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Joe Biden officially announces 2020 U.S. presidential run – National

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Joe Biden officially announces 2020 U.S. presidential run National

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Former U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden formally joined the crowded Democratic presidential contest on Thursday, betting that his working-class appeal and ties to Barack Obama’s presidency will help him overcome questions about his place in today’s increasingly liberal Democratic Party.

He made his announcement in a video posted on Twitter, declaring, “We are in the battle for the soul of this nation.”

“If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation,” Biden said. “Who we are. And I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”

Thursday’s announcement marks the unofficial end of the chaotic early phase of the 2020 presidential season. The field now features at least 20 Democrats jockeying for the chance to take on U.S. President Donald Trump next year. Several lesser-known candidates may still join the race.


READ MORE:
Biden’s political platform expected to be extension of Obama’s

 

Biden, a 76-year-old lifelong politician, becomes an instant front-runner alongside Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is leading many polls and has proved to be a successful fundraiser. Among Democrats, Biden has unmatched international and legislative experience, and he is among the best-known faces in U.S. politics.

But the anti-establishment wave that swept Trump into office has not been kind to either party’s statesmen. Biden’s team worries about his fundraising ability and his tendency to commit gaffes. His centrist approach in a party moving left on major policy debates raises questions about his appeal.

Four years Trump’s senior, Biden would be the oldest person ever elected president should he win. Yet his allies believe the sceptics will ultimately warm to his strong connections to the Obama years.

WATCH: Biden calls on Trump ‘to be President,’ not be so focused on his image





Biden has said he would campaign as an “Obama-Biden Democrat,” who is as pragmatic as he is progressive. He’s aiming to be a conduit between working-class white voters and the younger, more diverse voters who backed Obama in historic numbers.

The Republican Party wasted no time seeking to undercut Biden’s record, releasing a video on Wednesday questioning economic growth under Obama and Biden while resurrecting conservative arguments against Obama’s health care law and a failed investment in green energy company Solyndra.


READ MORE:
Joe Biden jokes about having ‘permission’ to hug union leader

The video ends with the words, “Joe Biden: Backwards, not forwards.”

Yet privately, Trump allies have warned that Biden might be the biggest re-election threat given the former vice-president’s potential appeal among the white working class in the Midwest, the region that gave Trump a path to the presidency.

The Republican video notably does not argue a Biden candidacy would lead to socialism, as Trump and his backers have said would happen with many in the large 2020 Democratic presidential field.

Biden is paying special attention to Pennsylvania, a state that swung to Trump in 2016 after voting for Democratic presidential candidates for decades.

WATCH: Joe Biden ‘not sorry for his intentions’ following allegations of inappropriate touching





The former vice-president will be in the state three times within the opening weeks of his campaign. He’ll be in Philadelphia on Thursday evening headlining a fundraiser at the home of David L. Cohen, executive senior vice-president of Comcast. Biden is aiming to raise $500,000 at the event.

He will hold an event in Pittsburgh on Monday and will return to Philadelphia in the next two weeks for a major rally.

His plans were described by people who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss his schedule and fundraising goals.

With a record that stretches half a century, Biden’s challenges are easy to find.

Most recently, he struggled to respond to claims that he touched 2014 Nevada lieutenant governor nominee Lucy Flores’ shoulders and kissed the back of her head before a fall campaign event. A handful of other women have made similar claims, though none has alleged sexual misconduct.


READ MORE:
Some Democrats worry about 2020 prospects as candidates rush to embrace the left

Biden initially said he didn’t recall the Flores incident but credited her with coming forward. He took a different approach in a subsequent statement, saying, “Never did I believe I acted inappropriately.”

Biden later pledged in an online video to be “much more mindful” of respecting personal space but joked two days later that he “had permission” to hug a male union leader before addressing the group’s national conference.

The episode offered a stark reminder of Biden’s proclivity to gaffes and his long record in public office that has never felt the full glare of the spotlight that comes along with being a presidential front-runner.

His first White House bid in 1988 ended after a plagiarism scandal. He dropped out of the 2008 race after earning less than 1 per cent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses. Later that year, Obama named Biden as his running mate.

More recently, Biden’s willingness to work with Republicans has caused him political headaches.

WATCH: Joe Biden says he believes many Democrats could defeat Trump, predicts good chance at winning Senate





He was forced to walk back a comment last month that Vice-President Mike Pence is “a decent guy” after intense blowback from liberal activists upset with Pence’s opposition to gay rights.

In recent weeks, Biden also has been repeatedly forced to explain his 1991 decision, as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, to allow Anita Hill to face difficult questions from an all-male panel about allegations of sexual harassment against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, who later was confirmed to the high court.

Biden has since apologized for his role in the hearing. But in the #MeToo era, particularly after the contentious confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the episode remains a significant political liability.

Likewise, Biden once played a key role in anti-crime legislation that had a disproportionately negative impact on African Americans. And while several 2020 Democratic contenders have embraced the possibility of reparations to African Americans for slavery in recent weeks, Biden last month struggled to explain comments he made as a freshman senator in 1975 about the school busing debate.


READ MORE:
Is 76-year-old Joe Biden too old to run for president in 2020?

Biden’s 2020 bid comes four years after he opted against challenging Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic contest.

In a book he wrote about conversations with his dying son, he opened up about the difficult choice to sit out the last presidential race: abandon a careerlong quest for the presidency or lose precious time with a family he’d held together through tragedy, from his first wife’s and his daughter’s deaths in a 1972 car accident to son Beau Biden’s 2015 death from cancer.

“He was worried that what I’d worked on my whole life, the things that mattered to me the most since I was a kid, that I’d walk away,” Biden said of his son.

Ultimately, the draw to take on Trump in 2020 was too strong.



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FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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FOREIGN NEWS

Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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