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Japanese Prime Minister , Shinzo Abe Resigns Due To Ill Health

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images 2020 08 28T113354.909 Japanese Prime Minister , Shinzo Abe Resigns Due To Ill Health

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has announced his resignation for health reasons.
He said he did not want his illness to get in the way of decision making, and apologised to the Japanese people for failing to complete his term in office.
He has suffered for many years from ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, but his condition has worsened recently, he said.
Last year, he became Japan’s longest serving prime minister. His current period in office began in 2012.
In 2007 he resigned abruptly from an earlier term as prime minister because of his struggles with ulcerative colitis, a chronic condition that he has lived with since he was a teenager.
Mr Abe has a reputation as a staunch conservative and nationalist, and for stimulating growth with his aggressive economic policy known as “Abenomics”.
He has strengthened Japan’s defences and boosted military spending, but has been unable to revise the constitution’s pacifist Article 9, which bans a standing army for anything other than self-defence.
Stability and scandal
Prime Minister Abe has long suffered from chronic ulcerative colitis. The disease forced him to resign in 2007 – the first time he headed the government.
Now, after weeks of speculation about him being absent from the public eye despite a worrying uptick in Japan’s coronavirus cases, it seems he is resigning yet again due to the same illness.
As the longest-serving Japanese prime minister, he leaves behind a legacy of stability and a strong centralised power base that allowed forceful stimulus policies to revive the economy. He also improved relations with the US by courting President Donald Trump, often on the golf course.
Yet his government was also mired in scandal, including talk of favouritism and wilful destruction of public records. When the pandemic struck, his responses were often criticised as being slow, ineffective, and out of touch.
And perhaps importantly for Mr Abe, his cherished – and highly controversial – wish to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution under his watch, has come to naught, at least for now.
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Why are there concerns?
Two hospital visits in one week sparked questions about whether Mr Abe’s health was deteriorating. He had been due to serve until September 2021.
LDP officials have previously dismissed speculation that he would step down, saying the prime minister’s health was fine.
On Tuesday one of his aides told Reuters that he thought Mr Abe would fulfil his tenure.
Closing ceremony – Maracana – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 21/08/2016. Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe is seen on stage.
Akira Amari, head of the LDP’s tax panel, dismissed the suggestion that the prime minister would dissolve parliament’s lower house for a snap general election soon.
“There won’t be a snap election for the time being,” he said.
Still, rumours have persisted about Mr Abe’s growing fatigue as he fields growing scrutiny for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when approval ratings for his cabinet have dropped.
What happens if Mr Abe is incapacitated?
Under Japanese law, an acting prime minister would step in temporarily if Mr Abe were unable to perform his role, with no limits on how long they can stay in post.
Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, who is also finance minister, is first in line, followed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
An acting prime minister cannot call a snap election but they lead on other matters such as treaties and budgets until a new party leader and premier is chosen.
What happens if Mr Abe resigns?
A resignation or an announced intention to resign would trigger a vote within Mr Abe’s LDP to replace him as president.
This election would be followed by a parliamentary vote to elect a new prime minister.
The winner would hold the post until the end of Mr Abe’s term in September 2021

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Over 30 Millions Americans Have Voted As Early Voting Starts

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images 36 3 Over 30 Millions Americans Have Voted As Early Voting Starts

Florida shattered its opening day record for in-person early voting Monday, with at least 350,000 people casting ballots and election officials continuing to count statewide late into the night.
The trend continues a record-setting pace in the battleground state that is viewed as a must-win for President Donald Trump. Voting by mail, which started earlier this month, racked up more than 2.5 million ballots headed into Monday, more than double the 1.2 million during the same timeframe in 2016.
More than 350,000 voters, some of whom were treated to pizza by singer Ariana Grande while they waited in line, easily surpassed 2016 numbers when 291,000 people voted on the first day of in-person early voting, which includes 52 of Florida’s 67 counties. All counties begin early voting on Saturday.
Democrats have a significant pre-Election Day lead, built by a more than 450,000 vote-by-mail lead, through Monday, but Republicans insist they are just “cannibalizing” their in-person vote. Put another way, they say Democrats are not gaining additional voters, but that voters in candidate Joe Biden’s party are just changing how they participate because of Democrats’ greater emphasis on voting by mail during a global pandemic.
“Democrats know they can’t compete with our unrivaled ground game,” said Trump Victory spokesperson Emma Vaughn.
Kamala Harris, a California senator and Biden’s running mate, held in-person rallies in Orlando and Jacksonville to boost enthusiasm on the first day of in-person early voting.
“Today I had to come here on kickoff of early voting in Florida, because y’all are going to make it happen,” Harris told an audience in Orlando. “What you will do here in Florida … by early voting is you will be the first to put our country back on the right track.”
Her Florida rally locations were not accidental. Orlando is in the middle of the fabled I-4 corridor, a 19-county swath of the state notoriously packed with swing voters. Jacksonville, on the other hand, has long been Republicans’ home turf, but for the first time in recent political history was won by Democrats during the 2018 midterm elections, an outcome they hope to replicate in 2020.
Trump’s campaign, which has blanketed Florida with surrogate appearances in recent weeks, held “Team Trump On Tour” bus events throughout conservative North Florida, including stops in Pensacola and Tallahassee that featured Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Panhandle Republican and top Trump ally.
“Today is really the start of our get out the vote movement, with our supporters wanting to vote in person, or turn their absentee ballots in person at voting locations,” said Leon County GOP Chair Evan Power, who attended the Trump events. “We are confident that our voters will turn out between now and Election Day to support the President and our Republican team.”
Early in the day, there was anecdotal evidence across the state that signaled there could be record turnout. Lines formed in some of Florida’s largest counties before polls opened at 7 a.m., even as rain soaked portions of South Florida.
In Broward County, Parkland Mayor and incoming Democratic state Rep. Christine Hunschofsky posted a video of long lines at a polling site in that county, one of Florida’s bluest.
“It is the longest line I have ever seen at early voting in Parkland,” she tweeted.
Pinellas County, a bellwether that has voted for every winning presidential candidate but one since 1980, also quickly amassed record-setting numbers.
“Over 6,300 people have voted so far in Pinellas County during a record-breaking first day of early voting!” Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus tweeted at 3:30 p.m.
The Orange County Supervisor of Elections office tweeted just before 4:30 p.m. that it had already seen more than 11,000 votes with more than two hours to go. In 2016, the county saw 16,912 total votes on the first day of early voting.

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UK unemployment rate rises to 4.5%

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images 2 UK unemployment rate rises to 4.5%

Britain ’s unemployment rate has jumped to 4 .5 percent as the coronavirus pandemic continues to destroy jobs , official data showed on Tuesday .
The reading for the June- August period compared with an unemployment rate of 4 .1 percent for May to July , the Office for National Statistic said in a statement .
Early estimates for September meanwhile “ suggest that there is little change in the number of payroll employees in the UK ; up 20 ,000 compared with August ” , the ONS said.
Since the start of the UK pandemic in March, the number of payroll employees has dived by a net 673, 000 , the data showed .
“ The latest batch of data show that the labour market has been somewhat weaker than previously thought and that the fallout from the Covid-19 recession is intensifying ,” noted Paul Dales, chief UK economist at Capital Economics research group .
“ What’ s more , the prospect of the latest Covid- 19 restrictions leading to the economic recovery stalling , if not going into reverse, means worse lies ahead .”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday tightened virus control measures as the UK experiences a surge in cases .
The northwest English city of Liverpool was the first area to be designated at “ very high risk ” under a new three -tiered system .
From Wednesday , Liverpool will see inter -household mixing banned indoors and in private gardens — while pubs , bars , gyms , betting shops and casinos will close .
This has dealt a further huge blow to the hospitality sector and comes as the UK government ’s virus furlough scheme paying the bulk of wages for millions of workers is replaced from November by a watered -down scheme .
Kate Nicholls , chief executive of UKHospitality , last week warned that more than 560 ,000 jobs would be lost to the sector this year as the pandemic kills trade in bars , hotels, nightclubs , pubs and restaurants .
Britain ’ s death toll from the virus is the highest in Europe at almost 43 ,000 .
AFP

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US election: Second presidential debate cancelled

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2020 10 09T050040Z 484780307 RC2TEJ93RUA6 RTRMADP 3 USA ELECTION ECONOMY 1 US election: Second presidential debate cancelled

The second presidential debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden has been cancelled .
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the cancellation in a statement on Friday .
It said that the decision followed announcements of “ alternate plans” for the Oct. 15 date by both candidates ’ campaign organisations .
This came a day after CDP said it had decided to hold the debate virtually “ for the health and safety of all involved ” following Trump ’s diagnosis of COVID -19 .
The president had reacted immediately , telling Fox News that he would not waste his time with a virtual debate.
His campaign organisation later said he would participate if the date was shifted by a week , a proposal opposed by Biden ’ s campaign .
Reports quoted sources as saying Trump has scheduled his own town hall event for the night of Oct. 15 .
Biden , on his part , reportedly agreed to participate in an ABC News town hall in Philadelphia on the same date.
CDP said : “ It is now apparent there will be no debate on Oct. 15 , and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for Oct. 22 .
“ Subject to health security considerations, and in accordance with all required testing, masking, social distancing and other protocols , the debate will take place at Belmont University in Nashville , Tennessee .
“ As announced on June 23 , the debate will be divided into six 15 – minute segments .
“ The topics for the six segments will be selected and announced by the moderator at least one week before the debate.
“ Kristen Welker of NBC News will serve as moderator for the debate. Both candidates have agreed to participate in the Oct . 22 debate.”

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