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Americans Elect President, ’Morrow

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Tomorrow, the first Tuesday of November, 2016, eligible American voters across all the 50 states, including Washington, D.C., Alaska, and other small island territories, will troop out to vote for their next president.

Although over the last couple of weeks, more than 40 million Americans in 38 states have already cast their ballots in early voting. To win the race for the White House, a candidate needs 270 Electoral College votes.

Polls after polls have shown the Democratic Party Presidential candidate, Hillary R. Clinton ahead of her Republican rival, Donald J. Trump, although the polls have been tightening in recent days, no thanks to the FBI Director, James Comey’s announcement of relaunch of investigation into the Democratic nominee’s private email server penultimate Friday.

As at Saturday, while Clinton was estimated to hold 268 Electoral College votes, dropping 2 votes from 204, Trump was struggling with 168. Some eight toss-up states could swing victory for the candidates.

About 80million more votes are likely between today and end of voting on Tuesday. The dark cloud cast on Clinton’s chances by the comey letter to Congress was rested yesterday, nine days after the firestorm. The FBI stands by its July conclusions, essentially exonerating Clinton.

Over the last few days of the race, Trump has travelled all over the country, from Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and even Minnesota, a mostly blue state.

It’s an impressive travel schedule, but it may reflect the biggest challenge facing him right now: It’s still not clear exactly where and how he would win.

Hillary Clinton has a consistent and clear advantage in states worth at least 270 electoral votes, even if the race has undoubtedly tightened over the last few weeks. But even that understates the challenge facing Trump’s campaign: It’s not at all obvious where he has his best chance of breaking through, making it harder for him to concentrate his efforts over the last days of the campaign.

This is not to say that Trump can’t win. The polls could be off across the board.

But even if he wins Arizona, Iowa, Ohio, Utah, North Carolina, Florida and New Hampshire, he’s still short of a victory.

He’s not assured to win any of those states, to be clear — although he’s a clear favourite in Iowa and Utah at this point. He has trailed in more live interview polls of North Carolina and Florida than he has led, although the national race has tightened since many were taken.

But he would still need to win one of the following states: Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, Virginia, or perhaps New Mexico or Minnesota.

Of all of these states, the only one where Trump has really been close in the polls is Nevada.

But Nevada is also the state where we know the most about the results because of early voting, and it hasn’t brought good news for Trump.

Even so, he’ll still need to win one of these blue states to win the presidency.

Democrats have largely replicated the turnout from 2012 (when President Barack Obama ultimately won the state by about seven points), thanks in no small part to a strong turnout among Hispanic voters.

This might seem difficult to reconcile with the polling, but Nevada is a state where pollsters have underestimated Democrats in the past. One theory is that the polls are not very good at capturing the most Democratic-leaning Hispanic voters. And indeed, the polls showing Trump ahead in the state have shown a smaller lead for Clinton among non-white voters than seems plausible, particularly given his rhetoric against Hispanic immigrants.

Perhaps, Trump will mount a huge comeback in Nevada on Election Day. Or maybe Democrats are much weaker among registered Democrats or unaffiliated voters than most analysts believe.

But if Clinton does indeed have a big advantage in Nevada, then his chances start looking very bleak: He’s at a disadvantage in the polls of all of the other states that could put him over the top.

What’s more, it’s not really clear where he has his best chance — something reflected in Trump’s unfocused pre-election push.

Pennsylvania seemed like Trump’s best option earlier in the year, but he hasn’t led a live interview poll there since the summer. The final non-partisan live interview polls there show Clinton ahead by a comfortable margin of four to six points. The state will probably be close, but it’s quite clear that she has the edge.

Wisconsin is another state that seemed as if it could be promising for Trump. It has a large population of white working-class Democrats, just as Iowa does, and Trump is running well in Iowa. But he has struggled among Republican-leaning voters in the Milwaukee suburbs.

The race could tighten if these voters return to his side, but he hasn’t led a live interview poll there all year.

Michigan could be a more interesting option for Trump. It was the most Democratic of all of these states in the 2012 election, and he hasn’t led a poll there all year either. But recent polls have shown a relatively tight race there.

Clinton visited the state on Friday, and President Obama was there yesterday and is visiting today, and Clinton will make another stop on Monday, so clearly, the Clinton campaign thinks there’s some softness there. That said, if the election comes down to whether Trump can score an upset in Michigan, he’s in a lot of trouble. It seems hard to imagine he could carry the state without also carrying Pennsylvania.

Colorado is a notch tougher than any of those states. The demographics and polling are both tough for Trump. It has one of the best-educated populations in the country, along with a large Hispanic population.

There was one recent poll that showed a tied race in Colorado, but most have shown Clinton with a lead. Like Nevada, Colorado is also a state where the Democrats have outperformed their final poll numbers in every presidential election since 2004. The early vote numbers are strong for the Democrats there as well.

Virginia is like Colorado: Neither polls nor demographics seem promising for Trump. Ultimately, the fact that the race is close in North Carolina is a very strong indicator that Clinton has a big lead in Virginia. Early voting results show Clinton in the lead in North Carolina, which Trump needs to win.

Then there are states like Minnesota and New Mexico. The polls have not shown an especially tight race, and Clinton is not campaigning or airing advertisements there. Trump’s team has held out some hope of winning, but these states seem especially unlikely to decide the election.

Again, the polls are close enough that the possibility of a victory for Trump is still quite real. But it’s just not clear exactly how or where he would break through. It doesn’t seem that the Trump campaign knows either.

But for the Clinton campaign, a close-out rally in Philadelphia, the most populous district in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, is the best way to prepare for a victory party late Tuesday.

 

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North Can Live Without VAT Accruals, NEF Boasts …Backs Wike, Southern Govs On Fiscal Federalism, Restructuring

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The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has boasted that the North was a rich region, and can survive on its resources without the “billions” accruing to Southern states.
The NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, made this known, yesterday, when he featured on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ breakfast programme.
He was reacting to the tussle between states and the Federal Government on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT).
VAT is a consumption tax paid when goods are purchased and services are rendered, and charged at a rate of 7.5 per cent.
Although Rivers and Lagos states have started the process of collecting VAT within their territories, the Court of Appeal, in a ruling on September 10, ordered that status quo be maintained pending the determination of an appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt.
Apart from Lagos and Rivers states, Ogun State has also started the process of passing a bill on VAT in its House of Assembly.
At the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in Enugu, last Thursday, the 17 governors insisted that they have the constitutional mandate to collect VAT, and vowed to ensure that the rule of law prevails in the matter.
While some northern governors like Aminu Masari (Katsina), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), amongst others, had kicked against the move, the 17 Southern Governors led by Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) had unanimously supported the position that “the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states.”
Speaking, yesterday, during the television programme, Baba-Ahmed said, “I will advise that we wait to hear what the court says. However, even the fact that it has become an issue suggests that we really do need to address the fundamentals and the manner in which the federation works.
“We have always supported restructuring. We have always asked that a major and genuine shift initiative either by groups or the National Assembly so that matters like this be addressed properly.
“If we don’t do that now, then, we should get a leader that would do that in 2023. This administration appears not to understand the importance of restructuring; we do in the North, we recognise the fact that we need to change the manner in which we generate wealth and allocate (it).
“The thing is: the North wants restructuring; the North wants fiscal federalism. We are a rich region, and we can live on what we have, even if we don’t have the billions that accrue to others states. Our poverty is not a kind of problem that we would break this country over.”
According to him, the VAT war is a wake-up call to northern governors who need to recognise the fact that VAT or no VAT, they need to develop their resources and develop the human capital of the North.
The NEF spokesman added, “North, you said you have many people but you are under-developing your own people – the biggest liability of the North is that we have a huge population that is under-developed. You need to develop the human capital that you have.
“We need leaders; the current governors don’t recognise this. Otherwise, they won’t be involved in this argument; allow the court to decide.
“But for goodness sake, (they should) begin to think — what else can we do if the court decides now that Rivers State is right, Lagos State is right, and the Southern states are right, and they won’t be getting all these billions coming in from VAT? What happens?”
Baba-Ahmed said the Northern governors at this stage should not be sleeping, noting that the North is “sitting on wealth, we have massive resources in this country, we have to fight insecurity first, and the Federal Government has to help us, we need to clear the bushes, the forests and all the criminals that are there, and we need to go back to farming.
“Agriculture is a major asset; we have land, we have water, we have livestock, we have minerals that are literally begging to be picked from the ground but our governors are too focused on the pittance that they are getting. This is wrong”, he argued.

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Boxing: Joshua Facing Toughest Test In Usyk?

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Boxing champion, Anthony Joshua could face his toughest test yet when he fights Oleksandr Usyk in London on Saturday, says ex-world champion George Groves.
Joshua, 31, puts his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world heavyweight titles on the line against Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight world champion.
The 34-year-old Ukrainian has won all 18 professional fights, beating Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora on that run.
“Technically, Usyk is brilliant,” said Groves . “He showed that in unifying the cruiserweight division in great fights and I believe he could be Joshua’s toughest test to date. This is the first fight when I wouldn’t be surprised if Joshua got beaten.
“Joshua has fought [Wladimir] Klitschko and been in with Joseph Parker and also been beaten [by Andy Ruiz] and the only question mark for Usyk Is he big enough to compete with AJ?
“If Usyk keeps a high pace and makes Joshua miss with a lot of shots, that will work to Usyk’s advantage as he has probably got a better engine.
“Joshua is a phenomenal athlete with tremendous punching power and strength but has a tendency to tire out if the pace is uncomfortable for him.”
A crowd of more than 60,000 is expected and it will be the largest attendance Joshua has fought in front of since his win over Alexander Povetkin with 80,000 at Wembley Stadium in September, 2018.
Since then, Joshua has lost to Ruiz in New York before winning the rematch in Saudi Arabia and gained a ninth-round victory over Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena last December, with only 1,000 fans attending because of Coronavirus restrictions.
Both Joshua and Usyk won gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, at super-heavyweight and heavyweight respectively, with the Briton going on to win 24 of his 25 professional fights, including 22 inside the distance.
Meanwhile, Dillian Whyte, who lost to Joshua in 2015 and is pushing for a rematch with him or a shot at WBC champion, Tyson Fury, believes the key to beating Usyk on Saturday is to adopt an attacking strategy.
“I think it’s a great fight and Joshua will stop him in the first six or seven rounds,” Whyte told Tidesports source.
“Usyk will start fast and Joshua should be cagey as Usyk is a bit lighter. Joshua can sometimes lack confidence but hopefully he goes back to the old him, starts pressing, being the bigger, stronger guy and gets the job done early.
“If Joshua sets the pace, he can get an early knockout and if he is strong, confident and walks him down, then I don’t see Usyk’s punches troubling Joshua.”
Groves, who held the WBA Super-Middleweight belt in 2017 and 2018, added: “If I was Joshua, I would take control of the ring and try to dominate and bully off the front foot.
“Usyk will want to be off the back foot for the first couple of rounds, then try to pepper Joshua.
“If I was in the Joshua camp, I would say: You want to keep this guy in his box. You don’t want Usyk having any confidence, so hit him hard and early.
“In the first three rounds, you want to land something big on him.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn also suggested Joshua could get an early victory.
Hearn said: “I’m always nervous for an Anthony Joshua fight, especially when you’re fighting someone that really believes he is going to win”.

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2022 AFCON: ‘Cameroon On Track’

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Patrice Motsepe, has said that Cameroon is “on track” to successfully host the Africa Cup of Nations early next year after visiting Olembe Stadium in Yaounde last weekend.
The venue will host the opening match and final of the AFCON in January and February of 2022.
A CAF delegation, including President Motsepe and General Secretary, Veron Mosengo-Omba, were joined by Cameroon’s Sports Minister, Professor Narcisse Mouelle Kombi in inspecting progress made at the Olembe Stadium and various other facilities in the capital city.
“I’m very satisfied with the briefing I got and what I saw. I saw the Olembe Stadium and it is world class; we should all be proud as people of Cameroon and as Africans,” said Motsepe, as quoted by CAF’s website.
“We must applaud Cameroon [for] building such infrastructure. In partnership with the Government, the Minister of Sports, LOC, FECAFOOT President and CAF administration under Veron [Mosengo-Omba], I’m certain that in January next year, the rest of the world will be impressed. I’m very satisfied with what I have seen. We are on track.”
Motsepe continued: “The quality of football that will be played here will once again show the world that Africa has the quality to one day win the FIFA World Cup, that is the ultimate goal. The AFCON is special and I think it is important for us to set the tone in Cameroon.”
Mosengo-Omba also heaped praises on Olembe Stadium: “The infrastructure and architecture of the stadium is world class and can be compared to many other famous stadiums globally. In Cameroon, we have six beautiful match venues. Our job now is to ensure that we are ready with everything else.”

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