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Saturday,23-January-2021

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Joe Biden wins White House

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The moment has met Joseph R. Biden. The networks have called the US election for Biden, who moves up a notch from being called former vice president to America’s President-elect.

After four full days of waiting patiently for the slow march of vote counting to work itself out, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph R Biden, 77, pulled off one of the great political turnarounds in America by defeating Donald Trump in the US 2020 election. When he is sworn in on January 20, 2021, Biden will be 78.

Exactly 160 years ago around this time, Abraham Lincoln was elected US President.

Biden’s victory came at around 11:30 am on Saturday, November 7, when NBC, BBC and The Washington Post called Pennsylvania for Biden.

Trump’s favourite network Fox has also called the race for Biden. In fact, they have Biden’s lead at 290 -214 rather than the more conservative 273-214 that many of the other networks are flashing on screen.

The current occupant of the White House continues to project a defiant public posture, though. White House insiders, although deflated, have been sending signals that Trump has no plans to concede until every last fight is finished. Five states are yet to report final results.

For Biden, today’s win caps a more than three decade hunt for the big prize. During that time, he has carried the burden of many personal sorrows in his winding path to America’s highest office.

Biden’s victory comes amidst a most unusual terrain for a presidential election. From coast to coast, mail-in ballots did the star turn for Biden and his VP pick Kamala Harris in an election transformed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden’s big breakthrough came around 9 am Friday EST when he broke into the lead in Pennsylvania and initially overtook Trump by about 5,000 votes. Since then, that lead is only growing as votes continue to be counted.

Oddly enough, this is the state where, in the week before election day, Trump told voters that he wanted to “get the hell out of here.” That was a roundabout reference to the circumstances forcing Trump to campaign in places which he won comfortably in 2016 but the irony isn’t lost in the context of a Biden win here.

Biden is a sharp contrast to Trump, both in the personal and political realm. The last three days in particular have shown Americans glimpses of that very difference.

Biden spent every day since November 3 trying to ease tensions and delivering his messages with little outward show of anxiety. The disciplined nature of the campaign extends to plans for the lame duck phase of the Trump presidency. Two full days before the final results came, the Biden campaign unveiled its transition website, underscoring its quiet confidence in what was to come.

“I ask everyone to stay calm. The process is working,” Biden has said repeatedly. “It is the will of the voters. No one, not anyone else who chooses the president of the United States of America.”

The Biden campaign believes it has crossed the Pennsylvania challenge and is “joyous”, according to reporters on the ground in Delaware, the Biden headquarters. He is currently leading by 30,000 votes there.

Millions of votes are still to be counted but even before we have the final tally, Biden has already 73 million votes nationally, the most in American political history.

Trump is fuming, he remains defiant and continues to allege “fraud” in Pennsylvania and other battlegrounds. His children have chimed into the overall White House meltdown, in terms that generally occupy the wide arc between what’s “legal” and “illegal”.

International News

India, China to hold 9th round of talks to resolve border dispute

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India and China Flags.

Indian and Chinese militaries will hold a ninth round of talks aimed at resolving the border disputes in Eastern Ladakh after a deadlock prevailed since the last negotiations in November 2020, sources said.

The latest “Corps Commander level meet is likely to take place in the next few days, probably in a day or two”, the sources, adding contours of the dialogue were being worked out and some changes are expected.

A Ministry of External Affairs representative is likely to be part of the dialogue.

The eight round had taken place on November 6, 2020.

Though the talks ended in a deadlock, both countries agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels, and also to take forward the discussions, push for the settlement of other outstanding issues, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

Earlier this month, Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane had said that the force is ready for a long haul along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), while hoping for an amicable solution in its nine-month-long conflict with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

“We are prepared to hold our ground where we are for as long as it takes to achieve our national goals and interest,” he had said.

On August 30, 2020, India had occupied critical mountain heights on the southern bank of the Pangong Lake like Rechin La, Rezang La, Mukpari, and Tabletop that were unmanned till now.

India has also made some deployments near Blacktop also after the Chinese tried to make a provocative military move.

Now, dominance at these 13 peaks allow India to dominate Spangur Gap under the Chinese control and also the Moldo garrison on the Chinese side.

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International News

India releases Chinese soldier apprehended for crossing disputed border

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Indian-soldiers

Indian authorities on Monday released a soldier of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), who was apprehended for crossing the disputed border in Eastern Ladakh.

“The PLA soldier who had been apprehended on January 8, was handed back to China at Chushul – Moldo at 10.10 a.m. today,” said a senior Indian Army officer.

The solider was interrogated for spying on deployment of Indian forces at the disputed border region in Ladakh.

He had crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at friction point between both the countries at South of Pangong Lake.

The Indian Army had stated that the PLA soldier had transgressed across the LAC and was taken into custody by Indian troops deployed in the area.

Troops from either side are deployed along the LAC since friction erupted last year due to unprecedented mobilisation and forward concentration by Chinese troops.

It was on August 28, 2020 and August 29, 2020, Indian troops in a precautionary deployment, pre-empted Chinese expansionist designs and occupied heights along the southern bank of Pangong Tso.

Two weeks ago, the Defence Ministry in its year end review had stated that PLA escalated the situation at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh by the utilisation of “unorthodox weapons and amassing large number of troops”.

The Ministry that Chinese made unilateral and provocative actions to change the status quo by force, in more than one area on the LAC.

Thereafter India responded to in a firm and non-escalatory way, ensuring the sanctity of claims in Eastern Ladakh.

India has categorically conveyed China that any attempt to unilaterally alter the status quo at the border is unacceptable and that India is determined to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

India and China are engaged in a nine-month-long standoff at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.

Despite several levels of dialogue, there has not been any breakthrough and the deadlock continues.

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International News

Pakistani Foreign Minister embarks on 2-day visit to UAE

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Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday embarked on a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for talks on bilateral matters, according to an official statement issued here.

The Foreign Ministry statement said Qureshi will hold discussions with the UAE leadership on all areas of mutual interest including regional and global issues, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The Foreign Minister will exchange views on bilateral cooperation, in particular, trade, investment and the welfare of Pakistani diaspora,” it said.

The UAE is home to the second-largest Pakistani community abroad.

The visit is part of the high-level exchanges between Pakistan and UAE, according to the statement.

“High-level visits are an important feature, which not only exhibit cordial ties between the two countries but also accord the leadership an opportunity to give further impetus to strengthening bilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues,” it added.

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