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Black congressional leader arrested in US voting rights rally

Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Joyce Beatty was leading the protest inside the US Senate building.

A voting rights demonstration by Black women leaders at the United States Capitol has ended with the arrest of the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Representative Joyce Beatty was accompanied by dozens of demonstrators who marched to the US Senate on Thursday to demand the passage of federal voting-rights legislation.

The small rally came amid a raft of state-level voting laws that civil rights groups say disproportionately restrict people of colour and other groups by limiting voting hours, requiring photo identification to cast a ballot, restricting mail-in voting and allowing for partisan poll watchers.

Police responded when the group gathered in the atrium of the Senate building and began making arrests after some demonstrators, including Beatty, refused to vacate.

“Let the people vote,” Beatty wrote on Twitter after her release, along with a picture of a Capitol police officer putting her plastic handcuffs. “Fight for justice.”

“We have come too far and fought too hard to see everything systematically dismantled and restricted by those who wish to silence us,” Beatty tweeted in a subsequent post.

She included the hashtag #GoodTrouble, a reference to former Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, whose activism led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which sought to combat discriminatory practices in voting. Subsequent Supreme Court rulings have rolled back the scope of the legislation.

Meanwhile, pressure has grown for the Senate to pass the For the People Act, federal legislation that seeks to expand voting access and ban partisan gerrymandering. The House, where US President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party holds a tenuous majority, passed the bill in March, but Republicans have used the legislative hurdle known as a filibuster to block its passage in the Senate.

On Tuesday, Biden called the state-level voting laws “a new wave of voter suppression and raw and sustained election subversion”.

Biden also called on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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This post originally posted here Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy could emerge as a key figure in the committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection

“Kevin McCarthy will be meeting with me this afternoon at Trump National in Bedminster, N.J. Much to discuss!” Trump announced in a statement Thursday.
According to a GOP source familiar with the meeting, McCarthy will sit down with Trump at his New Jersey golf club to discuss upcoming special elections, vulnerable Democrats in 2022 and the GOP’s record-breaking fundraising numbers. But the announcement of the meeting comes the day after the select committee investigating the Capitol riot said that it will hold its first public hearing on July 27, essentially setting a deadline for McCarthy to make his picks as to who will represent the GOP on the commission. Sources tell CNN that McCarthy intends to announce his selections before the first hearing.
McCarthy’s trip to Bedminster also coincides with a series of new revelations this week surrounding Trump’s final days in office that describe the former President’s increasingly defiant and belligerent behavior in refusing to concede his 2020 election loss.
McCarthy is expected to return to Washington following the meeting for a dinner at the White House on Thursday evening honoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel. McCarthy’s office confirms the House minority leader will attend the dinner.
McCarthy can appoint five members of the committee that will investigate the insurrection, which was perpetrated by Trump’s supporters and came hours after the former President held a rally encouraging his followers to fight Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.
The timing of the Trump meeting shows McCarthy remains loyal to the former President. Sources say his picks for the committee will likely be supporters and defenders of Trump. It is expected that the GOP leader will avoid controversial firebrands like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia or Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, in part because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reserves the right to veto any of McCarthy’s picks.
Still, McCarthy has the option of finding Republican members who will defend Trump and his supporters in what is expected to be a bitter partisan fight, while at the same time remaining loyal to him.
McCarthy himself could be emerge as a key figure in the committee’s investigation. The chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, has not ruled out calling McCarthy before the committee to discuss the phone call he made to Trump as rioters stormed the Capitol begging the then-President to tell his supporters to go home.
McCarthy has said he is willing to testify and discuss Trump’s role on January 6 if asked.
A series of books — Michael Bender’s “Frankly We Did Win This Election” and Michael Wolff’s “Landslide” both just came out, and “I Alone Can Fix It” by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker is scheduled to be released next week. All three help paint a picture of the chaotic White House in its final months of Trump’s presidency leading up to the insurrection in January.
In one example, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, was so shaken by Trump’s refusal to concede that he worried he might attempt some sort of illegal gambit to stay in power.
“They may try, but they’re not going to f**king succeed,” Milley told his deputies, according to excerpts of the book “I Alone Can Fix It” obtained by CNN.
McCarthy previously met with Trump in Mar-a-lago on January 27, after initially being critical of the former President’s handling of the January 6 insurrection.
McCarthy has since joined many members of his conference in trying to move on and downplay the insurrection and its aftermath. He has opposed forming an independent commission to probe January 6, and CNN reported earlier this month that, according to two GOP sources with knowledge of the matter, he threatened to strip committee assignments from Republicans who accepted Pelosi’s invitation to serve on the select committee.
This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.

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Violence erupts over jailing of former South Africa leader Zuma

Police make 28 arrests on charges including public violence, burglary and contravention of COVID-19 restrictions.

South African police have arrested 28 people and one of the country’s biggest highways remained closed over violent protests against the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma.

Protests erupted this week in parts of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), Zuma’s home province, after the ex-leader handed himself over to police to serve a 15-month jail term for contempt of court.

On Friday, the high court dismissed Zuma’s application to have his arrest overturned in a case that has been seen as a test of the rule of law in the post-apartheid nation.

Zuma’s imprisonment has laid bare deep divisions in the governing African National Congress (ANC), as a party faction remains loyal to the former president and has been a potent source of opposition to his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa.

KZN police spokesman Jay Naicker said the 28 arrests had happened since Friday on charges including public violence, burglary, malicious damage to property, and contravention of COVID-19 lockdown regulations.

There were no deaths or injuries so far [Rogan Ward/Reuters]

He said protesters had set alight some trucks near Mooi River, a town on the N3 highway that leads from Durban to Johannesburg, and shops had been looted in Mooi River and eThekwini, the municipality that includes Durban.

Law enforcement officers had been deployed to all districts in the province but there had been no deaths or injuries so far, he added. The N3 was closed at Mooi River in the early afternoon on Saturday.

Ramaphosa, whose allies engineered Zuma’s removal in 2018, said in a statement that “criminal elements must be met with the full might of the law.”

Asked about the protests by public broadcaster SABC, a spokesman for Zuma’s charitable foundation said: “The righteous anger of the people is because of the injustices that they see being dispensed to President Zuma.”

Zuma was given the jail term for defying an order from the constitutional court to give evidence at an inquiry investigating high-level corruption during his nine years in power.

He denies there was widespread corruption under his leadership but has refused to cooperate with the inquiry that was set up in his final weeks in office.

Zuma has challenged his sentence in the constitutional court, partly on the grounds of his alleged frail health and the risk of catching COVID-19. That challenge will be heard on Monday.

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said in a video message the provincial government understood the “extreme anger” of those protesting.

“We find ourselves in a … unique situation wherein we are dealing with the arrest of the former president,” he said. “Unfortunately violence and destruction often attack and affect even people who are not involved.”

Analysis: A very unlikely leader of the Covid-19 vaccine push

Jim Justice, the Mountain State’s governor, switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party in August 2017 — announcing the move at a rally for Trump in the state.
“Today I will tell you as West Virginians, I can’t help you anymore being a Democrat governor,” Justice said at the rally. “So tomorrow, I will be changing my registration to Republican.”
None of that would have predicted this: Justice has been one of the leading voices pushing for vaccinations of his citizens.
“If you’re out there in West Virginia, and you’re not vaccinated today, what’s the downside?” Justice said during a televised coronavirus briefing earlier this week. “If all of us were vaccinated, do you not believe that less people would die? If you’re not vaccinated, you’re part of the problem rather than part of the solution.”
West Virginia, despite a very fast start to its vaccination efforts, has seen its numbers slow considerably. While more than 77% of those 65 and older in the state are fully vaccinated, only 54% of all West Virginians over 12 have received both shots, according to state Covid-19 data. All told, 39% of the West Virginians are fully vaccinated, which puts it on the lower end of states.
(Sidebar: While vaccinations need not be political, Trump’s skepticism about the virus’s severity and his doubts about mask-wearing have ensured that red states are, generally speaking, vaccinated at a much lower rate than blue states.)
This isn’t the first time that Justice has broken with his Party when it comes to dealing with the pandemic. 
Back in February, Justice spoke out — on CNN among other media outlets — about his belief that Congress needed to “go big” with its coronavirus stimulus package. (West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s vote to pass the $ 1.9 trillion measure via budget reconciliation shortly after the Justice public prodding.)
“We absolutely need to quit thinking first and foremost, ‘What is the right Republican or right Democrat thing to do,'” Justice explained to the New York Times of his support for a big stimulus package. “I have been a business guy all my life, and I know that when you have a real problem, you can’t cut your way out of the problem. Too often we try to skinny everything down and not fund it properly.”
What explains Justice’s blunt talk on vaccines? Well, he’s term limited out of his job in 2024. He’s also 70 years old, a party switcher and a billionaire. (He’s a coal magnate.)
The Point: Justice is way beyond political concerns at this point in his term — and his life. Which allows him, at least in regard Covid-19 vaccinations, to simply do the right thing.

Author: Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
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The House minority leader ditches the idea to boycott the Jan. 6 committee and finalizes a GOP roster

Initially, there was an internal debate inside the House GOP about whether the California Republican should appoint members to the select committee or just skip it altogether as a way to paint the entire effort as partisan. But McCarthy indeed plans to place Republicans on the high-profile panel, CNN has learned, according to multiple GOP sources familiar with his intentions, and is in the process of making his selections. The thinking among Republicans is that the perch will enable them to shape a counternarrative to a probe that could ensnare not only Donald Trump, but also other members of their party.
And while McCarthy is almost certain to tap some trusted Trump allies for one of the five Republican spots on the committee, he is facing increased pressure to also pick some more pragmatic members for the job who can help bring credibility to their side of the debate. Some GOP sources even think it would be a smart political move for McCarthy to select at least one member who voted to certify the presidential election results in order to help inoculate against some of the criticism from Democrats.
That is especially true after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chose a Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, as one of her eight selections for the congressional probe — a move designed to win bipartisan buy-in for their investigative work and sell a polarized public on their findings. Plus, the California Democrat has made clear that she has veto power over McCarthy’s picks, though it’s unclear under what circumstances she’d be willing to use it.
Who McCarthy ultimately taps for the select panel will set the tone for a partisan brawl that is almost certain to drag into 2022, which is why he wants to strike the right balance with his picks. And it could have far-reaching implications in the battle for the House, where Republicans have history and redistricting on their side but could be dogged by uncomfortable questions about Trump and the deadly Capitol riots in the run-up to the midterms.
“If you don’t (appoint Republicans), the reality is, then there’s only one news story,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a Republican from North Dakota. “I’ve never been a ‘take your ball and go home’ type of guy.”
Yet the time line for McCarthy’s decision remains unclear, though GOP sources think it could come soon. As Pelosi noted last week, the January 6 panel now has a quorum, so it can begin its work with or without McCarthy’s picks, meaning there’s little incentive for him to slow-walk his selections.

GOP contenders start to emerge

While some in the GOP would have preferred that their party not participate in the probe, others, including McCarthy, would rather have Republicans in a position where they can readily push back on Democrats in high-profile hearings and potentially even write a minority report in the end.
But McCarthy is likely to steer clear of choosing the most controversial firebrands in the party, such as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia or Matt Gaetz of Florida, who would be harder for the Republican leader to control and could undermine the GOP’s strategy.
Instead, McCarthy is likely to tap lawmakers whom he feels he can rely on or who have proven track records when it comes to defending Trump, including those who led the charge to overturn the election results in Congress.
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a staunch Trump ally whom McCarthy has used as an attack dog in other high-profile assignments, is seen as an obvious choice inside the House GOP conference. But Jordan already has a full plate: He is the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, chairs a brand-new GOP task force and serves on the coronavirus select committee.
In a similar vein, there’s now-House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik of New York, who was propelled to GOP stardom and became a fundraising powerhouse after furiously defending the-then President during the first impeachment; Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, a McCarthy ally and the ambitious chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee; and Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, a member of GOP leadership and a former constitutional law attorney who served as one of Trump’s impeachment surrogates in 2019.
If McCarthy doesn’t name Stefanik, he will face pressure to select another woman. Rep. Jackie Walorksi of Indiana, the ranking GOP member on the House Ethics Committee, who was interested in running for leadership earlier this year, is considered another contender for the assignment.
Some Republicans think McCarthy should choose Republicans who sit on the House Administration Committee, which oversees the Capitol’s day-to-day operations, or have expertise in national security, law enforcement or legal matters. One GOP lawmaker said it should be someone who has a grasp on “security procedures” and “can give thoughtful context to the types of things that we need, as a physical feature of the city, but also a unit of government.”
Other names that have been floated include Reps. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, a US Army Reserve member who sits on the House Intelligence Committee and was on the field during the GOP baseball shooting in 2017; John Rutherford of Florida, a former Jacksonville sheriff; and Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, a former professional mixed martial arts fighter who also sits on the intelligence panel.
McCarthy, however, may be inclined to appoint a lawmaker who voted to certify the 2020 presidential election results and therefore could have more sway with moderate pockets of the country. Potential members on that list include Armstrong, a former state party chairman, as well as Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, who co-chairs the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and supported an independent commission on January 6; and Tom McClintock of California, a veteran lawmaker who serves on the House Judiciary Committee.
But a major challenge for McCarthy is that many House Republicans, especially those in tough reelection races, want to avoid the politically fraught assignment at all costs. Fitzpatrick and Armstrong, however, both told CNN they would serve on the panel if asked — even though they oppose the select committee.

Broader strategy takes shape

Other elements of the GOP’s game plan are beginning to take shape. Republicans are already casting the investigation as a politically motivated probe that Democrats are just trying to use to damage Trump and the GOP ahead of the midterm elections — similar to the playbook they deployed during Trump’s first impeachment, when they relied heavily on process arguments.
Democrats, however, said they were given no choice but to establish a select committee after the Senate GOP blocked an independent commission that would have tasked outside experts with investigating the insurrection. And even under the select panel format, Democrats maintain they are motivated only by finding the truth and preventing another violent siege of the Capitol — not going after their political opponents.
Republicans are also signaling that they want to focus on the steps that Pelosi took — or didn’t take — to secure the Capitol that day. They also are expected to call attention to political violence on the left, including last summer’s protests that broke out in response to police brutality.
GOP lawmakers will likely be looking to derail the Democrats’ investigation at every turn. And that may mean defying subpoenas, which Democrats have said they could issue in order to force Trump or other Republicans to testify about the ex-President’s mindset and conduct on the day of the riots.
“They should go wherever the facts lead. They may be able to get what they want and need without him testifying,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “I would not want to see a former President testify in such a situation as this, but if that’s what it takes in order to get to the bottom of this.”

Author: Melanie Zanona, CNN
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A Young Cheyenne Leader Was Beaten Bloody. The Response Brought More Pain.

BILLINGS, Mont. — From the moment Silver Little Eagle decided to run for Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council, people dismissed her as too young, too green. But she was determined. Wooing voters with coffee, doughnuts and vows of bringing new energy to tribal issues, she won as a write-in candidate, becoming her tribe’s youngest councilwoman at age 23.

Then last month, Ms. Little Eagle was beaten and robbed inside a Billings hotel room by two other women. News of the assault of a young Native American leader traveled fast, shocking people far beyond Montana. But it was only the start of Ms. Little Eagle’s travails.

In the month since the May 16 assault, Ms. Little Eagle said she had been bullied and harassed, and failed by the very tribal systems she had campaigned to change. To some, her story has become an example of the shame and indifference Indigenous women confront as victims of violence, even from their own communities.

“I was thrown to the wolves,” Ms. Little Eagle said, sitting inside a safe house where she has been staying with relatives. Cedar smoke from a family prayer drifted through the living room.

As Ms. Little Eagle talked about her assault one recent morning, her left eye was still bloodied and swollen. The bandages had just come off her broken nose. Her right arm was a fading map of bruises.

The deeper wounds were harder to see.

Ms. Little Eagle and her family said tribal agencies and law enforcement had been slow to take her attack seriously. A tribal judge dismissed their efforts to get a permanent restraining order. People on local social media groups have spent weeks maligning her. Ms. Little Eagle said she no longer felt safe on the reservation. She does not know when she will return to the tribal council.

“It just leaves me wondering who I am,” she said.

More than 80 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives become victims of violence, according to the Justice Department, a long-running crisis that activists say is worsened by inconsistent and haphazard responses from law enforcement. On some reservations, Native women are 10 times as likely to be killed as the national average, according to the Indian Law Resource Center.

Under pressure from activists and victims’ families, leaders in Washington as well as state and tribal governments have passed laws and created task forces to address the violence and improve coordination between law enforcement agencies. But activists said little had actually changed on the ground when it came to prosecuting those who commit violence or addressing the needs of victims and their families.

“It’s so pervasive that it even happens to our elected tribal leaders, and there’s no recourse,” said Desi Small-Rodriguez, a demographer and sociologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Northern Cheyenne citizen. “In Montana, Indian women are not safe. We’re not even safe among our own people.”

Ms. Little Eagle’s story began far from the small safe house where she now shuttles back and forth between doctor’s visits and counseling sessions. She grew up among the rolling grasses and rocky hills in the tiny reservation town of Lame Deer, population 2,000.

She got a scholarship to Dartmouth College but felt out of place, at the bottom of a hierarchy of class and money. She left after a year.

After coming home, she got a job as an activities coordinator for the Northern Cheyenne Elderly Program, spending her days making dolls and balms, playing cards and planning outings. Ms. Little Eagle had been raised by her grandmother, and said she sometimes felt like an elder who happened to inhabit the body of a 20-something. A desire to help tribal elders propelled her to run for council, she said.

“It took a long time and a lot of hard work and prayer to get where I am,” she said.

When Covid-19 tore through the reservation late last year, she joined in efforts to protect elders by ferrying meals of ham steaks and sweet potatoes down winding country roads to people’s homes. She shooed elders home if she saw them driving around. But several died of the virus, including Ms. Little Eagle’s grandfather.

Ms. Little Eagle’s case was far from the first time Indigenous victims have felt stymied by the justice system in Montana.

Family members spent years asking the authorities for answers and attention in the deaths of 18-year-old Kaysera Stops Pretty Places, whose body was found in a yard in Hardin, or 14-year-old Henny Scott, who was found dead on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation 20 days after the authorities say she walked away from a house in Lame Deer and died of hypothermia in 2018. Nobody has been charged in their deaths.

At the same time, Ms. Little Eagle’s story has stirred pained conversations about violence within Indigenous communities, and the price of speaking out. Ms. Little Eagle said her assailants were two other Native women — she said she knew one through intramural volleyball.

On the night of the attack, they had gone out together in Billings and ended up in Ms. Little Eagle’s room at the DoubleTree, according to Ms. Little Eagle and her family. The last thing Ms. Little Eagle remembered was being kicked in the head.

When she woke up the next morning, her money, identification and phone were gone, and her car had been stolen, according to Ms. Little Eagle and the Billings police. When she staggered into the bathroom to wash off the blood, she said, she could barely recognize her swollen face in the mirror.

The police in Billings said that Ms. Little Eagle’s attack was not random or racially motivated, and that they were seeking to interview two women, 25 and 27 years old, whom they described as “persons of interest.” Nobody has been arrested.

Ms. Little Eagle and her family said the assault had forced them onto a frustrating quest for justice.

When the family called a tribal agency that helps victims of violence, they were told the sparse staff was too busy working on budgets and a new computer system to immediately help. The tribal council has made no public statements about the attack.

Ms. Little Eagle was able to get a temporary protective order against the two women she says assaulted her, but it expired after a tribal judge would not let her attend a court hearing remotely. Her family said driving to court in Lame Deer would have been too dangerous and traumatizing. They said they had to start over and fill out paperwork for a restraining order in Yellowstone County’s courts, off the reservation.

The Northern Cheyenne Nation’s president, judges and council leaders did not respond to several messages seeking comment.

As Ms. Little Eagle sought justice, her case became grist for voracious gossip and speculation on social media.

Local Facebook groups have become no-holds-barred public squares source in many rural communities where local news sources are shutting down. A scrappy newspaper that had served the community, A Cheyenne Voice, closed in 2016. Into the void stepped groups like Cheyenne Truth, a Facebook group whose 6,400 members outnumbered the population on the reservation.

People on the group traded rumors and falsehoods about the assault. Some minimized Ms. Little Eagle’s injuries. Others speculated that Ms. Little Eagle had been having an affair with the husband of one of her assailants, and that her attack had been some form of retribution.

One person wrote: “Held accountable is what needs to happen to Silver!” Another said: “Silver Little Eagle you need to resign!”

Ms. Little Eagle said there was no affair, but said the question was beside the point. The rampant shaming and dissection of her personal life would never have happened if Ms. Little Eagle were a man, she said. The online gossip became like a second assault.

“My healing was stripped away,” she said. “I wish I knew what was hurting them that made them want to hurt me.”

Facebook removed the Cheyenne Truth group for violating its policies against bullying and harassment after being contacted to comment for this article.

Others inside and outside the tribe rallied to her aid. Ms. Little Eagle’s family created a fund-raising page that quickly raised more than $ 25,000 to cover medical and legal bills. Members of the Oglala Lakota Nation drove from Pine Ridge, S.D., to deliver a red quilt emblazoned with their tribal flag. There has been an outpouring of support on social media to counter the criticism.

“It’s important to support young female leaders,” said Kevin Killer, president of the Oglala Lakota.

At the same time, her case has caused some families to ask why one act of violence draws media coverage, thousands of dollars in donations and a public outcry while other victims struggle for attention.

These days Ms. Little Eagle is trying to shift attention away from her case to those of other Indigenous women who have faced violence or have gone missing altogether.

Indigenous people are four times as likely to go missing in Montana as non-Indigenous people, and Ms. Little Eagle recently drove five hours to the Blackfeet Reservation in western Montana to join a search party looking for Arden Pepion, a 3-year-old girl who has not been seen since April. There was slim hope of finding Arden, but Ms. Little Eagle said she needed to be there.

She said she wanted, more than ever, to help other families and keep them from going through what she had.

“I was turned away from support and help,” Ms. Little Eagle said. “I’m fortunate to have support that other women don’t. That has to change. There are so many other women who ask for the same help, and they’re not able to get it.”

Author: Jack Healy
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Alastair Campbell on becoming Labour leader: 'I would’ve gone for it!'

Tony Blair‘s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell has recently returned to the limelight. In May, Mr Campbell hosted Good Morning Britain alongside Susanna Reid to mark Mental Health Week. Mr Campell also recently launched a savage attack on Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership – saying that Labour faces an existential crisis if things don’t urgently improve.

Pointing to other countries where formerly established parties had rapidly disintegrated, the former Labour spin doctor said “no party has a divine right to exist, or to be a natural choice for government”.

In a lengthy open letter published by The New European urged Sir Keir to drop Labour’s “so-called woke agenda”.

Many have started wondering whether Mr Campbell might be considering going back to politics, perhaps as an MP.

However, in last week’s Iain Dale’s podcast, Mr Campbell confessed there is something holding him back.

He said: “I haven’t really moved on from that discussion a decade ago.

“And maybe the thing that has held me back is actually a doubt whether it would be the case.

“This might sound a bit boastful…

“I would often sit with ministers or prime ministers from other countries, and think: ‘God, they are not up to much… I could do that.’

“But I would look at Tony Blair and Gordon Brown… I couldn’t do what they were doing.”

Mr Campbell also told Mr Dale that Labour backing the UK Government’s Brexit deal was a mistake and resulted in the party “disabling themselves” on the key issue.

Mr Campbell added the Labour Party is now reluctant to speak about Brexit despite it “going wrong in all sorts of places”.

He insisted: “Labour has been a little too static for about a year – Covid, Brexit.

“I think disabling themselves on Brexit by backing the deal was a mistake.

“I think that it means that now Brexit is going wrong in all sorts of places, they just don’t want to talk about it.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Israel parliament ousts Netanyahu after 12 year tenure – leader loses crunch vote by one

Israel: Netanyahu’s opponents agree coalition government

In a raucous session in which Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing and ultra-Orthodox supporters shouted “shame” and “liar” at Mr Bennett, parliament voted confidence in his new administration by a razor thin 60-59 majority. Following his defeat, Mr Netanayahu pledged he would soon return to power. US President Joe Biden said the United States remained committed to Israel’s security and would work with its new government.

Mr Bennett – former defence minister and a high-tech millionaire – was due to be sworn in shortly after the vote.

He pledged to be prime minister for “all Israelis” and said: “Thank you, Benjamin Netanyahu, for your lengthy and achievement-filled service on behalf of the State of Israel.”

His alliance includes for the first time in Israel’s history a party that represents its 21 percent Arab minority.

With little in common except for a desire to end the Mr Netanyahu era and political impasse that led to four inconclusive elections in two years, the coalition of left-wing, centrist, right-wing and Arab parties is likely to be fragile.

Benjamin Netanyahu loses 12-year hold over Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu loses 12-year hold over Israel (Image: Getty)

Nationalist Naftali Bennett

Nationalist Naftali Bennett (Image: Getty)

Israel’s longest-serving leader, Mr Netanyahu was prime minister since 2009, after a first term from 1996 to 1999.

But he was weakened by his repeated failure to clinch victory in the polls since 2019 and by an ongoing corruption trial, in which he has denied any wrongdoing.

Under a coalition deal, Mr Bennett will be replaced as prime minister by centrist Yair Lapid, 57, in 2023.

The new government, formed after an inconclusive March 23 election, plans largely to avoid sweeping moves on hot-button international issues such as policy toward the Palestinians and to focus on domestic reforms.

READ MORE: Benjamin Netanyahu: ‘Ousting me will endanger Israel’

Centrist Yair Lapid

Centrist Yair Lapid (Image: Getty)

Palestinians were unmoved by the change of administration, predicting that Bennett would pursue the same right-wing agenda as Mr Netanyahu.

The former Israeli prime minister was previously dubbed the “Trump before Trump”.

Mr Netanyahu’s unofficial biographer Anshel Pfeffer told Sky News: “He was Trump before Trump.

“He is a constant campaigner, he’s basically running for re-election the whole time. He doesn’t take a break between elections.

‘Long term peace’ not possible between Israel and Palestine [COMMENT] 
London at standstill as pro-Palestine protester flood to street [REVEAL] 
Joe Biden left red faced as US President told to ‘grow up’ [INSIGHT]

Israel boundaries

Israel boundaries (Image: Express)

“So many of the populist politicians we talk about today – Orban in Hungary, Boris Johnson; Netanyahu was doing a lot of what they are doing now long before they were on the scene.

“Probably the only politician who was doing this in the television era before Netanyahu is Silvio Berlusconi in Italy.”

He continued: “Netanyahu is the most divisive prime minister in history, he has exploited every divide in Israeli society between Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, left and right.

“All these all these divides have been exploited and the communities have been played off against each other to keep him in power.

Benjamin Netanyahu ousted

Benjamin Netanyahu ousted (Image: Getty)

“That’s something that Israeli society will be paying the price for years to come.”

Ehud Olmert, Mr Netanyahu’s predecessor, said the two were “never friends” and said he never liked him.

He said: “I never liked him. I never felt close to him.

“I never felt that he is a genuine human being [but] I thought it was a highly talented performer, the greatest that I’ve met in modern politics.

US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden (Image: Getty)

“He’s a genius.

“I mean, there will be no one that can compete with him in on television. Laurence Olivier?”

He continued: “He’s a great performer, but when you look at the substance of things, the divisions within the Israeli society today are greater than ever before.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

County leader pushes for program to waive youth sports fees in San Diego

San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond submitted his proposal, which includes $ 10 million to waive fees for recreational youth sports.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond pitched an idea Wednesday to get pitchers back on the field. Desmond proposed a program to waive fees parents would pay to register their kids to play youth sports in the county. 

The Federal Government has allocated over $ 300 million to San Diego County, for recovery efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Desmond has submitted his proposal for American Rescue Plan Act funding, which includes $ 10 million to waive fees for recreational youth sports.

In other words, it would be free San Diego kids 18 and under to sign up for a sports league and play.

“COVID-19 has affected many San Diegans, especially kids who have been stuck in their home learning virtually and unable to play sports. As San Diego County recovers from the pandemic, many San Diegans are still struggling financially. Youth sports fees can cost hundreds of dollars per kid, which can put a strain on many families,” Desmond said.

Sports can add up, some sports like football can cost $ 400 for each kid. Keeping mind, the proposed $ 10 million would not cover personal sports expenses like shoes. 

Some local coaches said there are real athletic, academic, and social consequences if kids can’t afford to play sports.

This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports

Covid vaccines: Boris urged to become world leader by donating jabs to poorer nations

Unless the majority of the world’s population is vaccinated, new variants of the deadly virus are likely to continue emerging and cause more waves of global infections. In an open letter published in The Daily Telegraph, the heads of the World Health Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group and the World Trade Organisation argued for more equitable vaccine access. They wrote: “Inequitable vaccine distribution is not only leaving untold millions of people vulnerable to the virus.
“It is also allowing deadly variants to emerge and ricochet back across the world.”

Their warning comes as a cross-party group of more than 100 UK MPs called on Boris Johnson to show “global leadership” in combatting the pandemic in the run up to next week’s G7 summit in Cornwall.

Parliamentarians urged the Prime Minister to donate one dose of Covid vaccine to the United Nations-backed Covax scheme for every dose purchased for the UK.

They said: “The longer we wait to act, the more likely it is that dangerous variants could emerge that can evade the protections offered by current vaccines.”

The Covax scheme aims to provide Covid jabs to at least 20 percent of the population of the 92 countries taking part.

These include low-income countries such as Algeria, Malawi and Uganda in Africa, Iran and Iraq in the Middle East, and Barbados, El Salvador and Nicaragua in the Americas.

READ MORE: Vietnam flights: BAN on journeys to Hanoi as Covid mutation emerges

Professor Ravi Gupta from Cambridge University called on the Government to delay ending Covid restrictions in England on June 21.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Of course the numbers of cases are relatively low at the moment – all waves start with low numbers of cases that grumble in the background and then become explosive.

“So the key here is that what we are seeing here is the signs of an early wave.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed