When you are up in the mountains in Nepal, we would suggest you to be ready for anything. Weather forecasts for Lukla are never correct and different sources will give you different information. If it is a really bad day in terms of weather, the airlines will themselves cancel the flight and you might have to wait till the weather clears. Yes, flying in high altitude is never easy, even on a clear sunny day, the plane might face turbulence because of the wind blowing from the mountains. But overall the flight to Lukla is very exciting and it’s an experience that you will never forget
A team of Australian scientists has discovered that the virus responsible for COVID-19 can survive on the screens of smartphones, ATMs and self-serve checkouts, along with both paper and polymer banknotes for up to 28 days. Which is about seven times longer than previously thought.
Researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s peak scientific body, studied the amount of time it took for samples of the coronavirus to become inactive when left on a range of contaminated surfaces and objects, or “fomites”, at the various temperatures of 20 degrees celsius, 30 degrees celsius and 40 degrees celsius.ADVERTISEMENT
What they found was that the virus survived longest on smooth, non-porous surfaces, such as glass and plastic, as opposed to more porous surfaces, like cotton or pieces of clothing.Entertainment
In an ambient 20-degree environment it took the virus sample six days to become inactive on glass and polymer banknotes—like those used in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Vietnam—and more than nine days on paper banknotes—like those used in virtually every other country.
Researchers also found that the virus tended to last longer in lower temperatures, as “Increasing the temperature… drastically reduced the survivability of the virus to as little as 24 hours at 40 degrees celsius.”
“The persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on glass and vinyl (both common screen and screen protector materials) suggests that touchscreen devices may provide a potential source of transmission, and should regularly be disinfected especially in multi-user environments,” they added.World News
But while such virus-hospitable surfaces significantly increase the risk of someone picking up the contamination on their skin—particularly in high-traffic instances, like self-serve checkouts and airport check-in terminals—it is still “fingertip to mouth” that poses the greatest risk of transmission, as the virus needs to enter the body in order to infect a host.
In a paper published in BioMed Central’s Virology Journal last week, the CSIRO team concluded from their findings that “SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious for significantly longer time periods than generally considered possible”, and that “These results could be used to inform improved risk mitigation procedures to prevent the fomite spread of COVID-19.”
The most immediate of those risk mitigation procedures, though, seems to be the tried and tested advice that experts have been espousing from the beginning: just keep washing your hands.
Democrats are essentially powerless to stop the speedy confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, so on the first day of her confirmation hearings, they zeroed in on one thing sure to resonate with voters caught in the middle of a pandemic: healthcare.
One after another, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee pulled up photos and shared stories of their constituents whose lives, they said, had been changed for the better since the creation of the Affordable Care Act.ADVERTISEMENT
They repeatedly stressed the fact that the Supreme Court is set to hear yet another challenge to the Affordable Care Act on November 10—just one week after the presidential election on November 3—and that a Justice Barrett could imperil its future.
“Republicans in Congress have been obsessed with repealing Obamacare for years, but they don’t have the votes to do it. They couldn’t get it done in the House, they couldn’t get it done in the Senate,” said Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin. “Now, they’ve got to rely on the court to do their work.”News
“You have been nominated by a president who shows contempt for the Constitution but does not hesitate to tell his loyal followers that you are being sent to the bench to do his political chores, abolish the ACA, rule in his favor on any election contest, and even more,” Durbin told Barrett, who currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and has previously criticized parts of the Affordable Care Act. “You cannot feel good about a president cheapening this historic moment.”
The Monday hearing, which included only opening statements and no questioning of Barrett, is only the first of a scheduled four days of hearings. But the rancor on both sides was clear, as senators repeatedly accused one another of politicizing the Supreme Court and the nomination process.
Democrats slammed Republicans for, in their view, rushing through Barrett’s confirmation just days ahead of an election that President Donald Trump is not expected to win. Back in 2016, when Justice Antonin Scalia died, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell successfully blocked President Barack Obama’s chosen replacement, Judge Merrick Garland, from ascending to the Supreme Court.News
At the time, McConnell argued that Garland should join the bench because it was an election year and the American people should be given a chance to vote first. But, Sen. Patrick Leahy pointed out, McConnell announced his plan to speedily replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just hours after her death in mid-September.
“Instead of talking about COVID and doing something to help the American people, we’re engaged in this mad rush to fulfill a Supreme Court vacancy on the eve of a presidential election,” Leahy said. “The Republicans announced their intention to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat just one hour after her death. From that moment, this process has been nothing but shameful.”ADVERTISEMENT
The Affordable Care Act, Leahy added, is now “at the top of the hit list.”News
At least one Democrat, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, recognized that there was very little the minority can do to stop Barrett’s confirmation. With a 53-47 majority in the Senate, Republicans likely have the votes they need to confirm her, even though two senators—Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska—have indicated that they will not vote for Barrett ahead of the election.
“To all Americans: We don’t have some clever procedural way to stop this sham, to stop them from rushing through a nominee,” Klobuchar said. Instead, the Democratic senator—who wore a mask emblazoned with the word “VOTE”—urged people to call their senators and complain.
“This isn’t Donald Trump’s country. It is yours,” Klobuchar said. “This shouldn’t be Donald Trump’s judge. It should be yours.”
Republicans, meanwhile, tried to frame Democrats’ reservations as an attack on religion. Barrett is a devout Catholic and, as an individual, has suggested that she holds deeply traditional views on issues like abortion and LGTBQ rights—views that, according to the GOP, would have no bearing on her professional life as a judge.
In recent days, Barrett has also faced scrutiny for her ties to People of Praise, a charismatic Christian community for which Barrett reportedly once served as a kind of spiritual adviser called a “handmaid.” Former members have told outlets like the Washington Post and the Associated Press that People of Praise holds conservative beliefs about women’s roles and grants them less status within the group.ADVERTISEMENT
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican, took direct aim at those reports; at one point, he even brandished a newspaper as a prop.
“Judge Barrett is a Catholic. We all know that. She’s a devout Catholic. We all know that. She and her husband have chosen to raise their family in accordance with their religious beliefs,” Hawley said, before adding that millions of Americans adhere to various versions of Christianity. “Are they to be told that they cannot serve in public office, that they are not welcome in the public sphere?”
“I, for one, do not want to live in such an America,” Hawley added.
None of the Democrats brought up Barrett’s faith during the Monday hearing. In fact, in a press conference, Durbin said that he had no knowledge of any Democrats who intended to bring it up at all. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president and a practicing Catholic, also told reporters that he did not think that senators should ask Barrett about her religion.
“This is about, whether in less than one month, Americans are going to be forced to lose their health care insurance,” Biden said.
The specter of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the most recent justice to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, also haunted the proceedings, as multiple Republicans suggested that the hearing over the sexual assault allegation against him was driven by partisanship. Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy called that hearing “a freak show” and compared it to a scene out of Star Wars.
Although senators were given the option to participate in the hearing remotely, few took advantage. Although North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican who’d tested positive 10 days before, appeared remotely, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee appeared in person despite his own recent positive test and subsequent isolation.
Dilmaya Memorial Foundation was founded in the United Kingdom in 2017. It aims to empower those at the bottom of the social strata, particularly in developing countries. Recently, it has donated just over one million rupees in order to rebuild and or develop educational and health infrastructures in rural Nepal. This year, we are proud to announce that we have established Dilmaya Foundation Youth Influencer Award – our long-held dream to promote young enthusiasts in various fields of social development. This does mean that anyone showing exemplary work in inspiring other young fellows and empowering the community at large can come forward to compete for the award. We hope that the award will fulfil our aim to raise the profile of young people and highlight the contribution they make to their society in developing just, fairer and prosperous future. We now call for applications from anyone aged 15 and 35 years who has been engaged in community development – either as a professional or a volunteer – for more than 12 months. Candidates must also demonstrate evidence of understanding of the importance of youth engagement in key areas, such as community empowerment or social activism through arts, journalism, literature, publication and sports. The award winner will receive a trophy, a certificate and cash grant of NPR £ 666.00 (or other currency equivalent to the amount) to help them continue their endeavor.
Any questions in relation should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on: They’re stressed out. Big time. And the 2020 U.S. presidential election is to blame.
“If the news goes on, that to me, just listening to it, that is grating, and it causes anxiety for me so that I get wound up and can’t fall asleep,” says Betty Mattimore, a Virginia financial services professional who supports President Donald Trump.
“Very high levels of anxiety, not sleeping well…I’m extremely stressed out,” says Julie, an attorney from Maryland who supports former Vice President Joe Biden. “I’m so stressed out that I can’t even really talk about it or think about it or read about it.”
Julie asked VOA not to use her last name for privacy reasons.
A majority of U.S. adults can identify with Mattimore and Julie, according to a recent American Psychological Association report that finds 68% of U.S. adults view the presidential election as a significant source of stress in their life.
It’s a bipartisan concern, with 76% of Democrats, 67% of Republicans and 64% of independents feeling the strain.
Also, 77% of U.S. adults say they’re worried about the future of the nation.
“There are many compounded stressors that people are recording right now and they all will be influenced, one way or another, by the outcome of this election,” says Dr. Vaile Wright, a clinical psychologist and co-author of the report on election stress.
“Things like access to health care, climate change, the pandemic, social unrest, mass shootings, all of these things have a really significant national impact,” Wright adds. “And whoever is in charge either will or will not identify solutions to these national-level stressors.”
The proportion of Black adults who are stressed about the election is significantly higher than it was during the last presidential election, jumping from 46% in 2016 to 71% this year. And adults with chronic conditions are more likely than those without a chronic condition to report the election is a source of stress.
Julie, the Biden supporter, worries about how she’ll cope if Trump wins again.
“I feel like the last election was such a shock,” she says. “And the country has experienced so much turmoil and loss since then, but I’m still feeling traumatized from it. And if that happens again, I just don’t I honestly don’t even know how I’m going to get through another four years.”
Uncertainty is a big driver of stress.
“We’re in an unprecedented situation where almost everything is uncertain at this moment. We have an upcoming election where, you know, we have parallel levels of both early voting but also mail-in voting so that drives a lot of the uncertainty,” Wright says.
Mail-in voting, voter fraud and the integrity of the election are on the mind of Brendan Mattimore, Betty’s husband, also a Trump supporter.
“I’m very concerned and very stressed out. … I always trust the American people to make decisions and these things usually work out, but I think there’s a hand on the scale,” says Brendan, who works in budget and finance. “There’s too much room for fraud and it’s too much at stake in this election to think there’s not people or organizations who are looking to take advantage of it and manipulate the process.”
And who does he believe will be behind the fraud?
“I think it’s going to be more on the Democratic side,” he says. “There might be some issues on the Republican side, but I just don’t think it’s going to be too prevalent.”
Moving from the more liberal East Coast to the conservative Midwestern state of Indiana has been an eye-opening experience for Biden supporter Adrienne LaBorwit.
“Now that I live here, I understand how Trump got elected. Whereas, when I lived out in (Washington) D.C., I just, I didn’t understand, like how in the world would he appeal to anybody in this country?” says LaBorwit, who works in business development. “I think they’re just tired of the old guard… that it doesn’t do Joe Biden any favors that he’s been in Congress [for 36 years].”
And with that new insight, comes more strain.
“Now, I get it,” LaBorwit says. “So I think that acknowledgement and understanding only increases my anxiety.”
Meanwhile, Betty Mattimore, the Trump supporter, is focused on what will happen after the election.
“I’m really hoping that the country can just move on. Now that being said, I think that, either way… there will be some sort of chaos coming after this election,” she says. “I feel that we’ve never really accepted President Trump as the president after 2016. What if he wins again? Is it going to be four more years of impeachment proceedings?”
“I just want the politicians to govern,” she adds. “I want them to do what they’re supposed to do for the country, for families. I’m tired of all of the politics.”
At least 51 people have been killed and nearly 900 injured by the earthquake that toppled buildings in the Turkish city of İzmir and created sea surges on at least two Greek islands.
Rescue teams in Turkey early Sunday morning pulled a man alive from the rubble of a collapsed building. The man, identified as Ahmet Citim, survived for 33 hours under the debris of a residential building that was flattened during the earthquake.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Izmir on Saturday evening and promised the government would help victims who lost their homes with temporary housing and rent, and start construction of new buildings.
The deadly 7.0 earthquake originated from a 250-kilometer fault line off the coast of the Greek island of Samos, streaming across the Aegean Sea that divides Turkey and Greece. Hundreds of aftershocks followed.
Just hours after the quake, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis placed a rare telephone call to Turkish president to offer his condolences.
“Whatever our differences, these are times when people need to stand together,” Mitsotakis posted on Twitter.
Erdogan replied in a twin tweet: “That two neighbors show solidarity and support in difficult times is more valuable than many things in life.”
The United States has saluted the Greek-Turkish earthquake diplomacy and expressed readiness to help the two NATO countries.
“It’s great to see both countries putting their differences aside to help each other during a time of need. The United States also stands ready to assist,” said U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien.
France also offered assistance to the countries, extending “full solidarity to both Greece and Turkey.”
Although Greece and Turkey are both members of NATO, there are perhaps no two allied, neighboring nations whose dealings have been marked with so much conflict and mistrust. Most recently, both sides have been embroiled in a heated energy standoff in the eastern Mediterranean, bringing them to the brink of war during the summer.
The European Union and the United States have been working for months in hope of sitting both sides down to negotiate their differences, but to no avail.
It remains unclear whether the deadly earthquake can strengthen ties.
After resisting mounting calls for weeks to impose a national lockdown as COVID-19 cases were rising, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Saturday joined his counterparts in France, Germany and Belgium in ordering a nationwide shutdown.
New national lockdown restrictions will go into effect across England Thursday and last for a month. Wales announced a lockdown last week, and Scottish leaders say the next few days will be critical for Scotland to avoid a lockdown.
However, schools and universities as well as courts are to stay open. The construction industry will also be allowed to operate. There will, however, be no household mixing, and nonessential stores as well as pubs and restaurants are to close. Employers will be asked to encourage their employees to work from home where possible.
Meanwhile, the United States remains the country with the highest number of infections and deaths. As of Sunday morning, the U.S. had 9,127,100 cases of the coronavirus, an increase of nearly 80,000 in 24 hours, and at least 230,566 deaths, with over 850 dead in the last 24 hours. according to Johns Hopkins.
The U.S. is followed by India, Brazil, Russia, France, Spain, Argentina, Colombia and the most recent one, Britain, with 1 million or more cases of the coronavirus each.
The rising tide of new coronavirus cases worldwide is forcing leaders elsewhere to consider new lockdown measures to contain an increase in infections.
In Greece, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Saturday that bars, cafes, movie theaters and gyms across much of the country would be shut down beginning Tuesday. Most of the affected areas are in northern Greece and in the Athens area.
On Friday, Belgium imposed a partial lockdown aimed at controlling the pandemic that has hit the country harder than any other in the 27-nation European Union, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
Belgium has a high ratio of infection, 1,600 cases per 100,000 people. In comparison, Spain and Italy have ratios less than a third of that. In addition, hospitals in Belgium have almost reached capacity.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced a nationwide monthlong lockdown, effective Friday, with restaurants, bars, cafes and other nonessential businesses closed. Citizens can leave their homes only for work, shopping and doctor appointments.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a set of similar measures in her own monthlong lockdown, which takes effect Monday. In addition to restaurants and bars, all gyms, theaters and opera houses will be closed under Merkel’s order, while most businesses, shops and hair salons will be allowed to remain open.
Schools in both nations will remain open during their respective lockdowns.
European countries, meanwhile, are calling on the global community to grant the World Health Organization greater authority to independently investigate outbreaks after the pandemic exposed the agency’s deficiencies.
The WHO does not have the authority to independently investigate epidemics, forcing it to rely on countries to approve their lists of suggested experts and to abide by the agendas developed by them.
As of Sunday morning, there were over 46.1 million total coronavirus cases worldwide, including nearly 1.2 million COVID-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins statistics.
GENEVA – The United States is among 14 countries whose human rights records will be examined under the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review. The two-week session, which opens Monday, will be held both in-person and remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Universal Periodic Review, or UPR, is a unique process in that the human rights records of all 193 U.N. member states, regardless of how weak or powerful they are, come under scrutiny. All states have participated at least twice since the process began in 2008. They now are in the midst of having their records reviewed for a third time.
One of the successes of the UPR is that it has a 100 percent participation rate. Human Rights Council spokesman Rolando Gomez says the UPR is an opportunity for states to highlight advances they have made in the area of human rights.
He agrees some countries may be particularly notorious human rights violators but adds none has a stellar record. All have issues that can stand improvement. He tells VOA it is the prerogative of a state whether it chooses to address these issues in a genuine manner.
“If by chance they do not address their own issues in a genuine manner, there are states who are taking part in this who will certainly shed light on those issues,” he said. “They would not miss that opportunity through the UPR… But they certainly cannot conceal the violations that they are committing… the alleged violations they are committing. And, with membership, I should point out that they certainly cannot escape any form of scrutiny either.”
Gomez says many good things have emerged from this process. He notes people have benefited from the implementation by states of recommendations made at the UPR. For example, he says literacy rates have increased in some countries, minority religions have been approved by constitutional orders in others and prison conditions have been improved.
Gomez says the United States has been actively involved in the UPR process, despite having relinquished its seat as a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council. He says the U.S. will come under review on November 9.
“I can tell you that from the reports, which are already in the public domain on this review the situations of people of African descent, racism, discrimination, police brutality — these are some of the issues, which will be addressed during this review,” he said.
Gomez says other issues, such as the situation of migrants in the U.S. also will come up. Because of the coronavirus, he says most of the participants will testify remotely from Washington. He says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to make a statement.
WASHINGTON – Democrat Joe Biden, the projected winner of the long and contentious U.S. presidential election over Republican President Donald Trump, has moved quickly to start preparations to take over the U.S. government when he is inaugurated January 20 and reverse some key Trump policies.
The move comes as Trump is contesting the outcome of the November 3 election through lawsuits, claiming, without evidence, that vote-counting irregularities in several states where Biden won narrow pluralities and all their electoral votes, would reverse the result and hand him a second term.
President-elect Biden and his running mate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, launched a website for their transition to power on Sunday, saying they would immediately focus on the coronavirus pandemic, the recession in the world’s biggest economy wrought by the pandemic, climate change and systemic racism.
“We are preparing to lead on Day One, ensuring the Biden-Harris administration is able to take on the most urgent challenges we face: protecting and preserving our nation’s health, renewing our opportunity to succeed, advancing racial equity, and fighting the climate crisis.”
They declared, “We stand together as one America. We will rise stronger than we were before.”
Coronavirus advisory panel
Biden announced Monday the formation of a 13-member coronavirus advisory panel co-chaired by former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. David Kessler and Yale University associate professor and associate dean Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.
“Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said in a statement.
Biden, during the campaign, regularly assailed Trump for his handling of the pandemic as the death toll of Americans rose to a world-leading total of 237,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University. Trump in recent weeks has said the U.S. is “rounding the turn” on COVID-19.
During the past week, the United States averaged more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day.
The Biden-Harris transition website lays out a seven-point plan against the coronavirus, including ”regular, reliable, and free testing” for all Americans, an “effective, equitable distribution of treatments and vaccines” once they become available and an attempt to implement a nationwide mask mandate that many oppose as an intrusion on their individual freedom.
Climate change, Muslim ban
Aides say that on his first days in office, Biden plans for the United States to rejoin the Paris climate accord that Trump withdrew from and reverse Trump’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization.
Biden plans to repeal the ban on almost all travel from some Muslim-majority countries, and to reinstate the program that allows young people, often called “Dreamers,” who were brought illegally into the U.S. as children, to remain in the country.
During the campaign, Biden also said he plans to rejoin the international accord to restrain Iran’s nuclear weapons development that Trump rebuked and pulled the U.S. from.
U.S. transitions in power can often bring swift policy shifts but the one from Trump to Biden could be among the most jarring in recent U.S. political history.
One Biden aide told CNN, “Across the board we will continue laying the foundation for the incoming Biden-Harris administration to successfully restore faith and trust in our institutions and lead the federal government.”
Trump won’t concede
Trump has declined to concede or call Biden.
The Trump campaign is pursuing multiple court cases starting Monday, although there were scant reports of irregularities during last Tuesday’s voting or in the days of vote counting since then, tabulations that are still going on in numerous states even though the outcome in almost all the country’s 50 states is not in doubt.
A majority of 270 votes in the country’s 538-member Electoral College, with the most populous states holding the most sway, determines the outcome of U.S. presidential elections, not the national popular vote. Biden currently holds a 4-million vote edge in the national vote count.
Biden passed the 270-vote Electoral College majority threshold on Saturday when it became apparent he had amassed a narrow, but decisive popular vote lead in the eastern state of Pennsylvania and won its 20 electoral votes.
At that point, all major television news organizations, including Trump favorite Fox News, and leading newspapers, declared Biden the winner.
Trump has railed against the outcome, while praising himself Saturday on Twitter, saying, “71,000,000 Legal Votes. The most EVER for a sitting President!”
Biden currently has 75.2 million votes.
Thousands celebrate Biden-Harris victory
Thousands of people massed in the streets in large Democratic-dominated cities across the country on Saturday to celebrate Trump’s defeat, including in Washington, outside the White House.Some shouted, “You’re fired,” Trump’s signature line from his one-time television reality show, “The Apprentice,” before he won the presidency in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, who is leading the bipartisan effort planning the January 20 inauguration, said it “seems unlikely” that vote projections showing Biden as the presidential winner would change in the coming days.
But he told ABC’s “This Week” show it was reasonable for Republicans to wait a little longer for state election officials to tabulate the official outcome and in some cases, such as in the southern state of Georgia where Biden leads narrowly, to conduct a recount.
Biden and Harris launched Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts using the handle @Transition46, a reference that Biden will be the country’s 46th president in its 244-year history.
On the Biden-Harris website, BuildBackBetter.com, he said, ”We’ll rise stronger than we were before. We will act on the first day of my presidency to get COVID under control. We will act to pass my economic plan that will finally reward work, not wealth, in this country. We’ll act to restore faith in our democracy and our faith in one another.
“We’ll once more become one nation, under God, indivisible, a nation united, a nation strengthened, a nation healed,” he said.
The website said it would also address racial inequity and police reform in the U.S. by working with Congress to institute a “nationwide ban on chokeholds” during police arrests of criminal suspects, stop “the transfer of weapons of war to police forces,” establish a “model use of force standard” and create a “national police oversight commission.”
The Biden-Harris website also said, “The moment has come for our nation to deal with systemic racism. To deal with the growing economic inequality in our nation. And to deal with the denial of the promise of this nation — to so many.”
JOHANNESBURG – Analysts and political players in Africa are largely welcoming the announcement that Joe Biden has won the U.S. presidency — and are now giving him and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris a long list of priorities for a continent that, they say, should figure high on the next administration’s agenda. And, they added: please visit soon.
The statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation was uncompromising and weighty.
“It is with a sense of relief that we have seen President Donald Trump defeated in the US presidential election,” the foundation said, adding that they are glad they won’t have to watch him undermine democratic institutions for another four years.
Mandela was South Africa’s first Black president, a man whose tact, eloquence, thirst for reconciliation and Nobel Peace Prize put him in contrast to the most recent U.S. president, Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang told VOA News on Monday.
“What President Trump has managed to do, unfortunately, was to breed the things that we don’t want to see in the middle of such a such a great nation and the spewing of hate was becoming normalized that you could attack and also go for name-calling every time you differed with any one of the leaders, it didn’t matter who they were — there was no decorum, in other words, in leadership.”
In South Africa, the continent’s most stable democracy, reaction to the news was largely positive, with President Cyril Ramaphosa quickly congratulating Biden and Harris.
However, the nation’s far-left Economic Freedom Fighters party said they felt this election would “make no turning point on the lives of Black Americans as they will continue to be in the periphery.”
Sarfo Abebrese, a Pan-African advocate and lawyer from the West African nation of Ghana, says he is happy to provide the new administration with an Africa-specific “to-do list.”
“We expect that a Joe Biden administration will now open its ears and hear what the African people are saying,” he said. “We want democracy right there at the top, we want democracy to seep down into the various countries of Africa where we have African heads of state taking the people for a ride and perpetuating their rule for 10, 20, 30 years, sometimes. We need that kind of democratic thing to be built into Africa, and it starts at the top.”
Africa has not come up much on the campaign trail, though as Abebrese noted, Biden counts at least two African women as top advisors, which he sees as a good sign.
Not to mention Harris becoming the first woman to serve as U.S. vice president.
“We are hoping that this sets the tone also for South Africa, that we won’t shy away from having the next president being a woman. So hopefully, with this kind of leadership we would have that moment here in South Africa too,” said Hatang of the Mandela Foundation.
Professor Ina Gouws with the University of the Free State in South Africa, also applauded Harris’ historic win, but said if the U.S. wants to get serious about this continent, they need to show it, with investment.
“We want a stable relationship, one that we can count on. As you know, we have the free trade agreement that is supposed to kick in January of 2021,” she said. “We need whatever investments we can to grow our economy and to create jobs. So we hope that, you know, that would be the outcome in the end. But this presidency must, I think, stabilize the relationship and be very clear about policies towards the continent, and to South Africa in particular.”
On one count, all experts we spoke to agreed: Please, they said to the new leaders, visit us in Africa soon. You are most welcome.
AMMAN, JORDAN – Middle East analysts are reacting to the election victory of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, noting that President Donald Trump is leaving some diplomatic achievements that Biden will build upon, especially with respect to Arab-Israeli peace.
Analysts expect President-elect Joe Biden to take a tougher stand on human rights issues — especially in the Persian Gulf region — review arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and potentially push harder to end the war in Yemen.
Jordanian political analyst Amer Al Sabaileh said a major issue for the Middle East is the normalization process Washington started between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan. But he said Biden will do more to bring the Palestinians on board.
“I don’t think any president can now risk to lose the advantage of capitalizing this achievement. He will try to engage more the Palestinians, trying to reshape the so-called the ‘Deal of the Century’ at least in a convincing way, put it more diplomatically, on how to bring Israelis and the Palestinians together,” he said.
Normalization has been predicated on concerns by Israel and Persian Gulf states over Iran’s growing militarism in the region. Professor David Romano of Missouri State University also told the Arab News newspaper in Saudi Arabia that “Iran is the key issue in understanding much of the Arab world’s bad aftertaste of the Obama administration.”
Gulf Arab states resented being excluded from deliberations over the 2015 nuclear deal to contain their aggressive neighbor, Iran. Trump withdrew from the multilateral accord in 2018 and imposed stringent sanctions on Tehran.
“So, the Gulf and Israel get together because they have one main and common enemy, which is Iran. Biden might, but not necessarily immediately, think of how to make use of the current situation in Iran to gain more of the diplomatic heritage of the nuclear deal,” said the analyst.
Ariane Tabatabai, a Middle East fellow at the German Marshall Fund told Dubai’s The National newspaper that Biden “would seek to rebuild international consensus on Iran and work with U.S. allies.” However, she said, Iran may not be willing to address its behavior in the region as part of any nuclear deal.
Other analysts see Saudi Arabia having held back from joining other Gulf Arab states in recognizing Israel, thus providing some leverage with the new Biden administration.