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Voters’ Bid To Recall Californian Governor Over COVID-19 Fails

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Voters' Bid To Recall Californian Governor Over COVID-19 Fails

An attempt by angry voters to unseat a Californian governor through a recall over his stand on COVID-19, masks and lockdowns failed on Tuesday.

Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, handily survived a confidence vote that could have seen him replaced by a Republican with only minority support in one of the most liberal parts of the United States.

With more than 60 percent of the votes tallied, NBC, CNN and Fox News said Newsom was set to prevail, with two thirds voting against the effort.

“‘No’ is not the only thing that was expressed tonight,” a triumphant Newsom said moments after the race was called.

“I want to focus on what we said yes to, as a state. We said yes to science, we said yes to vaccines. We said yes to ending this pandemic.”

Newsom acted quickly as the pandemic took hold of California, ordering people to stay home and shuttering schools, in moves praised by scientists.

But entrepreneurs blamed him for suffocating their businesses, and parents chaffed at keeping their children home.

The vote had been eagerly watched by politicians across the deeply-divided country as a possible indicator of how incumbents who listened to doctors — instead of angry constituents — would fare at the ballot box.

Newsom’s main opponent was Larry Elder, 69, a right-wing talk radio star who has spoken proudly of his support for ex-president Donald Trump.

Before polls even closed, Elder took a page out of Trump’s 2020 election playbook, launching a website alleging voter fraud and demanding state officials “investigate and ameliorate the twisted results” of the election.

But at what he had previously billed as a “Victory Party”, he urged his supporters to be “gracious in defeat”.
“We may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war,” he told an audience sprinkled with red “Make America Great Again” hats.

Tuesday’s ballot was in two parts, with the first asking if 53-year-old Newsom should stay in office.

The second, which only came into play if a majority wanted him out, asked which of 46 candidates should take his place.

Traditional politicians vied with a YouTube star, a “Billboard Queen” and Caitlyn Jenner for the spoils.

The recall initiative, which has cost the state some $280 million, is one of 55 such efforts to depose a governor in state history.

Mostly they have gone nowhere, but pandemic measures Newsom imposed gave this attempt legs.

READ ALSO: China Supports Taliban Govt In Afghanistan

The petition to remove him gathered pace after he was snapped having dinner at a swanky restaurant, seemingly in breach of his own Covid-19 rules, fueling a perception he was an out-of-touch hypocrite.

Mary Beth, a 63-year-old business owner who cast her ballot Tuesday in Los Angeles, said she voted to “get rid of Newsom” because “the virus created chaos in our economy but he made it even worse with his lockdowns.”

“There were other ways to handle that and he should have made businesses the priority,” she said.

Another pro-recall voter told AFP he wanted someone who would not impose vaccine mandates — a hot button issue throughout the divided United States.

“I feel very strongly that we need to get rid of our governor because I think he’s just a corrupt Democrat, like the people we have in the federal government and we need them out,” said Farid Efraim.

“We need somebody who really represents the people.”

Democrats complain the Republican-led recall was an attempt to hijack the state’s government: seizing power in extraordinary circumstances when they could never do it in a regular ballot.

A poll by Spectrum News and IPSOS published before results were announced found two-thirds of registered voters viewed the recall as a political power grab.

California’s electoral rules set the recall bar low.

Malcontents need only gather signatures equivalent to 12 percent of the number of people who voted in the last election — in this case, 1.5 million.

California’s population is around 40 million.

READ ALSO: Woman Pleads Guilty To Plan To Kill US VP Harris

“This whole recall is ridiculous,” said Jake, a 38-year-old tech industry worker, who preferred not to give his last name.

“I did the math and even if every registered voter turns out, it would cost more than $12 per vote,” he said.

“A lot of people could have had a breakfast with that this morning.”

The only successful California recall brought bodybuilder-turned-actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to office in 2003.

“The Governator,” who ended up running the state for more than seven years, was California’s last Republican chief executive.

AFP

 

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BREAKING: William Ruto Declared Winner Of Kenyan Presidential Election

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BREAKING: William Ruto Declared Winner Of Kenyan Presidential Election

William Ruto has won the race to be the fifth president of the East African nation, according to results announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

“There are no losers. The people of Kenya have won because we raised the political bar,” the president-elect said after the announcement on Monday.

Ruto led a tight presidential race against opposition leader Raila Odinga.

READ ALSO: Kenyan Ex-President Kibaki Dies

Chaos emerged just before the declaration when the electoral commission’s vice chair and three other commissioners told journalists they could not support the “opaque nature” of the final phase.

“We cannot take ownership of the result that is going to be announced,” vice chair Juliana Cherera said. At the declaration venue, police surged to impose calm amid shouting as pushing and shoving ensued.

.Al Jazeera and news agencies

 

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Trump Protests As FBI Search Divides Republicans, Democrats

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Trump Protests As FBI Search Divides Republicans, Democrats

Former United States President Donald Trump has protested against his probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The investigation which led to a raid on Trump’s palatial Florida residence on
Monday marked a stunning escalation of legal probes into the 45th US President, drawing cheers from his political foes and condemnation from his allies.

“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” the 76-year-old Trump said of the day-long FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago resort.
He denounced the FBI raid as “weaponisation of the Justice System” by “Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024.”

The FBI declined to provide a reason for the unprecedented move against a former chief executive.

READ ALSO: Biden Goes To Hospital, Transfers Power To Harris

But multiple US media outlets said agents were conducting a court-authorised search related to the potential mishandling of classified documents that had been sent to Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House in January 2021.

Trump has also been facing intense legal scrutiny for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections and the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.

Since leaving office, Trump has remained the country’s most divisive figure, continuing to claim that he actually won the 2020 vote.

Leading Republicans rallied around the former President, who was not present at Mar-a-Lago when the raid took place.

Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence, a potential 2024 rival, expressed “deep concern” over the search of Trump’s home and said it smacked of “partisanship” by the Justice Department.

Kevin McCarthy, who is seeking to become speaker of the House of Representatives if Republicans win November’s midterm elections, accused the Justice Department of “weaponised politicisation.”

Republican Party chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the raid “outrageous.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, said, “launching an investigation of a former President this close to an election is beyond problematic.”

Trump’s former social media manager, Dan Scavino, urged him to accelerate an announcement that he would run again.

“No person is above the law,” the Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, told the NBC News. “Not even a former President of the United States.”

A Democrat from Connecticut, Senator Chris Murphy, said, “once we decide that the rich and powerful are above the law, we stop being America.”

In his statement, Trump did not give any indication about why the FBI raided his home but said, “They even broke into my safe!”

READ ALSO: Trump, Biden Clash Over Anniversary Of Capitol Riot

A former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe, said he believed agents may have been looking for “something specific” related to its probe into the handling of classified information.

The National Archives said in February that it had recovered 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago and asked the Justice Department to look into Trump’s handling of classified material.

The recovery of the boxes raised questions about Trump’s adherence to presidential records laws enacted after the 1970s Watergate scandal that require Oval Office occupants to preserve records.

Speaking on the CNN, McCabe said, “there had to be a suspicion, a concern and indeed specific information that led (the FBI) to believe that there were additional materials that were not turned over.”
AFP

 

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Two Dead After Lightning Strike Near White House

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Two Dead From Lightning Strike Near White House

Two persons have been reportedly killed with two others left in  critical condition after a lightning strike near the White House on Thursday evening, police in the US capital have said.

The lightning is said to have  occurred at the Lafayette Square, a small park across the street from the White House, shortly before 7:00 pm (2300 GMT) Thursday, leaving two men and two women with “critical life-threatening injuries,” according to a statement from Washington’s fire and emergencies department.

All the victims were taken to local hospitals, but on Friday morning, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that two of them – 75-year-old Donna Mueller and 76-year-old James Mueller, both from Janesville in Wisconsin – had been pronounced dead.

The other two adults remain in critical condition, police said.

READ ALSO: US Kills Osama Bin Laden’s Deputy

A White House spokeswoman said the Biden administration was “saddened by the tragic loss of life.”

“We are praying for those still fighting for their lives,” said Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

US Secret Service and park police rushed to help the four after witnessing the strike, fire and emergency services department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said in a statement on social media.

Photos posted by the department on social media showed multiple ambulances and at least one fire truck with flashing lights at the scene.

Witness David Root told NBC he heard a “horrific boom.”

“I just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It was surreal. I have never seen anything like this in my entire life.”

He said he had been sheltering beneath a tree when he saw the lightning strike across the park.

The people “weren’t moving,” he said, so he and others ran over to give help.

AFP

 

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