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She remained energetic and active into her 90s, traveling often with her identical twin sister Rowena, who died at age 99. She attended the 2008 Republican National Convention, where her son credited “her love of life, her deep interest in the world, her strength, and her belief we are all meant to use our opportunities to make ourselves useful to our country. I wouldn’t be here tonight but for the strength of her character.”

It was 1933 when a 20-year-old Roberta Wright defied her family and eloped with John McCain Jr. Documents released in 2008 showed that as a young ensign, John Jr. got into trouble when the couple decided to marry and he left his ship without permission.

“I got married young,” she told The Muskogee Phoenix in her native Oklahoma in 2008. “I was 20 years old, and it was the best decision I ever made.”

She married into a storied military family — her husband retired in 1972 with the rank of four-star admiral, the same rank held by his father, John S. “Slew” McCain Sr. Her son was later held as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam even as his father was commander in chief of Pacific forces by the late 1960s.

Roberta McCain also was a young mother when her three children were born, later telling the Oklahoma paper that she was “too young and irresponsible to know you were supposed to worry about them. I just let them go. I got a kick out of watching them.”

The senator, who died in 2018, said in 2008 that his “father was often at sea, and the job of raising my brother, sister and me would fall to my mother alone.”

Her other son, Joe, told The Associated Press in 2007 that the family had endless dinner-table discussions about history, politics and legislation led by their mother.

“We were all basically on the same side of the fence,” Joe McCain said. “But it was like Talmudic scholars arguing about a single word or an adjective in the Testament.”

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When Sen. John McCain wrote a memoir about his experience as a POW for nearly six years in a north Vietnamese prison, he described times when he swore in English at his Vietnamese guards, who didn’t understand.

His mother later told him: “Johnny, I’m going to come over there and wash your mouth out with soap.”

Her granddaughter, Meghan McCain, recalled her strong will and sense of duty in a 2012 column for The Daily Beast website, writing that Roberta McCain did not have “a lot of patience for excuses, especially from my father when he was growing up and acting out.”

“She once hit him over the head with a thermos in the back of a car because he was acting up so badly on a road trip,” wrote Meghan McCain.

The McCain matriarch’s spunky personality became the stuff of stories for the family — and among those in their circle of Washington society.

“Last Christmas, she wanted to drive around France. So she flew to Paris and tried to rent a car,” the senator once joked. “They said she was too old, so she bought one and drove around France.”

Roberta Wright was born Feb. 7, 1912, in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where her father was a businessman whose varied, colorful enterprises included bootlegging and oil wildcatting. The family moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1920s.

Her husband commanded submarines in World War II and was second in command of the cruiser St. Paul during the Korean War. He later held key posts including the Navy’s chief of congressional liaison, and died in 1981.

In 1934, when a fitness report deemed him underweight, the future admiral wrote: “My wife doesn’t know how to cook, and my meals are very irregular.”


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Biden administration

Biden warns China will ‘eat our lunch’ on infrastructure spending

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US President Joe Biden has warned that China will “eat our lunch” if America doesn’t “step up” its infrastructure spending.

Mr Biden was speaking on Thursday with a group of senators about the need to upgrade infrastructure in the US.

His warning comes the day after his first phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

On the call, Mr Xi took a hard line on human rights saying a confrontation would be a disaster for both countries.

Mr Biden made the comments after meeting with members of the Environment and Public Works committee.

“If we don’t get moving, they are going to eat our lunch,” President Biden told senators.

“They’re investing billions of dollars dealing with a whole range of issues that relate to transportation, the environment and a whole range of other things. We just have to step up.”

During the campaign, Mr Biden proposed spending $2tn (£1.45tn) over four years to create jobs and invest in clean energy infrastructure.

A widely cited American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) “report card” from 2017 gave the country’s infrastructure a grade of “D+”.

The ASCE estimated that the total “infrastructure gap” needed $2tn by 2025 to fix, but would cost the economy twice as much if it went unaddressed.

The World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Competitiveness Report ranked the US 13th in a broad measure of infrastructure quality, down from fifth place in 2002.

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China has been investing heavily in its infrastructure, pouring money into high-speed rail, metro systems, apartment buildings, electricity grids and mobile networks.

“They have a major, major new initiative on rail and they already have rail that goes 225 miles an hour with ease,” Mr Biden noted.

Human rights and diplomacy

President Biden also discussed several other points of friction with the Chinese President during his call.

The White House said he voiced “fundamental” concerns about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices, as well as concerns over China’s crackdown in Hong Kong and treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang.

He also raised China’s increasingly assertive posture toward Taiwan and the country’s lack of transparency over Covid-19, said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Mr Xi maintained a hard line on Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan, calling them matters of “sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

He told Mr Biden confrontation would be a “disaster” and the two sides should re-establish the means to avoid misjudgements, China’s foreign ministry said.

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GameStop investors on a wild ride: ‘It was a rollercoaster of emotion’

BlueBeast99

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Shares of GameStop, AMC and others rebounded aggressively in extended trading on Thursday after Robinhood said it will resume limited trading of previously restricted securities on Friday.

“Starting tomorrow, we plan to allow limited buys of these securities. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and may make adjustments as needed,” Robinhood said in a statement.

GameStop shares skyrocketed 61% to trade at $312 in after hours trading, after closing down 44% to $193.60 during regular hours Thursday. The stock’s high for the week is $483.

Robinhood said its decision to restrict trading — which angered many users — was in order to comply with capital requirements mandated by the SEC for broker dealers.

“These requirements exist to protect investors and the markets and we take our responsibilities to comply with them seriously, including through the measures we have taken today,” the company said.

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