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DNC features few Latinos, a key 2020 voter demographic | US & Canada News



The Democratic National Convention is meant to energise the party’s base, while drawing in undecided voters or the disgruntled members of the Republican party.

But some observers of the 2020 Democratic convention have noticed a surprising absence of Latino speakers in the prime-time schedule. 

While the convention has so far featured some Latino representation, particularly during segments featuring rank-and-file supporters, a cameo by labour icon Dolores Huerta, as well as within a 17-person keynote speech composed of “rising stars” in the party, the four-day convention was initially only set to feature three Latino officials during its nightly two-hour main event.

Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto spoke on Monday, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke on Tuesday, and New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is set to speak on Wednesday. 

Noticeably absent when the prime-time schedule was unveiled last week was Julian Castro, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama who delivered the keynote speech during the 2012 convention.

Castro, the only Latino candidate in the Democratic primary season, did speak early in the day on Tuesday at a convention council meeting and part of his 2012 speech was aired in a montage during Tuesday’s main event.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was officially nominated to be the party’s candidate [The Associated Press]

But Castro’s absence as a speaker in prime time, and the fact that Ocasio-Cortez was “marginalised” with a 90-second slot introducing Senator Bernie Sanders, does not send the right message to a voting bloc that has become the largest non-white demographic in the US and is considered to have untapped potential for the Democratic party, Cristina Jimenez, the co-founder of United We Dream Action, an immigrant organising group, told Al Jazeera.

Ocasio-Cortez said on Wednesday that she had been asked by the DNC to second the nomination for Sanders as part of the event – and slammed NBC news for tweeting the speech was one of the shortest, and in it she had not endorsed Biden. The organisation issued a correction, but she called it too late – that “it sparked an enormous amount of hatred and vitriol … to generate hate-clicks from a pre-recorded, routine procedural motion”.

In 2020 there will be 32 million Latino eligible voters, making up about 13.3 percent of all eligible voters in the country, according to the Pew Research Center. The demographic, however, has seen lower rates of registration than others. 

Latinos were also overwhelmingly energised behind Sanders in the Democratic primary. In California, 71 percent of Latino voters under the age of 29 voted for Sanders, while just 5 percent voted for Biden.

“I think if I was in the Joe Biden campaign, I would be thinking about how to speak to Latino voters about the issues that they care about that mobilised them in big numbers during the primary, like healthcare, like stopping deportations, like financial security and jobs, and how COVID is impacting this community,” said Jimenez. “And how to leverage the voices and the influence of political figures within the Democratic Party, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, like Julian Castro and many others who can bring a lot of enthusiasm in the community.” 

“(The speaker lineup) is concerning on a strategic level,” she added.  

Strategically significant

In 2016, Latino voters supported Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump 66 percent to 28 percent and are considered a solid portion of the Democratic base, although generally less so than Black voters, who voted 89 percent for Clinton. 

US primaries: Biden, Sanders battle for the Hispanic vote

In past elections, Latinos, which are the fastest-growing racial minority in the US, have generally been viewed as being concentrated in solidly Democratic and Republican states, making the demographic less significant in Electoral College strategies, said William Frey, senior fellow with the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. 

“I don’t think it’s the case any more,” he told Al Jazeera.

In Arizona, a state considered a battleground in November, he said Latinos will make up about 31.4 percent of eligible voters, a 6.4 percent increase over 2016 and in Florida, Latinos are projected to make up 22.9 percent of eligible voters, up by 3 percentage points from 2016, according to Frey’s analysis of the Current Population Survey from 2016 to 2020.

Latino voters could also make a difference in places like North Carolina and Pennsylvania if the race is close enough, he said.

“I think the party that can capture (Latinos’) attention and their long-term loyalty will have a lot to gain,” Frey said. “There’s no question about that.”

‘We need that fire’

Jeronimo Saldana, a Latino community organiser, said he had faith the Democratic Party was working to include Latinos, but said the convention’s prime-time speakers, and the omission of Castro, has left him feeling “unseen and unheard”.

While he said he was “grateful” to see some representation within the DNC, including host Eva Longoria, he added:  “Folks see the television screen and they don’t see Latinos, they don’t see themselves, they don’t see what Julian (Castro) did as a Latino running for president – that’s important and powerful.

“There has been an assumption that Latinos are going to vote for the Democrats,” he added. “But we need to see ourselves in the party. We need that fire.” 

Castro, for his part, has walked a careful line as the party strives to present a unified front. 

Kamala Harris to speak at Democratic party’s virtual convention

The candidate told MSNBC he was “disappointed” by the lack of Latino speakers in the initial schedule, but later told NPR he felt the party had responded to his diversity concerns. He has in recent days repeatedly praised the Biden/Harris ticket for its Latino outreach. 

However, in an interview with Axios, Castro said the campaign must “make sure that they are doing everything they can to reach out to a community that already has one of the lowest rates of voting, that needs to be brought into the fold”. 

He added that Latinos are generally “invisible” or an “afterthought” in political parties and American society as a whole, while warning that Democrats could see a slide in Latino support “that will benefit the Republicans in the years to come” if the demographic is not made “a robust part of this coalition going forward”.

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



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




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.

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




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”.

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