Trump delays power transfer in US | Daily News

Trump delays power transfer in US

US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

President Donald Trump has yet to concede defeat and recognise the electoral victory of the Democrat Joe Biden as president-elect.

Instead, the US President is making many allegations of alleged voter fraud, which he says has tipped the presidential race to Joe Biden. This is causing fears in the US about the danger of the absence of a peaceful transfer of power in the country, especially about National Security.

While many foreign leaders have already called to congratulate Joe Biden, there are increasing concerns about the transfer of power in the US, in the midst of a huge new rise in the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The General Services Administration of the US that handles the transfer of power after a presidential election, has been moved to inaction by the Donald Trump moves, and support for his moves from the Attorney General who has asked for inquiries into alleged voter fraud, and statements by the Secretary of State.

US President Donald Trump made his first public appearance in five days on Wednesday, visiting the Arlington National Cemetery.

With the absence of an Elections Commission or any such authority in the country, the poll results are mainly announced by the media, in an election that takes place in 50 states, and Washington DC, under their own election rules. The US public will now have to wait till December 14, when the electors meet in each state and cast their ballots for the president and vice president. Joe Biden has already won more than the 270 Electoral College votes needed to be declared elected.

The US Congress meets on January 6, 2021, in a joint session to count the electoral votes, and the inauguration of the new president will take place on January 20, 2021.

The US voters are largely kept in disarray over the result of the presidential poll, due to the moves by President Trump, which are raising many issues about the process of US democracy, and some fears also being raised about Trump’s moves to remain for a second term.

There is little precedent in the modern era of a US president erecting such hurdles for one’s successor. Joe Biden is due to take office amid a raging pandemic, which will require a comprehensive government response.

Meanwhile, president-elect Joe Biden has already named his advisory team on the Covid-19 pandemic. He has now announced the selection of longtime aide Ron Klain to be his White House Chief of Staff, the first White House personnel to be named.

This presidential election also has historical importance as it has elected the first woman vice president, who is also the first non-white vice president, with both South Asian and Jamaican parentage. She is also lined up with the possibility of being president, with Joe Biden, who is 77 years old, having said he will serve only one term.

Europe on terror

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday urged a “rapid and coordinated” European response to terror attacks that have plagued the continent in recent years.

Such a response should focus on “the development of common databases, the exchange of information or the strengthening of criminal policies,” he said after hosting a video conference with fellow EU leaders.

The online summit came a week after a convicted Islamic State group supporter killed four people in a shooting rampage in the heart of Vienna, after the attack on a church in the French city of Nice, and the beheading of a teacher in a Paris suburb two weeks before that.

The summit called after the Austrian attack to seek an EU-wide response to Islamist attacks, was attended by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, European Council chief Charles Michel and EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen.

The leaders discussed the need for a “determined fight against terrorist propaganda and hate speech on the internet,” Macron told an online briefing after the meeting. “The internet is a space of freedom, our social networks too, but this freedom exists only if there is security and if it is not the refuge of those who flout our values or seek to indoctrinate with deadly ideologies,” he said.

In other measures to combat terrorism, Macron last week announced a doubling of the number of French border guards, and called for a “deep” revision in the rules for the Schengen area that guarantees the free movement of people across borders.

The issue of the freedom for travel within the EU for citizens of member countries through the Schengen treaty was also discussed, with suggestions for restrictions on the outer borders of the EU. The travel freedom through Schengen is an issue having divisions among EU members, with many calling for stronger restrictions.

Myanmar Election

Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar’s ruling party has gained a resounding victory this week in the second parliamentary election since the end of oppressive military rule.

Sunday’s election was viewed as a referendum on the government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD), which won a landslide in 2015.

The NLD remains popular at home -- but has seen its international reputation battered by accusations of genocide against the ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority. Suu Kyi, too, is no longer viewed as a democracy icon in the West after her handling of the military crackdown on the Rohingya.

After the election, NLD spokesman told Reuters it had won many more than the 322 seats in parliament needed to form a government. There were 315 seats up for grabs in the 425-member lower house, and 161 seats in the 217-seat upper house of parliament.

The European Union and Britain commended Myanmar for the vote but criticized the disenfranchisement of more than a million voters, including hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the polls marked an important step in Myanmar’s democratic transition, though Washington had concerns about the large number of seats reserved for the military and the disfranchisement of groups including the Rohingya.

Pompeo said Washington would continue to monitor Myanmar’s electoral process closely, and called for tabulation of votes and resolution of complaints to be undertaken “in a transparent and credible manner.”

Coronavirus is continuing its spread across the world.

The military, which ruled Myanmar for nearly 50 years until it began withdrawing from civilian politics in 2011, controls a quarter of seats in both houses of parliament under a constitution it drew up and which Suu Kyi wants to amend.

Political analyst Yan Myo Thein said early results showed ethnic parties had won some seats in Kayah, Mon and Shan states, where many people harbour grievances against the central government, but the overall picture was of another NLD landslide.

In contrast to the wave of optimism that greeted the NLD’s 2015 win, Myanmar held this election amid a surge in Covid-19 infections, economic hardships and escalating ethnic conflicts.

In Rakhine state, where Rohingya Muslims are confined to camps and villages and mostly denied the vote because they are not citizens, the vast majority of polling stations were closed due to fighting between government troops and ethnic insurgents.

The Democracy and Human Rights Party, a Rohingya party, said it was “utterly disappointed” that its people had been disenfranchised.

The government does not consider most Rohingya Myanmar citizens but instead migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, even though many can trace family roots back many generations.

The United Nations has said the 2017 military crackdown, which forced 730,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, had “the hallmarks of genocide.”

More than 740,000 Rohingya fled from Myanmar into neighbouring Bangladesh in 2016 and 2017 as the military waged a campaign of violence in Rakhine state. Survivors have recounted harrowing atrocities including gang rape, mass killings, torture and widespread destruction of property at the hands of the army.

Azerbaijan - Treaty

Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed on a deal with Russia to end weeks of fierce clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday, after a string of Azerbaijani victories in its fight to retake the disputed region.

The ceasefire will see the presence of Russian troops on the borders of Nagorno-Karabakh, which brings the Russian presence to the prolonged conflict.

The announcement of a full ceasefire sparked outrage in Armenia, with angry protesters storming the government headquarters in Yerevan where they ransacked offices and broke windows. Crowds also seized control of parliament, calling from inside the chamber for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan after he announced the “painful” deal to end the fighting.

“I have signed a statement with the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan on the termination of the Karabakh war,” Pashinyan said, calling the move “unspeakably painful for me personally and for our people”. “I have taken this decision as a result of an in-depth analysis of the military situation,” he added.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said Pashinyan had been left with no choice but to sign the “historic agreement”. “An iron hand forced him to sign this document,” Aliyev said in televised remarks. “This is essentially a capitulation.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that both Armenia and Azerbaijan had agreed to “a total ceasefire” that would create the conditions for a long-term settlement of the conflict. He said the two sides would hold on to areas under their control and that Russian peacekeepers would be deployed along frontlines and to secure a corridor connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenian territory.

The Russian defence ministry said 1,960 peacekeepers would be deployed with 90 armoured vehicles.

Azerbaijan PM Aliyev said Armenia had agreed to a timetable to withdraw its forces from large parts of the region and that Azerbaijan’s ally Turkey would be involved in implementing the ceasefire.

The deal would end six weeks of fierce clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian region of Azerbaijan that broke away from Baku’s control during a bitter war in the 1990s.

The conflict—which has simmered for decades despite international efforts to reach a peace deal—erupted into fresh fighting in late September. More than 1,300 people have been confirmed killed, including dozens of civilians, but the actual death toll is believed to be significantly higher.

The ceasefire deal came just hours after Azerbaijan admitted to accidentally shooting down a Russian military helicopter flying in Armenia. Moscow’s defence ministry said two crew members were killed when the Mi-24 helicopter was hit close to the border with Azerbaijan. A third crew member was injured and evacuated.

Azerbaijan quickly apologised and blamed the incident on the “tense situation in the region and increased combat readiness” of its forces.

Russia has a military pact with Armenia and a base in the country, but had insisted it would not get involved in the conflict with Azerbaijan unless Armenian territory itself came under threat.

Repeated attempts at ceasefires brokered by France, Russia and the United States—who together lead the “Minsk Group” that has sought for years to end the conflict—repeatedly failed over the last few weeks.

Azerbaijan has been pushing for Turkey’s involvement in a settlement and the new deal came after Putin spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday.

On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron called for a “lasting political solution” to the conflict and urged Turkey to “end its provocations”. France is home to a large Armenian population. It has crossed swords repeatedly with Turkey on a range of issues, including Nagorno-Karabakh.

Russia’s President Putin said displaced people would be able to return to Nagorno-Karabakh and prisoners of war would be exchanged. A spokesman for the Kremlin said there had been no agreement on deploying Turkish peacekeepers in the disputed region, but that the Turkish military would help staff a joint monitoring centre with Russian forces.


Ethiopia’s conflict with its northern Tigray region has spilled over the border as several thousand people fled into neighbouring Sudan, raising concerns about the conflict spreading in this part of Africa.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia has rejected international pleas for dialogue with the Tigray regional leaders, and said there would be no negotiations until law enforcement operation is over.

As Britain and the African Union urged an immediate de-escalation, PM Ahmed has vowed the military would bring a speedy end to the fighting.

The flow of refugees to Sudan shows the growing humanitarian crisis affecting millions at the heart of the Horn of Africa. The UN and help partners are preparing for at least 20,000 refugees initially.

Hundreds of people have been reported killed on both sides of the conflict, while each side blames the other for sparking the conflict.

Sudan, which has sent more than 6,000 troops to the border, is under pressure from the international community to help make peace.

The other neighbour, Eritrea, has had long disputes with the Tigray regional government in Ethiopia, and the Tigray leader has alleged that Eritrea has started taking military action in the region.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) once dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition. It felt marginalized by PM Abiy’s political reforms after he took office in 2018. It broke away last year, and angered the federal government by holding a local election in September, while national elections were delayed till next year.

Diplomats and analysts assert that the Tigray conflict could destabilize this African region and other parts of Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country with 110 million people. It has many ethnic groups that have sought more autonomy, causing worries about further fracturing a country, already affected by ethnic violence.

China - Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers have announced they would resign en masse after four of them were ousted from the Legislature by the authorities.

This mass leaving will leave Hong Kong’s Legislature with only pro-Beijing lawmakers, who make up the majority.

Four opposition pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong were disqualified with immediate effect, soon after Beijing passed a resolution allowing the region’s government to disqualify politicians deemed a threat to national security.

The move is being seen as the latest attempt by China to restrict Hong Kong’s freedoms.

The new resolution passed by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee says that lawmakers should be disqualified if they support Hong Kong independence, refuse to acknowledge China’s sovereignty, ask foreign forces to interfere in the city’s affairs or in other ways threaten national security. It also allows the Hong Kong government to directly remove lawmakers without having to approach the courts.

The resignation of the 15 remaining pro-democracy lawmakers will ratchet up tensions over the future of Hong Kong, a former British colony and for long the regional financial hub of the West.

In recent months, Beijing has increasingly clamped down on Hong Kong, after imposing a national security law in June, after anti-government protests rocked the city for months, and it has been used to crackdown on opposition voices.

In response to the Beijing move, the US levelled sanctions on several officials, including Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam, and several western countries have suspended extradition treaties with the territory; and UK and Australia have offered Hong Kongers easier paths to settle in those countries.

Britain says the decision to remove lawmakers raises further concerns on Hong Kong. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said “This campaign to harass, stifle and disqualify democratic opposition tarnishes China’s international reputation and undermines Hong Kong’s long-term stability”.

Beijing has rejected the criticism and lashed out at what it calls gross foreign interference in Chinese politics. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson has said the disqualification was necessary to maintain rule of law and constitutional order in Hong Kong.

Coronavirus - rising spread

Coronavirus is continuing its spread across the world and has now passed 50 million confirmed cases in 190 countries and more than 1.2 million deaths.

The virus is surging in many regions and countries that had apparent success in suppressing initial outbreaks are also seeing infections rise again.

At least 1,448 new coronavirus deaths and 139,855 new cases were reported in the United States on Nov. 10. Over the past week, there has been an average of 123,315 cases per day, an increase of 69 percent from the average two weeks earlier.

As of midweek, more than 10,331,900 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 240,200 have died, according to a New York Times database.

Case numbers in the United States have been spiking for weeks. Weekly infection reports reached record levels in more than half the country in early November, and there were almost no hopeful signs in the data.

India remains the country with the second highest rate of infections, but having a comparatively very low death rate. However, there are increasing fears among the medical profession that the infections could rise much more, with deaths too, due to the large crowds that have gathered at the current Deepavali and other religious festivals.

The situation in Europe is also worsening, with huge increases in infections, and rising deaths, while most European countries have imposed major lockdowns, but not national curfews. Countries such as France, Spain, Italy and the UK, have all passed 1 million infections. The spread of the pandemic is causing major economic issues to all affected countries, and also leading to some rising political protests on the conditions being imposed.

Here are the coronavirus figures at the time of writing. World 52,129, 134 infected and 1,284,465 deaths. US - 10,401,132 infected (241,810 deaths); India - 8,683,916 (128,121); Brazil - 5,747,660 (163,368); France - 1,914,918 (42,599); Russia - 1,822, 345 - (31,326), Spain - 1,417,709 (40,105), UK - 1,260,198 - (50, 457), Italy - 1,028,424 (42,953), Germany - 738,094 (11,944).