Category: Politics


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Donald Trump easily won the Washington state primary on Tuesday, but his victory was overshadowed by violence outside a rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where protesters smashed windows and threw rocks at police.

With 73% of votes counted in Washington, Trump had won 76.2% of primary voters. John Kasich and Ted Cruz, both of whom have dropped out of the race, had won 9.9.% and 10.1% respectively.

Trump’s victory leaves him only needing a few dozen more delegates to reach the magic number of 1,237 required to cement the Republican nomination.

Outside Trump’s rally in Albuquerque, protests against the presumptive nominee turned nasty on Tuesday night, with protesters overturning crowd control barriers and throwing rocks at police.

There were early posts on social media reporting gunshots and tear gas, but the Albuquerque police department said those were inaccurate. Nonetheless, police horses were deployed to control the large crowd of protesters, and some reports showed pepper spray being used. The door to the convention centre where Trump was speaking was also smashed.

More than an hour after Trump had finished speaking and left for California, where he will campaign for the next few days in the run-up to the state’s 7 June primary, hundreds of protesters still thronged the streets, waving Mexican flags, lighting fires and chanting.

Trump is the only remaining candidate campaigning for the Republican nomination, but Kasich and Cruz were also on the ballot in Washington, having suspended their campaigns after the ballots were printed.

Dr Ben Carson was also on the ballot because he reportedly never officially submitted a withdrawal of his candidacy to the state.

The state delegation, which was selected on Saturday at the state convention in preparation for the primary, is composed almost entirely of supporters of Cruz, whose supporters overwhelmed the state convention in Pasco.

Despite this, the delegates are bound by state party rules to vote for Trump on the first ballot at the national convention, US senate candidate and former chairman of the Washington state Republican party Chris Vance, who was at the convention, told the Guardian.

However, with seven upcoming primaries, including New Jersey and California, Trump is expected to easily overtake the delegate mark needed to win the nomination on the first ballot at the convention in Cleveland in July, avoiding a contested convention.

In a strange quirk of party politics, the Democrats also held a presidential primary in Washington on Tuesday, but it didn’t matter in the slightest because the Democratic delegation from Washington was already settled by a caucus in March, at which Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton 73% to 27%.

Interestingly, in the Democratic primary – which was admittedly meaningless as it has no bearing on the number of delegates as opposed to the caucuses – Clinton won comfortably, 53.63% to 46.37%, implying that perhaps Democratic voters want the primary season to be, finally, over with.

Source: Protests at Donald Trump rally overshadow Washington primary win | US news | The Guardian

Local authorities are unlawfully resettling homeless families in temporary housing far away from their local area, forcing them to spend hours travelling to schools and health services, a study has found.

The housing charity Shelter says some councils are guilty of unsafe practices by pressurising homeless families into accepting unsuitable housing up to 100 miles from where they live, causing them unnecessary hardship.

In one case, a woman made homeless in west London, who was told relocation to Hastings on the south coast would keep her “close to London”, had to make seven-hour round trips back to the capital to take her ill baby to weekly hospital appointments.

Other cases include relocated families who arranged for their children to stay with grandparents or friends during the week so that they could remain at their old school. Other reported embarking on school runs lasting up to two hours.

Despite official guidance requiring councils to place families where practical in the borough in which they are resident, Shelter says authorities in London are now moving households out of area “as a matter of course”.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Faced with severe budget cuts and overwhelming numbers of homeless families coming to them for help, it’s sadly not surprising that overstretched councils in London are failing to meet their current legal responsibilities.”

The charity warns that the government’s four-year freeze on housing benefit rates, coupled with the extended benefit cap and rising rents, will trigger more out-of-area moves, as councils across the south of England compete for dwindling stocks of private-rented sector homes that are affordable within housing benefit limits.

One London council told Shelter that Luton was “full” – had no more temporary accommodation – and it was now looking to house its homeless families in other boroughs. Luton council itself was last year forced to put up a homeless family in a £65-a-night Travelodge because no temporary homes were available locally, partly because landlords had leased them to councils in the capital.

Latest official figures show that 17,150 households were temporarily housed out of area in 2015, up from 5,330 in 2010. Over 90% of placements were made by London authorities, who say their hand is forced by high rents, housing benefit caps and affordable housing shortages.

Based on Freedom of Information requests, Shelter estimates that almost half of all homeless families placed in temporary accommodation by London councils in the year to June 2015 were sent out of area.

Although most went to a neighbouring borough, 26% were placed in the capital but “beyond a reasonable travelling distance of their local services, neighbourhood support networks and schools”. One in 10 were rehoused outside London.

Although many out-of-area placements were lawful, Shelter says there is evidence of “sharp practices” whereby vulnerable homeless families are unlawfully pressured by councils into accepting unsuitable temporary accommodation. They include:

  • Homeless families being leaned on by council officials to make on-the-spot decisions on whether to accept an out-of-area placement, including in one case being threatened with having their children taken into care if they turned it down.
  • A meeting of homeless families being told by a housing officer at an unnamed London council that unless they were “prepared to move to the West Midlands” they should leave the room now.
  • One homeless family was told they had no option to take an out-of-area placement and they were given just minutes to accept. When they challenged it they were subsequently found accommodation locally.

A landmark court judgement last year emphasised that while out-of-area placements are not in themselves unlawful, councils have a legal duty to ensure that they ensure the relocation is suitable and appropriate for the family’s circumstances, taking into account any potential disruption to education, medical needs, caring responsibilities and employment.

But Shelter found that one year on, a third of London boroughs had not complied with the judge’s ruling that councils must revise and clarify their out-of-area policies in line with the judgement, including several that have made extensive use of out-of-area placements.

Some London councils argue that they are struggling to cope with a “perfect storm” of homelessness pressures and have lobbied ministers for changes in the law to make it easier for them to send families outside the capital.

It is understood that the Department for Work and Pensions is sympathetic to this view. But local government ministers are resistant to legal changes and want councils to ensure existing guidance works more effectively.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “The government is clear that councils have a legal duty to ensure that any temporary accommodation they offer is safe and suitable for the family concerned.

“The vast majority of out-of-borough placements are still within London, often in the neighbouring borough, and the number of households in temporary accommodation is well below the 2004 peak.”

Source: Councils ‘Forcing Homeless Families To Relocate Miles Away’

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders cranked up his fight with party leaders on Sunday, backing a challenger to the Democratic National Committee’s chairwoman and accusing the party’s establishment of trying to anoint Hillary Clinton as the nominee for president.

In a series of television interviews, Sanders remained defiant despite what he acknowledged was an uphill fight to overtake front-runner Clinton.

Clinton has said she already considers herself the de facto nominee and is increasingly turning her attention to Donald Trump, saying on Sunday that the rhetoric of the presumptive Republican nominee was dangerous.

Sanders told ABC’s “This Week” program that Americans should not have to choose between “the lesser of two evils” in the Nov. 8 election.

Sanders said that if he won the White House, he would not reappoint U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz as DNC chairwoman. He also endorsed law professor Tim Canova, who is challenging the Florida congresswoman in the August Democratic primary.

“Do I think she is the kind of chair that the Democratic Party needs? No, I don’t,” Sanders told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“Frankly, what the Democratic Party is about is running around to rich people’s homes and raising obscene sums of money from wealthy people. What we need to do is to say to working-class people – we are on your side,” he said.

The defiant tone by Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, has worried some Democrats anxious to see Clinton begin to unify the party and turn her attention to an election showdown with Trump.

Clinton painted Trump as a risk of the sort voters had not seen before in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that aired on Sunday.

“I do not want Americans, and, you know, good-thinking Republicans, as well as Democrats and independents, to start to believe that this is a normal candidacy,” she said. “It isn’t.”

Trump has gained ground in opinion polls as Republicans begin to rally around his candidacy. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Sunday showed Trump with a 2-point lead over Clinton, within the margin of error. In early March, Clinton led Trump by 9 points in the same poll.

But Sanders has ignored growing Democratic calls to step aside and repeated his vow to stay in the race until the party’s July 25-28 nominating convention in Philadelphia despite Clinton’s nearly insurmountable lead in pledged convention delegates who will choose the nominee.

He said he wanted to do away with superdelegates – party leaders who are free to support any candidate. Their rush to back Clinton even before votes had been cast amounted to “an anointment process,” Sanders said.

Source: Sanders steps up feud with Democratic establishment | Reuters

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