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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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22A: Jayasumana asks govt. to stick to SC ruling, warns against moves detrimental to unitary status

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Prof. Jayasumana

Dissident SLP MP Prof. Channa Jayasumana has said that the government will not be allowed to use the proposed 22 Amendment to introduce anything detrimental to the country.

The Anuradhapura District MP said that it would be advisable for the ruling party to refrain from proposing amendments at the committee stage, other than what were authorised by the Supreme Court.

The Parliament is scheduled to debate the 22 Amendment tomorrow (06) and the day after (07).

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that the Bill seeking the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution could be adopted with a two-thirds majority in the House, though some clauses would require a nationwide referendum.

The rebel MP said that the clauses, inconsistent with the Constitution, should be left out of the Bill.

Responding to The Island queries, the former State Minister said that they would defeat whatever attempts to undermine Sri Lanka’s unitary status at a time the country was struggling to cope up with a deteriorated economic situation.

The lawmaker said that it would be nothing but treachery to allow opportunists to exploit the recent developments. Prof. Jayasumana intends to take up the issue at hand with the 13-member rebel group, ahead of the two-day debate.

“Obviously, the SLPP is divided over the issue at hand,” the academic said, adding that the election of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, as the President, to complete the remainder of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s term, highlighted sharp divisions within the party over policy and strategy.

The SLPP won 145 seats at the last parliamentary election, though over 20 members have now declared they wouldn’t follow dictates of the party.

Prof. Jayasumana said that he publicly discussed the issue at hand recently following a gathering at Horowpothana, Morawewa.

Meanwhile, Ven. Professor Induragare Dharmarathana Thera said that the Jathika Mahajana Sabhawa would launch a protest campaign today (05) at the Independence Square, at 8.30 am.

The Ven. Thera alleged that they feared an attempt would be made to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that was enacted way back in the late 80s to appease those pushing for division of the country, on ethnic lines (SF)

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State FM: Treasury needs to increase revenue by Rs 400 bn

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The Finance Ministry yesterday (04) quoted State Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya as having said that the Treasury faced the daunting task of increasing the revenue by Rs 400 bn.

Siyambalapitiya said that both the government and the Opposition had acknowledged the urgent need to enhance revenue. The Minister said that their efforts to save foreign exchange by restricting imports had been quite successful and that the government had been able to reduce imports by 25 percent, in July this year, when compared with figures for the same month in the previous year.

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GL fires broadside at SLPP-RW govt., calls for accountability

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

Dissident SLPP lawmaker Prof. G.L. Peiris has alleged that the Rajapaksa-Wickremesinghe administration has allocated 320 vehicles for the recently appointed 38 State Ministers and their staff.

In addition, those who had been appointed District Coordinators had also been allocated vehicles, the former External Affairs Minister told the media on Monday (03). The ruling SLPP secured the lion’s share of state ministerial portfolios, as well as lucrative appointments as District Coordinators, the former minister said.

Addressing the media at the rebel group’s office, at Nawala, the SLPP National List MP and the party Chairman flayed what he called the Rajapaksa-Wickremesinghe government for squandering taxpayers’ money to appease a section of the Parliament at a time the vast majority of people were struggling to make ends meet.

Pointing out that in terms of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the government could appoint 30 cabinet and 40 non-cabinet rankers, Prof. Peiris said that it was only a matter of time before the government increased the number of Cabinet ministers to 30. At the moment, the Cabinet comprised 18 ministers, including Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

Prof. Peiris said that in the wake of the Parliament approving the Social Security Contribution Levy Bill, the cost of living would go up further. The Parliament recently announced the Treasury intended to collect Rs 140 bn, annually, through the implementation of the new Bill.

The one-time Education Minister explained the current economic difficulties the student populationis facing. The retired top academic expressed serious concern over quite a number of students giving up education.

Commenting on the inordinate delay in conducting Local Government elections, Prof. Peiris alleged that the government feared facing the electorate for obvious reasons. Declaring that the Election Commission now had the power to call for Local Government polls, Prof. Peiris urged the EC to ensure the public received an opportunity to exercise their franchise.

“The EC shouldn’t disappoint the public,” the SLPP Chairman said, declaring their intention to move Court in case the government sought to further postpone the much-delayed Local Government polls. Prof. Peiris stressed their determination to vigorously oppose the government strategy to indefinitely put off Local Government polls. This should be examined against the backdrop of none of the Provincial Councils having elected members for several years now.

At the onset of the briefing, Prof. Peiris declared that the Opposition scored a significant victory when President Ranil Wickremesinghe was compelled to rescind his controversial Gazette notification on the setting up of High Security Zones in Colombo. The President wouldn’t have done so if not for heavy attacks mounted by all concerned. Prof. Peiris paid a glowing tribute to the media for relentlessly pursuing the issue until President Wickremesinghe had no option but to annul the dictatorial law. If the government strategy succeeded, Colombo city would have been transformed to a cantonment, the former Law Professor said, flaying Media Minister Bandula Gunawardena’s recent declaration that the electronic media needed to be regulated.

Referring to the recent warning issued by the Public Administration Ministry, to public servants, that they would be appropriately dealt with over social media posts/statements, Prof. Peiris said such a strategy wouldn’t work now. Reiterating the national economy was in such a desperate state, Prof. Peiris said that serious allegations, pertaining to procurement of coal for the Lakvijaya Coal-fired Power Plant, as well as crude oi,l couldn’t be suppressed.

Responding to a query on Sri Lanka’s position at the ongoing 51 sessions of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council, the former Foreign Minister faulted the government for arresting anti-government, activists under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

Prof. Peiris said that in his former capacity as the External Affairs Minister he assured the UNHRC, in June this year, that the PTA wouldn’t be used while the government undertook a comprehensive study on a new security law. But, the government indiscriminately used the PTA in cases not related terrorism at all, Prof. Peiris said, questioning the rationale in Premier Dinesh Gunawardena’s declaration that those arrested in terms of the PTA wouldn’t be charged under the same law.

The Premier owed an explanation, the former minister said, pointing out the UNHRC was concerned over the utilization of the PTA.

The former minister said that if the UNHRC adopted a new resolution in respect of Sri Lanka, it could have a detrimental effect on ongoing negotiations with the IMF, the GSP plus as well as efforts to attract foreign investment. Prof Peiris insists: “What we really need is adequate investment, not more loans.”

Prof. Peiris said that the National Council was nothing but another talk shop. The government could have proved its sincerity by giving the leadership of parliamentary watchdog committees, the COPE and the COPA, to Opposition lawmakers, the MP said. Instead, the SLPP was hell-bent on suppressing those who dared to dissent, regardless of the consequences, the former Minister said, vowing to push for the restoration of parliamentary democracy.

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