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Algeria referendum on new constitution set for November 1 | News



Algeria has set November 1 as the date for a referendum on a new constitution aimed at boosting democracy and giving parliament a greater role after months-long protests demanding reforms.

After “consultations with the parties concerned, it was decided to set the date of 1 November 2020 for the holding of the referendum on the draft revision of the Constitution,” the office of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said on Monday.

The date also marks the anniversary of the start of Algeria’s 1954-62 war for independence from France.

The new constitution would give the prime minister and parliament more powers to govern the North African country of 45 million people, a draft released earlier this year showed.

The government has said the draft, which kept presidential terms limited to two mandates, would be submitted to parliament for debate and approval before a referendum.

‘Balance of powers’

Elected last December, President Tebboune has repeatedly pledged to introduce political and economic reforms and to meet demands raised in demonstrations that toppled veteran president Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April last year.

Tebboune, formerly a prime minister under Bouteflika, has since taking office sought a constitutional referendum, ostensibly as an answer to the popular protest movement. 

He has said a new constitution would reduce the authority of the president and “guarantee the separation and balance of powers”.

The referendum date was announced after Tebboune’s meeting with the head of the election authority Mohamed Chorfi earlier on Monday, the presidency said in a statement.

The country’s constitution has been amended several times since independence from France. During the 20-year Bouteflika era, it had been tailored for the deposed leader’s requirements.  

Mass protests broke out in February last year to reject Bouteflika’s plan to seek a fifth term after 20 years in power, and demand the departure of the old guard as well as the prosecution of people accused of corruption.

Since then, several senior officials – including two former prime ministers, several ministers and prominent businessmen – have been jailed over corruption charges.

The government banned mass demonstrations in March this year as part of measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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Bushenyi Pastor Arrested for Defilement




Police in Bushenyi district are holding the pastor of Star Light Worship Center International for allegedly having sex with a juvenile.

Martial Tumusiime, the greater Bushenyi police spokesperson identifies the suspect as Kushemerwa Solomon a resident of Tankhill cell in Bushenyi Ishaka municipality, Bushenyi district.

It’s alleged that Kushemerwa has been sleeping with this young girl since her parents allowed her to stay with the pastor’s family during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The suspect was arrested after a tip off from his wife who is also a pastor at the same church.

“The wife reported a violence case to Police and told us that his husband has also been using that girl whom they stayed together with. We called the girl here and she also confessed. We therefore had to arrest the pastor; he is in our cells now”, Tumusiime said.

Kushemerwa is currently detained at Bushenyi police station and will face defilement charges in court once Police investigations are done.

The post Bushenyi Pastor Arrested for Defilement first appeared on ChimpReports.

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UCC’s Kaggwa Calls on Young Girls to Embrace ICTs




The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Executive Director, Mrs. Irene Kaggwa Ssewankambo has called on young girls to embrace ICTs and challenge their male counterparts in the world of technology.

Mrs. Kaggwa was speaking to various primary school girls that had gathered at UCC headquarters in Kampala on Thursday to commentate the International Girls in ICT day.

“When we were growing, people used to say this is a men’s world. They would tell you, leave that for boys. Is it because of what they (boys) are? We can do what boys do. So, if they can do it, you can do it,”  Kaggwa told the girls.

Celebrated every April 22, International Girls in ICT Day was established by the UN specialized agency for ICT, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to celebrate women and girls and encourage them to pursue studies and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Giving an example of herself, ICT Minister Judith Nabakooba and a number of female engineers at UCC and other female telecommunication engineers that always climb masts to fix technical glitches, Mrs. Kaggwa assured young girls that engineering should never be perceived as a men’s world by the society.

“Do not be held back by this society. What matters is what you want to be. We celebrate and we want to encourage more women to get into this field. We now have women who are in journalism, we have women in the telecoms. Before, many of these were extremely dominated by men and women would mainly take on secretarial roles, catering roles but now we see that even in the classes (computer classes, engineering classes, journalism classes) you actually see that more women have embraced this area of ICTs,” she said.

Asked whether it would be wise for girls to abandon other fields and take on ICTs and engineering related subjects, Mrs Kaggwa replied, “we are not saying that one is better than the other. We are saying that this is an area where women can contribute. So, rather than saying that women should only participate in certain areas, we are saying that women can also make a very big contribution if they participate in ICTs.”

Mrs. Irene Kaggwa Ssewankambo poses for a photo with various primary school girls that had gathered at UCC headquarters in Kampala on Thursday to commentate the International Girls in ICT day.

“So, in terms of what needs to be done, we need to get the message out there to help women appreciate what opportunities are there, help them understand what they can do and also for them to stop thinking that the only professions that are there are nursing, secretarial. There are so many areas where we need women.”

With the rapid expansion of Artificial Intelligence, she said, women should be brought onboard to have soft skills so that technology is complementary to human beings.

World over, children are being introduced to technology when they are young, and as a result, Kaggwa said, girls need to be exposed to technologies at a younger age so that the technology interest is nurtured in them and their innovativeness so they can get exposure that other children in other countries are getting.

“It should not be to say that they are the leaders of tomorrow. We need to groom them so that by the time they are there, they understand how to develop solutions to our challenges.”

Meanwhile, Mrs Kaggwa encouraged girls to never lose hope in case they feel their dream is not engineering and ICTs.

“If you don’t like mathematics or science, don’t say ICTs are not for me. We need lawyers, we need doctors. That is why we encourage all of you to continue your interest,” she said.

The post UCC’s Kaggwa Calls on Young Girls to Embrace ICTs first appeared on ChimpReports.

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Stop exporting the climate crisis | Climate Change News




At the age of 22, Marielle Bacason experienced something that would change her life forever. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines with record ferocity, killing thousands of people and affecting millions of others.

Winds of up to 315kmph (197mph) destroyed everything in their path. When the superstorm finally subsided, Bacason said, “You could not distinguish the roads and dead bodies of people and animals everywhere. We feared for our safety every day, especially during the night. We just wanted to leave Tacloban … I was traumatised.”

Bacason did not just leave, she took action. She joined other brave survivors, local activists, workers, and fisherfolk to assert their fundamental rights before the Commission on Human Rights of The Philippines. The Commission announced that 47 big companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, and Total, could be found legally and morally liable for human rights harms to Filipinos resulting from climate change.

Despite widespread acknowledgement that burning fossil fuels is the main cause of the climate emergency, governments are yet to take real action against the industry even while the future of the planet, and all who live on it, hangs in the balance.

Air pollution from coal, oil, and gas killed 8.7 million people globally in 2018 alone, and the climate crisis already has an annual death toll of more than 100,000 – a fast-climbing figure – with some organisations saying 100 million people will die by 2030 and billions more will be displaced. Perhaps it is a testament to the extreme greed (or extreme cowardice) of those in power that they continue to allow dirty energy corporations to fuel a crisis that even they and their loved ones will not escape.

In fact, none of us will be safe unless the global economy shifts to run on renewable energy – fast. It is not enough for wealthy countries to run on clean power if they continue to produce and export fuels that crash the climate when they are burned elsewhere. Profiting from emissions made elsewhere may make for a handy accounting trick, but the consequences of those carbon emissions will be felt by all of us, with countries in the Global South shouldering the greatest burden.

With US President Joe Biden now occupying the White House – on the eve of a climate summit hosting 17 of the world’s largest carbon emitters – many across the planet hope that we might see action on climate from the United States commensurate with what science and justice demand. As one of the world’s most influential countries and most egregious climate polluters, the US has an opportunity and responsibility to make significant contributions to a safe and stable world. To truly claim the mantle of climate leader, President Biden must seize the moment to commit to phasing out the climate emergency’s main driver: the fossil fuel industry.

Biden can do two things right now to kick off a fossil fuel phaseout. First, take executive action, and put pressure on Congress, to eliminate billions in taxpayer handouts going to oil, gas and coal companies from the federal government each year. Public money that could be freed up to invest in domestic recovery by creating jobs in upgrading public infrastructure, or a just transition led by workers and affected communities, and to support vaccines globally. Those funds could also begin to support climate-vulnerable countries so they can adapt to a heating world and transition to clean energy, instead of propping up a failing and deadly industry.

Second, if the US is serious about addressing the climate crisis, it needs to reinstate the crude oil export ban. When Democrats permanently traded it away for temporary renewable energy tax credits in the last decade, it was one of the biggest handouts yet to the oil and gas industry. A Greenpeace and Oil Change International report recently found that reinstating the US crude oil export ban could lead to reductions in global carbon emissions of as much as 73 to 165 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent each year. The oil export ban should be brought back and expanded to cover any fuel that puts the future of life on Earth in peril.

The fossil fuel economy is not just obsolete: it trades in inequality and exploitation. Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and marginalised communities worldwide have endured a disproportionate burden of toxic pollution and climate impacts, while a small cartel of fossil fuel executives, backed by their governments and impermeable finance systems, rake in hundreds of billions of dollars in profits.

Since 2016, 60 of the world’s largest banks have pumped more than $3.8 trillion into the fossil fuel industry, despite the signing of the Paris climate accords in 2015. This has led to fossil fuel financing being higher in 2020 than in 2016. And the big oil, coal and gas bosses are cashing in: their CEOs’ compensation, often in excess of $10m, is linked to the continued extraction of fossil fuels, exploration of new fields and the promotion of strong market demand through advertising, lobbying and government subsidies. Governments need to stand up and say, “No more.” People and the planet must come before profit.

It should not only be up to those most affected by the climate crisis, like Bacason, to fight for our collective future. We need leaders, like President Biden, to use their power to do what is not only necessary but is ethical and urgent. It is time to transition to a world beyond fossil fuels – because our lives depend on it.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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