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Analysts Back Besigye’s Move to Opt Out Of 2021 Election

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Analysts have backed Dr Kiiza Besigye’s decision to quit the 2021 presidential elections, saying the current political ground is not levelled.

Dr Besigye, who has stood four times against President Museveni, on Wednesday announced that he was not standing in the 2021 election, a move seen by many as a setback for the Opposition’s chances of unseating the incumbent, Yoweri Museveni.

But Prof Fredrick Juuko, a Makerere University don, said Dr Besigye’s decision is right, arguing that the election is already organised to favour the incumbent.

“I don’t think his decision may necessarily change the character of the elections. The elections are skewed in favour of the incumbent, secondly, these elections are all violent and in my view they are rigged so those elements will continue. Probably the votes Besigye would have got will be shifted to one of the other candidates,” the law don says.

In two of the four elections, Dr Besigye has alleged rigging by the ruling NRM and petitioned court over the matter. On two occasions, the courts have acknowledged that the elections were characterised by massive rigging but said it was not substantive enough to overturn the results.

On Wednesday, August 19, 2020, Dr Besigye, while explaining his decision not to stand again, said his standing would legitimise the NRM regime, arguing that the Justice Simon Byabakama-led Electoral Commission (EC) cannot deliver a free and fair election.

“This country will not be freed by Byabakama Electoral Commission declaring a new winner who isn’t Mr. Museveni; and that Museveni will come to Kololo with his hat and hand over power to the winner. Those who are waiting that Mr. Museveni will one day come and thank Ugandans for all the things that we have done for him, he will never do so,” he said.

In the 2021 election, mass rallies have been banned and campaigning will be on radio and TV and other social media platforms. But already, several opposition politicians such as Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine have been blocking from appearing on radio talk shows. The same happened to Dr Besigye in 2019.

These, Prof Sabiti Makara, another Makerere University don, indicate that the Opposition have no chance in the 2021 elections, hence backing Dr Besigye’s decision to pull out.

“First of all when Besigye is standing, he gains from mass rallies, young people and others follow him because of his good oratory skills. Now with scientific campaigns, he cannot have that advantage at all and I think it affects many other opposition candidates as well,” the profession of political science says.

“Two, I think election has been rigged, it already disadvantages the opposition because the NRM candidates have been campaigning for a long time whereas the opposition candidates have not been campaigning so they are already disadvantaged, so I think is his estimation and calculation, Besigye thinks he might lose even worse than what he did the last time,” he adds.

Dr Besigye’s decision to quit the election has come at the time of the emergence of the People Power movement that has morphed into National Union Platform party led by Bobi Wine. Over the last months, several NRM and DP supporters have defected to the party. Former FDC president and army commander Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu has also emerged with his Alliance for National Transformation Party that has so far attracted four members of parliament.

However, analysts say despite the emergence of the two other challengers to FDC dominance of opposition politics in the country, they have only come to split the opposition vote to the advantage of the ruling party.

“You see opposition has already weakened itself. The creation of alliance for national transformation weakened FDC. That was done before whether Besigye is there or not I think that damage was done and then of course the creation of the new National Unity Platform and knowing what the opposition is like it can never have another strength in the elections. I don’t think it is possible that they will have a common candidate. There may be a slight chance that this may happen at the presidential level, but not at the level of parliamentary seat because each individual has vested interests,” Prof Juuko says.

Prof Makara agrees: “There is the issue of Kyagulanyi. Some of the followers of Besigye have already shifted to Kyagulanyi that means that they two main actors in the opposition are going to divide the votes. That means that Besigye was going to fare worse than he did before so I think it is okay for him not to stand. May be he has calculated the other options of engaging in politics by other means other than standing.”



Source – chimpreports.com

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Sri Lanka archbishop criticises gov’t over Easter attacks probe | Sri Lanka News

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On the second anniversary of the Easter attacks, the head of Sri Lanka’s Catholic church says he was ‘deeply saddened’ by the lack of progress in the investigation.

The head of Sri Lanka’s Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday accused the government of stalling investigations into Easter Sunday bombings two years ago that killed 279 people.

Nearly 200 people were arrested within days of the attacks on hotels and churches, but no one has yet been charged.

Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, who led commemorations on the second anniversary Wednesday, said he was “deeply saddened” by the lack of progress in the investigation.

“We have to stress that what is happening at the moment is an attitude of ‘no care’ where all factors are not properly investigated,” the cardinal said at a commemorative service in Colombo.

Catholic priests and nuns march while holding images of the victims of April 21’s Easter Sunday bomb attack in 2019, next to St. Sebastian’s Church, one of the attacked churches, during the second anniversary, in Katuwapitiya, Sri Lanka, April 21, 2021 [Dinuka Liyanawatte/REUTERS]

Al Jazeera’s Minelle Fernandez, reporting from Negombo, Sri Lanka, said Ranjith accused the government of political posturing and the need to protect alliances had hindered the probe.

“He went as far a few days ago as saying that the bombings had nothing to do with religious extremism, but rather were about politics and people who wanted to ensure essentially grabbing power,” she added.

The cardinal has previously called for former president Maithripala Sirisena to be prosecuted for failing to prevent the attacks despite advance warnings.

An investigation ordered by Sirisena soon after the bombings found that he and his intelligence officials had precise information from India about the attack 17 days earlier, but failed to act.

Sirisena, who did not offer himself for re-election in November 2019 polls, is currently a legislator with the party of his successor Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Although none of the 200 in custody have been indicted, 16 Muslim men among them were charged on Tuesday in connection with desecrating Buddhist statues in December 2018.

The authorities have said that the destruction of the statues in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka was the forerunner to the Easter Sunday attacks four months later.

Anniversary service

Wednesday’s multi-faith remembrance service was held at the St. Anthony’s Church where 56 people died in the attacks, which came 10 years after the end of Sri Lanka’s 37-year Tamil separatist war.

Cardinal Ranjith appealed to the country’s Muslims on Wednesday to join Catholics in determining the truth behind the Easter bombings.

Two local groups that had pledged allegiance to the ISIS [ISIL] group have been blamed for the attacks.

A family member kisses the grave of one victim of April 21’s Easter Sunday bomb attack in 2019, next to St. Sebastian’s Church, one of the attacked churches, during the second anniversary [Dinuka Liyanawatte/REUTERS]

Islamic cleric Hassan Moulana, who also spoke at the service, said Muslims around the world condemn the attacks and that Islam offers no justification for the crime.

He said the Muslim community in Sri Lanka has disowned the attackers and has not allowed their bodies to be buried in its cemeteries to show their acts are not part of Islam.

Last week Sri Lanka banned 11 organisations, including the ISIL (ISIS) group and al-Qaeda.

Anyone linked to the groups – the other nine of which are local religious and social organisations – faces up to 20 years in jail, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in a gazette notification.

Muslims, who make up nearly 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s 21 million people, have faced increased attacks from majority Sinhala Buddhist hardliners following the end of a civil war between Tamil separatists and government forces in 2009.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Bitcoin: After weekend dip, chart watchers share crypto clues | Banks News

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Bitcoin has yet to recover from its unexplained weekend swoon, and now the investing public is on edge about the notoriously volatile token’s next move. Enter the chart watchers.

Noting that “a chart is a chart is a chart,” Tallbacken Capital Advisors’s Michael Purves sent a note Wednesday with a technical analysis of the coin’s trading patterns. Bitcoin’s recent highs weren’t confirmed by its relative strength index, among other things, and its upward momentum is fading, he said.

“From purely a technical perspective, the bullish case looks highly challenged here in the near term,” after its recent rally, wrote Purves, chief executive officer at the firm.

It’s another sign that Bitcoin has become too big for Wall Street to ignore. With more firms allowing customers to dabble in the asset and more institutional money tied to its performance, no wonder chart watchers are capitulating and now lending their expertise to the growing batch of analysis.

Earlier, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s analysts also chimed in with their take. The last few times Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou witnessed such negative price action in Bitcoin, buyers returned in time to prevent deeper slumps. This time, the strategist is worried.

If the largest cryptocurrency isn’t able to break back above $60,000 soon, momentum signals will collapse, strategists led by Panigirtzoglou wrote in a note Tuesday. It’s likely traders including Commodity Trading Advisers (CTAs) and crypto funds were at least partly behind the buildup of long Bitcoin futures in recent weeks, as well as the unwind in past days, they said.

“Over the past few days Bitcoin futures markets experienced a steep liquidation in a similar fashion to the middle of last February, middle of last January or the end of last November,” the strategists said. “Momentum signals will naturally decay from here for several months, given their still elevated level.”

In those three previous instances, the overall flow impulse was strong enough to allow Bitcoin to quickly break out above the key thresholds, yielding further buildups in position by momentum traders, JPMorgan noted.

“Whether we see a repeat of those previous episodes in the current conjuncture remains to be seen,” the strategists said. The likelihood it will happen again seems lower because momentum decay seems more advanced and thus more difficult to reverse, they added. Flows into Bitcoin funds also appear weak, they said.

Bitcoin rose as high as $64,870 around the time of the Nasdaq listing of Coinbase Global Inc., but has retreated back to $55,000. The cryptocurrency is still up about 90% year-to-date.

The coin, down five of the last six sessions, is struggling to overtake its 50-day moving average around $56,819. For many chartists, that’s a bearish indicator since it tends to determine price momentum trends. Should Bitcoin be unable to breach its short-term trend line, it could move lower and test the $50,000 level, about a 10% decline from where it’s currently trading. The next area of support would be its 100-day moving average around $49,212. That would signify a 11% retreat from Wednesday’s trading levels.

Tallbacken’s Purves, who says the coin’s 2017 breakout and subsequent decline is a useful case study, also points Bitcoin’s daily MACD signal — or the moving average convergence divergence gauge — which has turned bearish in the intermediate-term. And its performance is still correlated to Cathie Wood’s uber-popular ARK Innovation ETF.

“Trading Bitcoin on the bullish side right now does not appear to have favorable risk-reward and if you have made profits, it seems like a good time to go to the sidelines for now,” Purves wrote.

To be sure, he said, it’s difficult to conclude how much further it could decline. Key to the issue will be how strongly institutional buyers step in. “While upside momentum is clearly looking challenged here, it is inconclusive how much downside risk remains,” he wrote in a note. “It is entirely possible that Bitcoin could simply consolidate in a range for some time.”

Bitcoin fell as much as 4.3% Wednesday to $54,341 before recouping some losses. Smaller and alternative coins that had run up in recent days also suffered declines Wednesday, with Dogecoin — the poster-child for crypto risk-taking — declining roughly 15% to trade around 31 cents. That’s down from a high of 42 cents the day prior, according to CoinMarketCap.com.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Pakistan: Several killed in explosion at Quetta hotel | Pakistan News

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Blast in parking area of Serena Hotel also wounded nine people, with some in critical condition, police say.

At least three people have been killed and nine others wounded in a powerful explosion in the parking area of an upscale hotel in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, according to authorities.

Police said rescuers were transporting the victims of Wednesday’s blast at Serena Hotel to nearby hospitals. Footage on local news channels showed cars in flames.

Security forces rushed to the hotel and no one was allowed to approach the site of the explosion. Police said they had opened an investigation.

“Our officers are working to determine whether it was a bomb and what type of device it could be,” police official Nasir Malik told Reuters news agency.

According to senior police official Azhar Akram, some of the wounded were listed in critical condition. They were brought to Quetta’s main hospital.

No other information was immediately available.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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