Democrat Joe Biden, who defeated President Donald Trump to become the next US president told Americans overnight in his victory speech he was a leader who “seeks not to divide, but to unify” a country gripped by a pandemic and economic and social turmoil.
“I sought this office to restore the soul of America,” Biden said in a victory speech close to his Delaware home, “and to make America respected around the world again and to unite us here at home.”
Biden crossed the winning line with 270 Electoral College votes with a win in Pennsylvania after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes that delayed processing.
Trump however refused to concede, threatening further legal action on ballot counting, VOA reported.
But Biden used his acceptance speech as an olive branch to those who did not vote for him, telling Trump voters that he understood their disappointment but said: “Let’s give each other a chance.”
“It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, to lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to each other again, to make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy,” he said. “We are not enemies. We are Americans.”
Biden’s victory was a rejection of Trump’s divisive leadership. However, the president-elect inherits a deeply divided nation that is struggling with the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris made history as the first woman, black woman and woman of Asian descent, to become vice president, an achievement that comes as the US faces a reckoning on racial justice, VoA reported.
The California senator will become the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in the US government.
Harris introduced Biden at their evening victory celebration as “a president for all Americans” who would look to rebuild a nation so deeply divided.
“Dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before,” Harris told Americans. “You chose hope and unity, decency, science and, yes, truth … you ushered in a new day for America.”
However, all indications point towards Trump not giving up easily with media reports pointing towards a potentially turbulent transfer of power.
Overnight Trump said his campaign would take legal action and in a tweet that was all in caps stated: “I WON THE ELECTION, GOT 71,000,000 LEGAL VOTES.” Twitter however immediately flagged it as misleading.
Trump is the first incumbent president to lose reelection since Republican George HW Bush in 1992.
Kabul University lecturer killed in IED explosion
A university lecturer was killed in a targeted IED explosion in Kabul city late Thursday morning.
Police confirmed the incident, which happened at about 11.25 am in PD3, close to Kabul University and said another person was also killed in the incident.
The victim, Mubasher Muslimyar, was a lecturer in Islamic studies at the university.
Muslimyar was killed while driving in a Toyota Corolla which was targeted in a magnetic IED attack.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the explosion.
Biden says he will never hesitate to use force to protect America
In a visit to the Pentagon on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden said he would never hesitate to use force to defend America but also promised to work with leaders around the world to bring an end to wars that have dragged on “for far too long”.
“As your commander in chief, I will never hesitate to use force to defend the vital interest of America, the American people and our allies around the world when necessary,” Biden said adding that the “central indispensable mission of the Department of Defense is to deter aggression from our enemies, and if required to, fight and win wars to keep America safe.”
He told DoD staff present at the event that the US Defense Department is essential for the work State Department diplomats do around the world.
Biden promised to work with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and world leaders “to bring a responsible end to wars that have dragged on for far too long, while continuing to ensure that terrorist threats cannot endanger the security of the American people.”
Biden did not however give any indication as to what his decision is yet on the May 1 troop withdrawal deadline.
An agreement signed in February 2020 by the Trump Administration and the Taliban notes that all US troops are supposed to be gone by May this year.
So far, indications are that the withdrawal of troops will be based on conditions on the ground, opposed to a calendar date.
Facebook to temporarily reduce political content in some countries
Facebook Inc said on Wednesday it would temporarily reduce political content appearing on New Feeds for some users in Canada, Brazil and Indonesia this week and in the United States within the coming weeks, Reuters reported.
Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in January that he wanted to “turn down the temperature” of political conversations on the social networking site because “people don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services.”
Reuters reported that the world’s largest social network, which has received flack for not doing enough to remove hateful content from the platform, last month said it would stop recommending civic and political groups to users.
Reducing the frequency of political content will mark initial steps to explore different ways to rank such content in people’s feeds using different signals and understand their preferences, the company said in a blog post.
Facebook will exempt content from official government agencies and services, as well as COVID-19 information from health organizations from the drill, Reuters reported.
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