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Trump campaign loses appeal over poll disputes in Pennsylvania

The judge appointed by former President Barack Obama said he could not find any case in which a plaintiff “has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election”.

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Washington, Nov 28 : A federal appeals court in the US state of Pennsylvania upheld a previous ruling by a lower court against the re-election campaign of President Donald Trump, dealing another blow to his effort to overturn the results of the November 3 election.

On Friday, the three-judge panel of the Third US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia determined that the Trump campaign’s claims of widespread voter fraud in the state “have no merit”, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy,” Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, wrote in the 21-page opinion.

“Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” he added.

The three Republican-appointed judges determined that US District Judge Matthew Brann’s ruling last week to reject the campaign’s lawsuit seeking to prevent the Pennsylvania’s certification of its election results for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden was justified.

The campaign’s lawsuit alleged that some counties in the ‘Keystone State’ allowed mail-in voters to fix problems by casting provisional ballots.

Brann said in a scathing opinion that the lawsuit provided “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence”.

The judge appointed by former President Barack Obama said he could not find any case in which a plaintiff “has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election”.

In reaction to Friday’s development, Trump said on Twitter that the ruling was “all a continuation of the never ending Witch Hunt”, adding that Brann “would not even allow us to present our case or evidence” .

Brann didn’t allow the campaign to file an amended complaint, which led to the campaign’s appeal.

“The Campaign never alleges that any ballot was fraudulent or cast by an illegal voter,” wrote Bibas, the Third Circuit’s judge.

“It never alleges that any defendant treated the Trump campaign or its votes worse than it treated the Biden campaign or its votes. Calling something discrimination does not make it so.

“The Second Amended Complaint still suffers from these core defects, so granting leave to amend would have been futile,” he added.

The Trump campaign is reportedly going to appeal the case to the US Supreme Court.

Pennsylvania certified its election results on Tuesday for Biden, formally awarding its 20 electoral votes to the former Vice President.

So far, Biden has won 80,218,808 popular votes to date, compared to Trump’s 73,947,962, according to The Cook Political Report, an influential analytical site focused on US presidential, congressional and gubernatorial elections.

US media have projected that Biden has won 306 electoral votes, surpassing the 270-vote threshold for clinching the presidency.

Biden has declared victory and announced the first tranche of his Cabinet nominees, including national security and foreign policy officials.

The General Services Administration has initiated Biden’s formal transition into the White House, but Trump, despite having directed his administration to facilitate the process, has vowed to continue the legal fight to challenge the election results.

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Prachanda faction expels Prime Minister Oli from party

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Discord and division continue inside the Nepal Communist Party, which has not split formally but has virtually fallen apart after Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli unilaterally decided to dissolve the House of Representatives on December 20 without the party’s consent.

Since then, the Nepal Communist Party is acting like two parties — one headed by Oli himself and the other led by former Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal. Both sides are running separate programmes across the country under the same banner as they await official recognition from the Election Commission.

Amid this row, the Prachanda-Nepal faction has taken disciplinary action against Oli.

A Standing Committee meeting of the faction held on Sunday decided to expel Oli from the party, its spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha told the media.

The dissident faction has alleged Oli breached the party discipline and is liable to expulsion from the party. It had earlier relieved him from the post of party Chairman.

According to Pampha Bhusal, leader of the dissident faction, Sunday’s meeting decided to expel Oli even from the general membership, accusing him of violating the party statutes.

“He (Oli) is not even an ordinary member of the party now,” Bhusal said.

The faction had earlier asked Oli to furnish, within three days, an explanation why not action should be not taken against him for anti-party activities.

The faction had handed over this notice to the Prime Minister’s residence. However, Oli did not respond to the letter. Sunday’s meeting also reviewed the protest programme and discussed a new protest plan.

The faction had taken to the streets against the dissolution of the House of Representatives, terming the move unconstitutional and undemocratic.

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Pak okays Russian vaccine for ’emergency use’

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The Sputnik V has become the third vaccine to be approved for emergency use in the country — the first one being the Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and the second one by Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm. 

“In a meeting conducted by the registration board of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap), another vaccine has also been given EUA which was developed with the backing of Russian Develop­ment Investment Fund,” Dawn news reported on Sunday citing the official as saying. 
“Russia’s state-owned Sputnik-V has developed a double-dose vaccine, which is administered by syringes,” said the official. 

A local pharmaceutical AGP, he said, had been authorised as the sole importer and distributor of the Russian vaccine. 
The development comes as Pakistan’s overall coronavirus caseload has increased to 532,412 as of Sunday, while the death toll stood at 11,295.

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Twitter locks account of Chinese Embassy in US over Uyghur tweet

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Twitter has locked the official account of China’s Embassy in the US over a controversial post that referred to Muslim Uyghur women as “baby-making machines” prior to government intervention.

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