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Americans Prepare to Render Midterm Verdict on Trump
06 November 2018, 12:00 | Randall Craig
Mr Trump's fiery, invective-filled campaigning produced what may be the most polarised midterm contest in modern times as he played to tribal rifts in American society in a way that no president has done since before the civil rights era. And both of those things are significantly more important than the tone of Donald Trump's 240-characters-at-a-time thoughts. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going.
The then 47-year-old Democrat, who became the 44th USA president, garnered 365 electoral votes and almost 53 per cent of the popular vote, while his 72-year-old Republican challenger captured 173 electoral votes, more than 45 per cent of the popular vote.
The entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate are up for grabs.
"Polls are suggesting that the Democrats are on course to win back the House, while Republicans are on course to hold the Senate".
Mr Trump was making his closing argument to voters in Ohio, Indiana and Missouri.
Former President Barack Obama has been campaigning with Democratic candidate for Georgia Governor Stacey Abrams. "It's not good for us", he said about (illegal) immigrants.
The party of a first-term president tends to lose congressional seats in his first midterm. The average loss in the years since World War II is 24 seats.
Anxious Republicans privately expressed confidence in their narrow Senate majority but feared the House was slipping away. And the level of interest in this midterm election is extraordinarily high, with 85 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans polled saying they are very interested in this election.
Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to suppress turnout among racial minorities in states like Georgia, where Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp is overseeing his own election.
"It all depends on turnout", he said. But I always voted, and you should too.
Trump would be faced with the choice of moderating and working with Democrats or being a lame-duck president starting in January 2019 when a new Democratic Congress is sworn in - as talk ramps up about Democratic 2020 challengers. Since October the GOP has gained 2 percentage points among likely voters.
Van Jones is the host of the "The Van Jones Show" and a CNN political commentator.
Republicans point to the strength of the economy as their chief selling point.
"All across the country, what I'm seeing is a great awakening", he said. Trump would say, quite reasonably, that the state of the economy is already priced in.
The president has kept up a record-setting pace of campaigning in this election cycle, holding 30 rallies since Labor Day and 53 events since taking office.
The state Supreme Court in January threw out the congressional district map Republicans drew in 2011, ruling in a gerrymandering case that it was unconstitutionally drawn to give Republicans an advantage.
"Everything we have created and achieved is at stake on election day", Trump told a cheering crowd in Cleveland, as he kicked off his furious last round of campaigning.
The election near the halfway mark of a president's first term is traditionally a referendum on the White House occupant. "In a sense, I am on the ticket".
But Republicans who have been down this road before offer words of caution - be careful what you wish for.
"These midterms are incredibly significant because Donald Trump is the most polarising president in the U.S. and these midterms will decide whether or not there is a check to the Trump presidency, or whether Trump will proclaim himself vindicated and proceed unchecked for two years", says Professor Allan Lichtman from the American University in Washington DC.
"We're not letting these people invade our country", Trump declared. "Tomorrow with your votes, you can stop the radical resistance in its tracks".
EXPECT BIOTECH TO FALL If Democrats take control of the House and Republicans continue to have an edge in the Senate, UBS Wealth Management analysts say that among the areas where the president and Congress could find common ground are drug price controls and infrastructure spending; the former could pressure large pharma and even biotech stocks lower, or limit their gains, while the latter could boost those in engineering, construction and building materials.
"The biggest worry for the White House in terms of re-election is making sure they have a Republican governor in Florida and OH because it just makes organizing those states all the easier", he said.
But Democrats are willing to wrestle with the political pressures and perils of impeachment because they know it's a problem they'll only encounter if they win the majority again.
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