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Tumwebaze Sent to Troubled Agriculture Ministry



President Museveni has transferred Frank Tumwebaze from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to run the Agriculture docket.

Tumwebaze replaces Vincent Ssempijja Bamulangaki, who was defeated in the recently concluded MP elections for Kalungu East.

Ssempijja will serve as Defence Minister, taking over from Adolf Mwesige.

Tumwebaze’s appointment comes high on the heels of intense bickering in the Ministry that recently saw Ssempijja get dragged in a bitter war with the Executive Director, National Animal Genetic Research Centre & Data Bank (NAGRC &DB), James Lagu.

Lagu reportedly shopped the services of Ajivu county Member of Parliament Hon Bernard Atiku to spearhead a censure motion against Ssempijja in Parliament.

The conflict ended with Lagu being kicked out of office.

Subsistence agriculture

At the agriculture Ministry, Tumwebaze has a tough task of bringing to an end the continued presence of 69% of the Ugandan population being engaged in subsistence agriculture.

This has posed a great challenge to the advancement of the agricultural sector in Uganda.

“On top of having many people engaged in subsistence agriculture, even those who attempt commercial agriculture tend to fail on enterprise selection and end up practicing non-profit oriented agriculture, produce products that either have a low price or have a small or limited demand on the international market,” said President Museveni recently.

Ugandan leaders have not done enough to mobilise farmers nation-wide to abandon subsistence farming for commercial profit oriented agriculture for the population to be guaranteed food and income security as well as getting rid of poverty.

Museveni said the challenge was a leadership problem because the leaders are not with the population to educate them about good and modern agricultural practices.

Regarding the challenges posed by climate change to agriculture in Uganda in particular and the world, Tumwebaze will have to support sensitization of the public about the links between agriculture and environmental conservation to counter encroaching on wetlands, swamps, lakes, rivers and forests.

Tumwebaze will also have to pile pressure on bureaucrats to deal with animal and crop pests and disease.

Government has since failed to avail the best acaricides to control ticks that have become resistant to the traditional acaricides hence falling prey to against ticks and east coast fever.

On crops, Tumwebaze will also have to support Ugandan researchers who are developing quick maturing, high yielding and drought resistant seedlings.

ChimpReports understands dozens of researchers at National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) have since quit due to poor pay.

Observer say more work needs to be done in agricultural mechanisation as well as funding of storage and agro processing facilities.

The Auditor General recently reported that the Ministry was inadequately prepared to emergencies including the locust invasion.

“In the previous years, I observed that the Ministry has faced challenges in handling water hyacinth, floating islands on major water bodies, army warms that caused loss of over 450,000 tonnes of maize, foot and mouth outbreaks among others,” reads the Auditor General’s report for the year ending 2020.

“I advised Government to initiate comprehensive and efficient disaster preparedness plans in the core Agriculture sectors of fisheries, crop resources, animal industry and extension services so as to timely combat these recurrent emergency outbreaks.”

Tumwebaze speaks out

In social media posts, Tumwebaze thanked the president for retaining him in Cabinet.

“With great humility, I wish to thank H.E @KagutaMuseveni   for once again trusting me with this new appointment as Minister of @MAAIF_Uganda.  In his new term of political administration. I pledge total loyalty to the appointing authority always and dedicated service to my country,” said Tumwebaze.

The Kibale MP previously served as Minister of Information and ICT where he spearheaded ICT innovations and pushed for the adoption of National Broadband Policy for Uganda.

The broadband policy requires all local telecom operators as a licensing condition will have list on the local stock market to “help mitigate capital flight among other benefits of local content development opportunities that come along.”

At the Ministry of Gender, Tumwebaze ordered the review of Labour Export Companies’ operations to enhance safety of Ugandan migrant workers.

“Thank you all once again for the messages you are sending me to focus on. Disease control (FMD mainly), Aflatoxins, potency of acaracides and seeds are so far top issues many of you are raising in my inbox,” said Tumwebaze on Tuesday night.

“I will focus on all these and others in the agriculture value chain… I wish also to congratulate all the colleagues and friends appointed by H.E @KagutaMuseveni  to service in the various portfolios.  We pray for God’s favour and wisdom in the service of motherland Uganda.”

The post Tumwebaze Sent to Troubled Agriculture Ministry first appeared on ChimpReports.

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New Zealand’s Hubbard selected as first transgender Olympian | LGBTQ News




Laurel Hubbard, 43, will compete in the super-heavyweight women’s event in Tokyo.

Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics after being selected by New Zealand for the women’s event at the Tokyo Games, a decision set to test the ideal of fair competition in sport.

New Zealand Olympic Committee chief Kereyn Smith said 43-year-old Hubbard – who was assigned male at birth but transitioned to female in 2013 – had met all the qualification criteria for transgender athletes.

“We acknowledge that gender identity in sport is a highly sensitive and complex issue requiring a balance between human rights and fairness on the field of play,” Smith said in a statement.

Hubbard will compete in the super-heavyweight 87-kg category after showing testosterone levels below the threshold required by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The 43-year-old had competed in men’s weightlifting competitions before transitioning.

“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,” Hubbard, an intensely private person who rarely speaks to the media, said in a statement issued by the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) on Monday.

Hubbard has been eligible to compete at Olympics since 2015, when the IOC issued guidelines allowing any transgender athlete to compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition.

Some scientists have said the guidelines do little to mitigate the biological advantages of people who have gone through puberty as males, including bone and muscle density.

Advocates for transgender inclusion argue the process of transition decreases that advantage considerably and that physical differences between athletes mean there is never a truly level playing field.

Save Women’s Sport Australasia, an advocacy group for women athletes, criticised Hubbard’s selection.

“It is flawed policy from the IOC that has allowed the selection of a 43-year-old biological male who identifies as a woman to compete in the female category,” the group said in a statement.

Weightlifting has been at the centre of the debate about the fairness of transgender athletes competing against women, and Hubbard’s presence in Tokyo could prove divisive.

Her gold medal wins at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa, where she topped the podium ahead of Samoa’s Commonwealth Games champion Feagaiga Stowers, triggered outrage in the host nation.

Samoa’s weightlifting boss said Hubbard’s selection for Tokyo would be like letting athletes “dope” and feared it could cost the small Pacific nation a medal.

Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen said last month allowing Hubbard to compete at Tokyo was unfair for women and “like a bad joke”.

Australia’s weightlifting federation sought to block Hubbard from competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast but organisers rejected the move.

Hubbard was forced to withdraw after injuring herself during competition, and thought her career was over.

“When I broke my arm at the Commonwealth Games three years ago, I was advised that my sporting career had likely reached its end,” Hubbard said on Monday, thanking New Zealanders.

“But your support, your encouragement, and your aroha (love) carried me through the darkness.”

Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand President Richie Patterson said Hubbard had worked hard to come back from the potentially career-ending injury.

“Laurel has shown grit and perseverance in her return from a significant injury and overcoming the challenges in building back confidence on the competition platform,” he said.

Hubbard is currently ranked 16th in the world in the super heavyweight category.

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Apple Daily could shut ‘in days’ after Hong Kong asset freeze | Freedom of the Press News




Company adviser says action under security law means it cannot access some $50 million in funds to pay staff and vendors.

Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily will be forced to shut “in a matter of days” after authorities used the national security law imposed by China to freeze the company’s assets as it arrested the paper’s editor and four other directors, an adviser to jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai told Reuters on Monday.

Mark Simon, speaking by phone from the United States, said the company was no longer able to access its funds and would be holding a board meeting on Monday to discuss how to move forward.

“We thought we’d be able to make it to the end of the month,” Simon told the news agency. “It’s just getting harder and harder. It’s essentially a matter of days.”

His comments signal closure is imminent even after Apple Daily said on Sunday the freezing of its assets had left the newspaper with cash for “a few weeks” for normal operations.”

The news comes two days after editor Ryan Law, 47, and chief executive Cheung Kim-hung, 59, were denied bail after being charged under the security law with collusion with foreign forces.

Apple Daily’s editor-in-chief Ryan Law arrives back at the detention centre after he was remanded in custody on Saturday [Lam Yik/Reuters]

Three other senior executives were also arrested last Thursday when 500 police officers raided the newspaper’s offices in a case that has drawn condemnation from Western nations, human rights groups and the chief United Nations spokesperson for human rights.

The three have been released on bail.

Simon told Reuters it had become impossible to conduct banking operations.

“Vendors tried to put money into our accounts and were rejected. We can’t bank. Some vendors tried to do that as a favour. We just wanted to find out and it was rejected,” he said.

Speaking earlier to US news channel CNN, Simon said the company had about $50 million available, but was unable to access the funds.

The publisher has come under increasing pressure since its owner Jimmy Lai was arrested under the national security law last August, which marked the first time the company’s headquarters was raided. Lai, 73, is now jailed and facing trial under the national security law. In May, the authorities also froze some assets belonging to the longtime critic of Beijing has also had some of his assets frozen.

Three companies related to Apple Daily are also being prosecuted for collusion with a foreign country and authorities have frozen HK$18 million ($2.3 million) of their assets.

China imposed the national security law on Hong Kong last June saying it was necessary to restore “stability” to a territory that had been rocked by mass protests in 2019, some of which turned violent.

The broadly-worded law criminalises acts such as subversion, sedition, collusion with foreign forces and secession with possible life imprisonment, but critics have said it is being used to suppress legitimate political debate with dozens of pro-democracy politicians and activists among the more than 100 arrested since it was brought into force.

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Birmingham Classic: Ons Jabeur beats Daria Kasatkina to win first title




Tunisian second seed Ons Jabeur defeated Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in straight sets to win her first singles title at the Birmingham Classic.

World number 24 Jabeur triumphed 7-5 6-4 against the fourth seed to become the first Arab woman to win a WTA title.

In Berlin, Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova stunned Swiss fifth seed Belinda Bencic to win her first title.

The 22-year-old world number 106 battled back from a set down to win 1-6 6-1 6-3 in her first final.

Victories for Jabeur and Samsonova mean there have now been 10 first-time singles winners on the women’s Tour this year.

Jabeur broke Kasatkina’s serve three times to prevail in the first set, before successive breaks at the start of the second put the 26-year-old in control at 4-0.

Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Kasatkina recovered to 4-3, but Jabeur held on to win a singles final at the third attempt.

It was a breakthrough week for Samsonova in Germany, during which she also defeated seventh seed Victoria Azarenka of Belaurus in the semi-final.

World number 12 Bencic won the first five games as she dominated the opening set, but Samsonova matched that feat in the second before completing her comeback with breaks in the first and ninth games in the deciding set.

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