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Joe Biden Picks Kamala Harris As Running Mate

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday tapped Senator Kamala Harris of California as his choice for vice president, his campaign told supporters in a text message.

Harris, 55, becomes the first Black woman on a major presidential ticket in U.S. history and providing him with a partner well suited to go on the attack against Republican President Donald Trump.

“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden said on Twitter.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Harris said Biden can “unify the people” because he’s “spent his life fighting for us.”

“And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals,” she wrote. “I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-chief.”

With social unrest over racial injustice and police brutality against Black Americans rocking the country for months, Biden had been under increasing pressure to select a woman of color as his running mate. She is also the first Asian-American on a major presidential ticket.

In Harris, a senator from California who made her own run for the White House before ending it and endorsing Biden, he gains a deeply experienced politician already battle-tested by the rigors of the 2020 presidential campaign as they head into the final stretch of the Nov. 3 election.

Harris, who became only the Senate’s second Black woman in its history when she was elected in 2016, will be relied on to help drive the African-American vote – the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituency. Four years ago, the first dip in Black voter turnout in 20 years contributed to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s upset loss to Trump.

Biden, whose foundering campaign was rescued by Black voters in South Carolina’s primary in February, needs their strong support against Trump. It will be crucial in battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that Trump won by the slimmest margins in 2016 but where opinion polls now show him trailing his Democratic rival.

The Black vote is also central to Biden‘s hopes of winning Southern states Georgia and Florida that Trump carried four years ago but that opinion polls indicate will be competitive this year.

Kamala Harris endorses Joe Biden as Democratic presidential nominee
Biden served as vice president for eight years under President Barack Obama, the first Black U.S. president.

In a statement Obama said he has known Harris “for a long time.”

“She is more than prepared for the job,” he wrote. “She’s spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake.”

Kamala Harris
Vice Presidential nominee

“Michelle and I couldn’t be more thrilled for Kamala, Doug, Cole and Ella,” he continued. “This is a good day for our country.”

Harris, 55, a former prosecutor and state attorney general in California, is well known for her sometimes aggressive questioning style in the Senate, most notably of Brett Kavanaugh during his 2018 Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

As a presidential candidate, she also took Biden to task in a nationally televised debate over his past stances on mandatory busing for students as a means to desegregate schools. Some Biden advisers have told Reuters the attacks made them question whether she would be a trusted working partner because of her political ambitions.

While that exchange failed to boost her White House hopes, the Biden campaign will now look for her to train her prosecutorial fire on Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Harris is scheduled to debate Pence on Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The choice of a running mate has added significance for Biden, who will turn 78 in November and be the oldest person to become president if he is elected.

Biden‘s age also has led to broad speculation he will serve only one term, making Harris a potential top contender for the nomination in 2024. Some of his allies were concerned that would make her a bad fit for the No.2 job and questioned her loyalty.

Biden publicly committed to choosing a woman as his No. 2 in a March debate after discussing the matter with his wife Jill and had considered other former presidential rivals such as Senators Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.

After the protests that erupted over the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white policeman in Minneapolis, Biden’s search focused predominantly on candidates of color.

Harris will be confirmed as Biden‘s running mate at the Democratic convention that begins on Monday, where Biden will also be formally nominated to challenge Trump.

A prominent voice
Harris has become a key ally for Biden at a time when race has been thrust to the forefront of the campaign.

After Floyd’s death, she became a prominent voice in the push for racial justice and police reform, standing with marchers and sparring with Republicans in the U.S. Senate over reform legislation.

Harris at times came under criticism from some in the Black community and from progressive advocates for her record as California attorney general where, they say, she did not do enough to investigate police shootings and too often sided with prosecutors in wrongful conviction cases.

Her defenders say she has always been reform-minded – and point to her record in the Senate, where she has championed a police-reform bill and an anti-lynching bill, among other measures. Harris herself has said she became a prosecutor in order to bring a more progressive approach to the office.

The daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, Harris has knocked down barriers throughout her career. She was the first woman to serve as San Francisco’s district attorney, elected to that office in 2003, and the first woman to serve as California’s attorney general, elected to that office in 2010.

Biden considered several Black women in addition to Harris, including former Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and U.S. Representative Val Demings, a former police chief in Orlando, Florida. Biden also considered Asian-American Senator Tammy Duckworth and New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Latina.

In a tweet shortly after the announcement, Rice congratulated Harris, saying she is “confident Biden-Harris will prove to be a winning ticket.”

“I will do my utmost to help them win and govern,” she wrote.

Historically, the vice presidential nominee has been the one to take the lead in criticizing the opposing ticket, although Trump has largely shredded that tradition. Brian Brokaw, a California political consultant who managed Harris’ campaigns for attorney general and Senate, said Harris fits that role well.

“She is someone who can really make Republicans quake in their boots,” Brokaw said.

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Aviation

NIGERIA RECORDS ANOTHER MILESTONE, AS NIMET GRADUATES GAMBIAN TRAINEES

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Senator Hadi Sirika with the Gambian President HE Adama Barrow during the Minister's visit

The Federal Government through Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) will continue to support Gambia and other needy nations in the training of meteorological technicians to highlight the importance attached to the contribution of meteorology to sustainable socio-economic development, as well as safety of citizens.

The Honourable Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika stated this at the inaugural graduation ceremony of middle level meteorological technicians trained by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) held in Banjul, The Gambia.

He noted that “Aviation is a serious business with critical safety requirements and socio-economic impacts. Hence, personnel working on this sector must be highly skilled and competent”.

A statement by the Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu quotes the Minister as saying that one of the instruments of the partnership was through the World Meteorological Organization Regional Training Centres and affiliated training institutes which W.M.O. encouraged member countries to close the gap through increased cooperation and collective partnership such as the ongoing one between Nigeria and Gambia.

Hadi Sirika disclosed that the Niigerian Meteorological Agency (Nimet) has done this due to huge support from Federal Government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Aviation via robust budgetary provisions. As most of the operational funding for the Agency were derived from allocation from the contributory service basket provided to the Aviation Industry by the Agencies under the ministry.
Sirika gave kudos to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) fir championing and supporting countries to effectively engage in Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

“This is because the future of service provision and user interface should effectively move from a linear type of value chain to an interactive environment where systems, data, solutions, and end users are iteratively engaged, and users are contributing significantly toinformation management and weather & climate service-level products. These will contribute to capabilities towards meeting global targets of the sustainable development goals”.

“This vision is realisable where regular meetings with vulnerable sectors to promote interaction and strengthen the provision and utilisation of meteorological services exist. As a strategy to further strengthen the expansion of weather and climate services to vulnerable sectors and the user community, NiMet therefore realizes that partnerships and engagement with the private sector cannot be overemphasized”.

The Nigerian Government, the Minister said, has the appropriate Legal Framework that enables the NiMet to participate in collaborative and effective Public-Private-Engagements (PPEs).

“In the phase of dwindling revenue by Governments worsened by the COVID￾19 pandemic, the importance of PPE cannot be overemphasised. Once, Trust has been established with appropriate legal document such as Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that is clear on the role of individual parties and sharing formula of all expected benefits, PPE is the way to go. This is another area; Nigeria can be of help”.

He equally commended the Government of The Gambia for taking the initiative to conceive the concept that led to the graduation ceremony, and the Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources for making excellent arrangements to ensure the success of the capacity development initiative.

“The presence of dignitaries here today is a testament to the critical value of the training programme and its impacts on the people and the developmental process in The Gambia. This goes to highlight the importance attached to contributions of meteorology to sustainable socio-economic development, as well as safety of citizens
of this great Country”

Senator Sirika, Prof Matazu (DG NiMet) and other members of the Nigerian delegation during a courtesy visit to President Adama Barrow in Banjul

On his part, the Minister, Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources, Gambia Hon. James Furmus Peter Gomez, commended the Federal Government of Nigeria, saying the training partnership will further strengthen the cordial and fruitful bi-lateral ties that exists between the Department of Water Resources and NiMet and by extension the two countries.

“The challenge of improving the resilience of communities to climate vulnerabilities, risks and disasters is a key element in the strategies and solutions envisioned by the Government of The Gambia, as stated in the National Development Plan(NDP) as well as in both the Agriculture & Natural Resources and National Climate Change Policies. While the answer seems to be the existence of dedicated structures with an organizational system, the provision of adapted sectoral services to cope with extreme weather and climate risks is becoming increasingly important”

He added that Gambia authority noted the efforts Nigeria was making towards the capacity development of its personnel in fundamental aspects of meteorological observations and forecasting, as well as quality management system, all geared towards meeting the standard set by WMO and ICAO.

“On behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of The Gambia, I once again extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Government of Federal Republic of Nigeria for the bi-lateral assistance it has been rendering in many ways to help improve the standard of the Meteorological servicesin The Gambia. We particularly note the efforts you have been making towards the capacity development of our personnel in fundamental aspects of meteorological observations and forecasting, as well as quality management system, all geared towards meeting the standard set by World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)”.

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International

BREAKING: Mali’s Interim President, Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Resign

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Mali’s interim President, Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister, Moctar Ouane have resigned.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN reported that Mali’s interim Vice President, Assimi Goita, made this known in a statement released on Wednesday.

Goita said they resigned for violating the transition charter.

Recall that the military, Monday night, detained the duo and Defence Minister Souleymane Doucouré. They were taken to the Kati Military Camp near the capital, Bamako.

The development occured months after the coup that ousted ex-President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Reacting, the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres in a statement demanded that the leaders be freed immediately.

Also, the Nigerian Government in a statement released condemned the detention of Mali’s interim President, Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane.

Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwoye, lamented that the action might derail the peace building efforts and timetable for the return of democratic governance in Mali.

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International

Putin says Ukraine is becoming an ‘anti-Russia’, pledges response

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(Reuters)

By Andrew Osborn and Alexander Marrow

MOSCOW (Reuters) -President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that neighbouring Ukraine was becoming ‘anti-Russia’ and that Moscow would be ready to react to what he said were threats to its own security.

Putin was speaking a day after a Ukrainian court placed Viktor Medvedchuk, a prominent pro-Russian politician who says Putin is godfather to his daughter, under house arrest.

Medvedchuk, who has promoted closer ties with Moscow and acted as an intermediary between Moscow and Kyiv in the past, is being investigated over treason allegations he calls politically-motivated.

Putin, in remarks to a meeting of Russia’s security council, called what was happening in Ukraine a ‘cleansing’ of the political space and accused the Ukrainian authorities of targeting people who favoured better ties with Russia and supported a peaceful settlement in eastern Ukraine where Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russian-backed separatists since 2014.

“Judging by everything, and this is very sad, Ukraine is slowly but surely turning into some kind of polar opposite of Russia, some kind of anti-Russia, and into a platform from whose territory it seems we will constantly receive news requiring our special attention from a security point of view,” said Putin.

Referring to what he described as a selective and politically-motivated crackdown in Ukraine on certain individuals doing business with Russia, Putin said Moscow would not stand idly by.

“This is, of course, an issue that should always be on our radar and we should respond to this given the threats being created for us in a timely and appropriate manner,” said Putin.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday the crackdown on Medvedchuk, which began in February when he and several associates were sanctioned and three television channels owned by an ally were forced off air, was a legal way of choking off what he described as his malign influence.

“For the first time in many years the number of oligarchs has not increased, but decreased. Minus Medvedchuk,” Zelenskiy wrote in a blog.

“With the help of legal tools, Medvedchuk was stripped of the possibility of using media assets and state property to openly attack the country and damage state security.”

Relations between Moscow and Kyiv collapsed after Russia annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea in 2014 and Russian-backed separatists took control of a chunk of eastern Ukraine that same year.

Tensions have flared again in recent months after the two countries traded blame for an uptick in fighting in eastern Ukraine, and Russia, in what it called a defensive exercise, massed troops on its western border with Ukraine and in Crimea.

(Additional reporting by Polina Ivanova in Moscow and Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv; Editing by Matthias Williams)

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