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Why Newsweek Chose Obama

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first_imgFor magazine editors covering politics, it’s been Huck-O-bamania since the candidates’ surprising Iowa Caucus wins last week. Newsweek chose Obama as its cover subject this week. Newsweek editor Jon Meacham explains why:A word about the decision to put Obama on our cover. Weekly magazines like ours have traditionally worried about looking stale or out of sync if the candidate we are featuring loses a different primary early in the week we publish. We suffered from that perennial concern until Thursday night. Then, when Obama’s victory— 8 points over John Edwards, and 9 over Hillary Clinton—became clear, so did the cover decision. Barack Obama has made not only news but history.In an election to choose a successor to an unpopular incumbent at an hour of danger, an African-American candidate for president convincingly won a state that is virtually all white; a 46-year-old first-term senator defeated two more seasoned national politicians; an insurgent is roiling the stately party establishment Bill Clinton built as the first two-term Democratic president since FDR. No matter what happens going forward, in New Hampshire, South Carolina and beyond, the Obama win—a vote for a viable candidate of color in a nation in which the issue of race has been called simply “the American dilemma”—is a new chapter in our long national story.Check out the video of Meacham’s explanation here …last_img read more

Nirmala Sitharaman visits Shashi Tharoor in hospital Congress MP calls it rare

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first_imgTwitter/Shashi TharoorDefense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday after the Congress leader was hospitalised after injuring his head during a temple ceremony.Saying that “civility was a rare virtue in politics”, Tharoor thanked Sithramaran in a tweet for visiting him in the hospital and enquiring about his health. Sitharaman is currently in Kerala campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections which will be held in a single phase on April 23. Tharoor’s rival LDF leader C Divakaran had also called him up on Tuesday morning to express concern for his well-being. The latter tweeted thanking him for his concerns. Tharoor will be defending the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat against Divakaran. Twitter/Shashi TharoorTharoor was injured when he was taking part in a Thulabharam ritual at the Gandhari Amman Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. This ritual expects a person to sit on one plate of a balance and banana will be weighed against him on the other plate till it reaches the person’s weight. Tharoor hurt himself when the balance broke and fell on his head. It required six stitches.last_img read more

Catalan leader threatens independence

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first_imgPeople sit on Plaza Catalunya square in Barcelona waiting for polls results after the closing of polling stations on 1 October, 2017.Catalonia’s leader Carles Puigdemont said the region won the right to break away from Spain, with his government claiming on Monday that 90 percent of voters backed independence in a banned referendum marred by clashes.However Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy declared the Sunday plebiscite had been blocked, saying “today there has not been a self-determination referendum in Catalonia,” a region deeply divided over independence.Further adding to tensions, unions and Catalan associations called a region-wide strike for Tuesday due to “the grave violation of rights and freedoms,” urging people to take to the streets in Catalonia, a major engine for Spanish growth.At least 92 people were confirmed injured out of a total of 844 who needed medical attention, Catalan authorities said, as police cracked down on a vote Spain’s central government branded a “farce”.The interior ministry said 33 police required treatment as a result of the clashes.The violence raised alarm abroad and further heightened tensions between Rajoy’s government and the authorities in Catalonia in the worst political crisis in Spain in decades.Rajoy called the vote a process that “only served to sow division, push citizens to confrontation and the streets to revolt”, but left the door potentially open to negotiations on greater autonomy for the region.The referendum was organised under the threat of reprisals and criminal charges but thousands of Catalans stood in defiance of the central government crying “Votarem” — “We will vote”.Puigdemont, who governs Catalonia, said in an address after polls closed: “With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic.”He urged the European Union to stop looking “the other way” following the police crackdown.In a press briefing, regional government spokesman Jordi Turull said 2.02 million Catalans voted for independence, or a 42.3 percent turnout.He said that represented “90 percent” of the votes cast, while 7.8 percent said “no” to the question: “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?”A further two percent cast a blank vote, he added, and 0.5 percent of ballots were void.- Camped inside overnight -From early in the day, helmeted police armed with batons moved in en masse to seal off polling stations and seize ballot boxes, sparking clashes.Videos posted on social media showed police dragging voters from polling stations by their hair, throwing people down stairs and attacking Catalan firefighters who were protecting polling stations.”They took the ballot boxes by force… and they literally yanked them from us as we continued to sing ‘Els Segadors’, the Catalan hymn, and shouting ‘long live democracy’,” said Marc Carrasco, in charge at one Barcelona polling station.The referendum law foresees a declaration of independence soon after a “Yes” vote but it remains unclear if the regional government will actually do so.Even before the vote, judicial officials ordered police to seize ballot papers, detain key organisers and shut down websites promoting the referendum after Madrid and the courts deemed it unconstitutional.Thousands of people had gathered outside polling stations before dawn, joining those who had spent the night camped inside to ensure they would be open on the day.In central Barcelona, riot police charged at demonstrators who were sitting on the ground at a polling station, and fired rubber bullets, witnesses said.- ‘Unjustified violence’ -Riot police also stormed a polling station near Girona, smashing the glass doors of the sports centre where Puigdemont was due to vote and cutting a chain to force their way in.But the regional government said Puigdemont had managed to vote anyway in nearby Cornella del Terri.The crackdown drew a sharp rebuke from Catalan leaders and others including Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party.The trouble caused Barcelona football club to play its La Liga tie against Las Palmas behind closed doors after the Spanish league refused to postpone the match.But in several areas, voting was peaceful.Under a sea of umbrellas outside a school in Barcelona, a crowd gathered, among them elderly people in wheelchairs, families with buggies and parents clutching toddlers by the hand.With no police in sight, they were able to cast their ballots, prompting scenes of jubilation.”I’ve voted! I’ve voted,” one man shouted.”That’s the great hope, to be able to vote freely like this despite the problems we’ve faced, I’m very happy. I can die peacefully,” added Jose Mas Ribas, 79.- Overtaxed, underfunded -Although Catalans are divided over independence, most want to vote on the matter in a legal and binding plebiscite.Although Catalonia already has significant control over education, healthcare and welfare, the region says it pays more in taxes than it receives from Madrid.This has sparked resentment which has been further exacerbated by Spain’s economic woes and helped push the secessionist cause.last_img read more