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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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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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