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Mercy Baguma’s family cancels memorial service



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Postive Action in Housing

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Ms Baguma is believed to have lost her job when her right to work expired

A prayer service in Uganda for a mother found dead at her home in Glasgow has been cancelled as the family await more details about her death.

Mercy Baguma’s body was found next to her crying baby in their flat in Govan a week ago.

Friends had not heard from her for four days. Her death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious.

Ms Baguma’s death has led to calls from campaigners for changes to the way asylum seekers are treated in the UK.

Her father, Abdul Nakendo, said a planned service in her home town of Bugiri in Uganda would not go ahead on Saturday morning.

He told waiting journalists prayers in memory of his daughter were cancelled because of the media attention surrounding her death while the family was still waiting for more detailed information.

The ceremony was due to take place in her home town, a three-hour drive east of Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

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Media captionMercy Baguma: Father says family await the return of her body

Mr Nakendo said: “Preparations are under way to return her body in two weeks’ time. As a family we have decided she should rest in peace. “

The family expects the post mortem examination report on 4 September.

The body of Mercy Baguma was discovered after the sounds of her son crying were heard.

Refugee charity Positive Action in Housing said Ms Baguma had claimed asylum and lived in “extreme poverty”.

It said she lost her job after her right to work in the UK expired.

The young boy was found next to his mother, crying and hungry, according to Robina Qureshi, the charity’s director.

‘Consumed with sadness’

While the detailed circumstances of her death have not yet been fully established, it has sparked criticism at the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in the Scottish Parliament that she felt “consumed with sadness” and anger after learning of the incident.

She called for a complete reform of the UK’s “deeply inhumane” asylum system.

Friends of the mother set up a fundraising page to raise cash for her funeral and to provide for her son.

The page has attracted donations totalling almost £49,000, nearly five times the original target of £10,000.

The Home Office has said it will be conducting a “full investigation” and offered its condolences to Ms Baguma’s family.

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Chad’s Deby takes early election lead as rebels near Ndjamena | Elections News




Partial provisional results came as the US orders some diplomatic staff to leave Chad amid reports of a rebel convoy nearing the capital.

Chad’s President Idriss Deby has taken a strong early lead and appeared poised to extend his 30-year rule, partial provisional results of the April 11 presidential election showed, as the United States and the United Kingdom warned of possible violence in the Chadian capital, Ndjamena.

The Independent National Election Commission (CENI) said on Saturday that Deby won a majority in all but one of the 51 departments announced so far, and secured a plurality in the other.

Results from 61 departments are yet to be announced.

Kilmapone Larme, head of logistics at the CENI, said they had still not received more than 30 percent of the results.

The UK government, meanwhile, said two convoys of a Libya-based rebel group were heading towards the capital. The convoys belonged to the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), which had attacked a border post in the north of the country on election day.

Ballots are counted after the closing of the voting operations at a roadside voting station in Ndjamena, on April 11, 2021 [File: Marco Longari/ AFP]

The UK government urged its citizens to leave the country as soon as possible, saying one convoy had passed the town of Faya, some 770km (478 miles) northeast of Ndjamena, while the other was seen approaching the town of Mao, about 220km (137 miles) to the north.

The US also ordered non-essential diplomats at its embassy in Chad to leave the country.

“Armed non-governmental groups in northern Chad have moved south and appear to be heading toward N’Djamena,” the US Department of State said in a travel alert. “Due to their growing proximity to N’Djamena, and the possibility for violence in the city, non-essential US government employees have been ordered to leave Chad by commercial airline.”

FACT is based in Libya, where it has a non-aggression pact with renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar who controls much of the country’s east. Mainly made up of the Saharan Goran people, FACT clashes regularly with the Chadian army.

The AFP news agency reported tanks and soldiers at the northern entrance to the city, while Chad’s army said it had “completely destroyed” a FACT convoy in the north of Kanem province on Saturday afternoon.

Soldiers were searching for the last of the rebels, army spokesman Azem Bermandoa Agouna said in a statement read out on national television.

Deby, 68, is an ally of Western powers in the fight against armed groups in West and Central Africa. He is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, but there are signs of growing discontent over his handling of the nation’s oil wealth.

Chad’s government has been forced to cut back public spending in recent years because of the low price of oil, its main export. The measures sparked protests and labour strikes.

Opposition leaders had called on their supporters to boycott last week’s polls.

“Until midday, the polling stations were almost empty in almost all towns in the country but CENI has just concocted fictitious results to deceive Chadians,” Yacine Abderaman Sakine, the head of the opposition Reform Party, told the Reuters news agency on Saturday.

“We do not recognise this result.”

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US, China agree to tackle climate crisis with urgency | Climate Change News




The US and China agree on the need for stronger climate commitments before the new round of international talks in Glasgow.

China and the United States, the world’s two biggest carbon polluters, have agreed to cooperate with other countries to fight climate change.

The joint statement on Sunday followed two days of talks between Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua and his US counterpart, John Kerry, in Shanghai.

“The United States and China are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands,” their statement said.

The two countries will also continue to discuss “concrete actions in the 2020s to reduce emissions aimed at keeping the Paris Agreement-aligned temperature limit within reach”, it said.

In the Paris accord, countries agreed in 2015 to keep rising global temperatures to below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

China and the US are the world’s top carbon polluters, pumping out nearly half of the fossil fuel fumes that are warming the planet’s atmosphere. Their cooperation is key to the success of global efforts to curb climate change, but frayed ties over human rights, trade and China’s territorial claims to Taiwan and the South China Sea have been threatening to undermine such efforts.

Kerry’s trip to Shanghai marked the highest-level travel to China by a US official since President Joe Biden took office in January.

Biden, who has said fighting global warming is among his highest priorities, had the US rejoin the Paris climate accord in the first hours of his presidency, undoing the withdrawal ordered by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

The new US president has also invited 40 world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, to a virtual summit to discuss the issue on April 22 and 23.

The US and other countries are expected to announce more ambitious national targets for cutting carbon emissions before or during the meeting, along with pledging financial help for climate efforts by less wealthy nations.

When Kerry was still in Shanghai, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng signalled on Friday that China is unlikely to make any new pledges at next week’s summit.

“For a big country with 1.4 billion people, these goals are not easily delivered,” Le said during an interview with The Associated Press news agency in Beijing. “Some countries are asking China to achieve the goals earlier. I am afraid this is not very realistic.”

On whether Xi would join the summit, Le said, “The Chinese side is actively studying the matter.”

During a video meeting with German and French leaders on Friday, Xi said climate change “should not become a geopolitical chip, a target for attacking other countries or an excuse for trade barriers”, though he called for closer cooperation on the issue, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Xi pledged last year that China would achieve “carbon neutrality by 2060” and ensure its greenhouse gas emissions peak before 2030.

The top emitters of greenhouse gases are also preparing for the next United Nations climate summit taking place in Glasgow, United Kingdom, in November. The summit aims to relaunch global efforts to keep rising global temperatures to below 1.5C as agreed in the Paris accord.

The US-China statement said the two countries also agreed to discuss specific emission reduction actions, including energy storage, carbon capture and hydrogen. They said they would take action to maximise financing for developing countries to switch to low-carbon energy sources.

It added that both countries “are firmly committed to working together and with other Parties to strengthen implementation of the Paris Agreement”.

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Minnesota police pledge not to harass journalists at protests | Black Lives Matter News




The Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) has promised not to detain, threaten or rough up journalists covering protests, after several reporters accused officers of harassing and assaulting them during demonstrations in the US city of Minneapolis over the police killing of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man.

In a statement on Saturday, the MSP also agreed to stop photographing “journalists or their credentials” and said they will no longer order reporters where they can position themselves to cover the demonstrations.

The pledge came after media organisations criticised state police and officers from eight other law-enforcement agencies in the joint force known as Operation Safety Net for how they treated journalists at protests in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center on Friday.

Police impeded the work of journalists even after a judge in the United States issued a temporary restraining order that forbade them from arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force against journalists.

USA Today videographer Jasper Colt tweeted that he and other reporters were forced to lie on their stomach on Friday evening while police photographed them and their credentials before letting them leave.

“We condemn the actions of the police in Brooklyn Center in the strongest possible terms,” USA Today publisher Maribel Perez Wadsworth said in an email to The Associated Press news agency. “Requiring journalists to lie prone on the ground and photographing their credentials are purposeful intimidation tactics.”

‘Extremely upset’

Freelance photographer Tim Evans told AP that officers surrounded protesters after a 10pm curfew passed. They charged into the crowd and started pepper-spraying and tackling people, he said.

Evans said one officer punched him in the face and tore off his credentials, forced him onto his stomach and pressed a knee into his back.

“I was yelling ‘press.’ He said he didn’t care,” Evans said.

Evans said another officer came over and smashed his head into the ground. He was zip-tied before a third officer freed him and let him leave.

“I’m extremely upset,” Evans said. “I felt like they were targeting the press in general. I’m out there doing what I’m doing because I have such strong convictions about the importance of this work.”

Other journalists posted photos and videos online showing police detaining them while checking their credentials, and in at least one case spraying chemical irritants.

“We are extremely troubled by how the media is being treated and have repeatedly shared those concerns with the authorities,” said Suki Dardarian, senior managing editor and vice president at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota said the behaviour of some officers “went beyond unlawful detention to include outright retaliatory assault” against journalists, whose work to inform the public is protected against government interference by the US Constitution.

‘Better path forward’

The events led several media organisations to ask Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to intervene.

“I convened a meeting today with media and law enforcement to determine a better path forward to protect the journalists covering civil unrest,” Walz said on Twitter on Saturday.

Following the meeting, the MSP said it will “not photograph journalists or their credentials”.

“In addition, MSP will no longer include messaging at the scene advising media where they can go to safely cover events. While journalists have been detained and released during enforcement actions after providing credentials, no journalists have been arrested,” the statement said.

It also said journalists would be exempt from general dispersal orders issued to demonstrators, and that state police were banned from using chemical spray against the press.

The protests erupted after Wright was killed during a traffic stop on Sunday in Brooklyn Center. Former officer Kimberly Potter, who turned in her badge on Tuesday, has been charged with manslaughter.

Demonstrators have gathered outside the Brooklyn Center police station every night since the shooting, frequently throwing water bottles and other objects at police behind a protective fence.

Officers have responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and other projectiles at times, and have usually marched in lines to clear the area after curfew or after some protesters approached or sought to damage the fence.

Their tactics have drawn criticism from Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, who is Black, and other elected officials around the Twin Cities.

Wright’s death came with Minneapolis already on edge as the trial of former policeman Derek Chauvin nears an end, with closing arguments scheduled for Monday. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder for his part in the deadly arrest last May of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.

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