A failed New Zealand politician whose party downplayed the severity of COVID-19 has gained international notoriety, thanks to a truly brutal post-election interview on Kiwi television.
Advance NZ candidate Jami-Lee Ross, whose party secured just 1% of the preliminary vote on Saturday as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern‘s Labour Party cruised to victory, was further demolished by Newshub journalist Tova O’Brien on Sunday.
It wasn’t for nothing, either: O’Brien took issue with Ross’ decision to partner with Billy Te Kahika Jr at the election, a man who opposed New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdowns, falsely claims 5G signals cause cancer, and alleges the UN is linked to straight-up Satanism.
“Your political career is in tatters,” O’Brien asked. “Do you have any regrets?”
Ross admitted Advance NZ’s effort “clearly wasn’t enough” to win over voters, but O’Brien didn’t let go, again asking the former Nationals MP if he regretted “peddling misinformation during the election campaign.”
On the decision to team up with Te Kahika, Ross admitted he was inspired by “growth on social media”, an apparent reference to the reach of Te Kahika’s conspiratorial posting (Advance NZ’s Facebook page was scrapped two days out from the election, with the company claiming it had shared COVID-19 misinformation).
“So it was purely political ambition,” O’Brien said. “You sold your soul for political ambition.”
It didn’t get much rosier for him from there, with O’Brien shushing him when he rattled off some talking points about the virus’ mortality rate and admitting the interview was “probably the last time we’ll invite you on” the program.
The interview has been watched nearly six million times on Twitter, where it has received a positive reaction from folks abroad who may not be used to the sight of journalists windmill dunking on a politician who teamed up with a conspiracy theorist.
O’Brien herself was surprised at the response to the interview, letting this one loose a short time ago:
Whoa! That’s quite something to wake up to
— Tova O’Brien (@TovaOBrien) October 18, 2020
If you want to be crushed like a little bug on television, all you need to do is blow up your career with one party, team up with a guy who refused to wear a face mask, and eat shit at an election. Simple.
Delisting Sudan From Terrorism List Will Drive Democratic And Economic Reforms
Ever since the first terrorist attack against the World Trade Center in 1993, the United States has designated Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism. However, since then, particularly over the past year and a half, Sudan has undergone significant democratic reforms, including a recent victory and step towards internal peace and stability in Juba, South Sudan.
Even former Obama Administration officials agree with the move. Cameron Hudson remarked that “[Sudan] needs to have this label removed… Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism is a ‘vestige’ of its past.” And, the 9/11 Commission, an independent and bipartisan body, concluded that Sudan was not responsible, expropriating all of Osama bin Ladin’s assets when he left in 1996.
In a historic move, President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the State Department would remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, in addition to unleashing new, sweeping economic and humanitarian assistance to continue their economic development plans. In response, Sudan is also formalizing plans to normalize their relations with Israel.
The move comes at an especially important time. Although Sudan has undergone major democratic reforms and worked hard to expel terrorist links, the sanctions that had been in place since 1993 were crippling its economic and investment activities. According to Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, “there was no guarantee the transition to democracy would stay on course until elections scheduled for 2022.” Hamdok’s detractors have been attacking him at every turn—even manifesting in an attempted assassination this past March.
Fortunately, President Trump’s decision, after many hours of negotiations and foundation-building through the Department of State and the National Security Council, comes after Senators Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez blocked a Congressional measure to take Sudan off the list since they wanted to keep their options open for potential payouts from the Sudanese government to 9/11 victims, arguing that they were responsible for al-Qaeda’s build-up.
Absent the announcement, all the reforms that were made over the past year and a half would have slipped away. As some have rightly pointed out, the blacklisting means that legitimate Sudanese businesses, and the economy more generally, are unable to receive foreign direct investment and both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are unable to adjust their debt relief packages. Now, Sudan will ride on the wings of the Middle East peace deals that were negotiated last month, setting an example to its neighbors about the benefits of peace and democratic reform.
Through the Belt and Road Initiative, the CCP has been angling for control over more land and resources. For example, Sudan has been put in the middle of a vicious grab for power between Egypt and Ethiopia, specifically over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. In this sense, Sudan is positioned in a strategic location, especially when put in perspective of the surrounding failed states. Stability in Sudan will serve as an oasis of peace in a region marked by so much volatility and terrorist activity.
Second, given Sudan’s historical violations of religious freedom, it can become a beacon and textbook example for not only economic but also social and political reform that encourages similar efforts among neighbors. Already, they’ve made incredible progress, but continuing these efforts takes work. My research shows that improvements in religious liberty are incredibly important for human flourishing, leading to greater women empowerment, access to justice, civil liberties, and freedom of expression, which are all prerequisites for economic activity.
That’s exactly what’s been happening in Sudan over the past year: they’ve dropped the death penalty for apostasy, they’ve empowered women in the political process, and undertaken significant political reforms to root out corruption. These are all ingredients for economic development and flourishing.
While there has been bipartisan support for removing Sudan from the state sponsors of terrorism list, politics has gotten in the way for far too long. The road ahead is not easy, but now the stage is set for Sudan to continue its historical economic, social, and political reforms to become another light to the world. The tide is turning with the advent of the Middle East peace deals—and the good news from Sudan is yet another illustration of the possibilities that reside when we come together.
Texas Nonprofit Provides Shoes for Thousands
21 Oct Texas Nonprofit Provides Shoes for Thousands
- Community Food Bank
- Lives Impacted: 3,000
Community Food Bank has always been a source of stability and inspiration in the North Texas area. In 2020, the organization has met varying needs by providing food, responding to natural disasters, and helping provide essentials to those homebound due to the public health crisis.
At its core, Community Food Bank aims to fight hunger and poverty with food, education, programs, and resources to families in a dignified, personal, and timely manner without zip code restrictions. Thanks to a donation from Good360, Community Food Bank donated shoes to the most vulnerable individuals including Faith and the Smith* family.
Faith is seven months pregnant and recently had to relocate to Fort Worth to care for her younger brothers and her father, who just had a heart attack. This donation of essential items helped Faith and her family during their challenging time.
After leaving their home in Lake Charles, LA, to avoid Hurricane Laura, the Smith* family was stranded in North Texas. Community Food Bank provided them with food, personal hygiene items, toys, clothes, and shoes.
Thanks to Good360, these individuals and families can focus on taking care of themselves and their loved ones during this stressful period in history.
*Names have been changed.
Saweetie And Jhene Aiko Send Their Lovers ‘Back To The Streets’ On Their Cheery New Single
For three consecutive years, Saweetie has inserted herself into the conversation for the song of the summer. In 2018 she entered the game with her “Icy Grl” single, one she followed up on with “My Type” in 2019. Keeping the streak alive, the Cali-native made some noise this past summer with “Tap In.” Unfortunately, the pandemic seized the true moment and overall exposure the song deserved but pushing ahead in her career, Saweetie returns with a new single with Jhene Aiko.
Bringing the warmth and carefree spirit of their California hometowns with them, Saweetie and Jhene Aiko unveil their new single, “Back To The Streets.” The song finds the two artists treating their love interests like a leased vehicle, enjoying the time they spend with them and making the most of it, all to return it and move on the to next new thing. The track is duo’s second collaboration after Jhene joined Saweetie’s “My Type” remix last year.
The “Back To The Streets” track is just the latest guest feature Jhene has done in 2020. This year, the Chilombo singer has appeared on Ty Dolla Sign’s “Be Yourself,” Big Sean’s “Body Language,” John Legend’s “U Move, I Move,” and Kehlani’s “Change Your Life.”
Listen to “Back To The Streets” in the video above.
Saweetie is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
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