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Biden unveils police funding plan to curb nationwide crime & violence
Americas

Biden unveils police funding plan to curb nationwide crime & violence

 President Joe Biden has unveiled a plan that will extend funding to the police in order to combat increasing rate of violence, crime and homicide across the country. Biden blamed the nationwide crime on lenient gun control.

On Wednesday, White House announced a “five point strategy”. President Biden said that cities and states can use $350 billion funding from Covid-19 relief bill for using on public safety measures like including more police personnel. He said that in order to bring down high crime rate in areas the officials can hire additional law enforcement workforces using the coronavirus relief funding. “It means more police officers, more nurses, more counsellors, more social workers or community violence interrupters to help resolve issues before they escalate into crimes,” the president said.

The other parts of Biden administration’s strategy include investing in community violence intervention programme, offering employment opportunities and summer activities for young adults, and offering support to Americans who were earlier incarcerated to re-enter the communities.

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President Biden’s modus operandi is crystal clear in this direction – take control of and eliminate rogue gun and ammunition dealers and curtail firearm trafficking. Some Democrats have called for defunding the police amplifying similar calls by Black Lives Matter activists, but Biden has himself refrained from using this terminology and slogan. He said on Wednesday, “This is not a time to turn our backs on law enforcement or our communities.”

While addressing from White House, Biden aimed at armed insurrectionists and said that “they would need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons to take on the US government.”

Biden administration has clearly highlighted the way to curb violent crimes in America is through gun control. However, Democratic bills that propose limiting American’s access to firearms are blocked by Republicans in Congress.

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, USA saw a surge in gun sales leading to increase in domestic violence reports last year.

Latin America leaning towards Left amid growing public dissent
Americas

Latin America leaning towards Left amid growing public dissent

Latin American appears to be deeply divided between the Left and the Right as countries across the region witness highly polarised elections in recent months. As of now, Peruvians are waiting for the final results of the country’s most heated presidential elections in its modern history.

On Wednesday, around 99.8 percent of the ballots were counted which saw union activist Pedro Castillo leading ahead with 50.19 percent support in comparison to his conservative rival Keiko Fujimori securing 49.8 percent support. While it would take a few days for the result to be declared, both candidates had previously vowed to respect the outcome of the presidential vote.

Over the next few months, a majority of Latin American countries including Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia are going to witness presidential, legislative and regional polls. However, it is important to note that amid looming pandemic crises, dilapidated health infrastructure, severe economic contraction, increasing poverty, and unemployment, the dynamics of the electoral mandate are going to change significantly across these countries.

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The defeat of incumbent Evo Morales by leftist Luis Arce in Bolivia’s presidential election in 2020 began a phenomenon of polarised and fragmented public opinion in Latin America. As ruling governments in Latin America face challenges in addressing the needs of the citizens, particularly after the pandemic outbreak, the region’s politics is seeing a rise of new populist leaders and stronger competitors to question those in power.

Political analysts have indicated that the public mood is changing against the right-wing political leadership. They have predicted a gradual shift towards leftists as well as outsiders in public opinion in the upcoming elections due to undeniable incompetencies of the ruling government, which mostly consists of the Right.

This year also saw the rise of public protests and demonstrations against government reforms, mismanagement of the pandemic and other issues. From Brazil to Chile, these protests have been largely driven by young activists. Therefore, experts have pointed out that Latin American youths will also play a crucial role in the region’s electoral process as dissent continues to grow. These factors have resulted in a lack of trust and noticeable discontent among citizens in the ruling elites across Latin American countries. Noting that 2021 is going to the year of elections in the region, it is important for political leaders to focus their attention on reviving their countries from pandemic repercussions and economic fallout, instead of just election campaigns.

How police reform is going in the United States?
Americas

How police reform is going in the United States?

The US President Joe Biden received in the White House the family of George Floyd, the African American man killed in Minneapolis by policeman Derek Chauvin, on the occasion of the first anniversary of his death. The murder of Floyd started one of the largest civil rights protest movements in recent American history, one of the goals of which was to deeply and, in some cases, radical reform the structure and practices of the American police.

For months, during the protests, the slogan defunds the police had been one of the most popular, and in the last year, numerous legislative proposals for reform have been presented both at the federal level is local. Biden last month promised that within a year of Floyd’s death he would have a comprehensive police reform passed by Congress: he failed, the law is still under discussion in the Senate, but in the meantime. dozens of states and municipalities have passed new laws and regulations. Overall, while far from the demands of civil rights protesters, the new rules have ensured some small steps forward, but for now they are failing to reduce the problem of police violence.

The federal law that Biden and the Democratic Party would like to pass as soon as possible is called the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act” and is a broad reform that regulates police activities in many respects. of sight. It prevents certain behaviours considered dangerous, such as techniques to immobilize suspects that put pressure on the neck, and controversial practices such as no-knock warrants, i.e. search warrants that allow agents to enter private property without warning first (in 2020 Breonna Taylor was killed by the police in an operation of this type). The law also provides for the creation of a national register of policemen who have problematic behavior and prohibits religious or racial profiling, that is, investigative activities based on suspicions related to ethnicity or religion instead of evidence.

Above all, the law would abolish the principle of qualified immunity, a legal device that gives immunity from civil lawsuits to all public officials and not only policemen as long as their conduct is considered “in good faith” and does not violate “legal rights or clearly defined constitutional “. The principle, sanctioned by the Supreme Court decades ago to avoid spurious complaints to public officials, has recently been used in the vast majority of cases of police brutality to avoid consequences at the level of civil justice, which often makes it impossible for the families of the victims. get even just compensation.

The abolition of this immunity is the main element of disagreement between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, and the reason why the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act” has not yet been passed: the law is easily passed in the House, where the Party Democrat has an absolute majority, but 60 votes are needed to pass the Senate, and therefore the collaboration of some Republican senators. Negotiations are still ongoing, and the hopes for a bipartisan vote are good enough, according to the New York Times.

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In addition to this federal law, dozens of state and city governments have passed local laws and regulations. In an April article, The New York Times calculated that after George Floyd’s death, more than 30 US states passed more than 140 new regulations, and in the meantime, these numbers have increased: last week the governor of the state of Washington signed 12 police reform laws.

Four states have reduced immunity for police officers, 10 have made it mandatory for policemen to have a video camera on at all times, 16 have banned manoeuvres that oppress suspects’ necks and 5 have restricted the use of no-knock warrants. Many states have also made it easier to report abuses and acts of police brutality.

Most of these new regulations have been passed in states where the Democratic Party governs, but not only: in some cases, such as Colorado, there have been bipartisan legislative initiatives, and some police reform laws have also been passed in Republican states such as Kentucky, Indiana, and Iowa.

Many city administrations, on which the budget of the local police offices depends, have mainly dealt with cutting or limiting the funds allocated to the police, based on the defund the police philosophy, whose goal was not to zero the budget of the police forces. order, but to transfer part of the funds to social services such as drug and mental disorder rehabilitation programs and educational programs.

Currently, in the United States, it is the police that intervenes – in some cases resorting to violence – in many problematic contexts which in other countries, such as Europe, are usually managed by health or social organizations and operators. The idea of ​​completely removing the funds from the police was instead expressed only by some radical groups of the civil rights movement and was adopted as a polemical element especially by the political forces of the right.

Coronavirus, the pandemic is forever changing the labor market in the US
Americas

Coronavirus, the pandemic is forever changing the labor market in the US

The American employment figure is very surprising, almost shocking. The US economy was expected to create over a million jobs in April, but only 226,000 have arrived. The reason? There is a demand for work, but there is a lack of supply. Or, perhaps, the answer is a little more complex. The US world of work is being shattered by this coronavirus pandemic. There is too much volatility on the data and too much displacement on the labor market, on logistics. These are new facts that have never been seen before.

Job supply and demand are no longer stable across the United States. In other words, while first supply and demand intersected in an altogether natural way, now due to the dislocation and that is to say too many movements, the market has become more complex, more difficult to decipher. There has been a reshuffling. With the pandemic, more volatility has been created, because a lot of demand is created where there is not enough supply, or supply is created in sectors where there is no demand. Here is the concept of dislocation.

The American economy, after the pandemic, tends to recover better in the manufacturing sector, that is, in industry, rather than in services. So those who worked in services, that is, in restaurants, in commerce, or the travel sector, have moved to the manufacturing sector, where they hire more and are more protected. And now, that the services are reopening, those who have moved to the factory do not go back, do not resume being a waiter.

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The pandemic has created a shattering of the world of work, a radical change, which is difficult to heal, even in working habits. Let’s take the baby boomers, those born in the 1950s and 1960s, who are now around 60, or are over 55. They are people who have worked for 40 or more years and who take the changes introduced by the pandemic to the leap, to leave their jobs, retire, or part-time, or work from home. Find the psychological or contractual excuse of the pandemic to start doing other things.

In short, this shattering of the world of work is deeper than it appears at first sight and even the statistics of the world of work in Washington are beginning to show it. Furthermore, the US employment data for April also demonstrates something else. And that is, the Federal Reserve was right, at least for now. Powell got it right. In the sense that it was right to maintain accommodative policies and that there are no inflation problems because certain price increases are temporary and do not trigger a chain increase in the labor market. There is no pressure on wages. This is demonstrated by the fact that after the US employment figures, the 10-year Treasury fell.

Stop vaccination nationalism in the US, the White House will donate 60 million AstraZeneca doses
Americas

Stop vaccination nationalism in the US, the White House will donate 60 million AstraZeneca doses

The growing number of Covid-19 cases has crumbled India’s health system which has called for international aid. Initially, the request for help went unheeded by the US, so much so that last week they were accused by the largest Indian newspaper of “vaccine nationalism”, after a spokesman for the State Department said that the temporary ban on the export of materials for vaccines was necessary because “it is also in the interest of the rest of the world to see Americans vaccinated.”

The statement had caused a wave of controversy: a message similar to that launched by India had also arrived from African nations, such as Namibia and Kenya, which had asked for political changes in Washington, given its abundance of Coronavirus vaccines.

Following these international criticisms, American tones have changed. “The US will distribute 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to other countries as soon as they become available,” tweeted Andy Slavitt, one of the leaders of the White House task force against the pandemic. The United States has tens of millions of doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in stock but has not used them to date because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still examining the application for authorization. Many leaders of foreign countries have asked Joe Biden to share these doses and now the president, according to CNN, seems confident that the US has enough doses for the entire American population even without AstraZeneca.

So far, the United States has shared only a fraction of the vaccines produced on American soil. Last month, the administration announced it would send 4 million doses to Mexico and Canada. In recent weeks, international pressure has intensified on Washington to decide to share the surplus of doses with other countries, in the face of the shortage of vaccines and the worsening of the epidemic in countries such as India.

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The United States has vaccinated more than 53% of the adult population with at least one dose of the three licensed vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J – and expects to have sufficient supply for the entire population by early summer.

About 10 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have already been produced in the US, but have yet to pass FDA review to “meet product quality requirements,” Jeff Zients, Covid-19 response coordinator, told the Associated Press. of the White House. This process could be completed in the next few weeks. About 50 million more doses are in various stages of production and may be available for shipment in May and June pending FDA signature.

The US has yet to define where AstraZeneca’s doses will go, Zients said. Neighbors Mexico and Canada have asked the Biden administration to share more doses, while dozens of other countries are trying to access supplies of the vaccine. The doses of AstraZeneca will be donated by the United States government, which has signed a contract with the company for a total of 300 million doses, although the company has faced production problems. The White House has also announced that it will send respirators, personal protective equipment, rapid diagnostic test kits, and above all, material for the production of vaccines to New Delhi.

Mexican president exhibits sadness and shame over brutality killing of Salvador woman in police custody
Americas

Mexican president exhibits sadness and shame over brutality killing of Salvador woman in police custody

On Monday Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador expressed ‘sadness, pain and shame’ over the killing of a Salvador woman who died in police custody. The 36-year-old Victoria Salazar Arriaza died after a female officer kneeled on her neck. Her autopsy report said that Salazar’s neck had been broken. The cause of death was said to be spinal fracture which happened due to breakage of the first and second vertebrae.

During the Monday’s press conference Mexican premier condemned the brutality and ill-treatment exhibited by the four police officers (one female and three male) who arrested the Salvador refugee woman on Saturday. Expressing his sympathies, Obrador said that Salazar, was “brutally treated and murdered”. He added, “It is a deed that fills us with sorrow, pain and shame.”

Salazar, a single mother of two teenage girls, was detained from the tourist resort of Tulum on the Caribbean coast. Officers did not clarify the reason for her detention but the state media reported that she was held after the police received an emergency call from a convenience store, where was believed to be exhibiting drunk and improper behavior.

The Salvador woman was held facedown on the road, with one knee on the back of her neck. It was the same technique which led to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, last year in police custody. The attorney general of Quintana Roo state, Oscar Montes de Oca, said that Salazar resisted police at the store’s exit which made the police”improperly apply bodily control techniques that ultimately caused (Salazar’s) death”.

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Oca reported that all the officers party to the crime have been taken into custody on the charges of femicide. The state department looking into the investigations of the case said, “The level of force was carried out in a disproportionate, immoderate way and with a high risk to life.” The conviction of the culprits could lead to 20 to 50 years of imprisonment.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, extended support towards the victim’s family and  said that his government “only asks for justice” and demanded that the “full force of the law” fall on those responsible for her death. He added that his government, would also care for the deceased’s daughters, who are currently living in Mexico. Rosibel Arriaza, Salazar’s mother, condemning the police action, told Salvadoran media, “I ask for justice for my daughter, because I don’t see a justified cause” for what police did to her. She added that her daughter went to Mexico five years ago in search for “better opportunities, like other Salvadorans,” and for “better future for her girls and to help them get ahead”.

US Intelligence report finds Russia worked with Trump allies to damage Biden’s chances in 2020 election
Americas

US Intelligence report finds Russia worked with Trump allies to damage Biden’s chances in 2020 election

US Intelligence reports have revealed a shocking finding that highlights Russian President Vladimir Putin to have most likely authorized attempts to influence 2020 Presidential Elections in US, in favor of his ally former US President Donald Trump. The report alleges that Moscow has potentially spread “misleading or unsubstantiated allegations” about the Democratic presidential candidate and the eventual winner Joe Biden.

But the intelligence report further confirmed that no ‘external forces or government’ had eventually altered or compromised the final results of presidential election.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the 15 page report on Tuesday. The report transcribes ‘influence operations’ that were pushed both by Russia and Iran. Report outlines that individuals linked to Russia had spread claims of unsubstantiated nature about President Biden ahead of the election on November 3, 2020. A campaign maligned with false information too was used to undermine confidence on a broader spectrum about election process. Report further highlights that certain Russian intelligence connections pushed narratives against Biden to media outlets as well as Trump allies with sole intention to undermine Biden’s candidacy.

Report adds that Russian efforts were to boost Trump’s chances of winning the election. On the contrasting side, Iran is said to have launched “multi-pronged covert influence campaign” with aim to weaken Trump’s support. Reason for this was quite clear – Trump during his term had maximized pressure on Iran by imposing extreme sanctions and also escalating “war of words” with it.

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Report underlines with “high confidence” that China did not “deploy interference efforts” ahead of election, although it has been accused of using cyber-attack against Washington. US Intelligence report stated, “China sought stability in its relationship with the United States and did not view either election outcome as being advantageous enough for China to risk blowback if caught.”

Clearing out air around interference with election process and mail in ballot system during election, report mentions, “We have no indications that any foreign actor attempted to interfere… by altering any technical aspect of the voting process, including voter registration, ballot casting, vote tabulation, or reporting results.” The assessment by US Intelligence finds that while Russia attempted to denigrate Biden’s chances in election, China and Iran sought loss of Trump.

Biden faces tough resistance from Republicans amidst COVID19 vaccine push
Americas

Biden faces tough resistance from Republicans amidst COVID19 vaccine push

WASHINGTON: As President Biden urges to vaccinate the Americans, he is facing deep skepticism among the Republicans, a group that is challenging for him to persuade.

He is currently facing degrees of opposition to coronavirus vaccination including African-Americans and the Republican antivaccine activists, polling says that opinions in this regard are spread along partisan lines.

Nearly one-third of Republicans, in a CBS news poll, said that they would not want to be vaccinated — in comparison to 10 percent of Democrats — and nearly around 20 percent of Republicans said they were “very unsure”. All other polls have seen similar trends.

The Biden administration is currently readying television and online advertising and are on all-out efforts to promote the vaccination process, the challenge to the White House is very complicated mainly due to the perceptions of his predecessor President Donald J. Trump’s rigid stance on the issue. Even though Mr. Trump was vaccinated prior to his departure from office and urged the conservatives to not get inoculated last month, most of his supporters appear pretty reluctant to do so, and he has clearly not played a very decisive role in promoting vaccination.

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When ssked about this issue on Monday at his office, Mr. Biden played the challenge down by saying that Mr. Trump’s assistance in promoting vaccination was less important compared to getting trusted opinion leaders on board.

If the widespread opposition to vaccination was not overcome, it could lead the United States stay aback from the point where the spread of the coronavirus could be halted. It will directly set back the efforts to get the economy back on track and people won’t get back to a normal life anytime soon. The problem until now is access to the right supplies of the vaccine, administration officials are of the expectation that exceeding demands won’t be seen if this many Americans remain reluctant.

Furthermore, with respect to this decision, a National Hockey team’s skills camp was also called off and players were asked to go back to their homes after being tested.

Biden takes action: the US to allow entry of Mexico asylum seekers
Americas

Biden takes action: the US to allow entry of Mexico asylum seekers

Taking action over burning issue of immigration in the United States, President Joe Biden and his administration have announced on Friday its plans of allowing thousands of asylum seekers waiting in Mexico entry into US. These asylum seekers are waiting for their immigration court hearing and would be allowed to enter the country while their cases proceed. 

Authorities confirmed that the first lot of 25,000 asylum seekers in Mexico would be allowed to enter the US on February 19. Biden administration is planning to slowly start up the process with two border crossings and each processing taking up to 300 people per day. Third processing is to take fewer number of people. Location name of border crossing haven’t been disclosed with fear of mass influx at border. 

The policy is the direct dismantling of former President Donald Trump’s highly controversial and detrimental policies of preventing asylum seekers gain entry into the US. President Biden has been keeping up with his campaign promises on various issues by signing executive orders. The issue of immigration and asylum seekers entry ban was a key issue raised by Biden which he called as ‘inhumane’ and ‘dangerous’.

On first day of President Joe Biden in office, the DHS (department of homeland security) had suspended new arrivals policy. Post that few of the asylum seekers that had been picked up at the border by border police have been released in US. 

Trump had made it a priority to tackle and reverse the surge of asylum seekers entering the US that had peaked in 2019, calling it ‘important’. But this had invariably exposed the vulnerable people to violence a Mexico border cities. Finding lawyers to present their case in immigration courts was made extremely difficult for the asylum seekers. 

The Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas said, “As President Biden has made clear, the US government is committed to rebuilding a safe, orderly and humane immigration system. This latest action is another step in our commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with our nation’s values.” 

The decision which is in plans to be implemented quickly, will effectively save tens and thousands of children and adults from increasing violence, rape and abduction at the border cities. Mayorkas made a note, “It’s a very, very important cautionary note that they should not travel to the border. That will only increase the pressure on the humanitarian effort to provide for them carefully and safely.”

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The move, as said by DHS, is no to be taken as random irregular immigration of people to the US. Asylum seekers must note that under public health advisory placed since March after pandemic struck, any illegal border crossing would lead to expulsion of the people.  

Trump impeachment trial rules agreed upon by Senate leaders
Americas

Trump impeachment trial rules agreed upon by Senate leaders

Senate leaders on Monday have reached an agreement over former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial that is beginning this week. The zeroed down rules will allow impeachment managers and also Trump’s lawyers up to 16 hours to present the case, create debate option and vote to call witnesses if impeachment managers at House seek it. 

Senate leaders have agreed on the second impeachment trial’s rapid timetable that will begin on Tuesday. Former President Donald Trump is charged with “inciting insurrection” during his speech leading to violent US Capitol riots on January 6. Democrats say of the ‘overwhelming’ evidence they have that will prove Trump’s guilt while lawyers defending Trump claim that the mob acted independently. Trump’s lawyers call the trial unconstitutional as he has now left the office and is now a private citizen. The nine impeachment managers, who are all Democrats from the House, argue that Trump must be held accountable for his actions as a president. 

US Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer said, “All parties have agreed to a structure that will ensure a fair and honest Senate impeachment trial of the former president.” 

If after debate on Tuesday voting will be done at end of the day. If constitutional vote passes, opening arguments will commence Wednesday afternoon with both parties allowed up to 16 hours each for presenting their sides. Arguments are expected to extend till weekend. It is unclear if impeachment managers will seek extending the timetable by calling or sending subpoena to witnesses. Trump however, has already declined testifying voluntarily. 

Trump’s defense team is led by Bruce Castor, a former county prosecutor from Pennsylvania. His team made an extraordinary claim on the Senate floor on Monday saying that presenting Capitol attack would lead to “a brazen attempt to glorify violence”. 

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Impeachment managers, sent by the House of Representatives, are led by Jamie Raskin of Maryland. Their argument which amounts to an 80-page brief was submitted last week and documents various tweets made by Trump, starting from “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” to “Election Rigged and Stolen” to “So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue”. 

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