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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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NATO Advances Its Weaponry And Technology

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said increasing military spending by NATO members would help tackle some of the challenges.

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NATO
A general view of USS Mount Whitney of the US Navy at sunrise as it approaches the port during the NATO-led military exercise Trident Juncture, Nov. 3, in Trondheim, Norway. VOA

NATO is developing new high-tech tools, such as the ability to 3-D-print parts for weapons and deliver them by drone, as it scrambles to retain a competitive edge over Russia, China and other would-be battlefield adversaries.

Gen. Andre Lanata, who took over as head of the NATO transformation command in September, told a conference in Berlin that his command demonstrated over 21 “disruptive” projects during military exercises in Norway this month.

He urged startups as well as traditional arms manufacturers to work with the Atlantic alliance to boost innovation, as rapid and easy access to emerging technologies was helping adversaries narrow NATO’s long-standing advantage.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for the NATO summit in Brussels, May 25, 2017.Source-VOA

Lanata’s command hosted its third “innovation challenge” in tandem with the conference this week, where 10 startups and smaller firms presented ideas for defeating swarms of drones on the ground and in the air.

Winner from Belgium

Belgian firm ALX Systems, which builds civilian surveillance drones, won this year’s challenge.

Its CEO, Geoffrey Mormal, said small companies like his often struggled with cumbersome weapons procurement processes.

“It’s a very hot topic, so perhaps it will help to enable quicker decisions,” he told Reuters.

NATO
A Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) weapon is prepared for testing at the Eglin Air Force Armament Center on March 11, 2003. VOA

Lanata said NATO was focused on areas such as artificial intelligence, connectivity, quantum computing, big data and hypervelocity, but also wants to learn from DHL and others how to improve the logistics of moving weapons and troops.

Also Read: Weapons, Bombs Easily Detected by Wi-Fi: Study

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said increasing military spending by NATO members would help tackle some of the challenges, but efforts were also needed to reduce widespread duplication and fragmentation in the European defense sector.

Participants also met behind closed doors with chief executives from 12 of the 15 biggest arms makers in Europe. (VOA)