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Republicans counter charges of Trump racism at first night of RNC | USA News



The first night of the Republican National Convention leaned into the topic of race, with a diverse lineup of speakers who derided Joe Biden’s past racial gaffes while hailing President Donald Trump’s policies.

The speakers included former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who said calling the US racist had become “fashionable” for Democrats, as well as Senator Tim Scott, the chamber’s only Black Republican. Both sought to rebut accusation of racism against Trump and his administration, while highlighting their personal stories of success to portray the US as a country where any citizen, regardless of background, can triumph. 

Critics have accused the president, whose early foray into politics included touting the unfounded – and widely considered racist – theory that former President Barack Obama had not been born in the US, of stoking racial tensions throughout his three-plus years in office.

Trump has provided regular fuel to those claims, including responding to a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia by saying there were “fine people” on both sides, his condemnation of the words Black Lives Matter as a “hate symbol”, and his administration’s recent crackdowns on racial justice protests across the country in the wake of the police-killing of George Floyd. 

Speakers on Monday, however, sought to portray the Democrats, who have widely embraced the Black Lives Matter movement and enjoy vastly disproportionate support from Black and Latino voters, of selectively using race for political gain and treating minorities as monoliths. Recent polls show registered Black voters favour Biden by an average of about 67 percentage points over Trump.

“In much of the Democratic Party, it’s now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie,” said Haley. The “proud daughter” of Sikhs who immigrated from India recalled her youth “I was a brown girl, in a Black and white world. We faced discrimination and hardship.”

“America is not a racist country,” added Haley, who has been widely criticised for the apparently contradictory statements. 

Meanwhile, Vernon Jones, a member of the Georgia House of Representatives and a rare elected Democratic official who has endorsed Trump, charged that Democrats have not made space in their party for Black “independent thinkers”.

“The Democratic Party does not want Black people to leave the mental plantation they’ve had us on for decades,” Jones said from the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC. 

Others took a more personal tact, with Hershel Walker, a Black former American football player, saying of his 37-year friendship with the president: “I have seen racism up close. I know what it is. And it isn’t Donald Trump”.

The night’s most stirring speech – the final in the programme – came from Senator Scott, who recounted how his family “went from cotton to Congress in one lifetime”.

He hailed the Republican Party as one where “voters judged me on the content of my character, not the colour of my skin,” while deriding Biden’s past racial gaffes, praising Trump’s policies on race, and condemning what he characterised as increasing polarisation. 

“We live in a world that only wants you to believe in the bad news: racially, economically and culturally-polarising news,” said Scott.

‘The diversity of America’

Republicans appear to be responding to the expectation that they would be “raked over the coals” when it came to race representation at the convention, said Rina Shah, a former Republican strategist and political adviser who now supports Biden.

“The party, in its current form, does not reflect the diversity of America because party membership and party leadership is largely older and white,” she said.

Shah added the messaging on Monday that focused on wanting to be judged on merit over race “was very successful” and is likely to “resonate with many people”, while noting it came from figures who have pegged their political futures to embracing Trump’s divisive brand of politics. 

The night also embodied an at times awkward balancing act, focusing heavily on the theme of law and order and what Trump has described as the threat of US cities and suburbs being swallowed by violence. Critics said that messaging contains not-so-coded racial undertones.

Also featured were Mark and Patty McCloskey, a white St Louis, Missouri couple who became folk heroes among some conservatives after brandishing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters marching past their home.

Lenny McAllister, a Republican strategist who was the party’s candidate for a Pennsylvania congressional seat in 2016, told Al Jazeera that anyone who denies there is still work to do to overcome residual systemic racism in the US is “undervaluing the negative impact that racism has had on America for centuries”.

In the face of an increasingly diverse electorate, he said Republicans will have to find more ways to include minorities if the party wants to survive into the future, adding he personally found the speeches on Monday night “effective”.

“The question becomes, will this resonate with more African Americans, is it resonating with more African Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump four years ago and did not vote for the Republican ticket two years ago,” he said. “That has yet to be seen.”

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million



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




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.

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News




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”.

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