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News24.com | New York Poised to Elect Black Ex-cop Adams As Mayor

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New Yorkers headed to the polls on Tuesday to vote for a mayor.Eric Adams – a black former policeman is poised to be elected.New York mayor is often described as the most difficult job in the United States after president.

New Yorkers headed to the polls on Tuesday in a mayoral election that is virtually guaranteed to elect black former policeman Eric Adams as the next leader of America’s biggest city.

The centrist Democrat is expected to trounce Republican rival and volunteer crime fighter Curtis Sliwa in the liberal-voting bastion to become just the second African American to lead the Big Apple.

New York mayor is often described as the most difficult job in the United States after president.

A victory for Adams would cap a remarkable rise for someone who was born in poverty in Brooklyn and briefly worked for a gang as a teenager before a beating by police officers spurred his determination to reform the NYPD from within.

“Because I’m standing here, everyday New Yorkers are going to realise that they deserve the right to stand in the city also. This is for the little guy,” said Adams, wiping away tears outside a polling station after casting his vote.

If elected, the 61-year-old will succeed unpopular progressive Bill de Blasio, whose two-term limit ends 31 December.

As mayor for more than eight million people, Adams will oversee America’s largest municipal budget, crippled by the Covid-19 crisis, and its biggest police force and public school system.

He will be tasked with leading the city’s recovery after the pandemic, which has killed more than 34 000 residents and closed hundreds of thousands of businesses.

The moderate candidate defeated progressive rivals in June’s Democratic primary by mainly pledging to crack down on violent crime that soared during the pandemic.

He promised to tackle wealth inequalities and reform the education system, as well.

Adams will also have to grapple with a severe lack of affordable housing, violent chaos at the notorious Rikers Island prison and the effects of more extreme weather events on New York’s creaking infrastructure.

One of his trickiest balancing acts will be trying to reform police practices while keeping onside a heavily unionized force that feels it has been underappreciated during the de Blasio era.

Adams opposes defunding the police, a policy that is a rallying cry for many on the American left. He is also seen as friendly towards the business community and has not called for higher taxes for wealthy residents.

Reforming the police 

Born in 1960, Adams was raised in a large family living in a working-class neighborhood of Queens. His mother was a cleaner, and his father was a butcher.

Adams briefly ran errands for a gang as a teenager. When he was 15, he was beaten by two NYPD officers after they arrested him for criminal trespassing.

That sparked his determination to join the NYPD and he entered the force in the mid-1980s, serving 22 years and rising to become a captain.

In 1995, he co-founded “100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care,” an advocacy group designed to fight against racism in the police and that still exists today.

Adams retired in 2006, winning election to the New York State Senate that year. He served until 2013, when he was elected Brooklyn borough president, providing a springboard for his mayoral ambitions.

Adams credits veganism with reversing his 2016 diabetes diagnosis and released a book last year that aims to turn African Americans to a plant-based diet.

Polls for the NYC’s five million registered voters opened at 6:00 am (1000 GMT) and close at 9:00 pm.

Sixty-seven year-old Sliwa, a right-wing radio host known for wearing a red beret, founded the Guardian Angels crime prevention group in 1979.

New York’s first Black mayor David Dinkins served from 1990 to 1993.

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News24.com | Thousands Protest in Madrid Against NATO Summit

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A crowd demonstrates against NATO.

Photo by Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto

Carrying the hammer and sickle flags of the former Soviet Union, thousands protested in Madrid on Sunday against a NATO summit which will take place in the Spanish capital next week.

Amid tight security, leaders of the member countries will meet in Madrid between 29-30 June as the organisation faces the unprecedented challenge of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

NATO is expected to consider the bid, opposed by alliance-member Turkey, for Finland and Sweden to join.

The Nordic nations applied in the wake of the Russian assault on Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the war a special military operation he says in part responds to the accession to NATO of other countries near post-Soviet Russia’s borders since the 1990s.

READ | Biden said Putin’s goal of weakening NATO by invading Ukraine backfired spectacularly

“Tanks yes, but of beer with tapas,” sang demonstrators, who claimed an increase in defence spending in Europe urged by NATO was a threat to peace.

“I am fed up (with) this business of arms and killing people. The solution they propose is more arms and wars and we always pay for it. So, no NATO, no (army) bases, let the Americans go and leave us alone without wars and weapons,” said Concha Hoyos, a retired Madrid resident, told Reuters.

Another protester, Jaled, 29, said NATO was not the solution to the war in Ukraine.

Organisers claimed 5,000 people joined the march, but authorities in Madrid put the number at 2 200.

READ | Pandor says Finland’s bid to join NATO indicates a decline in international security

Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday that the summit would also focus on the threat from Europe’s southern flank in Africa, in which he said Russia posed a threat to Europe.

“The foreign ministers’ dinner on the 29th will be centred on the southern flank,” he told El Pais newspaper.

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News24.com | Turkey Police Break up Istanbul Pride March, Detain Dozens: AFP

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Hakan Akgun/dia images

Turkish police on Sunday forcibly intervened in a Pride march in Istanbul, detaining dozens of demonstrators and an AFP photographer, AFP journalists on the ground said.

The governor’s office had banned the march around Taksim square in the heart of Istanbul but protesters gathered nearby under heavy police presence earlier than scheduled.

Police detained protesters, loading them into buses. AFP journalists saw two buses of people who had been held, including AFP’s chief photographer Bulent Kilic, who had been handcuffed from the back.

Kilic, who was also detained last year during the Pride march, is currently in police custody.

Hundreds of protesters carrying rainbow flags pressed ahead with the rally in defiance of police.

Although homosexuality has been legal throughout the period of the modern Turkish republic, LGBTQ individuals point to regular harassment and abuse.

Istanbul Pride has taken place every year since 2003.

The last march which took place without a ban – in 2014 – drew tens of thousands of participants in one of the biggest LGBTQ events in the majority Muslim region.

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News24.com | NASA Blasts Off From Australian Outback in ‘historic’ Launch

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NASA’s first-ever launch from a commercial site outside of the United States blasted off from Australia’s Outback late Sunday, in a “historic” moment for the country’s space industry.

In the first of three planned launches from the Arnhem Space Centre, the rocket, carrying technology likened to a “mini Hubble” telescope, lifted off — blasted about 350 kilometres (218 miles) into the night sky.

“It is a momentous occasion for us as a company in particular, but it’s historic for Australia,” Equatorial Launch Australia CEO Michael Jones told AFP ahead of the lift-off.

Jones, whose company owns and operates the launch site in the far north of Australia, described it as a “coming out” party for the country’s space industry and said the chance to work with NASA was a milestone for commercial space firms in the country.

After a series of rain and wind delays, the suborbital sounding rocket soared into the sky to study x-rays emanating from the Alpha Centauri A and B systems.

After reaching its apogee, the rocket’s payload was to capture data on the star systems before parachuting back to earth.

READ | NASA is slowly powering down the Voyager probes. Here are 18 photos from its 45-year mission.

According to NASA, the launch offers a unique glimpse of the distant systems and unlocked fresh possibilities for scientists.

“We’re excited to be able to launch important science missions from the Southern Hemisphere and see targets that we can’t from the United States,” Nicky Fox, NASA’s Heliophysics Division director in Washington, said on announcing the mission.

Jones said the unique location had made preparations hard, with years of work to get regulatory approval and the need to haul rockets on barges to the launch site – about 28 hours drive from Darwin in northern Australia.

“I think for the team, it’s gonna be, you know, a huge relief that it’s done,” he said.

READ | ‘Giant leap forward’ – South Korea space rocket launch puts satellites in orbit

But with the next launch already looming on July 4, the break would be short-lived.

“We need to, you know, dust ourselves off, take a day off and then get back into it in readiness for the next launch because it’s just as important.”

It is the first NASA rocket to launch from Australia since 1995, and the project was hailed as the start of a “new era” for the country’s space industry by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

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