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Game changer? The battle over Trump’s third Supreme Court pick

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Does the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg ensure Donald Trump's legacy? The US president says that by the end of the week, he will nominate a new Supreme Court justice. If the Republican-controlled Senate approves his pick, whether or not Trump's out of a job on November 4, he will have chosen three of the nine justices on the bench. We are talking about lifetime appointments that for decades could shape arguments over deregulation, healthcare, voting rights, protection of minorities and abortion.

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The stakes could not be higher nor more dramatic: just how much of an icon was Ginsburg to many Americans is a question we put to our panel. Her death comes as some states have already started early voting. In a year of Covid, wildfires and Black Lives Matter protests, will RBG's legacy and the fight over her succession instantly become the issue of the campaign?

More broadly, whRead More – Source

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Biden blasts Trump’s push to fill Ginsburg seat before presidential election

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden urged Senate Republicans not to vote on any candidate nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court as the November election nears, calling President Donald Trump's plan an "exercise of raw political power."

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A second Senate Republican on Sunday voiced objections to Trump's plan for a quick vote on a replacement to liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday. Such an appointment by the president, if approved by the Senate, would cement a 6-3 conservative majority that could influence American law and life for decades.

"Voters of this country should be heard … they're the ones who this Constitution envisions should decide who has the power to make this appointment," Biden, who leads Trump in national opinion polls, said in Philadelphia. "To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise of raw political power."

Biden said that if he wins the Nov. 3 election, he should have the chance to nominate the next Supreme Court justice.

The former vice president rejected the idea of releasing the names of potential nominees, saying that doing so, as Trump did, could improperly influence those candidates' decisions in their current court roles as well as subject them to "unrelenting political attacks."

He reiterated his pledge to nominate an African-American woman to the court, which would be a historic first, if he has the opportunity.

Earlier on Sunday, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she did not support Trump's plan to move fast on filling the seat, becoming the second of the 53 Republicans in the 100-seat chamber to object publicly following Ginsburg's death.

On Saturday, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said the presidential election winner should pick the nominee. She is locked in a tight re-election battle, while Murkowski's current term extends two more years.

Biden blasts Trump’s push to fill Ginsburg seat before presidential election

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden urged Senate Republicans not to vote on any candidate nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court as the November election nears, calling President Donald Trump's plan an "exercise of raw political power."

Advertising Read more

A second Senate Republican on Sunday voiced objections to Trump's plan for a quick vote on a replacement to liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday. Such an appointment by the president, if approved by the Senate, would cement a 6-3 conservative majority that could influence American law and life for decades.

"Voters of this country should be heard … they're the ones who this Constitution envisions should decide who has the power to make this appointment," Biden, who leads Trump in national opinion polls, said in Philadelphia. "To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise of raw political power."

Biden said that if he wins the Nov. 3 election, he should have the chance to nominate the next Supreme Court justice.

The former vice president rejected the idea of releasing the names of potential nominees, saying that doing so, as Trump did, could improperly influence those candidates' decisions in their current court roles as well as subject them to "unrelenting political attacks."

He reiterated his pledge to nominate an African-American woman to the court, which would be a historic first, if he has the opportunity.

Earlier on Sunday, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she did not support Trump's plan to move fast on filling the seat, becoming the second of the 53 Republicans in the 100-seat chamber to object publicly following Ginsburg's death.

On Saturday, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said the presidential election winner should pick the nominee. She is locked in a tight re-election battle, while Murkowski's current term extends two more years.

What would a year of distance learning mean for children in California?

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The closure of schools means increased inequalities for California students © France 24 screen grab

In California, the 2020 school year has begun with 100 percent virtual instruction. With about 3,000 new Covid-19 cases being confirmed daily, the states 10,000 public schools will remain closed. And the governor says the closures could last the entire school year. That would put 7 million students and 300,000 teachers into the new world of distance learning. And that is where inequalities are emerging. Families with means are using private tutors and specRead More – Source

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Peru’s President Vizcarra survives impeachment vote amid economic crisis

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Peru's Congress voted against removing President Martín Vizcarra in an impeachment trial on Friday, quelling political tensions in the copper giant in the midst of an economic recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

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The opposition-dominated Congress cast 32 votes in favor of ousting Vizcarra, short of the 87 out of 130 required to remove him from office on the grounds of "moral incapacity" over alleged links to a case of irregular government contracts with a little-known singer.

There were 78 votes against the measure and 15 abstentions.

Congress voted last week to begin impeachment proceedings, but Vizcarra was expected to survive the Friday ballot after key opposition lawmakers distanced themselves from the plan to oust him despite anger over an economic slump and a severe coronavirus outbreak.

Vizcarra, who does not have his own party representation in the legislature, struck a defiant tone earlier on Friday in a 20-minute speech to Congress, saying the country should not be "distracted" from real challenges.

"I do not hide, I have not done so before and I am not going to do it now. I am here, with my head high and my conscience clear," said Vizcarra, 57.

"It is very serious to have the country plunged into this uncertainty." Vizcarra had claimed that the move was a plot by Congress, which was elected in January after the president dissRead More – Source

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A symbol of ‘extermination’: Indigenous Colombians tear down conquistador statue

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A statue of a Spanish conquistador overlooking the Colombian city of Popayán has been torn down by members of indigenous groups in the latest case of a monument to a historical figure with links to racism or colonialism being targeted by protesters.

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The statue of Sebastián de Belalcázar had stood above Popayán, the Colombian city he founded, since 1937.

But on Wednesday, September 16, indigenous people armed with ropes pulled the statue from its pedestal, toppling what they say is a symbol of the country's colonial past.

Images of the statue being pulled down were posted on social media and protesters could be heard cheering and celebrating as the structure toppled.

It came amid a protest by the indigenous Misak, Nasa and Pijao communities against the "cultural and physical extermination" of native Colombians in the 500 years since Spanish conquest, AFP reported.

De Belalcázar founded Popayán in 1537 during the Spanish conquest of what is now Colombia and also founded Quito in Ecuador. But the Misak people accuse him of stealing their lands and the killing of their ancestors.

It is the latest of several statue-topplings around the world in recent months, which began in the US Read More – Source

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Bolivian interim president Anez withdraws candidacy for October election

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Bolivias conservative interim president, Jeanine Anez, on Thursday withdrew her candidacy for the Oct. 18 election, after opinion polls showed her lagging against the socialist party of ex-leader Evo Morales.

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Anez made the announcement in a video message. She took office during a power vacuum late last year following an election that sparked widespread protests and eventually led to the resignation of long-term leader Morales.

Anezs candidacy had sparked controversy, Read More – Source

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Huge wildfire in Southern California threatens historic observatory

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A major fire that has been raging outside Los Angeles for more than a week threatened to engulf a historic observatory and billion-dollar broadcast towers on Tuesday as firefighters struggled to contain the flames.

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The so-called Bobcat Fire was within 500 feet (150 meters) from the 116-year-old Mt. Wilson Observatory, the US Forest Service said in a tweet, while fire officials said crews were in place "ready to receive the fire."

Officials at the observatory said in a tweet late Monday that all personnel had been evacuated as the fire was "knocking on our door."

Firefighters battling the blaze had made slight headway in recent days in trying to control the flames that erupted September 6, but containment shrank from 6 percent to 3 percent Tuesday, according to the Angeles National Forest.

"They are in a firefight right now, because it is so close," LA County Fire Captain David Dantic told the Los Angeles Times, referring to crews positioned at Mt. Wilson.

He said the fire, located about 16 miles (25 kilometers) northeast of downtown Los Angeles, had grown to more than 40,000 acres (16,200 hectares).

"It's a bigger area now," Dantic said. "Before, we had 6 percent containment when it was about 30,000 acres, but now the fire has gotten bigger. Its a bigger footprint. Thats why the containment is down."

KNX radio said the fire was also threatening broadcast towers in the area worth more than a billion dollars.

French film ‘Cuties’ sparks controversy in the US

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In the United States, a French film has found itself at the centre of controversy over the hyper-sexualisation of young girls. It's called "Cuties," or "Mignonnes" in French, and the irony is that it's being accused of the very thing the film is trying to criticise, according to its director. The backlash has prompted an online campaign to "Cancel Netflix," its distributor in the United States. We tell you more.

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Meanwhile, devastating wildfires on the West Coast of the US spread toxic smoke into the country, as the natural disaster becomes a war of words in the debate on climate change.

Finally, looking ahead to the presidential election, America is still undRead More – Source

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Biden brands Trump a ‘climate arsonist’ over US wildfires

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Joe Biden branded President Donald Trump a "climate arsonist" on Monday for refusing to acknowledge global warming's role in deadly wildfires sweeping the western United States, while Trump blamed lax forestry and declared, "I don't think science knows."

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Dozens of conflagrations have raged with unprecedented scope across some 4.5 million acres (1.8 million hectares) in Oregon, California and Washington state since August, laying waste to several small towns, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 36 people.

The fires also have filled the region's air with harmful levels of smoke and soot, bathing skies in eerie tones of orange and sepia while adding to a public health crisis already posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ten deaths have been confirmed during the past week in Oregon, the latest flashpoint in a larger summer outbreak of fires accompanied by catastrophic lightning storms, record-breaking heat waves and bouts of extreme winds.

Those incendiary conditions gave way over the weekend to cooler, moister weather and calmer winds, enabling weary firefighters to gain ground in efforts to outflank blazes that had burned largely unchecked last week.

Fire managers cautioned that the battle was hardly over. Thunderstorms forecast for later in the week could bring much-needed rain but also more lightning. Officials also braced for a rise in the death toll.

As disaster teams scoured the ruins of dwellings engulfed by flames amid chaotic evacuations last week, Oregon's emergency management authorities said they had yet to account for 22 people reported missing in the fires.

At least 25 people have perished in California wildfires since mid-August, and one fatality has been confirmed in Washington state. More than 6,200 homes and other structures have been lost, according to figures from all three states.

France 24's Alyssa Caverley reports on Trump's visit to California

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