Trump insults Biden, predicts reelection in New Hampshire rally

1 / 2
A cardboard cutout of US President Donald Trump stands next to the TV showing his acceptance speech for the Republican Party nomination for reelection during the final day of the Republican National Convention in the office of San Diego County's Republican Party in Rancho Bernardo, California on August 27, 2020. (AFP / ARIANA Drehsler)
2 / 2
Demonstrators march outside the White House during a rally to protest US President Donald Trump's acceptance of the Republican National Convention nomination at Black Lives Matter plaza across from the White House on August 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. (AFP / Jose Luis Magana)
Short Url
Updated 29 August 2020

Trump insults Biden, predicts reelection in New Hampshire rally

  • Calls Biden "low IQ"; also falsely claims that Biden, a lifelong Catholic, is “against God”
  • Blames news channels CNN and MSNBC for widespread racial hatred

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire: US President Donald Trump on Friday insulted his Democratic challenger Joe Biden as “low-IQ” and barely conscious in a New Hampshire speech reinforcing his strategy of painting himself as the defender of the country against socialist mayhem.
The speech, filled with hyperbolic and inaccurate descriptions of life under the Democrats, followed Trump’s White House address to the Republican convention late Thursday where he warned that “no one will be safe in Biden’s America.”
Trump told the crowd assembled at the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire, that he was sure of victory on November 3.
“Does anyone have any doubt?” he asked to a chorus of support.
“I will have lost to a low-IQ individual. I don’t want that. ‘Sleepy Joe,’ I don’t want it,” Trump said of the former vice president and longtime senator. “The guy doesn’t know he’s alive.”
Much as he did Thursday at the White House, Trump claimed to be singlehandedly protecting the country from Democratic anarchists.
And he again said that the coronavirus, which has killed more than 180,000 Americans already, was under control.
“Hopefully we’re at the end,” he said.
The difference in New Hampshire, where he hosted a scaled-down version of his trademark pre-coronavirus rallies, was that Trump was able to cut free with ad-libs and even more personal attacks on his rival.




Demonstrators march outside the White House during a rally to protest US President Donald Trump's acceptance of the Republican National Convention nomination at Black Lives Matter plaza across from the White House on August 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. (AFP / Jose Luis Magana)

“We are all that stand between the American people and the left wing mob,” he said. “If you want to save democracy from the mob, then you must vote to defeat an extremely poor candidate.”
To cheers and laughter, Trump, 74, described 77-year-old Biden as “weak” and “the worst candidate ever put up by the Democratic party.”
As he has before, Trump claimed falsely that Biden, a lifelong Catholic, is “against God.”

Blaming news channels
Trump is bidding to make what he calls “law and order” the central plank of his reelection campaign just as tensions over race and police brutality spiral around the country.
After flaring all summer, a shooting by a white police officer of an African-American man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, sparked another wave of anger, with demonstrations and at times rioting and looting dominating television screens for days.
On Friday, tens of thousands of people flooded Washington, DC, to protest that shooting and other instances of racial injustice, as well as to mark the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s historic 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.
Trump acknowledged “there’s so much racial hatred” but blamed this on the news channels CNN and MSNBC.
“They stoke the flames and they know it,” he said.
The phrase reversed Biden’s accusation that Trump is the one “rooting for the violence” and “pouring gasoline on the fire” for his political benefit.

Heavy baggage
Trump goes into the election carrying a staggering amount of baggage for an incumbent.
He is only the third US president to have been impeached. A string of close associates have been charged or jailed.
He has been dogged throughout his first term by allegations of racism and corruption. And polls show about two-thirds of Americans say his management of the Covid-19 pandemic is a failure.
But the summer of unrest has thrown the president a lifeline, as he stirs up his white, working class base, while trying to lure worried independents.
New Hampshire is a state he narrowly lost in 2016 and now thinks he can add to the win column in what will likely be a tight contest in the electoral college on November 3.
In his speech, he lobbed repeated rhetorical bombs at Democrats, saying they want “to eliminate America’s borders” and plan a “suicide mission” through tax increases.
“You better vote for me or you’ll have the greatest depression you’ve ever seen,” he said.

Biggest spreader of coronavirus
Until now, Biden has largely campaigned online from home.
What began as a decision to adhere to coronavirus safety measures turned into a broader plan to keep a low profile while Trump committed frequent unforced errors.
But with the president stepping up, Biden is finally “coming out of the basement,” as his opponents mockingly say.
Biden announced Thursday he’d soon be hitting the trail, with a focus on swing states where the election will ultimately be decided, including Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Wisconsin.
He attacked Trump Friday for staging his White House speech before an audience that did not practice social distancing and was largely free of masks to protect others from the coronavirus.
“Mr President, Americans are canceling weddings and holding funerals without family. They’re sacrificing so more Americans don’t have to die,” Biden tweeted.
“But instead of leading by example, you hosted a super spreader event on the South Lawn. When will you take the presidency seriously?“


Queen’s husband Philip moved back to private hospital to recover

Updated 18 min 17 sec ago

Queen’s husband Philip moved back to private hospital to recover

  • The development came nearly three weeks after the former naval officer was first admitted to King Edward VII’s on February 16
  • He was taken to Barts on Monday for tests for a pre-existing heart condition

LONDON: Queen Elizabeth II’s 99-year-old husband, Prince Philip, was on Friday moved back to a private London hospital after a successful heart procedure, Buckingham Palace said, raising hopes for his recovery.
The Duke of Edinburgh, who turns 100 in June, was transferred from the state-run St. Bartholomew’s Hospital to King Edward VII’s Hospital in central London.
“The duke is expected to remain in hospital for continuing treatment for a number of days,” royal officials said in a statement.
A yellow and green National Health Service (NHS) ambulance with tinted windows was seen driving away from Barts, as it is known, at about lunchtime on Friday.
Philip had been brought to the hospital near St. Paul’s Cathedral in a similar vehicle, with police and royal protection officers blocking the views of waiting photographers and camera crews.
The development came nearly three weeks after the former naval officer was first admitted to King Edward VII’s on February 16 after he reported feeling unwell.
He was taken to Barts on Monday for tests for a pre-existing heart condition.
He had an unspecified procedure on Wednesday, widely believed to be linked to a stent he had fitted in 2011 for a coronary blockage.
His lengthy stay in hospital has raised fears for his health, given his advanced age, but palace officials have been quick to stress it was not related to Covid-19.
The duke and the queen, who is 94, both received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in January at their sprawling Windsor Castle home west of London where they have been isolating for nearly a year.
Prince Philip, who has been married to the queen for 73 years, is Britain’s longest-serving consort and has typically been in robust health throughout his long life.
But despite his latest medical scare, senior royals have been quick to reassure that he was on the mend.
Earlier this week, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who is married to Philip’s eldest son, Prince Charles, said he was “slightly improving.”
His youngest son, Prince Edward, said last week his father was itching to leave hospital.
But royal commentators have expressed concern about the effect of a tell-all interview by his grandson, Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan, due to be broadcast in the United States this weekend.
Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, stepped down from royal duties last year, in part due to intrusive media coverage, and moved to North America.
Pre-broadcast clips of the interview with US chat show queen Oprah Winfrey have set off a storm of controversy in Britain, particularly Meghan’s claim that the royal family was peddling lies about them.
Meghan is also reportedly facing an internal palace investigation into claims that she bullied royal household staff during her time in Britain.
She has accused them of character assassination and pushing a “wholly false narrative,” with the row prompting calls for the interview to be rescheduled because of Prince Philip’s health.


India’s vaccine giant Serum Institute warns of supply hit from US raw materials export ban

Updated 56 min 34 sec ago

India’s vaccine giant Serum Institute warns of supply hit from US raw materials export ban

  • Recent invocation of the US Defense Production Act to preserve vaccine raw materials goes against the global goal of sharing vaccines equitably

NEW DELHI: A temporary US ban on exports of critical raw materials could limit the production of coronavirus vaccines by companies such as the Serum Institute of India (SII), its chief executive said in a World Bank panel discussion on Thursday.
SII, the world’s biggest vaccine maker, has licensed the AstraZeneca/Oxford University product and will soon start bulk-manufacturing the Novavax shot.
“There are a lot of bags, filters and critical items that manufacturers need,” Adar Poonawalla said. “The Novavax vaccine, which we are a major manufacturer of, needs these items from the US.”
He said the recent invocation of the US Defense Production Act to preserve vaccine raw materials for its own companies went against the global goal of sharing vaccines equitably.
The White House said this week it had used the act to help drugmaker Merck & Co. produce Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.
“This really needs to be looked at because if they are talking about building capacity all over the world, the sharing of these critical raw materials, which just can’t be replaced in a matter of six months or a year, is going to become a critical limiting factor,” Poonawalla said.
India’s Biological E has tied up with J&J to potentially contract manufacture up to 600 million doses of its vaccine per year. They have signed an initial deal but production volumes have not been agreed upon.


Swiss mull ‘burqa ban’ in vote centering on security, rights

Updated 56 min 31 sec ago

Swiss mull ‘burqa ban’ in vote centering on security, rights

  • The face-covering measure has come to be known colloquially as the “burqa ban.” It would put Switzerland in line with countries like Belgium and France that have already enacted similar measures
  • The issue strikes at the intersection of religious freedom, security, the economy and women’s rights

GENEVA: At a time when seemingly everyone in Europe is wearing masks to battle COVID-19, the Swiss go to the polls Sunday to vote on a long-laid proposal to ban face-coverings, both the niqabs and burqas worn by a few Muslim women in the country and the ski masks and bandannas used by protesters.
The issue strikes at the intersection of religious freedom, security, the economy and women’s rights.
Critics say the proposal “Yes to a ban on covering the face” is an ironic throwback to a time not long ago when violent extremism was a greater concern than global pandemic, and say it would unfairly stigmatize Muslims who wear full face-covering burqas or niqabs, which have open slits for the eyes, in Switzerland.
Proponents, including populist, right-wing movements behind the idea, say it’s needed to combat what they consider a sign of the oppression of women and to uphold a basic principle that faces should be shown in a free society like that of the rich Alpine democracy.
The issue is one of three measures on national ballots in the vote culminating Sunday — most voters in Switzerland cast ballots by mail – as part of the latest installment of regular Swiss referendums that give voters a direct say in policymaking.
Other proposals would create an “e-ID” to improve security of online transactions — an idea that has run afoul of privacy advocates — and a free-trade deal with Indonesia, which is opposed by environmentalists who have concerns about palm oil plantations on the archipelago in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
The face-covering measure has come to be known colloquially as the “burqa ban.” It would put Switzerland in line with countries like Belgium and France that have already enacted similar measures. Two Swiss regions also already have such bans.
One campaign poster presented by the Swiss People’s Party — a populist, right-wing party that is the leading faction in parliament and has strongly backed the measure — features a caricatured image of the scowling eyes of a woman in a burqa above the words: “Stop Islamic Radicalism.”
A coalition of left-leaning parties have put up signs that read: “Absurd. Useless. Islamophobic.”
Support appears to have been eroding, but the vote is expected to be tight. An initial poll for public broadcaster SSR by the gfs.bern agency in January found more than half of voters backed the proposal, but a second poll published on Feb. 24 showed the figures had dipped to under half. Some remain undecided.
The Swiss government opposes the measure, arguing that it could crimp economic development: Most Muslim women who wear such veils in Switzerland are visitors from well-heeled Arabian Gulf states, who are often drawn to bucolic Swiss lakeside cities. The justice minister insists existing laws work just fine.
The measure would make it punishable by fines to cover the face in public in places like restaurants, sports stadiums, public transport or simply walking in the street — though exceptions are made for religious, security and health reasons, as well as for the Swiss traditional Carnival celebrations.
A counter-proposal would require people to show their faces if requested to do so by authorities.
It’s another indication how Switzerland is grappling with security issues and cultures and people from abroad. In the past, Swiss voters have approved a ban on the construction of minarets in the Alpine country whose flag carries the cross.
Andreas Tunger-Zanetti, a researcher who heads the Center for Religious Studies at the University of Lucerne, estimates at most a few dozen Muslim women wear full-face coverings in the country of 8.5 million people, and says the issue is really about Switzerland’s take on religion and ability to “cope with diversity.”


Afghan suspected of stabbing 7 held in custody in Sweden

Updated 05 March 2021

Afghan suspected of stabbing 7 held in custody in Sweden

  • Suspect an asylum-seeker whose residence permit had expired last year

STOCKHOLM: A 22-year-old Afghan man who is suspected of having stabbed seven men in a town in southern Sweden, leaving three of them in critical condition, was remanded in pretrial custody for at least two weeks on Friday.
The Eksjo District Court added that there was a flight risk, Swedish broadcaster SVT said. The suspect, who was not identified under Swedish rules and who faces seven counts of attempted murder, denied any wrongdoing.
“I have done nothing. I was at home,” the suspected shouted at the beginning of the custody hearing and banged his fist on the table, Swedish media reported.
The man, who has Afghan citizenship, was described by Swedish media as an asylum-seeker whose residence permit had expired last year. Local news reports also have said the man had a history of mental health issues. He is known to police for petty crimes.
On Friday, he entered the court room limping after having being shot in the leg by police Wednesday, some 20 minutes after the first calls of an ongoing incident in the small town of Vetlanda, 190 kilometers southeast of Goteborg, Sweden’s second-largest city. Officers who arrested him found a knife in his possession.
Police say there are five crime scenes in the town of 13,000. It appeared that the seven male victims were picked at random. All are stable, according to hospital officials.
At first, police floated the idea that the preliminary investigation could be considered terror-related, but later changed it to attempted murder.


Indian farmers plan major road blockade outside Delhi to mark 100th day of protests

Updated 05 March 2021

Indian farmers plan major road blockade outside Delhi to mark 100th day of protests

  • Tens of thousands have been camped outside New Delhi since December

NEW DELHI: Indian farmers who have been protesting for months against deregulation of produce markets plan to block a major expressway outside New Delhi on Saturday, the 100th day of their campaign, they said.
Tens of thousands have been camped outside Delhi since December, demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi repeal three farm laws that open up the country’s agriculture markets to private companies, which the farmers say will make them vulnerable.
Farmers from the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh plan to stop all traffic on the six-lane Western Peripheral Expressway that forms a ring outside New Delhi for up to five hours, union leaders said on Friday.
“We believe that after these 100 days, our movement will put a moral pressure on the government to accede to our demands, because the weather will also worsen,” said Darshan Pal, spokesperson for the farmer unions’ coalition Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), or United Farmers’ Front. “It will weaken the government, which will have to sit down with us to talk again.”
The government says the reforms will bring investment to the antiquated agriculture markets, and that new entrants would operate alongside government-regulated market yards, where farmers are assured of a minimum price for their produce.
Several rounds of talks between the government and farm leaders have failed and the movement has gained widespread support, including from international celebrities, posing one of the biggest challenges to Modi since he took power in 2014.
As the harvesting season begins this month, Pal said neighbors and friends back in the villages would help tend to farms while he and other farmers carry on the protests.
The capital typically has harsh summers with temperatures rising up to 45 degree Celsius, but Pal said that won’t hinder the movement.
“The laws are like a death warrant to us,” he said. “We are prepared for the long haul.”