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Member since: Thu May 18, 2017, 11:36 AM
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Alamance County voter rally ends with pepper spray, arrests

A get-out-the vote rally in swing state North Carolina on Saturday ended with police using pepper spray on some participants and making several arrests.

Multiple people were arrested outside Alamance County's courthouse and police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, news outlets reported.

Lindsay Ayling, a graduate student and anti-racism activist who participated in the rally, told The Associated Press police used tear gas indiscriminately and without reason on the crowd, including on children.

“The police were looking for excuses to use pepper spray and arrest members of the crowd," she said.

Police did not immediately comment, but the department said it would hold a news conference Saturday afternoon to discuss the arrests.

The “I Am Change” event, a racially diverse group of about 200 people marching to the polls, was organized by Rev. Greg Drumwright, a Burlington native who leads the the Citadel Church in Greensboro, according to his website.

At: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article246861942.html

Marcher to North Carolina polls were attacked by Alamance County and Graham, NC, police ordering them to move onto the sidewalk and spraying pepper spray in their direction.

At least one senior citizen suffered convulsions, and two children threw up.

Firefighters hope for a break in the wind as 2 wildfires burn in California's Orange County

Source: USA Today

Tens of thousands of residents in California's Orange County remained under evacuation orders Tuesday as two wildfires continued to threaten upscale neighborhoods.

As morning came, the Silverado Fire had consumed 17.5 square miles with only 5% containment, prompting an expansion of the evacuation orders to include sections of Mission Viejo, the Orange County Fire Authority reported.

About 70,000 Irvine residents were under evacuation order and another 6,000 in nearby Lake Forest.

To the east, the Blue Ridge Fire has burned about 12.5 square miles with no containment as of Tuesday morning. Fire officials said they were still trying to get an estimate of the number of people evacuated.

Read more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/10/27/silverado-blue-ridge-fires-thousands-under-evacuation-orange-county/3748272001/

The Silverado Fire has forced the evacuation of thousands of Irvine, CA, residents.

Colombia reaches 1 Million confirmed Coronavirus cases

Colombia reached 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, becoming the second country in Latin America to report that number in less than a week.

The nation of 51 million saw cases peak in August and has seen a decline since but still continues to register around 8,000 new infections a day.

Colombia has become the eighth country to hit 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases. The others are the United States, India, Brazil, Russia, France, Spain and Argentina - according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Overall, Latin America continues to register some of the highest caseloads, diagnosing more than 100,000 confirmed infections each day, though the World Health Organization reports that Europe is now seeing even larger numbers as a second virus wave strikes.

At: https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-10-24/colombia-reaches-1-million-confirmed-coronavirus-cases

Health workers disinfect each other after taking blood samples during a COVID-19 seroprevalance test study in Medellín, Colombia.

The country became the eighth in the world to reach 1 million confirmed cases yesterday. The pandemic has thus far claimed over 30,000 lives in the country — the world's 11th highest death toll.

'An End to the Chapter of Dictatorship': Chileans Vote to Draft a New Constitution

Voters in Chile overwhelmingly approved a bid to scrap the charter inherited from Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, a move that could set a new course for the country.

On Sunday, just over a year after the massive demonstrations swept the nation, Chileans voted to scrap the dictatorship-era document and write a new one — a process that could transform the politics of a country that has long been regarded as one of the most stable and prosperous in Latin America.

The referendum was headed for a landslide victory; with 62 percent of the votes counted, 78 percent were cast in favor of a new Constitution, and it was leading in almost every part of the country.

Amalia Gómez, 66, barely gets by on a $125 monthly pension and picks up seamstress jobs to compensate. She and many others like her see a new Constitution as a path to better lives and a more equitable country for future generations.

“Why not, if we are a country rich in minerals, fish, agriculture?” she said. “Why can’t we use those resources to our benefit, for our education and health?”

At: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/25/world/americas/chile-constitution-plebiscite.html

A Santiago crowd celebrates today's landslide victory in favor of replacing Chile's 1980 constitution, enacted by the late fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Today's referendum - the product of a year of protests sparked by meager wages and pensions in a country with Latin America's highest per capita GDP - begins a process whose next step is an April 11 election for a constitutional convention.

Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19

Polish President Andrzej Duda says he feels well despite testing positive for the coronavirus, and he apologized Saturday to everyone who must quarantine because they had contact with him.

Duda, 48, said in a recording published on Twitter that he was experiencing no COVID-19 symptoms “but unfortunately, the test result is absolutely unambiguous.”

Duda’s diagnosis comes amid a huge surge in confirmed new cases of COVID-19 and virus-related deaths in Poland, a nation of 38 million that saw very low infection rates in the spring.

Poland on Saturday reported 13,628 new confirmed cases and a record daily number of COVID-19 deaths, 179. The daily case count was the nation's second-highest of the pandemic after a record number set Friday.

Social tensions are also growing in the country.

Police used pepper spray Saturday on protesters angry over new virus restrictions, a group that includes entrepreneurs, far-right politicians, football fans, virus deniers and vaccine opponents. The protesters, many wearing no protective masks, violated a limit on public gatherings.

Duda joins a handful of world leaders who have contracted the virus, including U.S. President Donald Trump, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

At: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/poland-president-andrzej-duda-tests-positive-covid-19/

Polish President Andrzej Duda and friend.

Duda joins a handful of world leaders who have contracted the virus, including U.S. President Donald Trump, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Budget deficit hits record $3.1 trillion

The federal budget deficit soared to a record $3.13 trillion in the 2020 fiscal year, official figures showed on Friday, as the coronavirus pandemic fueled enormous government spending while tax receipts plunged as households and businesses struggled with economic shutdowns.

The shortfall underscores the long-term economic challenge facing the United States as it tries to emerge from the sharpest downturn since the Great Depression.

The deficit — the gap between what the U.S. spends and what it earns through tax receipts and other revenue — was $2 trillion more than what the White House’s budget forecast in February. It was also three times as large as the $984 billion deficit in the 2019 fiscal year.

The federal government spent $6.55 trillion in 2020 (up 47.3%), a large portion of which can be attributed to the $2.2 trillion relief legislation that Congress passed in March.

The government brought in $3.42 trillion in tax revenue this year, a slight decrease from 2019.

At: https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/10/16/business/us-economy-coronavirus

President Donald Trump speaks during a recent press conference, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, OMB Budget Director Russell Vought and Dr. Scott Atlas listen.

The federal budget deficit as a percentage of GDP (15%), reached its highest level since the 20% recorded in 1945.

Argentina passes 1 million cases as virus hits Latin America

At the edge of Argentina in a city known as “The End of the World,” many thought they might be spared from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sitting far from the South American nation’s bustling capital, health workers in Ushuaia were initially able to contain a small outbreak among foreigners hoping to catch boats to the Antarctic at the start of the crisis.

But as Argentina passed 1 million virus cases Monday, it is now smaller cities like Ushuaia that are seeing some of the most notable upticks. Doctors have had to quadruple the number of beds for COVID-19 patients over the last month. At least 60% of those tested recently are coming back positive for the virus.

Across Latin America, three other nations are expected to reach the 1 million case milestone in the coming weeks: Colombia (974,000), Peru (874,000), and Mexico (861,000). Brazil has nearly 5.3 million cases — behind only the U.S. and India.

The grim mark comes as Latin America continues to register some of the world’s highest daily case counts. And though some nations have seen important declines, overall there has been little relief, with cases dropping in one municipality only to escalate in another.

Argentina has seen cases spiral despite instituting one of the world’s longest lockdowns, from March 20 to May 7. The country initially registered low virus case numbers but now has one of the highest rates of new daily infections per capita — on par with several European countries that are experiencing a resurgence of the virus.

At: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/10/21/world/argentina-passes-1-million-cases-virus-hits-latin-america/

Doctors attend to a Covid-19 patient in Paraná, Argentina.

Argentina became the sixth country in the world to reach 1 million confirmed cases on Monday. The pandemic has thus far claimed some 27,000 lives in the country — the world's 12th highest death toll.

CDC estimates there have been almost 300,000 excess deaths in the U.S. this year

Source: Yahoo! News

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a new report estimates there have been almost 300,000 excess deaths in the United States this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

CDC researchers on Tuesday said that while about 216,000 deaths from COVID-19 had been confirmed as of Oct. 15, this "might underestimate the total impact of the pandemic on mortality," and they write that "299,028 excess deaths have occurred in the United States from late January through October 3, 2020, with two thirds of these attributed to COVID-19."

This number takes into account fatalities from all causes "in excess of the expected number of deaths" for this period of time, the researchers explain.

The report found the largest percentage increases occurred among Hispanics and among adults age 25 to 44, with the latter group seeing a 26.5 percent spike.

Read more: https://news.yahoo.com/cdc-estimates-almost-300-000-203827624.html

Argentina ablaze: nearly 3,000 square miles lost to fires so far this year

Argentina is ablaze, with fires devastating an estimated 7,697 km² (2,972 mi²) of land so far this year: that’s nearly the size of Puerto Rico.

Only three provinces out of 23 - Tierra del Fuego, Santa Cruz and San Juan - have escaped any damage, with Córdoba and Entre Ríos bearing the brunt: 4,547 km² (1,756 mi²) of land has been damaged by fire in these two provinces alone.

Yesterday’s daily National Fire Management Service (SNMF) report also showed 18 wildfires as still “active”: five in Salta, four in Córdoba, three each in Jujuy and Tucumán, two in Catamarca, and one in La Rioja.

According to the SNMF, 95% of fires are caused by man: either deliberately, when preparing land for pasture or plantation; or carelessly.

This year, a perfect storm of factors – a harsh winter in many parts of the country, followed by severe drought and high winds – have meant vegetation is dry as tinder, and fires have raged out of control.

The intentional nature of most of these fires has prompted Lower House Majority Leader Máximo Kirchner to introduce legislation on October 2 to amend the Fires Management Law of 2012 to prohibit any change in land use over areas affected by fires - for 30 years in the case of grassland and meadows, and 60 years in the case of forests, wetlands, and other protected areas.

The bill, designed to discourage setting fires for commercial or speculative ends, has the support of every party in Congress except the right-wing Together for Change coalition - which staunchly defends landowner interests.

At: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/argentina-ablaze.phtml

Fire surrounds a gas station west of Córdoba, Argentina - near the epicenter of a string of intentional blazes nationwide, many becoming hard to control due to drought and high winds.

Most are set by farmers and ranchers seeking to enrich lands - though some have reportedly been set in protest against the current center-left administration.

A bill introduced in Congress to discourage setting fires for commercial or speculative ends, has the support of every party in Congress except the right-wing Together for Change coalition - and is likely to pass.

Bolivia election: exit polls suggest thumping win for Evo Morales's party

Exit polls suggest Evo Morales’s leftwing party has pulled off a stunning political comeback in Bolivia’s presidential election, although an official result has yet to emerge.

Two private surveys projected that Luis Arce, the candidate for Morales’s Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), secured more than 50% of the vote in the ballot on Sunday, with his closest rival, the centrist former president Carlos Mesa, receiving about 30%.

Arce, a former finance minister under Morales, claimed victory in a late-night broadcast from La Paz. “We have reclaimed democracy and above all we have reclaimed hope,” said the 57-year-old UK-educated economist, widely known as Lucho.

Arce vowed to end the uncertainty that has plagued his bitterly divided nation since October 2019, when hotly disputed claims of vote rigging against his party resulted in mass street protests, the presidential election being scrapped and Morales being forced from the country by security forces in what his supporters call a racist, right-wing coup.

At: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/19/bolivia-election-exit-polls-suggest-thumping-win-evo-morales-party-luis-arce

Movement to Socialism (MAS) nominee Luis Arce celebrates last night's election victory with running mate David Choquehuanca (right) and other MAS officials.

Exit polls showed Arce winning by a landslide of over 20% over center-right opponent Carlos Mesa - well ahead of the 10% needed to avoid a runoff.

The election ends 11 months of dictatorial rule by self-appointed President Jeanine Áñez, who took power after former President Evo Morales was ousted in a right-wing coup.

Áñez, however, conceded last night.

“We do not yet have the official count, but the data we do have shows that Mr Arce [has] … won the election. I congratulate the winners and ask them to govern thinking of Bolivia and of democracy.”
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