Michelle Obama, LeBron James team to help boost early US voting

Former US first lady Michelle Obama is also launching a challenge to encourage more people to vote before Nov. 3. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 19 October 2020

Michelle Obama, LeBron James team to help boost early US voting

  • ‘Millions of Americans have already cast their ballot and with only 21 days until Election Day’

WASHINGTON: A voter initiative led by Michelle Obama is partnering with a similar group founded by NBA star LeBron James and other prominent Black athletes and entertainers to sponsor events in major US cities starting next week to generate excitement about voting early for the Nov. 3 election.
Mrs. Obama’s When We All Vote and James’ More Than A Vote are teaming to provide information, transportation, food, music, personal protective equipment and other support at early voting sites around the country Oct. 18-31.
“Millions of Americans have already cast their ballot and with only 21 days until Election Day. Making your plan to vote early is critical,” Mrs. Obama said Tuesday in a statement to The Associated Press. “It’s now up to us to do everything in our power to get our friends and family ready to vote early and safely together. We can’t leave anyone behind.”
The former first lady is also launching a challenge to encourage more people to vote before Nov. 3. Her group also announced more than $1 million in grants and supplies to local partner organizations to host their own activities.
Last week, Mrs. Obama repeated her endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in a lengthy new video message that was sharply critical of Republican President Donald Trump.
In-person events are planned for Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Detroit; Los Angeles; Milwaukee; Orlando, Florida; and Philadelphia. They will be held within walking distance of early voting sites and include free food from the nonprofit World Central Kitchen, founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres, DoorDash and other providers.
Music, celebrity appearances, personal protective equipment and support for voters’ rights from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and the Election Protection coalition will also be provided. Lyft has agreed to provide discounted transportation.
When We All Vote also plans to host a virtual couch party on Oct. 23.
Other partners include BET, Comedy Central, Johnson & Johnson, MTV, the National Urban League, Radio One and United Way Worldwide.
All attendees and staff on the ground will be required to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Philippines evacuates nearly 1 million as Typhoon Goni nears

Updated 31 October 2020

Philippines evacuates nearly 1 million as Typhoon Goni nears

  • Typhoon Goni is expected to slam into Catanduanes Island Sunday morning with wind speeds of up to 205 kilometers per hour
  • Civil Defense chief Ricardo Jalad said “almost a million” people had left their homes in the Bicol region

LEGAZPI, Philippines: Nearly a million people in the Philippines were evacuated from their homes Saturday as the most powerful typhoon of the year so far barrelled toward the country, with authorities warning of “destructive” winds and flooding.
Typhoon Goni is expected to slam into Catanduanes Island Sunday morning with wind speeds of up to 205 kilometers per hour (127 miles per hour) before crossing the main island of Luzon, the state weather forecaster said.
It comes a week after Typhoon Molave hit the same region of the natural disaster-prone archipelago, killing 22 people and flooding low-lying villages and farmland, before crossing the South China Sea to Vietnam.
“It looks like we will have really strong winds, increasing the chances of widespread flooding and landslides,” Mark Timbal, spokesman for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, told local broadcaster ABS-CBN.
“Storm surges are imminent on our east coast. We are monitoring Mayon and Taal volcanoes for possible volcanic mud flows.”
Civil Defense chief Ricardo Jalad said “almost a million” people had left their homes in the Bicol region, which includes the southern part of Luzon and Catanduanes.
Authorities spent Saturday marshalling rescue vehicles, emergency response teams and relief goods ahead of the typhoon.
“Violent winds and intense rainfall” are expected that could trigger floods and landslides in an area of more than 20 million people, the weather service said.
There was a “high risk” of storm surges of more than three meters (10 feet) high along parts of the coast, it added.


Schools which have been empty since the start of the coronavirus pandemic are being used as emergency shelters as well as government-run evacuation centers and gymnasiums.
“Evacuating people is more difficult at this time because of Covid-19,” Bicol regional civil defense spokesman Alexis Naz told AFP.
Mary Ann Echague, 23, and her family fled their home in the coastal city of Legazpi in Bicol to an inland primary school where they were sheltering in a classroom with several other families.
“We fear the wrath of the typhoon,” said Echague, who was with her two children, parents and siblings. They had carried with them a portable stove, tinned meat, instant noodles, coffee, bread, blankets and pillows.
“Each time we’re hit by a typhoon our house gets damaged, since it’s made of wood and galvanized iron roofing,” she said.
“We have always managed. We find a way to get by.”
Hundreds of people have been left stranded after the coast guard ordered ferries and fishing boats into port in expectation of rough seas throwing up 15-meter waves.
Goni is expected to “weaken considerably” as it crosses Luzon and enters the South China Sea Monday morning, the state forecaster said.
The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons every year, which typically wipe out harvests, homes and infrastructure, keeping millions of people perennially poor.
Its deadliest on record was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which unleashed giant waves on the central city of Tacloban and left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in 2013.