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Singapore PM's brother thrusts first-family row into politics – The Guardian

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By John Geddie, Fathin Ungku and Aradhana Aravindan

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – When the brother of Singapore’s prime minister joined the opposition to the party their father led through the city-state’s independence and rise as a nation, he brought a bitter family squabble into the realm of politics on the eve of a general election.

Lee Hsien Yang, younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and son of modern Singapore’s founder, Lee Kuan Yew, said last week he was a member of the new Progress Singapore Party (PSP). He said the People’s Action Party, which has governed Singapore since independence in 1965, had “lost its way” without his late father.

The younger Lee, 62 – described by people close to him as shy, distant from his powerful brother but not afraid to challenge the status quo – has made no policy statements or said whether he will run for office, something candidates for the July 10 election must declare on Tuesday.

It is not clear if his move can energise an opposition that holds just six of parliament’s 89 seats, and it is not expected to alter prospects for a lopsided ruling party win.

But Lee Hsien Yang’s dramatic move presents Singaporean voters an inversion of the campaign that the PAP is offering as Prime Minister Lee, 68, prepares to retire in the coming years.

The ruling party depicts the government’s aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic as this generation’s heroic sacrifice, harking back to the “Pioneer Generation,” led by Lee Kuan Yew, that forged the tiny island from a dot on Britain’s colonial map into a first-world economy.

Lee Hsien Yang’s rebuke: This is not our father’s PAP.

“I have never sought the limelight, and most people know that actually I value my own privacy,” Lee Hsien Yang told reporters on Sunday at a PSP event at a food court. “I’m here because I think sometimes we need to speak truth to power.”

He has criticised the PAP government for calling an election during a pandemic and its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, in which thousands of Singapore’s migrant workers have been infected. He has also criticised a 2019 “fake news” law that has been used against government opponents and said the PAP suffers from “narrow group-think” and mainly serves the elite in society.

The ruling party declined to comment.

“NOT UNDER HIS BROTHER’S SHADOW”

The Lee brothers were not close but had no major quarrels most of their lives, said a person close to the younger Lee. A business associate said Lee Hsien Yang was mild-mannered but defensive about his parents.

He had repeatedly said he was not interested in politics.

That changed after his father’s death in 2015, when Lee Hsien Yang and his sister alleged their older brother wanted to preserve the family home for political gain despite their father requesting it be demolished in his will.

The younger Lee said the lengthy feud did not motivate him to join the opposition.

The brothers, who declined to be interviewed for this article, were both army brigadier-generals but their careers have otherwise diverged.

Lee Hsien Loong, first elected in 1984, became deputy prime minister aged 38 and has led the PAP for 16 years. Lee Hsien Yang was CEO of telecommunications firm Singtel and chairman of drinks conglomerate F&N.

Patriarch Lee Kuan Yew, known as LKY, wrote little in his memoirs about his younger son compared to mentions of the current prime minister but said in a 2011 interview Lee Hsien Yang was a “sensible and practical man” who was “not under his brother’s shadow.”

With an openly gay son, Lee Hsien Yang last year attended a Pride march in the conservative city-state where sex between men is outlawed.

Can this iconoclastic scion with the common touch make a difference?

Loke Hoe Yeong, author of a history of Singapore’s opposition, said Lee Hsien Yang’s arrival will energise opposition parties but could also antagonise voters who don’t think a family spat over a house should be aired publicly.

Former PAP lawmaker Inderjit Singh said Lee Hsien Yang’s presence in the opposition could sway some voters, who have always given the ruling party at least 60% of the vote.

“When people see LKY’s son switching camp to the opposition, this may create doubts…that the PAP of the present is not the same as the PAP of the past,” Singh said.

(Reporting by John Geddie, Aradhana Aravindan and Fathin Ungku; Additional reporting by Anshuman Daga, Jessica Jaganathan and Tom Westbrook; Editing by William Mallard)

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Emma Sanders, Southern Civil Rights and Political Activist, Dies at 91 – The New York Times

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Emma Sanders, one of the few surviving members of a group whose impassioned challenge to an all-white delegation at the 1964 Democratic National Convention brought an end to segregated delegations, died on June 24 in Brandon, Miss. She was 91.

Her death was confirmed by her son Everett Sanders.

Mrs. Sanders, an educator who went on to pursue a business career and to be a voice in state politics, was a founding member of Mississippi’s Freedom Democratic Party. Its slate, calling itself the Freedom Democrats, showed up in Atlantic City to challenge the state’s all-white official delegation, which had been empowered by the regular party organization to help choose a presidential nominee.

The convention was held in Atlantic City in August 1964, near the end of Freedom Summer, a voting-rights effort that had also swept up Ms. Sanders, a great-granddaughter of a slave. She was one of the people who helped organize local citizens and some of the 700 or so young people from the North who flooded Mississippi to help Black citizens surmount barriers that had kept their voter registration at 7 percent of those eligible.

The Sanders family, like others, housed and fed the volunteers in their home as they went door-to-door to enlist potential voters or operated Freedom Schools for Black children. Their efforts that summer were met with racist hostility, and three of the activists in Mississippi — James E. Chaney, who was Black, and Andrew Goodman and Michael H. Schwerner, who were white — were murdered.

In Atlantic City, Democratic leaders were embarrassed by televised hearings, held by the party’s credentials committee, on the issue of segregated delegations and the subsequent standoff between the two from Mississippi.

The party refused to seat the Freedom Democrats and unseat the official delegation, but, weighing in on the matter, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. supported a compromise that, although it left neither side happy, did move the practice of segregation at party conventions closer to the discard bin.

Credit…Charles Kelly/Associated Press
Credit…United Press International

The compromise gave the Freedom Democrats two symbolic at-large slots and required white delegates to sign a pledge that the next delegation would be integrated.

At that, most of the state’s all-white delegation walked out, and the Black delegates filled their vacated seats for a time, leading to a humiliating ruckus when guards tried to remove them.

Officials later banned racial segregation in the delegate selection process; in 1968, the Freedom Democrats, reconstituted as the Loyal Democrats of Mississippi, were seated as the state’s official convention delegation. But the move, coupled with federal civil rights legislation in 1964 and 1965, prompted a white backlash against Democratic candidates in the South.

The party’s refusal to seat the Freedom Democrats in 1964 had also split Black activists.

“Never again were we lulled into believing that our task was exposing injustices so that the ‘good’ people of America could eliminate them,” said Bob Moses, a founder of the Freedom Democratic Party and a leader of the civil rights organization the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. “After Atlantic City, our struggle was not for civil rights, but for liberation.”

For Mrs. Sanders’s part, the 1964 controversy made her more determined than ever to keep pushing for change.

“We came back and worked hard to get the Democratic nominee elected, so they could not say we were disloyal to the party,” she was quoted as saying in “Blue Dixie: Awakening the South’s Democratic Majority” (2008) by Mr. Moser. “But the regular Democratic Party was not ready to accept us.”

After suing to place the names of Blacks on the ballot in Mississippi in 1966, she ran for Congress as an independent against John Bell Williams, a segregationist. She lost, but, she said: “We ran strong, and that was a revelation. The year after, in 1967, we were able to elect Blacks in local elections.”

Mrs. Sanders would live to witness great progress on civil rights, but one breakthrough that she had hoped for — the removal of the Confederate battle emblem from Mississippi’s state flag — would not occur until four days after her death.

Mrs. Sanders was a full-fledged delegate to the 1972 national convention in Miami Beach and to at least five conventions after that. She was in Denver in 2008 when Barack Obama became the first Black presidential nominee from a major party, and she was in Philadelphia in 2016 when Hillary Clinton became the first female nominee (although Mrs. Sanders had supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries).

Credit…Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly, via Getty Images

“She never expected any acclaim,” said the Rev. Edwin King, another founder of the Freedom Party, who was the chaplain of Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss., in the 1960s. “But she would inspire people. Not like Fannie Lou Hamer, with magnificent speeches on the stump, but in the day-to-day managing of the party without ever pronouncing that ‘this is the way we have to do it.’”

Emma Ruby Lee Dunbar was born on Sept. 24, 1928, in Claiborne County, on the Mississippi River, near Vicksburg. She was the daughter of Abram Dunbar, a vocational agriculture teacher and high school principal, and Sarah Brown Miller.

She graduated from Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University) in Lorman, Miss., the nation’s first Black land grant college, and studied toward a master’s degree in business at Indiana University in Bloomington.

She taught in Jefferson County, Miss., and in Jackson, and later served as the executive director of Hinds County community action programs. While working as an assistant to Representative Wayne Dowdy, a Mississippi Democrat, she played a role in the naming of the first federal building in the nation for a Black person, the Dr. A.H. McCoy Federal Building in Jackson, which honored a local dentist, insurance executive and civic leader.

She married William Sanders, and they lived in Jackson, running a restaurant together as well as a business school. He died earlier. In addition to their son Everett, she is survived by their sons William, Antonio and Johnathan; a daughter, Sarita Sanders Donaldson; her brother, Abram Dunbar; her sister, Carrie Parrot; 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

It was Everett who drew Mr. and Mrs. Sanders to activism in the early 1960s. As a student, he had joined a campaign demanding that Blacks be served in all-white restaurants and be allowed to worship in any church they chose. His parents jumped in to support the cause and took the lead.

“Most Black parents were telling their kids, ‘You can’t do this, it’s too dangerous,’” the Rev. Edwin King recalled in a phone interview. “She decided as a mother that some adults needed to be involved.”

Or, as Everett said of his parents, “They came along and they moved to the head of the class.”

Credit…David Swanson/The Philadelphia Inquirer

Mrs. Sanders’s grandson Keelan Sanders said, “She didn’t want her own children to become involved in something that she didn’t have a very strong understanding of.”

In 2004, he became the first Black executive director of the state Democratic Party.

“She lived a long, giving and unselfish life on behalf of Mississippi and lit a fire for her children to carry the torch for her,” Mr. Sanders told The Jackson Free Press.

Everett Sanders said his mother was “proud of what she had accomplished, but concerned that there was so much that needed to be done.”

Even though she had officially retired from politics, she kept campaigning among her family. At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Mrs. Sanders told The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson: “They know that when they get to 18, they have to register, and I want them to vote. I check.”

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US Maryland GOP governor releasing book on his tenure

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Hogan, wrote that he will begin hosting a number of virtual events and conversations with some prominent Republicans later this month. They include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Govs. Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As NGA chairman, Hogan has led the group of governors amid tensions with the Trump administration in response to the pandemic. In March, for example, he criticized the administration for confusing messaging. Hogan said at the time that the president’s timeframe for a national reopening appeared to be running on a schedule made of some “imaginary clock,” as states struggled to manage hot spots of the outbreak.

Hogan also clashed with the White House in April when the governor announced a $9 million purchase of 500,000 virus test kits from South Korea. Hogan said the Trump administration had made it clear that states had to “take the lead” on testing and “do it ourselves.” Trump criticized Hogan at a White House press briefing, saying Hogan didn’t need to go to South Korea and “needed to get a little knowledge.”

In 2018, Hogan, who is term-limited, became only the second GOP governor in Maryland to be re-elected in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1.

Hogan’s book will include material about his challenging first year in office, which included riots in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man who suffered a spinal injury in a police van.

Later that year, Hogan was diagnosed with B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in June 2015 and underwent chemotherapy. Last month, the 64-year-old governor announced he had his final, five-year anniversary PET scan, which confirmed he was still 100% cancer free.

Brian Witte, The Associated Press

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Andrew Scheer spotted without a mask at Toronto's Pearson Airport – CBC.ca

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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was seen at a departure gate at Toronto’s Pearson Airport today without a mask on — an apparent contravention of the rules that apply to all travellers passing through the terminal.

The airport’s website stipulates that “all passengers and airport employees” must wear a mask or a face covering “at all times.” The mandatory mask rule has been in place since June 1 to stop the spread of COVID-19 among the travelling public.

“This includes the pre- and post-security screening areas of the terminals, parking facilities, people mover train, sidewalks/curbs outside the terminals and other outdoor public areas,” the airport rules say.

There are exceptions for people under the age of two, travellers who are unable to remove a face covering without assistance and for people who have trouble breathing. Masks are not required for travellers dining at food and beverage locations.

A number of pictures surfaced on social media Tuesday of Scheer speaking to Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and others while waiting to board a flight. Pallister also appears to have his mask off while speaking to Scheer in the terminal.

Social media users posted pictures of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer at Toronto’s Pearson Airport Tuesday. (@canadiandollaz/Twitter)

A spokesperson for Scheer confirmed to CBC News that the pictures of Scheer were taken today.

“Mr. Scheer wore a face mask while travelling to Ottawa today. He removed it to make a phone call. This picture must have been taken before he put it back on,” said Kelsie Chiasson, acting director of communications for Scheer.

The pictures do not appear to show Scheer talking on the phone.

Premier Pallister told CBC News his maskless moment was a lapse in judgment.

“I lifted my mask to join some friends in conversation at the Toronto airport this afternoon,” he said in an email statement. “It was an error on my part, it won’t happen again.”

Social media users asked Pearson’s Twitter account if masks were still required after the Scheer pictures surfaced.

“They are! All travelers and employees inside the terminal must wear a mask or face covering,” the airport’s account said in response.

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