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Trump’s far-right legacy will remain regardless of the election | News

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As United States President Donald Trump prepares to accept the Republican presidential nomination this week, researchers and activists fear his legacy could impact the country’s political landscape for decades by both legitimising and disenfranchising the far right.  

Trump’s 2016 election ushered in a new era of white nationalist movement mobilisation, according to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Movement members had a renewed belief they could enact political change, thanks to Trump’s popularity, but the reality of Trump’s era left them jaded, and the issues they champion are not going away. The movement could potentially become more dangerous. 

White nationalists looking to blame issues like downward social and economic mobility on “immigration … women or people of colour are now taking an even more violent turn”, Cassie Miller, a co-author of the report, entitled When the ‘Alt-Right’ Hit the Streets: Far-Right Political Rallies in the Trump Era, told Al Jazeera.

Racism gets a new look

Newer groups such as the National Policy Institute, headed by Richard Spencer, became the face of the new “Alt-Right” during the 2016 campaign. These groups joined veteran racist organisations like the Ku Klux Klan in voicing support for Trump. Online forums facilitated organising and helped indoctrinate new followers.

After the election, Trump’s rhetoric made many on the far right believe they “actually had some connection to mainstream politics and that they had a shot at achieving to actual political power”, Miller said.

White Nationalist leader Richard Spencer chants back at counter-protesters as self-proclaimed ‘White Nationalists’ and ‘Alt-Right’ supporters gather for what they called a ‘Freedom of Speech’ rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on June 25, 2017 [File: Jim Bourg/Reuters]

To ease their normalisation, far-right supporters had adopted a new strategy: optics. They were featured prominently in media after Trump’s victory and white nationalists, many of whom had long kept their identities secret, demonstrated openly. 

Spencer, along with members of the Proud Boys, an all-male group founded in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, donned a “new uniform” of khakis and polos. McInnes denied the Proud Boys was a racist group but instead promoted “Western chauvinism” –  the idea that “The West” and its ideals “are best”.

On August 12, 2017, white nationalism with its new, clean-cut look would clash with its opponents. The “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia saw thousands of white nationalists – including those from Spencer’s and McInnes’s groups – march on the upscale Virginia city, where antifascist and anti-racist counterdemonstrators met them in equal force.

People of colour were attacked by groups of white nationalists, leading to various trials, and 32-year-old counterprotester Heather Heyer was killed in a car-ramming attack. It was political violence in the US not seen for decades.

Charlottesville rally

White nationalist demonstrators clash with counterdemonstrators at the entrance to ‘Unite the Right’ protest [Steve Helber/AP Photo]

Trump said there were “fine people” on “both sides” of the protest, which drew resounding condemnation.

While his statement was interpreted as a presidential endorsement of the far right, shakeups in the Trump administration followed.

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, architect of some of Trump’s most controversial policies such as the border wall and the “Muslim ban” – both of which many white nationalists supported – left the White House that month.

The following year saw shrinking media exposure – an important recruiting tool – for the increasingly violent far right as the US soured on its ideology and as news outlets turned their attention towards the probe by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

Many in the white nationalist movement “were frustrated by the fact that they didn’t feel like they were getting the kind of recognition that they deserved, that they believed they would get from the Trump administration”, said the SPLC’s Miller.

Hardening violence

As their movement continued to suffer losses without institutional support or recognition, white nationalists’ broad disillusionment with Trump resulted in an “indictment of the system as a whole … that the system itself needs to be taken down”, Miller explained. 

A shooting allegedly inspired by white nationalism at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania killed 11 and injured seven in 2018. Twenty-three people, mostly of Latino heritage, were killed in a mass shooting committed inside a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas in 2019.

pittsburgh shooting USA

First responders surround the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where a shooter opened fire on Saturday, October 27, 2018 [Gene J Puskar/AP] 

Prosecutors say the alleged shooter in the latter attack, Patrick Crusius, published a far-right manifesto on an online forum before the shooting. 

McInnes left the Proud Boys in November 2018, as the group was tied to increasingly violent and racist protests. Other groups splintered through 2019. As of 2020, far-right groups have returned to the underground, Miller said.

The political rallies of 2017 have been replaced with provocation – and murder – to push the US into a second civil war, as with the “Boogaloo Boys“, a far-right militia that goes to already-planned demonstrations, such as Black Lives Matter events, and allegedly stokes tensions while attempting to blend with protesters.

They have allegedly killed at least two security and law enforcement personnel.

Others, such as a group called “The Base”, have expressed plans to construct accelerationist “training camps”, according to leaked encrypted messaging conversations detailed in an SPLC report.

“I had a dream about a international training camp,” a member of The Base told others in a chat conversation in February 2019. “I don’t think anyone cared much about keeping a low profile because we were making bombs, ammo, and deadly gasses. Everyone looked a bit more seasoned than I’d expect as well. It totally felt real though.” 

The future 

While many have “crawled back into their holes … on the internet”, some white nationalists are still operating in the open, Jalane Schmidt told Al Jazeera.

Schmidt, a professor at Charlottesville’s University of Virginia, is also a community activist and local public historian who leads tours of the city’s historic areas and its monuments, including those erected to honour Confederates like General Robert E Lee.

A group called the “Virginia Flaggers”, which works to fly Confederate flags in public, has dispatched “guards” to Charlottesville’s parks to protect the statues, and has hassled Schmidt during her tours.

Some of these guards are reportedly linked to the far-right groups present at the Unite the Right rally.

US: Controversy over statues of Confederate leaders

Grace Aheron, an organiser with Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a group that organises white people to fight racism, acknowledged the threat of accelerationist groups, but said there has also been progress in slowing the movement. 

Activists have made strides in “deplatforming” white nationalists online, with forums and social media companies like Facebook and Twitter banning far-right accounts and removing posts that praise racist ideology.   

As the white nationalist movement retreats from the mainstream, politically unaffiliated white people are “up for grabs”, Aheron said.

SURJ is working on several initiatives to reach out to these people, including “calling every white voter in Georgia who has never voted”, Aheron said, noting, “These are almost all poor and working-class people who would benefit substantially from economic and racial justice reforms.”

But Aheron, Miller and Schmidt all agreed that whether or not Trump wins another term, his legacy will affect the US for years.

Schmidt noted the number of federal appointments the president has made, including almost a quarter of active federal judges.

Some Congressional candidates are also running on pro-Trump, far-right platforms, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, a fervent Trump supporter who won a primary against an establishment Republican in Georgia – and who also lent credence to QAnon, the conspiracy theory that the president is battling satanic paedophiles in the US government.

Whether in the courtroom, Congress or Charlottesville parks, the far right is “not going away no matter who wins in November”, Schmidt concluded.



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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