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VP Mike Pence takes centre stage at US Republican convention | News



Vice President Mike Pence will take centre stage at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday to make the case that his boss, President Donald Trump, will bring back the United States economy to its pre-pandemic heights if given four more years in office.

Pence, who will be renominated as Trump’s running mate after on-and-off speculation that he might be dropped from the ticket, is the highest-ranking official to address the four-day convention aside from the president, who has made daily appearances.

Pence has served as the chair of the Trump White House’s coronavirus task force, managing the federal government’s response to the virus which has been criticized for failures. The pandemic – the worst public health crisis in a century – is still raging.

COVID-19 has killed more than 180,000 people and wrecked the US economy, putting tens of millions of Americans out of work. Republicans have barely mentioned the coronavirus in the first two days of their convention programme. 

A White House official said Pence would not shy away from speaking about the virus and the administration’s work to tackle it. He is proud of that work, said the official, who noted that Pence’s appointment to lead the effort showed Trump’s confidence in him, the Reuters News Agency reported.

Aside from COVID-19, the Trump administration faces several other potential domestic crises. After months of racial unrest following the police killing of George Floyd, the city of Kenosha in the political swing state of Wisconsin was reeling on Wednesday after two people were shot dead in another night of violent protests. Police in Illinois arrested and charged 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse with murder. Trump said he is sending National Guard troops and federal law enforcement agents to Wisconsin at the request of the state’s governor.

Separately, a potentially catastrophic hurricane was churning towards landfall on Wednesday in Texas and Louisiana and will test the administration’s emergency response capabilities. California is battling some of the largest wildfires in its history.

Hurricane Laura, a category-4 storm packing 20-foot storm surge, will be making landfall in Texas and Louisiana at about the same time as Pence’s speech [NOAA Handout via Reuters]

Loyal deputy

A former governor of Indiana, Pence has served as a loyal lieutenant to Trump, a former New York businessman and reality television star who had no governing experience when he became president in January 2017.

The vice president, a conservative Christian, serves as a key connector between Trump and evangelical voters, a powerful and influential part of the Republican political base.

Another White House official told Reuters that Pence would offer an optimistic vision for the country in his speech, while also providing a contrast with Democratic candidates former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris.

Trump and Pence

Pence is known for his loyalty to President Trump [David T Foster/Pool via Reuters]

The first two days of the Republican gathering were peppered with ominous predictions of radical socialism and chaos if Democrats were to win the White House in the November vote.

First Lady Melania Trump struck a more compassionate note in her address from the White House Rose Garden, acknowledging the suffering from the pandemic as well as the harsh reality of racial unrest.

Pence will speak from Baltimore’s Fort McHenry, the inspiration for the US national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, providing a patriotic landmark as a backdrop and allowing space for an outdoor live audience.

Both parties’ conventions have been dramatically scaled back, taking place mostly virtually and without large live audiences to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Other speakers scheduled on Wednesday include Second Lady Karen Pence, Senators Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Joni Ernst of Iowa, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and Kellyanne Conway, who announced earlier this week that she would be stepping down as White House adviser.

Trump plans to speak before a crowd on the White House South Lawn on Thursday, the convention’s last day.

Kenosha police clear protesters

Police in riot gear clear a park during clashes with protesters who threw rocks and bottles outside the Kenosha County Courthouse late Tuesday, August 25, 2020, The protests followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake two days earlier [David Goldman/AP Photo]

Trump is trailing Biden in national opinion polls and Republicans are hoping he will get a boost from a convention that is highlighting his re-election themes of “law and order” and a soaring economy before the coronavirus outbreak.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday, indicated Biden held his lead over President Donald Trump in a national opinion poll taken August 19 to 25, with 47 percent of registered voters backing Biden and 40 percent supporting the Republican incumbent.

A total of 17 million people watched the mostly virtual Republican National Convention’s first night on Monday, according to Nielsen, fewer than the 19.7 million viewers who watched the first night of the Democratic National Convention.

The 17 million RNC number reflects the audience across 11 TV networks between 10pm (02:00 GMT) and 11pm and does not include online and streaming viewers. Fox News had the biggest audience, with 7.1 million viewers.

Ratings for the first night of the virtual Democratic National Convention reflected viewers across 10 US TV networks on August 17.

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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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