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‘Idiot’ New Zealand health minister breaks lockdown — yet keeps job

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New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern AFP:File : Marty MELVILLE

New Zealand’s health minister described himself as “an idiot” Tuesday for breaking lockdown restrictions, but kept his job coordinating the South Pacific nation’s COVID-19 response.

Health Minister David Clark said he offered his resignation to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after revealing he took a 20-kilometre (12.5-mile) drive to the beach with his family.

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Clark admitted the trip was a clear breach of the country’s strict lockdown rules, under which families must stay close to home, and his position meant he should have been setting an example.

“At a time when we are asking New Zealanders to make historic sacrifices, I’ve let the team down,” he said in a statement.

“I’ve been an idiot and I understand why people will be angry with me.”

Clark also said he had been on short two-kilometer drives with his family, which he said were within the rules.

Ardern said under normal circumstances, she would have sacked Clark — but instead, she stripped him of the junior role of associated finance minister and demoted him in the cabinet rankings.

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“What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses,” she said.

“But right now, my priority is our collective fight against COVID-19. We cannot afford massive disruption in the health sector or to our response. For that reason, and that reason alone, Dr. Clark will maintain his role.”

Scotland’s chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood resigned Sunday for breaking the rules after twice visiting her second home, despite fronting an ad campaign calling for Scots to stay at home.

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Trump can’t stop talking about losing to someone he says is the worst candidate in history: analysis

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As Election Day draws closer, some polls are showing President Trump trailing Joe Biden by double digits, and according to the Washington Post's Aaron Blake, Trump increasingly has "losing on the brain" as a result.

"At numerous junctures in recent weeks and especially over the past 10 days, Trump has referred to what it would mean if he lost, pre-blamed certain things for his potential loss, and expressed apoplexy that he could be losing to this particular opponent, Joe Biden," Blake writes.

Blake cites numerous comments from Trump where he speculates about scenarios where he loses.

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Early returns in Florida show the electorate is skewing younger than in 2016

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The preliminary returns in Florida show that the electorate is skewing much younger than four years ago when President Donald Trump ran against former Sec. Hillary Clinton.

"In ballots returned before in-person voting opened on Monday, Florida voters under 65 years old accounted for about half the ballots cast, marking a 12-point uptick in their share of the early vote compared to this time in 2016," CNN.com reported.

Previously, the share of the Florida electorate that is over 65 was as much as 64 percent. Now, they're just 52 percent. Older voters should be the ones voting by mail and voting early given the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic. But it appears that younger people are the ones turning out instead.

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2020 Election

Trump administration facing new investigation over political interference at the CDC and FDA

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The Government Accountability Office has agreed to "conduct an investigation of the Trump Administration's political interference at the CDC and FDA, and to determine whether this interference has violated the agencies' scientific integrity and communication policies."

https://twitter.com/GeoffRBennett/status/1318240849101291521

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Patty Murray requested the review on Oct. 8.

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