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Democrats officially nominate Joe Biden for US Presidency

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U.S. Democrats officially nominated former Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday to be their candidate in the November presidential election on another evening in which prominent Republicans joined with Democrats in criticizing President Donald Trump while praising Biden’s leadership skills, Voice of America said yesterday.

It said: Biden had been the party’s presumptive nominee for months after outlasting a crowded field of Democratic presidential hopefuls in state-by-state primary and caucus votes, including his closest rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

On the second night of the Democratic National Convention, the traditional roll call vote of states officially picking the party nominee featured representatives speaking from their states and territories pledging their support for Biden as he now runs against Trump, a Republican.

Biden said the nomination “means the world to me and my family, and I’ll see you on Thursday,” looking ahead to his speech accepting the nomination on the final night of the convention.

As Democrats gathered virtually, Trump traveled Tuesday to two key battleground states, Iowa and Arizona, and sought to curry favor with women voters with a pardon earlier in the day of women’s suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony who protested during the 1870s.

Biden’s wife, Jill, said that if elected, her husband would bring to the White House “leadership worthy of our nation” at the time of an historic coronavirus pandemic and economic depression.

“There are those who want to tell us that our country is hopelessly divided, that our differences are irreconcilable. But that’s not what I’ve seen over these months,” Jill Biden said as she gave the final remarks of the night. “We’re coming together and holding onto each other. We’re finding mercy and grace in the moments we might have once taken for granted. We’re seeing that our differences are precious and our similarities infinite.

“We have shown that the heart of this nation still beats with kindness and courage. That’s the soul of America Joe Biden is fighting for now,” she said, delivering her speech from a classroom in the high school where she once taught in Wilmington, Delaware.

Jill Biden has played an active, behind-the-scenes role in her husband’s third run for the presidency over three decades. Aides say she offered her thoughts on his choice of a vice presidential running mate before he chose California Senator Kamala Harris last week, making Harris the first Black woman and South Asian American to be picked for a spot on a national U.S. political ticket.

Harris is set to give her convention acceptance speech Wednesday, along with remarks from former President Barack Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry, who served in the Obama-Biden administration, used his speech Tuesday night to portray Trump’s foreign policy as a failure.

“When this president goes overseas, it isn’t a goodwill mission, it’s a blooper reel. He breaks up with our allies and writes love letters to dictators. America deserves a president who is looked up to, not laughed at,” Kerry said.

Kerry added that Biden understands that the problems facing the world, including the coronavirus, terrorism and climate change, cannot be resolved “without bringing nations together with strength and humility.”

Former President Bill Clinton criticized Trump’s leadership, particularly in times of crisis.

“At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos,” Clinton said. “Now you have to decide whether to renew his contract or hire someone else.

“If you want a president who defines the job as spending hours a day watching TV and zapping people on social media, he’s your man. Denying, distracting, and demeaning works great if you’re trying to entertain and inflame. But in a real crisis, it collapses like a house of cards,” the former president said.

Next week, Trump is set to officially accept his party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are making campaign stops during Biden’s week in the spotlight, traveling to political battleground states that could play a pivotal role in the election.

Trump headed to the Midwestern state of Iowa on Tuesday and later visited Yuma, Arizona, near the border with Mexico to assess the construction of a border wall to thwart undocumented immigrants from crossing into the United States. The issue was a major plank of his successful 2016 run for the presidency.

On Thursday, Trump plans to visit a site near Biden’s boyhood home in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

 

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Special COVID-19 probe crippled by infections among CCD sleuths: AG calls for new police team

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

Brandix Apparel Limited yesterday (29) said that the company would fully cooperate with relevant authorities in the investigation ordered by the Attorney General (AG). A spokesperson for the company said so when The Island sought a clarification with regard to AG Dappula de Livera, PC, directing the police to launch a criminal investigation into the alleged lapses on the part of the company as well as those officials leading to the devastating COVID-19 outbreak.

The Minuwangoda eruption, which happened in the first week of October is widely believed to be the cause of the fast expanding Peliyagoda cluster.

Asked whether the police had contacted the Brandix management as regards the investigation and sought access to Brandix management and workers at its Minuwangoda apparel manufacturing facility as well as records at the Minuwangoda facility, the spokesperson said: “We will work with the relevant authorities in this regard”.

The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) tasked with the probe has suffered a serious setback due to a section of its officers being tested positive for COVID-19. Authoritative sources said that the CCD lacked sufficient strength to carry out the investigation.

AG de Livera early this week told DIG Ajith Rohana that a progress report should be submitted to him by or before Nov. 13.

Sources said that the badly depleted CCD was not in a position to conduct the high-profile investigation, in addition to other ongoing inquiries. The AG has directed the Acting IGP to constitute a special team of law enforcement officers to conduct the investigation. Sources acknowledged the urgent need for a thorough inquiry into the far worse second corona wave. Sources said that the AG issued fresh instructions in that regard after the crisis in the CCD was brought to his notice.

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Most garment workers under self-quarantine left to fend for themselves

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A large number of garment workers who were undergoing self-quarantine in Minuwangoda did not receive any assistance, Chamila Thushari of the Dabindu Collective, a labour organisation that works with garment workers, told The Island yesterday.

She said that those who were under self-quarantine did not have money to purchase food and even those who were willing to help could not reach them.

“Some of them have received food parcels from their work places but that is not adequate. Most others have not received any assistance. Matters will only get worse after curfew is imposed throughout the Western Province,” Thushari said.

Most of these workers are undergoing self-quarantine at their boarding places, which also house individuals who still work in garment factories. “Although there is a curfew, they can go to work. These are perfect incubators for the virus,” she said.

Thushari said that every day between 20-30 workers under self-quarantine, tested positive for COVID-19.

There were no public health inspectors to monitor the boarding houses of garment workers to ensure that COVID-19 prevention measures were being followed, she said.

“Not even Grama Niladaris visit them,” Chamila said.

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SJB requests separate seats for its dissidents

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Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella has written to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena requesting him to make arrangements to provide separate seats to the nine MPs who had voted with the government for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution recently.

The letter dated yesterday said that the SJB parliamentary group had decided to expel MPs Diana Gamage, A. Aravind Kumar, Ishak Rahuman, Faisal Cassim, H. M. M. Haris, M.S. Thowfeeq, Nazeer Ahmed, A.A.S.M. Raheem and S.M.M. Musharaf and it requests the Speaker to make separate seating arrangements for these MPs in the Chamber.

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