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The 2018 U.S. midterm elections are over. Here’s what you need to know – National




The dust is only just settling on the fierce 2018 U.S. midterm fight.

And if the bright light of morning shows anything, it is that despite retaking the House of Representatives, the Democrats are not unbruised after an election that was sold to voters as a referendum on President Donald Trump turned out to be exactly that — and the results are clear.

READ MORE: 2018 U.S. midterms: Trump loomed large in most voters’ decisions, survey shows

A lot of Americans really don’t like the president.

But there are still an awful lot of people who think he’s doing a pretty good job.

WATCH: Video coverage of midterm elections

Among those were the voters who on Tuesday night returned control of the Senate to Republicans and along with it, the power to all but ensure the confirmation of any further Supreme Court justices that Trump gets to nominate over the next two years.

Voters in Florida and Texas also upheld their support for Trump, handing defeats to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and Ted Cruz’s Senate challenger, Beto O’Rourke.

READ MORE: What a Democrat win in the U.S. midterms means for Donald Trump

Heidi Heitkamp, the Democratic senator for North Dakota, also lost out.

She had made headlines last month after refusing to support the Supreme Court nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaguh and lost her seat to Republican Kevin Cramer, who called #MeToo a “movement toward victimization.”

Another significant move was the passage in Alabama of Amendment 2, which will give constitutional rights to fetuses and could set up a Supreme Court fight that will create a precedent to overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortion.

WATCH BELOW: All the wins and losses of the midterms

But the Democrats also scored some major political victories.

They now control the House of Representatives, giving them sweeping powers to subpoena and investigate allegations of corruption and misconduct by officials in the Trump administration, including the president himself.

READ MORE: Democrats can impeach Trump if they retake the House — but expert warns it’s ‘dangerous’

Already they have vowed to do so, with Elijah Cummings, the Democratic representative expected to become chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, quoted by CNN as saying the party is setting their sights on Trump’s tax returns, which he has refused to disclose.

In addition to their new power to investigate and obstruct Trump, the Democratic win also came with several significant firsts.

More women than ever before had put their names on the ballot this election, with most running for the Democratic Party.

WATCH BELOW: Ilhan Omar becomes first Somali-American elected to Congress

Some of the highlights of the more diverse range of candidates include the victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s 14th congressional district, which made her the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress.

READ MORE: In historic first, 2 Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018 U.S. midterms

American voters also elected their first two female Muslim congresswomen.

Rashida Tlaib won Michigan’s 13th district, unopposed.

Ilhan Omar won Minnesota’s fifth district after having run against the Republican candidate.

WATCH BELOW: Jared Polis becomes first openly gay male governor in the U.S.

The midterms also saw the election of the first two Native American congresswomen in the form of Democrats Debra Haaland and Sharice Davids.

Democrat Lauren Underwood also unseated a four-term Republican endorsed by Trump in Illinois’ 14th congressional district.

Underwood, a millennial and registered nurse, becomes one of the youngest Black women in Congress.

Also, New Hampshire voters elected their first openly gay congressman, Democrat Chris Pappas.

WATCH BELOW: Amy Klobuchar says Minnesota voted for ‘substance, not subtweets’

Colorado voters also sent Jared Polis to their governor’s mansion, making him the first openly gay male governor in U.S. history.

Another significant shift came as Floridians voted to pass Amendment 4, which will restore voting rights to former felons and give the franchise back to an estimated 1.4 million offenders finished serving their sentences.

It will not apply to those convicted of murder or sex crimes, and marks the biggest expansion of voting rights since the Voting Rights Act.

Close to 20 per cent of black male voters in the state could not cast ballots in the midterms because of past felony convictions.

That accounts for roughly 400,000 voters who will be eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential campaign in a state that saw the gubernatorial victory go to the Republicans by a little over one per cent.

WATCH BELOW: Bernie Sanders gives victory speech, calls the night a ‘pivotal moment’

As well, high-profile Democrats Bernie Sanders and Tim Kaine, who was the running mate of Hillary Clinton in 2016, held on to their seats.

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also won a Senate seat in Utah.

Over the coming days, it remains to be seen how the Democrats will use their new control over the House of Representatives.

Along with that victory, they also get chair roles on leading congressional committees.

Those chairmanships, however, are not expected to be decided on until early in the New Year.

© 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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