Democratic Senator Welch says Biden should withdraw from the presidential race

Democratic Senator Welch says Biden should withdraw from the presidential race
Democratic Senator Peter Welch said President Joe Biden should end his bid for re-election. (Reuters/File)
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Updated 11 July 2024
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Democratic Senator Welch says Biden should withdraw from the presidential race

Democratic Senator Welch says Biden should withdraw from the presidential race

WASHINGTON: Democratic Senator Peter Welch said President Joe Biden should end his bid for re-election.

“For the good of the country, I’m calling on President Biden to withdraw from the race,” Welch said in an op-ed column published on Wednesday in the Washington Post.


Joe Biden continues to recover from COVID-19, stays out of public view after ending his 2024 campaign

Joe Biden continues to recover from COVID-19, stays out of public view after ending his 2024 campaign
Updated 16 sec ago
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Joe Biden continues to recover from COVID-19, stays out of public view after ending his 2024 campaign

Joe Biden continues to recover from COVID-19, stays out of public view after ending his 2024 campaign
  • The president was last seen in public late Wednesday after arriving at a US air base in Dover, Delaware
  • Joe Biden had completed his 10th dose of the COVID-fighting medication Paxlovid on Monday morning
REHOBOTH BEACH, Delaware: President Joe Biden’s “symptoms have almost resolved completely” from COVID-19, according to his physician, as the president on Monday remained out of public view for the fifth straight day.
Biden called into the Wilmington, Delaware, headquarters of his former campaign during a visit by Vice President Kamala Harris, whose bid for the White House has been endorsed by Biden. The president sought to pep up the staff, urging them to give “every bit” of their “heart and soul” to Harris. Biden also vowed to be “out on the road” campaigning for his vice president.
“If I didn’t have Covid, I’d be standing there with you,” said Biden, whose voice sounded a touch gravely.
The president was last seen in public late Wednesday after arriving at a US air base in Dover, Delaware, after testing positive for COVID-19 while campaigning in Las Vegas earlier in the day. He then motorcaded to his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The White House says Biden plans to return to the White House on Tuesday afternoon.
Biden’s physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, said that the president had completed his 10th dose of the COVID-fighting medication Paxlovid on Monday morning and continued to perform all of his presidential duties.
“His symptoms have almost resolved completely. His pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature remain absolutely normal,” O’Connor wrote. “His oxygen saturation continues to be excellent on room air. His lungs remain clear.”
The White House said Biden received separate briefings on Monday from homeland security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall and national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Both briefings were conducted virtually.
Biden’s public schedule for the week has remained clear as he recovers from the virus, but he said in his letter on Sunday that he planned to deliver an address to the nation this week to discuss his decision to end his candidacy.
Biden plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House Thursday, according to a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the White House announcement.
Biden also plans to meet at the White House later this week with the families of Americans who are still being held hostage in Gaza, according to a statement from the group of families who met privately with Sullivan earlier Monday.
It would be the second time that Biden has met with the families. The families again publicly urged Israel and Hamas to come to an agreement on a ceasefire deal that would release their loved ones. Biden in late May proposed a three-phased deal aimed at returning remaining hostages taken by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel and could potentially lead to a permanent truce to end the nine-month war in Gaza.
“We’re going to keep working to an end to the war in Gaza,” Biden said during his call-in to the campaign headquarters. “I’ll be working really closely with the Israelis and with the Palestinians to try to work out how we can get the Gaza war to end, and Middle East peace, and get all those hostages home. I think we’re on the verge of being able to do that.”

Bangladesh arrest total approaches 1,200: tally

Bangladesh arrest total approaches 1,200: tally
Updated 20 min 39 sec ago
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Bangladesh arrest total approaches 1,200: tally

Bangladesh arrest total approaches 1,200: tally
  • At least 173 people have died, including several police officers, according to a separate count
  • A curfew has been imposed and soldiers deployed across the South Asian country

DHAKA: The number of arrests in days of violence in Bangladesh approached the 1,200 mark in an AFP tally on Tuesday, after protests over employment quotas sparked widespread unrest.
At least 173 people have died, including several police officers, according to a separate AFP count of victims reported by police and hospitals.
What began as demonstrations against politicized admission quotas for sought-after government jobs snowballed last week into some of the worst unrest of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s tenure.
The student group leading the demonstrations suspended its protests Monday for 48 hours, with its leader saying they had not wanted reform “at the expense of so much blood.”
A curfew has been imposed and soldiers deployed across the South Asian country, while a nationwide Internet blackout since Thursday has drastically restricted the flow of information.
On Sunday, the Supreme Court pared back the number of reserved jobs for specific groups, including the descendants of “freedom fighters” from Bangladesh’s 1971 liberation war against Pakistan.
The restrictions remained in place Tuesday after the army chief said the law and order situation had been brought “under control.”
At least 200 people had been arrested in the central districts of Narayanganj and Narsingdi, their police chiefs said, while at least 80 had been held in Bogra.
At least 168 had been arrested in the industrial city of Gazipur, 75 in the northern city of Rangpur, and 60 in Barisal in the south, senior police officials said.
In the rural and industrial part of Dhaka 80 people were arrested, on top of an earlier figure of at least 532 for the capital itself, giving a total of 1,195.
There was a heavy military presence in Dhaka on Tuesday, with bunkers set up at some intersections and key roads blocked with barbed wire.
But more people were on the streets, as were hundreds of rickshaws.
“I did not drive rickshaws the first few days of curfew, But today I didn’t have any choice,” rickshaw driver Hanif said. “If I don’t do it, my family will go hungry.”


UN says nearly 40 million people had HIV in 2023 – and every minute someone died

UN says nearly 40 million people had HIV in 2023 – and every minute someone died
Updated 34 min 36 sec ago
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UN says nearly 40 million people had HIV in 2023 – and every minute someone died

UN says nearly 40 million people had HIV in 2023 – and every minute someone died
  • New infections rising in three regions: the MENA, Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Latin America
  • Gender inequality is exacerbating the risks for girls and women, new UN report says

UNITED NATIONS: Nearly 40 million people were living with the HIV virus that causes AIDS last year, over 9 million weren’t getting any treatment, and the result was that every minute someone died of AIDS-related causes, the UN said in a new report launched Monday.
While advances are being made to end the global AIDS pandemic, the report said progress has slowed, funding is shrinking, and new infections are rising in three regions: the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and Latin America.
In 2023, around 630,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses, a significant decline from the 2.1 million deaths in 2004. But the latest figure is more than double the target for 2025 of fewer than 250,000 deaths, according to the report by UNAIDS, the UN agency leading the global effort to end the pandemic.
Gender inequality is exacerbating the risks for girls and women, the report said, citing the extraordinarily high incidence of HIV among adolescents and young women in parts of Africa.
The proportion of new infections globally among marginalized communities that face stigma and discrimination – sex workers, men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs also increased to 55 percent in 2023 from 45 percent in 2010, it said.
UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said: “World leaders pledged to end the AIDS pandemic as a public health threat by 2030, and they can uphold their promise, but only if they ensure that the HIV response has the resources it needs, and that the human rights of everyone are protected.”
As part of that pledge, leaders vowed to reduce annual new HIV infections to below 370,000 by 2025, but the report said in 2023 new infections were more than three times higher at 1.3 million.
Last year, among the 39.9 million people globally living with HIV, 86 percent knew they were infected, 77 percent were accessing treatment, and for 72 percent the virus was suppressed, the report said
Cesar Nunez, director of the UNAIDS New York office, told a news conference there has been progress in HIV treatments — injections that can stay in the body for six months, but the two doses cost $40,000 yearly, out of reach for all but the richest people with the virus.
He said UNAIDS has been asking the manufacturer to make it available at lower cost to low and middle-income countries.
Nunez said there have also been seven cases where people with HIV who were treated for leukemia emerged with no sign of the HIV virus in their system.
He said injections and the seven cases will be discussed at the 25th International AIDS Conference which began Monday in Munich.
At present, he said, daily treatment with pills costs about $75 per person per year. It has allowed many countries to increase the number of people with HIV to receive treatment.
Nunez said UNAIDS will continue advocating for a vaccine to prevent AIDS.


Crashed Japan navy choppers found on seabed

Crashed Japan navy choppers found on seabed
Updated 23 July 2024
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Crashed Japan navy choppers found on seabed

Crashed Japan navy choppers found on seabed

TOKYO:  Japan’s navy has located on the seabed the wreckage of two helicopters that crashed more than three months ago, killing eight crew members.

The SH-60K helicopters, each crewed by four people, were conducting submarine location drills off the Izu Islands in the Pacific Ocean in April when they collided.

To date, only one body has been found while the other seven were declared dead in June by the Maritime Self-Defense Forces after a fruitless search operation.

A deep-sea probe by a national research institute that began this month led to the discovery of the two aircraft “on the seabed near the site of the crash,” according to a navy statement released Monday.

“The seabed investigation is continuing, and we are assessing whether pulling up the bodies of the aircraft will be possible,” it said.

While cognizant of the proximity to each other, the two helicopters “never attempted to avoid each other until the moment of the collision,” suggesting lapses in standard lookout practices, a defense ministry report said earlier this month.

The report also concluded altitude control of the aircraft was “insufficient.”

In April 2023, a Japanese army UH-60JA helicopter with 10 people on board crashed off Miyako island in southern Okinawa. There were no survivors.


India’s Modi faces delicate balancing act in post-election budget

India’s Modi faces delicate balancing act in post-election budget
Updated 23 July 2024
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India’s Modi faces delicate balancing act in post-election budget

India’s Modi faces delicate balancing act in post-election budget

NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first post-election budget on Tuesday will seek to lay out an economic vision that balances fiscal prudence with the expectations of disgruntled voters and the demands of his coalition partners.

“This budget will decide the direction of our work for the next five years and this will lay the foundation of fulfilling our objective to make India a developed country by 2047,” Modi said on Monday ahead of the budget, due to be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to secure a majority in the election last month, making it dependant on allies to form a government for the first time since he came to power more than a decade ago.

The budget is expected to cut taxes for the middle class, provide relief for distressed rural areas and heed the demands of two key coalition partners — Andhra Pradesh’s Telugu Desam Party and Bihar’s Janata Dal (United) — for billions of dollars in additional funding for their regions.

“Weaker political capital, uneven growth story with tepid consumption, and missing vigour in private capex and the rural sector form the backdrop of the upcoming Budget,” Madhavi Arora, an economist at Emkay, said.

The government will also look to keep at bay a resurgent opposition which has criticized the Modi government for a lack o f jobs, high cost of living and growing income inequality.

According to a report by World Inequality Lab, wealth concentrated in the richest 1 percent of India’s population is at its highest in six decades, while youth unemployment stands at over 17 percent according to government estimates.

INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING

A government report published on Monday forecast economic growth of between 6.5 percent and 7 percent for the current fiscal year, slightly below consensus analysts’ estimates.

The government does, however, have enough cover from the central bank to ensure it stays on course to narrow the budget gap and finance its infrastructure projects.

In May, the Reserve Bank of India transferred a $25 billion surplus transfer to the government that will help it cover tax cuts, help for rural areas and coalition partners’ demands for regional funding.

Over the last three years, the government nearly doubled spending on long-term infrastructure projects as a way to push growth and generate jobs and plans to spend 11 trillion rupees ($131.51 billion) on such projects this year.

Some economists expect the budget could include improvements to an incentive scheme for domestic and foreign companies to boost manufacturing in India in 14 sectors including electronics, semiconductors and pharmaceuticals.

On Monday, the government’s economic survey warned of rising risks from a surging equity market, which is also drawing retail investors into risky derivatives trading.

To discourage such risky investments, economists say the budget could include measures such as an increase in capital gains tax on equity investments held long-term. However, such a move could be a major dampener for Indian equities and hit the stock market, according to Morgan Stanley.

Any hike in transaction tax on derivatives would also be a negative surprise, Jefferies said.

Finance Minister Sitharaman is due to present the budget from 0530 GMT.