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Liz Cheney Calls WHO’s Tedros ‘A Puppet of the Chinese Communist Party’

Liz Cheney Calls WHO’s Tedros ‘A Puppet of the Chinese Communist Party’Representative Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) slammed the World Health Organization’s director general Tedros Adhanom for being “a puppet of the Chinese Communist Party” over the organization’s response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.Cheney, speaking to radio host Hugh Hewitt, cited Tedros’s kowtowing to Chinese authority in the wake of the outbreak, despite multiple reports detailing how Chinese government officials failed in their response.“The fact that the head of the WHO was unwilling to say, for example, yes, it’s right to cut off travel from China, was unwilling to acknowledge that there was, you know, community transmission, has been touting the Chinese Communist Party line from the beginning of this, tells you that he absolutely should go,” Cheney stated. “And again, you know, we’re in a situation where having somebody who is a puppet of the Chinese Communist Party running the WHO is costing lives around the world. And in order for that organization to play anywhere near the role we need it to play, it needs a new director, certainly."Beijing silenced Wuhan laboratories which had realized in December that the coronavirus was related to the deadly SARS virus from 2002-2003, and continued to claim that coronavirus could not be transmitted from human-to-human for weeks after evidence of that fact emerged.The WHO parroted Beijing's line on January 14, tweeting that there was “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus." The WHO also defended China’s multiple drastic alterations to its coronavirus case count, and has not criticized Beijing for refusing to count asymptomatic cases until April 1. Multiple reports have detailed how China backed Tedros’s bid for WHO director general in 2017, after he had worked closely with Beijing as Ethiopia's health minister.On Wednesday, Tedros defended his leadership and the response to the virus, warning that U.S. lawmakers were “politicizing” the pandemic.“Please, unity at national level. No using COVID for political points,” he said. “And then second, honest solidarity at global level and honest leadership from the U.S. and China . . . We shouldn't waste time pointing fingers. We need time to unite."Tedros also added that he was being personally attacked with “racist comments.”“I can tell you personal attacks that have been going on for more than two, three months. Abuses, or racist comments, giving me names, black or Negro. I’m proud of being black, proud of being Negro,” he stated. “I don’t care, to be honest . . .  even death threats. I don’t give a damn.”President Trump hammered the WHO on Tuesday, tweeting that the organization “really blew it.”> The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?> > — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2020Cheney is not the only lawmaker to single out Tedros for criticism. Last week, Senator Martha McSally (R., Ariz.) called him “a communist” and said Tedros “needs to step down.”

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Biden Running Mate? Party Leaders Favor Former Female Rivals

Biden Running Mate? Party Leaders Favor Former Female RivalsWASHINGTON — With former Vice President Joe Biden now holding an all but insurmountable lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary contest, many Democrats have shifted their attention to a favorite quadrennial parlor game: the vice-presidential search.Biden has shown his hand in a big and unusual way for a front-runner, saying he would pick a woman as a running mate. That has opened the path for Democratic officials to start picking favorites — from a socially safe distance.In discussions with The Times since Biden's big primary victories on Tuesday, 60 Democratic National Committee members and congressional and party leaders most frequently proposed three former rivals of Biden as his running mate — Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Next up was Stacey Abrams, a former state House leader whose defeat in 2018 Georgia governor's race remains disputed by many in the party.Other popular suggestions included Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Rep. Val Demings of Florida. The Democrats interviewed also proposed seven other women, including Govs. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico.While de facto presidential nominees typically keep their list of potential running mates closely held, Biden has helped fuel speculation by eagerly rattling off names for months — nearly all of them women. Even his wife, Jill, offered her take in a private fundraiser earlier this month, praising Klobuchar and criticizing Harris' debate stage attack on her husband last summer.Biden, at various points, has suggested he might choose Abrams, Klobuchar, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire or Sally Yates, the former assistant attorney general whom President Donald Trump fired three years ago.A female vice president would be historic: Only two women — Rep. Geraldine Ferraro of New York in 1984 and Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska in 2008 — have been nominated, and none have ever served in the White House. That barrier-breaking appeal could give Biden's candidacy a shot of energy, an acknowledgment of the role women have played in boosting the party during the Trump era.Prominent Democratic activists, officials and leaders have been vocal with their desires that the ticket include a woman, after the demise of the last major female candidate, Warren, who ended her campaign two weeks ago."I've been predicting a woman on the ticket since 2017 and demanding it since Warren dropped out," said Christine Pelosi, a DNC member from San Francisco and the daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "It's really important to have the ability to lead America in the depression we will enter if we don't flatten the curve and find a cure. The best pick is the woman Joe or Bernie trusts the most to be president and commander-in-chief."Some of the party's most liberal members and supporters of Sanders suggested that choosing Warren, a fellow liberal, would help Biden appeal to the progressive and young voters who have backed the Vermont senator in the primary. Choosing a moderate like Klobuchar, they say, would dampen general election enthusiasm."Whoever ends up the nominee should pick Sen. Warren," said Tefere Gebre, a DNC member from Maryland who is executive vice president of the AFL-CIO. "I would be less enthusiastic if it's the senator from Minnesota."Yet, with the coronavirus upending every part of American society, including the presidential campaign, Biden may be forced to deviate from the standard playbook.Biden's running mate pick will be viewed through the lens of a public health and economic crisis, perhaps raising the stock of candidates who have more experience, or pushing him to consider someone from outside of government."You could imagine some highly successful person from a different walk of life being considered, and that could expand the list a lot," said John Podesta, who as Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman was involved in her vice-presidential search. "A college president or a medical professional, somebody who would send a pretty powerful signal that what you care about is strength, performance, a commitment to facts and sound decision-making."Biden's campaign said it was beginning to build a team to conduct a "vigorous vetting process." Some close to the campaign say the team is in the early stages of compiling a list of potential running mates and then will vet them. Beyond his own experience as Barack Obama's vice president, Biden has a deep bench of aides to consult. One of his closest advisers, Ron Klain, helped do vice-presidential vetting for Al Gore in 2000.Mitt Romney cut his campaign's list of about 80 potential running mates to 20 in early April 2012. By late July, the list had been narrowed to five men, after the one woman under serious consideration, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, declined the campaign's invitation to be vetted. (Romney eventually chose Rep. Paul Ryan).Donald Trump's 2016 vetting process was less streamlined, but among those he interviewed during his search was Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa.Clinton started with a list of 40 possible candidates, which was narrowed to nine who underwent a process of serious vetting, an interview and a campaign appearance with the candidate. While she considered a number of women to be vice president, only Warren advanced to the final stages of the process.For Biden, 77, a much younger woman could assuage concerns about his age and critiques about a primary process that started with the most diverse field in history and ended with two white men.Biden's campaign hopes the early announcement that he would select a woman will give his operation a shot of enthusiasm from voters, even as the presidential election heads into a deep freeze because of the coronavirus. On Thursday, his campaign sent a fundraising appeal asking supporters to "commit to standing with" Biden and his future female running mate.By announcing he will pick a woman, Biden is aiming to give his ticket a modern-day balance in a party focused on issues of racial and gender representation. Past nominees have chosen running mates who provided geographic diversity (Lloyd Bentsen in 1988) or offered the promise of winning a key state (Ryan, from Wisconsin, in 2012). Obama, just four years into his Senate term, chose Biden in 2008 to ease concerns about his own relative lack experience and help appeal to white working-class voters.Choosing Harris, 55, would not only provide not a gender balance but also would add a black woman to the ticket after black voters helped revive Biden's campaign in February. But as Jill Biden's recent criticism indicated, the memory of Harris' debate stage attack may hinder her chances."I have to tell you that I'm a little torn in terms of my choices," said Alma Gonzalez, a DNC member from Florida. "If it were me and if I was Joe Biden, I would say to Sen. Harris, 'Do you want to be on the Supreme Court or be my vice president?'"Presidential candidates rarely place public restrictions on their pick, preferring to keep options open so they can pivot their selection to suit the shifting dynamics of the campaign. Veterans of past vice-presidential searches said the most important elements have been how comfortable the nominees are with their would-be partners.And while past campaigns spent months vetting candidates and agonizing over running-mate strategy, there's very little academic research suggesting that the vice-presidential pick has a huge impact on winning the general election."The first and most important criteria is, can this person help you win in November and will they at least not hurt you in November," said Podesta.For Clinton, that meant ruling out candidates from states with Republican governors, like Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. If she won, her team feared that Brown could be replaced in the Senate by a Republican and shift the balance of the chamber away from her future administration.Unlike any nominee since Gore, Biden has a unique view into the selection process, having gone through it himself. While Obama started with a list of 20 candidates, he faced pressure to select Clinton as his running mate and create a "unity ticket." After Obama rejected that idea, the choice came down to a "coin toss" between Biden and Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana. Biden was more energetic and enthusiastic in his interview, according to aides.In an interview earlier this month, Biden cited his close relationship with Obama as a model for his selection process, saying the president was able to trust him with key pieces of his agenda."For me, the most important thing in choosing a vice president is whether or not the person is simpatico with me in terms of where I want to take the country," he said. "It's really important that the next president is able to do what Barack was able to do with me."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

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Coronavirus doesn't stop Purim party for Israel's haredi Jews

Coronavirus doesn't stop Purim party for Israel's haredi JewsIsrael has imposed some of the world’s tightest restrictions to contain coronavirus, but that did not stop ultra-Orthodox Jews from hitting the streets Tuesday to celebrate a treasured religious custom: drinking on Purim. Sometimes dubbed the “fun” Jewish holiday, Purim typically includes costumes and boisterous public celebrations marking a story dating from fourth-century Persia that saw Jews defeat a murderous plot against them. One verse in the Megillah text that recounts the story and laws of the holiday instructs Jews to “drink on Purim until you cannot distinguish between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai,” referring to the villain and a hero of the story.

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