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Trump and Biden neck-and-neck in key battleground states



US President Joe Biden and Republican rival Donald Trump are running neck-and-neck in the November presidential election, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Forty per cent of registered voters in the eight-day survey, which ended on Tuesday, said they would vote for Democrat Biden if the election were held today, while the same proportion chose former US president Trump. This is little changed from Biden’s 1-point lead in the Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted on 29-30 April.

According to the poll, which has a margin of error of about 2 percentage points among registered voters, many voters remain undecided nearly six months before the November 5 election.

Twenty per cent of registered voters surveyed said they had not chosen a candidate, were leaning towards third party options or might not vote at all.

Thirteen per cent said they would vote for Robert Kennedy Jr, who entered the race as an independent, if he appeared on the ballot with Trump and Biden. In the previous poll, conducted in April, Kennedy had 8% support.

While the ongoing lawsuits against him challenge Trump, Biden faces difficulties because of his age and his stance on the Gaza war.

When respondents were not given the option of voting for a third candidate or saying they were not sure who they would vote for, both candidates were tied at 46 per cent among registered voters; 8 per cent of respondents declined to answer the question.

Among registered voters who say they are “absolutely certain” they will vote in November, Biden leads by a slim 3-point margin.

In the 2020 presidential election, when Biden defeated Trump, only two-thirds of voters went to the polls.


Biden withdraws: what happens next?



The US President Joe Biden, who was expected to be the Democratic candidate in the 024 presidential elections, has announced his withdrawal from the race.

Biden, who had long been under pressure from both mega-donors and key figures within the Democratic Party to withdraw, could not continue his resistance.
Biden, 81, said in a written statement on Sunday that it had been ‘the greatest honour’ to serve, but that his withdrawal was ‘in the best interests of his party and the country’.

Not only did the list of Democratic lawmakers reiterating their call for Biden to step down grow to at least 40 before Sunday’s announcement, but staunch Biden supporters such as Senator Joe Manchin also stepped up their public calls for the 81-year-old to end his presidential campaign.

Shortly before the withdrawal, Manchin appeared on ABC’s ‘This Week’ and urged Biden to ‘pass the torch to a new generation’.

Biden endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris for the nomination. I am honoured to receive the President’s endorsement and it is my intention to seek and win this nomination,’ Harris said in a statement.

Harris must win support of Biden delegates

Biden’s candidacy was due to be formalised at the Democratic National Convention (DNC), which takes place from 19-22 August. Now, delegates who previously backed Biden will have to choose the Democratic nominee by supporting Harris or other candidates who emerge.

Dozens of senior Democrats and big names immediately praised the decision, including former President Barack Obama, Senate leader Chuck Schumer and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Former President Bill Clinton and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said they supported Kamala Harris as the party’s nominee for the November vote and would ‘fight with everything we have to elect her’.

While Obama said he had “extraordinary confidence” that “an extraordinary candidate will emerge”, he did not explicitly endorse Harris or any other candidate.

Two major Democratic donors, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Alexander Soros, son of investor George Soros, have publicly backed Harris.

It will also be interesting to see who Amala Harris chooses as her vice-president if she becomes a candidate. California Governor Gavin Newsom, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear have all been mentioned as possible running mates.

Poll results were influential in the decision

POLITICO wrote about the behind-the-scenes process of Biden’s withdrawal.

According to the report, the president’s decision came on his fourth day of isolation at his Delaware beach house, where he was quarantined while recovering from Covid.

Biden was initially accompanied by only a small group of aides and spent the entire time away from the public.

The White House, meanwhile, gave few details of Biden’s activities, saying there were only a few briefings with top aides and a congratulatory call to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

But Biden was joined this weekend by one of his closest advisers, Steve Ricchetti, who travelled to Delaware to review recent polls and reactions from Democrats who want Biden to step aside, people familiar with the matter said.

Just hours before Biden announced his withdrawal from the race, his campaign was rocked by more bad news: a new poll showed Biden down 7 points in Michigan, more than double the margin he faced in the state he should have won going into last month’s debate.

The White House was unaware of Biden’s announcement.

Biden made separate calls to Vice President Kamala Harris, Chief of Staff Jeff Zients and Campaign Manager Jen O’Malley Dillon. He then called other senior White House and campaign advisers and publicly announced his plans to withdraw.

Biden’s message on X surprised most other White House and campaign staff, who had received no indication that he was reconsidering his candidacy.

Sources also told ABC that Biden’s own staff did not know the president was stepping down until a minute before he made his decision public on Sunday, and some members of the staff were blindsided by the decision.

Zients is scheduled to hold a conference call with the entire White House staff on Monday morning, as well as a call with executive branch officials.

Did the Obama family force Biden to withdraw?

Biden’s youngest brother, Frank Biden, told ABC that his brother’s decision to withdraw was a “close call” made after several meetings between several members of the Biden family over the past week, led by “first lady” Jill Biden, and that the family has always supported the president doing what he thinks is best for the country.

“The bottom line is this: this is about his overall health and vitality. It’s not an attachment thing. He’s a man of honour, it annoys him that he shuffles his feet when he walks,” he said.

Many people close to Den say he has a lot of resentment towards former President Obama.

According to the IOS news, many of Obama’s advisers pressured Biden not to run in 2016.

‘Obama already used this leverage in 2016 when his team lobbied him not to run,’ said a former Biden aide. ‘You can’t do that more than once,’ he said.

Obama’s strongest connection is with White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, who is influential but not as personally close to Biden as other top aides.

There is also tension between Michelle Obama and the Biden family over the Bidens’ treatment of Kathleen Buhle, the former wife of Hunter Biden and a close friend of Michelle Obama. It has been said that the book Buhle wrote after her divorce from Biden following a contentious process was not welcomed by the Bidens.

Obama a ‘puppet master’, according to Biden

Sources who spoke to the New York Times also claimed that Biden had become “angry” with party leaders, particularly former President Barack Obama, and that Obama was involved in discussions about the 81-year-old’s withdrawal from the Democratic nomination.

According to the NYT report, Biden sees Obama as a “behind-the-scenes puppet master” when it comes to speeches about the president’s campaign.

Sources close to Biden, who requested anonymity, said the president ‘has been in politics long enough to assume that the media leaks in recent days were coordinated to increase pressure on him to step aside’.

According to a report in the Washington Post, Obama told allies on 19 July that Joe Biden should reconsider his re-election bid.

The paper quoted Obama as saying that he believed Biden’s path to victory was narrowing and that the 81-year-old should ‘seriously consider the viability of his candidacy’.

Trump and Republicans begin attacking Harris

An hour after Den’s statement, the pro-Trump super PAC campaign fund Make America Great Again released an ad attacking Harris, claiming she had ‘covered up Joe’s obvious mental decline’.

‘Whoever the left nominates now, there will be more of the same,’ Donald Trump said.

Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. also posted on Truth Social, saying: ‘Kamala Harris has all of Joe Biden’s left-wing policy record. the difference is she is more liberal and less competent than Joe, which is really saying something. was held responsible for the border and we saw the worst illegal invasion in our history!!!’ he wrote.

Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles, senior advisers to the Trump campaign, wrote in a note: ‘Kamala Harris is as much of a joke as Biden. Harris will be even WORSE for the people of our nation than Joe Biden. Harris has been Crooked Joe’s top aide all along. They have each other’s records and there is no distance between the two. Harris should be defending the failed Biden administration AND his poor record on liberal crime [in California],’ they wrote

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What caused the global internet outage?



Today’s (Friday 19 July) problems with Microsoft’s cloud services have gone down in history as one of the biggest IT outages ever, affecting countless businesses and individuals around the world.

According to the Financial Times (FT), it is yet another example of how a small technical change by a company unknown to many outside the IT industry can cause widespread havoc.

Companies are grappling with problems affecting computers, servers and other IT equipment running Microsoft Windows. Users of affected computers are experiencing a ‘blue screen of death’ indicating that Windows cannot load. They have seen it.

Microsoft blamed a buggy update from security software vendor CrowdStrike. CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz said in a post on X that the cause of the problems was “a bug found in a single content update for Windows”.

Kurtz said PCs and servers running Apple’s MacOS and the open-source Linux operating system, which is widely used in Internet infrastructure, were not affected.

“This is not a security incident or a cyber attack. The problem has been identified, isolated and a fix has been issued,” the CrowdStrike CEO said.

CrowdStrike is one of the largest providers of ‘endpoint’ security software that protects the connections between computer networks and remote devices connected to corporate networks, from laptops, phones and servers to retail payment terminals and ATMs. Any of these devices running Windows could be affected by the bug.

Customers of Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform, much of which runs on Windows, have also reported problems. The IT outage has affected airlines, banks and publishers from the US and Europe to Australia, Japan and India.

This morning’s global IT outage is unprecedented in terms of the range and scale of systems affected,’ said Harjinder Lallie, a cyber security expert at the University of Warwick.

CrowdStrike is a cybersecurity company founded in 2011 and based in Austin, Texas. Its Falcon software is designed to stop cyberattacks and includes a range of products that run on individual devices and are delivered via the cloud.

The company’s revenue rose by a third to $3.1 billion in its latest fiscal year, which ended in January, while net income narrowed to $90.6 million from a loss of $183.2 million a year earlier.

CrowdStrike says it is “the cloud security provider of choice for 62 of the Fortune 100”, with more than 29,000 companies using its products.

The Nasdaq-listed company joined the S&P 500 last month.

CrowdStrike’s shares had more than doubled over the past year before Friday’s outage, giving the company a market capitalisation of $83.5 billion. However, the shares fell sharply before the Nasdaq opened in New York on Friday.

While CrowdStrike says a ‘fix is in place’, it is unclear how long it will take to roll out to the large number of affected customers and all employee devices.

Vasileios Karagiannopoulos, a cybersecurity researcher at the University of Portsmouth, said the problems “could take days, if not weeks, to resolve”.

Karagianopoulos added that the problems were ‘so global and so widespread across systems that IT support may be sparse due to demand’.

Cybersecurity researcher Kevin Beaumont said in social media posts that CrowdStrike customers were going through an ‘incredibly painful’ process to resolve the issue.

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Silicon Valley tech giants line up to donate to Donald Trump



US tech and business leaders, including Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale, venture capitalist Doug Leone and the Winklevoss twins, have donated to a new super political action committee backing Donald Trump’s presidential bid.

America Pac has raised more than $8.7 million since its launch in June, including $1 million from Silicon Valley investors who have publicly backed Trump in recent weeks.

Donors include Sequoia partner Shaun Maguire and Valor Equity Partners founder Antonio Gracias, as well as Sequoia Capital co-founders Leone and Lonsdale of 8VC and Palantir.

The Financial Times quoted a person with direct knowledge of the super pac as saying that Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and X, is also planning to donate. Musk is a close business associate of several of the donors, including Lonsdale.

Coal giant Joe Craft, CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, and Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain, also donated $1 million, while Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss each gave $250,000.

Musk also considering Super Pac donation

Silicon Valley has long been considered one of the most liberal regions in the US, but some tech leaders, unhappy with President Joe Biden’s stance on regulation and taxes, are moving to the right politically.

Trump has also appealed to libertarian-leaning entrepreneurs and venture capitalists with promises to protect free speech and support the cryptocurrency industry.

Musk formally announced his support for Trump shortly after Trump’s attack at a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday. Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman also officially endorsed Trump on Saturday.

Musk also called Trump’s choice of Senator JD Vance, a former venture capitalist, as his running mate “excellent” on Monday.

Musk wrote on X: “Trump-Vance. Resounding victory,” he wrote. Musk has previously supported Democrats including Biden, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Tech and venture capital giants warm to Trump

Some prominent Silicon Valley figures are becoming increasingly active in supporting the Trump campaign.

Venture capitalist David Sacks, who hosted a fundraiser at his San Francisco home last month where Vance introduced Trump, spoke at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Milwaukee on Monday.

Keith Rabois, managing director of Khosla Ventures, told the FT that he too would donate $1 million to support Trump.

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