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Presidential debate: Rules to change after Trump-Biden spat

The commission that oversees US presidential debates says it will change the format to ensure the re..

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The commission that oversees US presidential debates says it will change the format to ensure the remaining two encounters between Donald Trump and Joe Biden are more orderly.

One new measure could be to cut the microphones if the candidates try to interrupt each other, US media report.

The announcement follows Tuesday's ill-tempered debate that descended into squabbling, bickering and insults.

President Trump's team has already criticised the commission's plans.

The tone and tactics of the first presidential debate were criticised across the US and around the world.

The fallout, however, has also been dominated by remarks Mr Trump made about a far-right group called the Proud Boys.

On Wednesday he sought to clarify his comments but his critics maintain he has refused to condemn white supremacists.

What are the plans for the next debates?

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) said in a statement that the debate "made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues".

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"The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly," it said.

"The commission is grateful to [moderator] Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night's debate and intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates."

President Trump constantly interrupted Mr Biden, leading to a series of chaotic exchanges in which both men talked over each other.

Mr Trump questioned Mr Biden's intelligence and Mr Biden called President Trump a clown, telling him to be quiet and saying: "Will you shut up, man?"

CBS News, citing an informed source, said the commission would spend the next 48 hours drawing up new guidelines and rules for the second debate.

Controlling the candidates' microphones is at the top of the list, CBS said, in order to prevent them interrupting the moderator or each other.

Both campaign teams will be informed of the rules but they will not be subject to negotiation, the source added.

The commission is a nonpartisan body that has organised presidential election debates since 1988.

What's the reaction?

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh, who had described Tuesday's night's chaotic scenes as a "free exchange of ideas", criticised the plans.

"They are only doing this because their guy got pummelled last night," he said.

"President Trump was the dominant force and now Joe Biden is trying to work the refs. They shouldn't be moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game."

Kate Bedingfield, deputy manager for Mr Biden's campaign, said the former vice-president would participate "under whatever set of rules the commission develops to try to contain Donald Trump's behaviour".

"The president will have to choose between responding to voters about questions for which he has offered no answers in this campaign – or repeating last night's unhinged meltdown," she said.

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While one snap poll on the debate gave Mr Biden a slight edge, other opinion polls suggest 90% of Americans have already made up their mind how to vote for and the debate may well have made little difference.

The next debate is scheduled to take place on 15 October in Miami, Florida.

What did Mr Trump say about Proud Boys?

During the debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked whether the president would condemn white supremacists and tell them to stand down during protests.

When Mr Trump asked who it was he was being told to condemn, Mr Biden twice said "Proud Boys", referring to a far-right, anti-immigrant, all-male group with a history of violence against left-wing opponents.

The president said: "Proud Boys – stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what… somebody's got to do something about antifa [anti-fascist activists] and the left because this is not a right-wing problem."

Proud Boys members called his "stand by" remark "historic" and an endorsement.

Mr Biden said Mr Trump had "refused to disavow white supremacists".

On Wednesday Mr Trump appeared to try to walk baRead More – Source

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Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh receive Covid-19 vaccine

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Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh have received their Covid-19 vaccinations, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said Saturday.

The inoculations were administered by a household doctor at Windsor Castle, a royal source said.
To prevent inaccuracies and further speculation, Her Majesty, who 94, decided that she would let it be known that she has had the vaccination, the source added. Her husband is 99 years old.
The couple’s son, Prince Charles, tested positive for coronavirus and went into isolation in March. The 72-year-old later said he was lucky to only experience mild symptoms, adding he’d “got away with it quite lightly.”
Meanwhile, their grandson Prince William, second-in-line to the British throne, also tested positive for coronavirus earlier this year, UK media reported, though exactly when he contracted the virus is unclear.
The UK has recorded more than 3 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 80,000 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University on Saturday.
The UK reported 1,325 coronavirus-related fatalities on Friday — its highest ever daily increase in deaths.
Health officials face a deadly start to 2021 as a new coronavirus variant, first detected in the UK, sweeps the nation.
In the capital, London’s mayor declared a “major incident” on Friday, warning that hospitals in the city were close to being overrun.
“The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control,” Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement.
“The number of cases in London has increased rapidly with more than a third more patients being treated in our hospitals now compared to the peak of the pandemic last April.
“We are declaring a major incident because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point,” Khan added. “If we do not take immediate action now, our [National Health Service] could be overwhelmed and more people will die.”

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Dozens killed in suspected jihadist attack in Niger

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Dozens of people were killed in an attack in Niger on Saturday, in a suspected jihadist attack.

The attack took place around 12:00 CET in the Tchomo-Bangou village in Tillabéri, a western region bordering Mali.

“The assailants surrounded the village and killed up to 50 people,” a local radio journalist said anonymously. “The wounded have been evacuated to the hospital in Ouallam.”

It came on the day provisional results for the first round of the presidential election, held on December 27, were released.

Mohamed Bazoum, the candidate for the ruling Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) and a former interior minister, is in the lead with 39.3 per cent of the votes. Bazoum has vowed to strengthen the country’s fight against Islamist groups.

The second round of the election is to be held on February 21.

Niger has been a target for jihadist attacks for years, particularly in the western and southeastern parts of the country.

On December 21, six days before the presidential poll, seven soldiers were killed in Tillabéri. In May 2020, twenty people, including children, were also killed in two of the region’s villages.

Read from source: https://www.euronews.com/2021/01/03/dozens-killed-in-suspected-jihadist-attack-in-niger

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Niger votes in presidential and legislative elections

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People in Niger began voting in the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday.

Mohamed Bazoum, the right-hand man of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou is the favourite to win.

The sixty-year-old former interior minister is aiming for outright victory in the first round — something that no candidate has done before.

He’s focussing on security and education.

Over 7 million people are eligible to vote. But some voters, like Gambina Moumouni, simply want a president they can trust.

“We pray to Allah to choose us the president who has the most mercy for the people, a president who will not betray the country and who will not betray the trust of the people, that is our wish. It is also our wish that Allah may help to make the poor, the peasants, the (cattle) breeders happy.

Thirty candidates are standing including two former presidents and two former prime ministers, but according to seasoned observers in the region, the poll is arousing little enthusiasm among the population.

Niger is the world’s poorest according to the UN’s Human Development Index and also one of those hardest hit by climate change.

Read from source: https://www.euronews.com/2020/12/27/niger-votes-in-presidential-and-legislative-elections

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