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US: Portland calm as federal agents hand over to local police | News

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The first nightly protest in downtown Portland, Oregon after a deal was struck for the withdrawal of federal agents guarding a court was largely peaceful and ended on Friday without any major confrontations between state police and demonstrators.

The scene outside the federal court that started with yet another demonstration on Thursday night stood in sharp contrast to the two weeks of violent clashes between the protesters and the agents sent by President Donald Trump to quell the unrest in Oregon’s largest city.

State and local officers stepped up their presence as part of the deal between Democratic Governor Kate Brown and the Trump administration to draw down the number of United States agents at the demonstrations that have taken place in the city for more than 60 days following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Portland’s federal court became a target for protesters, with the demonstrators trying to tear down a fence that was erected to protect it, lighting fires at the court’s entryway and hurling objects at the agents holed up inside. The agents most nights fired tear gas in return.

But at Thursday night’s protest, there was little violence and few signs of confrontation as several thousand people gathered near the court, the Oregonian newspaper reported.

A handful of protesters pointed lights and lasers at the building at about 10pm local time on Thursday, but state troopers remained inside and did not respond.

About 30 minutes later, hundreds of demonstrators gathered about a block from the court to listen to speeches. There was little sign of a law enforcement presence. The mood remained calm at 1am on Friday as the crowd dwindled to about 500 demonstrators.

In preparation for the law enforcement handover from federal authorities, state troopers, the local sheriff and Portland police met and agreed not to use tear gas except in situations with a threat of serious injury or death, Mayor Ted Wheeler said.

Wheeler, who was tear gassed when he joined protesters outside the court last week, added that tear gas “as a tactic really isn’t all that effective” because protesters have donned gas masks and often return to the action after recovering for a few minutes.

The Democrat also apologised to peaceful demonstrators exposed to tear gas used by Portland police before federal officials arrived.

Under the deal announced by Brown, the agents will withdraw in phases. But federal officials said the agents will not leave the city completely and will be kept on standby. 

Acting Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chad Wolf said on Thursday that National Guard troops could be sent in should state police be overrun.

Separately, a DHS spokesman said Wolf had ordered an intelligence unit to stop collecting information on American journalists covering protests in Portland after a media report on the practice.

US newspaper The Washington Post on Thursday reported that the department compiled “intelligence reports” on journalists using a government system meant to share information about suspected “terrorists” and violent actors.

Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said he believes the new collaboration between local law enforcement agencies will be seen “as a victory in many ways”.

Portland police are set to take over from federal agents after a deal was made with the Trump administration[John Rudoff/Anadolu]

“A lot of people came out to express their displeasure of folks from the federal government here and engaging in crowd control with members of our community,” Lovell said. “So I’m hoping that on many levels that people are happy in this development.”

Portland’s demonstrations have attracted up to 10,000 people for peaceful marches and rallies. The violence that has emerged was increasingly directed at federal property.

The US government had arrested 94 people as of Wednesday. Over the past two months of protests, Lovell said the city police department made more than 400 arrests and tried many strategies to deescalate the confrontations.

“It’s been a long two months,” he said.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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