US ELECTION 2020: BLOOMBERG DONATES $100M
FOR BIDEN IN FLORIDA
Billionaire Mike Bloomberg has pledged at least $100m (£78m) to helpDemocrat Joe Biden's presidential campaign in Florida. Of the battleground states Florida offers the biggest share of the electoral college votes needed to win.
Mr Bloomberg already spent $1bn this year trying to defeat Mr Biden to become the Democratic challenger.
Donald Trump has hinted he will spend his own money in the state ahead of early voting opening on 24 September.
Both campaigns are keen to appeal to voters who may be casting their votes early by post and set the tone of the final weeks of their campaigns.
Postal voting is expected to be double that seen in 2016 as the coronavirus pandemic spurs voters to avoid polling stations.
Florida offers 29 of the 270 electoral college voters needed to win the election.
President Trump won Florida in 2016, while Democrat Barack Obama took the state in 2012.
"Mike Bloomberg is committed to helping defeat Trump, and that is going to happen in the battleground states," Kevin Sheekey, an adviser to Mr Bloomberg, told Reuters.
In a tweet, Donald Trump reacted by criticising Mr Bloomberg's own run to become the Democratic candidate for president in which he reportedly spent $409m (£313m).
"I thought Mini Mike was through with Democrat politics," he wrote about the former mayor of New York City. "Save NYC instead." ISRAEL--BBCi
JEWISH LEADERS WELCOME DECLARATION OF PEACE BETWEEN ISRAEL AND BAHRAIN
By ARTHUR STARK
“We applaud the news today that the Kingdom of Bahrain will become the latest Arab country, after Egypt, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates just weeks ago, to establish full diplomatic relations with the State of Israel. We commend President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa for furthering the cause of peace.
Following the Abraham Accord to be signed next week, this agreement represents another step in the right direction for the Middle East, as it will normalize diplomatic, security, commercial, and other relations between Israel and Bahrain. The rapidly shifting dynamics in the region signal a new era of cooperation, with rejectionism and extremism being set aside to give peaceful coexistence a chance.
We salute the diplomats of each country for orchestrating this historic breakthrough. We welcome the upcoming exchange of ambassadors and embassies between Israel and Bahrain, and look forward to seeing more Arab and Muslim countries embrace the Jewish State in the days to come.
Arthur Stark, Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
Elul, 5780 - Tishrei, 5781 Sept.14 - Oct. 11, 2020 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES--642nd Web Ed.
YOMIM NORAIM REMINDERS: STATEMENT FROM AGUDATH ISRAEL
Unfortunately, the uptick in COVID-19 cases in our communities, noted in Agudath Israel of America’s recent statement regarding simchos, continues its upward trajectory. While there have been hospitalizations, boruch Hashem most of the recent cases have not been as serious as those in March and April. Theories to explain this phenomenon abound, and much remains unclear. Some medical experts see the slow rise in cases now in our community as echoing what we experienced in early March, chas v’sholom, and are concerned that we may be at the cusp of an exponential rise. Others see the past month, in isolation, as less alarming.
The truth is, we do not know where this is headed. And that is exactly why we must remain vigilant.
So, this Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, please remember to daven fervently for tichleh shona v’kililosaho. We must all resolve to improve our limud and support of Torah, kavod hatefila, and kedusha, as the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah has instructed. And, with the guidance of your rabbonim, please also take the precautions you’ve heard about so many times in the past 6 months – for yourself, and for the people next to you who may have health conditions that put them at greater risk.
Medical experts and health officials are recommending that, as much as possible, people mask and social distance, especially given the uptick. They further advise that for indoor gatherings, ventilation should be enhanced by opening windows and/or increasing the fresh air input settings of HVAC systems. This is especially so in the context of the Yomim Noraim, when we spend additional time together in shul.
Of course, the elderly and those at high risk should be especially careful. Individuals who have had exposure to a COVID case or attended a high-risk event should seek medical advice before attending shul. And if you feel at all ill with COVID symptoms, please stay home; do not risk endangering your fellow man.
May our renewed focus on bein adam lamakom and bein adam lachaveiro merit a k'siva va'chasima tova for all of us.
FDA CLEARS PLASMA FOR EMERGENCY USE TO TREAT COVID-19: AGUDATH ISRAEL WELCOMES ANNOUNCEMENT
The U.S Food and Drug Administration cleared the way for the Emergency Use Authorization of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 this week. This decision, based on the FDA’s evaluation of the evidence of the potential risks and benefits of using plasma to treat COVID-19, is seen as a milestone. Previously, convalescent plasma was safely given to over 70,000 patients with encouraging results under the Expanded Access program, an earlier status in the FDA approval process that carries additional requirements and paperwork to provide the treatment. Now plasma can be given without such restrictions.
Convalescent plasma, used for over a hundred years, is a treatment that transfuses antibody-containing plasma from the blood of a recovered patient to patients still struggling with a disease. Currently, only convalescent plasma and the drug remdesivir have the FDA status of Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment of COVID-19. In the studies reviewed, plasma results were most striking when administered early in the disease's progression and with plasma containing “high-titers,” or high concentrations of antibodies.
As plasma is not a drug that can be produced, its availability is entirely dependent on donors. For months, Orthodox Jewish communities in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and around the country have stepped forward, partnering with the medical community to self-organize, donate plasma, and make this therapy available. Dr. Michael Joyner, who is leading the largest U.S. study at the Mayo Clinic in the use of plasma, has famously said that “By far the largest group is our Orthodox friends in New York City,” and “I would be shocked if they were less than half the total.”
Agudath Israel of America is proud to have been at the forefront of this campaign. Already in late March, Agudath Israel encouraged its members to donate, and worked with government, hospitals, blood centers, and research facilities to make the treatment available. Beginning in April, the Agudah partnered with the Covid Plasma Initiative, Hatzolah, Refuah Health, and others to host dozens of drives across the country. In recognition of this role, Maryland Agudah Director, Rabbi Ariel Sadwin, was asked to speak at the White House on May 7th.
Avrohom Weinstock, Esq., Agudah’s chief of staff and the driving force behind Agudah’s plasma campaign, said, “The Agudah is grateful to the thousands of donors who have stepped forward to open their veins and their hearts to make this treatment available to save lives. The tireless organizers, organizations, and donors I have had the privilege of partnering with over the past months demonstrate the altruistic spirit of the Jewish people and their value for human life, even before it was known just how impactful their efforts would prove to be. The FDA’s findings this week, no doubt aided by the large sample size it had to draw upon, validate that dedication.”
The next plasma drive is being organized by Agudath Israel and the Covid Plasma Initiative at the Kingsway Jewish Center in Brooklyn on September 1. Eligible donors can register here.
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