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Explainer: The foreign policy legacy of Trump’s first term | News

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President Donald Trump made some of his flashiest 2016 campaign pledges in foreign policy areas, such as vowing to reevaluate the US relationship with NATO, abandon a landmark nuclear deal with Iran and bring US troops back from “forever wars”.

The Republican president, a former businessman from New York who boasts about his deal-making skills, has delivered on some of his pledges, while partially meeting a few others.

Some have ended in failure.

If Trump is defeated in the November 3 election by Democratic rival Joe Biden, the new administration’s hardest challenge will be to restore the global standing and trustworthiness of the United States, according to analysts and former officials from the US and Europe.

Biden, vice president under President Barack Obama, would inherit a scarred transatlantic relationship, deep antagonism with China and sanctions-dominated pressure campaigns against Iran, Syria and Venezuela.

Here is a look at some of the key policy priorities of the Trump administration and potential challenges for Biden:

China

A central theme in Trump’s 2016 campaign was to accuse China of “ripping off” the US while promising to seal a fair trade deal with Beijing that would help American businesses and create US jobs.

After almost two years of a tit-for-tat trade war with the world’s second-largest economy, Trump has so far managed a stalled first phase of such an agreement.

Meanwhile, Washington and Beijing have slapped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of each others’ goods and the global spread of the coronavirus from China has left bilateral ties at their lowest level in decades, raising fears of a new Cold War.

Washington has acted against Beijing on multiple fronts: It ended the special status of Hong Kong after China imposed sweeping national security legislation, sanctioned top officials over human rights abuses and sought to ban Chinese technology companies from operating in the US.

A Biden administration would have little option but to maintain the hard stance, analysts say, but would probably try to create room for engagement.

Iran nuclear deal 

In 2018, Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, saying he could strike a better one. He also launched a “maximum pressure” campaign to choke off Tehran’s sources of income.

Despite almost two years of sanctions on everything from oil revenue to minerals and Iran’s central bank, Washington has yet to get Tehran back to the negotiating table. Instead, escalating tensions have carried the two nations to the brink of war.

Biden has said he would deal with Iran through diplomacy and re-enter the agreement, but only if Iran first returned to compliance with the deal’s restrictions on its nuclear programme.

NATO and transatlantic ties

Trump has repeatedly complained about the failure of many NATO partners to meet defence spending targets. He has also questioned the continued relevance of the organisation created in 1949 at the start of the Cold War with Russia.

His attacks soured ties with several European allies, but more members of the alliance have now increased spending to meet its target of 2 percent of GDP.

This year, Trump promised to cut the number of US troops in Germany, accusing Berlin of taking advantage of the US while not meeting its NATO obligations. In July, the Pentagon announced 11,900 troops would leave Germany and the US would move its European military headquarters from Germany to Belgium.

Analysts said repairing the transatlantic alliance will take time, but should be one of the easier tasks awaiting a potential Biden administration.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sits in a tank as he talks to US soldiers based in Grafenwoehr, Germany [Reuters]

Troop withdrawals 

Trump promised in his 2016 campaign to stay out of foreign wars and bring home US troops deployed in Afghanistan, the US’s longest war, which is now in its nineteenth year.

Washington has begun cutting troop numbers in Afghanistan after striking a deal with the Taliban in February that envisaged the withdrawal of all US troops. This depends, however, on talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, which have stalled.

Trump also ordered a pullout of US troops from Syria. The decision was repeatedly watered down by aides and the military, but numbers have still been reduced by more than half.

Climate

One of Trump’s most controversial decisions was his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, something he had repeatedly promised to do during the 2016 campaign.

Trump said the agreement imposed “draconian” financial and economic burdens on the US and said he would negotiate a better one.

A new agreement has not materialised. The Biden campaign said he would recommit to the original Paris deal and lead an effort to get major countries to toughen their domestic targets. 

Middle East

Trump delivered on his 2016 campaign promise to relocate the US embassy in Israel to the divided city of  Jerusalem.

The move was condemned by most of the Arab world but won praise from the Israeli government and its supporters, as well as evangelical Christians.

His wider Middle East Peace plan was rejected by Palestinians as it allowed Israel to maintain control of lillegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, but received some encouraging responses from several Arab states.

One, the United Arab Emirates, this month normalised ties with Israel in a deal brokered by the US, a move that many analysts saw as a foreign policy win for Trump at a time when he has been trailing Biden in polls. 

North Korea

Trump surprised the world by entering unprecedented talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Despite the summitry, he made no progress in persuading Kim to give up his nuclear weapons, and talks remain stalled.

But some believe his ice-breaking diplomacy could be a building block for a future administration. 



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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