The death toll in the forest fires in the U.S. has increased to 33.

The number of people who have lost their lives in the forest fires in California, Oregon, and Washington, in the western United States, has risen to 33.

The death toll is on the rise in the forest fires in the western states of the U.S. It was reported that 33 people had lost their lives due to the wildfires which have been going on for the past three weeks in the western states of California, Oregon, and Washington. While thousands of houses became unusable in the region where millions of acres of land turned to ash, tens of thousands of people were forced to abandon their homes.

The authorities in Oregon indicated that there are tens of people who are still missing in the region and that the number of casualties may increase. The air pollution in the state's largest city, Portland, has reached a critical level due to the fires. A forced evacuation order has been issued for 40,000 people in Oregon, where the fires are still ongoing in 16 different locations. The authorities from Oregon have announced that they have found the bodies of 10 people who have lost their lives until now.

The firefighters in Washington, where there is at least one casualty, are still responding to 15 major fires. On the other hand, the number of those who have lost their lives in California since August 15 has risen to 22. 14,800 firefighters are still responding to 28 major fires in the state where evacuation orders have been issued for tens of thousands of people.

Forest fires in the U.S. might be a factor in the spread of the coronavirus.

During his statement to the U.S. media outlet CNN, Dr. Brad Spellberg, an executive at the USC Medical Center in the city of Los Angeles, said, "Several studies have demonstrated that there is a correlation between high air pollution levels and further infection rates and severity of coronavirus cases." 

Trump nominated for Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian and Swedish Officials

A Norwegian far-right politician announced that he nominated the U.S. President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his Middle East efforts. Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a parliament member of the far-right Progress Party in the Norwegian Parliament, said President Trump should be selected for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the agreement reached between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. Israel and the United Arab Emirates had reached a historic agreement last month for the bilateral normalization of relations. The deal is expected to be signed on September 15 at the White House. 

In the meantime, Magnus Jacobsson from the Swedish Parliament was the second person to nominate President Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. Jacobsson said that the reason behind this nomination for the prize is Trump's conciliation and peacemaking efforts between Kosovo and Serbia.

Former President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 at the very beginning of the first term of his early presidency.

Saying last year, "I would get a Nobel Prize for many reasons if they gave it out fairly," President Trump stated that the Nobel Prize is not awarded fairly.

In the written statement made by White House Spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany, reporting that President Trump is nominated for Nobel Peace Prize at a time, where the international community's support for peace treaties and trust for the Middle East are tested, she stated, "By uniting two of America's closest partners in the region, this agreement will create a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous the Middle East." 

WHO DECIDE THE NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS AND HOW ARE THEY DECIDED?

The Norwegian Nobel Committee selects Nobel Peace Laureates, and the Norwegian Parliament appoints this committee, which comprises five members. Members of the committee, who are expected to represent the power of political parties equally, can remain in office for six years and be re-elected. Furthermore, all members must be citizens of Norway.

WHO GETS NOMINATED FOR THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE?

An individual or an institution cannot nominate themselves for the Nobel Peace Prize. Those who can be selected are listed as follows:

Apart from current heads of state, members of national assemblies and national governments (cabinet members, ministers),

Members of the International Court of Justice and the International Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague,

Nobel Prize is the prize awarded by the association established by Alfred Nobel to reward those who serve for humanity. The first Nobel Prizes were given in 1901. The first Nobel Prize winner in Turkey was Orhan Pamuk. In 2015, Nobel Prize in Chemistry was received by Aziz Sancar, a Turkish scientist.

Secretary Pompeo Visits Southern Cyprus

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that his country is not comfortable with Turkey's activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Secretary Pompeo made this statement in Southern Cyprus during an official visit. Secretary of State met Greek leader Nicos Anastasiades as part of his schedule of meetings.

Secretary Pompeo called upon a diplomatic solution for the crisis between Turkey and Greece. He said, "The countries in the region must resolve the issues related to energy, security, and sea borders via diplomacy and dialogue." The Secretary of State highlighted that the escalated military tension between the two countries would only benefit the competitors who want segregation in the transatlantic unity."

Secretary Pompeo added that  U.S. is  deeply concerned about Turkey's ongoing operations and that Southern Cyprus has the right to use its natural resources, including the economic hydrocarbons that it has discovered within its exclusive economic region.

Two survey vessels sent out to the Mediterranean gets a reaction from Greece and Southern Cyprus. France supports Greece upon the responses.

European Union will put the matter on its agenda at the meeting to be held on September 24th. 

In addition, Secretary Pompeo underlined that they know not all of the Russian vessels which stop at the Southern Cypriot ports carry out humane activities in Syria.

At the end of the visit, it was determined to establish a "Cypriot Land, High Sea and Port Security Center" between the U.S. and Greek Cypriot region.

The reaction from  TRNC:

The Presidency of TRNC reacted to the U.S Secretary of State, Pompeo, who was said to meet only Greek officials during his visit to Cyprus, stating, "It is not possible to accept such an attitude." 

Turkish Defence Minister Akar arrived in the TRNC to monitor the "Distinguished Observer Day" activities of "Mediterranean Storm-2020 Drill".

During his visit, Hulusi Akar said: "We have done everything under good neighborhood relations, and we will keep on to do so. We expect the same from the other party. Hence, as long as our demands and requests on this are met, we seek peace."

Regarding the recent developments, retired Admiral Cihat Yaycı also indicated that the Greek President's visit to Meis and surrounding Turkish islands is unacceptable and that "this is a major diplomatic opportunity to justify our position to the rest of the world."

The Short Film by a Turkish student in the U.S. is shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

The short documentary film by the Turkish student named Onay who lives in New York will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

Nehir Onay, who is receiving a master's degree education on documentaries in New York, made statements to an Anatolian Agency reporter about the short documentary. 

Onay said that his project titled "Sur Les Pointes" which is about a professional ballet institution and the choreography at that institution, was nominated for the category of best short documentary film in Cannes, and added that her short film also received the second best documentary film award at a film festival organized in New York.

Onay indicated that she was not only the director but also the producer of the project from its development to its distribution.

Onay also stated that the short film festival, which will be held online this year due to the coronavirus, will premiere on September 13th. The projections will end on September 21st. She added that the viewers who purchase tickets for the films that will be streamed online will also have the right to vote for the films.

Century-Old Companies Are Going Bankrupt

Despite the economic aid packages offered by Congress and Trump administration considered the current epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic,many well-known companies have been filing bankruptcy postponement applications. After textile retail giants Neiman Marcus, J.Crew, and True religion, another long-established company, JCPenney, requested the bankruptcy postponement. The 118-year-old company has recently had to shut down its 850 stores.

The company first missed the debt payment that was due April 15. Another payment was skipped on May 7. JCPenney's application to the Securities and Exchange Commission stated that the company owes $4 billion in debt, and $17 million worth of interest was paid.

JC Penny CEO Jill Soltau said that they implemented the renewal plan strategy before the start of the pandemic and added, "In this context, we have taken important steps towards rebuilding our company. Our efforts were starting to pay off. However, closing our stores due to the pandemic required us to make a comprehensive move, including the removal of outstanding debt", said Soltau.

List of Companis that have filed for bankruptcy during the coronavirus pandemic:

Stein Mart,Virgin Atlantic,Lord & Taylor,Tailored Brands, Muji U.S.,Brook Brothers, Sur La Table,Hertz,Le Pain Quotidien,US Division,GNC,Neiman Marcus,JC Penny, J. Crew,CEC Entertainment,NPC International.

The economic recession is also expected to be reflected in the data in the real estate market, and despite the record high economic stimulus package, government spending is expected to decline more than ever recorded as local governments transfer their resources to fight the pandemic.

White House Economic Advisor Kudlow: "The U.S. economy is on the right track."

Trump's Economic Advisor Kudlow suggested that the capital gains tax cut that President Trump has recently brought up to question again will help increase the personal incomes and boost overall economic growth.

For the first time in U.S. history, the number of people requesting unemployment benefits increased by 135,000 in the week ending on August 15 compared to the previous week and reached 1,106,000. As the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the labor market, the number of individuals that applied for unemployment pay in the U.S. had risen to 6,867,00 and set a new record on the week ending on March 28.

Key Takeaways from the 2020 Democratic National Convention

The Democratic National Convention was held for four days  on a virtual platform due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Very few of the Democrats, who came to Wisconsin Center from various states around the country, were accepted in, and a limited number of events and conferences took place due to Coronavirus The Democratic National Convention was hosted by Eva Longoria, the famous American actress, and producer.

The main themes of the speeches made at the Democratic National Convention were the pandemic, discrimination, and the country's deteriorating economy. Democrats claimed that President Trump, who underestimated the virus, was responsible for the current situation. Democratic Presidential Candidarte Joe Biden took the floor on the last day of the Convention. And both Biden and Harris' nominations were officially approved. It was stated that the 4-day Convention was viewed by 122 million (85 million on TV and 35 million online) and that $70 million was raised during the event.

In his 22-minutes speech, Joe Biden stated that the country is currently going through a dark period, and he would end this period and reunite the public if he is elected.

Stating that President Trump caused 'Too much anger, too much fear, too much division' in the county, Biden said. "Here and now, I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I'll be an ally of the light, not the darkness. It's time for people to come together. We can and will overcome this season of darkness in America. I am a proud Democrat, and I will be proud to carry our party's banner into the general election. So, it is with great honor and humility that I accept this nomination for President of the United States of America."

Highlights from the Speakers at the DNC Convention:

VP Candidate-Senator Kamal Harris, "Things get better when we vote."

President Carter, "Joe will unite us."

President Barack Obama: "Don't let them take away your democracy, your power."

President Bill Clinton: "Trump does not work. If you want a president who spends his time on social media and watching television instead of working, he is the one you are looking for."

First Lady Michelle Obama: "If Trump gets reelected, everything will go even worse for the country."

Secretary Hillary Clinton: Most of all, no matter what, vote. And convince everyone you know to vote.

Secretary John Kerry: "Trump is destroying the relations we have with our allies."

General Colin Powell: "Joe Biden will show his leadership from day one."

Jill Biden: "We need honest leadership, worthy of our nation."

Governor Cuomo: "Trump made the virus political.

Senator Sanders called the left-wing voters to vote for Biden and Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez presented Bernie Sanders as a presidential candidate.

U.S. Envoy to Syria will be in Turkey this week.

U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement, Ambassador James Jeffrey and Special Envoy for Syria Joel Rayburn will go to Switzerland and Turkey for official visits. During the visit, which will take place August 22-28, the two diplomats will first go to Geneva and attend the Syrian Constitutional Committee meetings that are to start on August 24.

The purpose of the visit is to hold official talks on the constitutional reform process in Syria, conducted under the leadership of Syria, and under the United Nations' auspices.

Ambassador Jeffrey will meet with UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen and other members of the Syrian Constitutional Committee and some other diplomats.

Syrian Constitutional Commission Reunites

The U.S is not directly involved in the commission established under the supervision of the UN. However, U.S. officials aim to support the work of the commission established by the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 to resolve the political disputes in Syria.

According to the statement made by the U.S. Department of State, former U.S. Ambassador to Ankara, James Jeffrey will meet the representatives of Syrian opposition groups and Syrian NGOs in Istanbul on August 26 to evaluate the latest situation in Syria.

Ambassador Jeffrey will go to Ankara on August 27-28. It is stated that Jeffrey will meet senior Turkish officials, during which they are expected to discuss the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

It was noted in the statement of the U.S. Department of State that Jeffrey would also discuss the continuation of the fight against ISIS and other regional issues with Turkish officials.

Secretary Pompeo; United States demands 'snapback' of measures at UNSC

The U.S will activate the "snapback" mechanism that has recently brought up to the international agenda, to unilaterally re-implement the expired sanctions against Iran.

The Trump administration, having withdrawn in 2018 from the international agreement that covered Iran's nuclear program, has no backing from UN Members in their  "snapback" move.

Following lengthy negotiations, Germany, along with the permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, the United States, China, Russia, France, and Britain, had signed a historic agreement with Iran in 2015 on its nuclear program.

In the agreement, it was decided that the UN would lift international sanctions against Iran in return for the Tehran government's promise not to manufacture nuclear weapons.

According to the agreement, the conventional arms embargo on Iran will expire on October 18, officially named as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and entered into force with the UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

After failing to convince the UN Security Council members about prolonging the agreement, the Trump administration brought the "snap back mechanism into the light to try their chances again.

During his presidency, President Barack Obama included the "snapback" mechanism in the agreement to re-enforce all of the previous sanctions in case of Iran violating its provisions.

Unlike other UN Security Council resolutions, this mechanism does not entitle the five permanent members the right of veto.

Resolution 2231 also gives any signatory country of the agreement the right to make a complaint that another treaty participant violated the rules. The use of this right by a state starts a 30-day process for the Security Council to create a new decision that will altogether remove all sanctions in force under the agreement.

U.S.  also took the official step to start this process. According to the agreement, the country receiving the said step has the right to veto the new decision to be taken by the Security Council within 30 days. Therefore, the right to reintroduce all sanctions under the current conditions.

Secretary Pompeo’s Remarks at United Nations:

“I notified them that the United States is initiating the restoration of virtually all UN sanctions on Iran lifted under UN Security Council Resolution 2231.  This process will lead to those sanctions coming back into effect 30 days from today. Our message is very, very simple: the United States will never allow the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism to freely buy and sell planes, tanks, missiles, and other kinds of conventional weapons.  These UN sanctions will continue the arms embargo.”

“Our actions today too should come as no surprise to anyone.  Our team has made every diplomatic effort over now almost two years to renew this arms embargo.  I want to thank the Dominican Republic for standing with us in this effort. 

“Our friends in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom – the E3 – all told me privately that they don’t want the arms embargo lifted either.We call on the international community to join us in crafting a stronger deal that addresses the full range of Iran’s malign behavior, and protects people of all nations that simply want to live free from Iranian predation. “

NYC Mayor Blasio: "Planning to Lay Off 22,000 Public Workers on Oct 1st"

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was moving forward with "painfully real" plans to lay off 22,000 public workers on October 1 unless another source of cash comes through.

"The overwhelming cost of local government is the staff. Where we put our money is to provide services to New Yorkers, whether they're first responders, health care workers, sanitation workers, educators, you name it. "

"If you're going to keep cutting and cutting, it has to at some come to the staff. It's just pure logic of budgets, and it's a very sad logic. I don't like it one bit, and I want to avert this at all costs. The number 22,000 is painfully real," he said.

"Every single agency will experience cuts, every single agency will have to save a lot of money, and generally it will be through layoffs."
 
* Politico was the first media outlet who learned the lay off plan in NYC.


Opposing NYPD Officers to live in the 5 Boroughs

NYC Mayor Blasio also said he would oppose requiring NYPD officers to live in the five boroughs, as most other city workers are required to do because of the high housing cost.

A slight majority of police officers live outside the city. The NYPD's civilian employees, however, are covered by residency requirements, and 94% of them live in the five boroughs, according to data obtained by Streetsblog.
 
NYC Budget is 92.5 billion dollars
 
On April 25, 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio released the Executive Budget for Fiscal 2020. The budget totals $92.5 billion, representing approximately a $258 million increase over the $92.2 billion Preliminary Budget that was released in February. 
 
NYC is facing almost 9 trillion dollars budget deficit this year
 
 
NYPD Budget is 6 billion dollars
 
NYC Mayor  recently announced a $1 billion cut to the NYPD while maintaining patrol strength and focus on safety.
 

Biden: "Kamala Harris is the Right Choice"

Democratic Presidential Candidate Biden and VP Candidate Kamala Harris' first public appearance as a ticket — and her official introduction as VP candidate — took place in Wilmington, Delaware.

"I have no doubt that I picked the right person. Kamala Harris is smart, tough, experienced, and a proven fighter for the backbone of this country, the middle class. She knows how to make the hard calls. She's ready to do this job on day one. We're both ready to get to work, rebuilding this nation," said Joe Biden.

Explaining the process of determining his Vice President candidate based on his own experience, Joe Biden stated that when the former President Barack Obama asked him what he wanted most importantly at that time, he said that he wanted to be the last person in the room before Obama made important decisions. "That's what I asked Kamala," he said.

Joe Biden said Kamala Harris is "a child of immigrants" who "knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country as well as the challenges of what it means to grow up Black and Indian-American in the U.S.A"

"We have a public health crisis, but months later, the President has shown no real leadership. Local governments are trying to fill the vacuum of leadership from the President, who has not put forward a plan on how to get this pandemic under control. Instead, he's insisting that this virus will disappear by signing executive orders", Biden said and criticized the Trump Administration's approach to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Kamala Harris: "America is crying out for leadership!"

"President's mismanagement of the pandemic has plunged us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. We're experiencing a moral reckoning with racism and systemic injustice that has brought a new coalition of conscience, demanding change. America is crying out for leadership. Yet we have a President who cares more about himself than the people who elected him. But here's the good news, we don't have to accept the failed government of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. In 83 days, we have a chance to choose a better future for our country," she said.

Joe Biden's Son; Beau Biden

Kamal Harris spoke of her work with Biden's son Beau Biden during the financial crisis while both were state attorneys general, saying, "We spoke almost every day, and I learned quickly that Beau was the kind of guy who inspired people to be a better version of themselves."

About Senator Kamala Harris

Personal Birthdate: October 20, 1964 

Birthplace: Oakland, California 

Education: Howard University, B.A. political science, and economics, 

1986; the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, J.D., 1989 

First African-American, first woman, and first Asian-American to become attorney general of California.

First South Asian-American attorney general in the U.S.

First Indian-American and 2nd African-American woman to serve as a Senator. 

First African-American woman to represent California in the Senate. 

She is the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants

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