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Hillary Clinton wins decisive victory over Bernie Sanders in New York primary

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  • Swedish minister calls 9/11 attacks ‘accidents’

Hillary Clinton clinched a decisive victory over Bernie Sanders in New York on Tuesday, crushing hopes among his supporters that a recent winning streak could change the direction of the Democratic presidential race.

The former secretary of state’s projected win by the Associated Press came 45 minutes after polls closed and suggested a commanding performance that could see her take a clear majority of the 291 delegates on offer and extend her national lead.

Appearing at a victory rally in Midtown Manhattan, Clinton said: “Tonight, the race for the Democratic nomination is in the home stretch and victory is in sight.”

However, she stopped short of calling on her leftwing opponent to drop out, adding: “I am going forward because more voices remain to be heard,” and telling his supporters: “I believe there is much more that unites us than divides us.”

With over 95% of the votes tallied, Clinton led 57.7% to 42.3% and was ahead in New York City. With more than 1.4 million Democratic votes counted, Clinton held a lead in excess of 230,000. By midnight local time she had won 135 delegates to 104 for Sanders.

With almost 100% of the votes in from the five boroughs of New York City, Clinton was winning everywhere, 20 points ahead in Kings County, which covers Brooklyn, and 39 points ahead in the Bronx, which has the highest proportion of black voters in the city.

In Manhattan, Clinton led by 32 points, by 21 points in multicultural Queens and by a narrower seven points in Staten Island.

Sanders lost the block in Brooklyn where he grew up by 36 votes to 19, but in a sign in his dominance in rural areas upstate he beat the former secretary of state in Clinton County.

A series of exit polls had suggested a closer race, with CNN putting Clinton’s lead at a much tighter margin of 52%-48%. However, while exit polls indicated Sanders won comfortably with under-40s and white men, Clinton was ahead with older voters, women, and black and Latino supporters.

A packed ballroom at the Sheraton New York Times Square hotel erupted into cheers as the race was called for Clinton. The crowd, in a jubilant mood throughout the evening and entertained by a live band, immediately broke into chants of “Hillary! Hillary!” as Celebration by Kool and the Gang boomed out.

Their mood soured just once, when the live newsfeed on a giant screen mounted behind the stage cut into Donald Trump’s victory speech. In the Republican race, Trump secured a massive home-turf victory, confirmed within seconds of the polls closing.

With over 95% of the vote counted, Trump was on 60%, with Kasich on 25.2% and Cruz trailing with just 14.8%.

Clinton, who appeared for a victory speech shortly after 10pm, said: “Today proved once again – there is no place like home. New Yorkers, you have always had my back and I have always tried to have yours.”

After an acrimonious Democratic contest in a state where both candidates have strong personal roots, the former secretary of state is expected to call on Democrats to begin the process of unifying against Republicans, even though Sanders may continue campaigning until July.

But bitter wrangling over alleged voting irregularities and strict registration rules may fuel anger among Sanders supporters who argue the system favours establishment candidates.

Earlier Sanders had criticised closed New York primary rules that require voters to register their party affiliation up to six months before the election. “Today, 3 million people in the state of New York who are independents have lost their right to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary. That’s wrong,” said the Vermont senator.

Most polling leading up to Tuesday’s primary showed Clinton comfortably ahead of Sanders in her adopted home state, which elected her to two terms as a US senator and also chose her over Barack Obama in 2008.

Clinton had cautioned her supporters against complacency while barnstorming the state in the days prior to the election, emphasising repeatedly that she was “not taking anything for granted” and nor should they.

Her whirlwind schedule included retail stops all across New York City, from Queens to the Bronx to East Harlem, where her campaign hoped to boost turnout among the African American and Latino voters who have overwhelmingly gravitated toward Clinton over Sanders in other contests.

Although Clinton came into New York with a sizable delegate lead over Sanders, a decisive win in the Empire State should help her lock up the Democratic nomination both mathematically and in narrative. She achieved a victory despite an onslaught of attacks from Sanders, whose campaign grew increasingly sharp in tone in the past few weeks.

On the eve of the New York primary, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told reporters that the math did not add up for Sanders, and argued that the senator had “a very steep and close to impossible path to the nomination”.

“We expect that Secretary Clinton will be the nominee, particularly after tomorrow,” Mook said on a conference call with reporters. “Senator Sanders and his campaign need to decide if they’re going to continue on this line of attack. He needs to decide if he wants to continue making attacks on the Democratic party itself and on allied groups like Planned Parenthood.”

The Sanders campaign, meanwhile, had been playing down expectations of pulling off a surprise win in recent days, but it is likely to focus on the sizable delegate haul from New York as a justification for its strategy of giving of all American voters a chance to express their preference in the Democratic primary.

Sanders was returning to Vermont on Wednesday for a meeting with his advisers, which is likely to consider what kind of campaign he wants to keep running as the mathematical route to the nomination looks narrower and narrower.

Before the New York polls closed on Tuesday, he had already moved on to one of the next battleground states, insisting Clinton was getting “nervous” as he took to the stage at Pennsylvania State University.

However, his remarks appeared aimed at managing expectations about the scale of her anticipated victory. “We’re going to do a lot better I think than people thought we would,” he said. “We’re going to do just fine tonight in New York.”

The Vermont senator reserved his strongest language for a blistering attack on New York’s voting process after reports of widespread irregularities and missing registrations.

“We are deeply disturbed by what we’re hearing from polling places across the state,” the campaign said in a statement. “From long lines and dramatic understaffing to longtime voters being forced to cast affidavit ballots and thousands of registered New Yorkers being dropped from the rolls, what’s happening today is a disgrace.

“We need to be making it easier for people to vote, not inventing arbitrary obstacles – and today’s shameful demonstration must underline the urgent importance of fixing voting laws across the country.”

The Clinton campaign had little sympathy for complaints about New York’s closed primary system, which has been in place for many years. “We didn’t set the rules here. We came here to compete,” campaign manager John Podesta told CNN, arguing Clinton did not complain when she lost states.

In the meantime, a top Swedish government official is under fire for referring to the 9/11 attacks as “accidents” in a live TV interview Tuesday.

Environment Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Asa Romson, of the Green Party, made the comment while talking about fellow party member Mehmet Kaplan’s resignation as housing minister a day earlier.

Romson said when Kaplan was the chairman of a Muslim youth organization he faced difficult situations “like the Sept. 11 accidents and such.” Romson was talking on SVT’s show “Gomorron Sverige” (“Good Morning Sweden”), according to the Local.

Kaplan resigned Monday after comparing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to Nazi oppression of Jews.

Romson was quickly scrutinized for her words.

“Did Romson just call 9/11 ‘the September 11th accidents’ on SVT?? In that case, talk about reducing (the significance) of one of the world’s biggest terror attacks,” tweeted defense expert Johanne Hildebrandt, according to the New York Post.

She later backtracked and condemned the attacks and explained to Swedish newspaper Aftonbaldet she meant they brought misfortune to Swedish Muslims.

“Let there be no doubt: the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11 2001 were one of the most vile acts of terror and disastrous violations of the open, free and democratic society in modern history,” she said. “The tragedy for the world and the families of the almost 3,000 human beings who perished as a result of the attack cannot be overstated.”

The word for misfortune and accident is the same in Swedish.

Romson’s word choices have raised eyebrows before, including when she compared the Mediterranean migrant crisis to the Auschwitz death camp.

Guardian with additional report from Foxnews

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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