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Who is Tony Blinken?

The person a US president taps to assume the coveted role of secretary of state, the nation's top diplomat, says a lot about that president's foreign policy ambitions and global vision.

Indeed, the selection of Henry Kissinger (Nixon and Ford), James Baker (George H.W. Bush), Hillary Clinton (Obama) and Rex Tillerson (Trump) to head the State Department, provided an early window into the foreign policy priorities — or lack thereof — of their respective bosses.

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No honeymoon for Joe Biden

The US presidential election has yet to be called, but as things currently stand, Joe Biden is on track to win the 270 electoral college votes needed to clinch the US presidency. The horse race is still being closely monitored, and questions about why certain states and counties went for Trump or Biden will be addressed in the days ahead. But when all is done and dusted and the next president (likely Biden based on current projections) assumes his place in the White House on January 20, 2021, the issues he will have to tackle on day one will be as varied as they are challenging

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What We're Watching: Lingering US presidential race, Ethiopia's ethnic strife,Trump's recount antics

The lingering US presidential race: As counting continues in several key battleground states, the American people are still none the wiser as to who will be their next president. At the time of this writing, the road to victory — that is, to clearing the 270 electoral votes threshold needed to clinch the presidency — is clearer for Joe Biden, but President Trump could still win a second term. Millions of mail-in-ballots still being counted in several closely-watched states — Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada, Georgia, and Pennsylvania — will decide the outcome of the election in the next few days. Many analysts say that the bulk of these votes will likely favor Biden because the Democratic Party has encouraged voting early and by mail due to the pandemic, while the Trump campaign promoted in-person voting on Election Day. The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has presented a legal strategy to contest the counting of mail-in-ballots — a tactic rejected by many mainstream Republicans. The margin of the race is razor-thin, reinforcing what many observers already knew: the country is bitterly divided.

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What We're Watching: A nail-biter for the Senate, the losers' future, Trump's baseless claims

Control of the US Senate: For months, the Democrats expressed cautious optimism about retaking the Senate, which they will need in order to pass key legislation on healthcare, immigration, and climate change. A strong show in the Senate races would also give Democrats a good chance of regaining full control of the federal government — the House of Representatives, Senate, and the presidency — for the first time in a decade. While the Democrats picked up a coveted seat in the battleground state of Arizona, results remain in flux in closely watched races in Georgia, North Carolina, and Maine. Meanwhile, Democratic losses in Alabama, South Carolina, and Texas mean that even if they do squeak out control of the Senate for the first time since 2014, it will be with an extremely slim majority. This means that even if Joe Biden does win the presidency, he will have a hard time getting his legislative agenda through a Senate with a heavy Republican presence. At the time of this writing, Republicans and Democrats are at 47 seats a piece, with six spots still up in the air. More results will trickle out in the hours and days ahead, but either way, it's clear that the US Senate race did not amount to the "blue wave" (53 seats) that Democrats had been hoping for.

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Hard Numbers: Three keys to the White House, early voting records, Florida's minimum wage, searching for mail-in-ballots

3: As votes continue to trickle in, three yet-to-be-called battleground states — Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — now appear to hold the key to the White House. It could take days to find out the final tallies as each of the states works through its own count of early votes, mail-in ballots, and election day votes.

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