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Israel Announces 3-Week Nationwide Lockdown After Surge In COVID-19 Cases

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Israel Announces 3-Week Nationwide Lockdown After Surge In COVID-19 Cases

Amid a stubborn surge in Coronavirus cases in Israel, the country has on Sunday announced a new countrywide lockdown will be imposed, with schools and parts of the economy expected to shut down in a bid to bring down infection rates.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a broadcast statement “our goal is to stop the increase (in cases) and lower morbidity,” he added that “I know that these steps come at a difficult price for all of us. This is not the holiday we are used to.”

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The lockdown which is set to begin on Friday, just hours before the start of the Jewish High Holiday season, schools, restaurants and hotels will shut down, among other businesses, and Israelis will face restrictions on movement.

Israel which is now seeing more than 4,000 daily cases of the virus will be on lockdown for at least three weeks.

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Given its population of 9 million, the country now has one of the world’s worst outbreaks. Israel has had more than 150,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 1,100 deaths.

Netanyahu who was lauded for his decisive response following the spring outbreak is now been criticized for allowing politics and personal matters distract him, including his trial for corruption allegations, as infections rose over the summer.

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The prime minister however defended his response to the pandemic at the press conference on Sunday, saying Israel’s economy had emerged from the first lockdown in a better state than many other developed nations and that while cases were high, the country’s Coronavirus mortality numbers were lower than other countries with similar outbreaks.

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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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