Tag Archives: Election

New Zealand’s Mahuta brings a new outlook on foreign affairs | Instant News

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Diplomats wanted to remain neutral, but Nanaia Mahuta left the veil peeling slightly when the winner was announced in the US election by tweeting a smiling face emoji.

Mahuta, the first indigenous Maori woman to be appointed New Zealand’s foreign minister, held back a real-life smile when asked about it.

“Look, all I can say is there were some encouraging signs in the speeches,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press. She said the victory speech by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris “inspired many women around the world.”

Mahuta, 50, is a surprising choice for the role, despite being a respected player in Parliament for nearly half his life, since he was first elected in 1996 at the age of 26.He is part of the most diverse group of MPs ever appointed to top role in the cabinet after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a second term in a landslide victory last month.

Mahuta said he was pleased to be selected and promised to bring a new perspective in foreign affairs.

He didn’t have to wait long for his first bickering moment. New Zealand has long been wary of criticizing China, its biggest trading partner.

But Mahuta last week took steps to join Australia, Canada, Britain and the US in condemning China for imposing new rules to disqualify legislators in Hong Kong.

China reacted angrily.

“Be careful not to be glanced at,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in response, referring to the “Five Eyes” military alliance between the five countries.

Mahuta said he had spoken with Ardern before deciding to sign the statement and felt it was a natural progression to “dial up the dial up” and join another country. He said he thought relations with China were mature enough to withstand such disagreements.

However, it will be a challenge for Mahuta to find the right balance to strike with an increasingly assertive China and an aggressive US. For now, Mahuta said he intends to focus on building relationships with New Zealand’s closest island neighbor in the Pacific, even if the Coronavirus prevents him from traveling there in person.

“This could be Zoom’s diplomacy period,” he said.

People all over the world are curious about Mahuta’s moko kauae, or sacred face tattoo, which he got four years ago to celebrate his legacy, ancestry, and connection with Papatuanuku, or Mother Earth.

The most common question is, does it hurt? she laughed.

The answer? Not really, because his mind went to a different place.

She said that wearing a moko made her more aware “of how you want to be, how you treat other people. So it’s almost like a compass. “

Thirty years ago, before there was a revival of Maori culture in New Zealand, facial tattoos tended to be associated with gang members. Mahuta said he still found negative reactions against him in parts of the country, but today most people recognize him as an affirmation of culture.

Mahuta is the daughter of the late Sir Robert Mahuta, a key figure in the Tainui tribe who helped settle innovative financial claims with the government over land taken during colonialism.

Mahuta said that his father was his mentor and a tough assignor. But it was the students he met as university tutors who convinced him to get into politics, not his father.

“I thought if he succeeded, I would not get into politics, I would become a member of the tribe,” he said.

Lara Greaves, a politics lecturer at the University of Auckland, said Mahuta was very well prepared for the role because he had spent his entire life studying high-level cultural diplomacy in Maori society.

“I think this is a very positive step,” said Greaves.

He said the surprise at Mahuta’s appointment – including himself – likely reflected the dominance men still have internationally in foreign affairs.

Mahuta said he wanted to see more women involved.

“I am part of a small group of women who have now reached out and joined hands to say, there is much we can do together,” she said.

In his office, Mahuta displays various artifacts that have meaning to him – a basket of knowledge from the Pacific, a photo of the prime minister inviting his ancestors to parliament. And then he came to the village of the Silvanian Family around the corner.

“I have a 7 year old daughter who makes part of this office her own,” said Mahuta. “One of the things I learned when I was in Parliament is to make it family friendly.”


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Thousands of Religious Leaders Running for Office in Brazil | Instant News

Nearly 13,000 candidates have religious titles ran to the office in Brazil’s November 15 local elections – an increase of 24 percent compared to previous municipal elections. However, the number of religious leaders running for office is even higher, considering that not all elected candidates and politicians use clear religious titles.

Religion has always played an important role in Brazilian politics, including the formation of a strong group in the National Congress known as the Bancada Evangélica (Evangelical Caucus, officially the Evangelical Parliamentary Front), formed in 2004 but active since at least 1987. And today, President Jair Bolsonaro’s right-wing government is strongly supported by religious leaders linked to Bancada Evangélica.

With 203 members, Bancada Evangélica seeks to expand its conservative agenda across the country. This group consists of several political parties – even some members of traditional left-wing parties. If the Bancada Evangélica were classified as an official party, it would be the largest in Brazil’s legislature.

The historical rise of religion in Brazil in politics

Silas Fiorotti, a doctor of anthropology at the University of São Paulo, coordinates the Religion Diversity in Classes project – a progressive initiative that promotes discussion of religious freedom and tolerance in classrooms across Brazil. He told Migrants that evangelicals had become a dominant force in Brazilian politics. “Over the past two decades, evangelicals have perfected their work in party politics: They have mostly adopted a bargaining strategy, they have increased their presence in the political party leadership; they have negotiated positions, forgiveness of church debts, and ownership of TV channels with the federal government; they benefit from funding for election campaigns; and they have turned the evangelical church into a primary election coral. “

Since the early 2000s, Brazil has seen a surge in religious participation in politics as various religious groups seek to influence public policy and, no doubt, to guarantee benefits to their religious denominations, such as tax breaks.

But according to Levi Araújo, a pastor affiliated with the Brazilian Baptist Convention, religion and politics came centuries earlier with colonialism. “Since Europeans arrived in their native Brazil, religion has always been prominent and interfered in the palace of power,” he told Sojourners.

“As with most evangelical pastors, the logic is the same: In them [eyes], spiritually and theologically, they believe that to rule and co-exist with the powerful is God’s will. For these and other reasons, most conservative fundamentalist evangelicals are eager to say: ‘Now it’s our turn, finally our turn.’ “

“These people firmly believe that God exalts them after decades of being rejected, disrespected, and humiliated,” he continued. “And that God wants to show all peoples that evangelicals are the only people of God on earth.”

According to Baptist pastor Guilherme Burjack, Bolsonaro’s faith-based support is the result of the president’s efforts to pursue a religious identity-based agenda: He describes himself as a “populist and messianic” politician who can pay the respect evangelicals deserve, Burjack explains.

Bolsonaro can connect with important evangelical leaders by showing their religious and political identity. She presents herself as an advocate for family values ​​and an opponent of abortion. During his campaign, Bolsanaro announced that he would nominate “highly evangelical” individuals to the Supreme Court, but he has not kept this promise. He recently appointed Kassio Nunes, a young Catholic judge, to the Supreme Court, a young judge with links to the fairly progressive Workers’ Party.

Although Bolsanaro failed to appoint an evangelical to the Supreme Court, his evangelical base remains loyal to him. He still gives evangelicals a sense of security and identity in Brazil, explains Fiorotti. “Evangelical conservatism tries to provide answers and security to people in the face of the change, crisis, uncertainty and neoliberal tendencies that exist in Brazilian society today,” he said.

Of all religious voters, Fiorotti said evangelical voters “proved to be the most vulnerable and vulnerable” to following the political choices promoted by their religious leaders.

Separating evangelicalism and authoritarianism

As a more progressive religious leader, Burjack believes that the primary function of pastors should be civic education. “The progressive pastor must use the election period to teach his community what rights it has in relation to his politicians; what tools does it have to make prefectures, councilors and all other bodies really function, “he said.

Inevitably, not all candidates who appear on ballots with religious titles are conservative. LGBTQ, Black, and religious progressives individuals and leaders have sought to expand their presence in their churches, in public debate, and also in politics. “Most evangelicals follow their pastors when their faith and moral agenda is defended, but independent groups are growing and talking more,” said Araújo.

However, followers of progressive religions are still in the minority.

Fiorotti believes that “evangelicals desperately need to democratize and decentralize power in their own churches,” empowering lay members with differing opinions to participate in church meetings and debates. He does not want left-wing evangelicals to “only nominate left-wing clergymen” or create left-wing evangelical caucuses.

He said, “It is necessary, to create space for dialogue and participation in the church so that evangelicals have autonomy. [and] learn to read the Bible in its diversity. “Only then, according to Fiorotti, can diverse religious communities coexist in the political sphere, outside the influence of autocratic leaders.

Similarly, Araújo said evangelical pastors should refocus their mission: “Preaching the Gospel,” and above all “prophesy systematically and violently against the manipulative Christian religious leaders who uncritically support Bolsonaro.” He noted that “there is room for dialogue with conservatives, [but] in the case of fundamentalists, only by exorcism and evangelization. “

And if the election results are any indication, evangelicals’ grip on Brazilian politics may weaken. Meanwhile support for the right-wing candidate remains strong in the rural area of ​​Bosanaro suffer a series of defeats, failing to select the few candidates he personally campaigned for. And progressive candidates, especially black women and trans activists, have seen their numbers increase rapidly.


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The New Zealand government has rejected calls to increase welfare payments | Instant News

In the first month since New Zealand’s October 17 election, the reformed Labor-Green government has shown its pro-business color, as it implements corporate elite demands for deeper austerity measures against the working class.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week flatly rejected requests from 59 organizations, including trade unions, charities and poverty action groups, to raise welfare payments before Christmas to tackle mass unemployment and impoverishment.

Through the Aotearoa ActionStation umbrella group [New Zealand], the group published an open letter saying the situation was “urgent.” Families are “pushed into poverty” by job loss under COVID-19, coupled with long-term stagnant salaries and high housing costs. The low level of welfare benefits means that “today, hundreds of thousands of children are limited by poverty, despite the best efforts of parents.”

Jacinda Ardern (AP Photo)

The letter did not come from opponents of the coalition government but from allies who have campaigned for its re-election – and donated tens of thousands of dollars to Labor, in the case of trade unions – on the false premise that a “progressive” government would be open to pressure from the “left”. In the most amiable terms, the letter pleads for action to “help achieve your vision of making Aotearoa the best place to be a child.”

Ardern responded by ruling out increasing the core benefits. At a post-cabinet press conference on November 9, he stated: “It will not be a problem that is resolved in one week or one month or even one term.” Ardern had promised during the 2017 election campaign that he would lead a “transformative” government dedicated to eliminating child poverty and the housing affordability crisis.

The government’s Welfare Advisory Group in 2019 recommended an additional $ 5.2 billion a year for social welfare, with an immediate increase in main benefits ranging from 17 to 47 percent, and indexing benefits to average wages. The government supports indexation and increases benefits by just $ 25 a week, but rules out further increases as “not fiscally sustainable.”

Labor and Greens, now without NZ First as government partners, were reinstated after Labor won a majority of seats, including many in wealthy areas previously held by the conservative National Party. After two weeks of coalition negotiations, a deal with the Greens was secured to put a false “progressive” face onto the government’s agenda.


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5 things to know for November 17th: Covid-19, elections, Iota, New Zealand, ISS | Instant News

Here’s what you need to know Wake Up to Speed ​​Up and Live Your Day.

(You can also get “5 Things to Know Today” sent to your inbox every day. Register here.)

1. Corona virus

The good news is that Moderna was announced the corona virus vaccine is 94.5% effective – The second US vaccine with a very high success rate. But the virus is spreading at an unprecedented rate across the country, and it could get worse before any vaccine provides relief. The US has recorded more than 100,000 daily infections for two consecutive weeks. Yesterday, IThere were no about 166,000 new cases along with another high of more than 73,000 coronavirus hospitalizations across the country as ICU beds in several states began filling up. While the high levels of efficacy of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines in trials are a good first step, they are not yet approved, and experts must decide who should be vaccinated first. Meanwhile, governors in states including Oklahoma and California announced new restrictions to help slow the spread.

2. Election 2020

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he had been under pressure from fellow Republicans who wants to reverse President-elect Joe Biden’s projected victory in the state. He said Senator Lindsey Graham signaled he should try to dump some of the official ballots in the state, where an audit process to recount each presidential ballot is ongoing after the state turns blue. “He asked if ballots could be reconciled to voters,” Raffensperger told CNN. “I feel implied that you can throw it away … if you look at the counties with signature errors that occur most frequently.” Graham denied the accusations. There has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 elections. But Senate Republicans are top has ignored President Trump’s baseless accusations that the election was rigged and he won.

3. Hurricane Iota

Hurricane Iota rolled into Central America which is still recovering from Hurricane Eta, bringing potentially catastrophic rainfall, landslides, storm surges and destructive winds. It made landfall near Haulover, Nicaragua, as a Category 4 hurricane. It was 25 miles south of nowhere Eta attacked two weeks ago, leaving scars on the region for generations. Torrential rain has brought down Iota in the area, with Honduras and Nicaragua expected to reach 30 inches through Thursday, while El Salvador to Panama could reach a maximum of 15 inches. River floods and flash floods will soon follow, along with dangerous storm surges that can be felt from the east as far as Jamaica and as far south as Colombia.

4. New Zealand

When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was re-elected last month, he brought with him the various politicians who shaped what is now, by several measures, the world’s most inclusive parliament. Nearly half of New Zealand’s newly appointed MPs are women and 11% identify as LGBTQ. Both New Zealand’s Māori Indigenous and peoples with Pacific Island heritage are represented to a slightly higher degree than the general population. And politicians from different backgrounds don’t just score in Parliament: They also hold important positions in power. Eight of the 20 Ardern Cabinets – the highest ranking member of parliament – is a woman.

5. ISS

After 27 hours in orbit, SpaceX Crew Dragon and his four astronauts have docked on the International Space Station to stay six months. NASA and SpaceX have worked together for a decade to return human spaceflight capabilities to the United States and ensure the ISS staff remains fully engaged. This is the first fully operational crew mission to SpaceX after May’s test mission. The three NASA astronauts and their Japanese counterpart took the Baby Yoda plush toy with them as part of a long tradition use a small object as an indicator of zero gravity.


Birds also have scandals

A flightless parrot has named Bird of the Year after a long and bitter election campaign marred by voter fraud.

The Queen has spoken

Dolly Parton released her first vacation album in three decades – and she did also provides advice for a divided America.

The candy previously known as …

Nestlé is a Swiss company changed the names of two candy products in Australia because of the racial tone in their marketing.

Not our first odd election

The 2020 poll results may be controversial, but we have already done it some really funny moments in the American elections.

Gamers like something

Playing video games can improve your mental health. So says a study by the University of Oxford that chose two games.



It is the number of sexual harassment claims brought against Scouts, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year amid hundreds of lawsuits.


“I hope this inspires the next generation of scientists and researchers.”

Dr. Matt Hepburn, vaccine leader for Operation Warp Speed, after Moderna announced the corona virus vaccine was 94.5% effective



Glide and for

Let’s take a moment and enjoy this stunning and intricate lemonade machine that reaches the entire house. (Click here to see.)


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Fact Check: The US military has yet to seize the election servers in Germany | Instant News

Social media users have shared posts alleging that the US military raided the offices of electronic voting company Scytl in Germany to confiscate their servers for evidence of manipulation in the 2020 US elections. However, Scytl said in a statement that US soldiers had not confiscated anything from them and they had not has offices in Germany.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

An article (here), entitled “INTEL: US Military Raided Scytl Servers in Germany For Evidence After Vote Switching Scandal”, published by GreatGameIndia, and shared on social media here , here and here . The article claims, “According to an intelligence source, the US military raided the servers of the voting machine company Scytl in Germany for evidence of manipulation in the 2020 US elections. […] The votes cast by Americans in the 2020 US elections were counted by the bankrupt Spanish company Scytl in Spain. “

As expected evidence, the article refers to comments made without supporting evidence by Representative of Texas first congressional district Louie Gohmert at Newsmax (here), and also allegedly on video calls that were widely shared on social media (here , youtu.be/GbgZzA_mSpE , here). Gohmert said, “I was told there were tweets in German from Germany that were US anocrat” of the information Scytl gathered. Gohmert began the claim about the raid with, “I don’t know the truth. I know there was a German tweet in German.”

The Executive Committee of the Election Infrastructure Government Coordination Council and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordination Council said in a statement that election security officials had no evidence that ballots were altered, deleted or lost by the voting system in the November 3 US election, and that these elections “were the most important. safe in American history. ”Republican President Donald Trump has repeatedly made baseless election fraud claims (here).

Scytl (here), headquartered in Barcelona, ​​provides electoral modernization projects for US elections, including but not limited to online election officer training, electronic ballot delivery for remote voters and real-time online visualization of election results (here). The Scytl website shows that the company has eight offices worldwide but none in Germany (www.scytl.com/en/contact/).

Scytl publishes a statement on its website (here) denies all claims made in articles and social media posts: “Following several false statements that have been published on digital and social media, Scytl would like to clarify the following […] The technology Scytl employs in the US is hosted and managed in the US, by a local subsidiary, SOE Software, based in Tampa, Florida; We don’t tabulate, count or count votes in the US; We do not have servers or offices in Frankfurt; US troops haven’t seized anything from Scytl in Barcelona, ​​Frankfurt or anywhere else. “

The US Army could not be reached for comment.

Articles shared on social media also quoted the tweet (here) by George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser who was sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials, (here) which reads, “Breaking: Congressman Louie Ghomert has declared that the US Army has seized servers for Dominion in Germany”, referring to Dominion Voting Systems, a company that supplies electoral technology (www.dominionvoting.com/about/). This Tweet and this claim was also shared on Facebook (here , here).

Ghomert spoke of Scytl, not Dominion, when speaking on Newsweek and in video conferences shared on social media. Scytl said in a statement that they were not tied to Dominion.

Reuters recently debunked another false claim related to Dominion and alleged voter fraud (here , here , here , here).


Wrong. Scytl confirmed in a statement that they had not been raided by US troops and had no offices in Germany, and that it was not linked to the Dominion Voting System.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .


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