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Obama presidency fails to unite whites and blacks: Poll

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Washington: Barack Obama’s presidency has not united whites and blacks in America, a new poll suggests, noting that Americans’ negative views on the state of race relations in the country persist.

Just 15 per cent of Americans think Obama’s presidency has brought whites and blacks closer together, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll released on Thursday.

Instead, 47 per cent think his presidency has made no difference, while 34 per cent think his presidency has pushed blacks and whites further apart.

Blacks (30 per cent) are more likely than whites (11 per cent) to think the Obama presidency has brought blacks and whites closer together, though about half of both groups think his presidency hasn’t made much difference.

Americans give a mixed review to Obama for his handling of race relations in the US, and white and black Americans assess his presidency differently on this measure, according to the poll.

Overall, 46 per cent of Americans approve of how Obama is handling race relations, while 44 per cent disapprove.

Among whites, more disapprove (50 per cent) than approve (40 per cent), while blacks overwhelmingly approve (72 per cent).

More specifically, although 62 per cent of white Americans think the Obama administration’s policies treat both blacks and whites equally, more than a quarter of whites (27 per cent) think his policies favor blacks over whites, up from just 12 per cent in 2010.

This rises to 49 per cent among whites who disapprove of the president’s handling of race relations.

In contrast, 85 per cent of blacks think the policies of the Obama administration favor both blacks and whites equally.

Still, 45 per cent of Americans think Obama has been judged more harshly because he is black; blacks (80 per cent) are far more likely to think so than whites (37 per cent).

And while many Americans remain critical of Obama’s handling of race relations, more Americans think the Democratic Party (44 per cent) is more likely to improve race relations than the Republican Party (23 per cent).

Positive opinions of race relations rose above 50 per cent in the 2000s, and reached a high of 66 per cent in April 2009, shortly after Barack Obama took office, CBS said.

But those positive assessments have not lasted: in mid-2014, after the conflicts between blacks and the police in Ferguson, Missouri, the percentage that said race relations are good dropped, it noted.

(IANS)

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Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Fund Invested $1 Billion In An American Electric Car Manufacturer

Saudi Arabia's 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has talked about using the PIF to help diversify the economy of the kingdom.

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Derek Jenkins, VP of Design at Lucid Motors, introduces the alpha prototype of the Lucid Air at the 2017 New York International Auto Show in New York City. VOA

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund invested $1 billion Monday in an American electric car manufacturer just weeks after Tesla CEO Elon Musk earlier claimed the kingdom would help his own firm go private.

Tesla stock dropped Monday on reaction to the news, the same day that the Saudi fund announced it had taken its first loan, an $11 billion borrowing from global banks as it tries to expand its investments.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund said it would invest the $1 billion in Newark, California-based Lucid Motors.

Lucid Motors
Lucid Motors. Flickr

The investment “will provide the necessary funding to commercially launch Lucid’s first electric vehicle, the Lucid Air, in 2020,” the sovereign wealth fund said in a statement. “The company plans to use the funding to complete engineering development and testing of the Lucid Air, construct its factory in Arizona, enter production for the Lucid Air to begin the global rollout of the company’s retail strategy starting in North America.”

Lucid issued a statement quoting Peter Rawlinson, its chief technology officer, welcoming the investment.

“At Lucid, we will demonstrate the full potential of the electric-connected vehicle in order to push the industry forward,” he said.

The decision comes after Musk on Aug. 7 tweeted that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private. Investors pushed Tesla’s shares up 11 percent in a day, boosting its valuation by $6 billion.

Lucid Motors
Electric Car

There are multiple reports that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the disclosure, including asking board members what they knew about Musk’s plans. Experts say regulators likely are investigating if Musk was truthful in the tweet about having the financing set for the deal. Musk later said the Saudi Public Investment Fund would be investing in the firm, something Saudi officials never comment on.

Meanwhile Monday, the sovereign wealth fund known by the acronym PIF said it had taken its first loan, an $11 billion borrowing. It did not say how it would use the money, only describing it as going toward “general corporate purposes.”

Also Read: Electric Cars: The Newest Trend in India

The Las Vegas-based Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute estimates the Saudi fund has holdings of $250 billion. Those include a $3.5 billion stake in the ride-sharing app Uber.

Saudi Arabia’s 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has talked about using the PIF to help diversify the economy of the kingdom, which relies almost entirely on money made from its oil sales. (VOA)