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Indians Cue in Sweltering Heat to Vote in the World’s Largest Election

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India Election 2024
Temperatures havel exceed 41 degrees Celsius: Image CNN

Indian voters are braving sweltering heat to vote in the world’s largest election, as a severe heat wave strikes sections of the country and authorities predict a hotter-than-normal summer for the South Asian nation.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), a heat wave will continue to strike regions of south and east India till the end of the week, including four states voting on Friday.

Parts of West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka are among the 13 states and union territories voting in the second phase of India’s massive elections, with temperatures expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius in some regions.

According to the IMD, Baripada in the eastern state of Odisha reached 43.6 degrees Celsius on Thursday, while Khammam in Telangana reached 43.4 degrees Celsius. The IMD warned last month that India would likely experience larger and longer heat waves this year due to above-normal temperatures.

Gandhi Ray, a 60-year-old farmer from eastern Bihar, said he lives in a small hut in the forest and plans to go to a nearby hamlet to vote.

According to the IMD, temperatures will exceed 41 degrees Celsius every day until May 1 in his homeland of Banka district.

“It’s important for me to vote but definitely every day this heat is getting worse and worse,” he was quoted as saying by CNN. “I generally work outside, so I’m used to it, but as I get older, it’s more difficult to cope. Now my children have taken up the majority of the work.”

Worlds Biggest Election

Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Phase 2 Polling

Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Phase 2 Polling: AFP Image

High temperatures have sparked worry during election season, as outdoor political events draw thousands of people under the scorching heat. The issue was highlighted Wednesday when a politician fell from heat while addressing supporters in western Maharashtra.

The Election Commission, National Disaster Management Authority, and IMD organized a task group to reduce the impact of heat waves ahead of polling days, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a conference earlier this month to assess the country’s readiness for the hot season.

The Election Commission has issued instructions for remaining cool at polling locations, which include drinking water and bringing an umbrella, as well as warning against leaving children or pets in parked automobiles.

In Bihar, election officials have extended voting hours at several polling sites “in view (of the) prevailing heat wave.” Ray said the heat won’t deter him from voting on Friday.

“This is the one right we have so of course I will vote, everyone should vote for whomever they want to represent them,” he added.

“Of course it would be good if the election took place in a cooler time but whether I go to vote or not, I am still going to feel hot so that’s not going to stop me.”

Cuing in India’s Sweltering Heat to Vote

Indians Cue in Sweltering Heat to Vote in the World's Largest Election

Indians Cue in Sweltering Heat to Vote in the World’s Largest Election: Image Times of India

Despite the heat warnings, the Election Commission stated that there are “no major concerns for heat waves” during Friday’s polling, and weather projections predict “normal conditions” for the constituencies voting.

India, the world’s most populous country with 1.4 billion inhabitants, frequently endures heat waves in the summer months of April, May, and June.

Last year, multiple heat waves struck India, closing schools, destroying crops, and putting a strain on energy supplies. In June alone, temperatures in some sections of the country reached 47 degrees Celsius, killing at least 44 people and afflicting hundreds with heat-related ailments.

Extreme heat has already had an impact on the region this year, with hundreds of millions of people living in climate-vulnerable areas seeing no reprieve from punishing heat and humidity.

According to scientist Maximiliano Herrera, neighboring Bangladesh is experiencing a heat wave this week, with temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius in numerous regions and no break from record hot nights. On Thursday, the government proclaimed a “heat alert” across the country, which will last 72 hours.

Extreme temperatures are also rising across Southeast Asia, with local media reporting dozens of heatstroke deaths in Thailand, hundreds of school closures in the Philippines, and droughts drying up rice fields and waterways in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta “rice bowl” region.

Heatwave Thailand

Heatwave-Thailand

Heatwave-Thailand: CTN News Image

Thailand’s Meteorologist Department issued further warnings about extremely hot weather over the weekend, and the health department stated that heatstroke had already killed at least 32 people.

Bangkok municipal officials issued an excessive heat warning, forecasting that the temperature would top 44 degrees Celsius. Temperatures in Thailand’s capital reached 43 degrees Celsius on Friday, with similar highs forecast next week.

Bangkok’s environment department issued a warning that the heat index was “extremely dangerous”.

A wave of extremely hot weather has hammered South and Southeast Asia this week, forcing schools to close and worshippers to pray for rain. Authorities in northern Thailand’s Udon Thani province have also warned of high temperatures throughout the weekend.

Temperatures in several provinces are expected to reach record highs of 43 to 45 degrees Celsius. Thailand’s health ministry said late Friday that 32 people have died from heatstroke this year, compared to 37 in all of 2023.

Direk Khampaen, deputy director-general of Thailand’s Department of Disease Control, said officials advised the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, such as obesity, to stay indoors and drink plenty of water.

According to Save the Children, Vietnam’s weeks-long heat wave has prompted three provinces to declare a state of emergency as salt seeps into fresh water sources, limiting access to drinking water for over 70,000 households.

According to a report released Tuesday by the World Meteorological Organization, Asia will remain the world’s most disaster-prone region in 2023, and the region is warming faster than the worldwide average.

Source: CNN

Geoff Thomas is a seasoned staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. With his sharp writing skills and deep understanding of SEO, he consistently delivers high-quality, engaging content that resonates with readers. Thomas' articles are well-researched, informative, and written in a clear, concise style that keeps audiences hooked. His ability to craft compelling narratives while seamlessly incorporating relevant keywords has made him a valuable asset to the VORNews team.

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Politics

Trudeau Liberals Electoral Chances are as Good as Dead

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Trudeau Liberals Electoral Chances are as Good as Dead

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party’s popularity has plummeted to record lows  in recent polls. Scandals and his carbon tax weakened Trudeau’s support after years of support. Many election Analysts belive Justin Trudeau and his Liberals will not survive the next election.

The newest Angus Reid survey shows the Conservatives leading nationwide, with Trudeau and his Liberals losing support in most provinces, especially Ontario and Quebec. Analysts say Trudeau’s leadership fatigue, unhappiness over inflation, ridiculous carbon tax, and continual policy flip-flopping are driving voters away.

Trudeau’s carbon tax is unpopular across Canada. Many Canadians hate its higher prices for homes and businesses.

Critics say it unfairly targets energy, threatening jobs and prosperity. Skeptics believe the tax fails to solve global climate challenges despite claims it will reduce emissions.

Provincial governments like Alberta passionately oppose federal intrusion. The carbon tax still divides society.

Steven Guilbeault, Trudeau’s Environment and Climate Change Minister, has lost support from neutral public and provincial governments and the powerful climate action lobby.

Don Braid of the Calgary Herald says Chickens with their heads cut off run around in circles. In politics, the federal Liberals are starting to exhibit this postmortem behaviour.

Braid says their electoral chances are as good as dead, and their head, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, seems only tenuously attached to his party. Still, they dash around crazily, patching this and launching that, all while sticking to their unpopular policies, ministers and leader.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault, the core cabinet fowl who said no new roads should be built in Canada, continues to press his climate extremism.

“The result is political fiasco.”

Alberta and Saskatchewan have always been bitterly opposed to many measures. But Guilbeault is now losing support from the public, provincial governments that once were at least neutral and, crucially, the powerful climate action lobby.

The disasters are self-inflicted. Trudeau and Guilbeault stuck to the carbon tax even after the policy’s disastrous deflation by the “carve out” for home heating oil, a benefit mainly to Atlantic Canada.

Their faux-tough response — nobody else gets that, dammit! — actually cost farmers a break that had been planned, but suddenly looked like another exemption.

The carbon tax, revealed as a purely political tool, is ripe for axing by a potential new leader like Mark Carney. Even New Democrats have argued that the tax should exit, stage left.

Now, Guilbeault has introduced amendments to the Impact Assessment Act, allegedly bringing it into line with the Supreme Court ruling that found the law seriously intrudes on powers rightly belonging to the provinces.

Trudeau’s power grabs shot down

Guilbeault has never acknowledged this was a defeat. He treats the ruling as a simple policy problem rather than a 5-2 thumping by judges not usually known for hostility to federal power grabs.

Alberta was predictably furious about the amendments. Premier Danielle Smith always said Guilbeault would make a gesture and proceed as usual, forcing yet another court challenge.

“When you look at the unconstitutionality of the first draft, you can’t just make tweaks and bring this in line with the Constitution,” says Rebecca Schulz, Alberta’s minister for environment and protected areas.

“That’s really the issue here. Minister Guilbeault still has the ability to involve himself in projects that are within provincial jurisdiction.

“In the end, this piece of legislation remains unconstitutional. We are going to be taking this back to court and I’m confident in our position, because their changes don’t actually address the issues that we’ve raised.”

The trouble is, legal uncertainty causes still more delays in building crucial projects. Ottawa imposed a ban on designating new major projects after the court ruling. It has been in effect for seven months.

Trudeau’s middle ground game not working

The Impact Assessment Agency, the powerful regulatory body that oversees all this, said in a statement: “No decisions to designate projects will be taken. Consideration of any new designation requests will only resume, as appropriate, once amended legislation is in force.”

Most striking is the fury from the climate action lobby toward Guilbeault’s amendments.

“Overall, the bill is a complete federal abdication to address proposed high-carbon projects such as in situ oil mines,” Steven Hazell, a retired environment lawyer and federal regulator told the National Observer, Canada’s best chronicler of climate stories and policy.

Green party Leader Elizabeth May said the government was “erring on the side of stupidity.” May sees the court decision as an opportunity to go further with legislation, not retreat to meet demands of provincial jurisdiction.

She’s the politician who believes the country should be put under virtual martial law to deal with the climate emergency, with all power to Ottawa. And those people are, more or less, the Liberals’ natural allies.That’s where Trudeau and his crew have got themselves as they race around, trying to find a murky middle ground on everything from climate action to taxation and Israel’s war against Hamas (no major religious group in Canada now favours the Liberals, according to a new poll from the Angus Reid Institute).Source: The Calgary Herald

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Election News

South Africa Braces for a Milestone 2024 Election

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South Africa Braces for a Milestone 2024 Election

After 30 years of dominating South Africa politics, the ruling African National Congress will confront its most difficult election this month, with most opinion surveys predicting it will lose its parliamentary majority for the first time.

The ANC’s reputation, once admired under Nelson Mandela’s leadership and regarded as a beacon of hope by the Black majority following the fall of apartheid in 1994, has been tarnished by record levels of unemployment, widespread poverty, the collapse of some government services, and more than a decade of corruption scandals, leaving voters disillusioned.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is hoping for re-election on May 29. However, if the ANC loses its majority, it would be forced to form a government in a coalition, which would be a first for the country and might complicate governing in Africa’s most sophisticated economy.

South Africans do not directly elect their president, but rather vote for parties that are allotted seats in Parliament based on their share of the ballot. Following that, lawmakers select the head of state.

Ramaphosa was a major member in the ANC in the early 1990s, and he was once considered Mandela’s apprentice. He left politics to become a successful businessman before returning to serve as South Africa’s deputy president in 2014. He became president in 2018 when Jacob Zuma resigned amid corruption charges.

Ramaphosa has tried to repair the ANC’s credibility by cracking down on government corruption. However, during his president, unemployment has climbed to 32%, the highest in the world, and he has struggled to reduce poverty.

Electricity Crisis in South Africa

An electricity crisis has caused 62 million power outages across the country as a result of problems at the state-run electricity supplier. It had a negative impact on the economy and Ramaphosa’s reputation as someone who could solve South Africa’s problems, even though the blackouts were caused by mismanagement during the Zuma administration.

The ANC is still projected to win the most votes, but if it obtains less than 50%, it will require coalition partners to reelect Ramaphosa, who is 71 years old.

John Steenhuisen leads the Democratic Alliance, the largest opposition party. The centrist DA has claimed to “rescue” South Africa from the ANC’s corruption and ineptitude, but has yet to win a national election. The DA received 22% of the vote in the last national election in 2019, while the ANC won 62%.

The DA reached a pre-election deal with smaller opposition parties, thinking that their combined vote would secure a majority and depose the ANC. However, they would all need to dramatically expand their share, which is considered implausible.

Economic Freedom Fighters

Steenhuisen, 48, is the sole white leader among South Africa’s major political parties. In a society where race remains at the forefront of national awareness, critics argue that the DA serves the interests of the white minority more than the 80% of South Africans who are Black.

Since its founding in 2013 by Julius Malema, a former ANC youth leader ousted from the ruling party, the Economic Freedom Fighters have risen quickly to become South Africa’s third largest party in Parliament.

His fiery, far-left language has made the 43-year-old South African politician the most divisive, but his argument that the ANC has failed poor, Black South Africans has found momentum, particularly among unemployed and disenfranchised youth.

The EFF has advocated for mine nationalization and land transfer to poor Blacks. The party, which adheres to Marxist doctrine, claims that economic disparity based on race persists decades after apartheid, with whites generally wealthy and Blacks impoverished.

Security concerns for the 2024 election

Malema and other EFF MPs have frequently interrupted opponents’ speeches in Parliament and gotten into scuffles with security personnel, bringing a militant brand of politics to the heart of South Africa’s democracy. The EFF is a potential coalition partner for the ANC, while neither party has stated whether there is an agreement.

Former President Zuma added a fresh dimension when he declared in December that he would leave the ANC he once commanded and return to politics with a new party.

Zuma’s MK Party is unlikely to threaten the top three, but it is expected to severely diminish the ANC vote just as the ruling party confronts its most difficult electoral test. The 81-year-old former leader continues to command support, particularly in his home region of KwaZulu-Natal.

His reemergence has also raised security concerns for the election, as his conviction for contempt of court and subsequent prison sentence in 2021 sparked a week of rioting and looting that resulted in the deaths of over 350 people in South Africa’s worst violence since apartheid’s final days.

Zuma is battling in court over whether his criminal history bans him from running for Parliament. There is concern about unrest if he gets disqualified. Even if he isn’t, his new reputation as an agitator is sure to exacerbate tensions ahead of a key election.

Source: AP

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Election News

Biden Blasted for CNN Interview Saying “Americans Have the Money to Spend”

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President Joe Biden sat down with CNN’s Erin Burnett
President Joe Biden sat down with CNN’s Erin Burnett: Screen Shot

In a rare appearance with CNN, President Biden refused to acknowledge that Americans’ troubles with inflation saying Americans have more money in their pockets thanks to my policies. “They have the money to spend” he told CNN.

According to polls, voters are concerned about Biden’s economic policies. He did admit that inflation, one of the major problems that harmed Biden’s popularity during the first half of his administration, was real.

‘It is true, but the fact is that if you look at what people have, they have enough money to spend,’ he asserted. He blamed the lack of consumer confidence on ‘greedy companies’.

‘It irritates them, as much as me, that you must spend more. For example, consider the whole concept of shrinkflation. It’s around 20% less for the same price; this is corporate greed. It is corporate greed, and we must deal with it.’

Biden’s words sparked outrage on social media, despite the fact that many Americans are still struggling.

One critic remarked on X: ‘Most people don’t have the money because they are honest, unlike pathological liar Joe!’

Another on X stated; ‘He is the most stupid president our country has ever had, and that is how history will remember him.’

‘The man is out of touch with everything,’ said another.

He admitted that inflation was an issue, but opted to blame ‘greedy businesses’ for the public’s lack of trust in the economy.

Biden’s approval Rating Plummeting

In a recent CNN poll, Biden’s approval ratings for the economy (34%) and inflation (29%) were both poor. When it comes to electing a president, voters are most concerned about the economy.

‘The polling data has been inaccurate all along,’ Biden said of the figures, disputing the effectiveness of phone polls.

‘We’ve already turned it around,’ Biden said when asked if he was running out of time to change voters’ perceptions of him with less than six months until Election Day.

‘I guess I’m pleased with the campaign’s progress. And, from what I’ve seen, most people don’t truly focus and make up their minds until the fall. There’s a lot going on,’ he added.

In an interview with CNN done in the battleground state of Wisconsin, Biden stated why he believes the polls are wrong and warned Israel that if it invades Rafah, he will withhold US arms.

Robert Kennedy Jr a Wildcard

Biden’s re-election campaign has highlighted its large fundraising efforts and on-the-ground presence in battleground states. They also point out that Trump is required to appear in New York for the trial.

Meanwhile, Biden is dealing with an uncertain Middle East and progressives who are dissatisfied with his unwavering support for Israel and the treatment of Palestinian refugees.

Then there’s Robert Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential campaign. Both Trump and Biden’s campaigns are concerned that Kennedy will play a spoiler role, diverting votes away from them.

Trump has stepped up his criticism on RFK Jr., and Biden has announced a dozen Kennedy family endorsements to offset RFK Jr.’s use of the clan’s political legacy.

Biden’s health remains a concern. The president will turn 82 just weeks after Election Day, November 5, and is already the oldest president in American history; Trump is 77.

His approval rating remains at a low 38 percent, according to Gallup polls.

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