US President Joe Biden on Monday hit the hustings in California, warning voters they risk a governor in the style of former US president Donald Trump if they vote to recall the state’s leader.
The state is coming to the end of a US$280 million ballot on kicking California Governor Gavin Newsom of the Democratic Party out of office, in an initiative sparked by Republicans angry over mask mandates and COVID-19 lockdowns.
“You either keep Gavin Newsom as your governor or you get Donald Trump,” Biden told an audience in Long Beach. “The choice should be absolutely clear. You have a governor who has the courage to lead. Voting no will be protecting California from Trump.”
Newsom’s main challenger is Larry Elder, a right-wing talk radio star who has openly supported the controversial former president — a figure widely loathed in California.
The black former lawyer is polling atop a field of 46 challengers, which also includes a cannabis consultant, a former San Diego mayor and a self-proclaimed “Billboard Queen.”
Voters had until yesterday evening to return a ballot on which they are being asked firstly if they should fire Newsom and secondly who should replace him.
Newsom needs a simple majority to keep his job and render the ballot’s second part irrelevant, but should a plurality vote to dump him, then whoever polls the highest — no matter how small their majority — becomes governor for the remaining 16 months of Newsom’s term.
The recall is only the second in California’s history — the first brought actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to office in 2003.
Republicans — who have not had control of the famously liberal state since Schwarzenegger left office — were angered by Newsom’s lockdown rules they say unnecessarily kept children out of school and suffocated small businesses as COVID-19 killed thousands in the state.
The petition to remove him gathered steam after he was pictured having dinner at an upscale restaurant, seemingly in breach of his own rules.
That fueled a perception that he was an out-of-touch hypocrite.
After a shaky start, he now seems to have turned things around, with a campaign energized by the emergence of Elder as the leading opponent, giving him a specific Trump-like target.
Biden’s stop in Los Angeles came at the end of a day when he swung through the west of the US on a tour aimed at highlighting the dangers of climate change.
The region is enduring a punishing drought that has left swathes tinder-dry and vulnerable to wildfires.
Thousands of square kilometers have already burned, with many months left to run in the fire season.
Biden, who met firefighters in the state of Idaho before flying over burned-out parts of northern California, is pushing multitrillion-dollar legislation designed to fix crumbling infrastructure and better prepare the nation for the ravages of climate change.
“Each dollar we invest in resilience saves up to US$6 down the road when the next fire doesn’t spread as widely. Those investments save lives,” Biden said. “When I think about climate change, I think about, not cost, I think about good paying jobs we’re creating, but I also think about the jobs we’re losing due to impacts in the supply chains and industries, because we haven’t acted boldly enough.”
The president is focusing on what is becoming a familiar message on the urgency of an issue that has sparked huge fires and floods — both of which have devastated different areas of the nation.
A hurricane was bearing down on Texas late on Monday, just weeks after another storm tore through the nation, leaving dozens dead.
“The reality is, we have a global warming problem,” Biden told firefighters in Idaho, echoing the scientific consensus that human activity is affecting the climate. “Things aren’t going to go back to what they were. It’s not like you can build back to what it was before.”
Biden has said that the world faces a “code red” on climate change and called for parties to put aside their political differences to address the issue.
“We have to think big,” Biden told an audience near California’s state capital, Sacramento. “Thinking small is a prescription for disaster... We’re going to fight this climate change.”
Hospitals are overwhelmed, ventilators are difficult to find and there is no longer enough space at the main cemetery for COVID-19 victims in Mauritius. Barely three weeks before it fully opens its doors to international travelers at the start of the peak tourist season, the island nation is struggling with an alarming explosion in COVID-19 infections and deaths. In just two months, cases have jumped more than fivefold to more than 12,600 as of Friday, by far the largest increase across Africa during this period, data compiled by Agence France-Presse showed. Since the pandemic started, Mauritius has recorded 1,005 cases of COVID-19 per
Classrooms in the Philippines were silent yesterday as millions of school children hunkered down at home for a second year of remote lessons that experts fear could worsen an educational “crisis.” While nearly every country in the world has partially or fully reopened schools for in-person classes, the Philippines has kept them closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN says. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has so far rejected proposals for a pilot reopening of primary and secondary schools for fear that children could catch COVID-19 and infect elderly relatives. “I want to go to school,” seven-year-old Kylie Larrobis said,
FACING BEIJING: Fumio Kishida said if he became PM, he would not ‘blindly’ keep the defense budget below 1% of GDP and would monitor China’s treatment of Uighurs Japan needs to let its coast guard work smoothly with self-defense forces, in the face of assertiveness by giant neighbor China, former Japanese minister of foreign affairs Fumio Kishida, a contender to head the ruling party, and so become the next prime minister, said yesterday. Only lawmakers and grassroots members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are to vote for the party’s president in a Sept. 29 election, but candidates’ popularity with the public counts, as the winner would lead it into general elections this year. “The security environment around Japan is getting tougher,” Kishida told a news conference. “We need
Taliban fighters have taken over the glitzy Kabul mansion of one of their fiercest enemies — former Afghan vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum, a warlord and now fugitive. In the hands of rank-and-file Taliban fighters, the opulent villa has given the austere Islamists a peek into the lives of Afghanistan’s former rulers, and they say the luxury is the proceeds of years of endemic corruption. Along an endless corridor with a thick apple-green carpet, a young fighter sleeps slumped on a sofa, his Kalashnikov rifle resting against him, as exotic fish glide above him in one of seven giant tanks. The fighter is