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Ted Cruz retains Texas Senate seat with victory over Beto O’Rourke – National




Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has managed to retain his Senate seat from Texas, fending off Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke in one of the most high-profile races of the U.S. midterm elections.

Cruz and O’Rourke were neck-and-neck as results came in, but the Calgary, Alta.-born Republican eventually pulled ahead. The Associated Press had Cruz with 51.1 per cent of the vote to O’Rourke’s 48.1 per cent, with 65 per cent of polls reporting.

“Texas came together behind a common-sense agenda of low taxes, low regulations and lots and lots of jobs,” Cruz told cheering supporters in Houston.

“Securing the border and keeping our community safe and defending the constitution and the bill of rights — that is a common-sense agenda that unites Texans from every part of the state.”

READ MORE: Beto O’Rourke bids to oust Ted Cruz, become Texas’ first Democratic senator in 30 years

The 47-year-old was first elected to the Senate in 2010 on a wave of fury in the conservative Tea Party movement over then-Democrat President Barack Obama.

He went on to sharply feud with then-candidate Donald Trump during his unsuccessful bid to become the Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential election, with Trump branding him “Lyin’ Ted.”

Recently, the president softened his tone on Cruz, campaigning for him in the run-up to the midterm elections and giving him a new nickname, “Beautiful Ted.”

WATCH: Trump praises Ted Cruz and describes Beto O’Rourke as ‘overrated’

In his remarks to supporters, Cruz also offered words of praise to his rival O’Rourke, who he said “poured his heart” into his campaign.

“Millions across this state were inspired by his campaign,” Cruz said. “Let me say to all of those who worked on his campaign, all those who were inspired by him, that I am your senator as well. My responsibility is to represent every Texan.”

WATCH: Ted Cruz congratulates Beto O’Rourke after winning Texas Senate seat

O’Rourke captured the national spotlight in the build-up to the Nov. 6 midterm elections, but significantly trailed Cruz in opinion polls for much of the year.

The former punk rocker and three-term congressman declared his candidacy amid a tide of liberal anger following President Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency.

O’Rourke’s campaign raised nearly twice as much money as Cruz’s. So successful was the O’Rourke campaign’s fundraising effort that some political analysts suggested that he may have drawn donations away from incumbent Democratic senators in other states.

Supporters of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Beto O’Rourke react to television networks projecting Senator Ted Cruz as the winner in the Texas U.S. Senate raceas they await O’Rourke’s arrival at his midterm election night party in El Paso, Texas, U.S., November 6, 2018.

REUTERS/Mike Segar

The El Paso-born O’Rourke embraced the Democrats’ liberal wing, speaking out in support of universal healthcare and hinting an openness to calls to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE).

In a state where guns have long been part of the culture, O’Rourke also dared to call for gun law reform, including more extensive background checks and a ban on assault-style rifles.

WATCH: Midterm Elections: Beto O’Rourke concedes Texas Senate race to Cruz

His defeat was cheered by the National Rifle Association, which hailed Cruz’s support for 2nd Amendment rights in a tweet posted after the result emerged.

But O’Rourke also sought to sell himself as an independent voice, saying in a September debate that he was willing to work with Trump as needed but also stand up to him on some issues.

His campaign was endorsed by several high-profile Texans, including country music icon Willie Nelson and popstar Beyonce.

READ MORE: Willie Nelson endorsed Beto O’Rourke for Texas senator. Some Republican fans are outraged

The Texas Senate seat was seen as one of Democrats’ few opportunities to pick up one of the two seats they need to gain a majority in the Senate, where they are defending 26 of the 35 seats that are up for grabs.

But Cruz had history on his side — deeply conservative Texas hasn’t elected a Democratic U.S. senator since Lloyd Bentsen back in 1988.

WATCH: Reaction from winners and losers in the U.S. midterm elections

The Democrats are projected to win a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, setting the stage for a divided Congress.

— With files from the Associated Press and Reuters

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



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

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Harris accepts VP nomination



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



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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