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.


Friend of Manchester Arena bomber to be released on parole

Updated 26 November 2020

Friend of Manchester Arena bomber to be released on parole

  • Abedi visited Abdallah in prison twice and the pair were in regular telephone contact discussing martyrdom
  • Abdallah has “important evidence” about the background to the deadly attack

LONDON: A friend of the Manchester Arena bomber imprisoned on terror charges is to be released on parole.
Abdalraouf Abdallah, who has “important evidence” about the background to the deadly attack, has refused to cooperate with the public inquiry into it, The Guardian reported.
He was visited by attacker Salman Abedi in jail in the months leading up to the arena bombing in which 22 people lost their lives and hundreds more were injured.
Abedi visited him in prison twice and the pair were in regular telephone contact discussing martyrdom, the inquiry heard.
Abdallah was jailed in 2016 for more than five years for involvement in helping people join extremists in Syria. Despite his refusal to speak to lawyers for the inquiry about his links with Abedi, Abdallah will be released on parole.
He is claiming legal privilege by refusing to answer questions that may incriminate him, the hearing into the attack was told.
“We have no doubt he is a witness with important evidence to give. We are continuing to pursue this line of inquiry. We hope on reflection he will cooperate, so will press for him to give evidence before the inquiry,” Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, previously said.
“Salman Abedi’s relationship with Abdalraouf Abdallah was one of some significance in the period prior to the bombing and we are determined to get to the bottom of it,” Greaney added.
Abedi visited Abdallah in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison in February 2015 while he was on remand for terror offenses and in January 2017 at another prison in Liverpool.