWORKDo your home work well before the negotiating starts.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home2 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor2 hours agoIt was important to gather as much pertinent information as possible before you start negotiating.“What are their (the sellers) needs?’’ he said“What pressures do they feel? What options do they have?’’Mr Piper said this was vital information and you couldn’t make accurate decisions without understanding the other side’s situation.WEIGH up these three things before buying an investment property“The more information you have about the people with whom you are negotiating, the stronger you will be. People who consistently leave money on the table probably fail to do their homework.”ALWAYS BE WILLING TO WALK AWAY“When you say to yourself, ‘I will walk if I can’t conclude a deal that is satisfactory’, the other side can tell that you mean business,’’ he said.DON’T BE IN A HURRY“Your patience can be devastating to the other negotiator if they are in a hurry because they start to believe that you are not under pressure to conclude the deal,” he said.last_img read more

NCAA Champs!

first_imgHow about the Virginia Cavaliers?  Virginia certainly earned the NCAA basketball championship, but if you don’t believe it takes a little luck along the way, you are certainly misinformed.  The unbelievable finish in regulation in the game against Purdue, 7 points in 6 seconds against Auburn, and the 3-pointer to get to overtime against Texas Tech took skill, but it also took a lot of luck for everything to fall right.The only number 1 team to make it to the Final 4, they never panicked and in the end they were the 2019 champions.  You had to love the NCAA tournament this year if you are a true basketball fan.  There were only a few major upsets and the majority of the games weren’t decided until late in the second half.  That is what a tournament of the best teams is supposed to be.Congratulations, Virginia!last_img read more

Benteke closing in on return

first_img Press Association The 23-year-old ruptured his Achilles in April, forcing him to miss Belgium’s World Cup campaign. However, he tweeted on Sunday he is looking forward to “the big day” as he gears up for a Villa comeback. Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke has hinted he is ready to return to training and bring an end to his five month injury nightmare.center_img Benteke wrote: “5months today! The road was long but tomorrow it’s the big day! Doing what I love the most. Thank you for all the support you’re the best.” The forward was expected to return in September, with boss Paul Lambert confirming his recovery was going well. He has been working with private physio Lieven Maesschalk, who revealed Benteke is closing in on playing again. Maesschalk told Sporza: “Over the past five months Christian worked very hard. His rehabilitation was done in phases. “Alternately he worked at the club and in my practice. The hard work has paid off because Christian is now finally back to his club. “Initially he worked off running sessions but now he is training with the group. Again, everything is going as desired. I expect him to return by the end of the month.” Villa are second in the Barclays Premier League after their 1-0 win at Liverpool on Saturday. last_img read more

SpaceX Plans Manned Launch of 2 NASA Astronauts May 27th

first_img(Hawthorne, CA) — SpaceX is gearing up for its first manned launch later this month. Elon Musk’s company confirmed today two NASA astronauts will be on board a Crew Dragon capsule for the May 27th mission. The Demo-2 launch will carry NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station. A Falcon 9 rocket will lift the capsule into orbit from launchpad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.Due to Storm Arthur, SpaceX is postponing its Starlink launch to an undetermined date at this time. This means that the next launch from U.S. soil will be the first manned flight in nearly a decadeEn raison…— Space Exploration News (@Explospace) May 18, 2020 NASA’s last previous manned launch took place on July 8th, 2011. The space shuttle Atlantis launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 11:29 a.m. EDT. STS-135 was the final mission of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. Atlantis embarked on a 12-day mission to the space station. SpaceX will attempt to do the same at the end of the month nine years later.last_img read more