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Pence claims US victory over coronavirus, condemns racial unrest | News

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Vice President Mike Pence headlined the third night of a virtual Republican National Convention with a patriotic call for the re-election of President Donald Trump who he said had set the United States on “a path of freedom and opportunity”.

Backed by the red-white-and-blue symbolism of the American flag, Pence spoke at Fort McHenry which withstood a naval bombardment by the British Navy in 1814 and inspired the words of the US national anthem, “O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave…”

“If you look through the fog of these challenging times you will see our flag is still there,” Pence told a Republican audience in remarks on the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest sweeping the country.

For the first time in the Republican convention, which concludes on Thursday with President Trump’s acceptance speech, Pence offered the core argument Trump and his Republican Party are making for his re-election; that the US economy was soaring before the pandemic and Trump is succeeding in controlling the outbreak and getting the economy moving again.

“The coronavirus struck from China,” Pence said, repeating a line Trump uses to cast blame for the outbreak on China because the novel coronavirus was first discovered in the central city of Wuhan.

“The president took unprecedented action and suspended all travel from China,” Pence said, exaggerating the president’s action.

Trump’s travel restrictions to China announced on January 31 were only partial and did not apply to Americans going back and forth.

Coronavirus crisis

Pence touted the White House’s partnership “with private industry to reinvent testing and produce supplies across the country including producing 100,000 ventilators in 100 days.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet the crowd after Vice President Mike Pence acceptance speech as the 2020 Republican vice presidential nominee at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

The US now conducts thousands of tests a day and has delivered “billions of pieces of personal protective equipment”, Pence said, although hospitals and public health officials continue to report constraints in testing and shortages of equipment.

The administration built field hospitals and mobilised military medical personnel and signed an economic rescue package that saved 50 million jobs, he claimed.

“We are on track to have the world’s first, safe and effective coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year,” Pence said, praising the heroism of American health care workers and emergency responders.

“Thanks to the courage and compassion of the American people, we are slowing the spread, we’re protecting the vulnerable, and we’re saving lives, and we’re opening up America.”

Pence was the first speaker at the largely virtual Republican convention to directly address the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 180,000 people in the US, devastated much of the economy and put more than 30 million people out of work. First Lady, Melania Trump, on Tuesday expressed her sympathy for the families of those who had died.

Pence took note of Hurricane Laura’s landfall on the Gulf coast of Louisiana and Texas and said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was prepared to assist people displaced by the Category 4 storm that was packing a catastrophic sea water surge of 15 to 20 feet.

Unrest in Kenosha

Pence condemned “the violence and chaos engulfing cities across this country.”

“The violence must stop whether in Minneapolis, Portland, or Kenosha too,” he said.

The convention has been overshadowed by civil unrest and riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where two people protesting against the police shooting of a Black man were allegedly killed by a white teenager who sympathised with police. Trump has sided with police over protesters since the unrest began in May.

An incendiary device goes off in front of a Kenosha Country Sheriff Vehicle as demonstrators take part in a protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.

An incendiary device goes off in front of a Kenosha Country Sheriff Vehicle as demonstrators take part in a protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, August 25, 2020. [Brendan McDermid/Reuters]

Police arrested a 17-year-old, Kyle Rittenhouse from nearby Antioch, Illinois and charged him with homicide on Wednesday. A Kenosha County sheriff said Rittenhouse may have been part of a vigilante group that intended to protect property from protesters.

Several African American speakers voiced Trump’s appeal to Black voters and cited Trump’s support for federal funding for historically black colleges, tax advantages for urban opportunity zones, and bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation passed by Congress.

“Donald Trump is offering real and lasting change and unprecedented opportunity to rise, a country that embraces the spirit of the civil rights movement of the Sixties, a place where people are judged by the content of their talents and abilities , not by the colour of their skin,” said Clarence Henderson, a civil rights activist who participated in a lunch-counter sit-in in 1960.

Clarence Henderson speaks to Republican convention

Clarence Henderson, a participant in the 1960 Woolworth lunch counter sit-in civil rights protests in Greensboro, North Carolina, speaks during the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention broadcast from Washington, U.S. August 26, 2020. [Republican National Convention/Handout via Reuters]

Three nights of destructive protests in Kenosha had been sparked by the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, who was paralysed below the waist and has undergone surgery.

Blake, who was unarmed, was shot multiple times in the back at close range by an officer who was holding onto Blake’s shirt as he tried to lean into his vehicle. Police said they later found a knife on the driver-side floor of Blake’s car.

The officer who shot Blake was identified by Wisconsin state authorities as Rusten Sheskey, a white man who has been working at the Kenosha Police Department for seven years.

Sports boycott

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers called out the National Guard on Monday after protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with police in riot gear.

Trump and Republican speakers in the convention programme have sought to characterise the protests against police shootings that have swept the US since May as riots by a dangerous, violent mob encouraged by Democrats.

Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning that he was sending more National Guard troops and federal agents to impose “law and order”.

“From Seattle and Portland to Washington and New York, Democrat-run cities across this country are being overrun by violent mobs,” claimed South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem at the opening of the Republican convention on Wednesday night.

“The violence is rampant. There’s looting, chaos, destruction, and murder. People that can afford to flee have fled. But the people that can’t – good, hard-working Americans – are left to fend for themselves,” Noem said.

Republican US Senator Marsha Blackburn, who represents the state of Tennessee, said Democrats want to defund “our military, our police, even ICE” and “take away their tools to keep us safe”.

“Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and their radical allies try to destroy these heroes, because if there are not heroes to inspire us – government can control us,” Blackburn said.

Michael McHale, NAPO president

Michael McHale, the president of the National Association of Police Organizations, said, “Joe Biden has turned his candidacy over to the far-left, anti-law-enforcement radicals.” [Republican National Convention/Handout via Reuters]

But outrage over the shooting of Blake spread on Wednesday to the National Basketball Association when members of the Milwaukee Bucks team decided to boycott a scheduled playoff game against the Orlando Magic.

Los Angeles Lakers star player LeBron James tweeted “WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT”

The NBA announced it would postpone three playoff games on Wednesday to a later date.

The boycott triggered more game cancellations by the WNBA and Major League Baseball in a widening political shutdown of sports events.





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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