Line in the sand crossed as Zimbabwe reaches a deal with evicted white farmers

Zimbabwean commercial farmer Tommy Bayley rides an old bicycle ahead of war veterans and villagers who invaded his farm Danbury Park, 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) northwest of Harare, to an abandoned house to use as temporary shelter April 8, 2000. Zimbabwe was thrown into turmoil in February when Robert Mugabe’s supporters and self-styled veterans of the 1970s war of liberation invaded white-owned farms, demanding land they said had been illegally taken away by colonisers. – Howard Burditt/REUTERS

Zimbabwe has agreed to pay nearly £3bn in compensation to white farmers who had their land taken from them nearly two decades ago in a significant new agreement.

After ten years of politically charged negotiations, on Monday an agreement was finally struck.

Zimbabwean government agreed to pay about 50 per cent of the value of the capital assets such as buildings, livestock and machinery on their farms, which amounts to some £2.8 billion spread out between 3,200 evicted farmers.” data-reactid=”19″>The Zimbabwean government agreed to pay about 50 per cent of the value of the capital assets such as buildings, livestock and machinery on their farms, which amounts to some £2.8 billion spread out between 3,200 evicted farmers.

The agreement is expected to be signed within weeks, but it is being treated with caution. Zimbabwe is bankrupt and is suffering from high inflation rates and food shortages. The government in Harare is currently unable to get international loans, or import enough fuel for its population.

white farmers were successful, and their productivity formed the bedrock of the southern Africa nation’s economy.” data-reactid=”21″>Zimbabwe’s white farmers were successful, and their productivity formed the bedrock of the southern Africa nation’s economy.

However, their success was grounded in racialised system of land ownership. Prior to the independence of Rhodesia in 1980, black Africans could not buy land in areas set aside for white people.

Twenty years ago they were violently chased off their farms by government supporters, and several farmers and some of their workers were killed and their homes torched in brutal raids.

Over the next five years, nearly all productive white-owned farms were invaded and often destroyed., with much of that old land still unused to this day.

Notably, the deal does not include any compensation for the value of the land itself. The Zimbabwean government says that Britain must pay evicted white farmers for the land as it was originally taken from locals without payment, mostly by British settlers.

A plan is currently being drawn up for a domestic “Land Bank” which would restore title deeds for the land which was nationalised in 2005.

“The deal agreed with the government is positive, but I will remain wary of how it is structured,” said Doug Taylor-Freeme, a former long-serving president of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU).

Zimbabwean government agreed to pay about 500 impoverished white farmers still living in Zimbabwe a small amount of money as an advance on their compensation.” data-reactid=”28″>The news comes after the Zimbabwean government agreed to pay about 500 impoverished white farmers still living in Zimbabwe a small amount of money as an advance on their compensation.

One farmer who attended the CFU’s briefing, which was closed to the media, said: “We don’t believe Zimbabwe will ever have money to pay us. But maybe one day my grandchildren will get some of the money.”

South Carolina Democrat aiming to unseat Lindsey Graham raises $13.9 million in quarter

Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearing to examine issues involving race and policing practices on Capitol Hill in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The South Carolina Democrat challenging Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham nearly doubled his fundraising this spring, his campaign said on Tuesday, in the latest sign of the mounting campaign hurdles facing Republicans in the U.S. Senate.

Jaime Harrison, a former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman, raised $13.9 million during the second quarter of 2020, vs. $7.3 million in the first quarter, which the campaign described as a state fundraising record.

Harrison faces an uphill climb in trying to defeat Graham in the Nov. 3 election. But his ability to raise large sums against the long-time Republican incumbent and ally of President Donald Trump is yet another sign that Republicans are playing defense as they seek to preserve their Senate majority.

Trump’s sagging poll numbers and Democratic animosity against his leading allies in Congress have deepened this year’s challenge for Senate Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Harrison campaign did not provide further details about its second-quarter fundraising.

Despite the Democrat’s success with donors, Graham still had more than twice as much financial firepower heading into the final months of the campaign.

The Republican had $13.9 million in cash on hand, vs. $6.7 million for the Democrat, as of May 20, according to the latest comparable documents available on the Federal Election Commission website.

A Graham campaign spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell)

Trump cheated on his SAT by paying someone to take it for him, according to Mary Trump's new book

Trump at an alumni event for the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump cheated on his SAT in high school, according to Mary Trump’s coming book.
  • In her tell-all, the president’s niece claims that he paid a proxy to take his SAT for him, according to The New York Times, which obtained a copy of the book.
  • The book said the score helped him get admitted to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school, according to The Times.
  • Last year, Penn instituted a policy of revoking degrees if a graduate is found to have provided false information in an admission application, cheated on an exam, or tampered with records.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump cheated on his SAT, according to a coming book by his niece.

according to The New York Times, which obtained a copy of the book and reported on the passage Tuesday.” data-reactid=”25″>Mary Trump wrote in her tell-all, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” set to be published next week, that Trump paid a proxy to take the SAT for him, according to The New York Times, which obtained a copy of the book and reported on the passage Tuesday.

“The high score the proxy earned for him, Ms. Trump adds, helped the young Mr. Trump to later gain admittance as an undergraduate to the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton business school,” The Times reported.

Wharton did not immediately return a request for comment from Insider.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews denied the allegation that Trump cheated on his SAT. 

“Mary Trump and her book’s publisher may claim to be acting in the public interest, but this book is clearly in the author’s own financial self-interest. President Trump has been in office for over three years working on behalf of the American people – why speak out now?” Matthews wrote in an email to Insider. 

“Also, the absurd SAT allegation is completely false.”

interview with the Washington Post last July that it "was not very difficult" to get accepted to the school when Trump had applied as a transfer student in 1966.” data-reactid=”31″>Trump studied at Fordham University for two years and then transferred to Penn’s Wharton School, after his older brother Fred Trump Jr. solicited the help of his longtime friend James Nolan, who was a Penn admissions officer at the time. Nolan described in an interview with the Washington Post last July that it “was not very difficult” to get accepted to the school when Trump had applied as a transfer student in 1966.

Three of Trump’s children went to Penn, with Don Jr. graduating in 2000, Ivanka in 2004, and Tiffany in 2016.

hounded President Barack Obama for not turning over his college transcripts, Trump has never revealed any similar information about his time at Wharton, where he has claimed he graduated first in his class.” data-reactid=”33″>Though in 2011 he hounded President Barack Obama for not turning over his college transcripts, Trump has never revealed any similar information about his time at Wharton, where he has claimed he graduated first in his class.

published a list of 56 students who were on the dean’s list in 1968, the year Trump graduated, but his name was not listed.” data-reactid=”34″>Penn’s student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, published a list of 56 students who were on the dean’s list in 1968, the year Trump graduated, but his name was not listed.

as "super genius stuff."” data-reactid=”35″>Trump has also described his time at Wharton as “super genius stuff.”

The Daily Pennsylvanian reported.” data-reactid=”36″>Last summer, Penn instituted a policy of revoking degrees if a graduate is found to have provided false information in an admission application, cheated on an exam, or tampered with records, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported.

Business Insider” data-reactid=”37″>Read the original article on Business Insider

The Lincoln Project continues anti-Trump ad campaign

On Tuesday, the Lincoln Project, a conservative political action committee formed in late 2019, released an ad titled “Whispers,” which suggests those in President Trump’s inner circle are secretly mocking him. This is the latest in a series of attack ads produced and distributed by the committee, whose members include George Conway, Steve Schmidt and other prominent Republicans who oppose Trump. Yahoo News has assembled a compilation of some of the Lincoln Project’s most controversial advertisements.

Trump Aide Peter Navarro’s Bonkers CNN Interview: ‘Give Peace a Chance, Give Hydroxy a Chance’

Peter Navarro appeared on CNN on Tuesday morning for yet another off-the-rails interview, this time devoting much of his energy to promoting anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine following a disputed new study finding some efficacy in treating the coronavirus.” data-reactid=”13″>White House trade adviser Peter Navarro appeared on CNN on Tuesday morning for yet another off-the-rails interview, this time devoting much of his energy to promoting anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine following a disputed new study finding some efficacy in treating the coronavirus.

a Michigan study found the Trump-touted drug helped patients weather the virus. The findings, however, were quickly disputed by other experts, who noted that the study excluded a large number of patients who hadn’t yet been discharged from the hospital.” data-reactid=”14″>Last week, in the wake of the Food and Drug Administration revoking the emergency use of hydroxychloroquine due to serious safety issues and lack of benefit for COVID-19 patients, a Michigan study found the Trump-touted drug helped patients weather the virus. The findings, however, were quickly disputed by other experts, who noted that the study excluded a large number of patients who hadn’t yet been discharged from the hospital.

John Berman about the rapid surge of new coronavirus cases in several states, immediately hyping hydroxychloroquine as a game-changer that can greatly reduce mortality rates.” data-reactid=”15″>Appearing on CNN’s New Day, Navarro quickly brushed off a series of questions from anchor John Berman about the rapid surge of new coronavirus cases in several states, immediately hyping hydroxychloroquine as a game-changer that can greatly reduce mortality rates.

Navarro would go on to claim that the reason the United States is experiencing rising cases is because of high asymptomatic spread, ignoring the rising hospitalizations and the fact that other developed countries are experiencing rapid decreases in confirmed cases. At the same time, the Trump aide kept referring to the disease as the “China virus” while pivoting to his favorite malaria drug.

“Peter, I promise to get to hydroxychloroquine,” Berman noted at one point, attempting to question Navarro about mask-wearing.

president publicly wearing a mask, accusing CNN of making a “meme” out of it.” data-reactid=”18″>“Look, you guys beat that one to death and I won’t get involved in that,” Navarro griped over a question about the president publicly wearing a mask, accusing CNN of making a “meme” out of it.

Navarro, in between attempts to inject hydroxychloroquine into the conversation, also advised against additional lockdowns to stem the spread of the virus, warning that more stay-at-home orders will cause people to “die from alcoholism and depression.”

Berman eventually got to the study of the controversial drug, prompting Navarro to explicitly call for the FDA to reverse its stance on hydroxychloroquine’s emergency use as a COVID-19 treatment. The CNN anchor, meanwhile, pointed out that this study was double-blinded and randomized, the gold standard in clinical trials.

“Give peace a chance, give hydroxy a chance,” Navarro shot back.

Kayleigh McEnany’s refusal to address Trump’s position on Confederate flags.” data-reactid=”22″>The lengthy conversation would careen to a wild ending when Berman attempted to confront Navarro on the president’s tweet attacking NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, who is Black, and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s refusal to address Trump’s position on Confederate flags.

Claiming it wasn’t his “lane” as he’s “not a surrogate,” Navarro went on to say that he doesn’t “see race” because he is from California. He then shared a story from his youth that shaped his current racial views.

“My awakening on the race issue was when I was eight years old in a Woolworth’s store in West Palm Beach, Florida, when I walked over and I took a drink from the colored water fountain because I wanted to see colored water,” he said. “And this woman came up to me and just gently said, ‘You can’t drink from that.’ I go, ‘Why?’ She says, ‘That’s for colored people.’ I’m 8 years old and that didn’t make sense to me. I’m a Californian, we don’t see race out there.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.” data-reactid=”25″>Read more at The Daily Beast.

here” data-reactid=”26″>Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here

Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!” data-reactid=”27″>Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!

Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.” data-reactid=”28″>Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Three Mars missions poised to launch to the Red Planet in July

Mars.” data-reactid=”12″>July is the month of Mars.

Perseverance rover, which will hunt for signs of ancient Mars life and cache samples for future return to Earth.” data-reactid=”13″>Three missions are poised to launch toward the Red Planet this month, including NASA’s car-sized Perseverance rover, which will hunt for signs of ancient Mars life and cache samples for future return to Earth.

Hope Mars mission, also known as the Emirates Mars Mission, is scheduled to launch on July 14.” data-reactid=”14″>The action will start next week, if all goes according to plan. The United Arab Emirates’ first-ever interplanetary effort, the Hope Mars mission, also known as the Emirates Mars Mission, is scheduled to launch on July 14.

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover Perseverance in pictures” data-reactid=”15″>Related: NASA’s Mars 2020 rover Perseverance in pictures

stripping of Mars’ once-thick atmosphere by the solar wind, the stream of charged particles flowing from the sun.” data-reactid=”16″>The Hope orbiter will reach Mars in early 2021, then use three science instruments to study the Red Planet’s atmosphere, weather and climate from above. The probe’s observations should help researchers better understand Mars’ long-ago transition from a relatively warm and wet world to the cold, desert planet we know today, mission team members have said. That transition was driven by the stripping of Mars’ once-thick atmosphere by the solar wind, the stream of charged particles flowing from the sun.

The Hope spacecraft was built by the UAE’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center, in partnership with the University of Colorado Boulder, Arizona State University and the University of California Berkeley. And the project is breaking ground for more than just the UAE: Hope is the first planetary science mission led by an Arab-Islamic nation.

first-ever fully homegrown Mars mission, known as Tianwen-1, is scheduled to lift off atop a Long March 5 rocket. (China put a piggyback orbiter called Yinghuo-1 aboard Russia’s Mars mission Fobos-Grunt, which got stuck in Earth orbit shortly after its November 2011 launch.)” data-reactid=”18″>China will follow with a landmark launch of its own a little more than a week after Hope takes flight. On July 23, China’s first-ever fully homegrown Mars mission, known as Tianwen-1, is scheduled to lift off atop a Long March 5 rocket. (China put a piggyback orbiter called Yinghuo-1 aboard Russia’s Mars mission Fobos-Grunt, which got stuck in Earth orbit shortly after its November 2011 launch.)

Tianwen-1 is an ambitious project that consists of an orbiter, a lander and a 530-lb. rover that’s the size of a small golf cart. Chinese officials have remained characteristically tight-lipped about the mission — they still haven’t publicly announced a final landing site for the lander/rover pair, for example — but these robots’ scientific gear suggests that Tianwen-1 will conduct a broad reconnaissance of the Martian environment.

The orbiter sports six instruments, including a high-resolution camera, a magnetometer and a mineral spectrometer, which will allow mission team members to determine the composition of surface rocks. The rover also has six instruments, including a weather station, a magnetic field detector and a ground-penetrating radar, which could spot subsurface water ice down to a depth of about 330 feet (100 meters).

If Tianwen-1 is successful, China will become just the third nation, after the Soviet Union and the United States, to land a spacecraft on Mars. And that epic touchdown may lead the way to even bigger things in the near future: Chinese space officials have voiced a desire to mount a Mars sample-return mission, which could perhaps launch as early as 2030.

Occupy Mars: History of robotic Red Planet missions (infographic)” data-reactid=”22″>Related: Occupy Mars: History of robotic Red Planet missions (infographic)

Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.” data-reactid=”23″>The United States and Europe also plan to bring pristine Red Planet material to Earth, and that project will really get up and running with Perseverance’s launch. The 2,315-lb. rover, the centerpiece of NASA’s $2.7 billion Mars 2020 mission, is scheduled to lift off atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on July 30 and land inside Mars’ Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.

Image: United Launch Alliance Atlas V (Kimi Shiflett / NASA)

Mars life in the rocks of the 28-mile-wide crater, which hosted a lake and a river delta billions of years ago.” data-reactid=”35″>Perseverance will use its seven onboard instruments to characterize the geology of Jezero and search for signs of ancient Mars life in the rocks of the 28-mile-wide crater, which hosted a lake and a river delta billions of years ago.

recovered and brought to Earth, perhaps as early as 2031, in a campaign conducted by NASA and the European Space Agency. Scientists in labs around the world will then scrutinize the Mars material in great detail, looking for signs of life and clues about the planet’s evolutionary history.” data-reactid=”36″>The six-wheeled robot will also collect and cache several dozen samples from particularly promising study sites. This material will be recovered and brought to Earth, perhaps as early as 2031, in a campaign conducted by NASA and the European Space Agency. Scientists in labs around the world will then scrutinize the Mars material in great detail, looking for signs of life and clues about the planet’s evolutionary history.

Mars 2020 also aims to lay groundwork for crewed missions to the Red Planet, the first of which NASA wants to launch in the 2030s. For instance, like the Tianwen-1 rover, Perseverance is outfitted with ice-hunting ground-penetrating radar. And another of the NASA rover’s instruments, the Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE), will generate oxygen from the thin Martian atmosphere, which is 95% carbon dioxide by volume. (“ISRU” stands for “in situ resource utilization.”)

helicopter called Ingenuity will journey to the Red Planet on Perseverance’s belly. After touchdown, Ingenuity will drop free and make a few short test flights in the Martian sky — the first-ever aerial exploration of a world beyond Earth.” data-reactid=”40″>MOXIE isn’t Mars 2020’s only technology demonstration. A 4-lb. helicopter called Ingenuity will journey to the Red Planet on Perseverance’s belly. After touchdown, Ingenuity will drop free and make a few short test flights in the Martian sky — the first-ever aerial exploration of a world beyond Earth.

If Ingenuity is successful, future Mars missions could commonly incorporate helicopters, NASA officials have said. Such rotorcraft could serve a variety of purposes, from scouting out promising study sites for rovers to exploring hard-to-reach areas such as caves or steep-walled craters.

pushed things back to July 30.)” data-reactid=”42″>Hope, Tianwen-1 and Mars 2020 all must get off the ground this summer or be put in storage for more than two years, because Earth and Mars align favorably for planetary missions just once every 26 months. And the current launch window isn’t open for very long; Mars 2020’s closes on Aug. 15, NASA officials have said. (The mission’s window originally opened on July 17, but several technical issues have pushed things back to July 30.)

could not be resolved in time for a 2020 liftoff.” data-reactid=”43″>One Mars mission hoping to launch this year has already been packed away until 2022. The life-hunting rover Rosalind Franklin, part of the European-Russian ExoMars program, encountered parachute problems and several other issues that could not be resolved in time for a 2020 liftoff.

Posted in

FBI chief says China threatens families to coerce overseas critics to return to China

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray testifies before the House Judiciary Committee in Washington

By Jonathan Landay

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday urged China-born people in the United States to contact the FBI if Chinese officials try to force them to return to China under a program of coercion that he said is led by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Wray issued the unusual appeal in an address to the Hudson Institute think tank in which he reiterated U.S. charges that China is using espionage, cyber theft, blackmail and other means as part of a strategy to replace the United States as the world’s dominant economic and technological power.

He said Xi has “spearheaded” a program called Fox Hunt aimed at strong-arming people born in China living outside of the country who are regarded as threats to return home in order to silence criticism of Beijing’s political and human rights policies.

The families of those who refuse to return are threatened and some have been arrested in China “for leverage,” he said

“Hundreds of these Fox Hunt victims that they target live here in the United States, and many are American citizens or green card holders,” he continued. “The Chinese government wants to force them to return to China and China’s tactics to accomplish this are shocking.”

The Chinese embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wray’s address. Beijing has denied U.S. charges that it employs cyber espionage against the United States.

Wray related a case in which he said the Chinese government sent “an emissary” to visit a family in the United States of an unidentified target who could not be located. The emissary left a message that the target could chose between returning to China or committing suicide, Wray said.

“I want to take this opportunity to note that if you believe the Chinese government is targeting you, that you are a potential Fox Hunt victim, please reach out to your local FBI field office,” he said.

Wray also said that almost half of nearly 5,000 active FBI counterintelligence cases now underway are related to China.

“We’ve now reached a point where the FBI is opening a new China-related counterintelligence case about every 10 hours,” Wray said in his address.

(Reporting by Jonathan Landay, Editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis)

The Supreme Court Just Pointed Out the Absurdity of the Electoral College. It's Up to Us to End It

In a 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to “bind” their electors, requiring them to support whichever presidential candidate wins the popular vote in their state. Justice Elena Kagan’s opinion was a blow to so-called “faithless electors,” but a win for self-government. “Here,” she wrote, “the People rule.”” data-reactid=”19″>Here’s one nice thing we can now say about the Electoral College: it’s slightly less harmful to our democracy than it was just days ago. In a 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to “bind” their electors, requiring them to support whichever presidential candidate wins the popular vote in their state. Justice Elena Kagan’s opinion was a blow to so-called “faithless electors,” but a win for self-government. “Here,” she wrote, “the People rule.”

Yet while we can all breathe a sigh of relief that rogue electors won’t choose (or be coerced) into derailing the 2020 presidential contest, the Court’s unanimous ruling is a helpful reminder that our two-step electoral process provides America with no tangible benefits and near-limitless possibilities for disaster. To put it more bluntly, the Electoral College is a terrible idea. And thanks to the Justices’ decision, getting rid of it has never been easier.

Hamilton. For those in need of a refresher, here’s how our current two-part presidential contest works: Every fourth November, Americans participate in separate statewide elections, plus one in D.C. With two exceptions (Maine and Nebraska, which award electors by congressional district), the winner of a state’s popular vote receives all its electoral votes—equal to that state’s number of senators plus its number of representatives. Whichever candidate wins a majority of the electors wins the White House.” data-reactid=”22″>The Electoral College we have today isn’t the one in the original Constitution. Instead, it’s a product of the 12th Amendment – put in place after the 1800 contest between Jefferson and Burr so chaotic it got its own number in Hamilton. For those in need of a refresher, here’s how our current two-part presidential contest works: Every fourth November, Americans participate in separate statewide elections, plus one in D.C. With two exceptions (Maine and Nebraska, which award electors by congressional district), the winner of a state’s popular vote receives all its electoral votes—equal to that state’s number of senators plus its number of representatives. Whichever candidate wins a majority of the electors wins the White House.

Why do we conduct our presidential elections in such a complicated way? Today, the conventional wisdom is that the Electoral College benefits small-population states, rural voters, and the Republican Party. None of this is true.

Electoral College, the winner of California gets 55 votes while the winner of Wyoming or Vermont gets just three. In fact, to make up for losing California, you would have to sweep the 15 smallest states and D.C. If the Electoral College is meant to keep small states from being overlooked, it’s doing an awful job.” data-reactid=”24″>In fairness, because electors are apportioned in a hybrid system – 435 of them are distributed proportional to population, while the remaining 100 are divided up equally among the states – places like Wyoming and Vermont do have a bit more clout than they otherwise would. But because the vast majority of votes doled out proportionally, the influence of small states is still pretty puny. In the Senate, California and Wyoming are equals. In the Electoral College, the winner of California gets 55 votes while the winner of Wyoming or Vermont gets just three. In fact, to make up for losing California, you would have to sweep the 15 smallest states and D.C. If the Electoral College is meant to keep small states from being overlooked, it’s doing an awful job.

10 least urban states in the country—Maine, Vermont, West Virginia, Mississippi, Montana, Arkansas, South Dakota, Kentucky, Alabama and North Dakota—have 50 electoral votes. The country’s 10 most urban states (a list that includes not just California and Florida, but low-population states like Utah and Nevada) have 107 electoral votes. If strength in the Electoral College were all that stood between rural voters and political powerlessness, rural voters would be in serious trouble. But they’re not.” data-reactid=”25″>Similarly, the Electoral College does nothing to elevate the voices of rural voters. The 10 least urban states in the country—Maine, Vermont, West Virginia, Mississippi, Montana, Arkansas, South Dakota, Kentucky, Alabama and North Dakota—have 50 electoral votes. The country’s 10 most urban states (a list that includes not just California and Florida, but low-population states like Utah and Nevada) have 107 electoral votes. If strength in the Electoral College were all that stood between rural voters and political powerlessness, rural voters would be in serious trouble. But they’re not.

by approximately 1.5% and still been re-elected. If states like Arizona, Texas or Georgia go from very slightly red to very slightly blue, which they will if trends continue, the Electoral College math will favor Democrats once again.” data-reactid=”26″>Finally, although Donald Trump won the White House while losing the popular vote in 2016, and may do so again in 2020, the Electoral College has not historically favored either party. In 2012, for example, Barack Obama could have lost the popular vote to Mitt Romney by approximately 1.5% and still been re-elected. If states like Arizona, Texas or Georgia go from very slightly red to very slightly blue, which they will if trends continue, the Electoral College math will favor Democrats once again.

America’s Constitution: A Biography, they were three reasons. First, in a brand-new country connected dirt roads, conducting a direct nationwide election was unimaginable, so it was far better to hold the election in stages. Second, because states had very different requirements for voting, not just involving race but wealth as well, a national popular vote would put pressure on states to make more people eligible to vote, something our Founders weren’t comfortable doing. Finally, because the three-fifths compromise in the Constitution gave states with larger enslaved populations more representatives in Congress – and because a state’s strength in the Electoral College is based mostly on its number of representatives in Congress – Southern states insisted on a system of electors to increase their influence.” data-reactid=”27″>Just because the Electoral College doesn’t favor small states, rural states or either party doesn’t mean our Founders didn’t create it for a reason. In fact, as Akhil Amar describes in his book America’s Constitution: A Biography, they were three reasons. First, in a brand-new country connected dirt roads, conducting a direct nationwide election was unimaginable, so it was far better to hold the election in stages. Second, because states had very different requirements for voting, not just involving race but wealth as well, a national popular vote would put pressure on states to make more people eligible to vote, something our Founders weren’t comfortable doing. Finally, because the three-fifths compromise in the Constitution gave states with larger enslaved populations more representatives in Congress – and because a state’s strength in the Electoral College is based mostly on its number of representatives in Congress – Southern states insisted on a system of electors to increase their influence.

The Electoral College, in other words, serves no useful purpose, other than to intermittently and randomly override the people’s will. It’s the appendix of our body politic. Most of the time we don’t notice it, and then every so often it flares up and nearly kills us.

by a 18-point margin, Americans would prefer to have the popular vote elect the president. And switching to a popular vote would benefit neither party over the long run. Unfortunately, the myths surrounding the Electoral College are powerful enough that politicians from non-battlegrounds are likely to vote against their own states’ interests. If the Electoral College math starts to decisively favor Democrats, we might get a constitutional amendment. Until then, we probably won’t.” data-reactid=”31″>In theory, an appendectomy should be simple to perform. Since the only states the Electoral College advantages are the 10 or so in the battlegrounds, the remaining 40 could team up and pass a constitutional amendment. Such a move would be popular: by a 18-point margin, Americans would prefer to have the popular vote elect the president. And switching to a popular vote would benefit neither party over the long run. Unfortunately, the myths surrounding the Electoral College are powerful enough that politicians from non-battlegrounds are likely to vote against their own states’ interests. If the Electoral College math starts to decisively favor Democrats, we might get a constitutional amendment. Until then, we probably won’t.

Which brings us back to this week’s Supreme Court ruling, which paves the way for us to effectively abolish the Electoral College without needing a constitutional amendment. After all, the same constitutional principles that allow a state to bind its electors to the winner of the statewide popular vote should allow it to bind its electors to the winner of the nationwide popular vote. This means that if states that combine to hold a majority of electoral votes all agree to support the popular-vote winner, they can do an end-run around the Electoral College. America would still have its clumsy two-step process for presidential elections. But the people’s choice and the electors’ choice would be guaranteed to match up every time.

National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would do exactly that. The beauty of the compact is that it only goes into effect when it would bind a majority of electors to support the winner national popular vote – and today, it’s just 74 electoral votes away from that threshold. Getting the remaining states to sign on won’t be easy, but it will be far easier than amending the Constitution. And it would ensure that the American President is the person the American people choose. Democrats might not be better off in the long run. Republicans might not be better off in the long run. But ultimately, our republic would be better off in the long run—and the Court’s ruling today clears up many of the potential constitutional hurdles the compact might face.” data-reactid=”33″>Many states are already on board with an agreement, called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would do exactly that. The beauty of the compact is that it only goes into effect when it would bind a majority of electors to support the winner national popular vote – and today, it’s just 74 electoral votes away from that threshold. Getting the remaining states to sign on won’t be easy, but it will be far easier than amending the Constitution. And it would ensure that the American President is the person the American people choose. Democrats might not be better off in the long run. Republicans might not be better off in the long run. But ultimately, our republic would be better off in the long run—and the Court’s ruling today clears up many of the potential constitutional hurdles the compact might face.

Justice Kagan’s words – “Here, the People rule” – are stirring. But today, they are still more aspiration than declaration. By declining to make the Electoral College an even great threat to our democracy, the Court did its job. Now it’s up to us. If you live in a state that hasn’t joined the interstate compact, you can urge your state legislators and your governor to sign on. And no matter where you’re from, you can dispel the myths about the Electoral College and who it really helps, myths that still lead some people to support it despite its total lack of redeeming qualities.

More than 215 years after the Electoral College was last reformed with the 12th Amendment, we once again have the opportunity to protect our presidential-election process and reassert the people’s will. Regardless of who wins the White House in 2020, it’s a chance we should take.

TikTok: Chinese app may be banned in US, says Pompeo

Would you recommend downloading TikTok? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked that question on Monday night on Fox News.

“Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” he replied.

Asked if he would ban Chinese apps – including TikTok – he said: “I don’t want to get out in front of the president, but it’s something we’re looking at”.

That is a very worrying statement for TikTok.

The huge Chinese social media company has experienced phenomenal growth in the last three years. It’s been downloaded more than two billion times.

But around the world, and not just in the US, TikTok is facing a backlash.

It’s finding out the hard way that being international, a tech company, and Chinese isn’t a great combination right now.

By far its largest market, India, banned TikTok last week, along with 58 other Chinese apps.

Officially security concerns were given as the reason, but that isn’t the whole story.

Two weeks before, a border skirmish on India’s northern frontier with China left 20 Indian soldiers dead. It’s not known how many Chinese troops were killed.

The fighting was said to be gruesome, hand-to-hand combat.

Thousands of miles away, Mr Pompeo said he welcomed India’s move to ban the apps. They “serve as appendages of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state”, he said.

It was a pretty extraordinary statement that flew relatively under the radar. The US government had congratulated the banning of TikTok in another country.

"Good to see India ban 59 popular apps owned by Chinese firm," tweeted Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the United Nations.” data-reactid=”25″>“Good to see India ban 59 popular apps owned by Chinese firm,” tweeted Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the United Nations.

Much of this can be linked to Huawei, says James Sullivan, head of cyber research at British security think-tank Rusi.

“Huawei is the test case,” he says. “It’s probably the start of a trend in the West where sanctions will seek to squeeze, or even sink, large Chinese tech companies”

Distance from China

That has made TikTok extremely nervous, and explains its energetic and painstaking attempts to distance itself from China.

Monday saw TikTok announce it would quit Hong Kong “within days” after a new National Security Law was brought in.

The announcement came after Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp said they would not hand over data to the Hong Kong government.

This was more than a statement from TikTok though – it was a grand gesture. A clear neon-lit sign that says: “TikTok is not close to the Chinese government.”

It’s a strategy TikTok has been following for quite some time.

Earlier this year it hired an American chief executive, Kevin Mayer.

TikTok is also keen to play up the localised nature of the platform, highlighting its big offices in places like London and Los Angeles.

‘We would not comply’

TikTok also says it would never share data with China.

On Friday, Mr Mayer wrote a letter to the Indian government.

“I can confirm that the Chinese government has never made a request to us for the TikTok data of Indian users,” he said.

“If we do ever receive such a request in the future, we would not comply.”

TikTok logo.

But it hasn’t won over the doubters.

"TikTok must go and it should have been gone yesterday," tweeted one Republican congressman last week following the Indian ban. This is not an uncommon view in the party.” data-reactid=”53″>“TikTok must go and it should have been gone yesterday,” tweeted one Republican congressman last week following the Indian ban. This is not an uncommon view in the party.

“It is an incredibly difficult moment for the Chinese tech companies,” says Dr Yu Jie from internal relations think-tank Chatham House.

“Ultimately, all of these Chinese companies would wish to set up a foothold in the US and Europe. But they’ve been caught up in global geo-political rivalry.”

Already the sharks are circling. Facebook is pushing its Instagram Reels feature , which lets you post fun 15-second videos, in India and elsewhere. Sound familiar?

Indian companies with similar platforms to TikTok have seen a spike in downloads since the ban.” data-reactid=”57″>Indian companies with similar platforms to TikTok have seen a spike in downloads since the ban.

TikTok is not Huawei. It’s not building the infrastructure of 5G – it’s a social media company.

But its links to China means that they are often mentioned in the same breath.

In his interview with Fox News, Mr Pompeo made the direct comparison between TikTok and Huawei.

“With respect to Chinese apps on peoples’ cellphones, I can assure you the US will get this right too,” he said.

James Sullivan of Rusi believes security issues need to be looked at separately to actions based on sanctioning China.

“There are technical security concerns with companies like Huawei, but they shouldn’t be conflated with sanctions that are based around Chinese foreign policy decisions,” he said.

Hurting China

That is India’s TikTok ban in a nutshell. A decision that is officially based around security which is also designed to punish China.

It’s also pretty clear that the US is looking to hurt China too, and focusing on its tech sector could be a lever it decides to pull.

Chinese companies like Tencent – one of the world’s largest gaming companies – and Alibaba will also be worried.

But it’s TikTok that is now fighting for its life. Frozen out of its biggest market, India, it now faces the prospect of losing the US – another huge market for the company.

"a data collection service disguised as social media".” data-reactid=”71″>And hostility is picking up in other countries too. In Australia on Monday, the deputy chairman of the foreign Interference through social media inquiry, said TikTok might be “a data collection service disguised as social media”.

Reuters news agency.” data-reactid=”72″>”We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked,” TikTok said in a statement to Reuters news agency.

TikTok may be designed for fun and laughter, but there are politicians who are deadly serious about banning the app. As long as China and the West’s relationship remains frosty, that’s unlikely to change.

‘Let me borrow your bike’: Atlanta police officer takes passing man’s bicycle to chase fleeing murder suspect

Atlanta Police Department

Atlanta were able to apprehend a murder suspect thanks to a passerby’s bicycle.” data-reactid=”17″>Police in Atlanta were able to apprehend a murder suspect thanks to a passerby’s bicycle.

Department said in a statement that the suspect had been seen around the Old Fourth Ward area last Tuesday when one cop commandeered a bicycle to chase the man down.” data-reactid=”18″>The Atlanta Police Department said in a statement that the suspect had been seen around the Old Fourth Ward area last Tuesday when one cop commandeered a bicycle to chase the man down.

said on Twitter afterwards that a cyclist had assisted with 21-year-old Nicholas Fonseca’s arrest, who was wanted in connection with a 28 June shooting.” data-reactid=”19″>The department said on Twitter afterwards that a cyclist had assisted with 21-year-old Nicholas Fonseca’s arrest, who was wanted in connection with a 28 June shooting.

Police also released a video showing APD pursue Fonseca on a borrowed bicycle through the BeltLine, a popular multi-use trail near to where the shooting took place some 48 hours prior.

CNN that he had been on his way home when he noticed police chasing down Fonseca.” data-reactid=”21″>The cyclist whose bike was used in the police chase, Stephen Willard, told CNN that he had been on his way home when he noticed police chasing down Fonseca.

“I’m riding home from work… and the next thing I see is APD officers jogging towards me,” said Mr Willard. “The next thing I know one of the officers is waving his arms and flags me down and says, ‘Hey, man let me borrow your bike!’ “

APD video showed the cyclist handing his bike over to one cop, whose body camera videoed the chase.

The pursuit continued for more than three minutes, with an audio containing dispatcher’s instructions on Fonseca’s location.

The bicycling officer then pulls-up at Ponce City Market to assist another APD officer with Fonseca’s arrest.

The officer can be heard saying: “We got him, we got him, we got him”.

Mr Willard told CNN that police returned his bicycle within 40 minutes, and that “It was pretty great, and it made me feel good, and everything worked out really well. They caught the suspect and I got my bike back in one piece.”

APD thanked Mr Willard in a statement, and said “we are grateful for the assistance of the cyclist in loaning us his bicycle. With help from the community, we can make the City of Atlanta safer.”

Fonseca has since been charged with murder.

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