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New Zealand PM ‘Jacinda Ardern’ gives birth to baby girl

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Jacinda Ardern Clarke Gayford

Wellington, June 21: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave birth to a baby girl on Thursday, the first world leader in nearly 30 years to have a child while in office.

In a post on her official Instagram account, Ardern said the baby arrived at 4.45 p.m. and weighed 3.31 kg, CNN reported.

“Thank you so much for your best wishes and your kindness. We’re all doing really well thanks to the wonderful team at Auckland City Hospital,” she said in her post.

Ardern, 37, was admitted to the hospital earlier in the day. Her expected due date had been June 17.

She was elected in October and had announced her pregnancy in January via Instagram.

“Clarke and I are really excited that in June our team will expand from two to three, and that we’ll be joining the many parents out there who wear two hats,” Ardern said in the post.

Excitement and anticipation had been building over the last few days, with many media outlets setting up live blogs to track the latest developments.

Jessie Chiang, a New Zealand Radio reporter, tweeted that she and other journalists had been at the hospital since 6 a.m. “No baby yet…but they are feeding the media,” she wrote.

Another outlet even put together a baby-themed playlist to “help bring her bub into the world”.

New Zealanders also speculated over the baby’s gender and name. One Twitter user joked on Thursday: “If it’s a boy I’m going with Winston Michael Joseph Peter Norman David David David Phillip Andrew Gayford Ardern.”

However, the baby has a higher chance of being named Oliver or Jack — the two most common baby boy names of 2017. If it’s a girl, it might be Charlotte or Harper, the most common girl names, the CNN said.

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India

India Offers $100 Million Line of Credit To Sri Lanka For Solar Projects

India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay called on Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma and reiterated India’s commitment towards a strong and multi-faceted bilateral partnership including in the power sector, the Indian mission said in a statement.

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solar plant at Jamia

Colombo: India has offered a Line of Credit worth $ 100 million to Sri Lanka for three solar projects in the country, according to an official statement.

India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay called on Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma and reiterated India’s commitment towards a strong and multi-faceted bilateral partnership including in the power sector, the Indian mission said in a statement.

They discussed various issues of mutual interest including ways to expedite progress on bilateral power projects currently under discussion between the two sides.

The Indian envoy also handed over a copy of a letter conveying an offer from India to Sri Lanka for a Line of Credit (LoC) worth $100 million for three solar projects announced during the International Solar Alliance Founding Conference held in March, 2018 in New Delhi, the statement said.

The LoC will cover financing for rooftop solar systems meant for 20,000 households and 1,000 government buildings all across the island. The combined generation capacity of these rooftop systems will be about 60 MW, it said.

The LoC will also provide financing for a floating solar power plant. The implementation of the LoC will begin with the conclusion of an LoC agreement between the two sides, it said.

The Indian High Commissioner conveyed that the $100 million LoC is in line with the national priorities of India and Sri Lanka to enhance the share of solar and renewable energy in overall energy generation, the statement added.

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Politics

A vote to confirm Barrett “is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act”: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

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Chuck Schumer
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said President Trump’s decision to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court has put “Americans’ healthcare in the crosshairs.”

“The American people should make no mistake — a vote by any Senator for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Schumer wrote in a statement.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, unabated by this Administration, healthcare was already the number one issue on the ballot in November. President Trump has promised to nominate Supreme Court Justices who will “terminate” our health care law and decimate the health care system for American Indians and Alaska Natives. In Judge Barrett, President Trump has found the deciding vote.”

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments just after the November election in a case about the Affordable Care Act. Senate Republicans have indicated they may vote to confirm Barrett before Election Day — meaning she could be seated on the bench for that case.

In an early 2017 law review essay, reviewing a book related to the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, Barrett criticized Chief Justice John Roberts’ rationale that saved the law in 2012.

“Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” Barrett wrote. “He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power.”

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Biden urges US Senate not to confirm Supreme Court nominee before election

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Vice President Joe Biden

Joe Biden released a statement reacting to Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination and focused on health care and protecting the Affordable Care Act.

“Today, President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the successor to Justice Ginsburg’s seat. She has a written track record of disagreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. She critiqued Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion upholding the law in 2012,” Biden said.

He added that the Senate should not act on the vacancy until after the American people select their next president.

Senate Republicans have outlined a possible confirmation hearing for Barrett that could have her confirmed before Election Day.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments just after the election in a case about the Affordable Care Act. The case is brought by a coalition of Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration, who argue the law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, and the entire law must fall.

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