State officials set an Oct. 7 date for the election on whether to recall Democratic Governor Gray Davis, giving him less than three months to fight for his political life. \nLieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante announced the date on Thursday, one day after state officials certified that the Republican-led drive to recall Davis had collected more than enough signatures to make it onto the ballot. \nIt will be the US' first gubernatorial recall election in 82 years. \nCandidates seeking to replace Davis must now scramble to start their campaigns and declare their candidacies by Aug. 9 -- 59 days before the election. Bustamante, himself a Democrat, selected the latest possible date allowed by California law for the unprecedented recall election. \nBy Thursday, just one Republican candidate -- US Representative Darrell Issa, who bankrolled the recall signature-gathering effort with US$1.7 million of his own money -- was definitely in the running. Several others were said to be weighing a decision, including actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the 1996 Republican vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp. \nKemp didn't immediately return a message left after hours Thursday. \nSchwarzenegger, in Mexico to promote Terminator 3, said: "I have no announcement to make, if that's your question." \nDavis has branded the Republican-led drive to oust him "a hostile takeover by the right," and allies have said they expect to spend US$15 million to US$20 million to campaign against the recall. \nThe recall effort has set the stage for a bruising political battle. \n"Up until today it was a referendum on Gray Davis," state Democratic Party spokesman Bob Mulholland said. "Now it's a comparison between Governor Gray Davis, a Democrat progressive, against a Republican bum." \nRecall supporters say they are planning a "very aggressive campaign" with a US$15 million budget.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
SURGE CONTINUES: India recorded its steepest spike of more than 57,000 new virus cases in 24 hours, as Vietnam went from no virus deaths to reporting three South Korean prosecutors yesterday arrested the elderly leader of a secretive religious sect as part of an investigation into allegations that the church hampered the government’s COVID-19 response after thousands of worshipers were infected in February and March. Prosecutors in the central city of Suwon have been questioning 88-year-old Lee Man-hee, chairman of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, over charges that the church hid some members and underreported gatherings to avoid broader quarantines. The Suwon District Court granted prosecutors’ request to arrest Lee over concerns that he could temper with evidence. Lee and his church have steadfastly denied the accusations, saying they are