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)
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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 military confirms death of militant leader

This photo taken on March 8, 2018 shows Philippine soldiers standing next to their armoured personnel carriers as they man a checkpoint along a highway near the clash site between government troops and militants in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province on the southern island of Mindanao. (AFP)
Updated 41 min 43 sec ago

Philippines military confirms death of militant leader

  • Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama fatally wounded in clash with troops in Mindanao in early September
  • He was a close associate of the slain ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon, who in 2016 was designated Daesh emir in the Philippines

MANILA: Military authorities on Friday confirmed the death of Furuji Indama, senior leader of the Daesh-affiliated Abu Sayyaf militant group based on Basilan Island in the southern Philippines.

Indama, who was wanted over his involvement in a string of deadly bombings and kidnappings, was fatally wounded in a clash with troops in Zamboanga Sibugay province, Mindanao, on Sept. 9, along with several other fighters.

Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan confirmed Indama’s death, adding: “We have been monitoring his family — they already know he is dead.”

Vinluan said that local officials have offered a cash reward to anyone who could pinpoint the location of Indama’s remains.

The militant leader is believed to have been buried on an island in Zamboanga Sibugay.

Vinluan said the ASG leader had sent text messages to relatives asking them to pray as he was severely wounded and “might not last long.”

The following day Indama’s cellphone “could no longer be reached.”

Idama’s death was announced following the killing of another faction member in a clash with government forces in Basilan province in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Indama was a close associate of the slain ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was designated as the Daesh emir of the Philippines in 2016.

After Hapilon was killed during the 2017 siege of Marawi City, Indama was touted as a likely replacement. However, a report by the US Department of Defense later named Sulu-based ASG leader Hadjan Sawadjaan as the new acting Daesh emir.

Indama is believed to have plotted a suicide bombing at a military checkpoint in Lamitan, Basilan, that killed 11 people in 2018.

In April 2016, Hapilon and Indama led 150 Abu Sayyaf fighters in an attack on government forces in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan, killing at least 18 soldiers and wounding more than 50 others.

Indama has been wanted for his involvement in the May 2001 kidnaping of 20 people, mostly foreigners, from the affluent Dos Palmas resort in Palawan.

One of the hostages, a US national, Guillermo Sobero, was beheaded by his captors. Officials said the ASG leader’s death is expected to leave the militant group in disarray. Many members have recently surrendered to government forces.

In July, the military said that Sawadjaan had been killed, but his death remains unconfirmed.