by Mike Smith Republican Phil Scott will be Vermont’s next governor. Scott won his bid to be Vermont’s 82nd governor by handily defeating his Democratic rival, Sue Minter. What made Scott’s victory especially impressive is that he won in a presidential election year when voter turnout in Vermont was supposed to favor Democrats. Scott was elected because he is well liked and trusted by Vermonters. He recognized early on that Vermonters were concerned about the economy, especially the cost of living in this state as well as the importance of attracting higher paying jobs, and he made these issues the centerpiece of his campaign.In contrast, Sue Minter lost because she never fully grasped the importance of these economic concerns; or if she did, she was never able to connect with Vermonters in a way to ease their concerns. She also made other critical errors.Winning an election is all about building coalitions, and Minter alienated two important constituencies. She was forceful in her desire to add more restrictions on the purchase of guns and in advocating for more industrial windmills on Vermont’s ridgelines. These positions helped her win the Democratic primary, but in the general election gun owners and those Vermonters who sought more input into the siting process of industrial wind projects — two powerful groups — sided with Scott.In addition, Minter was never able, nor did she try, to untether herself from an unpopular governor. Gov. Peter Shumlin promised much during his tenure as the state’s chief executive but was never able to deliver on those promises in a way that satisfied many Vermonters. This had a negative impact on Minter’s campaign.And lastly, Minter relied too heavily on national issues and national political figures in her effort to win this election. She failed to recognize that Vermonters seldom vote for their governor based on national issues, or who is endorsing her, even if the endorsements are from prominent and popular national figures like Sen. Bernie Sanders or President Barack Obama. Vermonters are more interested in how a candidate for governor is going to solve state and local problems.Trying to turn Vermont’s governor’s race into a referendum on national issues is where Planned Parenthood of Northern New England got it wrong as well. Phil Scott is a Republican but is much different in his politics and policies than his national party. Efforts to link Scott to the national Republican Party were unlikely to succeed. Yet Planned Parenthood failed to recognize this and ran negative ads against Phil Scott — who is pro-choice and actually supportive of their organization — trying to label him as a Republican in lock-step with the national Republican Party, when most Vermonters knew otherwise.These negative attack ads may have caused more damage to the reputation of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England than to Phil Scott. The attack ads were viewed as unfair and partisan and angered Vermonters, including those who were supportive of Planned Parenthood. The perception of the organization has certainly changed in the eyes of many Vermonters, at least in the short-term. Nowadays, Planned Parenthood may be more commonly perceived as a partisan political organization rather than a much-needed nonpartisan women’s health-care organization. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England was a loser in this election cycle because some Vermonters have lost trust in its priorities.On the other hand, WCAX-TV was a winner. It aired the most informative political debate between Minter and Scott, and it came closest to predicting the outcome of the governor’s race with a political poll that it commissioned.With this election now behind us, Vermonters expect their new governor to address their economic concerns. And if Gov.-elect Phil Scott can do that, then every Vermonter will feel that they have won.Mike Smith is the host of the radio program, “Open Mike with Mike Smith,” on WDEV 550 AM and 96.1, 96.5, 98.3 and 101.9 FM. He is also a political analyst for WCAX-TV and WVMT radio and is a regular contributor to Vermont Business Magazine, The Times Argus and Rutland Herald. He was the secretary of administration and secretary of human services under former Governor Jim Douglas.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino 1 Tottenham have been through more managers in recent seasons than you can shake a stick at, but Mauricio Pochettino was supposed to be different.Fresh from a tremendous season-and-a-half in charge of Southampton, where the Argentine led the Saints to a surprise eighth-placed finish in the Premier League, Spurs pounced to bring the ex-Espanyol boss in, hoping he could introduce free flowing football at White Hart Lane.But just like those before him results have been inconsistent and a 2-1 home defeat to relegation scrappers Newcastle proved a bit too much for some Tottenham supporters, who called for Pochettino to be shown the door.Check out the best reaction below.
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who is lodged in Tihar Jail, on Wednesday said the idea that Hindi alone can unite the people of the country is a dangerous trend. Chidambaram said while he supported the idea that all languages should be developed, he will never accept that Hindi can alone unite the country. “I have asked my family to tweet on my behalf the following: A dangerous idea that Hindi alone can unite the people of this country has been floated,” a tweet from Chidambaram’s official Twitter handle said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ “The Tamil people, as well as all others who speak other languages, will never allow the imposition of Hindi,” he tweeted. In another tweet, he said, “We support the development of all languages, but we will never accept the idea that Hindi alone will unite the people of this country.” Chidambaram also urged TNCC president K S Alagirii to ask all Congress workers to join a protest announced by the DMK on September 20 to oppose the imposition of Hindi.
New Delhi: The government is likely to launch the fourth tranche of Bharat-22 ETF next month with ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund filing draft papers with markets regulator Sebi. The decision has been taken after receiving robust response for earlier stake-sale by the government in the product. The government has so far raised Rs 26,400 crore through the Bharat-22 Exchange Traded Fund — Rs 14,500 crore was garnered in November 2017, another Rs 8,400 crore was mopped up in June 2018 and Rs 3,500 crore in February this year. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: IcraICICI Prudential Asset Management Company filed ‘Supplement To Scheme Information Document’ with Sebi on Wednesday for Bharat-22 ETF FFO 2. “The fourth tranche of Bharat-22 ETF may hit the markets next month,” an official privy to the development said. Proceeds from the ETF will help the government meet its disinvestment target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore for the current fiscal. The Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) that are part of the Bharat-22 ETF include ONGC, IOC, SBI, BPCL, Coal India and Nalco. Other constituents are Bharat Electronics, Engineers India, NBCC, NTPC, NHPC, SJVNL, GAIL, PGCIL, NLC India, Axis Bank, ITC and L&T. Only three public sector banks — SBI, Indian Bank and Bank of Baroda — figure in the Bharat-22 index.
Kabul (Afghanistan): Torn between fear, frustration and a sense of duty, Ahmad is undecided about defying Taliban warnings not to vote in this weekend’s Afghan presidential election. He has good reason to think twice: His index finger was chopped off by Taliban members after he voted in the presidential election five years ago. The Taliban have relentlessly issued threats against Saturday’s vote. The insurgent group has sent suicide bombers to rallies and election offices, killing dozens and warning they will kill more. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: Report “I know for the love of my country I should vote, but I look at the candidates and I think none of them are worth the risk,” he said. Ahmad asked that his family name and other details about his identity not be published for fear of retaliation by Taliban insurgents, who have greater control in his district than the government of President Ashraf Ghani, one of two front-runners in the race. Afghan officials say security preparations have been elaborate. In an interview with The Associated Press, Minister of interior Masoud Andarabi outlined an election security plan that he said has been more than eight months in the making. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protests Outside each of the 4,942 polling centers across the country, three distinct cordons of security will be set up. The first two security rings closest to each polling center will be manned by police and intelligence officers. Afghan National Army personnel will be deployed to the third and most distant cordon. “For the first time eight months ago, we started planning for the Afghan elections (and) for the first time the Afghan security forces were leading and initiating the planning,” he said. Still, Ahmad can’t help but vividly recall his experience after the 2014 election. He was driving down a lonely stretch of road in western Herat province when Taliban insurgents stopped his car. They were looking for people who had voted. They were easy to identify with their blue-inked fingers, a mark given each voter to ensure they don’t vote twice. The Taliban blindfolded him and whisked him away on a motorcycle. Taken to a village under Taliban control, Ahmad was kept in a room and blindfolded. He could hear others arrive. A construction worker at the time, Ahmad believed he would be killed because he was working on a government project and had seen videos of Taliban beheading Afghans who worked for the government. “I thought I was going to lose my head,” he said. The next morning, Ahmad and 11 others were taken before a four-member panel and told they would lose the part of their finger covered in ink as punishment for voting. “I was so relieved I wasn’t going to lose my head I said: ‘Go ahead.'” Taliban members administered anesthetic before chopping off his finger, he said. Now, the Taliban are again warning voters to stay away from the polls. On Thursday, the insurgents urged Afghans to boycott elections. They warned they would attack security personnel guarding the thousands of polling centers across the country, close roads and take particular aim at polling stations in Afghan cities. “We ask fellow countrymen to refrain from venturing out of their homes on this day so that may Allah forbid, no one is harmed,” the statement said. Despite the government’s best efforts, 431 polling centers will be closed Saturday because Andarabi, the interior minister, said they were too difficult to secure either because they were under Taliban control or Taliban could threaten nearby villages. In conservative Afghanistan, men and women vote separately, and that means thousands of women police will be deployed to search the women coming to vote. Zargona, 36, who goes by one name, will deploy to one of many schools in the capital being used as polling centers. She said she isn’t afraid of the Taliban. “I am a trained police officer and am here to protect my people,” she said. But many Afghans are having second thoughts about heading to the polls. They are rattled by an increasing lack of security that some say is caused as much by criminal gangs as insurgents. And they are frustrated by rampant corruption in the government. Nur Aga, who owns a gas station within sight of Kabul’s Qasi Stadium, where Taliban once cut off the hands of thieves and publicly executed convicted murderers, says he won’t vote. “I won’t risk my life for any of the candidates on the ballot,” he said. Sitting on a tea-stained carpet on the broken cement stoop near his gas pumps, Aga said he voted in 2014. But in the five years since then, the security situation has worsened, poverty has deepened and Aga said high school and even university graduates come regularly looking for work pumping gas. “They will take any job,” he said. Nearby, a police commander, who doesn’t want to give his name because he is not allowed to talk to the media without permission from the Interior Ministry, said although security plans are in place, there aren’t enough police. The Taliban are increasingly stronger and armed supporters of the many candidates can perpetrate fraud even with police at the polling centers, he said. “From the Taliban, from fraud, suicide attacks, jihadi leaders. I worry about all of these. No one can guarantee anything,” he said. At a traditional restaurant with low-lying tables, Kabul resident Rajab Qorbani said attacks have become so frequent that just leaving home can be deadly. “One moment we can be just sitting here and in the next moment we could all be dead,” he said, pointing to the street and the many cars that could hide a suicide bomber. “Who knows what will happen on polling day.”
The Hague: The Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander has heaped praise on Indian Ambassador Venu Rajamony for his book highlighting the cross-cultural legacy between the two countries ahead of his visit to India this month. The King, who received the first copy of the book titled ‘India and the Netherlands: Past, Present and Future’ authored by Rajamony, attended a seminar along with Queen Maxima on the Indo-Dutch bilateral relations here. The book – an encyclopaedia of the cross-cultural legacy between India and the Netherlands – was released at the event jointly organised by the Royal Asian Art Society in the Netherlands and the Embassy of India. The Dutch royals interacted with representatives who embody the Indo-Dutch connection in the fields of business, science, culture, sports, food and health at the seminar held at the prestigious Rijksmuseum (National Museum) Amsterdam on Monday. Interacting with the media, King Willem-Alexander said that he was looking forward to his trip to India next month.