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Japan’s Suga Wins Ruling Party Leadership Race To Replace Prime Minister Abe

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A long-time ally of outgoing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Yoshihide Suga has on Monday won a ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership election.

71-year-old Suga, who served in the powerful post of chief cabinet secretary during Abe’s nearly eight-year tenure took 377 of a total of 534 votes from Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers and regional representatives, against two rivals paving the way for him to become prime minister in a parliamentary vote this week because of the LDP’s majority in the lower house.

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Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, one of the other two contenders, received 89 votes, while former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba got 68.

Suga, the son of a strawberry grower in northern Japan’s Akita prefecture, said in his victory speech he had come a long way, “I will devote all of myself to work for the nation and the people.”

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Suga who has said he would pursue Shinzo Abe’s key economic and foreign policies.

After the vote Abe said “now I’m handing the baton to new LDP President Suga,” adding that they “can count on him.”

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Biden, Trump Prepare To Debate At A Time Of Mounting US Crises

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Biden Trump Prepare To Debate At A Time Of Mounting US Crises

The first presidential debate in this year’s U.S. General elections takes place tonight. The duel between incumbent Donald Trump and the man who intends to wrest the office from him, Joe Biden, could be an inflection point in an American election year like no other in living memory.

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This year’s White House race has remained unchanged for months, fueled to some extent by the coronavirus pandemic and a sinking economy.  The sustained demonstrations on racial injustice, police brutality and by black lives matter group have also played a role.

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These events have sharply outlined partisan feelings that have been hardened over the most polarizing of presidents.  As the race stands today, there are very few undecided voters left.

For Trump, the contest is one of his last opportunities to reshape the race and color voters’ impression of his opponent.

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The debate comes just five weeks before election day, and voting is already underway in some key battleground states.

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NY Times: Trump ‘Paid $750 In Federal Income Taxes In 2016 And 2017’

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NY Times: Trump 'Paid $750 In Federal Income Taxes In 2016 And 2017’

New York Times has obtained a copy of president Donald Trump’s federal income tax and has revealed the president paid just $750 in taxes in 2016, the year he ran for the U.S. Presidency, and the same amount during his first year in office.  The newspaper also reports Trump paid no income taxes at all in ten of the previous fifteen years.

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Trump has faced and is still facing legal challenges for refusing to share documents concerning his fortune and business dealings.

He is the first president since the 1970s who has refused to make his tax returns public.  Even though making tax returns public is not legally required of presidential candidates or presidents, those who occupy the White House have always showed their tax returns in an act of transparency.

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Trump says the times report was “fake news.”  The newspaper says the information carried in the story was provided by sources with legal access to it.

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Switzerland Referendum: Voters Reject End To Free Movement With EU

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Switzerland Referendum: Voters Reject End To Free Movement With EU

Six in ten Swiss voters have rejected a proposal to end an accord with the European Union allowing free movement of people.

Switzerland is not an EU member, but it has a series of interdependent treaties with Brussels which gives it access to Europe’s free trade area.

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The move to rein in immigration was proposed by the Swiss people’s party but opposed by the government.    A similar initiative to introduce quotas on immigrants from the EU to Switzerland narrowly passed in a 2014 referendum, damaging Swiss-EU relations.

The Swiss are given a direct say in their own affairs under the country’s system of direct democracy.  They are regularly invited to vote on various issues in national or regional referendums.

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Supporters of the anti-free movement plan say it would allow Switzerland to control its borders and select only the immigrants it wants.

Opponents argue it would plunge a healthy economy into recession at an uncertain time and deprive hundreds of thousands of Swiss citizens of their freedom to live and work across Europe.

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