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UK Cuts Overseas Aid After Worst Recession In Over 300 Years

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The British government is facing so much criticism over its decision to cut overseas aid and divert the funds to finance other spending priorities in the wake of what it described as the deepest recession in more than three centuries.

Treasury chief, Rishi Sunak, says the move is widely expected to free up at least five and a half billion dollars for the conservative government to use for other concerns.

Sunak says government needed to make tough choices at a time of unprecedented crisis.

He said the government aims to return to the target introduced by the labour government of Tony Blair around two decades ago, but that even with the new target, the U.K. Will still be the second biggest aid spender among the group of seven leading industrial nations.

Critics from inside the political spectrum indicate the decision goes against the government’s promise in last year’s general election to maintain the aid target.

Chief executive of the non-governmental organization, save the children, Kevin Watkins, says the NGO is deeply disappointed by the cut, and that, the UK had “broken a promise” to the world’s neediest people that could lead to “100,000 lives not saved by immunization.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the world’s Anglican communion, Justin Welby, said the cut “is shameful and wrong,” and against the teaching of Jesus Christ.

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Who Is Amanda Gorman, The 22-Year-Old L.A. Native Who Became Biden’s Inauguration Poet?

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Amanda Gorman, the poet, activist who fell in love with poetry at a young age and distinguished herself quickly as a rising talent, becoming the youngest inaugural poet ever in the United States when she performed at the 59th Presidential Inauguration on Wednesday.

Gorman who is a Los Angeles native delivered her original composition, “The Hill We Climb,” at the Capitol in front of President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and the entire nation.

She who was raised by her mother, a teacher named Joan Wicks, with her two siblings. She has a twin sister, Gabrielle, who is an activist. She became the youth poet laureate of Los Angeles at age 16 in 2014 and the first national youth poet laureate three years later.

Born March 7, 1998, Gorman’s work focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora.

Biden’s inaugural committee contacted Gorman late last month. During a video call, she learned that Jill Biden had seen a reading she gave at the Library of Congress and suggested Gorman read something at the inauguration.

According to Los Angele Times, Gorman still keeps a children’s version of “Jane Eyre” that she bought at a dollar store, the artifact of a habit that racked up late fees at several L.A. libraries. Once a book becomes a part of her, she has a hard time giving it back.

“My friends will be, like, ‘You’d love this book. Let me lend it to you,’” she said. “And I’m, like, ‘Listen to me: Don’t.’”

Her first foray into public speaking came even earlier: a second-grade monologue in the voice of Chief Osceola of Florida’s Seminole tribe.

“I’m sure anyone who saw it was kind of aghast at this 15-pound Black girl who was pretending to die on stage as a Native American chief,” she said. “But I think it was important in my development because I really wanted to do justice to the story and bring it to life. It was the first time that I really leaned into the performance of text.”

Gorman is a lot better at it now, but still working on her confidence as a public speaker. In fact, like her predecessor Angelou and the president-elect, she grapples with a speech impediment.

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Iraq: At least 32 Dead As Twin Suicide Bombings Hit Central Baghdad

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At least 32 persons have been killed and 110 wounded on Thursday after twin suicide bombings ripped through a busy market in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Iraqi officials said one of the two perpetrators lured a crowd of people towards him in a market in the central Tayaran Square by feigning illness, only to detonate his explosives.

Ministry of Defence Spokesperson Yahya Rasool told Al Jazeera a second bomber struck as people helped victims of the first attack.

The attack is the first twin bombing in Baghdad since January 2018, when 35 people were killed and 90 injured in the same square that was targeted on Thursday.

Iraq’s health minister Hassan Mohammed Al-Tamimi said at least 32 people were killed and 110 others were wounded in the attack. He said some of the wounded were in serious condition. Iraq’s military previously put the number of dead at 28.

Videos from Thursday’s attack show scenes of chaos, with people running for cover and bodies strewn across pavements and the road.

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Biden, Harris’ First Actions After Inauguration

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Joseph Biden, junior, now the forty-sixth president of the United States after being sworn-in on Wednesday, has promised to move the country forward in the path of unity.

In his inaugural address, number 46 said “democracy has prevailed.”  As he addressed the sober, no surprises inaugural event, Biden called on Americans to put aside the bitter divisions that have deepened over the past four years.

On his first day as president, Biden signed seventeen executive orders dismantling trump-era policies.  The action sweeps aside Trump’s pandemic response, reversed his environmental agenda, and tore down his anti-immigration policies.

Biden placed his hand on a five-inch thick Bible that has been in his family for one hundred twenty-eight years as he took the 35-word oath of office that was administered by Chief Justice John Roberts.

Vice-president Kamala Harris also jumped into action within an hour of being sworn-in. She returned to Capitol Hill to administer the oath of office to newly elected democratic senators including the two from Georgian.

Harris has made history as the first woman, the first African American, and the first person of South Asian descent to be elected vice-president.  She is now the highest-ranking woman in U.S. history.

 

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