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As early voting nears its end, McAuliffe and Youngkin campaign in decidedly different ways



 CNN- In the increasingly nationalized race to be Virginia’s next governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are closing their campaigns in decidedly different ways.

McAuliffe, helped by Vice President Kamala Harris and Virginia-native performer Pharrell Williams, spent Friday highlighting the national implications of the race, headlining a Norfolk rally that represented the crescendo of a campaign that has leaned on big name supporters to boost excitement and turn people out.
“Virginia, I am here because the President and I care deeply about Terry McAuliffe, about the commonwealth of Virginia and about the future of our nation. Now you all know that every four years when this election happens for governor of Virginia, it is a tight election, it is a close election, and it is a bellwether for what happens in the rest of the country,” Harris told the audience there, ratcheting up the national pressure on the race.
Youngkin, at five events across the commonwealth, tried to focus the close of his campaign on the same hyper-local issues that propelled him from the outset: Education, the economy and taxes. As the polls have tightened in recent weeks, Youngkin is now trying to inspire Republicans by convincing them that a Republican can win in Virginia after eight years of Democratic control.
And unlike McAuliffe, he campaigned without the help of top Republican officeholders.
“Terry McAuliffe is driving 45 miles an hour down Interstate 66, and I’m coming up 70 on the outside passing him,” Youngkin said. “And I’m telling you what’s about to happen: What’s about to happen is we are going to sweep our statewide offices.”
There was extra weight to each candidate’s events on Friday: Early voting in the state ends on Saturday, putting pressure on each campaign’s attempt to get voters to cast their ballots before Election Day. By the end of Friday, nearly 1 million Virginians had cast their ballots in the race.
McAuliffe will close his campaign with a frenetic weekend of candidate and surrogate events, including events for the former governor in the Virginia Beach, Hampton and Chesapeake areas on Saturday and events around Richmond and in the Washington, DC, suburbs on Sunday.
Youngkin will close the race with a series of events in the Washington suburbs of northern Virginia on Saturday, the state’s far western region on Sunday, and then in final stops across its biggest cities on Monday.
Although polls have been relatively steady throughout the race, recent polling shows Youngkin closing the gap in the final weeks of the campaign, giving Republicans hope for the first time in years that they could win a statewide race.
“I think we’ve been on the downslide,” said Linda Tylka, a former Charlottesville-based secretary. “I don’t think we’re respected in the world anymore. We need new people in the government who will work for the taxpayer and that starts in Virginia.”
The question is whether Youngkin’s efforts will be enough in a place that was tilted toward Democrats in a significant way ever since former President Barack Obama won Virginia in 2012. As the commonwealth has diversified and the northern Virginia counties just outside of Washington have ballooned in size, Republicans have found it difficult to compete statewide.
This was especially true during Donald Trump’s four years in office, when once reliable Republican voters fled the party in opposition to the then-President.
Youngkin’s goal from the outset of the campaign has been to cobble together a coalition that includes the diehard Trump supporters and those who left the party in response to the caustic leader. To do that, the Republican candidate has looked to stoke anger at the left and, by extension, Democratic control in both Richmond and Washington, DC.
“This is the moment for us to stand up and say, ‘No, not here anymore.’ We’re not going to have this left, liberal, progressive agenda,” Youngkin said Friday at an event in Charlottesville.
McAuliffe has responded with the opposite, hoping to lean heavily on the blue tilt of the state by bringing out Democratic leaders from Richmond, like Gov. Ralph Northam, and from Washington, like Harris. And he is attempting to keep those suburban voters who left the Republican Party over Trump with Democrats by regularly trying to tie Youngkin to the former President.
“We only have a few days to go. I cannot tell you how critical this election is. The stakes could not be any more clear: On one side, you think what you have over there, conspiracy theorists, we’ve got anti vaxxers and we’ve got Donald Trump. They are all on one side,” McAuliffe said in Norfolk. “From the day he got into this race Glenn Youngkin has run a campaign of hatred, division and fear.”
Although McAuliffe did highlight local issues he would tackle as governor — like addressing climate change and flooding in the Norflok area — he reminded the crowd of what it would mean to Republicans to get a win in Virginia — something that Harris echoed, too.
“What happens in Virginia will in large part determine what happens in 2022, 2024 and beyond,” Harris said. “The power is in your hands and elections matter.”
Across the state in Warrenton, an exurb about an hour west of Washington, Youngkin focused narrowly on how the coronavirus pandemic has been handled by schools and the state government, as well as parents’ roles in schools.
Youngkin pledged to deliver Virginia’s largest education budget in history, with raises for teachers and more funding for special education, if he is elected. He said he would launch the largest charter-school push Virginia has ever seen — including 20 new charter schools on his first day in office. And he lambasted critical race theory.
“We will teach accelerated math in our schools. We will award advance diplomas in our schools. We will teach all history, the good and the bad, in our schools,” Youngkin said.
Unlike McAuliffe, who made the Norfolk event his focus on the day, Youngkin headlined five rallies that were energetic and drew hundreds of supporters — including parents who brought their children. Staffers used T-shirt guns to fire shirts into the crowd while Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” and AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” played before Youngkin took the stage in Warrenton.
Education dominated Youngkin’s events, with speakers routinely hitting McAuliffe for saying “parents should be telling schools what they should teach” during the second and final debate in the contest. “Don’t mess with my kids,” one supporter’s sign in Warrenton said.
Mary Alipio, a Northern Virginia parent and volunteer who spoke in Warrenton, said that “being involved in their lives and education is non-negotiable.”
“That made me mad,” she said of McAuliffe’s debate comment. “But I’ve been mad since 2020.”
Another popular target for Youngkin and his supporters was critical race theory.
“Governor Glenn Youngkin will ban it, and if I have to take it to court to stop it, I will,” said Jason Miyares, the Republican nominee for attorney general, while campaigning with Youngkin in Warrenton.
Youngkin has walked a tightrope during the campaign with Trump, seeking to align himself closely enough to the former President to keep from alienating his Republican base, but not too close to drive moderates in northern Virginia away from his campaign.
Trump has repeatedly inserted himself into the race, though: He’ll headline a tele-rally Monday for Youngkin and the GOP ticket, said John Fredericks, the Virginia based conservative radio host who served as the co-chair of the Trump campaign in the commonwealth.
Youngkin and those who spoke at his rallies didn’t make reference to the former President. But his supporters were animated by opposition to the same Democratic rivals that Trump faced.
The crowd in Warrenton — as Youngkin crowds have elsewhere — chanted “Let’s go Brandon,” a coded phrase that conservative crowds have used to express their displeasure with President Joe Biden.

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Spain locates Christopher Columbus’ first tomb



It has long been known that Columbus was buried in Valladolid after his death there in 1506 but the exact location of his tomb was not known until now.

Three years later his remains were taken to his family mausoleum in the southern city of Seville, and were moved several more times over the following centuries before returning to Seville in 1898.

Using DNA samples from bone slivers taken from the Seville tomb, a forensics team led by the University of Granada confirmed in 2005 that the remains kept there did in fact belong to Columbus.

Researchers have now determined that he was first buried in the San Francisco convent in Valladolid which no longer exists, Spain’s Naval Museum, which helped coordinate the study, said in statement.

The site is currently a commercial zone near the spacious Plaza Mayor, a broad, pedestrianised expanse surrounded by arcaded buildings painted red.

This conclusion follows “a detailed historical investigation, confirmed by ground-penetrating radars,” the statement added.

Researchers took samples of elements from the Seville burial sport — lead, brick, golden threads — and found they matched with the location of the spot in Valladolid which was excavated, it added.

Historians and archeologists have since recreated in 3D the dimensions the chapel in Valladolid that housed the remains of Columbus.

In 1544 his remains were moved from Seville to Santo Domingo, which is the capital of the Dominican Republic, in accordance with the instructions he had left behind.

In 1795 his bones were moved to Havana before being shipped back across the Atlantic and returned to Seville in 1898.

The Dominican Republic claims Columbus is buried at an ornate lighthouse in Santo Domingo.

The teams behind the 2005 DNA study said that while they are convinced the bones in Seville are from Columbus, the tomb in Santo Domingo might also hold part of his remains.

Columbus, long hailed by school textbooks as the so-called discoverer of “The New World,” is considered by many to have spurred years of genocide against indigenous groups in the Americas.


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Spain’s Infanta Cristina and Iñaki Urdangarin announce ‘interruption of marriage’



The sister of Spain’s King Felipe VI, Cristina de Borbón, and her husband Iñaki Urdangarin have decided to “interrupt” their marriage, according to a press release published Monday by Spanish news agency EFE.

“By mutual consent, we have decided to interrupt our marital relationship. Our commitment to our children remains intact. Given this is a private decision, we ask for utmost respect for everyone around us,” the document stated.

The former Olympic handball champion was sentenced to prison in 2018 in connection with a financial crimes scandal known as the Nóos case, and the Infanta – a title Cristina bears for being the daughter of a king – was questioned in court over the matter, although she was later cleared of all criminal charges. Urdangarin has since been moved to an open regime and only reports to prison once a week.

The public announcement comes after Urdangarin was photographed holding hands with another woman last week in Bidart in southwestern France. When asked about his relationship to the woman in question, Ainhoa Armentia, a 43-year-old from the Basque city of Vitoria, Urdangarin replied: “These things happen.”

The relationship between Cristina de Borbón and Iñaki Urdangarin officially began in 1996 at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, where Urdangarin was competing as a member of the Spanish handball team. One year later, they married in a church in Barcelona in a ceremony attended by 1,500 guests. The couple have four children together.

In June 2018, Urdangarin was sentenced by the Supreme Court to six years and three months in prison for his involvement in the Nóos case. He was found guilty of tax fraud, embezzlement and influence peddling, and entered prison on June 18, 2018. He has served five years and 10 months at Brieva penitentiary, and is now allowed to serve out the remainder from home.

Last year, the former Duke of Palma – who was stripped of his title following the scandal – was granted permission to move to a more flexible prison regime, meaning he could serve the remaining 11 months of his sentence from home. Under this regime, Urdangarin does not need to wear an electronic bracelet that tracks his movement, and is only subject to weekly in-person meetings and phone check-ins. Since then, he has been living in Vitoria with his mother, Claire Liebaert, who is in poor health.

The new regime also allowed Urdangarin to start working at the accounting firm Imaz & Associates, which has a good relationship with his family. But the frequency in which the former duke was seen in the streets during working hours – under the pretext that he was teleworking – prompted prison authorities to recommend he work in the office in person. There he met Armentia, a married woman whose marriage was not going well, but who continued living in the same apartment as her husband.

Since the photograph was taken last Wednesday, a scrum of photographers and reporters have been waiting long hours outside the accountancy firm to get a statement from Urdangarin and Armentia. According to sources close to the owner of Imaz & Associates, the media attention has made the director question his decision to hire the former duke, which he did as a personal favor to his family. The media attention has also surprised Armentia, who until a few days ago was just an anonymous accountant with two young children.

According to sources close to the Royal Household, news of Urdangarin’s relationship with Armentia also caught Cristina de Borbón off guard.

In June 2015, Felipe VI stripped his sister of the title of Duchess of Palma after the latter repeatedly refused to give up her hypothetical rights to the throne (she is sixth in line of succession). The decision was made a week after the first anniversary of Felipe’s reign, as the monarchy was going through an institutional crisis derived partly from the Nóos scandal.

After Felipe’s father Juan Carlos I abdicated the throne in 2014, the Royal Household announced that membership in the royal family was being reduced to include just Felipe and Queen Letizia, their daughters Leonor and Sofía and Felipe’s parents Juan Carlos I and Doña Sofía. Felipe’s sisters, the infantas Elena and Cristina, were excluded from this group and do not receive any allowances from the Spanish budget.


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Swiss company helps recycle Morocco’s organic waste



africanews– In Morocco, a Swiss company is helping to process organic waste.

EV or Green Elephant has an annual turnover of 40,000 tonnes of compost and organic fertiliser.

In Morocco, nearly 80% of household waste is organic compared to less than 30% in Europe.

“Our sector of activity is the recovery of agricultural by-products through an industrial process called composting. There are different raw materials of vegetable and animal origin that are mixed together, with well-defined ratios”, says Mohamed El Kabous, EV production manager.

The organic waste is processed and replaces chemical fertilisers improving sustainability.

Traditionally, in Morocco, most household waste is buried.

According to official data, 66 illegal dumps have been rehabilitated so far.

“All our products are organic and can be used in organic farming to replace some of the chemical fertilisers that kill the soil, and also to participate and offer customers a healthy and sustainable agriculture” promises EV’s production manager.

According to the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, in 2015 only 6% of household waste was recycled.

A national waste programme whose objective was to reach a recycling rate of 20% by 2022 was pushed back to 2030.

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