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Bolivian President Morales to resign after fierce election backlash

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Bolivian President Evo Morales

Bolivian President Evo Morales has resigned amid growing opposition after an international audit found the results of last month’s election could not be validated due to “serious irregularities”

Morales said he was stepping down “for the good of the country,” which has been roiled by protests in the days following the October 20 election. Three people have died in the protests and hundreds have been injured.

“I regret this deeply,” Morales said, speaking on national television.

Morales will send his resignation letter to Congress in the next few hours, he said.

Demonstrators and the Bolivian opposition had accused electoral authorities of manipulating the vote count in favor of Morales, the country’s longtime socialist leader. Morales denied the allegations, but declared himself the winner.

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‘A ship of fools and a circus’: American voters react to Trump impeachment trial

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Donald Trump

New York, Jan 24: American voters reacting in real-time to the historic impeachment trial of US president Donald Trump are saying only something “dramatic” and “crazy” could tip the balance against Trump and that he is on course to win re-election by a “razor thin” margin this November.

Barely days into Trump’s impeachment trial, US voters who spoke with IANS are already dug in on how the trial currently on in Washington DC might affect outcomes in the US presidential elections this November.

Anni Lundy, a self described “moderate” and “vegan gun owner” from Houston calls the impeachment process that’s getting wall to wall prime time coverage “a ship of fools” and a “circus”.

“I don’t think this is going to move the needle but I know what will,” she said.

Hearing from former White House national security adviser John Bolton tops Lundy’s list.

“At the end of the day, if John Bolton doesn’t testify, and it’s not looking like he will, we’ll never ever know for sure. That’s a shame,” said Lundy.

If Bolton does testify, he could provide a first-hand account of events at the heart of the impeachment case against Trump. Bolton was present at key moments in meetings with Ukrainian officials.

The impeachment case against Trump revolves around a pressure campaign against Ukraine, a vulnerable ally of the US. Nearly $400 million of taxpayer-funded and Congress-approved military aid was held back on Trump’s orders, as he pressed Ukraine to announce an investigation of his opponents. The aid was released only after a whistleblower’s complaint and after Democrats in Congress opened the investigation.

For Lundy, the takeaway from a Bolton testimony is straightforward: the closure of “speculation”.

“If Bolton testifies, he can tell us what is on that server where the transcript of that phone call Trump made to Ukraine are kept.”

For others like Patrick Lee, a stay at home dad who lives close to New York City, is less about the fine print, more about social anxiety.”

“White people feel they are losing their way of life and they will vote Trum”,” said Lee, speaking to the potent tribalism that political research scholars found to be a key ingredient of Trump’s stunning 2016 triumph.

“Republicans on the fence about Trump will not vote. They will never throw him under the bus,” Lee said.

Lee thinks Trump will get re-elected with”a “razor-thin margin”.

The lion’s share of impeachment and removal polling trackers show an absence of broad public support for Trump’s exit.

Forty seven percent of Americans support Trump’s impeachment and removal from office while 47.9 per cent are against it, according to a Real Clear Politics polling average of eight latest polls in January alone from Economist, Monmouth, Politico, CNN, Gallup, NPR-PBS, Quinnipiac and IBD.

Throughout the last three years of his presidency, including after the impeachment inquiry began, Trump’s approval rating has remained doggedly within a slim range in the 40s.

Two thirds of the Senate – or 67 votes – would be needed to convict Trump of an impeachment charge and remove him from office. Republicans control the Senate 53-47.

Beyond the numbers, though, voters’ reactions swiftly go beyond merely partisanship and demographic stereotypes.

Lucia, a Maryland voter, thinks it will be hard to out Trump based entirely on the impeachment storyboard. She says it will take”a “dramatic piece of information to challenge an amazing economy.”

“It depends who the Democratic nominee is as well”, she said, pointing to the crowded opposition field from which a challenger to Trump will eventually emerge.

Other voters we spoke to answer with questions that transcend who wins and who loses the next election. “

“Can the US still call itself a democracy if it has a president that is allowed to put national security at risk and isn’t held accountable to the constitution? Thank goodness for Adam Shiff”, said a mom from northern New Jersey.”

“I think no one has any expectation that any GOP members of the Senate will break with their party and vote in favour of removing Trump.”

Alan Brown, who will be voting in New York this November, believes that US election fortunes'”aren’t about logic an”more.”

“I thin’ it’s all crazy. If the economy tanks or something extraordinary happens, maybe Trump will go. But that level of insanity has to be such that even those who’don’t operate from a place of logic’won’t have any ground to stand on.”

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India

Shatrughan Sinha praises new BJP President

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Shatrughan Sinha

New Delhi, Jan 22 Veteran actor and Congress leader Shatrughan Sinha praised and congratulated J. P. Nadda for being appointed as the National President of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Sinha, a former BJP leader, said that the moment was emotional and affectionate to him too as his political career was nurtured in the party.

Taking to the Twitter, the congress leader wrote: “Heartiest Congratulations! To the #BJP for their new National party President #JPNadda. Though it’s entirely an internal matter, but since my political career/journey was nurtured here it’s an emotional & affectionate moment for me too. Some people may take it otherwise…”

He also praised Prime Minister Modi and the outgoing president “master strategist” Amit Shah for this decision, saying: “Giving it different meanings as I say this in my personal capacity, as the bond is emotional & natural. Hats off & salutations for the Hon’ble PM @narendramodi & Hon’ble HM, outgoing President, master strategist’ #AmitShah for having elevated/selected #JPNadda as…”

Clarifying that he was making the remarks in his personal capacity as ‘some people may take it otherwise’, he praised Nadda and said that he ‘rightly deserves’ to be the National President of the BJP.

“National President & bringing him in the forefront in the national interest. He is truly a brilliant, nice, balanced, very good human being, old friend, former colleague, experienced, matured, senior activist, former Cabinet minister & his roots are from both #HimachalPradesh..”& our #Bihar.

“His sheer dedication, commitment & immense contribution for the party have been tremendous & he rightly deserves to be the National President of #BJP. Best wishes for the future ahead. Jai Hind!”#NationalPresidentBJP,” Sinha tweeted.

J.P. Nadda was on Monday elected as the new BJP National President.

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India

Andhra Capitals issue: TDP MLAs stages walk out after the speaker called marshals

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Andhra Pradesh, Jan 22: There was ruckus inside the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Wednesday, with MLAs belonging to the opposition Telugu Desam Party walked out of the assembly after the speaker called marshals inside the house, to stop opposition MLAs from entering podium and raising slogans over the YSR Congress Party government’s move to create three capitals in the state.

Later the Speaker referred the matter of behaviour of TDP MLAs to the ethics committee.

As TDP lawmakers shouted slogans of ‘Jai Amaravati’, Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy said: “They are making a mockery of the democracy”. Amid the uproar, the Assembly Speaker appealed to the TDP MLAs to take their seats and also called in marshals inside the house.

On Monday, the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly had passed two Bills brought in by the Jaganmohan Reddy government for the creation of three capitals in the state. The Bills are due to be taken up by the Legislative Council today.

But the YSRCP government suffered a setback in the upper house on Tuesday, with the Legislative Council adopting a resolution moved by the TDP in the house disapproving the government’s policies.

While 27 members voted in favour of the resolution, 13 voted against it and nine MLCs abstained.

The YSRCP has nine MLCs in the 58-member house, while the TDP has 34 members.

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