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Biden’s inner circle get key cabinet posts as John Kerry named climate tsar

He has made unsubstantiated claims of widespread electoral fraud and is continuing to pursue legal challenges over the result.

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Former US secretary of state John Kerry will act as “climate tsar” when US President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

He was one of several people named for top positions by the Biden transition team on Monday.

Other key picks include Avril Haines as the first woman to lead intelligence, and long-time aide Antony Blinken as secretary of state – the most important foreign policy position.

It comes as calls are growing for Donald Trump to concede the election.

He has made unsubstantiated claims of widespread electoral fraud and is continuing to pursue legal challenges over the result.

Mr Biden is projected to beat President Trump by 306 votes to 232 when the US electoral college meets to formally confirm the winner on 14 December. This is far above the 270 votes he needs.

In a statement following the announcements on Monday, Mr Biden said: “I need a team ready on Day One to help me reclaim America’s seat at the head of the table, rally the world to meet the biggest challenges we face, and advance our security, prosperity, and values. This is the crux of that team.”
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Some of the positions require confirmation in the US Senate.

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“Tremendous Growth In ‘GDP”’: Rahul Gandhi’s Dig Over Fuel Price Hike

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the record hike in petrol and diesel prices, claiming that his government was busy collecting taxes while the public is plaqued with inflation.

“Modi ji has shown tremendous growth in ‘GDP’ i.e. gas-diesel-petrol prices! The public is plagued by inflation, Modi government is busy in tax collection,” Mr Gandhi wrote in a tweet in Hindi.

Petrol and diesel prices in the country on Saturday touched new all-time highs after rates were increased for the fourth time this week.

Petrol is currently being sold at ₹ 85.70 per litre in Delhi and ₹ 92.28 in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, Diesel rate climbed to ₹ 75.88 a litre in the national capital and to ₹ 82.66 per litre in Mumbai, the price data showed.

This is the second consecutive day of rate increase and the fourth this week. In all prices have gone up by Re 1 per litre this week.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan earlier this week blamed Saudi oil output cut for the surge in oil prices but remained non-committal on tax cuts.

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PM salutes ‘nation’s daughters’ on National Girl Child Day

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday saluted the ‘daughters of the nation’ on the occasion of the National Girl Child Day and praised all those working towards the empowerment of the girl child and ensure them a life of dignity and opportunity.

In a series of tweets, Modi said: “On the National Girl Child Day, we salute our #DeshKiBeti and their accomplishments in various fields. The central government has undertaken many initiatives that focus on empowering the girl child, including access to education, better healthcare and improving gender sensitivity.”

“Today is also the day to specially appreciate all those working towards empowering the girl child and ensuring she leads a life of dignity and opportunity.”

The National Girl Child Day was launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2008 to spread public awareness on inequalities girls faced in Indian society.

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Dates for Gujarat local body polls declared

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The Gujarat State Election Commission (SEC) on Saturday announced the local body elections in the state, involving six municipal corporations, 81 municipalities, 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats. The terms of these seats had ended last year, but the elections were postponed due to Coronavirus pandemic. With Saturday’s announcement, the model code of conduct (MCC) becomes effective in these constituencies.

The State Election Commission (SEC) has declared the dates for the polling for the local bodies like Municipal Corporations, municipalities, the district and Tehsil Panchayats in Gujarat.

The notification for the Municipal Corporation elections will be February 1, the last date of filing nominations will be February 6, scrutiny of nomination forms will be February 8, the last date of withdrawal of nominations will be February 9 and polling on the February 21. If repolling is required, then it will be carried out on February 22. The counting and the results are scheduled for February 23.

The notification for the Municipality, District Panchayat, Tehsil Panchayat elections will be February 8, the last date of filing nominations will be February 13, scrutiny of nomination forms will be February 15, the last date of withdrawal of nominations will be February 16 and polling on February 28. If repolling is required, then it will be carried out on March 1. The counting and the results will be on March 2.

“After the latest electoral roll, we have 4.09 crore voters in the state. There will be 47,695 polling stations, out of which over 11 thousand are sensitive and over 6 thousand extremely sensitive, but these are not final figures and they are dynamic. The total areas for which the elections will be held will be 6,577 and total elected seats will be 9,049,” said Sanjay Prasad, the State Election Commissioner.

“For these elections, more than 91,700 Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) will be utilised. The Voter Verification Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) won’t be used in these elections, as the standing Committee constituted technical Committee had recommended that as the EVM are tamper-proof, the VVPAT are not required. So none of the state election Commissions are using them,” added Prasad.

According to the programme, polling for Municipal Corporations will take place on Sunday, February 21 from 7 am to 6 pm while that for municipalities and panchayats, polling will take place on February 28th from 7 am to 6 pm. Counting for the Municipal Corporation polls will take place on February 23 while that for municipalities and panchayats will take place on March 2.

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