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#14458638 Nov 27, 2020 at 11:21 PM
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How We Can Reconcile With Each Other When Our Politics Are So Polarized

On a Sunday afternoon earlier this month, eight Democrats, seven Republicans and one Independent attended a three-hour Zoom meeting to discuss politics. There was no screaming. No one hurled accusations or stereotypes. People thanked each other for sharing their opinions.

It felt like a miracle.

The meeting was a “Red/Blue Workshop,” conducted by Braver Angels, a nonpartisan nonprofit that was created after the 2016 election by people concerned about the increasingly polarized tone of political discourse in the U.S. The aim of these workshops is to bring people with different political views together to share their beliefs and search for commonalities. “You look for the glue, for that which binds,” says William Doherty, a marriage and family therapist, professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, and one of the group’s co-founders, who designed the workshop. “Now is the perfect time to begin this process of reconciliation.”

A majority of Americans — 67% — believe it’s important to get along with people they disagree with politically, according to a recently released study by researchers at Harvard Graduate School of Education called “Bridging America’s Political Divide.” Eighty-three percent of the survey’s approximately 1,400 respondents said they could respect someone who disagrees with them politically as long as the person respected them back. And 80% said they would be “happy” to engage in conversations with people who have opposing political views — as long as the conversation was considerate, with neither party belittling or disparaging the other.

And yet true reconciliation will take more than good communication skills. To restore genuinely friendly relations with friends, family members and those in our communities, we need to move past our mutual hostility and heal. This will require us to listen, to try to understand why people feel differently than we do, and to find and focus on the things we have in common.

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Gambian Women Deserve More Leadership Roles In Politics’-Gender Activist

Musu Bakoto Saho, a gender lecturer at the University of The Gambia and national coordinator of Think Young Women, said here Sunday women in The Gambia deserved more leadership roles in politics than just cheering leaders and mobilizing.

She made the statement in a presentation as resource persons at the end of one-week women leaders at grassroots levels training on leadership organized by the NGOs Westminster Foundation for Democracy and intergovernmental coalition Community of Democracies office in the Gambia.

These women are already active in politics at both national and grass roots levels, but they are limited by experience, resources of the civic space existing in The Gambia.

In her presentation, Ms Saho, who is also deputy Executive Secretary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in The Gambia, noted that women in The Gambia had been the greatest supporters of men candidates within the parties to which they belonged.

“They serve as mobilisers, organise rallies and are responsible for the smooth running of the events. Women constitute 58% of all registered Gambian voters, yet majority of the decision-making platforms are occupied by men and the political arena is also largely dominated by men,” she said.

Currently, women represent 50.5 per cent of the country’s population. Less women find themselves in relevant positions within political parties, in the civil service and other relevant decision-making processes.

She described it as “astounding” to discover that in 2020, only three out of the current 48 elected members in the National Assembly were women in addition to three nominated members, making a total of six out of 58 members.

“The total percentage of women in Parliament is 10.3 per cent. In Cabinet, only 4 out of the 23 members are women,” she said, noting that these figures were far below the Gambia’s commitment to attaining gender equality in this field.

During the workshop, participants were exposed to tools, and strategies that empowered their participation and more effective roles in politics.

The objective of the workshop was to encourage and support political participation of women in The Gambia, and prepare them to become effective leaders on equal footing with men.

Neneh Freda Gomez, a founding member of the political party, Citizen Alliance, and the country coordinator for Global Hearts of Medical Missions equally deplored the situation of women in Gambian politics.

“We are in this situation because we are made to, women are never factored in when men sit to plan and make political decisions,” she said.

“The importance of having women in politics is to give the perspective of a woman consideration in the decision making because men would decide on things without factoring in the woman element, the family element and the child element,” Gomez stated.

The Secretary General of the Community for Democracies, Thomas E. Garrett, argued that women leaders prioritized policies that emphasized health care, social welfare and education.

“States where women hold more political power are less likely to go to war and less likely to commit human rights abuses,” he said, noting that the women participants would help transform The Gambia into a full-fledged democracy.
Trump agrees transition to Biden administration can begin

Key federal agency says Joe Biden ‘apparent winner’ of United States election, clearing the way for the start of the transition.

President-elect Joe Biden was projected as the winner of the US election more than two weeks ago [Tom Brenner/Reuters]

24 Nov 2020

United States President-elect Joe Biden has been formally given the go-ahead by a federal agency to begin his transition to the presidency, shortly after the battleground state of Michigan certified him as the winner there.

With the rapid-fire developments on Monday, President Donald Trump’s already languishing efforts to overturn his November 3 defeat appeared to be coming to a close.

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The US General Services Administration (GSA), an independent agency, ascertained that Biden was the “apparent winner” of the election and informed Biden that his transition — leading up to a January 20 swearing-in — could officially begin.

GSA Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump’s efforts to challenge the vote failed across battleground states, citing “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results”.

Michigan certified Biden’s victory Monday, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania moved on Saturday to throw out a Trump campaign lawsuit seeking to prevent certification in that state.

Murphy, a Trump appointee, has faced bipartisan criticism for failing to begin the transition process sooner, preventing Biden’s team from working with agency officials on plans for his administration, including in critical national security and public health areas.

“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official — including those who work at the White House or GSA — with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” Murphy wrote in a letter to Biden.
‘Lost time’

Yohannes Abraham, the Biden-Harris Transition Executive Director, said the decision was a “definitive administrative action” that would formally begin the transition process with federal agencies.

“In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the [coronavirus] pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies.”

Thurgood Marshall Jr, a former Clinton Cabinet Secretary, told Al Jazeera that the delay had been “unconscionable” especially at a time when the United States was facing an accelerating COVID-19 pandemic.

“It will make a tremendous difference (to Biden) with regard to the fast-moving developments with the pandemic and getting a vaccine out to the public,” Thurgood said. “That process vitally important within the United States and globally can now move forward in a much more organised and sensible fashion.”

Biden will also need to make thousands of appointments — some of which will require confirmation hearings — while federal agencies will also need to adjust their priorities to the incoming administration, he added.

“They will have to make up for lost time,” Thurgood said. “It’s going to be a lot of hard work in the coming weeks.”

Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said in a tweet that he was directing his team to cooperate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight.

In a tweet, Trump wrote that Murphy and her team should “do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same”.

Separately, retiring Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, who has repeatedly called for the transition to begin, released a statement Monday saying that Trump should “put the country first” and help Biden’s administration succeed.

“When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do,” Alexander said.

SOURCE : AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES
Bake Off fans praise Noel Fielding for comforting Laura after custard slice blunder
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Great British Bake Off viewers were left swooning over host Noel Fielding as he gave finalist Laura Adlington a motivational speech to cheer her up after a major fail

GBBO: Noel Fielding comforts Laura after custard slice blunder

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Great British Bake Off fans were left feeling gutted for finalist Laura Adlington as she endured an epic fail during the Signature Challenge.

Laura appeared confident as she set about making her custard slices in order to impress judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, but the results weren’t so great.

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Unfortunately her custard didn’t set properly, so the presentation of her baked goods wasn’t exactly ideal — which led Laura to break down in tears.

As she attempted to decorate her slices, the emotion became too much and she walked over to the freezer to have a little cry.

Mighty Boosh star Noel Fielding was quick to comfort Laura and headed over to her table to give her a pep talk.

Great British Bake Off host Noel Fielding was praised by viewers in tonight’s final

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“You’ve come back from worse,” he told her. “Just go forward now.”

Great British Bake Off fans were taken aback by his actions and rushed to Twitter to praise the comedian.

“The pep talks from Noel and Matt are some of the most wholesome moments of the show,” one person posted.

A second added: “Aw Noel with that motivational speech.”

Laura tried to stay positive after realising she had failed the Signature Challenge

And a third tweeted: “Oh I love how much support Noel is giving them.”

A fourth viewer noted: “Noel being such a rock to Laura a kind man.”

“Noel giving Laura a pep talk, the man is too pure,” another person posted.

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