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COVID-19: Biden will not trek to Milwaukee for convention speech

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Joe Biden will not travel to Milwaukee to accept the Democratic presidential nomination due to concerns about the coronavirus, party officials said Wednesday, signalling a move to a convention that essentially has become entirely virtual.

It is the latest example of the pandemic’s sweeping effects on the 2020 United States presidential election and the latest blow to traditional party nominating conventions that historically have marked the start of US presidential election campaigns.

“From the very beginning of this pandemic, we put the health and safety of the American people first,” said Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez.

“We followed the science, listened to doctors and public health experts, and we continued making adjustments to our plans in order to protect lives. That’s the kind of steady and responsible leadership America deserves. And that’s the leadership Joe Biden will bring to the White House,” Perez said.

Neither the Biden campaign nor DNC officials offered details about how Biden might give his nomination acceptance, which even in the pandemic could be a made-for-screen event that reaches tens of millions of voters via television and online.

Biden is attacking rival President Donald Trump for mishandling the coronavirus as polls show more Americans disapprove of the  president’s performance.

From day one, Donald Trump downplayed the threat COVID-19 posed, ignored scientists, and refused to take action.

Now, nearly 5 million cases and more than 150,000 deaths later, it’s crystal clear we’re paying the price for his failed leadership.

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 5, 2020

A DNC official said all speakers and presenters for the August 17-24 Democratic convention are now expected to appear from remote locations.

Trump already had abandoned plans to accept the Republican nomination in person. He mused in remarks to the Fox News television outlet on Wednesday about potentially making his acceptance speech from the White House.

“Well, we are thinking about it. It would be easiest from the standpoint of security,” he said during an interview with the US TV show Fox & Friends.

“We are thinking about doing it from the White House because there’s no movement. It’s easy, and I think it’s a beautiful setting and we are thinking about that. It’s certainly one of the alternatives. It’s the easiest alternative, I think it’s a beautiful alternative,” Trump said.

Donald Trump rally

US President Donald Trump arrives on stage to speak at a campaign rally at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20. After months of insisting that the Republican National Convention proceed as scheduled despite the coronavirus pandemic, Trump is slowly coming to accept that the event will not be the four-night public event he had anticipated [File: Evan Vucci/AP Photo]

Biden and the Democrats for months have moved toward a virtual convention, first by delaying the event from its original mid-July date to the week before Republicans’ scheduled convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

DNC officials later authorised organisers to plan for virtual proceedings, then added an explicit call for delegates not to travel to Milwaukee. More than 4,000 delegates already were casting mail ballots for Biden’s nomination and a platform that had been written and approved in meetings conducted online. Until Wednesday, it was expected that Biden and his running mate would speak from Milwaukee.

Biden is in the final days of deciding on a vice presidential candidate, who he has said will be a woman.

Trump has been far more reluctant to alter his convention plans, as he sought to downplay the pandemic’s significance and push the country to return to normal operations.

Trump jousted with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, because Cooper would not guarantee the president that North Carolina would lift restrictions on large public gatherings so that Trump could pack Charlotte’s indoor professional sports arena.

Trump then said he would travel to Jacksonville to make his address, a decision welcomed at the time by Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. But Florida has since seen its COVID-19 cases spike, part of a national trend that led Trump to yield to public health experts and cancel the event.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted August 3-4 found that Biden leads Trump by 10 percentage points in support among registered voters, less than 90 days before the presidential election. A plurality, 44 percent, believe Biden would be better than Trump at steering the nation’s response to the pandemic.

Biden’s Democratic presidential campaign is reserving $280m in digital and television ads through the fall, nearly twice the amount Trump’s team has reserved.

The Biden campaign announced in a Wednesday memo that it is reserving $220m in television airtime and $60m in digital ads, in contrast to the $147m the Trump campaign has reserved, according to a review of Kantar/CMAG data by The Associated Press. Both campaigns can add to or subtract from their reservations at any time.

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Armenian Aggression

Amnesty International verifies use of banned cluster bombs by Armenia to attack Azerbaijani Barda

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Amnesty International has verified the use of banned cluster bombs by Armenia for the first time in the current Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, following an attack on the city of Barda in Azerbaijan.

On October 28, 2020, at approximately 1.30 pm (GMT+4) local time, one or several Smerch rockets were fired into Barda, striking a residential neighbourhood close to a hospital. The Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office has stated that at least 21 people were killed, with an estimated 70 more injured.

Amnesty International’s Crisis Response experts verified pictures (taken by Vice News reporters in the city) of fragments of 9N235 cluster munitions from 9M55 Smerch rockets, that appear to have been fired into the city by Armenian forces.

“The firing of cluster munitions into civilian areas is cruel and reckless, and causes untold death, injury and misery,” said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

“Cluster munitions are inherently indiscriminate weapons, and their use in any circumstances is banned under international humanitarian law.”

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Armenian Aggression

Lebanese human rights defenders condemn Armenian vandalism in Beirut

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By Trend

Lebanese human rights defenders condemn Armenian vandalism in Beirut, well-known Lebanese lawyer, expert on foreign policy and international law, board member of the International Association of Human Rights Defenders Tareg Chandeb told Trend.

Chandeb noted that the Lebanese Center for Legal and Political Research and Defense of Freedoms condemns the actions of the Lebanese Armenian extremist groups – their burning of the Turkish flag and the image of the president of Turkey.

Ongoing vandalism of some Armenian extremist groups and their incitement to sectarian strife in Lebanon requires Lebanese security forces to arrest these terrorists and punish them appropriately, Chandeb said.

He noted that the security forces and judicial bodies of Lebanon have not yet arrested a single Armenian extremist criminal who had previously abused Lebanon's relations with friendly Turkey.

Also, the security and judicial authorities of Lebanon didn’t take any action against the Armenian extremists who violated Lebanese laws and recruited people as mercenaries, sending them to fight in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh against peaceful Azerbaijanis.

He also noted that Azerbaijan is a friendly country and Lebanon maintains official diplomatic relations with it.

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Armenian Aggression

Armenia once again violates ceasefire agreements

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By Trend

If to look at the history of the Karabakh conflict, one very interesting detail can be traced – the actions of Yerevan have always been aimed at violating the agreements reached, especially the agreements on a ceasefire and a humanitarian truce, which became relevant due to the latest known events, Trend reports.

The agreement on the third ceasefire regime in Nagorno-Karabakh entered into force at 8:00 am on October 26. However, already five minutes after the regime entered into force, Armenia violated the agreements. Why?

In 1991, 1992, 1993, temporary armistice agreements were concluded:

Kazakhstan played its role during the first war in Nagorno-Karabakh and made the first attempt at peace. Former President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and then Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin tried to end the hostilities. Despite the consensus reached, Armenia didn’t stop its attacks. Peacekeeping efforts were stopped during the crash of an Azerbaijani MI-8 helicopter with Russian, Kazakh observers, and high-ranking Azerbaijani government officials on board when it was shot down by Armenia over the village of Garakand in the Khojavand district on November 20, 1991.

On February 25, 1992, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Velayati arrived in Baku to apply the experience of the Iran-Iraq war in Karabakh. On February 26, the parties promised each other by telephone a ceasefire from February 27 to 9 am on March 1, after which Velayati arrived in Ganja and began to wait for the promises. On February 26, Armenian militants committed the Khojaly genocide.

In May 1992, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Tehran and signed a truce. But as soon as the negotiations ended, the Armenian military stormed Shusha city.

On August 27, a meeting of the foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia took place in Alma-Ata. Its holding was agreed on the eve in a telephone conversation of the presidents of these states. The ceasefire entered into force on Sept. 1, 1992, but was violated within a few days by the Armenian side.

With the mediation of Russia, the ceasefire agreement of September 19, 1992, entered into force on September 25, 1992. The ceasefire was violated by the Armenian side.

Former Iranian President Rafsanjani brokered a ceasefire agreement between the parties on October 28, 1993. Again Armenia violated the ceasefire.

Former Armenian President Robert Kocharian in his book "Life is Freedom: Autobiography of the Ex-President of Armenia and Karabakh" wrote: "We have repeatedly tried to negotiate with Azerbaijan on a truce and ceasefire. But every time for some reason it seemed to me that I needed to take advantage of inept actions. We managed to take advantage of the "truce window" in October 1993, that’s when, having agreed on a ceasefire, we established de facto control over Zangilan on October 29."

On December 5-6, 1994, at the CSCE summit in Budapest, in order to coordinate mediation efforts within the CSCE, it was decided to establish the institution of the co-chairmanship of the Minsk Conference. At the Budapest Summit, the CSCE Chairman-in-Office was instructed to negotiate to reach a political agreement to end the armed conflict. The specified political agreement was intended to eliminate the consequences of the conflict and allow the convening of the Minsk Conference.

On May 12, 1994, an agreement on a ceasefire was reached between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which, with the exception of local and short-term violations, lasted until April 2016;

On March 23, 1995, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office issued a mandate to the Minsk Process Co-Chairs. At the summit held on December 2-3, 1996 in Lisbon, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office recommended the fundamental principles of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s settlement, which Armenia rejected, becoming the only one of the 54 OSCE member states that voted against the proposal.

On April 2, 2016, after another provocation of the Armenian army, large-scale military clashes took place. As a result, the Armenian army suffered losses and retreated, and the Azerbaijani army took control of new strategic heights. On June 20, 2016, in St. Petersburg, at the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a meeting was held between the presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia;

On July 11, 2018, the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan held their first meeting after the ‘Velvet Revolution’ in Armenia in May 2018. On the eve of the new leadership of Armenia proposed to change the format of negotiations on Karabakh.

On July 12, 2020, after another provocation by Armenia, clashes began in the Tovuz direction of the Azerbaijani-Armenian border, which continued with varying intensity for about a week;

The new leadership of Armenia, trying to change the format of the negotiations, as well as declaring the inadmissibility of any concessions, actually disrupted the process of peace agreements. New statements by the Prime Minister of Armenia N.Pashinyan and the leaders of the military junta in Karabakh indicated the continuation of the aggressive policy and the existence of plans of official Yerevan in this direction;

On September 27, 2020, the Azerbaijani army reacted harshly to the new provocations of the Armenian side. Within a month, 4 cities, 3 settlements, 165 villages were liberated. In fact, the Azerbaijani army in one month returned the territories that Armenia had seized in the early 1990s for several years;

In fact, the 1994 ceasefire ceased to exist. Armenia bears full responsibility for the current situation, which has consistently thwarted all agreements both on the resolution of the conflict and on ensuring the ceasefire;

In a short time, which had existed for 27 years, the status quo and the line of contact were eliminated. A new situation has developed in which Armenia is forced to agree to the withdrawal of troops from the territory of Azerbaijan.

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