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India's prime minister, humbled by voters, is sworn in again

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India's prime minister, humbled by voters, is sworn in again


MUMBAI, India — The Indian leader Narendra Modi was sworn in as prime minister on Sunday for a rare third term after nearly two months of voting in the world’s largest democracy. But for the first time, Modi will lead a coalition after his party was humbled in its traditional stronghold of the Hindi-speaking belt of northern India.

Modi, 73, made history by being elected three consecutive times. The last person to do that was Jawaharlal Nehru, one of the founding fathers of modern India and its first prime minister.

But Modi’s vow that he’d win a supermajority, which would have allowed him to reshape the Indian state that Nehru created, was dashed.

The prime minister will lead a coalition government after voters defied the predictions of exit polls, India’s mainstream media, and the markets that Modi’s BJP party would win a supermajority of two-thirds of all parliamentary seats.

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As tallying began on June 4, it quickly became clear that the BJP would not clear a simple majority of 272, although it won the largest number of seats. It won 240 seats, and with its allies, secured 293.

Modi’s coalition now relies on allies, including two kingmakers, to retain power: N. Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party in southern Andhra Pradesh state, and Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal (United) in eastern Bihar state.

President Droupadi Murmu administered the oath at India’s presidential palace, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, in the capital New Delhi at twilight after a sweltering summer day. The audience included some of India’s biggest movie stars and its wealthiest businessmen, including India’s richest person, Mukesh Ambani.

The close mingling of business and power appeared to be one of the key reasons why fewer Indians cast their vote for Modi than in the past.

There was a widespread perception among voters that the prime minister had swelled the coffers of big business while ordinary Indians struggled with low wages, high unemployment and rising prices.

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Analysts say there was also a swing against Modi’s BJP by Dalits, who form India’s most oppressed castes, particularly in the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh.

The results were also a cautious relief to many Muslims, who form India’s largest minority. They were often the target of hateful comments by the Hindu nationalist BJP. That includes Modi, who described them as “infiltrators” at a campaign rally.

“They’ve got breathing space, that’s what everyone is saying,” says author and activist Rana Ayyub.But nobody’s expecting an overnight change in their fortunes.” 

Some analysts say this coalition government might be the best possible outcome for India: Modi, an experienced leader at the helm, but his most authoritarian tendencies curbed by his coalition. “Ultimately, the outcome is the best of both worlds in that it offers a degree of stability and continuity while the weakened mandate restrains the BJP’s ability to pursue its more divisive identity-driven agenda,” wrote Chietigj Bajpaee, a South Asia senior research fellow at Chatham House, a U.K.-based think tank.

Critics say Modi undermined India’s democracy with attacks by Hindu nationalists against minorities, and shrinking space for dissent and free media. He was widely perceived as using state institutions to shore up his power, from security agencies, law enforcement, and India’s election commission.

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But restoring the health of India’s democracy — that might take longer. “For 10 years, India has followed a trajectory of de-democratisation,” wrote Christophe Jaffrelot, one of the world’s preeminent experts on Indian politics. “And, nobody can anticipate the techniques that Mr. Modi may resort to, to save his post,” he wrote.

Copyright 2024 NPR





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NWS experiments with revamped hazardous weather outlook, prepping for weather hazards

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NWS experiments with revamped hazardous weather outlook, prepping for weather hazards


With severe weather and hurricane season top of mind, now is the perfect time to get familiar with an enhanced product the National Weather Service is experimenting with to help communities stay safe during weather events.
It’s called the graphical Hazardous Weather Outlook which is an experimental product that is currently being tested to see how users like the feature. The HWO provides info on weather phenomena that could be hazardous, like thunderstorms that could produce hail, damaging winds, or tornadoes. The HWO is based on the potential for a weather event to require an outlook, watch, warning, or advisory from the National Weather Service.

This service is expected to provide critical weather information to a wide range of decision makers, including emergency managers, media, and the general public. Any person with internet access will be able to use the service.
The HWO is created every 7 days using existing local forecast data as well as outlooks from national centers such as the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and the Weather Prediction Center (WPC). It is designed to provide convenient access to the expected type, severity, coverage and potential impacts of hazardous weather events.

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If your area is in an elevated risk of dangerous weather, you should pay particularly close attention to the weather situation that day or night. Have a dependable method of getting severe weather watches and warnings, whether through local media, NOAA weather radio, social media or a smartphone. Make sure your smartphone is charged and app settings, including volume, are such that you can be awakened from a sound sleep. Know where to take shelter if a warning is issued.

To learn more about the Hazardous weather Outlook and how to use it, go to https://www.weather.gov/. Type in your city or zip code and search the “Hazardous Weather Outlook” on your local National Weather Services’ home page. This service will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with real-time access for the 117 contiguous U.S. offices around the country.





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Report: Boston College Men’s Basketball Set to Host South Carolina in 2024 ACC/SEC Challenge

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Report: Boston College Men’s Basketball Set to Host South Carolina in 2024 ACC/SEC Challenge


In 2023, the NCAA announced a new event for the men’s and women’s basketball programs, the ACC/SEC Challenge. The event spanned over two days and paired up teams from both conferences to play against each other. 

The challenge replaced the ACC vs. Big Ten and the SEC vs. Big 12 Challenges which both ended in 2022.

In the inaugural event, the Boston College Eagles traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to take on Vanderbilt and beat the Commodores 80-62. 

On Wednesday, a report from CBSSports’ Jon Rothstein announced the matchups for the 2024-25 season. 

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The Eagles will host the South Carolina Gamecocks at Conte Forum this year. 

The Eagles and Gamecocks have met twice in the two program’s histories. The first on Dec. 30, 2009 in Chestnut Hill, Mass., where the Eagles won 85-76 and the second on Jan. 1, 2011 in Columbia, S.C., where Boston College also won 85-70. 

Here are all the reported matchups for the upcoming season: 

Arkansas at Miami

California at Missouri

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Florida State at LSU

Georgia Tech at Oklahoma

Kentucky at Clemson

Notre Dame at Georgia

Ole Miss at Louisville

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South Carolina at Boston College

Syracuse at Tennessee

Wake Forest at Texas A&M

Alabama at North Carolina

Auburn at Duke

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Pittsburgh at Mississippi State

Texas at North Carolina State

Vanderbilt at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech at Florida

The dates and times for these matchups will be announced at a later time. 

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House Republicans prepare to hold Attorney General Garland in contempt

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House Republicans prepare to hold Attorney General Garland in contempt


The Republican-led House of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress, escalating a tug-of-war over audiotapes of President Biden’s interview with a special prosecutor.

That federal criminal investigation ended this year with no charges against Biden for mishandling classified information, in part because special counsel Robert Hur concluded a jury would likely view the president as a “sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.”

Read the special counsel’s report on Biden’s handling of classified documents

Top Republican leaders worked Tuesday night to count votes to ensure the measure could pass in the narrowly divided chamber. If Republicans are successful, Garland will become the third attorney general to be reprimanded by the House for defying a congressional subpoena. But the consequences are likely to end there, since Biden has asserted executive privilege over the tapes, giving Garland legal protection from any further investigation.

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told NPR that he expected the House to approve the contempt resolutions and said he hasn’t heard any reservations about them from fellow Republicans.

Democrats pointed out that Jordan, who is a chief advocate of holding Garland in contempt, declined to cooperate with the House January 6 committee’s investigation in 2022. He publicly admitted that he was discussing a plan to contest the electoral votes in several states with the Trump White House. Jordan told NPR that he never told the committee he wouldn’t appear and maintained he negotiated with it. “This is different — Merrick Garland says you ain’t getting it,” referring to the audiotapes, adding, “There’s no negotiating whatsoever.”

He and other House Republicans argued Tuesday that the Justice Department waived privilege over withholding the tapes once it gave the committees the transcripts of the interviews with Biden.

Democrats and the Justice Department reject the premise of the contempt proceedings

The attorney general has said he engaged in extraordinary accommodation with lawmakers. Special counsel Hur provided five hours of congressional testimony about his findings. And the Justice Department turned over written transcripts of Biden’s interview, as well as correspondence with lawyers for Biden and the White House.

Garland sought to cast the contempt proceedings as part of a series of attacks against the Justice Department and its career employees by partisans intent on making political points.

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“Disagreements about politics are good for our democracy,” Garland wrote in an opinion piece this week. “They are normal. But using conspiracy theories, falsehoods, violence and threats of violence to affect political outcomes is not normal. The short-term political benefits of those tactics will never make up for the long-term cost to our country.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, furthered that argument Tuesday in a hearing on the contempt measure.

“This isn’t really about a policy disagreement with the DOJ. This is about feeding the MAGA base after 18 months of investigation that have produced failure after failure,” Nadler said.

Nadler also maintained that the audiotapes of the president could be easily manipulated by House Republicans, pointing to a case of a witness who appeared before the panel last year that resulted in threats.

Asked whether Democrats will be unified against the contempt resolution, Rep Hakeem Jeffries, the top House Democrat, told NPR that he expected the “overwhelming majority” of Democrats to vote no. He called the effort “frivolous, unconscionable, unnecessary and un-American.”

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Republicans say Garland must provide more information

But leaders of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees said they had legitimate reasons to demand the tapes of Biden’s interview, reasoning that it could help advance a stalled impeachment probe against Biden and assess the need for new legislation to protect sensitive or classified materials.

The tapes also would help make their case that Biden, 81, is losing his faculties, a pillar of the Republican case against Biden in the 2024 presidential election.

“If the attorney general wants to defy Congress and not produce the audio recordings, he will face consequences for those actions,” House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., declared recently.

Biden’s decision to invoke executive privilege not only insulates his attorney general from a criminal contempt probe but also prevents the audio from appearing in campaign ads.

“Quite frankly, the White House has every reason to be concerned about the audio being released, because it could be chopped up and used in various ways in a political campaign in an election year to make the president look and sound bad,” George Mason University political scientist Mark Rozell told NPR.

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Biden blocks the release of recordings of his classified documents interview

The Heritage Foundation and several media organizations are suing for access to those tapes under the Freedom of Information Act, but it’s not clear they will meet with success before the November election.

Copyright 2024 NPR





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