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Trump looms large over 2020 Congressional races | USA News

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The battle for control of Congress is solidifying into a race about President Donald Trump, as Republicans hitch their fortunes to their party’s leader and Democrats position themselves as a bulwark against him – and as partners in a potential Joe Biden White House. 

So far, voters are signalling they want to finish the job they started in 2018 by installing Democrats for House majority control. Now, they are on track to potentially do the same in the Senate.

“The president continues to overshadow and impact the races for the Senate and the House,” said Nathan Gonzales, the editor of Inside Elections, which tracks the campaigns. 

Usually, a president at the top of the ticket boosts his party’s chances, but Trump’s slump is shifting the congressional map, strategists said. House Democrats are expected to easily retain the majority, without too many losses. The Senate, now in Republican hands, could almost as easily flip to Democrats. 

Together, the congressional races provide a snapshot of an American electorate ahead of a voting season unlike any other.

The coronavirus crisis, a shattered economy and a new civil rights era are forcing a reassessment of the way the federal government approaches long-standing problems. In a volatile political climate, healthcare, jobs and even what the parties are calling the soul of the nation are all on the ballot.

As Democrats gain momentum, Republicans are digging in, echoing Trump’s harsh criticism of the nationwide protests over police violence, particularly against Black people. He sounds dire warnings about the demonstrations happening in some cities. It is an opening for the GOP, an attempt to win back wary suburban voters, particularly white women, who voted for Trump in 2016 but have since drifted away. 

“It’s a winning message,” said Bob Salera, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP’s campaign arm. 

The NRCC used Trump’s visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to unleash a flurry of attacks against vulnerable Democrats, primarily those freshmen who built the House majority in 2018 from districts the president won in 

‘Win back the Senate’

The Democratic campaigns are taking the opposite approach. As their calling card to voters, they are offering healthcare policy – preserving and expanding the coverage under the Affordable Care Act and strategies to end the COVID-19 crisis.

Ten advertisements released by House Democrats last week targeted Republicans who voted to repeal and replace “Obamacare” or pushed a quick economic reopening despite COVID-19 risks. Democratic Senate candidates are taking similar cues as they appeal to voters concerned about healthcare access or costs.

“We’re gonna win back the Senate,” Biden told donors last week on a fundraising call.

The former vice president is eyeing a handful of Senate seats he believes Democrats could wrest from Republicans, with plans to campaign in North Carolina, Georgia, Texas and other states where Republican senators are vulnerable. 

Two months before the election, the races are still in flux. Any boost in Trump’s standing could bolster Republican chances, analysts said. Any missteps by Biden could hurt Democrats. 

On top of that is the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis, which upended campaigning. While many Republicans are following Trump’s lead, holding events and meeting voters in person, Democrats are largely matching Biden’s approach of avoiding health risks by holding campaign events online.

A memo from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee obtained by The Associated Press news agency said candidates should remind voters “through your actions” that they take the COVID-19 threat seriously. Republicans mock Democrats’ virtual campaigning as hiding from voters. 

Republicans hold a slim 53-47 majority in the Senate. That means they could afford to lose two or three seats, while Democrats would need to pick up three or four for a working majority. If either party has 50 seats, the vice president becomes a tiebreaker. 

While election season began with the parties on defence, protecting their incumbent senators, it has shifted to a decidedly lopsided Senate map. Only one Democrat, Senator Doug Jones in Alabama, appears seriously at risk of defeat, running in a Deep South state where Trump is more popular than almost anywhere else.

The list of potentially endangered Republican senators has only grown. Senator Cory Gardner is running against popular former Governor John Hickenlooper in Colorado, a state that has become more Democratic blue than toss-up purple. 

In battleground Arizona, Republican Senator Martha McSally is trailing Democrat Mark Kelly, a former astronaut. GOP Senator Susan Collins is relying on her independent brand to try to fend off challenger Sara Gideon in Maine.

Some incumbent Republican senators walk a fine line on support for Trump. Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina distances himself from Trump on some issues, but pulls close on others, and he joined the president for his speech accepting the GOP nomination on the White House lawn. 

GOP senators in Iowa, Montana and Georgia are now facing races suddenly in play. Even in Texas, South Carolina and Kentucky, where big-name GOP senators are up for re-election – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Bluegrass State, Lindsey Graham in the Palmetto State – races are becoming costly, even if the seats are not seriously in jeopardy.

‘Trump continues to drive Democratic energy’

In the House, Republicans face an even tougher haul. They would need to net some 19 seats to wrest control from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, a tall order in any election but especially now in the hard-fought suburban districts with Trump wobbly at the top of the ticket.

Some of the Democrats elected in 2018 in places Trump won in 2016 were surprise winners, like Representative Kendra Horn in Oklahoma City, and they are among the most vulnerable. Representative Ben McAdams in Utah faces a challenge from Burgess Owens, a former NFL player and Black conservative who delivered a standout speech at the GOP convention.

Some freshman Democrats, though, have tried to carve out brands to steel themselves against challenges in districts where Republicans typically would win.

Many of the issues once thought to define the candidates – including the Trump impeachment votes – have dimmed against the COVID-19 crisis.

At the same time, Trump’s willingness to push the norms of executive power suddenly makes Congress matter not just as a legislative branch of government, but one conducting oversight.

Gonzales said after GOP losses in 2018, there was an expectation that Trump atop the ticket would bring back Republican voters in 2020.

“But President Trump continues to drive Democratic energy and turnout,” he said.





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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