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Eleven small Indian political parties band together as ‘third front’ as elections approach

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Eleven Indian political parties vowed Tuesday to work together to defeat the country’s two main outfits at the upcoming general elections by forming a so-called third front.

The grouping of left-leaning and regional parties announced their plans to become a viable alternative to the ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headed by Narendra Modi.

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Prakash Karat, a senior leader of the Communist Party of India, said the new front would “work for the defeat” of Congress and the BJP — the traditional parties that together hold over half the seats in India’s lower house of parliament.

“We need an alternative to both the Congress and BJP. That’s why we the leaders of the 11 parties resolved today to work together,” Karat said at a press conference in New Delhi.

Opinion polls show Modi on course to win the elections due by May ahead of Congress whose campaign is led by Rahul Gandhi, the son, grandson and great-grandson of former prime ministers.

But whoever wins will almost certainly have to stitch together a coalition comprising smaller regional parties.

No single party has won a parliamentary majority since 1989, giving often populist regional leaders immense power at the national level.

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The 11 parties include three which rule at the state level in the electorally crucial eastern Bihar, northern Uttar Pradesh and southern Tamil Nadu states.

Flanked by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Samajwadi party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav from Uttar Pradesh, Karat lashed out at Congress for spawning “massive corruption” and at the BJP for pursuing a “communal agenda”.

Karat said the parties had broadly agreed on a common policy framework and the front would give itself a name after more parties joined, while their prime ministerial candidate would be announced after the elections.

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The Trinamool Congress, a regional outfit not part of the new alliance, dismissed the front as a “communist day dream”.

“The Third Front is a hobby horse of the communists, who want to use the power of regional parties to manipulate their way to influence without responsibility and to promote obsolete agendas,” leader Derek O’Brien tweeted.

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[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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Trump has committed 6 impeachable offenses: Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe says ‘the evidence is all there’

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Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe broke down the six impeachable offenses President Donald Trump has committed during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Tribe has argued 36 cases before the United States Supreme Court and taught at Harvard Law for 50 years. He co-authored the 2018 book To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment with Joshua Matz.

"Everyone was in the loop, it was no secret. That was the testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland yesterday as he implicated the president, Secretary of State, White House chief of staff, and former National Security Advisor John Bolton and other administration officials in the plot to bribe the president of Ukraine to publicly launch an investigation into Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. military aid to Ukraine that was authorized by Congress and that the president was withholding," O'Donnell reported.

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Rachel Maddow breaks down how public opinion is catching up with the facts of Trump’s impeachment

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Thursday broke down how the details from the televised impeachment hearings are being reported in local newspapers.

The host read the headlines from multiple newspapers following the damning testimony by Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

The Los Angels Times headlined, "Sonland implicates president." "Envoy says Trump directed effort," was The Wall Street Journal headline.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch headlined, "'Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret': Defiant Sondland says he followed Trump's orders."

"Trump directed pressure on Ukraine, ambassador says," headlined The Kansas City Star.

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Shep Smith blasts autocrats in first public remarks since leaving Fox News — and donates $500,000 to protect journalists

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On Thursday, for the first time since exiting Fox News, reporter Shepard Smith gave public comments at the International Press Freedom Awards — and used the occasion to blast autocratic leaders who use their power to suppress journalism.

"Intimidation and vilification of the press is now a global phenomenon. We don’t have to look far for evidence of that,” said Smith. "Our belief a decade ago that the online revolution would liberate us now seems a bit premature, doesn’t it? Autocrats have learned how to use those same online tools to shore up their power. They flood the world of information with garbage and lies, masquerading as news. There’s a phrase for that."

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