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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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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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