Tuesday 20 October 2020
News ID: 81460
Publish Date: 05 August 2020 - 21:58
WASHINGTON (AP) — In an abrupt reversal, President Donald Trump is encouraging voters in the critical swing state of Florida to vote by mail after months of criticizing the practice — and while his campaign and the GOP challenge Nevada over its new vote-by-mail law. Democratic requests to vote by mail have surged in Florida, a state that Trump almost certainly must win to secure a second term. Democrats currently have about 1.9 million Floridians signed up to vote by mail this November, almost 600,000 more than the Republicans’ 1.3 million, according to the Florida secretary of state. In 2016, both sides had about 1.3 million signed up before the general election. "Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. "Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail!”

BEIJING (AFP) -- China said Wednesday a visit by a top U.S. cabinet member to Taiwan was endangering peace and stability in the region, with relations between the two powers at historic lows. Washington’s de facto embassy in Taipei said U.S. health secretary Alex Azar would lead a delegation to the self-ruled island, which Beijing claims as part of China and has vowed to one day seize. "China firmly opposes official exchanges between the US and Taiwan,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesman of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a regular briefing. "We urge the U.S. to abide by the one-China principle... to avoid seriously endangering Sino-U.S. relations, as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Two thirds of registered American voters oppose delaying the Nov. 3 presidential election due to the coronavirus pandemic, and more than half think President Donald Trump floated the idea of postponing it last week to help himself politically, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling released on Wednesday. The national public opinion poll was conducted from July 31 to Aug. 4, shortly after Trump said without providing evidence that a surge in mail-in voting would lead to widespread voter fraud and suggested the election be delayed. The idea was immediately rejected by Democrats and Republicans in Congress, who have sole authority to change the election date. Most Americans also rejected the suggestion. The poll showed 66% of registered voters oppose postponing the November vote, including 8 out of 10 Democrats and 5 in 10 Republicans.

LONDONDERRY, Northern Ireland (Reuters) -- Northern Ireland peacemaker John Hume was remembered for his unshakeable commitment to non-violence at a small funeral on Wednesday where the pope, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and fellow Nobel Laureate, the Dalai Lama, sent messages of support. Hume, the Roman Catholic architect of the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement that ended 30 years of sectarian violence, was credited with dragging a British region convulsed by bloodshed to the negotiating table. He died on Monday aged 83. Respecting COVID-19 restrictions, fewer than 100 mourners in masks, including Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin and the Catholic and Protestant leaders of Northern Ireland were dotted around the large St Eugene’s Cathedral in Hume’s native Derry.

MOSCOW (AP) -- Firefighters in Russia are battling to contain bush fires stretching across 60,000 hectares of land, which have been exacerbated by a recent heatwave in the country. The fires are currently raging in the Chukotka autonomous area, the Yekaterinburg region and the Amur region. "Ecology”, a national project to restore lost green spaces throughout the country, is also threatened by the rising temperatures. Almost 2.5 billion rubles (€29 million) have been allocated from the federal budget to the scheme. This money is being used to sow seeds in the regions, to build nurseries and modern greenhouses for growing seedlings. The Omsk region has also been affected by the heatwave this summer.

GENEVA/SEOUL (Reuters) -- North Korea’s test results for a man suspected of being the country’s first coronavirus case were inconclusive, though authorities have quarantined over 3,635 primary and secondary contacts, a World Health Organization official told Reuters. On July 26 North Korea said it had declared a state of emergency and locked down the border city of Kaesong after a person who defected to South Korea three years ago returned across the fortified border with what state media said were symptoms of COVID-19. At the time, state media was unclear over whether the man had been tested, saying "uncertain result was made from several medical check-ups”. But leader Kim Jong Un declared that "the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country.” If confirmed, the case would have been the first officially acknowledged by North Korean authorities, but since then, state media have continued to say no cases have been reported. "The person was tested for COVID-19, but test results were inconclusive,” Dr. Edwin Salvador, WHO representative for North Korea, said in comments emailed to Reuters on Wednesday.

* Comment: