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Thousands to commemorate MLK’s dream in DC civil rights march | News



Months of widespread protests and unrest over the police killings of Black Americans will culminate this Friday with a national march on Washington, DC that commemorates a historic 1963 civil rights march.

Tens of thousands are expected to gather at the Lincoln Memorial in the United States capital to take part in the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” Commitment March demanding equality and policing reforms. The march will coincide with the 57th anniversary of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.

“We’re at a time when anti-racism and this fight against police brutality is at the forefront,” said Lopez Matthews, a historian and digital librarian at Howard University in Washington, DC. “It’s a perfect time to have another march to bring attention to these issues.”

Reverend Al Sharpton announced the march during the funeral of George Floyd, a Black man who died on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd’s death galvanised months of nationwide protests against police brutality and demands for racial justice in the country.

Protests erupted after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by a policeman multiple times in the back at close range as he opened his car door in Kenosha, Wisconsin [Stephen Maturen/Reuters] 

The march also comes in the midst of fresh outrage and renewed protests after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by a policeman multiple times in the back at close range as he opened his car door in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday. Blake’s father will speak on Friday.

Two people were killed during protests in Kenosha on Tuesday night, allegedly by a young white man who was caught on smartphone video opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle. The shooting left a third person wounded.

“We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets,” US President Donald Trump said on Twitter, adding that he would be dispatching federal forces to quell the protests in Kenosha. 

Friday’s event is also taking place during a fraught election year. Trump, who is running for a second term in office on a law and order platform, is trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden in most opinion polls ahead of the November 3 election. 

Biden accused Trump of “rooting” for violence. “What’s he doing? he’s pouring more gasoline on the fire,” Biden told MSNBC on Thursday.

Persistent problems

Over the past 57 years, observers and activists say, conditions for Black Americans have improved, in part because of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination based on race.

But inequality, systemic racism and police brutality continue, said Danielle Belton, editor-in-chief at digital magazine The Root, and these have proven difficult to overcome.

March on Washington

Dr Martin Luther King Jr, with arms raised, marching along Constitution Avenue with other civil rights protestors carrying placards, from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington in 1963 [File: AP Photo]

“A lot of the same problems still exist,” Belton told Al Jazeera. “That’s why we need to keep talking about them, that’s why we need to keep marching, that’s why we need to keep organising.”

“Yes, some things have changed in many ways, and in many cases for the better,” she added, “but the reality is a lot these issues are very persistent, because they are woven into the fabric of American society.”

In June, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would ban police use of chokeholds and end qualified immunity for officers, among other reforms.

And in July, Democratic senators reintroduced legislation that would restore a provision of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965, named after the late civil rights icon John Lewis, but that was gutted by the US Supreme Court in 2013. The law required states with a history of voter suppression to seek federal clearance before changing voting regulations.

Both measures are awaiting action in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Coronavirus pandemic

Unlike the 1963 march, when more than 200,000 people participated, Friday’s rally comes during an outbreak of COVID-19, a disease that has infected more than 5.8 million Americans, leav180,000 dead – the highest number of cases and deaths in the world.

With cases still rising in many parts of the country, organisers said they expect about 50,000 participants after shuttle buses from coronavirus hot spots were cancelled. The in-person march will require people to wear masks and organisers said that hand sanitising stations and temperature checks would be conducted.

Civil rights groups organising the event, the NAACP and the National Action Network, have encouraged people to join the march virtually, or participate in satellite rallies in Kentucky, South Carolina and Texas, where outdoor large screens will livestream the Washington rally.

Washington march

Black Lives Matter demonstrators marching towards the White House during racial inequality protests in downtown Washington, DC, the US [Erin Scott/Reuters]

Natalie Hopkinson, assistant professor in Howard University’s Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies, said a smaller crowd could potentially affect the impact of the rally, but it will not undermine the sense of urgency around addressing racial justice and inequality in the country.

“The numbers do make a difference and that is what made the George Floyd protests really powerful,” Hopkinson said, “But we’re having a moral reckoning right now, and the march is going to be part of that, it’s all on the same continuum of getting justice for Black people, which has been elusive.”

And yet, while the struggle for equality has in essence remained the same since the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Hopkinson says, the methodology as well as the optics have changed.

Unlike King, who wore a suit and tie, spoke about reconciliation and called for nonviolence, this summer’s protests were held by outraged, young activists – many donning shorts and T-shirts and prone to chants such as “F*** Trump.” 

“That’s very significant because it’s a signal that it’s not about respectability politics, you don’t have to be respectable to have human rights,” Hopkinson said.

This summer’s protests around the country were organised and energised by the Movement for Black Lives, a national coalition of more than 150 Black-led organisations of young activists formed after the 2014 killing of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed Black man shot dead by a white police officer.

Defund the police 2This summer’s protests around the country were organised and energised by the Movement for Black Lives, a national coalition of more than 150 Black-led organisations of young activists [AP Photo/Ragan Clark]

The movement is demanding more radical changes than the legacy civil rights groups organising Friday’s march. They have been pushing for the passage of the BREATHE Act, which would divest funds away from police departments and prisons in favour of investments in healthcare, education, housing and other social services in Black communities. 

The movement is scheduled to hold its virtual Black National Convention on Friday evening, when organisers will unveil a new political agenda intended to further build on the momentum of this summer’s protests.

‘History is like a wave’

Friday’s march, meanwhile, seeks “to restore and recommit to the dream Dr Martin Luther King, Jr defined” that year, according to a press release, as well as “call for police accountability and reform, and to mobilize voters ahead of the November elections”.

In 1963, King lamented “the unspeakable horrors of police brutality” and said he dreamt that his children would “one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character”.

Martin Luther King

Dr Martin Luther King Jr, addressing marchers during his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on August 28, 1963 [AP Photo]6

King was assassinated in 1968.

Expected to participate in Friday’s march are Martin Luther King III, a son of the late civil rights icon, attorney Benjamin Crump and the relatives of Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor – victims of police killings.

Following a commemorative rally, participants in Washington will end the day with a march to the Martin Luther King, Jr memorial.

Steven Cleveland, creator of the documentary “A King in Paradise”, which explores King’s activism and life, said the original march, much like the upcoming one, was meant to be an inspirational moment in Black history – rather than a practical one that would deliver immediate political results.

But King, as a leader, Cleveland says, had the rare ability to both inspire people and deliver policy changes, exemplified by his success in helping pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“It is one of the keys to MLK’s greatness,” Cleveland told Al Jazeera. “He was the person to both be aspirational and practical. He delivered, using his aspirational talent.”

And the dream that King famously described that day, of racial equality and freedom, acknowledged that some progress had been made, but that there was a long way to go – and it was going to take time.

“History is like a wave, with moments of progress and regression,” Cleveland said. “History is not linear, history is over time gaining a little bit of ground until we reach a place where we move past the oppressive nature of systemic racism, piece by piece, bit by bit.”

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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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