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Malaysia foreign minister meets counterpart from Myanmar shadow govt in Washington

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during a news conference after ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, October 28, 2021. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah met his counterpart from Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG), a shadow administration outlawed by the ruling military junta, in the group’s first open engagement with a Southeast Asian country.

The meeting, disclosed by Saifuddin in a Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) post late on Saturday, was held on the sidelines of a two-day summit in Washington between the United States and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which excluded Myanmar’s leader over a military coup last year.

Myanmar has repeatedly called on countries not to engage with the NUG, a group of members from the ousted administration, and other military opponents that the junta has labelled as “terrorists”.

In his Twitter post, Saifuddin said Malaysia “stands ready to work towards restoring peace and democracy in Myanmar” during an informal meeting with NUG Foreign Minister Zin Mar Aung.

“We took the opportunity to exchange views on latest developments in Myanmar, where Minister Zin shared insights as well as challenges faced by NUG, including humanitarian assistance, technical training and education for the Myanmar refugees,” he said.

A spokesman for the Myanmar’s military rulers did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment on the meeting.

Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry in a statement, however, denounced reports of engagements in Washington between the U.S. State Department and NUG officials, and said it had sent protest notes to all ASEAN countries and the United States asking them to refrain from talking to the opposition government.

The ministry also said it rejected a paragraph contained in a 28-page joint statement released by the United States and ASEAN, which had called for the timely implementation of a five-point peace plan agreed to by Myanmar.

The ministry said the language used in the paragraph suggested interference in Myanmar’s domestic affairs and included references to matters within its sovereign jurisdiction, “including unacceptable proposals that go beyond the Five Point Consensus.”

On Friday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman said she had met with NUG Foreign Minister Zin “to show support for all working to restore Burma’s path to inclusive democracy”.

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Republican Budd wins North Carolina Senate nomination; Cawthorn in trouble

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© Reuters. A woman wears a t-shirt falsely claiming that former U.S. President Donald Trump won the 2020 election, after a presentation to the Surry County board of commissioners by several individuals that aimed to cast doubt on election integrity, urging the commi

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By Jarrett Renshaw and Joseph Ax

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) -U.S. Representative Ted Budd, backed by former President Donald Trump, won the Republican Senate nomination in North Carolina on Tuesday, while Republican congressman Madison Cawthorn appeared in danger of losing his seat after a series of scandals.

Polls also closed in Pennsylvania, where voters were selecting party nominees in critical U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

President Joe Biden’s fellow Democrats are fighting to retain their slim majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate this year. Democrats in both states are vying to win Senate seats being vacated by retiring Republicans.

Budd, who beat former Governor Pat McCrory, will face Democratic former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who easily won her party’s nomination in the race to succeed North Carolina’s Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr.

Cawthorn, a staunch Trump ally, was struggling to fend off a challenge in a House primary from state Senator Chuck Edwards. With nearly 40% of the expected vote tallied, Cawthorn had 28% to 38% for Edwards, according to Edison Research.

Cawthorn, at 26 the House’s youngest member, has angered his party’s leaders with a string of embarrassing episodes, including claiming that conservative leaders invited him to a cocaine-fueled orgy, attempting twice to bring a gun onto a plane and having a video surface that showed him nude and gyrating against someone.

Republicans are well positioned to regain control of the House, which could enable them to frustrate Biden’s legislative agenda. Democrats have a better chance of keeping control of the Senate, currently split 50-50 between the parties with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote.

Biden’s public approval rating is at 42%, with 50% of Americans disapproving of his performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll completed on Tuesday.

In Pennsylvania, the Republican senatorial primary turned into an unpredictable three-way battle in its final days. Conservative political commentator Kathy Barnette surged into contention against two better-funded rivals: Trump-endorsed TV wellness celebrity Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund chief executive David McCormick (NYSE:MKC).

Barnette’s rise – along with that of state senator and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, a far-right candidate who has echoed Trump’s conspiracy theories – has worried some establishment Republicans that the duo could prove too extreme for voters in the general election.

In Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate primary, where 14% of the expected vote had been counted, progressive Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman had 52%, with centrist U.S. Representative Conor Lamb at 34%, according to Edison Research. Fetterman has been hospitalized in Lancaster since suffering a stroke last week but said doctors expect a full recovery.

His campaign on Tuesday released a photo of him voting from his hospital bed via an emergency absentee ballot, shortly before his campaign said he successfully had a pacemaker installed to address irregular heart rhythms that caused the stroke.

Final results may not be known tonight. Pennsylvania officials said voters requested 908,000 absentee or mail-in ballots. State law prevents these from being processed until Election Day.

TRUMP AS KINGMAKER

Trump has endorsed more than 150 candidates as he tries to solidify his status as his party’s kingmaker, though his picks have not always prevailed. His support helped author J.D. Vance win the Ohio Senate primary, but his favored candidate lost in Nebraska’s gubernatorial race last week.

Barnette, seeking to become Pennsylvania’s first Black U.S. senator, has called her rivals insufficiently conservative. She was photographed marching toward the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, alongside members of the extremist Proud Boys group shortly before a mob of Trump supporters stormed the building in a failed bid to overturn his 2020 election loss.

Barnette’s campaign told NBC she did not take part in or condone the destruction of property and has no connection to the Proud Boys.

Trump last week endorsed Mastriano, who is leading the polls in Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial primary and was also present outside the Capitol on the day of the riot. Mastriano played a significant role in the Trump campaign’s failed effort to overturn the state’s presidential results based on false claims of voting fraud.

Mastriano has said he would pursue a statewide abortion ban, after a leaked draft opinion showed the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who had no rivals for the Democratic nomination, has vowed to protect abortion rights. Shapiro said on Tuesday that he was isolating at home after testing positive for COVID-19.

In Idaho, meanwhile, incumbent Republican Governor Brad Little faces Trump-backed primary challenger Janice McGeachin, the state’s lieutenant governor.

Primary elections are also taking place in Kentucky and Oregon.

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Republican Budd, backed by Trump, wins North Carolina Senate nomination

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© Reuters. A woman wears a t-shirt falsely claiming that former U.S. President Donald Trump won the 2020 election, after a presentation to the Surry County board of commissioners by several individuals that aimed to cast doubt on election integrity, urging the commi

2/2

By Jarrett Renshaw and Joseph Ax

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Ted Budd, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, defeated former Governor Pat McCrory in Tuesday’s Republican U.S. Senate primary in North Carolina, the latest evidence that Trump retains crucial sway over his party.

Polls also closed in Pennsylvania, where voters were selecting party nominees in critical U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races ahead of Novembers midterm elections.

Budd will face Democratic former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who easily won her party’s nomination in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Senator Richard Burr.

President Joe Biden’s fellow Democrats are fighting to retain their slim majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate in the Nov. 8 elections. Democrats in both states are vying to win Senate seats being vacated by retiring Republicans.

The Pennsylvania Republican senatorial primary turned into an unpredictable three-way battle in its final days. Conservative political commentator Kathy Barnette surged into contention against two better-funded rivals: Trump-endorsed TV wellness celebrity Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund chief executive David McCormick (NYSE:MKC).

A weekend opinion poll by the Trafalgar Group, a Republican firm, showed Oz leading Barnette 28.5% to 26.8%, within the margin of error, with McCormick trailing at 21.6%.

Barnette’s rise – along with that of state senator and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, a far-right candidate who has echoed Trump’s conspiracy theories – has worried some establishment Republicans that the duo could prove too extreme for voters in the general election.

In Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate primary, progressive Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman has been comfortably ahead of centrist U.S. Representative Conor Lamb in polls. Fetterman has been hospitalized in Lancaster since suffering a stroke last week but said doctors expect a full recovery.

His campaign on Tuesday released a photo of him voting from his hospital bed via an emergency absentee ballot, shortly before his campaign said he successfully had a pacemaker installed to address irregular heart rhythms that caused the stroke.

Final results may not be known tonight. Pennsylvania officials said voters requested 908,000 absentee or mail-in ballots. State law prevents these from being processed until Election Day.

CAWTHORN FACES TEST

In North Carolina, Trump ally Madison Cawthorn, a first-term Republican congressman who has frustrated his party’s leaders with a series of self-inflicted scandals, was struggling to fend off a challenge in the House primary from state Senator Chuck Edwards. With more than a third of the expected vote tallied, Edwards held a 10 percentage point margin over Cawthorn.

Cawthorn, at 26 the House’s youngest member, has claimed that conservative leaders invited him to a cocaine-fueled orgy, attempted twice to bring a gun onto a plane and was forced to defend his conduct after a video surfaced that showed him nude and gyrating against someone.

More than 580,000 North Carolina voters had already cast their ballots in person or by mail, nearly twice as many as four years ago, according to the state Board of Elections. Those voters returned slightly more Democratic than Republican ballots.

In Idaho, meanwhile, incumbent Republican Governor Brad Little faces Trump-backed primary challenger Janice McGeachin, the state’s lieutenant governor.

Trump has endorsed more than 150 candidates as he tries to solidify his status as his party’s kingmaker, though his picks have not always prevailed. His support helped author J.D. Vance win the Ohio Senate primary, but his favored candidate lost in Nebraska’s gubernatorial race last week.

STRUGGLE FOR SENATE

Republicans are well positioned to regain control of the House, which could enable them to frustrate Biden’s legislative agenda. Democrats have a better chance of keeping control of the Senate, currently split 50-50 between the parties with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote.

Biden’s public approval rating is at 42%, with 50% of Americans disapproving of his performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll completed on Tuesday.

Barnette, seeking to become Pennsylvania’s first Black U.S. senator, has called her rivals insufficiently conservative. She was photographed marching toward the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, alongside members of the extremist Proud Boys group shortly before a mob of Trump supporters stormed the building in a failed bid to overturn his 2020 election loss.

Barnette’s campaign told NBC she did not take part in or condone the destruction of property and has no connection to the Proud Boys.

Trump last week endorsed Mastriano, who is leading the polls in Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial primary and was also present outside the Capitol on the day of the riot. Mastriano played a significant role in the Trump campaign’s failed effort to overturn the state’s presidential results based on false claims of voting fraud.

Mastriano has said he would pursue a statewide abortion ban, after a leaked draft opinion showed the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who had no rivals for the Democratic nomination, has vowed to protect abortion rights. Shapiro said on Tuesday that he was isolating at home after testing positive for COVID-19.

Primary elections are also taking place in Kentucky and Oregon.

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Trump-endorsed Ted Budd wins Republican primary for North Carolina’s Senate seat

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S Representative Ted Budd speaks during a rally hosted by former U.S. President Donald Trump in Selma, North Carolina, U.S. April 9, 2022. REUTERS/Erin Siegal McIntyre

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. congressman Ted Budd, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, defeated former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory in the Republican primary to succeed retiring U.S. Senator Richard Burr, Edison Research projected on Tuesday.

Budd’s victory – a sign of Trump’s continued influence in the party – means he will face Democrat Cheri Beasley, a former state chief justice, in the Nov. 8 congressional election.

The race is crucial to Republican hopes of regaining control of a Senate narrowly held by President Joe Biden’s fellow Democrats. Burr is a Republican.

Biden’s public approval rating is at 42%, with 50% of Americans disapproving of his performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll completed on Tuesday.

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