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US Election 2020: Polls Begin As Joe Biden Seeks To Unseat Donald Trump



US Election 2020: Polls Begin As Joe Biden Seeks To Unseat Donald Trump

Voting to either choose a new President in Joe Biden or stick with Donald Trump for his second term has begun in the US amid the chaotic environment, due to the pandemic and the misinformation regarding in-mail voting.

Voters were urged to vote early, especially through mail-in ballots, to avoid queues as part of coronavirus pandemic protocol. More than 99.5 million early votes have been cast so far.

The polling has started today for 50 states, and the new President will take his position from the start of New year. Due to the nature of the American Electoral System, the polling only decides the members of the houses who in turn can vote for President and Vice President.

In 2016, when it seemed that Ms Hilary Clinton of Democratic party would emerge as the first women president of America, the cards were changed by the final voting of members of the United States Congress making Mr Trump, a strong and controversial figure as the President.

It is no strange that US Presidential Elections have an impact on the world, especially on the economy, finance, geopolitical stance and much more. The 2020 elections are fought not only for one of the strongest and influential seats in the world but also on an ideological basis, which changes the future course of America.

Ideological stance of Biden and Trump:

Mr Biden, former vice president and the candidate from the Democratic Party, wishes to undo the Mr Trump rule in every possible manner. He wants to “Build back better America” in the most moderate or centrist Democratic tradition.

On the other hand, Mr Trump coming from conservative Republican party, believes in the unrestricted use of executive power. He wants to make “America Great Again”. In his speech at UNGA, he justified “I have rejected the failed approaches of the past, and I am proudly putting America first, just as you should be putting your countries first.”

The ideology differs on the meaning of the adjective “better” and “great” when Mr Biden said “Better”, it not only means to change the Republican Government but to build it better as it was in the eyes of the world, i.e. globalism. While Mr Trumps “Great” focuses America for Americans, to develop again a great country based on strong nationalism.

Composition of electoral college:

Media and Agencies have begun speculating the polls by popular opinions and sentiments to judge the outcome of December results.

It is necessary to understand that Americans today won’t be directly voting for President; instead, they will vote for the electoral college, i.e. members of the United States Congress (USA parliament) who in turn in December will vote for President.

As the USA has a bicameral legislature, the electoral votes are dived between Senates and Representatives. Conclusively, the number of members allocated to each state plays a pivotal role. Every state has 2 senates, and a different number of representatives as the later depends upon the population. Some states have a bigger say to decide the President by having more allocated members of the house of representative (lower house) who forms a crucial part in the electoral college.

The total 538 members of the electoral college are divided into 100 senates. The rest 435 is elected to the house of representative and an extra 3-member vote is from Washington DC due to its peculiar nature of being a federal district.

Party’s influence in different states:

It’s not the popular vote that matters, but the electoral college. For the victory to White House, a candidate must secure at least 270 electoral votes. California has the maximum electoral votes of 55 followed by Texas with 38 electoral votes.

Alaska, which is the largest USA state, has only 4 electoral votes due to less population and thus less representation. The candidate who succeeds in New York and Florida have 29 votes each toward the race to get 270. Illinois and Pennsylvania each also have 20 votes.

Thus, the race is to capture populous states to get maximum votes. Mr Trump’s 2016 paved his successful way by the votes of Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania, which accounted for 82 votes alone out of 270 margins.

Red and blue states:

The “Democratic blue” and “Republican red” colour scheme is now part of the lexicon of American journalism. The democratic and Republican have historical influence over certain states. For example, California and New York have most of the time preferred a democratic candidate whereas Texas, Nebraska or Arizona has chosen Republican.

It is also related to the demography. The states which are at the national border faces influx migrants as compared to other parts. Thus, Texas would want nationalism and opt for Mr Trump. Also, conservative states are heavily invested in the secondary sector such as Texas, Louisiana or Wyoming. They wouldn’t want restrictions on their business and thus support Republican for its conservative attitude towards climate and other deregulations.

Texas hadn’t voted for a democratic leader since 1976, and same could be said about Florida except for two elections where Mr Barak Obama was the democratic leader. Similarly, New York and Washington hadn’t voted for a Republican candidate since 1984.

2020 – could be a game

2020 is a crucial year due to several issues such as COVID-19 pandemic, protests in reaction to the police killing of George Floyd, the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett; and the future of the Affordable Care Act and thus many states may have a change of heart while choosing their leader.

Dominant republican state such as Texas, Florida and North Carolina according to the media polls have become a tossup, meaning, there is 50-50 chance for both democrats and Republicans.

The following report from cook official indicates speculations:

US Election 2020: Polls Begin As Joe Biden Seeks To Unseat Donald Trump

The Cook Political report regarding the US election 2020 college rating. (Image Source: Website Cook Political)

India’s concern:

Democratic vice-presidential candidate, Kamala Harris an Indian origin, is having an appeal to the multiple ethnic diversity of the USA with Indian-Americans supporting “Biden-Harris” in full swing.

Concerning sovereign territory, India must be prepared for both Mr Trump and Mr Biden for its optimal future diplomatic relations.

Recently, a week before the election, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of state, visited India over Indo-U.S. 2+2 Dialogue 2020. The outcome of the dialogue was the signing of BECA Indo-US Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for geo-spatial co-ordination. It covers significant defence access to both the states for combatting territorial and naval enemies.

From Howdy-Modi to Namaste Trump, bilateral relationships among the nations have increased. However, if Mr Biden and Ms Harris come to power, a similar and thoughtful approach needs to be used.

As India is stuck between a geopolitical issue from naval and territory side, the USA and its multilateral ties play a big role to the South Asian continent and Indo-Pacific Ocean.

Will it be “America Great Again” by Donald Trump or “Build Back Better” by Joe Biden?


Escalation Of COVID-19 Cases Across The Globe



COVID Case Spike 2021 | News Aur Chai

The United States, India, and Brazil have the most confirmed cases, followed by France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Turkey. There are very few locations that have remained undisturbed.

Since the middle of last year, confirmed cases have been increasing. Although the actual scope of the first outbreaks in 2020 is unknown because testing was not generally available at the time. The 100 million COVID-19 cases were discovered at the end of January, over a year after it was first diagnosed. As of 6:30 p.m. CEST on July 30, 2021, WHO has received reports of 196,553,009 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 4,200,412 fatalities. A total of 3,839,816,037 vaccination doses has been delivered as of July 28, 2021.

After reaching a record high of over 0.9 million cases on April 28, 2021, new daily instances of the coronavirus continued to decline, reaching a low point on June 21, when over 0.3 million cases were reported. Since then yet, there has been a global increase in cases. On July 15, 0.53 million daily cases were reported, and over three million new cases were reported in the second week of the month. As of July 15, 188.9 million patients have been recorded worldwide. The transmissive Delta form accounting for most infections in 111 countries. Most instances were recorded in Brazil, India, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, and Colombia in the last week. With the steepest increases in Zimbabwe (72%), Indonesia (44%), the United States (38%), Bangladesh (35%), and the United Kingdom (30%). Many Asian nations, including Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan, have reported many daily cases. However, the spread was under control.

The number of new cases in Indonesia has been on the rise, with each day seeing a significant increase over the previous day. Indonesia is now the new Asian epicentre, with 56,757 cases recorded on July 15; India reported 39,000 patients on the same day. COVID-19 fatalities are high, according to WHO. After decreasing for nine weeks, with the highest increases in Africa and Southeast Asia. COVID-19 fatalities worldwide surpassed four million on July 7. The last million deaths occurred in under 90 days, the lowest time interval for every one million deaths ever recorded.

High vaccination coverage has been shown in the United States and much of Europe to lower fatalities and even hospitalizations. For example, United Kingdom rises in incidence. There has been fewer hospitalizations and deaths over 87% of the adult population, as they are vaccinated with one dose and over 67% with two doses. In the United States, the increase in cases is concentrated in states with low vaccination coverage, with unvaccinated people accounting for most deaths. Over 55% of Americans have received one dosage, and 48% are completely immunized. It shifts the focus back to improving vaccination coverage and achieving global vaccine equality to avoid fatalities and the spread of dangerous strains. Some nations debate a booster dosage. Even though many African countries’ healthcare professionals have not been completely vaccinated, booster injections have begun to be given to patients with weakened immune systems in Israel.

In comparison, booster shots have been ruled out in the United States for the time being. With vaccine shortages reported in many Indian states. Even among the vaccinated, rigorous adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour is the only option to postpone and mitigate the consequences of a third wave.

This spring, India and Latin America have seen a significant drop in new cases in the hardest-hit areas of the world. But the global numbers continue to grow. The Delta variety leads them to well-vaccinated regions such as Western Europe and the United States, low but rising infections. This spring, India and Latin America have seen a significant drop in new cases in the hardest-hit areas of the world. Vaccine doses have been given to over 4 billion individuals globally (52 for every 100 people), yet the discrepancy is striking. More than 80% of the population had at least one shot in some wealthy nations. In contrast, the proportion is as low as 1% in many of the poorest.

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Why Taliban Could Not Control Panjshir Valley In Afghanistan Yet?



Taliban Panjshir | News Aur Chai

Taliban took over Afghanistan last week, and Panjshir valley in the north is the last hope for the people of Afghanistan to fight against the Taliban.

As it was 25 years ago, there is still a part of Afghanistan that tries to oppose the Taliban; it is the Panjshir valley. The villages that rebelled against the Soviets and Taliban’s, it is now that they’re fighting against the spread of the Islamic Emirate.

Valley Of the Five Lions, also known as Panjshir Valley, is in Northern Afghanistan, 150 kilometers north of Kabul, near the Hindu Kush Mountain Range. Due to its location in the Hindu Kush Mountain range, the Panjshir Valley is only accessible through the narrow Panjshir River; this makes it easy for forces defending. Panjshir is also famously known for emeralds. It has been the base of operations for the Taliban since the 1990s. Since it was never under their control, the area has become a key target for the US-led forces.

Around 150,000 people live in the valley, and the majority are Pashtuns. The valley’s ethnic majority is Tajik. The area’s history has made it the base of operations for the Taliban. Panjshir has never been captured by the Taliban during their earlier rule, nor by the soviets. The resistance, therefore, chose to base its operations in the area due to its history.

After the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989, a civil war broke out in the country. Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was the most notable anti-Taliban fighter, led a group of militants to fight against the separatists. He was eventually killed by al-Qaeda terrorists in 2001, just two days before the 9/11 attacks.

Following the father’s footsteps, Ahmad Massoud, the son of legendary Ahmad Shah Massoud, declared the start of armed resistance against the Taliban forming in the Panjshir. The Northern Alliance flag has been raised in Panjshir province, confirming the legitimacy of this movement, officially back since 2001. The National Resistance Front (NRF), based out of the Panjshir Valley, led by Ahmad Massoud and the former Vice-President Amrullah Saleh, leading an anti-Taliban Movement.

The Panjshir Valley stands tall against the Taliban under the leadership of Ahmad Masood. Resistance movements have begun with the formation of the Northern Alliance. Bernard Henri Levy, the French philosopher, spoke to Ahmad Massoud on a phone call and quoted saying, “I am the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, and surrender is not part of my vocabulary.” The Resistance has just begun; this is just the beginning.

The Washington Post published an op-ed on Wednesday in which Massoud reiterated his plea for help, asking the United States to supply his military with arms and ammunition. “The United States can still be a great arsenal of democracy” by supporting his fighters, he wrote.

Since President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan, Saleh has declared himself as the interim president. The Taliban has been massing its forces near Panjshir. The Salang highway has been closed. He further tweeted that the militants are avoiding any confrontations with the enemy forces.

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India Takes Rein Of UNSC For August



UNSC August II News Aur Chai

As per procedure, India received the Presidency of the UN Security Council for August this year. The three major points that the Indian Presidency aims to focus on are maritime security, peacekeeping, and counter-terrorism policies.

What is the UN Security Council?

The security council is a body of the United Nations responsible for international security and peacekeeping. The body settles disputes and identifies unwanted threats and aggressions against member States.

There are 15 Members as a part of the council. They are obligated to abide by the decisions made by the Security Council. Out of these, there are five permanent and ten non-permanent members, India being a part of the newly elected non-permanent contingent.

India is currently serving as President of the UNSC for August and is expected to do so again in 2022. They succeed France who previously presided in July this year. The order of Presidency succession is decided alphabetically. Each member gets a fair chance to preside over the peacekeeping body.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the first Indian PM to chair a meeting of the UNSC.

India in UNSC

India has joined the UNSC for the eighth time as a non-permanent member, serving a term of two years. The last time India was on the council as a member was in the year 2011-12, during the Middle East Crisis.

In the August meetings this year, the primary concern is said to be that of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy and mortality. India also aims to bid for a permanent seat on the UNSC and hence a high level of involvement is expected.

India plays an important role in the UNSC as it along with other members of the G-4 (Brazil, Japan, and Germany) are insisting on an expansion in permanent membership for countries. They want the permanent seats to be offered to countries other than the current five that hold the veto power, giving India a chance to display its potential at a global level.

India has previously chaired the counter-terrorism committee at the UNSC and introduced the concept of ‘zero tolerance’ for terrorism globally. They also successfully establish the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF).

This time around, India aims at improving maritime security and peacekeeping while returning to the counter-terrorism policies establish worldwide.

India’s efforts as President in August 2021

India is expected to organise three high-level meetings for the three topics that they have decided to focus on (maritime security, peacekeeping, and counterterrorism). A traditional breakfast of PRs was held by India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, T S Tirumurti. Along with the normal breakfast, Tirumurti put a display of Indian grains with items exquisitely prepared with those ingredients. A treat of Alphonso mangoes was also included in the breakfast. Tirumurti also presided over all meetings of the UNSC on day one.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting of the UN Council virtually, while external affairs minister, Jaishankar will chair the meetings in person.

S Jaishankar expressed opinions on the opportunity to preside over the UNSC for August via his Tweet, saying that India looks forward to taking over the Presidency of the Global Organisation for the month.

Indian PR Tirumurti also thanked their predecessor France and announced the takeover via his Tweets while expressing his elation on the occasion.

India began their eighth term on January 1 this year. This non-permanent arrangement will span for two years, giving the possibility of another Presidency in late 2022. India has been grateful for its turn in chairing the UNSC and hopes to make decisions and resolutions that will be beneficial to the Indian Foreign Policy and countries around the Globe.

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