Joe Biden leads with result delayed in US Election | Daily News

Joe Biden leads with result delayed in US Election

Democratic Presidential challenger Joe Biden and President Donald Trump.
Democratic Presidential challenger Joe Biden and President Donald Trump.

In what has been the closest fought Presidential Election in the US, Democrat Joe Biden is in the lead, but the result will take much longer due to Republican President Donald Trump moving to the courts in an attempt to stop counting postal votes in several states, which polls analysts say would be for Joe Biden.

Of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to take Joe Biden to the White House, he already has 264 votes, being just one Battleground State away from becoming the President-Elect. Donald Trump trails behind with 214 votes.

With just a few states up for grabs by either candidate, Trump is trying to delay the result by moving the courts in some key swing states, with narrow margins of difference for the two candidates, to stop the count of postal votes that are delayed in counting, seen to go more to his rival Joe Biden.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, under President Barack Obama, has secured victories in the battleground states of Wisconsin and Michigan. Trump has gained in Florida and Texas. With his 214 Electoral College votes, Trump is facing a major hurdle to reach 270, needing all four remaining battleground states - Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia and Nevada. Getting one of these states would give Biden the 270 Electoral College votes needed.

With millions of votes yet to be tabulated, Biden had received more than 71 million votes, the most in US electoral history. Nearly 100 million had voted before the election, in the situation of Covid-19, with voters not wanting to be crowded at voting stations on Election Day November 3. President Trump has been speaking against postal voting in months prior to the election, with more of such votes going to the rival Democrat.

The delay in the election is also because many groups of angry Trump supporters converged on vote-counting centres in Detroit and Phoenix, as returns went against Trump in the two states of Michigan and Arizona.

Meanwhile thousands of anti-Trump protestors have demanded a complete count of all ballots, and have also taken to the streets in cities across the US. These anti-Trump protests came as the president repeatedly insisted - without evidence -- that there were major problems with voting and ballot counting.

Before the counting is over President Trump has told a meeting at the White House that he has won, while Joe Biden has called on his supporters to be patient, as he is moving to victory.

Terror threat in Europe

Europe is facing a major challenge from Islamic terror after the recent attacks in Austria and France, with major concerns in the United Kingdom, too.

Four persons - two men and two women - were killed after gunmen opened fire at six locations in the Austrian capital city of Vienna on Monday. Twenty-two people were wounded.

Austrian Police have urged people to stay indoors as they hunt for suspects after this attack, with a huge police manhunt on the way. A gunman shot dead by police has been identified as a 20-year-old “Islamist terrorist” who was released early from jail in December.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said it was clearly an attack driven by “hatred of our way of life, our democracy”. He earlier spoke of a “repulsive terror attack”. He stressed the nation was engaged not in a battle between Christians and Muslims, but “between civilisation and barbarism”.

The Austrian situation follows the recent Islamic terror attacks in France that beheaded a teacher in a school outside Paris, who had discussed the Charlie Hebdo cartoons on the Muslim religion’s founder Prophet Mohammed, and the subsequent attack on a Catholic Cathedral at the city of Nice, where three people were killed.

President Emmanuel Macron of France tweeted that “we French share the shock and sorrow of the Austrian people”. “After France, it’s a friendly nation that has been attacked,” he added, referring to the recent terror killings in France.

European Union Council chief Charles Michel tweeted that the bloc “strongly condemns this cowardly act”, with European and global leaders also voicing support for Austria.

Czech Police said they were conducting checks on the border with Austria. “Police are carrying out random checks of vehicles and passengers on border crossings with Austria as a preventive measure in relation to the terror attack in Vienna,” Czech Police tweeted.

The Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, has also tweeted his support to the Austrian government. He tweeted: “A terrible attack near a synagogue in Vienna… “I have just conveyed full solidarity from the Netherlands to Sebastian Kurz.”Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and with the Austrian government in dealing with this heinous act.”

This has also led to the terrorism threat in the UK being upgraded to severe after the terror attack in Vienna overnight and the incidents in France, the government has announced.

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said: “The British people should be alert but not alarmed. This is a precautionary measure following the horrific events of the last week in France and last night in Austria and is not based on a specific threat.”

Over the past few days, Islamist propagandists using social media have particularly focused on France, whose President, Emmanuel Macron, has robustly defended the country’s secularism, following a series of attacks that began last month when a teacher was killed after he had shown cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to pupils.

On Monday, thousands protested outside the French embassy in Jakarta carrying banners calling Macron the “real terrorist”. In Bangladesh, supporters of the Islamic group Hefazat-e-Islam (Protectors of Islam) used their shoes to beat up a poster bearing Macron’s photograph as thousands marched on the embassy in Dhaka. Major protests have also taken place in Pakistan and in India too.

The call to boycott French goods is spreading in many countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The protests against France and President Macron are also making the situations worse with the current spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thailand - Royal move

Under increasing pressure from protesters demanding reforms to the monarchy, Thailand’s king and queen met with thousands of adoring supporters in Bangkok, mixing with citizens in the street after attending a religious ceremony inside the Grand Palace.

Crowds of royal devotees waited for hours Sunday outside the white walls of the storybook palace compound to greet them, carrying portraits of King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida and waving national flags.

The monarch waved to the crowd and smiled, and paused briefly to make a rare comment when asked what he would say to the protesters who have been demanding reforms.

“We love them all the same,” the Thai king told the UK’s Channel 4. Asked if there was room to compromise with protesters, the king said, “Thailand is the land of compromise,” and quickly turned to walk away.

The unprecedented challenge to decades of tradition, by students and youth, has led royalists — mainly older Thais — to stage their own counter-rallies and to denounce the protesters for raising the issue, increasing the risk of violent confrontations or intervention by the army, which declares defense of the monarchy to be one of its main duties.

Virtually all of the supporters in the crowd Sunday wore yellow shirts, signifying loyalty to the crown.

The student-led protesters charge that the palace exercises undue power and influence for a constitutional monarchy, and seek to have it made more accountable under law. They deny they want to see the royal institution abolished.

The demands to reform the monarchy have shattered a taboo in a way that would have seemed unthinkable just a few months ago. The royal institution has traditionally been presented as the nation’s cornerstone and above criticism.

The protests began in earnest in July and originally demanded political changes — including new elections and a more democratic constitution — but parallel demands for reform of the monarchy have since taken centre stage.

Afghanistan - students killed

The death toll from Monday’s attack on Kabul University has risen to at least 35, most of them students. Around 50 people were wounded in the attack, which was claimed by Islamic State.

Gunmen stormed Kabul University, shooting at students in their classrooms and clashing with security forces for hours on Monday.

The hours-long assault was the second attack on an educational institution in the Afghan capital in weeks. The local IS (Islamic State) affiliate also claimed the earlier attack on October 24 that killed 24 young students.

IS has declared war on the country’s minority Shia Muslims and has claimed a number of attacks since emerging in eastern Afghanistan in 2014.

The rise in violence across the country comes as Taliban insurgents and Afghan Government negotiators hold peace talks in the Gulf state of Qatar.

A small group of demonstrators gathered outside the university a day after the attack, demanding a ceasefire and urging the Government to withdraw from the peace talks.

Some held signs reading: “Why are you killing us?”

IS is not part of the peace talks in Qatar, and despite its claims of responsibility, the Government has blamed the Taliban for the attacks.

The Taliban, like the Afghan Security Forces, are fighting Islamic State. The Taliban condemned the attack on Kabul University and denied involvement within hours, but have also refused to declare a ceasefire, saying any such deal would have to come as part of the negotiations.

Turkey earthquake

The death toll in the Aegean Sea earthquake has risen to 116 as rescuers in the Turkish resort city of Izmir finished searching buildings that collapsed in the temblor.

Two teenagers died on the Greek island of Samos, and 19 were injured, which lies south of the epicentre of last Friday’s powerful earthquake, which registered 7.0 magnitude according to the US Geological Survey.

The rescue operation has been going full tilt since Friday, as rescuers pulled survivors from the rubble, including some young children whose survival prompted emotional outpourings from observers and emergency workers alike.

More than 1,000 people were injured in the quake, which was centred in the Aegean Sea, northeast of the Greek island of Samos.

More than 898 wounded victims have so far been discharged from hospitals, according to Turkey’s disaster and emergency authority (AFAD). More than 3,500 tents and 13,000 beds were supplied to provide temporary shelter in Izmir, it added.

Turkey, which is among the world’s most seismically active zones, is crossed by fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. In 1999, two powerful quakes killed 18,000 people in northwestern Turkey.

Turkey has a mix of older buildings and cheap or illegal construction, which can lead to serious damage resulting in deaths when earthquakes hit. Regulations have been tightened to strengthen or demolish buildings and urban renewal is under way in Turkish cities, but it is not happening fast enough.

The quake triggered a small tsunami that hit Greece’s Samos and the Seferihisar district of Izmir, drowning one elderly woman. The tremors were felt across western Turkey, including in Istanbul as well as in the Greek capital of Athens. Hundreds of aftershocks followed.

Armenia - Azerbaijan

The U.N. Human Rights chief has reiterated a call for Azerbaijan and Armenia to halt attacks on towns, schools and hospitals in the mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Artillery strikes on civilians in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict could amount to war crimes, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Monday.

Separately, Armenia’s prime minister called for an investigation into the presence of “foreign mercenaries” in Nagorno-Karabakh, after ethnic Armenian forces said they had captured two fighters from Syria.

Fierce battles continued along the front line of a conflict that has killed more than 1,000 people, since fighting began. Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but is populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians.

UN Human Rights Commissioner said indiscriminate attacks in populated areas in and around the conflict zone contravened international humanitarian law. She repeated calls for both Armenia and Azerbaijan to avoid the loss of civilian life and damage to civilian infrastructure that had gone unheeded.

“Instead, homes have been destroyed, streets reduced to rubble, and people forced to flee or seek safety in basements,” she said. “Such attacks must stop and those responsible for carrying them out, or ordering them, must be held to account.”

Just hours after agreeing in Geneva on Friday to avoid the deliberate targeting of civilians, Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh accused each other once more of shelling residential areas.

Citing data from both sides of the conflict, Bachelet said about 40,000 Azeris had been temporarily displaced by the latest fighting while some 90,000 ethnic Armenians had fled Nagorno-Karabakh and were currently in Armenia.

International rights groups have also accused both sides of using banned cluster munitions.

Without successful mediation efforts, cease-fire violations and renewed tensions threaten to reignite a military conflict between the countries and destabilize the South Caucasus region. This could also disrupt oil and gas exports from the region, since Azerbaijan, which produces about eight hundred thousand barrels of oil per day, is a significant oil and gas exporter to Central Asia and Europe. Russia has promised to defend Armenia, Turkey has pledged to support Azerbaijan, and Iran has a large Azeri minority, which could escalate a crisis and further complicate efforts to secure peace in the region.

Covid spread

As the global spread of Covid-19 continues, Europe is in the throes of a huge second wave of the pandemic, and on the verge of a medical crisis, with intensive care units filling rapidly.

Governments are finding that an exponentially spreading virus is threatening the moves to expand hospital capacity and other means and facilities to cope with the epidemic.

Germany, Europe’s best-resourced nation, risks being swamped even after increasing its intensive care beds by a quarter over the summer. Belgium, which had doubled its intensive care capacity, is now preparing for decisions about which needy patient should get a bed.

The European Union reported 1.2 million cases over the past week, the highest yet during the pandemic. Weekly deaths rose by half. Occupancy of intensive care units doubled in 17 days leading up to October 25 in countries tracked by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, according to figures released Thursday. “Europe is at the epicenter of this pandemic once again,” the World Health Organization’s Europe director, Hans Kluge, told an emergency meeting of health ministers.

A week ago, half of French intensive care beds were occupied. Now, 70 percent are occupied, with more than 3,500 coronavirus patients. When President Emmanuel Macron announced a second national lockdown last week — something he and other European leaders had sought mightily to avoid — he warned that “at this stage, we know that whatever we do, nearly 9,000 patients will be in intensive care by mid-November, which is almost the entirety of French capacities.”

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that if the cases kept increasing so rapidly, they would be up to 19,200 a day by the end of December. The full impact of those record infections will be felt in intensive care wards in two weeks, Merkel said, as Germany began its new lockdown.

In Britain, coronavirus-related hospital admissions have doubled in two weeks, and top public health advisers have warned that hospitals could be overwhelmed within six weeks, forcing Prime Minister Boris Johnson to announce a lockdown Saturday.

Without a lockdown, “doctors and nurses could be forced to choose which patients to treat, who would live and who would die,” Johnson told the House of Commons on Monday. “The virus is doubling faster than we can conceivably add capacity. Even if we double capacity, the gain would be consumed in a single doubling of the virus.”

In Belgium and the Netherlands, staffing shortages are leading nursing homes and hospitals to ask doctors and nurses to keep working if they have tested positive for the virus but are asymptomatic, because so many other medical workers are sick or quarantining.

Some Dutch hospitals are full enough that the country has started transferring a handful of patients by helicopter to Germany. Coronavirus patients in Dutch intensive care beds have doubled in three weeks.

The medical systems of Poland, the Czech Republic and some of their neighbours have fewer resources than do the richer countries to the west. Polish hospital cases have doubled in two weeks, and authorities are just now building a 1,200-bed field hospital in the National Stadium in Warsaw.

Czech authorities are frightened with the new rise. Prime Minister Andrej Babis predicted that the health system would collapse between November 7 and 11 if he did not impose the lockdown he announced October 21. Hospitals around the country are seeking volunteers.

Here are the key figures of the global pandemic, where the US remains the country with most infected and deaths. World infection - 48,175,559 and deaths 1,226,445. US - 9,488,276 - (deaths 233,734); India - 8,364,086 (124,315), Brazil - 5,590,025 (161,106), Russia - 1,699,695 (29,285), France - 1,591,152 (38,728), Spain - 1,284,408 (38,118), UK - 1,102,928 (47,832), Italy - 790, 372 (39,764).