Trump or Biden? Haley voters are split

Trump or Biden? Haley voters are split
US President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump. (AFP)
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Updated 08 March 2024
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Trump or Biden? Haley voters are split

Trump or Biden? Haley voters are split
  • Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN when Donald Trump was president, got three million votes in the Republican primary

WASHINGTON: More than three million Americans voted in the Republican primary for Nikki Haley to be their candidate to fight the 2024 presidential election — before she conceded this week to Donald Trump.

That leaves a significant portion of the party with no champion to back, and the choice of staying at home or switching loyalties to Trump or even Democratic President Joe Biden.
AFP spoke to four Haley supporters about their plans for November.

Adam Caldwell was so impressed with Haley’s candidacy that he drove hours on his birthday to attend the 52-year-old former UN ambassador’s campaign launch in February 2023.
“To me she represents where the future of the party should be headed,” says the tall, dark-haired North Carolina businessman.
But after watching his candidate lose virtually every Republican nominating contest to Trump, 77, he knew she would need a “miracle” to maintain a credible challenge through “Super Tuesday” — this week’s 15-state voting night.
Caldwell says he was turned off by Trump due to the events of January 6, 2021, when supporters of the former president ransacked the US Congress to halt the peaceful transfer of power to 81-year-old Biden.
But voting for Biden in November is out of the question, he says.
“I’ve been a Republican all my life,” he shrugs, acknowledging that this means he will have to hold his nose and vote for Trump.
“I just hope Donald Trump knows how to welcome Nikki Haley’s supporters,” he huffs to AFP.

Mallory Macon is also a Republican, but this South Carolina nurse “will probably vote for Biden” in the presidential election.
“I’m strongly against Trump being president again,” says the 28-year-old, although she voted for the tycoon in 2020.
Explaining her enmity, the young mom points to the Supreme Court gutting federal protections for abortion access after Trump appointed three justices to the bench.
She said she appreciates that Biden, despite being a practicing Catholic, continues to support free access to abortion.

As an independent, 59-year-old Lisa’s vote is coveted above most others.
Independents could tip the balance for either Biden or Trump in an election that looks set to be decided by a few hundred thousand votes across a handful of swing states.
For Lisa, Trump’s criminal exposure — he faces 91 felony counts across four jurisdictions — makes him unfit for office and she supported Haley in New Hampshire’s primary in January.
She says she will now shift her support to Biden — “the lesser of two evils.
“I cannot vote for Donald Trump,” the lawyer told AFP. “He’s a threat to democracy, he’s horrible. He’s a criminal.”

Of the four voters who spoke to AFP, Mary Rickert was the least certain about which way she would turn.
The septuagenarian, who works on a ranch in northern California, says she’s “not sure yet” who to support on November 5.
“I’m not really excited about either option,” she confides, a little dejectedly.
Her main concern? The age of both candidates.
“I’m in my 70s also and there’s a certain amount of stamina and clarity of thinking that’s needed, so that’s a concern of mine,” she says.
She says she has resolved to “wait and see what happens.”


Kyiv hospital strike highlights Russia’s sanctions evasion

Kyiv hospital strike highlights Russia’s sanctions evasion
Updated 23 sec ago
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Kyiv hospital strike highlights Russia’s sanctions evasion

Kyiv hospital strike highlights Russia’s sanctions evasion
  • The July 8 Kh-101s missile attack, which killed two people and damaged large portions of the surrounding buildings of the clinic treating about 600 patients, provoked international outrage
  • Russia is now producing eight times as many Kh-101s missiles as before its invasion of Ukraine in 2022, says report

WARSAW: The Kh-101 cruise missile that struck a children’s hospital in Kyiv in early July perfectly illustrates the ability of the Russian defense industry to overcome Western efforts to cut its supply of key components.
The July 8 attack, which killed two people and damaged large portions of the surrounding buildings of the clinic treating about 600 patients, provoked international outrage.
Yet “just since the beginning of this week, Russia has used more than 700 guided aerial bombs, more than 170 attack drones of various types and almost 80 missiles against Ukraine,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Long gone are the days when Western military officials would report that Russian military production capacity was insufficient to sustain the war in Ukraine, or when a Ukrainian official said Russian strikes would soon stop because of a lack of ammunition.
The Financial Times reported, without naming its sources, that Russia is now producing eight times as many Kh-101s as before its invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
Experts consulted by AFP would not confirm the figures, but all underscored Russia’s increased capacity to build more of these crucial cruise missiles.
“I would say the real number might be even higher,” said Vladislav Inozemtsev, a Russian economist who lives in exile. He estimates that Russia will make 700 to 750 this year and that production could reach 1,000 units in 2025.
“In April 2024, Ukrainian sources reported monthly production of 40 Kh-101 missiles,” much higher than the 56 produced over the whole of 2021, said a Western source in the arms sector.
However, the operating systems of these missiles require many components that are made in countries that support Kyiv and have imposed sanctions on Russia.
US-made AMD memory cards, Texas Instruments microcircuits and Dutch-made Nexperia buffer chips have all been found in the debris of Kh-101 strikes, according to the official site war-sanctions.gur.gov.ua.
“Not all the electronic components inside of Russian missiles are military grade. Many of them if not most are consumer-grade or industrial-grade and still available for Russia on the global market,” said Pavel Luzin, a specialist in Russian defense policies.
“Moreover, there was a storage of electronic components in Russia made before 2022.”

With the help of friendly countries, Russia has set up trading companies and “shows no signs of vulnerability in its supply chains,” said an industrial source.
“First, there are the Chinese who supply the Russians with many kinds of dual-use products which are successfully used by the military industry,” Inozemtsev said.
The industrial source added: “The main foreign components found on the Kh-101 wrecks today are American or Taiwanese commercially available processors, purchased by Russian trade missions in embassies abroad or through shell companies.”
Some countries have become important hubs.
In a report published in late 2023, British research institute Rusi said that “faced with losing access to essential supply lines, Russia adapted, rerouting trade flows through friendly jurisdictions and bordering countries, often using complex front-company networks to evade scrutiny.”
“For example, in 2022, Armenia’s microelectronics imports from the US and EU increased by over 500 and 200 percent, respectively, with most of these later re-exported to Russia.”
Rusi also noted that the value of Kazakhstan’s microelectronics exports to Russia increased from around $250,000 in 2021 to over $18 million in 2022.
But sometimes these sales pass directly through Western countries, Rusi said, such as purchases by Russian company Compel JSC from Germany.
A Stuttgart court sentenced a 59-year-old Russian-German man on Wednesday to almost seven years in prison for having supplied 120,000 components and other pieces of equipment to Russia between January 2020 and May 2023.
“There is little that can be done to stop these flows,” Inozemtsev said.
“The only efficient thing would be to consider sanctions against Western semiconductor producers to force them to better vet their clients. But such measures would be too painful for Western companies.”
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Trump mocks Democrats in campaign rally, compares Pelosi to a dog

Trump mocks Democrats in campaign rally, compares Pelosi to a dog
Updated 35 min 41 sec ago
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Trump mocks Democrats in campaign rally, compares Pelosi to a dog

Trump mocks Democrats in campaign rally, compares Pelosi to a dog
  • Says the Democratic Party is being undemocratic for annointing Biden as its presidential nominee, only to try and yank it away from him
  • With Biden's poll numbers falling after his debate debacle, Trump and his supporters want Biden to stay on in the race

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan: Donald Trump held his first campaign rally on Saturday since he narrowly escaped an assassination attempt one week ago, mocking Democrats and at one point comparing former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to a “dog.”
Trump, who called for national unity in a speech on Thursday as he accepted his party’s presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention, made no mention of that in his remarks before a raucous crowd of supporters in Grand Rapids.
He frequently mocked Democratic President Joe Biden as feeble. He derided senior Democrats, including Pelosi, for trying to persuade Biden to end his re-election bid.
Referring to Pelosi, Trump said: “She’s turned on him like a dog. She’s as crazy as a bed bug.”
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Trump comparing Pelosi to a dog.
Fresh from his nominating convention where his takeover of the Republican Party was cemented, Trump appeared in Grand Rapids with his new vice presidential pick, Senator J.D. Vance from Ohio. They took the stage in their first campaign event together with the Republican Party unified behind them.
In contrast, it is no longer certain that President Joe Biden will be the Democratic Party’s nominee facing Trump in the Nov. 5 election.
Biden has faced calls from some senior Democrats to end his re-election bid after his poor debate performance last month raised concerns over whether he could beat Trump or complete another four-year term.
Trump attacked Democrats, saying they wanted to kick Biden off the ticket after he won their presidential nominating contest.
“They have a couple of problems. No. 1, they have no idea who their candidate is,” Trump said to laughter and jeers. “This guy goes and he gets the votes and now they want to take it away.”
“As you’re seeing, the Democrat Party is not the party of democracy. They’re really the enemies of democracy.”
He added: “And they keep saying, ‘He’s a threat to democracy.’ I’m saying, ‘What the hell did I do for democracy?’
Last week, I took a bullet for democracy.”
Trump referred to the assassination attempt several times on Saturday. “I hope I don’t have to go through that again. It was so horrible,” Trump said.
Opinion polls show a tight race between the Trump and Biden at a national level but Biden trailing Trump in the battleground states that will likely determine the winner.
Many Democrats fear he may not have a realistic path to victory and that the party needs a new candidate to take on Trump.
There was a heavy police presence at Trump’s rally in Grand Rapids on Saturday, with police on every street corner for several blocks.
US Secret Service officers were positioned on the top balconies in the Van Andel Arena, giving them a bird’s eye view of the crowd inside.
Bag searches for those entering the indoor arena earlier in the day were long and thorough, and the Secret Service sweep of the building took about an hour longer than usual.
The rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, last weekend was outdoors. At that event, the gunman was able to scale the roof of a building outside the Secret Service perimeter before opening fire on Trump, clipping his ear, killing a rally-goer and wounding several others.
The Secret Service, which is responsible for protecting Trump, declined to comment on security for the Grand Rapids event. An investigation is under way into the security failures at the Butler rally.
Trump gave a detailed account of his narrow brush with death in his convention speech on Thursday, telling the audience that he was only talking to them “by the grace of Almighty God.”
Trump’s former physician, Ronny Jackson, said on Saturday that the former president is recovering as expected from the gunshot wound to his right ear, but noted intermittent bleeding and said Trump may require a hearing exam.
The bullet fired by the would-be assassin
at the July 13 rally in Pennsylvania came “less than a quarter of an inch from entering his head,” said Jackson, a Republican congressman from Texas who had served as physician to Presidents Trump and Barack Obama.
 


Residents protest over power cuts in southern Russian city

Residents protest over power cuts in southern Russian city
Updated 21 July 2024
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Residents protest over power cuts in southern Russian city

Residents protest over power cuts in southern Russian city
  • One video posted on the Baza Telegram channel appeared to show police making at least two arrests during Saturday’s protest

MOSCOW: Residents angry over recent power cuts in southern Russia staged a rare public protest on Saturday in the city of Krasnodar, posts on social media said, as the local governor blamed a heatwave for causing the blackouts.
The south of Russia has been affected by unusually hot weather that has caused mass power outages in several regions and led to the shutdown earlier this week of one of four power units at the Rostov nuclear power plant, the region’s largest.
The unit has been put back into operation since then.
“There has been abnormal heat in the Krasnodar region for a week now. The load on the energy system is colossal. I know and understand all the indignation of residents due to power outages,” Veniamin Kondratyev, the governor of Krasnodar region, said on the Telegram messaging app.
He said power capacities were not currently sufficient to meet peak demand during the hot summer months.
One video posted on the Baza Telegram channel appeared to show police making at least two arrests during Saturday’s protest.
Russian authorities have clamped down on any protest activity, especially politically laced dissent, since the start of the conflict with Ukraine in February 2022, and public protests are very rare given the risk of arrest.


Nigeria fines Meta $220m for ‘violations’

Nigeria fines Meta $220m for ‘violations’
Updated 21 July 2024
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Nigeria fines Meta $220m for ‘violations’

Nigeria fines Meta $220m for ‘violations’
  • Meta’s platforms — WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram — are among the most popular social media in the country.

LAGOS: Nigeria has issued a $220 million fine against Meta, the parent company of Facebook and WhatsApp, for “multiple and repeated” violations.
The country’s Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) on Friday accused Meta of violating the country’s data protection and consumer rights laws on Facebook and WhatsApp.
The FCCPC’s chief executive officer Adamu Abdullahi said the investigations the commission carried out in conjunction with the Nigeria Data Protection Commission between May 2021 and December 2023 showed that it engaged in “invasive practices against data subjects/consumers in Nigeria.”
Abdullahi accused Meta of discriminatory practices, abuse of market dominance, sharing Nigerians’ personal data without authorization and denying Nigerians the right to determine how their data are used.
Apart from the hefty fine, the FCCPC boss insisted that Meta must “comply with prevailing law and cease the exploitation of Nigerian consumers and their market abuse.”
It ordered the company to “desist from future similar or other conduct/practices that do not meet nationally applicable standards.”
Meta did not immediately respond to a request for a response to the fine. But the FCCPC said the company was aware of its 38-month investigation.
About three quarters of the 200 million people in Africa’s most populous country are younger than 24 — a generation that is also hyper-connected to social media.
The country had some 164.3 million Internet subscriptions as of March, according to the figures published by the National Communication Commission (NCC) on its website.
Meta’s platforms — WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram — are among the most popular social media in the country.
The minister for communication and the digital economy, Bosun Tijani, said in December that there were “over 51 million WhatsApp users in Nigeria.”
The European Union (EU) accused Meta at the beginning of July of breaching the bloc’s digital rules, paving the way for potential fines worth billions of euros.
The EU said Meta’s new ad-free subscription model for Facebook and Instagram “forced millions of users” in the bloc to pay to avoid data collection or agree to share their data with Facebook and Instagram to keep using the platforms for free.


Poland calls on EU to stress ties with US to counter Russian ‘disinformation’

Poland calls on EU to stress ties with US to counter Russian ‘disinformation’
Updated 21 July 2024
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Poland calls on EU to stress ties with US to counter Russian ‘disinformation’

Poland calls on EU to stress ties with US to counter Russian ‘disinformation’
  • Poland calls for positive action ahead of the US presidential election
  • The Kremlin has said it would not meddle in the November US election

BRUSSELS: Poland wants the European Union to launch a campaign in the United States to raise awareness with the American public about the importance of the joint relationship.
In a paper prepared for an EU foreign ministers’ meeting on Monday, Poland calls for positive action ahead of the US presidential election on Nov. 5 to counter what it describes as Russian “disinformation” aimed at sowing division between the EU and Washington.
“At this critical moment in history, it is imperative that we collectively take swift and robust action to strengthen the transatlantic relations through strategic communication about the EU in the US,” the paper, seen by Reuters, says.
It adds: “This means scaling up our de-bunking and, even more importantly, pre-bunking of Russian disinformation and launching campaigns which set the record straight about where Europe stands today and about the benefits of diplomacy, collective security and open society.”
The Kremlin has said it would not meddle in the November US election. It has also dismissed US allegations that it orchestrated campaigns to sway the 2016 and 2020 US presidential elections.
Poland’s paper said Russian state media and online accounts tied to the Kremlin were spreading and amplifying misleading content about US immigration and border security, misstating the impact of immigration, highlighting stories about crimes committed by immigrants, and warning of dire consequences if the US does not crack down at its border with Mexico.
“We should expect much more is to come, as eroding support for Ukraine remains Russia’s top priority. We need to remind the American public, especially the younger generation of the deliverables our decades-long partnership has brought to the US economy,” the paper said.
Poland has said it has been the target of numerous Russian attempts at destabilization and election interference because of its role in supplying military aid to its neighbor Ukraine, allegations Russia has dismissed.
“We should raise awareness among the American public about the size of European aid to Ukraine and how that effort helps save Ukrainian lives,” the Polish paper said in reference to claims by US presidential candidate Donald Trump that European aid to Ukraine was much smaller than that of the US
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the EU has provided 107 billion euros ($116.38 billion) to Ukraine and has agreed on a further 50 billion euros for the next four years.
The US Council on Foreign Relations estimates US support for Ukraine at $107 billion.