In ‘Knife’s Edge’ Pennsylvania, Trump’s Fortunes Rely on His Rural Base

first_imgPictures from that giant rally shook some prominent Pennsylvania Democrats. “That’s not photoshop,” John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, a Democrat, wrote in a string of Twitter warnings. “Can’t fake a crowd like that.”Phillip Keil, who came to hear Mr. Trump, was optimistic. “I think it’s going to be a landslide,’’ said Mr. Keil, 65, who owns a power-washing business in Gibsonia, Pa. Like the president, he put more faith in crowd sizes, yard signs and other omens than polling, which has the president behind an average of 5 points in Pennsylvania. Driving to the rally in a pickup festooned with Trump signs and flags, Mr. Keil said, “I had one finger given to me and five beeps and hurrahs.’’To fervent Trump supporters, many of them sealed under a dome of misinformation from the president and his media supporters, he is a champion. He has done the best that any president could have managing the coronavirus scourge, supporters say. He lowered taxes and triggered a roaring economy. He alone stands between a free Republic and an all-out assault on liberty if Democrats win control in Washington.Watching the president’s arrival on Saturday in Butler from her porch just beyond the airport, Nadine Schoor, 63, compared his leadership of the country to that of a stern but all-knowing father.“I look at President Trump and we’re the family — the country’s the family,’’ said Ms. Schoor, who works for the county government. “And he’s the parent. He’s got a lot of tough love, and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks to get something done that he knows is right.”All of Pennsylvania does not look like Butler County. On Election Day there were lines of people stretching out of sight in the Democratic strongholds of Philadelphia and elsewhere. But rather than Santa Claus, it was Mr. Trump dropping in for the third of four rallies in Pennsylvania in one day, mostly in places where he had trounced Hillary Clinton in 2016. If Mr. Trump is able to outrun the polls in Pennsylvania and other battlegrounds that show him trailing Joseph R. Biden Jr., it will be because he re-energized the white blue-collar voters in places like Butler County, home to a steel mill that employs 9,000.Supporters like Ms. Cook, 62, viewed the president in heroic terms and had no doubt that he would be re-elected. “Because he’s the greatest president,’’ she said. As the sun set on Saturday in Butler County, which is just north of Pittsburgh, Mr. Trump marveled at his supporters packed shoulder-to-shoulder and largely not wearing masks, despite daily records of coronavirus infections. “You can’t even see the end of people,’’ he beamed. “There’s a lot of people here.” Both polling and analysis of the more than 100 million votes cast before Tuesday nationwide suggests that Mr. Trump has lost ground with college-educated voters compared to four years ago. To compensate, he must drive up his advantage with white working-class voters even higher than in 2016.In Armstrong County, where Mr. Trump won 74 percent of the vote four years ago, Pat Fabian, a Democrat on the county commission, predicted that Mr. Biden would “shave that by 10 or 15 percent” — an improvement that if repeated across Pennsylvania would likely doom Mr. Trump. Mr. Biden spent all or part of the final three days in Pennsylvania, the surest sign of its significance, visiting his childhood home in Scranton on Tuesday. On the final pre-election weekend, Emily Skopov, a Democrat running for the State Legislature, canvassed in an affluent suburb of brick homes north of Pittsburgh, where almost every resident was a registered Republican. Almost no one was willing to speak with her.One couple who did listen to Ms. Skopov’s pitch (“I’m not a communist or a socialist!’’ she quickly said.) was Brian and Patty O’Conner, whose opinions mirrored the gender gap that has imperiled Mr. Trump. Updated Nov. 3, 2020, 5:47 p.m. ET Rich Fitzgerald, the county executive of Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, boldly predicted, “I fully expect Joe Biden to carry Allegheny County by 150,000 votes this time.’’ Mrs. Clinton’s margin in the county four years ago was 108,000 votes.Mr. Trump faced a particularly uphill battle in suburban Pennsylvania, where his support among women has eroded over the last four years.Bucks County, just outside Philadelphia, went for Mrs. Clinton by less than a percentage point in 2016. By the 2018 midterms, it went for the Democratic Senate candidate by 14 points. This year, Mr. Biden hopes to run up his margins in places like Bucks, where disaffected Republicans were not hard to find.“I feel that Trump is just an embarrassment to the country,” said Andy Innocenti, a 62-year-old retail manager. He is a Republican but this year he voted for Mr. Biden and “Democratic right down the line” to send a message to his own party. The Trump campaign in Pennsylvania has pointed to its months of in-person canvassing and outreach to low-frequency voters, which in some counties resulted in a surge of newly registered Republicans. The state includes 2.2 million non-college-educated white voters who didn’t vote in 2016, more than in either of the other blue wall states of Michigan and Wisconsin, which had gone steadily Democratic for years until 2016.In Bucks County on Tuesday, Wendy Hummel, a 72-year-old Republican, waiting in a long time to cast vote for Mr. Trump because he was “for life and not death,” referring to abortion. She was willing to overlook Mr. Trump’s own less-than-pious personal history. “He is in his walk with the Lord,” she said, “and he’s learning like the rest of us.”Across the hallway, in a middle school where the line to vote zigzagged throughout the school and where so many cars had piled into the lot that many were parking on the grass, Jessica Voutsinas had been clutching her vote-by-mail ballot for more than two and half hours. She was concerned with Republican efforts to disqualify such ballots, and planned to surrender it and vote in person instead.Ms. Voutsinas, 24, called herself a climate change voter and was unsure how Bucks, a swing county in a swing state, would vote. If you just want results… There will be a results map on The Times’s home page, and yes, the infamous needle will be back — but only for Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, the only states providing granular enough information for our experts to make educated projections of uncounted votes.If you want constant updates… Times reporters are live-blogging all day and night. This will be your one-stop shop for minute-by-minute updates: race calls, on-the-ground reporting from swing states, news about any voting issues or disruptions, and more.If you want to check in every so often… Times journalists are also producing a live briefing from roughly 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. ET, with an overview of what’s happening in the presidential race, the Senate and House races, and the voting process itself. Mr. O’Connor, a lawyer, denounced Mr. Trump’s personality but said he would vote for his re-election. Ms. O’Connor said she was “embarrassed” to have voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 yet she remained undecided days before the election. “We have five kids, we put them through schools; taxes are a big issue to us,’’ she said. “We are practicing Catholics. Abortion’s a big issue — sometimes. Personally, I don’t like Donald Trump.’’“I don’t know, I really tell you, I’m undecided,’’ she added. Outside the Trump rally in Butler, a supporter named Jeff, who declined to give his last name because he distrusts the media, acknowledged that “it looks bad” for Mr. Trump winning a second term. He blamed the media for not reporting the president’s successes and “the criminal activities the Biden family has been involved in.’’Among the president’s triumphs, he named “rescuing a lot of women and children who were abducted” for sex trafficking, part of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.Mr. Trump has fanned myriad conspiracy theories. For months he has raged that he will only lose if the election is “rigged’’ and he has insisted that mail-in votes counted after Nov. 3, which are expected to favor Mr. Biden, would be fraudulent — a groundless charge.In such an atmosphere, with Mr. Trump’s base unprepared to accept a loss as legitimate, Mr. Biden’s task of bringing together the country, should he become president, would be immeasurably more difficult. “From this house to the White House with the grace of God,” he scrawled on the wall.Vote counting is expected to take longer in the state than in many other key battlegrounds, and legal fights are already underway. But if Mr. Trump defies the polls, his frenetic schedule of rallies in the homestretch may deserve much of the credit, reminding his base why they voted for him in droves four years ago, when he promised to protect their jobs from foreign competition and from immigrants.- Advertisement – Election 2020 ›How to Follow the Election ResultsHere’s a guide to The Times’s election night coverage, no matter when, how or how often you want to consume it. BUTLER, Pa. — “Here he comes!’’ cried Jeannie Cook over the chomp of rotor blades as a fleet of helicopters flew out of the setting sun, blinding thousands of eyes turned toward the arrival of President Trump in the heart of red America.No president had ever visited Butler County, according to that day’s Butler Eagle. “It almost feels like Christmas Eve,’’ the newspaper editorialized.- Advertisement – The Biden campaign expressed confidence that it had run up a cushion of support in early voting, after Democrats returned 1,641,000 mail-in ballots by Tuesday morning, compared to 586,000 that were returned by Republicans.Republicans were expected to vote disproportionately in person on Tuesday, and Mr. Trump’s campaign had made a far larger investment in ground operations. As voters cast ballots on Tuesday, Pennsylvania loomed large as the potential tipping point for the presidency, and perhaps Mr. Trump’s best hope to maintain his hold on one of the so-called blue wall states, along with Michigan and Wisconsin, that he narrowly won four years ago to secure the White House. His advisers believe the state is on a “knife’s edge,” the closest contest on the map.- Advertisement – “It seems aggressively moderate to me,” she said. – Advertisement –last_img read more

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first_img 0:26 Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter insists that the biggest challenge in professional rugby is not currently winning trophies, but ensuring the sport survives the challenges raised by the coronavirus pandemic – Advertisement – In addition to the players and staff who have returned positive tests, several other members of the squad and support team have been instructed to self-isolate after being identified as close contacts.“Tigers have made the decision to pause all training commitments and close the training ground in a bid to maintain the integrity of the 2020-21 Gallagher Premiership season, as well as honouring our responsibilities to the Leicestershire community,” read a club statement.“Leicester Tigers takes its responsibility to maintain high standards extremely seriously at this time and is confident in the measures in place.- Advertisement – “All players will now continue their pre-season programme alone in their household bubbles while the Oval Park (training) facility remains closed. 0:45 Will Greenwood says clubs such as Maidenhead understand why they will not be allowed to continue playing during lockdown, but admits it is a big blow Leicester Tigers' first game of the 2020-21 Premiership campaign is scheduled to be at home to Gloucester on November 21
Leicester Tigers' first game of the 2020-21 Premiership campaign is scheduled to be at home to Gloucester on November 21

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PlayStation 5 Hits Market Ready for Battle With Xbox Series S/X

first_img“It’s COVID, so I guess not many people want to rush to a launch,” said Theo Pasialis as he collected his PlayStation.Jonathan De Botton, one customer, said the atmosphere was a world away from the PS4 launch, when lines of customers stretched into a shopping mall food court.Today was “completely different,” he told AFP.- Advertisement – With coronavirus cases rising in many countries, launch events are off the table, and crowds of eager customers out of the question.While the new Xbox hit shelves worldwide on Tuesday, the PS5 is available from Thursday in Australia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, North America and South Korea, but gamers elsewhere will have to wait until November 19. Sony hasn’t announced any release date for the PS5 in India.In Sydney, just a handful of customers were collecting their pre-ordered consoles on Thursday morning.- Advertisement – “It was a midnight launch… It was a good time,” he added.Today, by comparison, it was “a bit of a ghost town”.The consoles go on sale with the pandemic creating a massive spike in demand for gaming from people stuck at home and looking for a distraction or a way to pass the time.Just how long that boom will last remains unclear, with news this week of progress on a virus vaccine prompting a gaming sector sell-off on stock markets, as investors anticipated a return to normal life.Lion’s shareFor Sony, the stakes with its new console are significantly higher than for Microsoft, as gaming generates the lion’s share of the Japanese firm’s profits and about a third of its sales.Gaming accounts for just 10 percent of Microsoft’s sales, by comparison.But Sony’s margin on the PS5 will be slim, possibly even loss-making, analysts say, with the company counting on sales of games, services and online subscriptions to turn a profit.Sony expects to sell 7.6 million PS5 consoles by the end of March, beating the performance of the PS4.And it will be relying heavily on the US market to achieve that, with Japan’s video game market more focused on mobile and still dominated by Nintendo, said Serkan Toto, an analyst at Kantan Games.“You’re talking about a relatively small market in Japan… driving Sony to centralise the PlayStation business in one area, and that area is the United States,” he told AFP.Toto said he expected the PS5 to outperform the PS4.“I think that the PlayStation 4 was so successful that Sony has cultivated a much bigger fan base for PlayStation content,” he said.PlayStation 5 is priced at Rs. 49,990 in India, while the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition carries a price tag of Rs. 39,990. In comparison, the US pricing of the PlayStation 5 is set at $499.99 (roughly Rs. 36,700) and the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition at $399.99 (roughly Rs. 29,400).That is more than the $300 (roughly Rs. 22,300 crores) price tag for Microsoft’s less powerful Xbox Series S, which also has no disk reader.Which is the best TV under Rs. 25,000? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. – Advertisement – Sony’s PlayStation 5 went on sale Thursday, just two days after rival Microsoft released its newest Xbox, with the next-generation consoles vying for holiday season dominance as the pandemic boosts gaming demand.With pre-orders pointing to a record launch, market leader Sony is counting on big-ticket exclusive games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales to keep the edge over its US challenger.- Advertisement –last_img read more

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first_imgTikTok was banned by the Government in June, along with 58 more apps including WeChat, UC Browser, and others. In its notice, the Government stated that these apps are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state, and public order.The social media platform partnered with top agencies to help gain insight from security researchers, academic scholars, and independent experts to uncover potential threats and strengthen its security defences. TikTok also partnered with third-party experts and regulators to validate its progress.In India, ByteDance has over 2,000 employees, who have been assured that best efforts are being made to resolve the situation in the country. Employees were also awarded a salary bonus to cope with the ban announcement and the unprecedented economic and social upheaval owing to the ongoing pandemic. To keep in line with the global norms, TikTok also conducted an annual performance review cycle and focused on multiple learning and development opportunities to help employees upskill themselves. “Our employees have been at the heart of our business and we place utmost importance on our employees’ personal and professional well-being,” Gupta added in his letter.- Advertisement – In September, the Government yet another round of bans on apps and games that blocked downloads of the popular battle royale, PUBG Mobile. Nearly a month later, PUBG Corporation and parent company Krafton announced that a new game titled PUBG Mobile India will be launched soon, specifically to cater to gamers in the country. The in-game content is claimed by the developers to be improved and customised to “reflect local needs.” These include fully clothed new characters, a virtual simulation training ground setting, and green hit effects instead of red. It remains to be seen if TikTok adopts a similar India-friendly approach to relaunch its services in the country.Should the government explain why Chinese apps were banned? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. In a letter to employees, TikTok India Head Nikhil Gandhi said the company has taken steps to comply with data privacy and security requirements and is optimistic about a positive outcome. PUBG Mobile’s announcement on Thursday where it talked about new security arrangements and customisation for India could point to a path back to the country for the Chinese video sharing platform as well, although in the case of PUBG it is owned by a Korean company, Krafton, and it stressed that point very clear in its announcement. In the letter, Gandhi said that the ByteDance-owned app is committed to complying with local laws, including requirements for data privacy and security. Gandhi also sees an “immense growth opportunity for TikTok in India.”“Our clarifications have been submitted to the Government and we will continue to allay any further concerns they may have. Together with our employees, we remain dedicated to our users and creators who have found not only recognition but also new avenues of livelihood through our platform,” Gandhi wrote in the letter, according to a report by Hindustan Times.- Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more

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What Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan means for borrowers

first_imgEven before the pandemic cost Adam Anderson his job, repaying his student loans was a challenge. He owes more than $60,000.He earned around $50,000 a year as a physical therapy assistant in Clearwater, Florida, but after his rent, other bills and student loans were paid off each month, little, if any money, was left over. “The day you get paid, you’re already counting down the days to your next paycheck,” Anderson, 31, said. When he was laid off in May, his bank account balance was less than $2,000.He’s only been able to land a part-time job of late and his hours are inconsistent.- Advertisement – He’s not even sure how he’s going to make rent.“We’re going to have to have a hard discussion with our landlord,” he said, if he isn’t able to work more hours over the next few weeks.Yet after months of financial stress, Anderson, along with millions of other student loan borrowers, was at least given a little hope when Joe Biden won the presidential election. On the campaign trail, Biden had said he would forgive $10,000 of the debt for all borrowers, and the rest for those who attended public colleges or historically Black colleges and universities and earn less than $125,000 a year.The student loan crisis has been particularly painful to Black borrowers, with nearly 85% of Black college graduates carrying education debt, compared with 69% of White college graduates. And due to racial wealth and income inequities in the U.S., Black borrowers suffer higher default rates and are also stuck in debt much longer than their White peers.More from Personal Finance:This risk threatens retirees’ nest eggsHere’s a decade-by-decade guide to retirement planningHere’s what’s ahead for President-elect Biden’s tax planBiden’s student loan forgiveness plan, while it’s much narrower than the relief proposed by his opponents on the left in the Democratic primary, would still reset around 10 million borrowers’ balances to zero, according to calculations by higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz. In all, the policy would slash the country’s $1.7 trillion outstanding student loan tab by about a third.Biden’s proposal is a response to a growing hunger for change.Education debt burdens Americans more than credit card or auto debt, and even as the country was in the midst of its longest economic expansion in history and unemployment levels were at half-century lows, more than 1 in 4 student loan borrowers were either in delinquency or default.Over half of Americans say student debt is “a major problem” for the country, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll. And one survey found that 58% of registered voters are in support of student loan forgiveness. More than 730,000 people have signed a Change.org petition titled, “Joe Biden: Erase Student Loans!”“For the first time in years, I will be at peace,” said Anderson, who stands to have a large portion of his debt wiped out should Biden’s proposal became a reality. He attended the University of Indianapolis. During the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden promised to forgive a large chunk of the country’s outstanding student loan debt.Leah Millis | Reuters Keenan Greigo would also see much of his debt cancelled if Biden’s plan came to fruition. He’s been dreading the $1,200 monthly student loan payments he’ll have to start making in January.Source: Keenan Greigo Keenan Griego, a nurse practitioner in Vancouver, Washington, who has worked with hundreds of Covid-19 patients over the last few months, owes more than $145,000 in student debt, much of which he’d see cancelled should Biden’s promises become policy.He’s been dreading the $1,200 monthly student loan payment he’ll have to start making in January. After the election, though, he’s a little more optimistic.“My hopes are much higher with the Biden administration coming in,” Griego said.“You go to school for all these years to be able to help, but then you end up with an insurmountable amount of debt,” he said. Like so many borrowers, he said he’s had to put off homeownership and starting a family with his wife, Alexandria, an occupational therapist, who owes $50,000 in student loans herself.Currently, he works around 40 hours a week, but said he will need to get a part-time job soon if he wants to cover his monthly student loan bill and continue saving.That will mean less time doing what he loves, like photographing nature, hiking and spending time with his family.“You can’t do that if you have to work 60 hours a week to make a student loan payment,” Griego said.More from Personal Finance:This risk threatens retirees’ nest eggsHere’s a decade-by-decade guide to retirement planningHere’s what’s ahead for President-elect Biden’s tax plan That debt relief would open doors to him that his monthly student loan payments currently keep shut.“I think my wife and I would be able to start saving,” Anderson said. They could also think about starting a family, he said, adding that it feels incredibly important to him to have a child.Growing up, his father was barely in his life. “He dropped in when it was convenient for him,” Anderson said. He wants to do better. “I could be there for someone,” he said.“But I can’t foresee a situation in which I can have a child and care for him or her, while also being crushed by student loans,” he said. “I feel like I may be 50 before I can start my life. It’s heartbreaking.”Student loans define people’s lives in countless ways. Indeed, research has found that up to 40% of those with large balances say the debt has caused them to postpone parenthood. The loans also make it harder for people to buy homes, start businesses and salt away money for their old age.Biden’s chance of passing legislation that would lower or eliminate people’s student loan balances mostly depends on the composition of the Senate, which is still in the balance. “Generally, Democrats favor student loan forgiveness while Republicans oppose it,” Kantrowitz said.Biden may have another way to deliver relief to borrowers.There’s an argument gaining steam that the president can bypass Congress to forgive student loan debt. (Had she become president, that’s what Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., had promised to do). The President-elect Biden hasn’t signaled yet whether or not he would consider that route, which is likely to run into court challenges. – Advertisement – “When you’re just working six to 15 hours, you’re not bringing home much,” he said.Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Education has granted student loan borrowers a break from their bills until the end of the year, but Anderson doesn’t know how he’s going to start making payments again come January. Adam Anderson stands to have a large portion of his student debt wiped out should Biden’s plan become a reality.- Advertisement – Source: Adam Anderson – Advertisement –last_img read more

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first_imgU.S. President Donald Trump turns away in the rain after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider as he attends a Veterans Day observance in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, November 11, 2020.Carlos Barria | Reuters President Donald Trump‘s continued refusal to concede 2020 elections poses a host of national security dangers. However, the most hazardous of them all won’t be found on the conventional list of threats that occupy Washington’s legion of foreign policy experts.That doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for increased peril across the usual list of concerns: China, Russia, Iran, North Korea or terrorism. It’s just none of them – as significant as they are – pose as existential a danger to U.S. interests at home and abroad as the growing prospect of continued domestic political polarization and growing cultural divides.Those, in turn, prompt adversaries to seek advantage by fueling these divisions and finding advantage in them. It leaves even the most hopeful of allies, encouraged by President-elect Joe Biden‘s commitment to restoring a more traditional U.S. approach to international common cause, hedging their bets.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – President-elect Biden wishes to counter President Trump’s continued influence and fulfill his goal of being the unifying leader for all Americans and for global democracies. If he can do that, his team believes he could be one of those transformative presidents that comes along now and again at historic moments. What could be more so than our time of health crisis, economic threats, authoritarian resurgence around China’s rise and democratic weakness? President Trump’s actions following his electoral defeat, which won’t alter the outcome that he leaves office on Jan. 20 next year, underscore his intention to emerge as the Republican Party’s most significant force and thus a continued international rallying point for populist and nationalist politicians across the world.The failure thus far of a host of such leaders globally to recognize President-elect Biden’s victory underscores this reality. They have included Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, and Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša has congratulated Trump on his victory.The closer Trump’s day of departure comes, the more he talks to friends about preparing the ground for a 2024 run to retake the office he is so reluctantly leaving. He promises to be as untraditional a former president, remaining in the spotlight through whatever means prove to be most effective, as he has been in office.- Advertisement –center_img To achieve that outcome, his team first must slay the Trump Dragon, which remains their most significant obstacle. To do so, they’ll need to study the four central motivations for President Trump’s actions that have followed the Nov. 3 elections.These include:Trump maintaining his leadership of the Republican Party. He is determined to remain the kingmaker for primaries and state races, while at the same time being able to kill candidacies that have been disloyal to him. It would be shortsighted not to take seriously Trump’s musings about running again for president at age 78 in 2024. Even if he doesn’t run, just the suggestion he might would keep him at the center of national and international attention.Trump emerging from his electoral defeat with enough standing and authority to refinance his business and get new loans. By all accounts, he is under significant financial pressure, including a debt load of anywhere from $400 million to $1 billion. To maintain his brand, he’ll need to finance it, including the possibility, reported by Axios, that he’s planning to launch a digital media channel to compete with Fox.Achieving immunity from federal prosecution. President Trump believes law may allow him to even pardon himself, a concept that almost certainly would be tested, up to and including the Supreme Court. Trump also has other options: he could resign before Jan. 20 and have Vice President Mike Pence pardon him. President-elect Biden on the campaign trail has said he wouldn’t pardon Trump.Finally, Trump would want to protect his family members and ensure they could continue to pursue their business and political interests.  The dilemma for the Biden team is that if President Trump achieves these four goals, he is far more likely to retreat quietly from office. However, his success in doing so also would ensure that he would remain as an immovable obstacle.Republican leaders, particularly those in the Senate, who have failed to criticize President Trump or call for him to concede the election, privately cite several motivations. First, they say they don’t want to corner Trump, which they believe would make him more difficult, and they are trying to provide him room to make his own decision to step away. Second, they recognize he won more than 72 million national votes, the most of any Republican presidential candidate in history, and thus he will have continued influence on their political futures. Finally, the Republican party is focused on winning the two Senate runoffs in Georgia in January, where more than $100 million is likely to be spent on get-out-the-vote efforts. What’s at stake in Georgia is whether Republicans will hold the Senate. Even those Republicans who want Trump far from the scene don’t see mileage in a confrontation with him that could risk Georgia.The 2020 elections were a personal defeat for President Trump, but they weren’t the repudiation of Trumpism that his opponents, both Democrat and Republican, had hoped. His party did better in Senate and House races than expected.“If the 2024 Republican nominee isn’t Mr. Trump himself,” writes Brooking’s William A. Galston in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal, “it will likely be someone who embraces the president’s orientation without his loud rhetoric and character flaws.”  Wrote Galston, “Mr. Trump’s critics saw him as a threat not only to racial progress and social inclusion but to the Constitution. And they came to understand that this threat represented the culmination of long-standing trends.”     Should President Trump and Trumpism remain as a central factor in American politics, even in opposition, that will have global consequences. Trump challenged party orthodoxy on alliances, on the use of American power, on democracy promotion, on cooperative trade policy with democratic partners and in the harsh tone he normalized in international statecraft.To understand what’s driving President Trump most at the moment, a colleague pointed me to a must-read interview By Gaby Wood with him from January 2007 in the Observer of London. She closed by asking, “If no one were looking at you, do you think you’d still exist?”Replied Trump, after a pause and with palms together in front of his face, “No. Because, honestly, I wouldn’t have any fun. There are people who are successful, but nobody knows who they are, and I say what’s the purpose? Everyone knows who I am.”   Whatever impact that might have in President-elect Biden’s ability to lead, that reality seems unlikely to go away.Frederick Kempe is a best-selling author, prize-winning journalist and president & CEO of the Atlantic Council, one of the United States’ most influential think tanks on global affairs. He worked at The Wall Street Journal for more than 25 years as a foreign correspondent, assistant managing editor and as the longest-serving editor of the paper’s European edition. His latest book – “Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth” – was a New York Times best-seller and has been published in more than a dozen languages. Follow him on Twitter @FredKempe and subscribe here to Inflection Points, his look each Saturday at the past week’s top stories and trends.For more insight from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter. President-elect Joe Biden discusses protecting the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and his health care plans during a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware, November 10, 2020.Jonathan Ernst | Reuters – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Study cites gaps in Europe’s flu pandemic plans

first_img They found the plans generally good in the areas of surveillance, planning and coordination, and communication. But the plans were “probably inadequate” when it came to maintenance of services, putting plans into action, and public health interventions. Few countries specified which institutions would handle triage. Some specific problems the analysts found were as follows: The article says the WHO has suggested that travel restrictions are unlikely to help much and are mostly impracticable, yet 15 of the 21 plans included some kind of travel restriction. The researchers checked the plans of 25 European Union (EU) members, plus those of nonmembers Norway and Switzerland and those of Bulgaria and Romania, which are preparing to join the EU. Only the 21 plans published between January 2002 and Nov 30, 2005, were included in the analysis. The scores for completeness ranged from 24% to 80%, while quality scores ranged from 27% to 86%. Countries with the most complete plans, the report says, were France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and Britain. In the middle range were Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Norway, Slovakia, and Spain. Those with the least complete plans were Czech Republic, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Poland, and Portugal. The analysis of plans prepared by 21 countries gave them average scores of 54% for completeness and 58% for quality. The report was prepared by Sandra Mounier-Jack, MSc, and Richard J. Coker, MD, of the Department of Public Health and Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. All but one plan (Portugal’s) had a strategy for use of a vaccine, and 14 of the 21 plans call for immunizing the entire population if vaccine is available. Most plans called for vaccinating healthcare workers first, essential service workers second, and people at risk for serious flu complications third. (Although several countries are developing H5N1 avian flu vaccines, a specific pandemic vaccine cannot be developed until the pandemic virus emerges.) In their analysis, the authors used 47 essential criteria and looked at seven thematic areas: planning and coordination, surveillance, public health interventions, health system response, maintenance of essential services, communication, and “putting plans into action.” Mounier-Jack S, Coker RJ. How prepared is Europe for pandemic influenza? Analysis of national plans. Lancet 2006 (early online publication Apr 20) [Abstract] Seven plans didn’t address the need to prepare for maintaining essential services during a pandemic.center_img Most countries did not discuss the potential role of the media. The authors caution that written plans are just one element of preparedness. “The completeness of plans could show simply the attention paid to drafting rather than preparedness. Countries may be prepared in areas that are not mentioned in their plans,” they write. While most of the plans discussed public health interventions such as closing schools and restricting public gatherings, many of them were unclear about when, in terms of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) pandemic phases, such interventions would be used. Eighteen plans recommend that people exposed to the pandemic virus receive preventive antiviral treatment, and 13 plans offered guidance on who should have priority for that. But none of the plans spell out how members of priority groups will be identified. Details on the distribution of antiviral drugs, vaccines, masks, and other medical supplies were missing from the plans, and none included estimates of quantities needed. Apr 24, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – European countries’ plans for coping with an influenza pandemic are generally good but have a number of gaps, including a lack of detail on distribution of drugs and supplies, according to an analysis published last week by The Lancet. “Governmental commitment in most European countries is strong, and levels of preparedness are broadly good,” the authors wrote. “However, gaps in preparedness planning remain, and substantial variations exist between countries, with important implications for the region and nation states. Improved cooperation between countries may be needed to share experience, and to ensure coherence of approaches.” Except in Eastern Europe, most plans didn’t mention the need for collaboration with neighboring countries. Aside from an EU-wide exercise in 2005, only three countries have tested their plans in national simulation exercises.last_img read more

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Welsh officials announce four H7N2 flu cases, suspect human-to-human transmission

first_imgMay 29, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Four people in Wales and northwest England have tested positive for the low-pathogenic H7N2 avian influenza subtype found last week in chickens at a small farm in Wales, and local public health authorities suspect some degree of human-to-human transmission of the disease.England’s Health Protection Agency (HPA), in announcing the positive tests 4 days ago, said five other patients whose test results were negative for the virus are undergoing treatment as a precaution because they had similar illnesses. All of the patients who tested positive for the virus had contact with infected birds, the HPA said.The National Public Health Service (NPHS) for Wales said in a statement today that of 221 people who were identified as contacts so far, 12 are ill with conjunctivitis or a nonserious flulike illness. The NPHS said it could not rule out human-to-human spread of the virus but that it had no laboratory confirmation of such cases.”Of the people with conjunctivitis or a flulike illness, some did not have close contact with infected poultry,” said Marion Lyons, lead consultant in communicable disease control for the NPHS, in the press release.On May 24 veterinary officials in Wales confirmed a low-pathogenic H7N2 avian influenza outbreak at a farm near the northern town of Denbighshire. For outbreaks of mild strains of avian flu subtypes such as H7N2, public health officials often order culling of birds and monitor human cases because the viruses could mutate into highly pathogenic forms.Welsh veterinary officials think the infected chickens could have been exposed to the virus on May 7 at the Chelford Market in Cheshire. Tests on birds at another farm in Llyn Peninsula came back negative today, according to a statement from the Welsh government.Of 221 patients identified as contacts, 171 may have been exposed in a workplace setting, including patients and staff at two hospitals, the NPHS statement said. At one of the hospitals, 79 patients and staff were offered oseltamivir because of contact with a healthcare worker who was treated for the H7 flu virus. Lyons said in the NPHS statement that the sick staff member was working between May 21 and 23, when she may have been infectious.At the other hospital, 69 patients and staff were notified because a patient who had the H7N2 illness was recently treated at the facility. Lyons said the patient was discharged on May 18, and after an 8-day incubation period, anyone who was ill would have had symptoms by May 26. “So we are contacting all staff and patients to ensure that they remained well and to reassure them,” she said in the statement.Lyons said that people who have had contact with individuals who became ill with the H7N2 virus are being offered prophylactic antiviral medication.”Investigations also show that, when it spreads from person to person, the illness experienced becomes milder,” she said in the press release.In a related development, children at a primary school in the town where the Welsh farm is located are being given antiviral medication after one of their classmates became ill with suspected H7N2 infection, the London Evening Standard reported today. The ill child visited the affected farm 10 days ago for less than 15 minutes, the Standard report said.”It is very rare to see this particular flu virus, so we are taking every reasonable precaution to eliminate it from the community, ” Brendan Mason, a consultant epidemiologist, told the Standard.Some infectious disease experts say human illnesses associated with the H7N2 outbreak in Wales are a reminder that other virus subtypes—not just the well-known H5N1 strain—could spark a pandemic.”There may be a bit of complacency when it comes to recognizing the pandemic potential of H7 viruses,” Michael Perdue from the World Health Organization (WHO) told the Associated Press (AP) today.The number of [H7] human cases seems large for the small number of bird deaths, he told the AP. “Unless there’s something unusual about the contact with birds, that suggests the virus is finding new ways of getting to humans,” he said in the AP report.Other experts say the focus on the H5N1 subtype’s pandemic potential is justified. “We know that H7 can cause outbreaks in chickens and that it can occasionally jump the species barrier, but it has not done it nearly to the extent of the H5N1 virus,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.David Halvorson, DVM, a veterinarian in avian health at the University of Minnesota in St Paul, told CIDRAP News that H5 and H7 subtypes both have the ability to generate a highly pathogenic virus of the same subtype, but there’s no way to project when and if such evolution will occur. “Whether that will happen quickly, as it did in Chile or British Columbia, or not happen for over 10 years, as it has not done in New York live bird markets, is not predictable,” he said.The WHO’s Regional Office for Europe said human illness from other H7 subtypes has occurred in two other instances in the past few years. In 2006 a poultry worker in the United Kingdom was diagnosed with conjunctivitis linked to an H7N3 poultry outbreak, and in 2003 an outbreak of highly pathogenic H7N7 in the Netherlands resulted in 86 confirmed cases of mild illness, with one death—a veterinarian who died from acute respiratory distress syndrome.See also:May 29 National Public Health Service for Wales press releaselast_img read more

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first_imgFor the 21th year in a row, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce has been implementing the “Tourist Flower – Quality for Croatia” campaign, within which awards and recognitions are given to economic entities in tourism.As before, this year the evaluation of DMK travel agencies will be carried out and the best will be awarded prizes and recognitions. This year, for the first time, we will evaluate agencies in three categories: SMALL (up to 10 employees), MEDIUM (11-39 employees) and LARGE (above 40 employees).The holder of the evaluation of DMK travel agencies is the Association of Travel Agencies at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies, which in cooperation developed and agreed on the evaluation methodology. The evaluation process will be carried out in two phases. The first is the collection and processing of qualitative, physical and financial indicators through a Questionnaire completed by all interested travel agencies. In the second phase, the Travel Agency Evaluation Committee will visit and evaluate the best ranked travel agencies based on the collected and analyzed indicators of the first phase.Photo: Hotel Waldinger, OsijekThe final ranking of the best by category will be obtained by summing the results of both evaluation phases. The DMK travel agency of the year will be named the one with the highest number of points in the second phase, the qualitative assessment of the commission and among the first place in the categories of small, medium and large agencies.Apply and fill in the questionnaire on physical, financial and qualitative criteria, by completing the questionnaire you have applied for evaluation. The application deadline is no later than June 30.6. 2017:COMPETITION FOR DMK TRAVEL AGENCY OF THE YEAR “Tourist flower-quality for Croatia 2017.last_img read more

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