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The US mid-term elections: As Democrats swing back, trouble mounts for President Trump

Arti Ghargi




Now that Democrats have a majority in the lower house, it is expected to launch an investigation into Donald Trump’s ties with Russia.


The US mid-term elections threw a surprising win for the Democrats and warning bells for the Republicans. The US Congress is now divided between the democrats and republicans. President Donald Trump’s political Rival-Democratic party has captured the House of Representatives, (the equivalent of Lok Sabha) while the Republicans maintained their dominance over the Senate (the equivalent of Rajya Sabha). Though the complete result is yet to come, the Democrats have won the crucial 23 seats to prove majority in the House of Representatives. For President Trump, the mid-term elections definitely were like a tremendous shock.

Before diving deep into the details, let us first know what are the mid-term elections, what is the significance of the mid-term election in 2018? The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The total number of seats in the Senate is 100, while the total number of seats in the House of Representatives is 435.

The US mid-term elections are held in the middle of the four-year term of the President, i.e. two years after the beginning of a Presidential term. Thus, it is called mid-term elections. These elections are held for all 435 seats of the lower house of the US Congress i.e. House of Representatives. Whereas, only one-third of members of the 100-member Upper House are elected during the mid-term election. This time the elections for 35 seats of the Senate took place on 6 November.


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According to the Associated Press, a “Blue wave” swept across the House of Representatives as the Democrats registered a victory on 223 seats out of the 420 seats. The Trump’s rival party crossed majority mark of 218 while the Republican Party won 197 seats. Although the results for the 15 seats have not been announced yet, it is believed that Democrat candidates may emerge triumphant on most of these seats.

For Democrats, it is indeed a time to be elated. It is for the first time since 2010 that the Democratic Party has crossed the majority’s figure in the lower house. It also means that the Democrats can now keep a check on President Trump’s policies and he cannot take arbitrary decisions.

However, the Republican Party’s dominance in the Senate persists. Adding two more seats to the earlier tally of 51, the Republican Party now stands at 53 out of total 100 seats in the Senate. The Senate plays a crucial role in approving officers and appointment on some high posts in the administration. The Senate also approves the appointment of judges of the courts. It means the Republican party and President Trump will have a greater say in the appointment of judges. It is expected that continuing the Republican tradition, Trump may appoint more conservative judges to federal courts.


Ilhan Omar becomes the first Somali-American to get into Congress representing Minnesota

The mid-term elections are considered the reflection of public opinion on the work of the current President. For Democrats, gun violence in America and allegations of sexual harassment against President Trump and health care were the main election planks. Even before the elections, it was anticipated that Democrats would sweep the lower house as the donation to the party increased multi folds. The donation democrats received this time was more than the last mid-term elections.

Democratic Party leader Nancy Pelosi, who can now also hold the post of speaker in the House of Representatives, said that the victory has enabled the Democrats to curb the malpractices of the trump administration. Nancy said, “Now the Democratic Party is in the House of Representatives through the majority. It’s about restoring the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration, all the legal restrictions will be imposed on the administration. The party will work to work in the interests of the common people. The party will work in areas like health, education, and economy.”

But Pelosi also said that the Democratic Party will definitely try to gain consensus with everyone. The victory of the Democratic Party is considered to be a political setback for President Donald Trump. In the mid-term elections, the performances of Indian-origin candidates were spectacular. Pramila Jaipal, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Row Khanna and Ami Bera have won the elections again.

President Trump also tweeted after the election results were declared late in the night. He wrote, “It was a great success … thanks, everyone …”. Perhaps Trump was pointing to the Republican victory in the Senate.

Trump’s real challenge comes from the House of Representatives. Now that Democrats have a majority in the lower house and the chances of the party having its candidate in speaker’s chair are high, it can thoroughly investigate every policy of the Trump administration. It can also examine President Trump’s private business and financial affairs. It is also expected to launch an investigation into Donald Trump’s ties with Russia. Most importantly, the Democratic Party can now even bring an impeachment motion against President Trump in the House of Representatives. However, will the Democrats be able to corner Trump government is to be seen?


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In recent months, there have been many cases against Donald Trump on the basis of which impeachment can be conducted against him. The proposal of impeachment is sent to the Senate after passing it in the lower house, where the proposal must be passed with a two-thirds majority. The Democratic Party has already said that it will bring an impeachment motion against Donald Trump in parliament after the mid-term elections. But, obviously, the success of this proposal will depend on its position in the Senate which currently doesn’t look favourable.

The big question now arises-whether Trump will be able to fulfil his first term as the President? Whether the results of the midterm elections are a sign of countdown of the Trump government?

International News

British PM faces defeat in historic Brexit deal vote




Theresa May

London | British Prime Minister Theresa May faces crushing defeat in a historic vote in parliament on Tuesday over the Brexit deal she has struck with the European Union, leaving the world’s fifth biggest economy in limbo.

With just over two months to go until the scheduled Brexit date of March 29, Britain is still bitterly divided over what should happen next and the only suspense over the vote is the scale of May’s defeat.

The British leader’s last-minute appeals to MPs appear to have fallen on deaf ears and how much she loses by could determine whether she tries again, loses office, delays Brexit — or if Britain even leaves the EU at all.

“When the history books are written, people will look at the decision of this house… and ask: did we deliver on the country’s vote to leave the European Union,” May asked MPs on the eve of the vote, expected after 1900 GMT.

Opposition to the deal forced May to postpone the vote in December in the hope of winning concessions from Brussels.

EU leaders have offered only a series of clarifications but German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Strasbourg on Tuesday raised the possibility of further talks while ruling out a full re-negotiation of the text.

“Everything has been done in recent weeks and months to signal our interest in a positive decision,” Maas said.

“However, I am sceptical that the agreement can be fundamentally reopened once again,” he said.

The vote is the climax of over two years of intense national debate after the shock Brexit referendum of 2016 — a result mostly pro-Remain MPs have struggled with.

Hardline Brexiteers and Remainers oppose the agreement for different reasons and many fear it could lock Britain into an unfavourable trading relationship with the EU.

Pro- and anti-Brexit campaigners rallied outside parliament ahead of the vote. One placard read “EU Membership is the Best Deal”, another said: “No Deal? No Problem!” Uncertainty over Brexit has hit the British economy hard.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders lobby group warned MPs that Britain crashing out of the EU would be “catastrophic”.

Financial markets will also be watching the result closely, with several currency trading companies roping in extra staff for the vote and at least one putting a cap on trades to avoid excessive currency movements.

“Today’s vote is a foregone conclusion so sterling is unlikely to move significantly,” said Rebecca O’Keeffe, an analyst with online trader Interactive Investor.

“The fireworks will happen after today — when it is clear what happens next,” she said, predicting that a decision not to leave the EU would send sterling shooting up while a no-deal Brexit would send it down to record lows.

Rather than heal the divisions exposed by the Brexit referendum, the vote has reignited them. Pro-European MPs campaigning to force a second vote say they have faced death threats.

Brexit supporters have also voiced growing frustration with what they see as parliamentary blockage of their democratic vote.

Criticism of the deal is focused on an arrangement to keep open the border with Ireland by aligning Britain with some EU trade rules, if and until London and Brussels sign a new economic partnership which could take several years.

Sammy Wilson, Brexit spokesman with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the Northern Irish party on whom May relies for her Commons majority, told the BBC his party would not be forced into backing the deal by fears over the border.

“We fought (against) a terrorist campaign (in order) to stay part of the United Kingdom,” he said, evoking Northern Ireland’s past conflict.

“We are not going to allow bureaucrats in Brussels to separate us from the rest of the United Kingdom.” His boss Arlene Foster stressed “we cannot accept the backstop…it does violence to the union.” Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said May must call an election if she loses on Tuesday and has threatened to hold a confidence vote in her government if she does not.

In the event of a defeat, the government must set out what happens next by Monday at the latest.

Speculation is growing on both sides of the Channel that whatever the outcome May could ask to delay Brexit.

But a diplomatic source told AFP any extension would not be possible beyond June 30, when the new European Parliament will be formed.

The withdrawal agreement includes plans for a post-Brexit transition period to provide continuity until a new relationship is drawn up, in return for continued budget contributions from London.

Without it, and if there is no delay, Britain will sever 46 years of ties with its nearest neighbours with no agreement to ease the blow. (AFP) KUN

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International News

Trade negotiations with China going well: Trump





Washington | The United States is doing very well in trade negotiations with China, President Donald Trump said on Friday.

We have a massive trade negotiation going on with China. President Xi is very much involved; so am I. We’re dealing at the highest levels and we’re doing very well. We’re doing very well, Trump told reporters during a Rose Garden news conference.

“In the meantime, we’ve taken in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs from China, and from others. Our steel industry has come roaring back, and that makes me very happy, he said.

Top officials from United States and China are currently involved in trade negotiations. In November, Trump and Xi met in Buenos Aires on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Argentina.

We are doing very well. China is paying us tremendous tariffs. We’re getting billions and billions of dollars of money pouring into the Treasury of the United States, which, in history, we’ve never gotten from China. As you know, it’s been very unfair, he said.

Trump said he had a fantastic meeting with President Xi and they both like and respect each other.

One of the things that came out of that meeting was fentanyl. As you know, almost all of it comes from China. And he’s going to now criminalise the making of fentanyl, he said.

I think that could have a tremendous — and I thanked President Xi very much, he added.

Trump said his meeting with Xi in Argentina was supposed to last for about 45 minutes, but it ended up being almost four hours.

It was a great meeting. We’ll see what happens. You never know with a deal, he said.

China, he told reporters is not doing well now in economy. We are doing very well. But we’re taking in billions and billions of dollars, and I hope we’re going to make a deal with China. If we don’t, they’re paying us tens of billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs. It’s not the worst thing in the world, he said.

I think we will make a deal with China. I really think they want to. I think they sort of have to. I think we’re going to have a great relationship. I think that President Xi and myself have a great relationship. Also, North Korea. We’re doing very well with North Korea, and that’s based on relationship also, he said.

Responding to a question on Apple’s recent announcement, Trump said that the American phone manufacturer would be fine.

Don’t forget this: Apple makes their product in China. I told Tim Cook, who’s a friend of mine, who I like a lot: Make your product in the United States. Build those big, beautiful plants that go on for miles, it seems. Build those plants in the United States.”

“I like that even better, he said.

“Apple makes its product in China. China is the biggest beneficiary of Apple, more than us, because they build their product mostly in China. But now he’s investing USD 350 billion because of what we did with taxes and the incentives that we created. In the United States, he’s going to build a campus, and lots of other places, Trump said.

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International News

Poll-bound Bangladesh shuts down high speed internet services, restores it 10 hrs later




Bangladesh; Internet

Dhaka | The high-speed internet services were suspended for several hours in Bangladesh after mobile operators shut down their 3G and 4G services late Thursday following orders from the country’s telecom regulator ahead of Sunday’s general election.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) issued order around 10 pm on Thursday asking the country’s four mobile operators to slow down the internet by shutting down 3G and 4G services, two days ahead of the 11th national election, mobile operators were quoted as saying by the

The high-speed 3G and 4G internet services were restored on Friday morning, after a 10-hour blackout.

The BTRC through an e-mail asked the four mobile operators to restore the 3G and 4G services around 7:30 am (on Friday) without mentioning details, the Daily Star reported quoting unnamed officials of the mobile operators.

Bangladesh is going to polls on Sunday. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the 71-year-old daughter of the country’s founding leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, is seeking re-election for a record fourth term, while her rival Khalida Zia, the 73-year-old widow of military dictator Ziaur Rahman, who is reportedly partially paralysed, faces an uncertain future in a Dhaka jail.

Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has alleged that thousands of its activists have been arrested in a nationwide crackdown during the campaign.

As of November, over 6 crore people are using the 3G and 4G mobile internet services in Bangladesh.

Only 2G internet would be available now, according to an e-mail sent to mobile operators by the BTRC’s engineering and operations department on Thursday.

The decision must be in effect until further notice, it said.

On Wednesday, the BTRC in a meeting with the International Internet Gateway representatives said social media sites, especially Facebook, would be blocked (to prevent the spread of fake news and propaganda messages from spreading on social media and video-sharing sites) if needed, the report said.

Earlier, Bangladesh’s Election Commission Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed had said that they would consider completely blocking mobile internet during the polls.

On Monday, the EC asked the BTRC to prepare to block 3G and 4G services and social media sites for three days, including December 30, the report said.

During the demonstrations for safe roads in August, the BTRC slowed down internet speed for almost 24 hours, it added.

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