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‘China, Russia, Iran trying to influence US prez election’

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Donald Trump

Washington:  A top US intelligence official has warned that China, Russia and Iran were trying to influence the upcoming American presidential election scheduled to be held on November 3, according to an official statement.

Foreign countries are trying to sway voter preferences, change US policies, “increase discord” in the country “and undermine the American people’s confidence in our democratic process”, the BBC quoted William Evanina, head of the National Counter-intelligence and Security Center (NCSC), as saying in the statement released on Friday.

The counter-intelligence chief however added that it would be “difficult for our adversaries to interfere with or manipulate voting results at scale”.

Many countries “have a preference for who wins the election”, he said, adding they were however “primarily concerned” about China, Russia and Iran:

According to Evanina, China “prefers that President (Donald) Trump, whom Beijing sees as unpredictable, does not win re-election”, and has been “expanding its influence efforts” ahead of the vote

Regarding Russia, the intelligence official said in the statement that Moscow was seeking to “denigrate” presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s candidacy and other members of a perceived “anti-Russia ‘establishment’”.

Evanina added that some other actors linked to Russia “are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television”

Meanwhile, Iran is trying to “undermine US democratic institutions”,Trump, and “divide the country” ahead of the vote by spreading disinformation and “anti-US content” online.

The development comes amid claims by Trump about the dangers of mail-in or postal ballots. He has suggested that the vote be delayed to prevent “the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history”, prompting a backlash even among members of his own Republican Party, reports the BBC.

It also follows complaints by Democratic lawmakers that US intelligence agencies are not releasing information to the public about foreign interference in this year’s vote.

(IANS)

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Disaster

Israel reports 2,445 new Covid-19 cases; 193,374 in total

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Jerusalem, Sep 23 : Israel’s Ministry of Health reported 2,445 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 193,374.

The total count of deaths from the coronavirus in Israel rose by 12 to 1,285, while the number of patients in serious condition rose from 653 to 668, out of 1,352 patients currently hospitalised, Xinhua news agency reported.

The number of recoveries in the country increased by 3,971 to 140,751, while the number of active Covid-19 cases stood at 51,338.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli government approved a plan to expand the national economic safety net to deal with the pandemic’s impact.

“Expanding the plan will enable immediate economic assistance for businesses and wage-earners who are expected to be hurt by the current Covid-19 nationwide lockdown,” said a joint statement by the Prime Minister’s Office and Finance Ministry.

The expansion includes the lowering of damage threshold for businesses to receive fixed expenditure grants to 25 per cent, providing advances against the fixed expenditure grants, a comprehensive worker retention plan, and deferring the reduction in unemployment benefits.

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Disaster

United States Covid deaths top 200,000 as questions linger over halting virus spread

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Coronavirus Death US

The US death toll from the coronavirus exceeded 200,000, as some guidelines and practices for stopping the disease’s spread have been called into question.

While the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University indicated that 52,000 new cases had been reported on Monday, some 21,800 of those new cases came from the release of backlogged data in Texas.

The US logged 36,695 new cases on Sunday, Johns Hopkins reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caused uncertainty Monday when it removed from its website newly posted guidelines saying the coronavirus could be transmitted by tiny particles that linger in the air.

The agency said a draft version of proposed changes was posted in error.

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Putin calls for strengthening WHO, removing obstacles for partnership in healthcare sector

The Russian leader noted that during the coronavirus pandemic there were no borders for solidarity between doctors, volunteers and people of different countries and many “countries have also been helping each other selflessly and open-heartedly”

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Russian President Vladimir Putin

UNITED NATIONS, September 23: Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for strengthening the capability of the World Health Organization (WHO) and for removing barriers for partpership in the healthcare sector.

“As to healthcare, just like in economy, we now need to remove, as many as possible, obstacles to partner relations,” said in a video address to the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. “Our country has been actively contributing to global and regional counter-COVID-19 efforts, providing assistance to most affected states both bilaterally and within multilateral formats.”

According to the Russian leader, Moscow respects the central coordinating role of the World Health Organization. “We believe it essential to qualitatively strengthen the WHO capability. This work has already begun, and Russia is genuinely motivated to engage in it,” he said.

The Russian leader noted that during the coronavirus pandemic there were no borders for solidarity between doctors, volunteers and people of different countries and many “countries have also been helping each other selflessly and open-heartedly.”

“However, there have been cases showing the deficit of humanity and, if you will, kindness n the relations at the official inter-State level,” he said, adding that the prestige of the United Nations “could strengthen and enhance the role of the humanitarian or human component in multilateral and bilateral relations, namely in people-to-people and youth exchanges, cultural ties, social and educational programs, as well as cooperation in sports, science, technology, environment and health protection.”.

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