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Dr Vivek Murthy confirmed as US Surgeon General

Washington, DC: The Senate voted on Tuesday to confirm Indian-American doctor Vivek Murthy to be US President Biden’s surgeon general, handing the administration one of its top public health officials amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Senators voted 57-43 to confirm the Indian American as Biden’s surgeon general. Dr Murthy had served as surgeon general under the Obama administration but was fired by former President Trump in 2017. tej

“I am deeply grateful to be confirmed by the Senate to serve once again as your Surgeon General. We have endured great hardship as a nation over the past year, and I look forward to working with you to help our nation heal and create a better future for our children,” Vivek Murthy tweeted.

Republicans Senators Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Roger Marshall, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman, Mitt Romney and Dan Sullivan joined Democrats in supporting Vivek Murthy’s nomination on Tuesday.

Dr Murthy is a distinguished physician and former Vice Admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. (ANI)

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Latest News USA

Romney calls for ‘economic and diplomatic’ blockade of Beijing Olympics

Washington: The US should boycott the Beijing Winter Olympic Games next year, Mitt Romney said on Monday – but not by keeping its skiers, curlers and bobsledders at home.

In a New York Times column, the Utah senator said Washington should implement “an economic and diplomatic boycott” of the quadrennial winter sports jamboree.

Such a move, he said, would “demonstrate our repudiation of China’s abuses in a way that will hurt the Chinese Communist party rather than our American athletes: reduce China’s revenues, shut down their propaganda and expose their abuses”.

Romney went on to list such abuses. China, he wrote, had “reneged on its agreement to allow Hong Kong self rule; it has brutally suppressed peaceful demonstrators and incarcerated respected journalists”.

“It is exacting genocide against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities; Uighur women are forcefully sterilized or impregnated by Han Chinese men. Adults, ripped from their families, are sentenced into forced labor and concentration camps. Among ethnic Chinese, access to uncensored broadcast news and social media is prohibited. Citizens are surveyed, spied upon and penalized for attending religious services or expressing dissent.”

Romney is a former venture capitalist and Massachusetts governor who famously took charge of preparations for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Debate has raged ever since over the extent to which he helped to “save” an operation dogged by financial and management scandals.

Beijing last hosted the summer Olympics in 2004. It will be the first city to host the winter games too, but it seems sure to face some sort of boycott.

Groups representing Uighurs, Tibetans, Hong Kong and campaigners for democracy in China are pushing for athletes or diplomatic boycotts. Having failed to persuade the International Olympic Committee to move the games out of China, activists are targeting national committees, athletes and sponsors.

The Utah senator said US spectators should stay home and prohibiting athletes from competing in 2022 winter games is ‘wrong’ answer. (Photo courtesy AP)
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Latest News USA

Top Republicans creating distance from Trump

The President’s weakened position as he heads into the final stretch of the campaign is giving prominent members of the GOP greater latitude to express their concerns about the direction that Trump has steered the Republican Party as they look to protect their own ambitions and futures.

Senator Ben Sasse, Nebraska

“I don’t think the way he’s (Trump) led through Covid has been reasonable or responsible or right,” Ben Sasse said in an audio now public.  “The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor.”

“We are staring down the barrel of a blue tsunami,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

He has said recently that he has not visited the White House in some months because he doesn’t think the White House coronavirus protocols are adequate.

He has also resisted White House negotiating a deal in the range of 2 trillion dollars with Speaker Pelosi.

Senator Lamar AlexanderTennessee

“Fauci is one of our country’s most distinguished public servant. If more Americans paid attention to his advice, we’d have fewer cases of COVID-19, and it would be safer to go back to school and back to work and out to eat.”

Former NJ Governor Chris Christie

He contracted coronavirus likely at a White House event, and spent seven days in ICU. He has expressed his regrets about not wearing a mask at the White House because of false sense of security arising out of supposedly rigorous coronavirus testing regimen there.

John Kelly, ex-White House chief of staff

The retired Marine general has said this to friends about Trump: “The depths of his dishonesty is just astounding to me. The dishonesty, the transactional nature of every relationship, though it’s more pathetic than anything else. He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life.”

Senator Mitt Romney, Utah

Mitt Romney released a statement last week stating that the President’s refusal to denounce “the absurd and dangerous conspiracy theory” QAnon during Thursday night’s town hall “continues an alarming pattern.”

The 2012 GOP presidential nominee said Trump was part of a pattern where politicians and parties “refuse to forcefully and convincingly repudiate groups like Antifa, White supremacists and conspiracy peddlers.”

“Rather than expel the rabid fringes and extremes, they have coddled or adopted them, eagerly trading their principles for the hope of electoral victories. As the parties rush down a rabbit hole, they may be opening a door to a political movement that could eventually eclipse them both.”

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Latest News USA

Romney backs vote on SC nominee, clearing way for Trump

Washington: Sen. Mitt Romney said Tuesday he would support a floor vote to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, essentially clinching consideration of President Donald Trump’s nominee this year despite the impending election.

Just two Republican senators have asked for the party to put the brakes on the confirmation. And with a 53-seat majority, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) now has the votes he needs to move forward with a nominee.

The move is a blow to Democrats’ hopes of keeping the seat vacant for the next president, potentially their nominee, Joe Biden. But Romney said he had no qualms about Democrats’ charges of hypocrisy or about strengthening the high court’s conservative majority.

“My liberal friends have over many decades gotten very used to the idea of having a liberal court, but that’s not written in the stars,” the Utah Republican told reporters after this decision. He called it “appropriate for a nation that is … center-right to have a court which reflects center-right points of view.”

Given his criticisms of Trump and vote to remove him from office during the impeachment trial earlier this year, there was some question about where Romney would come down on a Supreme Court nominee. And though Romney’s position doesn’t mean Trump’s yet-to-be-named nominee will definitely have the votes to be confirmed, it does mean McConnell and Trump can move forward without delay.

Senate Republicans on the Judiciary Committee met midday Tuesday to discuss different scenarios for how quickly they can process the nominee. No final decision was made, but a hearing could take place starting the week of October 12, according to a GOP aide. Around the same time as Trump’s tweet, Republicans also decided to wait to announce their schedule until Trump makes his pick, said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).

GOP leaders are still mulling whether to try to fill the vacancy before the election or wait until a lame-duck session, but the prevailing view in the party is to move as quickly as possible.

Trump and some Senate allies are pushing a preelection confirmation, though leaders are noncommittal about timing. Thune said it was McConnell’s decision. Romney said he had no preference on timing but also no qualms about conducting a confirmation either before or after the election.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) predicted Tuesday that Trump’s nominee would be confirmed before the election and said he would “keep the process like we had it before” when asked about the length of the confirmation hearing. It would a lightning-fast confirmation by Senate standards and occur exceptionally close to the election.

Only Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine have said the seat shouldn’t be filled this close to the election.

Romney said he was merely following the law in making his decision to allow consideration of Trump’s nominee rather than taking a position based on the recent blockade of President  Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, before the 2016 election. Because the opposition party controlled the Senate in 2016, Romney said, Democrats’ arguments about that move being unfair did not weigh on his decision regarding Ginsburg’s replacement.

Because the president’s party controls the Senate this time around, Romney said it was reasonable for the GOP to move forward in considering Trump’s nominee in 2020.

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International

Some Republicans are bucking Trump

By SATimes Team

Washington: Republican Senator Mitt Romney has become one the few Republicans to publicly say “Black Lives Matter”.  On Sunday, wearing a mask he marched with the Evanglicals at a  protest along Pennsylvania Avenue in the Capital demanding justice for African-American George Floyd.

And former US Secretary of State Colin Powell has become the first Republican to endorse Democratic candidate Joe Biden for this year’s presidential election, while adding that incumbent President Donald Trump has drifted away from the Constitution.

Powell, a longtime Republican who served under President George W. Bush and also as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN on Sunday that the President has not been an “effective leader”. “Every American citizen has to sit down and think (it) through… Use your common sense. Say, ‘Is this good for my country?’”

A New York Times reports that even President George W Bush is not going to vote for Trump this November.  

And last week the Republican senator Lisa Murkowski admitted she was “struggling” with whether to support Trump’s re-election.

On June 3, General Mattis issued a statement to The Atlantic in which he criticized Trump and his policies. He berated the President for advocating military action to “dominate” the protests in the country.

Mattis wrote that Trump is “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people” and that America is “witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership”.

This does not mean that voices of dissent from party leaders will translate to the Republican grassroots, where Trump retains overwhelming support. But some critics of the president believe his responses to both the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide anti-race protests leave him uniquely exposed.

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