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Joe Biden to kick off presidential bid with speech to union workers

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Joe Biden to kick off presidential bid with speech to union workers

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Biden, who joined the 2020 Democratic race last week, is counting on organised labour to comprise a significant part of his support, but in spite of his longstanding ties to unions, it may not be that easy.

The Democratic field now features 20 contenders, many of whom are making furtive bids for backing by labour.

“This may be the most pro-union group of candidates we’ve seen in decades making it tougher for any one candidate to line up significant union support,” said Steve Rosenthal, a former Political Director.

Rosenthal is a former Political Director for the AFL-CIO, who is advising unions on their 2020 strategies.

Biden, 76, has long styled himself as a champion of blue-collar workers, but his record as a U.S. senator and his two terms serving as former President Barack Obama’s No. 2 may complicate his efforts to draw union voters.

As a senator from Delaware, Biden supported the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has become a sore point with unions that blame it for jobs going overseas.

As vice president, he was part of an administration that promulgated labour-friendly regulatory policies, but also pushed through trade deals with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea over the objections of several unions and many other Democrats.

A massive 12-nation trade deal backed by Obama and Biden, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was opposed by labour and became an issue in the 2016 presidential race, when Donald Trump, then the Republican presidential nominee, used it to criticise Democratic policies.

Once Trump became president, he pulled the U.S. out of the TPP, which went into effect in 2018.

His administration currently is advocating for Congress to pass a negotiated replacement for NAFTA, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Even as Biden was preparing for his Pittsburgh launch, six other Democratic candidates on Saturday addressed union members at an event in Las Vegas, pledging support for policies such as a 15 dollars federal minimum wage.

Labour unions have indicated that, with the sprawling Democratic field, they have the luxury to choose candidates, who tailor policies to their specific goals.

“Working people are heading into this election with a high bar,” said John Weber, a spokesman for the AFL-CIO in Washington.

“Your trade policy shouldn’t be about reducing the collateral damage of harmful corporate trade deals. It should be about replacing them with agreements that actually strengthen working families.”

In Pittsburgh, Biden will address the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and is expected to lay out his vision for bolstering the nation’s middle class.

After that, he will head off on a campaign trip to the early voting state of Iowa.

While organised labour has lost political clout with the decline of industrial jobs in America, it remains a key Democratic constituency, valued for its capacity to mobilise voters.

At this juncture, Biden may have to worry most about Sen. Bernie Sanders, who, along with Biden, sits atop public opinion polls concerning the 2020 field.

Sanders, a progressive, who consistently has railed against free-trade agreements, showed surprising strength among rank-and-file union members during his 2016 presidential primary challenge to Hillary Clinton.

At the time Clinton received the formal endorsement of most national unions.

That divide within unions between Clinton and Sanders is one reason, Rosenthal said, why some unions this time may wait deep into the primary process before endorsing a candidate – or may not endorse one at all.

“Because so many unions rushed to endorse Secretary Clinton in 2016, there will likely be a much more thorough process, including more rank-and-file input from some unions this cycle,” he said.

To be sure, Biden can rely on some measure of union support.

He was warmly received in speeches earlier this year to the electrical workers and firefighters unions.

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76-year-old punched to the ground in anti-Semitic attack in Berlin

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A teenager hurled anti-Semitic insults at a 76-year-old man in Berlin before punching him to the ground, police in the German capital said on Tuesday.

The 16-year-old, who was with a group, began harassing the man, who was not actually Jewish, in the city of Pankow district on Monday morning, police said.

The two men then got into an argument and the teenager punched the older man several times in the face, causing him to lose his balance and fall to the ground.

Police restrained the younger man before handing him over to his father.

The incident is being investigated as a politically-motivated crime.

Edited by Halima Sheji/Donald Ugwu

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Thousands of documents on Nazi victims published online

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The Arolsen Archives International Centre on Nazi Persecution has published online thousands of documents on people persecuted by the Nazis.

A statement from the institution in the North Central German town of Bad Arolsen on Tuesday said it wanted to document the crimes of the Nazis and find missing persons.

“After World War II, the Allied occupying powers had a mammoth task in front of them.’’

The Arolsen Archives have now made these documents freely accessible via the internet.

In the U.S. occupied zone alone, 850,000 documents with information on 10 million names were created.

In order for the information to be retrieved quickly, the Arolsen Archives have obtained support from an online platform for genealogy research.

The research is to help with the processing, provision of data and publication of the documents in the organisation’s own online archive.

Giora Zwilling, the head of unit at the Arolsen Archives said “the data collected by Ancestry enrich our online archive with a wealth of valuable information, such as the whereabouts of foreign forced labourers.

The Arolsen Archives have the world’s most comprehensive archive on the victims and survivors of the Nazi regime.

The collection is backed up by the former Nazi victim search service, the International Tracing Service (ITS).

These references to around 17.5 million people form part of the UNESCO world documentary heritage.

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Donald Ugwu

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GIZ supports AU Border Programme with €18m -Official

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Ludwiz Kirchner, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) GIZ Cluster Coordinator says it has renewed its support for African Union (AU) Border Programme with 18 million Euros from 2020 to 2022.

Kirchner made this known on the sidelines of the Workshop on Regional Review and Planning of the African Union Border Programme in West Africa on Tuesday in Abuja.

“The African Union Border Programme was quite a successful programme, the fourth phase has been established with a total of 18 million euros that will be allocated to different countries but with the focus on the West African Region.

“With already three phases at the beginning starting with demarcation activities, but more and more has moved also to border management and cross border initiatives especially for trading and better environment at the border areas.

“It has been very successful, and it was from all sides, the German sides and also from the partner side to continue with the programme.

“The main purpose is to develop the border area because mostly border areas are so remote and somehow also not in the focus of the government services, so there is a need for development in the border areas“.

For his part, Adamu Adaji, Acting Director General, National Boundary Commission, said the workshop aimed to review the support of the German Government to the AU Programme as it enters the fourth phase.

`The programme is to review the support of the German Government over the years, as it now ends its third phase and commences the fourth phase, beginning from 2020.

“The German Government had as part of their policy, provided support to the African Union Border Programme to some West African Countries; Nigeria became a beneficiary of that support just two years ago.

“The support has enabled us to partner with Niger Republic to put more pillars along our common international boundaries, and the support has also enabled us to provide eight solar powered boreholes to our border communities and have a very peaceful international boundary regime with our neighbours.“

According to the Acting DG, with the support from the German Government, affected countries will work out modalities to ensure that their boundaries are well defined as expected.

He said: “part of the support is also to provide facilities that will engage the affected border communities so as to curb the rate of crime and other vices along our international boundaries“.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Germany government has a long-standing cooperation with the African Union and its Member States in several areas.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Spain confirm return of Luis Enrique as coach to Qatar World Cup

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The president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, on Tuesday said that Luis Enrique would return to his job as Spain coach including the Qatar World Cup in 2022.

In a news conference Rubiales said “Luis Enrique wants to, and I am grateful that he does, take charge of Spain until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

“We sat here in June to say that (Robert) Moreno was taking over (from Luis Enrique) but we have always been very transparent that the door was open for Luis Enrique if he wanted to come back.’’

Moreno was an assistant coach with Spain but he took charge in June when Luis Enrique resigned to care for his nine-year-old daughter before she died of bone cancer in August.

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Donald Ugwu

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Church of England consecrates first black female bishop

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The Church of England consecrated its first black female bishop on Tuesday in a ceremony at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral.

Jamaican born Rose Hudson Wilkin, 58, the new Bishop of Dover, recently left her post as chaplain to the speaker of the British Parliament’s elected main house, the Commons, after nine years.

“Rose has not just done the job, she has excelled beyond anything that we could reasonably have imagined or contemplated, former Commons speaker John Bercow said of Hudson Wilkin, on his final day as speaker on Oct 31.

“It is that authenticity about her that impresses everybody who hears or meets her,’’ Bercow said.

A formal ceremony to install Hudson-Wilkin as the Bishop of Dover, in the diocese of Canterbury, is scheduled to be held at Canterbury Cathedral on Nov 30.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the Church of England’s most senior cleric, said she had been one of the most influential and effective ministers in the public square in her parliamentary role.

“She has challenged the Church of England over its engagement with UK minority ethnic groups, and has spoken forcefully and effectively at many evangelistic meetings,’’ Welby said.

Hudson-Wilkin and her husband, a prison chaplain, have three adult children, according to an official biography.

Educated in Montego Bay, Jamaica, she attended Birmingham University in England and trained with the Church Army.

She served as a priest in East London’s Hackney area for 16 years and was made a royal chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II in 2007.

Edited by Halima Sheji/Ifeyinwa Omowole

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German animal rights activists bring case for castrated piglets

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German activists affiliated with PETA, the international animal rights organisation, on Tuesday initiated legal action before the Constitutional Court on behalf of piglets objecting to castration without anaesthetic.

“The piglets themselves do not want to be castrated without anaesthetic any longer,’’ PETA lawyer, Christian Arleth said.

German law allows every man to raise a constitutional objection, the court understanding the term to include natural and legal persons, such as listed companies, for example.

PETA is aiming for animals to be granted this right as well, noting that protecting animals is safeguarded in the constitution.

A court spokesman confirmed the objection had been submitted but made no comment on whether it would succeed.

If there is no justification for a case, the judges do not consider it.

Millions of piglets are castrated without anaesthetic in Germany every year, a few days after birth with the intention of preventing the meat of the boars from developing a strong smell and taste.

A decision has been taken to end the practice but only at the end of 2020.

Farmers are to undergo training to use the gas isoflurane to anaesthetise the piglets, PETA is opposed to this as well.

Edited by Halima Sheji/Ifeyinwa Omowole

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