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French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe Resigns

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France is to name a new prime minister on Friday shortly after the announcement of Edouard Philippe’s resignation.

President Emmanuel Macron wants a new government to focus on efforts to relaunch the French economy deeply hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The French presidency said a new prime minister will be appointed “in the coming hours.” Many government members are expected to be replaced in the ensuing reshuffle.

In an interview given to several local newspapers on Thursday, Macron, said he is seeking a “new path” to rebuild the country for the two remaining years of his term.

He praised Philippe’s “outstanding work” in the past three years.

“I will need to make choices to lead (the country) down the path,” he said.

Macron did not elaborate on the profile of the next prime minister. French media list Florence Parly and Jean-Yves Le Drian, former defense minister and foreign minister respectively, among potential candidates.

The reshuffle comes days after a green wave swept over France in local elections. Macron saw his young centrist party defeated in France’s biggest cities and failing to plant local roots across the country.

The reshuffle was planned even before Sunday’s voting, as Macron’s government faced obstacles and criticism before and during the virus crisis.

As the pandemic was peaking in the country in March and April, authorities came under fire for the lack of masks, tests and medical equipment.

Before that, Macron’s pro-business policies, widely seen as favoring the wealthier, had been hampered by the yellow vest economic movement against perceived social injustice. This winter, weeks of strikes and street demonstrations against a planned pension overhaul disrupted the country.

In addition, Macron’s efforts to boost job creation have been swept away by the economic and social consequences of the country’s lockdown.

The government issued a 460 billion-euro emergency package through a state-funded partial activity scheme, tax cuts and other financial aids for businesses, and Macron needs to adapt his policies as France’s economy is expected to shrink by 11% this year.

The unemployment rate that fell from 9.2% at the beginning of Macron’s term in 2017 to 7.6% earlier this year — its lowest level since 2008 — is now expected to increase steadily.

“Our first priority will be to rebuild an economy that is strong, ecological, sovereign and united,” Macron said in a televised address to the nation on June 14.

He ruled out any tax rise and instead said “working and producing more” is the response amid bankruptcies and layoffs caused by the crisis.

He put an emphasis on creating new jobs with climate-oriented policies including renovation of old buildings and greener transport and industries.

Philippe, 49, is expected to become the mayor of his hometown of Le Havre, in western France, after he won a large victory in Sunday’s voting.

A conservative, former member of The Republicans’ party, he had joined Macron’s government in May 2017.

He had seen his popularity sharply increase in recent weeks, according to French poll institutes that show many French consider he did good job in gradually easing virus-related restrictions in the country and enforcing an emergency package to support the French economy.

(www.newsnow.co.uk)

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We Will Not Accept US “Theft” Of TikTok — China

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China says it will not accept the U.S.’ “theft” of a Chinese technology company, state media reported on Tuesday.

The Trump administration’s pressuring of ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company in China, to sell its U.S. operations to Microsoft or risk closure amounts to a “smash and grab,” the state-run China Daily newspaper wrote in an editorial.

Beijing has ways to retaliate against Washington’s pressure on the Chinese-owned short video app TikTok.

While Beijing will likely be “cautious” in imposing equivalent restrictions on U.S. companies in China, it has “plenty of ways” to retaliate, the paper said.

Microsoft said on Monday that it was in discussions with ByteDance to buy parts of TikTok after U.S. President Donald Trump gave the companies 45 days to reach a deal.

Trump had initially threatened to ban TikTok in the U.S. on national security grounds.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said over the weekend that Washington might take action “shortly” against TikTok and other Chinese companies believed to share data with the Chinese government.

ByteDance said in a statement late Sunday it was still committed to being a global company despite “complex and unimaginable difficulties” including the “tense” international political environment.

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Anambra Indigene On Course To Become US Senator

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A Nigerian, Mr Gabe Okoye, is on the ballot in a forthcoming Democratic Party’s senatorial primary runoff election in the U.S.

Okoye, who hails from Enugwu-Aguleri, in Anambra, is seeking the main opposition party’s ticket for the Nov. 3 general election into the Georgia State Senate to represent District 9.

Okoye, who is a chieftain of the party in the state, faces a black female challenger, Nikki Merritt, in the second round scheduled for Aug. 11.

They both advanced to the runoff stage after defeating a third aspirant, Cheryle Moses, in the first round of the primary held on June 9.

The winner will face the incumbent, Sen. Peter Martin, a Republican, who has been representing the district since 2015 and is seeking a fourth term.

Okoye is currently a Planning Commissioner in Gwinnett County, the second-most populous local government in Georgia, and is the first black man to serve as a commissioner in the county’s 202-year history.

The civil engineer and founder of Georgia-based construction firm, Essex Geoscience, also currently serves on the Executive Committee Board of the Gwinnett and state chapters of the Democratic Party.

Among other goals, Okoye is seeking to capture the District 9 seat from the Republican Party, which has held it for over 30 years, “with nothing to show for it”.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he was also aspiring to give the black community in Gwinnet County, his base, a strong voice at the state level.

In these regards, the senatorial hopeful carved a niche for himself while serving as the Democratic Party chairman in the local government between 2016 and 2018.

As of the time he emerged the party chairman in 2016, Gwinnett was a Republican stronghold, with only five of the 25 elected officials in the county being Democrats.

However, the tide turned when Okoye led the party into the 2018 mid-term elections and recorded historic wins.

They captured 13 elected offices, including the majority of Gwinnett seats in the Georgia state legislature, from the Republicans, who currently hold only seven positions.

The Democratic Party swept the two county commission seats that were up for election and also took one of the two School Board seats contested for.

Also, the party reclaimed the office of the Solicitor General of the county after decades in the hands of the Republicans.

“Under my leadership of the party, we elected the first black commissioner, first black school board member, and also the first black Solicitor-General of the county in its 200-year history as of 2018.

“The Democratic Party also produced the first black state judge from this county under my watch,” Okoye told NAN.

In recognition of these historic achievements in Gwinnett, the Georgia House of Representatives in Resolution 313 of 2019, designated Nov. 6 of that year as Gabe Okoye Leadership Day.

The resolution partly read: “Gwinnett County is the most diverse and the second largest county in the State of Georgia, but this diversity was not reflected in the county’s leadership.

“Gabe Okoye exhibited great leadership in mobilising and educating the various 9communities of Gwinnett County on the fundamental right to vote.

“He worked hard to help make the leadership of the county more inclusive, and the result of his hard work was made manifest during the general election on Nov. 6, 2018.

“Therefore, be it resolved by the House of Representatives that the members of this body commend Gabe Okoye and recognise Nov. 6, 2019, as Gabe Okoye Leadership Day in Gwinnett County.”

Okoye moved to the U.S. in 1981, and has been residing in Lawrenceville, a suburb of Atlanta and headquarters of Gwinnett County, since 1992.

On arrival in the U.S., he started life as a security guard, worked his way through college to become a licensed civil engineer, and later became an established Essex Geoscientist.

Married and blessed with four “grown and successful children’’, Okoye believes he has realised his American dream, and is fighting for others to realise theirs.

“Therefore, I will give a fearless, strong voice to the silent majority in our district and our county in general,’’ he said on his campaign website.

A former Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation – Americas (NIDOA), Okoye told NAN that another of his main objectives was to bring the Nigerian community into the mainstream of U.S. politics.

Okoye, who represented Nigerians in the Diaspora at the 2014 National Conference in Abuja, decried the absence of his fellow countrymen in the U.S. political and civic space, in spite of their enormous contributions to the country’s development.

“What we Nigerians do here is to attend our various ethnic meetings and then go home.

“Our people don’t mix with the main stream of this country, and I think it is wrong.

“I also think that we are not leading our children the right way. We should clear the way for them into the American politics.

“We don’t hear our names in the political lexicon of this area. I want to encourage our children to go into politics,’’ he told NAN.

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Trump Says He Will Ban TikTok In United States Today

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President Donald Trump has revealed plans to ban TikTok app in the United States through executive authority today.

“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters while flying home from Florida on Friday evening, July 31.

The president said he would sign something as soon as Saturday, and he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order.

“Well, I have that authority,” he said.

Trump called the decision “severance” and firmly rejected the reported deal involving Microsoft buying TikTok.

The app, which allows users to film and share short videos of themselves along to accompanying music, is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.

US lawmakers have raised national security concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data, accusing the short-form video app of being a threat to national security because of its ties to China. They also allege that the company could be compelled to “support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”

Reacting to the impending move, a TikTok spokesperson told ABC News: “These are the facts: 100 million Americans come to TikTok for entertainment and connection, especially during the pandemic.

“We’ve hired nearly 1,000 people to our U.S. team this year alone, and are proud to be hiring another 10,000 employees into great paying jobs across the US. Our $1 billion creator fund supports U.S. creators who are building livelihoods from our platform.”

“TikTok U.S. user data is stored in the U.S., with strict controls on employee access. TikTok’s biggest investors come from the U.S. We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.”

According to reports, TikTok has an estimated 65 million to 80 million users in the United States

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