Confident Biden edges ahead as Trump claims fraud

The knife-edge US presidential race tilted toward Democrat Joe Biden early Thursday, with wins in Michigan and Wisconsin bringing him close to a majority, but President Donald Trump claimed he was being cheated and went to court to try and stop vote counting.

Tallying of votes continued through a second night in the remaining battleground states where huge turnout and a mountain of mail-in ballots sent by voters trying to avoid exposure to the coronavirus made the job all the harder.

Both candidates still had paths to hit the magic number of 270 electoral votes representing a majority of states, thereby winning the White House.

But momentum moved to Biden, who made a televised speech from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, to say that “when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners.”

By flipping the northern battlegrounds of Michigan and Wisconsin, and also winning formerly pro-Trump Arizona, Biden reached 264 electoral votes against 214 so far for Trump.

To reach 270 he was hoping next to add the six electoral votes from Nevada, where he had a tiny lead, or, even better, the larger prizes of hard-fought Georgia or Pennsylvania.

In stark contrast to Trump’s unprecedented rhetoric about being cheated, Biden sought to project calm, reaching out to a nation torn by four years of polarizing leadership and traumatized by the Covid-19 pandemic, with new daily infections Wednesday close to hitting 100,000 for the first time.

“We have to stop treating our opponents as enemies,” Biden, 77, said. “What brings us together as Americans is so much stronger than anything that can tear us apart.”

However, Trump, 74, claimed victory unilaterally and made clear he would not accept the reported results, issuing unprecedented complaints — unsupported by any evidence — of fraud.

“The damage has already been done to the integrity of our system, and to the Presidential Election itself,” he tweeted, alleging without proof or explanation that “secretly dumped ballots” had been added in Michigan.

Trump’s campaign announced lawsuits in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia and demanded a recount in Wisconsin.

In Michigan, the campaign filed a suit to halt vote tabulation, saying its “observers” were not allowed to watch at close distances.

Tension also shifted to the streets, even if so far there has not been the kind of unrest that some feared just ahead of the election, prompting businesses in several major city centers to board up windows.

In Detroit, a Democratic stronghold that is majority Black, a crowd of mostly-white Trump supporters chanted “Stop the count!” and tried to barge into an election office before being blocked by security.

US news networks showed an aggressive pro-Trump crowd also gathering outside a vote counting office in the important Arizona county of Maricopa, which includes Phoenix, with burly law enforcement officers forming a protective line at the facility’s doors. Some of the protesters openly carried firearms, which is legal in the state.

The US election — usually touted as an example to newer democracies around the world — brought statements of international concern, with German Defense Minister Ann egret Kramp-Karrenbauer warning of a “very explosive situation” that could create a “constitutional crisis.”

An observer mission from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which monitors votes around the West and former Soviet Union, found no evidence of election fraud and said that Trump’s “baseless allegations” eroded trust in democracy.

Unless Biden racks up a winning score earlier, the whole contest could eventually wind up being decided by the winner of Pennsylvania, where Trump’s initially big lead dwindled rapidly.

The state is a major target for Trump campaign lawyers, who have already challenged its rule on allowing mailed-in ballots received after Election Day to be counted in the US Supreme Court.

Tom Wolf, the Democratic governor of the state, insisted on everyone being “patient” and promised all votes would be “counted fully.”

The tight White House race and recriminations evoked memories of the 2000 election between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore.

That race, which hinged on a handful of votes in Florida, eventually ended up in the Supreme Court, which halted a recount while Bush was ahead.

The US Elections Project estimated total turnout at a record 160 million including more than 101.1 million early voters, 65.2 million of whom cast ballots by mail amid the pandemic.

Tumukunde finally nominated for the 2021 presidential race

Gen. Henry Tumukunde was on Monday, 02 November 2020 cleared by the Electoral Commission to contest for presidency in the 2021 general elections despite his clearance being delayed by over an hour over an a slight anomaly delaying

A slight anomaly had been found in Gen. Tumukunde’s papers by the Electoral Commission chairman Justice Simon Byabakama and tasked him to take oath to rectify it in time before being duly nominated.

“There is an anomaly in the aspirant (Gen. Tumukunde)’s documents, we have advised him to rectify. Fortunately he came right before time and still has one hour,” the EC chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama said Monday, moments after Tumukunde arrived for nomination.

At about 2:20pm, Gen Tumukunde returned to the nomination centre at Kyambogo sports ground after sorting out the anomaly that was earlier pointed out by the EC boss.

After nomination, Gen Tumukunde who was Mr. Museveni’s bush war comrade said it was time for Uganda to change leadership.

He pledged to improve on peace and economic growth and development when he becomes President after 2021 general election.

“No country in the world with 45 million people would depend on 600mw of electricity”, Gen. Tumukunde said.

FDC electing the 2021 presidential flag bearer

The main Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) National Council convenes today in Kampala to elect the party presidential candidate in the forthcoming 2021 General Election.

At least 350 party delegates drawn from the various parts of the country will assemble at the FDC party headquarters in Kampala to pick between party President Patrick Oboi Amuriat and the party chairperson, Mr Wasswa Biriggwa.
 
The two joined the race after the four-time presidential contender, Dr Kizza Besigye, declined to contest for the presidency. The candidates have for the last one month been traversing the country hunting for votes and were supposed to end their joint campaigns with a televised debate yesterday.

The party Secretary General, Mr Nathan Nandala Mafabi, said only 350 delegates will elect the presidential candidate during the National Council at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi.

Kyambogo relaxes fees policy over Covid-19

The Vice Chancellor of Kyambogo University, Prof Eli Katunguka, yesterday said management will relax the rules and allow students with genuine reasons to sit end of semester exams although they will not have completed payment of tuition.


“If a parent has a specific and genuine problem and they come to us, we can then discuss and agree on the modalities on which they can clear the tuition in a phased manner as the student sits exams,” Prof Katunguka said.

Universities and other academic institutions were closed on March 20 by President Museveni as a means to curb the spread of Covid-19.


In his address on 20 September, President Museveni gave a green light for education institutions to reopen on October 15 only for candidate classes and final year students.
Prof Katunguka said the university will reopen on October 17 for only finalists and this also applies to its two learning centres in Bushenyi and Soroti.


Teaching will commence on October 19 for four weeks until November 13 after which examinations will be administered for two weeks starting November 16 up to November 29.


All students, staff and support staff will be required to wear facemasks, wash hands and sanitise regularly, and maintain a social distance of two metres. Classes with many students will be split into small groups to ensure social distancing
 

Makerere gets Shs3.7b to rebuild Ivory Tower

Makerere University Ivory Tower that was left in the saddest state after fire(Photo/Courtesy)

Mastercard Foundation has announced a $1 million (about Shs3.7 billion) contribution towards the restoration of Makerere University Main Building (Ivory Tower) which was razed by fire early this week.

“I was saddened to learn about the fire at Makerere University and the extensive damage to the iconic building. Thankfully, there were no injuries or loss of life. You do not need more challenges during a time you are leading the university and your teams through a global pandemic as well as preparing to receive medical and final-year students in mid-October. Our hearts go out to you. We understand that the efforts to repair and rebuild as well as recover records are considerable. To assist with these efforts, the Foundation would like to provide a USD $ 1 million in support to Makerere University,” Mastercard Foundation President and CEO, Reeta Roy writes in a September 25, 2020 letter to Makerere Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe.

Prof Nawangwe welcomed the donation saying Makerere was grateful.

“I am overwhelmed by the great show of solidarity by the Mastercard Foundation in rebuilding our damaged iconic and historic administration building through a pledge of 1 Million US Dollars. Makerere is immensely grateful for this generous contribution,” he tweeted on Friday.

According to the VC, the first donation towards the restoration of the iconic administration building came from Prof. Busingye Kabumba of Makerere Law School in the sum of Shs1 million. “He sent his donation on Sunday morning immediately after fire had gutted the building,” Prof Nawangwe said.

Meanwhile, the Mastercard Foundation letter comes a day after Uganda Society of Architects pledged to offer technical expertise in the efforts to restore the Ivory Tower to its former state.
The Ivory Tower, which is the main symbol of Uganda’s oldest university, was left in ruins by fires that broke out in the wee hours on Sunday.

The building was left visibly cracked, tainted with smoke, and the windows blown out.
In a statement released on September 23, the architects said the building is representative of the Uganda’s history and education, which should be restored.

“We believe in the preservation and maintenance of our heritage and as such are ready and willing to participate in restoration efforts of the Ivory Tower,” Ms Jacinta Kabarungi, the president of the architects’ society, said in the statement.
Ms Kabarungi also told media that despite the significance of the building, the old structure cannot be maintained.

DPP frees MP Zaake

MP Zaake at in Hospital after being beaten by security officers during his arrest(Photo/Courtesy)

The Director of Public prosecutions, Ms Jane Frances Abodo has withdrawn charges of negligent act likely to cause spread of coronavirus and disobedience of lawful orders against Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament, Mr Francis Zaake. 

Mr Zaake was arrested on April 19, for allegedly distributing food relief to people in Buswabulongo,  Mityana Municipality.

He was allegedly tortured by the security forces and later produced in court while unable to stand and sit without support.

This forced the Chief Magistrate to order for his hospitalisation and treatment before the case court be heard.

Ms Kate Basuuta, the Mityana Resident state attorney on Wednesday told the Mityana Chief Magistrate that the DPP had discontinued prosecution.

She gave no reason for the decision.

 “This is to inform court that the director of public prosecutions has decided to discontinue proceedings against Hon Zaake Francis charged with negligent act likely to spread the infection of disease contrary section 171 of the Penal Act and disobedience of lawful orders contrary to section 117 of the penal code act,” a withdrawal form signed Ms Abodo, reads in part.

At the time of Mr Zaake’s arrest, President Museveni had banned the distribution of relief items by individuals.

He said that anybody found doing so would be charged with attempted murder.

Since April, Mr Zaake has been reporting to Mityana Magistrates Court.

He also filed a separate case of torture against a number of top police officers.

On Wednesday, the six officers he accused of torture were supposed to appear at court, but did not show up. They were represented by their lawyer, Mr Elias Tumwebaze.

Mr Aaron Kiiza, one of Mr Zaake lawyers said that they’re unhappy with the DPP’s decision to withdraw the case.

 “They failed to investigate the case and failed to produce evidence,” he stated.

About 780,000 to swim into poverty, warns minister

The Finance minister Matia Kasaija has said that projection for economic growth in FY 2019/20 has been revised downwards from 6.0% to between 5.2% to 5.7% depending on the severity of Coronavirus impact on Uganda.

Kasaija had on Thursday afternoon appeared before parliament where he made a statement on the Economic impact of Coronavirus on the country.

He said low activity in industry and services sectors will result into loss of jobs, decline in economic growth and increase in the level of poverty.

“The number of people that could be pushed into poverty is estimated at approx. 780,000,” warned the minister.

“Coronavirus has already affected tourism, exports, imports, remittances and foreign direct investments,” he added.

The minister said that loan disbursements are projected to decline by 50% in these last months of this financial year.

Kasaija added that revenue collections will register a shortfall of about Shs82.4 billion for the remaining period of FY 2019/20 and about Shs.187.6 billion in FY 2020/21.

“Preliminary estimates from the ministry of health indicate a financing requirement of Shs25 billion to deal with health challenges caused by coronavirus,” said Kasaija.

He said Government is faced with a preliminary additional financing gap of approx. Shs370 billion in FY 2019/20 and Shs.350 billion in 2020/21 due to revenue shortfalls.

“To deal with the financing gap, the Ministry of Finance will seek budget support loan on concessional terms worth US$ 100 million for FY 2019/20 and US$ 90 million for FY 2020/21,” he said.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tests positive

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for the coronavirus COVID 19. 

Arsenal have closed off their training centre since the development, while their EPL clash with Brighton that had been set for Saturday has also been postponed. 

The Premier League said it would now hold an emergency meeting on Friday morning to consider what action to take for the rest of the Premier League fixture with growing concerns about the spread of the pandemic. 

In light of Arsenal’s announcement tonight confirming that their first-team coach Mikel Arteta has tested positive for COVID-19, the Premier League will convene an emergency club meeting tomorrow morning regarding future fixtures read a statement from the EPL. 

Football Leagues in a number of countries including Spain, Italy ,Belgium, Switzerland and USA have been suspended due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Whereas, UEFA are understood to be considering suspension of both the Champions League and Europa League. 

Josip Ilicic scored four goals against Valencia as Atalanta eased into the Champions League quarter-finals

Valencia supporters gathered outside Mestalla Stadium and could be heard throughout the evening (Photo/Courtesy)

Josip Ilicic scored four goals against Valencia as Atalanta eased into the Champions League quarter-finals in the competition’s first match to be played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Italians arrived in Spain with a commanding 4-1 lead from the first leg of their last-16 tie and quickly added to their advantage inside an eerie Mestalla Stadium.

With the chants of a large gathering of home supporters outside the ground clearly audible, Slovenia forward Ilicic converted a third-minute penalty for the Serie A side after he had been fouled by Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby.

And while Kevin Gameiro capitalised on a defensive mix-up to tap in an equaliser for the hosts, Diakhaby’s handball allowed Ilicic to score his second spot-kick of the evening to put the visitors 6-2 up on aggregate.

A second Gameiro goal, this time from a close-range header, levelled the score on the night before Ferran Torres’ lobbed effort put the La Liga side in front.

However, Ilicic’s rasping left-foot drive from 20 yards restored Atalanta’s three-goal aggregate lead as he became the first Slovenian player to score a Champions League hat-trick.

Ilicic’s fourth, a left-foot effort into the top left corner, rounded off an 8-4 aggregate win on a fine evening for Gian Piero Gasperini’s side, who have now scored 28 goals in their last seven games and become the competition’s first debutants to reach the last eight since Leicester City in 2016-17.

When referee Ovidiu Hategan blew the full-time whistle it was noticeable that you could hear the Atalanta players celebrate a first appearance in the last eight of Europe’s elite club competition.

But then almost every noise throughout the encounter could be heard, including Hategan’s warnings to Valencia goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen to stay on his line before he faced both of Ilicic’s penalties.

The decision to play the match in an empty stadium came after Spain’s health ministry announced it wants to avoid “large gatherings of fans” in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Valencia themselves had announced on 28 February that they were suspending all non-sporting activity with the club’s first-team players, after a journalist who attended the first leg of this tie had contracted coronavirus.

And it provided a curious backdrop to a knockout tie in the Champions League, which was further heightened by both sets of players seemingly unaware of what to do once the starting theme tune had finished, having dispensed with the traditional pre-match handshakes.

Overturning a 4-1 deficit from the first leg in Italy was always going to be difficult assignment for Valencia and while fans outside chanted their support, the Spanish side were unable to threaten a comeback in front of an empty stadium.

Atalanta arrived in the competition as a relatively unfancied and unknown quantity, despite pipping AC Milan and Inter Milan to third spot in Serie A last term.

And defeats in their first three Group C games – including heavy drubbings at Dinamo Zagreb and Manchester City – did little to shake the perception that their debut in Europe’s premier club competition would be short and demoralising.

However, a draw against City in their fourth game supplied their first point, and wins against Zagreb and at Shakhtar Donetsk in their final group match secured qualification to the last 16.

And like Bayer Leverkusen (2002 finalists), Porto (2004 winners), Monaco (2017 semi-finalists), Ajax (2019 semi-finalists) and Tottenham (2019 finalists), the side that have scored 70 goals in Serie A this term – 20 more than leaders Juventus – now believe they have the capacity to spring a surprise.

“I don’t want to stop, I want to continue. I’m having fun,” said Ilicic.

“Atalanta is no longer a surprise. We are doing great things and we want to continue. We want to show that we deserve to be here. We have fun we don’t worry about who we’re playing against. We move on.”

Some of the facts happened in the game.

  • Josip Ilicic became the fourth different player in Champions League history to score four goals in a knockout stage match, after Lionel Messi (2009-10 & 2011-12), Mario Gomez (2011-12) and Robert Lewandowski (2012-13).
  • Ilicic is the first Slovenian to score a Champions League hat-trick – they are the 35th different nation to record a hat-trick – and the oldest player to score an away Champions League hat-trick (32 years 41 days), overtaking Zlatan Ibrahimovic (32 years 20 days for Paris St-Germain v Anderlecht in 2013-14).
  • Valencia are winless in 10 Champions League knockout matches since beating Inter Milan in the quarter-final second leg in 2002-03 – this is the longest such run in the competition’s history.
  • They have also been eliminated on each of the last three occasions they have reached the last 16 (also 2010-11 v Schalke and 2012-13 v PSG).
  • Atalanta are the first Champions League debutants to reach the quarter-final since Leicester City in 2016-17, and the first Italian side to do so since in their maiden campaign since Lazio in 1999-2000.
  • Atalanta scored eight goals over both legs against Valencia, as many goals as they scored during the group stages of this season’s tournament.
  • Valencia have given away six penalties in the Champions League since the beginning of last season, the most of any side.
  • Valencia striker Kevin Gameiro is the first player to score for three different Spanish teams in the Champions League, also previously netting for Sevilla and Atletico Madrid.

Liverpool captain Henderson is fit to for today’s Champions League last 16 second leg with Atletico Madrid

The midfielder has not played since suffering a hamstring injury in the first leg – which Atletico won 1-0.

Goalkeeper Alisson is out with a hip injury for the defending champions.

“Not a lot of the Atletico players have played at Anfield before and that is what we want to use,” explained Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

“Our crowd will be our advantage and we have to use it with the performance on the pitch.

“It has to be exceptional because they defend deep and have counter-attack threat. Each player can be dangerous.

“I have the highest respect for them but there are always ways and we have to find them tomorrow night. We have to show we have really learned from the first game.”

Liverpool have lost three of their past five games in all competitions – more than the rest of the season combined.

But Saturday’s 2-1 comeback win over Bournemouth has taken them to within two wins – or two Manchester City defeats – of the Premier League title.

City play Arsenal in the league at the same time as Liverpool’s tie.

“Our full focus is on our game,” added Reds left-back Andy Robertson – who is fit after missing the Bournemouth game through injury.

“We can’t affect anything that’s going on over in Manchester tomorrow night.

“If we win here, that’s all that matters. Of course, if we get one step closer if they do drop points then so be it. But one eye won’t be on that game, it’s a different competition – it’s the Champions League and we know it’s do or die.”

Atletico have only won three of their previous 11 games in all competitions and sit outside the Champions League places in La Liga.

MATCH FACTS

  • Liverpool have never lost against Atletico Madrid at Anfield in two previous European meetings, drawing 1-1 in the Champions League group stage in 2008-09 and winning 2-1 in the second leg of the Europa League semi-final in 2009-10.
  • Seven of Atletico’s 13 visits to England have ended as draws (W2 D7 L4), with Los Colchoneros unbeaten in their last four matches there (W1 D3) since that Liverpool defeat in April 2010.
  • On each of the last two occasions Liverpool have lost away from home in the first leg of a Champions League knockout match, they have progressed to the next round – against Chelsea and Barcelona in the semi-finals in 2006-07 and 2018-19.
  • Atletico have progressed from four of their five previous Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg, failing only in last season’s last 16 tie against Juventus (2-0 first leg, 0-3 second leg).
  • Jurgen Klopp is yet to lose a home Champions League game with Liverpool (W11 D4).
  • If Liverpool go out, it would be the first time since a run of four seasons between 2004-05 and 2007-08 that the Champions League holders have failed to go beyond the last 16 in consecutive seasons, with Real Madrid having going out at this stage last season against Ajax.
  • Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has been directly involved in seven goals in five Champions League knockout appearances at Anfield (three goals, four assists), averaging a goal or assist every 54 minutes.
  • Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak has conceded only 37 goals in his first 49 Champions League appearances; the record for fewest goals conceded by a goalkeeper in his first 50 appearances is held by Dida (35), followed by Victor Valdes (38).