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US: Top cop William Barr condemns rioting at House hearing | Trump News

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Attorney General William Barr defended the aggressive federal law enforcement response to civil unrest in the United States, saying that “violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests” sparked by George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Barr told members of the House Judiciary Committee at a much-anticipated hearing on Tuesday that the violence taking place in Portland, Oregon and other cities is disconnected from the death of Floyd, which he described as a “horrible” event that prompted a necessary national reckoning on the relationship between the Black community and law enforcement.

“Largely absent from these scenes of destruction are even superficial attempts by the rioters to connect their actions to George Floyd’s death or any legitimate call for reform,” Barr said of the Portland protests.

The Trump administration has singled out “anarchists” and Antifa, a loose grouping of anti-fascist activists, some of whom are anarchists, to blame for much of the unrest. Trump even threatened to label Antifa a “terrorist” organisation, though there appears to be no cause or legal justification to do so.

Barr also touched on other controversies that have shadowed his tenure, including his handling of the investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia, which he derisively refers to as “the bogus ‘Russiagate’ scandal”.

The testimony underscores the Justice Department’s continuing effort to differentiate between increasing violence in some cities and the death of Floyd, which civil rights prosecutors are investigating as a potential crime. Enormous but peaceful demonstrations had followed Floyd’s death in May.

The attorney general, speaking as Congress and the public pay respects to the late Representative John Lewis, acknowledged to legislators that Floyd’s death struck a chord in the Black community because it reinforced concerns that Black people are treated differently by police.

US Attorney General William Barr has long advocated for law and order solutions, and he blames state and local leaders for condoning destruction, mayors and governors say federal troops have amplified violence [Evan Vucci/The Associated Press]

But he also condemned Americans who he says have responded inappropriately to Floyd’s death through what he said was rioting and anarchy.

“As elected officials of the federal government, every Member of this Committee – regardless of your political views or your feelings about the Trump Administration – should condemn violence against federal officers and destruction of federal property,” Barr’ said. “So should state and local leaders who have a responsibility to keep their communities safe. To tacitly condone destruction and anarchy is to abandon the basic rule-of-law principles that should unite us even in a politically divisive time.”

Civil unrest escalated in Portland after federal agents were accused of whisking people away in unmarked cars without probable cause; they were detained and later released.

And in Washington, DC, peaceful protesters were violently cleared from the streets by federal officers using smoke bombs and pepper balls before a photo op by Trump in front of a church, on June 1 where Barr had accompanied him.

In separate testimony on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Army National Guard Major Adam DeMarco said that Barr spoke to Park Police before they launched their assault. DeMarco said the legally required warnings to demonstrators were “barely audible” and apparently not heard by protesters.

The attorney general said DeMarco was not present when the decision was made to clear the square and has defended as necessary the broad use of law enforcement power to deal with the situation, but the department’s internal watchdog has opened investigations into the use of force and other tactics by agents in both cities.

The hearing on Tuesday marks Barr’s first appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, bringing him face-to-face with a panel that voted last year to hold him in contempt and is holding hearings on what Democrats allege is politicisation of the Justice Department under his watch.

It comes during a tumultuous stretch in which Barr has taken a series of actions cheered by President Donald Trump but condemned by Democrats and other critics.

Barr made reference to that antagonistic relationship, saying that “many of the Democrats on this Committee have attempted to discredit me by conjuring up a narrative that I am simply the President’s factotum who disposes of criminal cases according to his instructions.

“Judging from the letter inviting me to this hearing, that appears to be your agenda today.”

Russiagate

Beyond the federal response to the demonstrations, Barr was pressed about his intervention in criminal cases arising from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The hearing provided Barr with a forum to offer his most detailed account to date for his actions in the criminal cases, which he has said were taken in the interests of justice and without political pressure.

Those include the Justice Department’s decision to drop the prosecution of former Trump administration National Security Adviser Michael Flynn – a request now tied up in court – and his firing last month of the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, whose office oversaw investigations into allies of the president.

Barr also pushed for a more lenient sentence for another Trump ally, Roger Stone, prompting the entire trial team’s departure.

That decision was at the centre of a separate hearing before the same committee last month, when one of the prosecutors alleged that politics from Justice Department leadership had influenced the handling of the sentence.

On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on MSNBC that Democrats want to question Barr about how Trump “is undermining the Constitution of the United States”. Barr previously rebuffed the House committee and Pelosi said that “we hope that he will show up.”

In the past, Barr has said Flynn, who pleaded guilty as part of Mueller’s probe to lying to the FBI, should never have been charged and that the original sentencing recommendation for Stone – also charged in the Mueller investigation – was excessive.

Barr’s opening statement does not delve into the details of the case, though he will insist Tuesday that Trump has not attempted to interfere in those decisions and has “played a role properly and traditionally played by President”.

Republican legislators have been overwhelmingly supportive of Barr’s performance and are likely Tuesday to help him push back against some of the Democratic criticism. Even among the GOP members, though, Barr faces pressure to deliver results soon on an investigation that he initiated into the origins of the Russia probe.

It is not clear when or how that investigation, being led by US Attorney John Durham of Connecticut, will end, but Barr has said he hopes to have results in the coming months.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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