WEDNESDAY NOV 4
As the tight US election count continued into the night, analysts predicted a result would not be clear until at least tomorrow or even later.
But while the Presidential fight was unresolved, it became clear the Democrats will maintain their control of the House of Representatives, according to several US news networks including Fox News and NBC.
Currently, the Democrats control the lower house of Congress with 232 seats, compared to 198 Republican seats.
They had been favoured ahead of election day to keep control of the House, but Fox News predicts the Democrats could expand their majority by an additional five seats.
Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to win her safe seat in northern California and retain her position as Speaker of the House, addressed supporters shortly after outlets began calling it for the Democrats.
“Thank you for joining us virtually here this evening, so that I can praise you for retaining our House Democratic majority,” she told supporters today.
“Under your leadership, Madam Chair [Democratic representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois], we have held the House and now by a further vote will see how much better we will do than that.”
There are no term limits on the position of House Speaker, but Ms Pelosi told Democrats she planned to hand over the gavel in 2022.
Retaining the House allows the Democrats to maintain a buffer should they lose the Senate, which is turning into a razor close contest, and the presidential election.
Actor Craig McLachlan has broken out into song in the witness box to demonstrate how it would have been “impossible” for him to inappropriately kiss a woman who has accused him of indecent assault, reports the ABC.
It came as Mr McLachlan, 55, told the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court he has never performed in a “state of arousal” in more than 30 years of acting.
Mr McLachlan appeared by videolink from his lawyer’s office in Sydney, from where he told the court that the kiss, which occurred during a performance and which he believed was consensual, lasted just one second.
As he gave that piece of evidence, Mr McLachlan clicked out a beat with his hands and began singing a few bars of a song to demonstrate that he would not have had time to put his tongue in the woman’s mouth, because his role required him to continue moving around the stage.
“Was the kiss ever longer than that,” his barrister, Stuart Littlemore QC, asked.
“It couldn’t be,” Mr McLachlan said. “It’s impossible.”
Mr McLachlan is facing 13 charges levelled by four women who are accusing him of assault and indecent assault.
One woman is accusing the veteran actor of kissing her without consent, exposing himself and pushing his genitals into her.
Another woman is accusing him of tracing the outline of her genitals with his hand and assaulting her by grabbing her jaw and throwing her head.
Mr McLachlan has long maintained his innocence, and two other charges against him were dropped earlier this year.
The charges allegedly occurred in 2014, while Mr McLachlan was also performing in The Rocky Horror stage show.
Racing Victoria has vowed to investigate why there has been a series of fatalities on Melbourne Cup day after Anthony Van Dyck was euthanased on Tuesday.
The English Derby winner went in to the Melbourne Cup as one of the favourites, but broke down at the top of the finishing straight at Flemington and was pulled up at the 350m mark.
Racing Victoria’s integrity chief Jamie Stier said on Wednesday that the organisation would conduct a post-mortem and also check the horse’s veterinary history.
Mr Stier said each of the fatalities at the Melbourne Cup in recent years had been investigated.
“There have been several factors that have come to light, and we’ve adjusted our procedures accordingly where we’ve been able to identify risk,” he said.
“In recent times since The Cliffsofmoher incident [in 2018], we have the horses prior to their arrival in Australia having X-rays done of all four legs, a video of the horse trotting up for the veterinary examination and a pre-travel examination done by their own stable vet in their own country.
“Additionally, we have an independent regulatory vet examine the horse as well.
“This year there was one horse that did not travel as a result of these procedures.”
The five-year-old stallion is the seventh Melbourne Cup day death in as many years, prompting calls for an investigation from the RSPCA.
“As far as I know, all the horses who have died are international. So it does really beg the question, what’s going on there?” RSPCA Victoria chief executive Liz Walker told ABC radio.
“There were some changes made following a fatality in 2018 to track and to compliance and check-in with regard to international horses coming in. It doesn’t look like that’s worked. There’s more to be done.”
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