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UK opposition chief Corbyn ‘sorry’ for election wipeout

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Britain’s main opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn apologised Sunday for waging a disastrous campaign that handed Prime Minister Boris Johnson a mandate to take the UK out of the EU next month.

But the veteran socialist defended his far-left platform and blamed the media for helping relegate his century-old party to its worst performance since before World War II.

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“I will make no bones about it. The election result on Thursday was a body blow for everyone who so desperately needs real change in our country,” Corbyn wrote in the Sunday Mirror newspaper.

“I wanted to unite the country that I love but I’m sorry that we came up short and I take my responsibility for it.”

Thursday’s snap general election turned into a re-run of the 2016 EU membership referendum in which Johnson championed the Brexit cause.

Johnson now commands an 80-vote majority in the 650-seat House of Commons — a margin last enjoyed by the late Tory icon Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

A sombre but combative Corbyn said Friday that he will step aside once Labour completes a period of “reflection” about its mistakes.

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The party is expected to have a new leader in place before England votes yet again in local polls in May.

Yet the 70-year-old has no clear successor after a year of infighting between a protectionist old guard backed by the unions and more metropolitan members with pro-European views.

Corbyn tried to find a balance between the two camps by taking a neutral position on Brexit — a decision that Labour finance spokesman John McDonnell proved to be fatal.

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“What we tried to do is bring both sides together and we failed,” McDonnell told the BBC.

Labour’s campaign was also dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism that forced a handful of senior lawmakers to resign.

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Corbyn tried to shift the campaign’s focus on bread-and-butter social issues important to Labour voters.

“But despite our best efforts, this election was ultimately about Brexit,” Corbyn admitted in his letter.

“The Tory campaign, amplified by most of the media, managed to persuade many that only Boris Johnson could ‘get Brexit done’,” he said in reference to Johnson’s campaign slogan.

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“We will learn the lessons of this defeat.”

– Soul-searching –

The soul-searching and recriminations have been accompanied by questions in other Western countries about how far left traditionally liberal voters are prepared to go.

“Look what happens when the Labour party moves so, so far to the left,” US Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden warned Friday.

Yet Corbyn signalled Sunday that he wanted to leave behind a radical legacy that keeps Labour’s focus on vast social spending and redistribution of wealth.

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He came under intense citicism from more moderate supporters Sunday for claiming that his platform ultimately proved right.

“I am proud that on austerity, on corporate power, on inequality and on the climate emergency we have won the arguments and rewritten the terms of political debate,” he wrote in a separate column in The Observer newspaper.

Several prominent Labour members who are viewed as potential leaders sharply disagreed.

“It’s time to try something different, rather than re-enacting old battles,” lawmaker Jess Phillips wrote in The Observer.

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“Everywhere I campaign, I heard the same thing. It was less about Brexit and more about belief. In these places of generations of Labour voting, they did not believe a Labour government would or could deliver for them.”

Labour parliamentarian Lisa Nandy agreed that the party had “lost touch with the day-to-day… experience of many of the people we want to represent”.

“If we are going to represent the country, we need to understand it, to see it as it really is, not how we might imagine it to be,” she wrote in The Observer.


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New Zealand may postpone general election after 4 test positive for COVID-19: PM Jacinda Ardern

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New Zealand locked down nursing homes nationwide Wednesday after a 102-day streak without the coronavirus ended, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the outbreak could force her to postpone next month's general election.

Ardern said authorities were scrambling to trace anyone who had been in contact with four Auckland residents who tested positive Tuesday, ending the dream run in which the virus had been contained at New Zealand's borders.

A three-day stay-at-home order for Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city with a population of 1.5 million, was announced on Tuesday night and went into force at lunchtime on Wednesday.

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2020 Election

Android phones to get ‘ShakeAlert’ earthquake warnings — and phones may double as tremor detectors

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Android phones will receive warnings triggered by a "ShakeAlert" earthquake early-warning system implemented on the West Coast by the US Geological Survey and partners.

ShakeAlert uses signals from hundreds of seismometers across the state to trigger warning messages that "an earthquake has begun and shaking is imminent," according to the system's website.

"We saw an opportunity to use Android to provide people with timely, helpful earthquake information when they search, as well as a few seconds warning to get themselves and their loved ones to safety if needed," principal software engineer Marc Stogaitis said in a blog post.

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2020 Election

‘Don’t talk about racism, racist’: Trump scorched after claiming Biden-Harris campaign has a ‘racism problem’

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President Donald Trump continued to lash out at Kamala Harris after the California Democrat was chosen to join the 2020 Democratic Party ticket as presumptive nominee Joe Biden's running mate.

At a news conference following the selection, Trump complained about Harris being "nasty."

After 10 p.m. on Monday, Trump tweeted out an attack ad claiming "Joe Biden has a racism problem."

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's line of attack:

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