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Outrage as Pompeo’s Jerusalem speech to RNC breaks years of norms | USA News

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Mike Pompeo’s planned speech to the US Republican National Convention this week has sparked a fury of criticism for breaking decades of precedent for sitting secretaries of state avoiding overt partisan political activity.

Despite State Department assurances that Pompeo will be speaking in his personal capacity and will not violate prohibitions on federal employees participating in public political events on duty, Democrats and others have cried foul. They accuse the country’s top diplomat of inappropriate behaviour that has been anathema to his predecessors.

Four teams of lawyers, including the State Department legal counsel, have reviewed the speech that will be recorded in Jerusalem and broadcast in prime time at the Republican convention on Tuesday to ensure that it does not cross ethical lines, a person close to Pompeo who was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press news agency.

That person and the State Department said no taxpayer money will be used in the production of the video, which will be filmed on the first stop of Pompeo’s current multination trip to the Middle East that is otherwise clearly dominated by official government business.

“Looking forward to sharing with you how my family is more SAFE and more SECURE because of President Trump,” Pompeo tweeted after the RNC announced his appearance. The State Department followed quickly with comments distancing the agency from the planned remarks.

What’s behind the agreement between UAE and Israel?

“Secretary Pompeo will address the convention in his personal capacity,” the department said. “No State Department resources will be used. Staff are not involved in preparing the remarks or in the arrangements for Secretary Pompeo’s appearance. The State Department will not bear any costs in conjunction with this appearance.”

The person close to Pompeo said the short address would focus on Trump’s accomplishments in making Americans and the world safer and promoting his “America First” foreign policy. The speech will not delve into Pompeo’s own activities as secretary of state, according to the person who was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Pompeo is likely to tout Trump’s Middle East policies and the recent agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalise relations.

Critics, though, say that does not matter and that Pompeo is violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the law, known as the Hatch Act, by using government resources to travel to the venue and jeopardising long-standing tradition that domestic politics ends at the water’s edge when it comes to diplomacy.

At the same time, they complain that in using Jerusalem as the venue, Pompeo is further politicising the US-Israel relationship with a pitch for President Donald Trump’s re-election.

“It is unprecedented and highly unethical for a sitting secretary of state to address a political convention while on official foreign travel,” Halie Soifer, the head of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, told the AP. “In addition to violating the Hatch Act, Secretary Pompeo’s plans to speak at the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem underscore the president’s ongoing effort to politicise the US-Israel relationship.”

Trump has proudly claimed the mantle of being the US’s most pro-Israel president ever and pointed to his decisions to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, recognise Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights and sideline the Palestinians as proof.

Such actions have won him high praise from conservative Israelis and American Jews but also appealed strongly to evangelical Christians in the US whose support Trump is counting on.

While previous secretaries of state have naturally supported the policies of the presidents they served, they have steered clear of public political endorsements, sometimes going to great lengths to avoid their parties’ conventions. So Pompeo’s decision to take time out of his official schedule in Israel to record the speech has raised eyebrows.

Previous secretaries of state have shunned overtly partisan rhetoric, and some have made a deliberate point of being out of the country and unavailable during their political parties’ presidential nominating events.

Like two of his predecessors, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, both of whom were unsuccessful Democratic Party nominees for president, Pompeo was a member of Congress before joining the executive branch. But both Clinton and Kerry eschewed the Democratic National Convention while they served as top US diplomat.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wearing face masks bump elbows after a joint news conference in Jerusalem, August 24, 2020 [Debbie Hill/Pool via Reuters]

When President Barack Obama was officially nominated for a second term during the party convention in 2012, Clinton was half a world away, travelling to the Cook Islands, Indonesia, China, East Timor, Brunei and far eastern Russia. When Clinton was nominated in 2016, Kerry was travelling in Europe and Southeast Asia.

It is not just Democrats. When Republicans nominated John McCain in 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was on a trip to Portugal, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.





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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