Connect with us

News

Pennsylvania Primary: Trump-backed ‘Dr Oz’ in Cliffhanger Vote Count

Max King

Published

on

Image source, Reuters

A Trump-backed celebrity doctor’s campaign to run as the next Republican senator for Pennsylvania has come down to a nail-biting conclusion.

Mehmet Oz, a surgeon best known for his appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show, is facing a cliffhanger vote count after the party primary.

He was neck and neck with former hedge fund executive David McCormick.

The race is being closely watched as a test of former President Donald Trump’s hold over the Republican party.

The contest in this key presidential swing state is one of a number taking place across the country to determine who will stand for office in the midterm elections in November.

The midterms fall halfway through a president’s term in office. They decide who controls the two chambers which make up Congress – the Senate and the House of Representatives.

At present, the Democratic Party controls both chambers, but by very slim majorities. And historically, the party that holds the White House has tended to suffer losses in the midterms.

The primaries decide which party’s candidates will run against each other in the midterms, and their election will play an important part in determining the rest of US President Joe Biden’s presidency.

Five states held primary elections on Tuesday, making it the busiest date on the 2022 midterms calendar so far. Here are some of the projected results:

Pennsylvania: Pro-Trump Republican state legislator Doug Mastriano won the race to become the Republicans’ nominated candidate for governor of the state. He has been a vocal supporter of Mr Trump’s baseless claim that he won the 2020 presidential electionNorth Carolina: Trump-backed US Congressman Madison Cawthorn lost a Republican nomination contest to defend his seat amid a number of controversies. In the last few months, the 26-year-old has been charged with carrying a weapon to an airport, claimed he had been invited to orgies by Republican colleagues, faced criticism for appearing in a leaked naked tape and called Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug”North Carolina: Congressman Ted Budd – endorsed by Mr Trump – defeated former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to become the Republicans’ nominee. He will face Democrat Cheri Beasley, the first black woman to serve as chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. The race is expected to be competitive Idaho: Republican governor Brad Little defeated a challenge by his own Lt Gov Janice McGeachin. The two have been locked in a power struggle as Trump-backed Ms McGeachin issued orders while Mr Little was out of state last year, including barring mask mandates.

Earlier this month, Mr Trump’s pick for the Ohio Senate primary cruised to victory against his opponents. But Pennsylvania’s primary has gone down to the wire.

Despite Mr Trump’s endorsement of Mehmet Oz, the race stayed in a three-way dead heat until polls closed.

The Republican contest was shaken up by a late surge from right-wing commentator Kathy Barnette.

But Mr McCormick came from behind, with the race narrow enough to be in recount territory.

Pennsylvania primary marks test of Trump’s strength

By Nomia Iqbal, BBC News

Dr Oz arrived at the venue and did a thumbs up to us and said he was feeling good. Taking to the stage he thanked everyone who supported him and made it clear he wasn’t conceding.

He said victory would be his in the end. But his closest rival Dave McCormick – who wasn’t backed by Mr Trump – said the same thing.

The results are still being counted but at the moment it’s within the margins for a recount. The full count of the actual ballots could take days.

It feels a lot like 2020 when we were here for the presidential race. In the end Pennsylvania projected for Biden taking him over the threshold.

Tonight was a critical test of the former President Trump’s ability to back winners… He wants to use the Primaries to prove his dominance over the Republican Party.

Mr Trump really got behind Dr Oz – whether his base did is yet to be decided.

The eventual Republican winner will take on Lt Gov John Fetterman, who easily won the Democratic Senate nomination on Tuesday night – two days after announcing he had suffered a stroke.

On Monday, the left-wing Democrat’s team said he had undergone surgery to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator.

Mr Fetterman, a Harvard-educated former mayor who sported hoodie sweatshirts instead of suits on the campaign trail, remained in hospital on the night of his election victory, with his wife speaking at a campaign event in his place.

Image source, Twitter/@JohnFetterman

In a White House statement on Tuesday night, Mr Biden congratulated Mr Fetterman and argued that the Republican candidates were “too extreme”.

But a controversy that dogged Mr Fetterman in his primary campaign is certain to be raised by Republicans during the general election.

In 2013, during Mr Fetterman’s second term as mayor of Braddock, a town of around 2,000 outside Pittsburgh, he pursued an innocent black jogger who he wrongly thought had been firing a gun near his home.

Mr Fetterman, who is a hulking 6ft 8in and was armed with a shotgun during the confrontation, has refused to apologise for the incident.

Read More

Original Article: bbc.co.uk

News

President Biden Urges Petrol Tax ‘holiday’ As Fuel Prices Bite

Max King

Published

on

Image source, Reuters

US President Joe Biden has called for a three-month suspension of America’s national gasoline tax in response to the country’s soaring energy prices.

The average cost of a gallon of gas, or petrol, is hovering near $5 (£4), up from roughly $3 a year ago.

With national elections for Congress coming in November, Mr Biden is under pressure to respond.

Analysts say that removing the levy would have limited impact on household petrol and diesel costs.

Political support for the gas tax holiday, which would require an act of Congress, is also uncertain, with members of Mr Biden’s own party concerned that the move would primarily benefit oil and gas firms.

The White House acknowledged the criticism, but said policymakers should do what is in their power to try to ease the strain on families.

“A gas tax holiday alone will not, on its own, relieve the run-up in costs that we’ve seen,” the administration said in a statement.

“This unique moment when the war in Ukraine is imposing costs on American families, Congress should do what it can to provide working families breathing room.”

What is the US gas tax?

Currently, the US imposes a tax of roughly 18 cents per gallon on gasoline and 24 cents on diesel, using the money collected to help pay for highway infrastructure.

Eliminating the levy through September, as Mr Biden has proposed, would cost the government an estimated $10bn.

The move is the latest effort from countries around the world to address the soaring energy costs.

Oil prices have surged since last year, as demand outstrips supplies constrained by cuts that many firms made after the pandemic hit in 2020 and prompted demand to crater.

As the war in Ukraine pushes Western countries to shun oil from Russia – a major energy producer – that has also contributed to the crunch.

“Pausing the federal gas tax will certainly provide near-term relief for US drivers, but it won’t solve the root of the issue – the imbalance in supply and demand for petroleum products,” a spokesperson for the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers industry group said.

Image source, Getty Images

It said longer-term policies are needed to boost US energy production.

Mr Biden has already taken steps like releasing unprecedented amounts of oil from national reserves and lifting taxes on imports of solar panels.

As well as suspending the national gasoline tax, Mr Biden is urging similar steps by state governments, which typically impose their own taxes, often higher than the federal government’s.

Some states, including New York, have already suspended those charges.

The president has also called for oil and gas firms to increase their output, intensifying his criticism of the sector in recent weeks.

However, there is little political momentum in the US for funding relief for households through something like the UK’s recently announced windfall tax on energy company profits.

More on this story

Read More

Article: bbc.co.uk

Continue Reading

News

Ukraine-Russia War: ‘Sanctions Have Brought My Factory to a Standstill’

Max King

Published

on

Igor Pleshkov gives me a tour of his concrete business in Kaliningrad.

Not that he’s doing much business right now.

Igor’s factory has pretty much come to a standstill.

“We produce commercial concrete, iron concrete and paving stones. We first experienced a shortage of cement back in March, after Europe imposed sanctions on Russian banks.

“Trains with cement were being turned back at the Lithuanian border, because the rolling stock was owned by leasing companies who were under sanctions.

“As of June, we haven’t produced a single cubic metre.”

Kaliningrad is a unique part of Russia. This region is cut off from the rest of the country – the Russian mainland is 300 miles (480km) to the east.

It was the Red Army that seized Kaliningrad (or Königsberg as it was known) from Germany at the end of World War Two. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Kaliningrad suddenly found itself a Russian exclave in the heart of Europe. It’s sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland, both members of the European Union and Nato.

For supplies Kaliningrad has been heavily reliant on transit routes through Lithuania. But this month Lithuania began implementing EU sanctions on certain Russian goods – including construction materials. It won’t allow them to transit through Lithuanian territory to Kaliningrad.

This makes Igor’s challenge to turn the business around as tough as concrete.

“These sanctions aren’t only affecting our business, they affect everyone,” Igor explains. “We aren’t making anything, so builders can’t build anything. There’s a chain reaction. We have nothing to pay contractors, taxes or wages.”

Image source, Reuters

The authorities in Kaliningrad say there’s nothing to panic about and they plan to bring in more goods by sea. But expect logistical difficulties and higher costs.

Back in Moscow, Russian officials are furious. They’ve been taking aim at Lithuania, the EU, Nato and the West in general.

This week Nikolai Patrushev, head of Russia’s powerful Security Council and one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, flew to Kaliningrad for meetings. There he warned Russia’s response – whatever form it takes – would have “a serious negative impact” on the Lithuanian people.

Russia accuses Lithuania of imposing a blockade on Kaliningrad. That’s something Lithuanian officials fiercely deny. After all, there is no ban on Russian passengers transiting through Lithuanian territory, or on Russian goods that are not on the EU sanctions list.

On Kaliningrad’s Victory Square, most of the people I speak to have only positive things to say about Europe.

“I hope we can reach an agreement with the Lithuanians on transit, because they’re not bad people,” Svetlana tells me.

“They’re not evil! The Poles aren’t bad, either. We don’t share a border with Russia, but with Poland and Lithuania. They’re like family to us. We need to restore relations.”

War in Ukraine: More coverage

12 March 2015

Read More

Original Source: bbc.co.uk

Continue Reading

News

Half Russian Separatist Force Dead or Wounded – UK

Max King

Published

on

Image source, Getty Images

Russian and Russian proxy forces in the Donetsk region of Ukraine have suffered heavy casualties, according to UK intelligence officials.

They estimate the Donetsk militia alone has lost 55% of its original force.

Russian forces are focused on conquering all of neighbouring Luhansk, aiming to encircle the city of Lysychansk, say Ukrainian leaders.

Regional chief Serhiy Haidai said there had been “colossal destruction” in the city.

He said the situation in its sister city of Severodonetsk was “hell”, and quoted the mayor as saying some 7,000-8,000 civilians remained there.

UK military intelligence said Russia was very likely aiming to deploy a large number of reserve units to Ukraine’s eastern Donbas, which is made up of Donetsk and Luhansk.

It drew attention to the “extraordinary attrition” suffered by Russian and Russian proxy forces in Donbas. While Russia has for months avoided detailing its casualties, the human rights ombudsman in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic said last week that 2,128 of its forces had been killed and 8,897 wounded. A further 654 civilians had been killed, said Daria Morozova.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his late-night address on Tuesday that while Luhansk was currently the toughest area, the invading army was also “putting serious pressure on the Donetsk direction”.

In a separate development, Russian forces fired seven missiles at the southern city of Mykolaiv on Wednesday, according to local leader Vitaliy Kim, who did not give details of casualties.

Image source, Reuters

In its daily briefing, UK intelligence said the casualties suffered by Donetsk’s proxy militia amounted to 55% of its original force.

For months there have been reports of civilians being conscripted into the militia by force, with low morale and poor quality weapons, including rifles that went out of service decades ago. Last month, Ukraine’s SBU security service claimed militiamen compared conditions to slavery and were ready to desert.

Disaffected former proxy officials such as Yevgeniy Mikhailov said last month that untrained reservists from Donetsk had been sent to the front line because Russia had stopped sending conscripts. One resident told the BBC last month that there had been “tragedies everywhere”.

This week the proxy administration said it was offering one-year contracts to foreign mercenaries to join its forces.

This video can not be played

To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.

Russia’s two proxy statelets are not recognised internationally. In fact Moscow only recognised the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics two days before it invaded Ukraine in February. Last week the president of Kazakhstan said in front of President Vladimir Putin that he had no intention of recognising them.

Moscow city council announced on Wednesday that it had changed the address of the US embassy in the Russian capital, from Bolshoi Devyatinsky Lane to 1 Donetsk People’s Republic Square.

War in Ukraine: More coverage

Read More

Source: bbc.co.uk

Continue Reading

Trending

WOC.io