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Campaign says, Trump Believes Obama was Born in US

Trump and Clinton both held campaign events on Thursday, with Clinton returning to the trail in front of a small crowd on a North Carolina college, and Trump appearing on television to discuss his medical history

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Laconia Middle School, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. Source: VOA
  • The US Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump’s campaign office in a statement, praised Trump for his dedication to prove President Obama’s citizenship and bringing closure to the issue
  • Trump, who has always raised questions against the Obama administration in their 8-year term, is not the only one, Hillary Clinton, also raised an issue on this in her failed 2008 campaign for president
  • Clinton has, in the past, had denied the claims that it was her campaign that started the rumors about Obama’s birthplace

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump – or, at least his campaign – admitted Thursday he believed President Barack Obama was actually born in the United States, after years of questioning the president’s citizenship.

The Trump campaign, in a statement, credited Trump with forcing Obama to release his birth certificate and bringing closure to an issue he helped bring into the spotlight over the course of Obama’s presidency.

“Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer,” spokesman Jason Miller said. “Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.”

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Earlier in the day Thursday, Hillary Clinton, at her first campaign event since she was diagnosed with pneumonia and forced to leave a September 11 memorial event Sunday with health issues, tore into Trump for his support of the so-called “birther movement.”

She referenced a Washington Post story published Thursday in which Trump refused to say whether he believes Obama was born in America and said he does not talk about the issue anymore.

Clinton urged voters to “conclusively” stop Trump, and what she calls his bigotry, in the November election.

While Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of Obama’s presidency over the past eight years and fed into conspiracy theories over the authenticity of his birth certificate, Miller blamed Clinton for raising the issue in the first place.

“Hillary Clinton’s campaign first raised this issue to smear then-candidate Barack Obama in her very nasty, failed 2008 campaign for president. This type of vicious and conniving behavior is straight from the Clinton playbook. As usual, however, Hillary Clinton was too weak to get an answer.”

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The Trump statement pointed to a 2007 Clinton campaign memo in which chief strategist Mark Penn said Obama had a “lack of American roots” and not “fundamentally American in his thinking and values” as proof of Clinton’s role in the birther movement.

Clinton responded to Trump on Twitter by saying, “President Obama’s successor cannot and will not be the man who led the racist birther movement. Period.”

Clinton has, in the past, denied claims that her campaign started the rumors about Obama’s birthplace.

Dueling campaign events

Trump and Clinton held competing for campaign events Thursday, with Clinton returning to the trail in front of a small crowd on a North Carolina college campus, and Trump appearing on television to discuss his medical history.

“It’s great to be back,” Clinton told an audience in Greensboro, North Carolina. She admitted that she tried to “power through” her illness before realizing it did not work and that she needed to stay home and rest.

“I’m not great at taking it easy even under ordinary circumstances. But with just two months to go before election day, sitting at home was pretty much the last place I wanted to be.”

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But Clinton said she considers herself lucky to be able to afford time off if she gets sick. She said millions of Americans have no backup if they fall ill and are just one paycheck away from losing their homes or facing other catastrophes.

She said she is running for president to make life better for children and their families.

“Every child, no matter who they are, what they look like or who they love is part of the American dream now and way into the future. Let that be our message. Let that be our mission.”

Later, Clinton appeared before the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington, saying she would send Congress comprehensive immigration reform within her first 100 days in office. She said her plan would include a path toward citizenship for many undocumented immigrants.

Meanwhile, Trump appeared on a television talk show hosted by Dr. Mehmet Oz Thursday and presented a letter from his doctors proclaiming him to be healthy after he took a physical exam last week.

“We are pleased to disclose all of the test results which show that Mr. Trump is in excellent health,” the campaign said, “and has the stamina to endure — uninterrupted — the rigors of a punishing and unprecedented presidential campaign and, more importantly, the singularly demanding job of president of the United States.”

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Trump, who is known to be fond of fast food, admitted to Oz that he takes drugs to treat high cholesterol.

He told the doctor that just like many other Americans, he wants to lose weight. Trump is 1.9 meters tall, (6 foot 3 inches) and weighs 107 kilograms (236 pounds). He is overweight by medical standards.

But it is Trump who has suggested Hillary Clinton does not have the strength and stamina to be president.

Clinton mocked the way Trump disclosed his medical condition by appearing on a daytime TV talk show, calling him a “showman.”

If the 70-year-old Trump wins the November 8 election, he would be the oldest to be elected U.S. president, while Clinton would be the second oldest. She turns 69 on October 26.

A new New York Times/CBS News poll of likely voters shows Clinton and Trump neck-and-neck at 42 percent in a four-way race with Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Trump has been steadily gaining ground on Clinton in the polls recently, and RealClearPolitics polling averages show Trump edging out Clinton in the key political battleground states of Florida and Ohio. (VOA)

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All you Need to Know About the Protests in India Over Citizenship Law

India's Citizenship Law Leading to Rise in Hate Crimes, Experts Warn

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A demonstrator attends a protest against riots following clashes between people demonstrating for and against a new citizenship law in New Delhi. VOA

By Niala Mohammad

Protests in India over the Citizenship Amendment Act, a law Muslims claim discriminates against them, led to violent sectarian clashes in Delhi last week, killing dozens of Muslims and Hindus. This is a breaking news.

Experts warn the controversial law, passed by India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in December 2019, is taking India to a point of no return, marked by a major shift away from the country’s secular and religiously tolerant system. The bill could further widen the gap between Hindus and minority Muslims in the country, leading to a dangerous escalation in communal violence, they said.

“The CAA has fostered both pro and anti-CAA protests, with the state and the ruling party offering a measure of support in favor of the former. The atmosphere in Delhi, which has seen sustained protests for weeks, has become exceptionally polarized on religious grounds,” Milan Vaishnav, an India expert at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told VOA.

Vaishnav said the Muslim population in India has felt increasingly marginalized over the years as the country’s political landscape was overrun by Hindutva, a hard-line Hindu ideology fostered by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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Supporters of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party shout slogans during a rally in support of a new citizenship law, in Kolkata, India. VOA

“Hindutva is, quite literally, ‘Hindu-ness.’ It is shorthand for the BJP’s Hindu nationalist agenda in that the party is premised on the notion that India is culturally a Hindu nation,” Vaishnav said.

There are an estimated 200 million Muslims in India. Considered a minority community, Muslims say the December citizenship law targets them by granting citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants from neighboring countries.

The CAA law gives fast-tracked citizenship to undocumented migrants from the “Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities from neighboring Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014,” the law states. Indian officials say Muslim immigrants are excluded from the law because they constitute a majority in all the countries listed in the CAA.

Clashes between Hindu mobs chanting “Jai Shri Ram” (Hail Lord Ram) and mostly Muslim anti-CAA protesters left at least 46 people dead. Hundreds more were injured during the fighting as schools, businesses, properties and places of worship were torched.

Deadly riots

Babbu, a Muslim auto driver, was one of the 46 victims of the riots. His brother Pappu told VOA that Babbu was out working when a Hindu mob surrounded his rickshaw.

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All India Youth League activists burn an effigy of Indian Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah during a protest against India’s new citizenship law and Shah’s presence at a political rally in Kolkata. VOA

“I got a call from someone telling me that they saw my brother being beaten by a mob. When I reached to where he was, I found him lying on a cart severely injured. I rushed him to the hospital. He died this morning,” Pappu told VOA.

Videos and images of mosques being vandalized and Muslims being beaten by Hindu mobs have circulated on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, causing international concerns about the safety of Muslims in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week called for calm, urging both sides to end days of violent clashes.

“Peace and harmony are central to our ethos. I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times. It is important that there calm and normalcy is restored at the earliest,” Modi said in a tweet responding to riots in the capital city of more than 18 million people.

However, the opposition party, Indian National Congress, is holding the BJP responsible for the violence, and has called on Home Minister Amit Shah to resign for instigating sectarian divide in India.

“There is a conspiracy behind the violence; [the] country also saw this during Delhi elections. Many BJP leaders made inciting comments creating an atmosphere of fear and hatred,” opposition leader Sonia Gandhi said, speaking of February local legislative election in Delhi in which the BJP suffered a major loss to Aam Aadmi Party.

Muqtedar Khan, a professor of Islamic political philosophy at the University of Delaware and India expert at the Center for Global Policy, told VOA that policies endorsed by the current government are seen by many Indians as divisive and destructive to centuries-old communal bonds in the country.

“This has been an extremely egregious and atrocious display of communal politics from police and leaders. And it has put the fear of God in the Muslim minority. … They are living in terror,” Khan said. He added the Hindutva movement was comparable to radical Islamic movements that want to establish their own state with Sharia laws.

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Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against a new citizenship law, in Ahmedabad, India. VOA

Hindutva

The term Hindutva, or the essence of Hinduism, was coined in the 1920s by Hindu nationalist Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and adopted by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). RSS is a hard-line Hindu organization closely affiliated with Modi and the BJP.

“RSS is not like ISIS and the BJP is certainly not like al-Qaida. They may be like the Muslim Brotherhood or the Freedom and Justice Party [in Egypt].” Khan told VOA, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.

He warned that further isolation of the Muslim minority could be exploited by jihadist groups like IS to recruit members of the community.

Last week, pro-IS outlet al-Qitaal Media Center reportedly launched a publication titled “Voice of Hind,” calling on Indian Muslims to join the group. The publication said there was no place for nationalism in Islam and that Indian Muslims had to join “the caliphate” in response to the violence again them.

Abhijit Iyer Mitra, a senior analyst at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi, the outbreak of the Hindu-Muslim violence cannot be exclusively blamed on the CAA law. He stated the Indian government over the years has introduced several social reforms seen by Muslims as targeting their religious practices.

Also Read- Ratan Tata Calls for Focus in Education of Millions of Indian Youth

“In addition to the salience of Hindutva, the BJP’s agenda has also been to sharpen substance through progressive social legislation,” Mitra said.

Indian Muslims have protested several decisions by the BJP government, including the cattle purchase and sale ban, Muslim instant divorce or “triple talaq” ban, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), and the revoking of article 370 in Kashmir coupled with an internet shutdown in the region. (VOA)

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Huawei Gets 90-day Extension in US Sales

US Extends Purchase Rights for China's Huawei

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The U.S. first blocked Huawei from U.S. purchases earlier this year, part of the lengthy and so far unsuccessful trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. Pixabay

The U.S. on Monday gave Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei another 90 days to buy supplies it needs from U.S. companies to build its electronic products, for the moment brushing aside concerns that Huawei was a U.S. national security risk

The 90-day extension on U.S. sales to Huawei extends to Nov. 19, giving it the ability to maintain existing telecommunication networks and offer software updates for electronic products it has already sold. Ross dismissed concerns about what happens in three months, saying, “Everybody has had plenty of notice of it. There have been plenty of discussions” with President Donald Trump.

The U.S. first blocked Huawei from U.S. purchases earlier this year, part of the lengthy and so far unsuccessful trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, the world’s two biggest economies. But Trump, after an appeal from Chinese President Xi Jinping, eased the sanctions against Huawei, allowing continued limited sales.

Huawei is still blocked from buying American parts for new products without special U.S. licenses. Ross said more than 50 companies have sought waivers to sell to Huawei, but none has been granted. The U.S. has claimed that Huawei’s smartphones and network equipment could be used to spy on Americans, an allegation the company has rejected.

“Technically, Huawei says they’re a privately owned company, ” Ross said, “but under Chinese law, even private companies are required to cooperate with the military and with the Chinese intelligence agencies, and they’re also required not to disclose that they are doing so.”

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At the same time as granting the delay in ending sales to Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker. Pixabay

Even as his administration granted the reprieve on Huawei transactions, Trump said Sunday, “I don’t want to do business at all, because it is a national security threat.” The U.S. has also alleged that Huawei is linked to foreign policy risks for the U.S.

As part of the blacklist designation against Huawei, the U.S. cited a pending federal criminal case accusing Huawei of violating the U.S. prohibition against business transactions with Iran. Huawei has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Also Read: New York Stock Exchange To Get Its First Vegan Investment Fund

Siness Network that the reprieve for Huawei would help U.S. customers, many of whom operate networks in rural America. Huawei spent $70 billion on component purchases in 2018, $11 billion of it from U.S. companies. “We’re giving them a little more time to wean themselves off” sales to Huawei, Ross said.

At the same time as granting the delay in ending sales to Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, Ross added 46 Huawei affiliates to the Entity List, an economic blacklist covering restrictions on U.S. transactions with the Huawei-related ventures. (VOA)

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Here’s All What You Need to Know About Citizenship Question and Census

The once-per-decade survey is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Its results have major consequences for states

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Demonstrators gather at the Supreme Court as the justices finish the term with decisions on gerrymandering and a census case involving a bid by the Trump administration to ask everyone about their citizenship status in the 2020 census, July 27, 2019. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump is making a last-ditch push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census, despite a Supreme Court ruling against it last month and criticism by some states and civil liberties groups that the question is meant to deter immigrants from participating and help Republicans gain seats in the U.S. Congress.

What is the census used for?

The once-per-decade survey is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Its results have major consequences for states.

Census data is used to determine the number of congressional representatives for each state, and dictates how the federal government allocates more than $800 billion in funding for services such as schools and law enforcement.

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US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross speaks at the 11th Trade Winds Business Forum and Mission hosted by the US Department of Commerce, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. VOA

Why did the Trump administration want to add the question?

A question about citizenship has not been asked of all households since the 1950 census. It has featured since then on questionnaires sent to a smaller subset of the population.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose department runs the census, announced in March 2018 that a citizenship question would be reinstated to produce better data on enforcement of the federal Voting Rights Act, which protects minorities’ electoral power. The government also said citizenship is a reasonable question to ask, noting that it is common in many other countries.

The Census Bureau’s own experts estimated that households corresponding to 6.5 million people would not respond if the question were asked, leading to less accurate citizenship data.

Also Read- Future of Obamacare at Stake as U.S. Federal Appeals Court

Why did opponents of the question sue?

States with high numbers of immigrant and Latino residents, led by New York state, sued to block the citizenship question. They said it would cause an undercount of their populations and disproportionately hurt their regions by costing them U.S. House of Representatives seats and millions of dollars in federal funding. Immigrant advocacy groups said the government’s plan aimed to discriminate against non-white immigrants.

What did the U.S. Supreme Court do?

A federal judge in Manhattan and two others in Maryland and  California blocked the addition of a citizenship question as a violation of federal administrative law or the Constitution.

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U.S. President Donald Trump is making a last-ditch push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census. Pixabay

On June 27, the Supreme Court upheld the Manhattan decision, saying the administration’s Voting Rights Act rationale seemed “contrived.”

The ruling by Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative, was joined by the court’s four liberal justices.

The ruling noted that Ross was determined to add the question from the time he was put in charge of the Commerce Department. The justices sent the issue back to the department, potentially allowing officials to offer a new explanation for adding the question.

A U.S. House Democrat who oversees  funding for the U.S. Census Bureau said he would not support money being spent to reprint forms if the Trump administration won court approval to add the citizenship question. Printing of the 2020 Census forms has started for the more than 600 million documents to be mailed to more than 130 million households.

Also Read- Trump Administration Gearing Up to Expedite Initial Screenings of Immigrants Seeking Asylum

How could the census be used to boost political power?

Reuters reported in April that the Trump administration believed its citizenship question could help Republicans in elections by enabling states to draw electoral maps based only on citizen population, rather than total population.

Recently unearthed evidence that the challengers have said reveals an illegal discriminatory motive by the administration is being litigated in lower courts. Democratic critics of Republican Trump have also pointed to his hard line policies on reducing immigration.

Documents created by Republican strategist and redistricting expert Thomas Hofeller, who died last year, showed he was instrumental behind the scenes in instigating the addition of the question. He concluded in a 2015 study that a citizenship question would be “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites” in redrawing electoral districts based on census data.

The Supreme Court did not weigh in on that evidence and the Trump administration called the newly surfaced evidence “conspiracy theory.” (VOA)

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