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The Ashanti regional chairman of NPP said Mahama is seeking re-election to satisfy his 'lustful desires.

The Ashanti regional chairman of the New Patriotic Party has issued a stern warning to Ghanaians to avoid making a grave mistake of voting for former Presisent Mahama in 2020.

Mr. Bernard Antwi-Boasiako has explained that the main reason the former leader is seeking to occupy the Presidential seat again is solely to satisfy his "lustful" desires and not to bring about positive change and development to Ghanaians.



Quoting from the Bible, the NPP Chairman read out James 4:3 which states that “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Linking it to former President’s re-election bid, the NPP scribe popularly known as Chairman Wontumi stated that “there nothing good in Mahama for Ghana. He wants to come back and continue the create, loot and share mantra. He wants to come again and bequeath state resources into the hands of his family and friends. He won’t be President again; for he makes this request with bad intentions”.



The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, has promised to provide all the six newly created regions with a regional hospital each when he wins the 2020 elections.

“It has remained our policy as NDC that every region must have a well-functioning regional hospital. When we assume government in 2021, therefore, I want to promise you the people of Bono East Region and all the other five newly created regions, that we shall begin the construction of six new regional hospitals in the regions”, Mr. Mahama announced.



He was speaking at Techiman after the inauguration of an office complex for the Bono East Region of the NDC.

The former president noted that the NDC has never been a party that lies to the people.

Chairman Wontumi noted that the flashy lifestyle of former President Mahama and the opulence he displayed during his time as President, is still fresh in the minds of Ghanaians making it difficult to entrust the future of this country into his hands.

"He (Mahama) is going round asking Ghanaians to vote for him again. He is only seeking to be reelected simply to come back and satisfy his lustful desires. He wants to dip his hands into state moneys and use for unnecessary stuff again. It won’t ever happen again. He should forget about the Presidency, he won’t occupy the seat again", Chairman Wontumi said.

https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Mahama-seeking-re-election-to-satisfy-lustful-desires-Chairman-Wontumi-768565

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British prime minister appoints Nigerian as minister .

British-Nigerian lady Olukemi Olufunto Badenoch has been appointed by British prime minister Boris Johnson as a junior minister - The 39-year-old Badenoch was born in London but grew up in Lagos Nigeria but left the country back to UK at 16 - The mother of two is a British Conservative politician and Member of Parliament for Saffron Walden Prime minister Boris Johnson has appointed Nigerian Olukemi Olufunto Badenoch as Children and Families' minister, as part of his government reshuffle. The 39-year-old Badenoch is a British Conservative politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for Saffron Walden. Badenoch announced her new appointment on Monday, July 29. She tweeted:

 

The junior minister’s responsibilities include early years policy, including inspection and regulation. Her portfolio includes delivery of 30 hours free childcare offer, special educational needs including high needs funding, safeguarding in schools and disadvantaged pupils – including pupil premium and pupil premium plus.  Boris Johnson: New British prime minister appoints his brother a minister Badenoch who spent her childhood Lagos, Nigeria, and the United States of America was born in Wimbledon, London to Nigerian parents who are medical doctor and a physiology professor. She later relocated to the United Kingdom at 16. She has been the MP for Saffron Walden since 2017 after replacing Nadhim Zawahi. She is software and IT engineer. She studied systems engineering at Sussex University and also has a law degree. She has worked in the banking sector for Coutts and RBS. The mother of two once shared with MPs on the floor of the parliament her own experiences of poverty and how she used to do her homework by candlelight. Legit.ng reported that the girlfriend of newly appointed British prime minister, Boris Johnson, has an intimidating profile. Carrie Symonds, 31, was a former Tory spin doctor. She was the communications and PR executive and once worked with Conservative Campaign Headquarters in 2018. She is said to be the brains behind his visual rebrand in months preceding the election. 

https://yen.com.gh/131248-kemi-badenoch-british-prime-minister-appoints-nigerian-minister.html#131248

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Ghanaian actor Prince David Osei asks ,Is Ghana lacking capable leaders, why is Mahama contesting 2020 elections?

Ghanaian actor, Prince David Osei cannot fathom why Ex-President John Dramani Mahama still eyes the seat of President.

In a post on Instagram, the actor asked whether the country lack capable leaders.

He believes the years spent by Ex-President Mahama as the then ‘First Gentleman of the Land’ should be enough for him—than to contest again in the upcoming 2020 general elections.

Prince wrote: “So in the whole of GHANA, Is it that we don’t have capable leaders? So much that Mahama will come back to contest as President after 4years of being President…Is the Presidency a class prefect thingy??”

Ex-President John Mahama has been touring some parts of the country in a bid of contesting in the upcoming elections which will be held on December 7, 2020.

http://news-af.op-mobile.opera.com/news/detail/1cee39d82cc4de47cfbd18d85d21f657_gh?country=gh&language=en&share=1&client=

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Tunisia’s 92-year-old president Essebsi has died

Tunisia’s 92-year-old president, Beji Caid Essebsi, has died, the presidency said in a statement published on their official Facebook account on Thursday.

The post read:

 

God is great God is great

To God he has taken and everything has been given.

He passed away this morning Thursday, 25 July 2019, at 2019 hours and 25 minutes late, with the permission of the president of the Republic, Mohamed Baji, the commander of essebsi at the military hospital in Tunisia

The burial ceremony will be announced in time

We belong to God and to him we shall return.

Tunisia's president was readmitted to the hospital after suffering a second health scare in a month, his son has said.

Essebsi, was reportedly suffering from the effects of his previous health scare, which saw him spend a week in hospital in late June over a "severe health crisis".

He has only appeared in public twice since leaving the hospital for the first time at the beginning of July.

Essebsi has been a prominent figure in Tunisia since the overthrow of veteran autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, which was followed by uprisings against authoritarian leaders across the Middle East, including in nearby Libya and Egypt.

Parliamentary elections are expected to be held on October 6, with a presidential vote following on November 17.

They will be the third set of polls in which Tunisians can vote freely following the 2011 revolution.

https://www.euronews.com/2019/07/25/tunisia-s-92-year-old-president-essebsi-has-died-president-s-office

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Ghanaian Actor John Dumelo said he will be a marvelous MP

Actor John Dumelo has said he is the redeemer of the people of the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency, adding that he will do a marvelous job as a representative of the constituency in parliament should he win both the internal contest of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and subsequently the parliamentary poll election in the 2020 national polls.



After filing his nomination to run for the NDC's primaries, Mr Dumelo said on Friday, July 19, 2019 that: "Filing means a lot not just to me but to my constituency which is Ayawaso West Wuogon and most importantly to my constituents who are yearning for change, who are yearning for development, who are yearning for jobs, who are yearning for somebody to come and redeem their image, and, so, that's one of the reasons I decided to contest".

Mr Dumelo told Kwesi Parker-Wilson in an interview that he decided to jump into the race because apart from his personal desire to be a legislator, he felt it was important to listen to the voice of several other people who have encouraged him to make a foray into the legislative race.



"It was a call by the youth in the party, it was a call even by the youth outside the party, it was a call by the floating voters that: 'Look, John, we want you to come and contest, we need your voice in parliament and a representation of them in parliament'; and if it's my voice, its their voice and if it's their voice, it's my voice. I think that they called on me to contest, I sat down, I made a few calls, I made some few consultations and I realised that: 'Look, if the people are calling you to contest, why not?'.

"[I did have the desire to be a Member of Parliament] but you know, when you have the desire and the people add their voice to it, then you know that it's a sign and it's the time for you to contest", the said.



According to him, despite the affluence of the constituency, "There are so many problems … and they feel that it’s time for somebody to get to parliament and address their issues".

"I mean, if I go to parliament and I fail, of course I'll be voted out but I don’t think I’m going to fail, I think I'm going to do a marvelous job in parliament and I think Ayawaso West is a seat that we can win for the NDC….

"We won in 1992, we won in 1996; it's just 2000, 2004, 2008 [up to date that we lost] but from 2004 to 2012 we came close to winning it, that's the truth of the matter … In 2012, we lost Ayawaso West by just over 1,600 and that should tell you that the seat is for the NDC, it is for us but because of one or two issues, we were not able to win that seat and I think it's time that we put somebody there who can unite the constituency, first and foremost, unite the people and win the seat for the NDC", he stressed.



Mr Dumelo, however, noted that: "I can't do it alone; I can do it with those who live in Ayawaso West Wuogon. I mean a lot of people might say Ayawaso West Wuogon is probably the richest constituency in Ghana because it's full of elites but going to the ground, getting to the ground and speaking to people, people have a lot of problems which have been neglected over the years and I feel that I am the man for the job", he told Accra-based Joy News.

https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/I-ll-be-a-marvelous-MP-John-Dumelo-765223

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John Mahama former president of Ghana said, he feels sorry and sad for cocoa farmers.

The flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Dramani Mahama has described as sheer wickedness President Nana Akufo-Addo’s decision to stop the supply of free fertilisers to cocoa farmers and allow the fertilisers to expire and dispose of them.

“I feel very sad for our cocoa farmers”, President Mahama said, adding “we had good plans and started implementing good policies for the cocoa sector”.


He was speaking during an interaction with cocoa farmers and the people of Enchi in the Aowin Constituency of the Western North Region on Tuesday.

According to the former President, the supply of free fertiliser, seedlings and inputs to cocoa farmers led to an increase in the annual yield of cocoa. “When we started giving out free fertilisers, it was because we realised it will help improve yield, and in the 2016/17 crop year, we recorded 950,000 tons… I cannot understand why this government will decide to stop that and sell the fertilisers to the farmers… In fact, it is wickedness to leave the fertiliser in warehouses because the farmers cannot and won’t buy them, and throw them away after they expire,” he lamented.

President Mahama who is on a two-day tour of the Western North Region assured the people that with their continuous support, the NDC will win the 2020 elections and resume the implementation of its people-friendly policies and initiatives.

He acknowledged the support of the people of Enchi and the Aowin Constituency for consistently voting for the NDC, assuring them that all projects stopped by the Akufo-Addo government will be resumed and new projects added when he wins the 2020 elections.

Many road projects in the cocoa-growing areas being funded by the Ghana Cocoa Board have all been stopped, with roads scheduled to be completed in 2017, now in more deplorable states. 

The Elubo to Enchi road was on contract and we gave it to two contractors so they can be completed early. They should have been completed by now, but thanks to the NPP that road is worse now than when we started working on it”. 


The NDC flagbearer also used the occasion to welcome to the NDC a number of NPP supporters who announced their defection to the NDC, asking them to join the Aowin constituency members to campaign for the party to win and bring relief to the people.

https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/I-feel-sorry-and-sad-for-cocoa-farmers-John-Mahama-764400

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Nigeria's Looming Genocidal Horrors, Brutalities, Anarchy And War

This is being written with a heavy heart and sorrow. This may very well be a dirge for Nigeria!

Nigerians are rapidly, quickly and speedily driving Nigeria towards an epochal cliff and precipice to happily fall to oblivion!

Nigerians, many of them, are currently doing everything illogically possible to make Nigeria become what Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Libya and Syria have become in recent years; quickly sadly, sadly in the most extreme sense.

Any reasonable human being would have thought that Nigerians, upon being familiar with the dire human conditions which have persisted in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya and the Central African Republic in recent history, would do, all, any, and every, thing, to avoid a repeat in Nigeria, the cataclysmic events which led to the continuing catastrophes and tragedies in these aforementioned failed nations!

Too many Nigerians are unwittingly asking for the sorts of genocides which took place in Rwanda and Darfur Sudan, some two decades ago. These Nigerians are literally begging for genocidal horrors, brutalities, anarchy, civil war and the ultimate disintegration of Nigeria, while pretending not to see the consequences and unintended consequences of their pronouncements and actions?

Nigerians and Nigeria are (not merely sleepwalking), but sleep-sprinting towards a free-fall-off, of the face of the earth!

The Rwandan genocide will be a seeming picnic or child's play, in comparison to the looming genocide, horrors, brutalities, anarchy, war and disintegration which may consume Nigeria

When, as it happens, a crime is committed against a Nigerian, a group of Nigerians from the ethnic group of the victim of crime, picks at random, a person from the ethnic group of the ALLEGED perpetrator(s)'s ethnic group, and cavalierly slaughters him, without care for law, due process and certainty of guilt, then, such a society is begging for genocide!

The Rwandan genocide of 1994 was consequent upon ethnic hatred, and killings and revenge, vendetta and reprisal killings which consumed thousands of Hutus and Tutsis! There were no winners in the aftermath of the ethnic bloodbath in Rwanda!

Quite unfortunately and disgustingly, like play, like play as Nigerians say in local parlance, Nigerians are excitedly demanding and insisting on repeating the Hutus and Tutsis barbarically disgusting blood bath festivals of killings, whether to see and determine, what group of Nigerians can slaughter the other group more?

Nigerians are, on a daily basis, engaging in appallingly reprehensible, repugnant and unjust ethnic bashing, ethnic demonization, ethnic stereotyping and ethnic stigmatization of the Fulani ethnic group, without circumspection or reflection.

Nigerians are behaving like unreasoned drunks in their haste to cast aspersions on the Fulani ethnic group, in hasty generalizations, in which all Fulani are lumped together as guilty for all kidnappings, robberies and sundry insecurities, which are occurring nationwide in Nigeria, while making President Muhammadu Buhari as the poster-boy of Fulani criminalities, as an enabler, protector and patron, all at once!

All of these, because of the Fulani are Fulani and President Muhammadu Buhari is himself, a Fulani!

It must be a tough time to be a Fulani in Nigeria and in the world!

But why are thousands of Nigerians engaging in these group think? Why are thousands of Nigerians indulging in this dangerous herd’s mentality? Forgive me for the pun that fit! But, the truth is my witness, there is so much group-think or herds mentality currently going on in Nigeria, unbridled, and unmitigated!

It is nonsensical magical thinking by the thousands of Nigerians, perhaps millions? of Nigerians who appear to live in alternate universe who are adamant in insisting on their claimed knowledge of Fulani involvement and or absolute ownership of Nigeria's current widespread kidnappings, armed robberies, criminalities and nationwide insecurities, and yet, same multitudes are unable to pinpoint and or lead police and other law enforcement agencies to these notoriously vicious Fulani Herdsmen....

The next day, the next week and the next month, these same fraudulent and disingenuous narratives are repeated by Nigerian politicians, pastors, journalists and even some Nigerians in law enforcement agencies, without sanctions or consequences for false accusations of crimes, heinous crimes, carte blanche against the Fulani!

There is a call by former President Olusegun Obasanjo for a National Conference to discuss pervasive, pervading and spiraling-sprawling insecurities nationwide. Really? What is the job description of our politicians in the National Assembly? Why can't Senators and the House of Representatives members discuss this Urgent Matter of National Importance? What is the job of the National Council of States? What is the job of the President and the Governors' Forum? Constitutional amendments are all it takes! It is revealed that the just sworn in senators and house of representatives members have, upon arriving in Abuja at the National Assembly, received a so-called "welcome package" of 35 and 25 million Naira respectively, but cannot debate and solve Nigeria's presently overwhelming nationwide insecurities?

Henceforth, any Nigerian, private citizen or public official, who reports crime, with ethnic variable or ethnic colorations must be required to report details of such ethnic characteristics leading to the conclusions, as such, that the perpetrator(s) is adequately, accurately and properly described.

Police officials must be required to find lawbreakers and criminals and solve criminal activities. The police must cease and desist labeling any ethnic group as responsible for particular crime or types of crimes.

The Nigerian Press, electronic, print and social media journalists must be required to restrain themselves from giving ethnic labels to any crime or particular sets of crimes, as a crime committed solely or mostly by a particular ethnic group.

Furthermore, all Nigerian private citizens, public officials, police officers and journalists in traditional, and, or social media, will be subject to sanctions and punishment(s) if and when the mentioned categories of persons, or class of persons refer to Nigerians accused of crime(s) with ethnic or linguistic appellations or togas.

There should be a Nigerian law, with nationwide application, a law against ethnic-bigotry, ethnic race-baiting, or any discrimination or crimes which is motivated by a Nigerian's origins, such as local government, ethnic or linguistic and state, region of origins, or religion practiced or language spoken etc. There should a Hate Crime Law in Nigeria, it will sanction and punish violators who attack the "otherness" of fellow Nigerians! The citizenship of any Nigerian should have equal value throughout the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, with Full Faith and Credit, just as the One Naira, a unit of our national currency command equal value throughout Nigeria!

Evans was notorious for committing kidnapping in a serial or marathon manner. It is therefore gross injustice to decent and hardworking citizens of Igboland to refer to Evans, as the Igbo Kidnapper!

Similarly, Lawrence Anini was a notorious armed robber in Nigeria some decades ago. It is obviously provocatively unfair and unjust, to all hardworking decent Edo citizens from Edo, when Anini is referred to as the Edo armed robber!

Similarly, it is extremely vexing to all reasonable persons, all reasonable Nigerians, particularly, decent and hardworking Fulani anywhere, as thousands of Nigerians have cultivated the absolutely disgusting and repulsive habit of referring to every kidnap in Nigeria as committed by Fulani Herdsmen, be it in Edo, Emuoha/Rumuji in Rivers State or somewhere in Ekiti and Ondo States!

Nigerians should join me, in tasking our national government, states and local government officials to give Police, Army, Navy, Air Force, State Security Service, Nigerian Civil Defense Service etc the equipment, money and all the resources to enforce our laws objectively.

Nigerians need to put the collective feet of these Law Enforcement Agencies to the fire! We need to demand and insist, as an extremely urgent manner, the matter of national insecurities, which has now assumed an existential threat to Nigerian continued existence as a single corporate sovereign entity nation state!

Nigerian Security Apparatuses should be given all the resources they need, and then, be tasked with solving our national insecurities and promptly. Nigerian governments at all levels, should monitor performance and outcomes of Nigerian Law Enforcement Agencies with rewards, and or punishments accordingly.

The Nigerian landscape is currently littered with a million roadblocks, police obstacle courses at every mile, and yet, there are kidnappings everywhere!

It is one of two things, the police officers have allowed themselves to be distracted and detracted from their official functions, with their underpaid, ragtag outfits or, our police officers are in conspiracies, connivance and collusions outright with kidnappers, armed robbers and sundry purveyors of our current national insecurities nationwide!

Commissioners of Police and Divisional Police Officers should be held accountable, punished or rewarded for effectiveness and efficiencies or absences of same, in their command or areas and jurisdictions of authority.

It is the case that, presently, policing in Nigeria is hodgepodge and nonsensically reliant on over politicizations and manipulations by local thieving and thuggish politicians. Nigerians are aware of some pastors that have police officers escorting them to church and journeys to extramarital rendezvous, instead of law activities in the communities!

Community policing is certainly not police officers in uniforms, with guns and tear gas etc holding umbrellas over the heads of pastors, to shield from rains or sunlight! Nigerians have given Nigerian police free-rides, Nigerians have given our police plentiful get-out-of-jail-cards!

Our police should solve crimes and not give us excuses, and we must STOP giving our police excuses and cover, with pointing fingers at easy or political targets! Nigerians must view all kidnappers, armed robbers and fraudsters with equal displeasure and disdain! Criminals are CRIMINALS .They are not Igbos, Yoruba, Tiv, Kanuri, Esan or Urhobo!

Though state governors are the so-called Chief Security Officers of a given state, they appear to exploit police operations as an intimidation tool, and when and where that is not the case, some state governors are in constant battles and conflicts with police commands in the state governed by such a governor.

One of the old arguments against the establishment of state police in Nigeria, was that, such state police might be misused by the local politicians and might be ethnicized. This would be problematic in a multiparty system. The Nigeria Police force is presently all these, despite the federalization or federal status of Nigeria Police!

The American model, after which the Nigerian democracy and constitutionalism is modeled, has multilayered policing practiced to the letter! Every local government, known as County, has its' police. There are State Police or Troopers, then, Highway Police, followed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI. Furthermore, there is the Bureau of Firearms and Tobacco, ther presidential protection force known as the Secret Service, then, there is the Postal Police of the United States Postal Service.

In New York State for instance, you will find, the above named United States policing departments, and in addition, New York State Troopers and Highways Police, New York Police Department with policing limited to only the 9 million citizens of New York City, as opposed to the 20.4 million citizens of the entire state of New York with localized police departments in all counties or local governments.

New York City also maintains a branch of the New York Police Department (NYPD) which is dedicated solely to housing, known as Housing Police, and yet, another branch of the NYPD which is dedicated solely to policing in the trains or Mass Transit systems, which includes the Subways and surface train lines and buses.

A nation without law and order, a nation with multiple levels of insecurity, cannot expect economic development. A nation with these plethora or myriad insecurities fosters underdevelopment.

Nigerians cannot expect economic development and prosperity, in the midst of a million security uncertainties. Nigeria cannot receive investments from Nigerians at home or abroad, or from so-called Foreign Direct Investors as the profound absence of public infrastructures and basic amenities such as electricity and water, roads, bridges, trains and airports are compounded by kidnappings and robberies.

No investors or tourists will consider kidnappings and armed robberies as attractions or magnets. In fact, a majority of Nigerians are afraid of travels within Nigeria. In view of such clear and present danger in Nigeria to Nigerians, how can Nigeria hope to make these multiple variables of negative factors be considered inviting to a-would-be investor or tourist in Nigeria?

Nigerians and Nigeria are minutely starring at looming anarchy, war, disintegration brought about by plentiful insecurities nationwide. There is still time to wake up, there may be no tomorrow!

www.modernghana.com/news/945444/nigerias-looming-genocidal-horrors-brutalities-anarchy-an.html

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Bobi Wine arrested again

Ugandan police arrested celebrity musician-turned-politician Bobi Wine after he was charged over his role in a street protest last year against a tax on social media.

Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was charged with holding an illegal public assembly and detained on Monday at Naggalama police station, about 30km east of the capital, according to a police statement.

Police spokesman Fred Enanga said Kyagulanyi led the protest in Kampala in July 2018 without prior police authorisation.

"He is with the police and investigations are on," he told AFP news agency. 

Asuman Basalirwa, one of Kyagulanyi's lawyers, said his client was arrested after he answered a summons to the Criminal Investigations Directorate.

This time we have not been informed why he has been detained," he added.

Kyagulanyi, who entered parliament in 2017, had been under house arrest in Kampala since Easter Monday when police officers blocked his way when he tried to leave for a concert at his nightclub.

Last week, police spokesman Enanga described the situation as a "preventive arrest" imposed when the authorities decide someone is about to commit a crime.

The cancellation by the authorities of one his performances last week led to clashes between opposition supporters and baton-wielding police who also fired tear gas.

The 37-year-old opposition MP, who has said he plans to run for president in elections in 2021, has since called for mass protests.

Vocal presence

Kyagulanyi has built a large youth following through his criticism of Uganda's long-time leader President Yoweri Museveni - who has been in power for 32 years - both in parliament and through his music.

The rapper made international headlines after an arrest last year and alleged torture by Ugandan security forces in detention. The government denies the accusations.

On August 14, Kyagulanyi was arrested and chargedwith treason for allegedly throwing stones at Museveni's presidential motorcade during a by-election campaign.

After being released on bail nearly two weeks later, Kyagulanyi was re-arrested in September while trying to leave the country to seek medical treatment in the United States for his injuries.

Eventually, Kyagulanyi was released and allowed to travel to Washington, DC, to be treated in hospital.

Kyagulanyi is the figurehead of a new generation who grew up under Museveni but want to see change. His anti-government songs have helped win him a significant following.

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera last year - his first for television since leaving hospital - Kyagulanyi said: "We've always wanted a free Uganda, but that Uganda should not come at the cost of torture. It should not come at the cost of murder or illegal executions, it should be got freely because our generation feels like the price has already been paid."

Several times in recent months, the authorities have stepped in to prevent Kyagulanyigiving concerts, and his house arrest last week was part of those efforts to keep him offstage.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/04/ugandan-pop-star-opposition-mp-bobi-wine-arrested-190429153709250.html

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Corrupt Puerto Rico governor refuses to step down. Protest ongoing.

Embattled Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló refused to step down Tuesday amid demonstrations calling for his resignation after a series of scandals that continue to rock his administration of the island territory.

“Aside from these [protests] I recognize their importance, I recognize the magnitude, and it’s important to me that the government continues working for the island and we get results,” he said at a news conference, according to McClatchy D.C.

Rosselló's government was thrown into chaos Saturday after the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico released 889 pages containing sexist, homophobic and profane text messages from the encrypted app Telegram between him and 11 other male members of his administration.

The chat group included Luis Rivera Marín, Rosselló's secretary of state; Christian Sobrino, who held a series of important economic posts; Carlos Bermúdez, a onetime communications aide; Edwin Miranda, a communications consultant; Interior Secretary Ricardo Llerandi; Public Affairs Secretary Anthony Maceira; and Elías Sánchez, onetime representative to the board overseeing Puerto Rico's bankruptcy

In the leaks, Rosselló describes New York politician Melissa Mark-Viverito, who was born in Puerto Rico, as the Spanish word for "wh---," and made fun of Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin for being gay.

San Juan Mayor -- and frequent critic of President Trump -- Carmen Yulin Cruz was also targeted.  “I’m dying to shoot her up,” Rosselló’s chief financial officer, Christian Sobrino, said of Cruz in the chat.

The chat also contained emojis of a raised middle finger directed at the federal control board that oversees the island's finances. Rivera Marín, Sobrino, Bermúdez and Miranda have already resigned or been fired.

The leaks came days after six former government officials and contractors, including the commonwealth's former education secretary, were arrested in a federal corruption probe.

Protesters took to the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan on Monday evening holding signs and chanting, "Ricky, renuncia," or Ricky, resign. Some participants spray-painted insults used in the chats on walls.

Rosselló said 21 police officers were injured during confrontations with the crowd; police used tear gas to disperse protesters who lit fireworks in front of the governor's mansion.

“We cannot protect vandalism, aggression and violence,” the governor said. “I want to make sure that following this blow, we can rise again.”

The scandals are a blow to Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from the devastation left by Hurricane Maria in 2017 and a continuing debt crisis and 13-year recession.

Rosselló's refusal to resign has elicited outrage from Puerto Ricans in Florida, many whom migrated after the hurricane.

“The institutions of government in Puerto Rico are as fragile as its infrastructure after Maria,” Jorge Bonilla, a conservative Puerto Rican talk-show host based in Central Florida, told McClatchy. “I think it’s unsustainable that he continues to be governor. ... At this point you have to wonder what more can happen before Congress takes control” of the island.”

Members of Rosselló's pro-statehood New Progressive Party do not support beginning impeachment proceedings against him, said Carlos Méndez Núñez, the president of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/puerto-rico-governor-refuses-to-step-down-amid-corruption-and-texting-scandals

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How Narendra Modi has reinvented Indian politics

Narendra Modi has scored a resounding victory in the Indian general election, securing a second five-year term. The BBC's Soutik Biswas looks at the main takeaways.

1. The second landside is all about Narendra Modi

India's polarising prime minister made this an election all about himself.

He should have faced some anti-incumbency. Joblessness has risen to a record high, farm incomes have plummeted and industrial production has slumped. Many Indians were hit hard by the currency ban (also known as demonetisation), which was designed to flush out undeclared wealth, and there were complaints about what critics said was a poorly-designed and complicated uniform sales tax.

The results prove that people are not yet blaming Mr Modi for this.

On the stump, the prime minister repeatedly told people that he needed more than five years to undo more than "60 years of mismanagement". Voters agreed to give him more time.

Many Indians seem to believe that Mr Modi is a kind of messiah who will solve all their problems. A survey by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), a Delhi-based think tank, a third of BJP voters said they would have supported another party if Mr Modi was not the prime ministerial candidate.

"This tells you how much this vote was for Mr Modi, more than the BJP. This election was all about Mr Modi's leadership above all else," Milan Vaishnav, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, told me.

In a sense, Mr Modi's second successive landslide win echoes Ronald Reagan's abiding popularity as US president in the 1980s, when he somehow escaped blame for his country's economic woes. Reagan was called the Great Communicator and for being a "teflon" president whose mistakes never stuck to him. Mr Modi enjoys a similar reputation.

Many say Mr Modi has made India's elections more presidential. But strong prime ministers have often overshadowed their parties - Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and Indira Gandhi are some obvious examples.

"There is no question that Mr Modi is the most popular politician in India since Indira Gandhi. He is peerless when it comes to the national stage at the present," says Dr Vaishnav.

The 2014 win was partly a vote in anger against the corruption-tainted Congress party. Thursday's win is an affirmation for Mr Modi. He has become the first leader since 1971 to secure a single party majority twice in a row. "This is a victory for Modi and his vision of a new India," says political scientist Mahesh Rangarajan.

2. A cocktail of development and nationalism worked

A combination of nationalist rhetoric, subtle religious polarisation and a slew of welfare programmes helped Mr Modi to coast to a second successive win.

In a bitter and divisive campaign, Mr Modi effortlessly fused nationalism and development. He created binaries: the nationalists (his supporters) versus the anti-nationals (his political rivals and critics); the watchman (Modi himself, protecting the country on "land, air, and outer space") versus the entitled and the corrupt (an obvious dig at the main opposition Congress party).

Aligned to this, deftly, was the promise of development. Mr Modi's targeted welfare schemes for the poor - homes, toilets, credit, cooking gas - have used technology for speedy delivery. However, the quality of these services and how much they have helped ameliorate deprivation is debatable.

Mr Modi also mined national security and foreign policy as vote-getters in a manner never seen in a general election in recent history.

After a suicide attack - claimed by Pakistan-based militants - which killed more than 40 Indian paramilitaries in disputed Kashmir and the retaliatory air strike against Pakistan in the run-up to the election, Mr Modi successfully convinced the masses that the country would be secure if he remained in power.

People having no obvious interest in foreign policy - farmers, traders, labourers - told us during our campaign travels that India had won the respect of the outside world under Mr Modi.

"It is all right if there's little development, but Modi is keeping the nation secure and keeping India's head high," a voter in the eastern city of Kolkata told me.

3. Modi's win signals a major shift in politics

Mr Modi's persona has become larger than his cadre-based party, and a symbol of hope and aspiration for many.

Under Mr Modi and his powerful aide Amit Shah, the BJP has developed into a ruthless party machine. "The geographical expansion of the BJP is a very significant development," says Mahesh Rangarajan.

Traditionally, the BJP has found its strongest support in India's populous Hindi-speaking states in the north. (Of the 282 seats the party won in 2014, 193 came from these states.) The exceptions are Gujarat, Mr Modi's home state and a BJP bastion, and Maharashtra, where the BJP has governed in alliance with a local party.

But since Mr Modi became PM, the BJP has formed governments in key north-eastern states like Assam and Tripura, which are primarily Assamese and Bengali-speaking.

And in this election, the BJP - where it contested more seats than the Congress - has emerged as a force to reckon with in non-Hindi speaking states like Orissa and West Bengal in the east.

The party's modest presence in southern India still doesn't make it a truly pan-Indian party like the Congress of yore, but the BJP is moving towards it.

Twenty years ago when it was in power under Atal Behari Vajpayee, the BJP seemed content being the first among equals - the largest party in a group of parties which tried to run a stable government.

Under Mr Modi, the BJP commands an overwhelming majority in parliament as the first party, and there are no equals.

He and Amit Shah have adopted an aggressive take-no-prisoners style of politics. The party is not a seasonal machine that comes alive during elections. It appears to be in permanent political campaign mode.

Political scientist Suhas Palshikar believes India could be moving towards a one-party dominant state like the Congress in the past.

He calls it the "second dominant party system", with the BJP leading the pack, and the main opposition Congress remaining "weak and nominal" and the regional parties losing ground.

4. Nationalism and yearning for a strongman played a key role

Mr Modi's strident nationalism as a main campaign plank seems to have overruled the more pressing economic problems facing voters.

Some analysts believe that under Mr Modi, India could be inching towards a more "ethnic democracy", which requires the "mobilisation of the majority in order to preserve the ethnic nation".

This would look more like Israel which sociologist Sammy Smooha characterised as a state that "endeavours to combine an ethnic identity (Jewish) and a parliamentary system drawing its inspiration from Western Europe".

Will Hindu nationalism become the default mode of Indian politics and society?

It will not be easy - India thrives on diversity. Hinduism is a diverse faith. Social and linguistic differences hold India together. Democracy is an additional glue.

The BJP's strand of strident Hindu nationalism, conflating Hinduism and patriotism, may not appeal to all Indians. "There's no other place in the world where diversity is so spectral and a drive to homogenise so fraught," says Mr Rangarajan.

Also India's shift to the right is not unique to India - it's happening with the new right in the Republican Party in the US, and the central ground of French and German politics has shifted rightwards.

India's rightward shift is clearly part of a wider trend where the nature of nationalism is being redefined and cultural identity is being given renewed emphasis.

How valid are fears that India is sliding into a majoritarian state under Mr Modi?

He is not the first leader to be called a fascist and authoritarian by his critics; Mrs Gandhi was called both when she suspended civil liberties and imposed the Emergency in the mid-1970s. People voted her out after two years.

Mr Modi is a strongman, and people possibly love him for that.

A 2017 report by the CSDS showed that respondents who supported democracy in India had dropped from 70% to 63% between 2005 and 2017. A Pew report in 2017 found that 55% of respondents backed a "governing system in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts".

But the yearning for a strongman is not unique to India. Look at Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Hungary's Viktor Orban, Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro or Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines.

5. India's Grand Old Party faces an existential crisis

The Congress has suffered a second successive drubbing but for now is likely to remain the second largest party nationally.

But it's way behind the BJP and is facing a major crisis: the shrinking of its geographical space.

In Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Bengal, India's most populous region, the party is virtually non-existent. The party is invisible in southern states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In the industrially developed west of India, the party last won a state election in Gujarat in 1990, and hasn't been in power in Maharashtra since Mr Modi became PM.

Several questions are going to be asked after a second successive general election debacle. How can the party become more acceptable to more allies? How will the party be run? How does the party reduce its dependence on the Gandhi dynasty and open itself to younger leaders? (The Congress is still a party of second and third generation leaders in several states.) How does Congress build a grassroots network of workers to take on the BJP?

"The Congress will likely muddle along, as it has in the last several election cycles. It is not a party known for deep introspection. But there are enough two-party states in India where the Congress is at odds with the BJP to create a floor for the Congress," says Milan Vaishnav.

Political scientist Yogendra Yadav, who's also a politician these days, believes the Congress has outlived its utility and "must die". But parties are capable of reinvention and renewal. Only the future will tell whether the Congress can rebuild itself from the ruins.

6. A mixed future for India's regional parties

In the bellwether state of Uttar Pradesh, which sends more MPs to parliament than any other, the BJP is looking at a repeat of its stunning 2014 performance when it won 71 of 80 seats. It is one of India's most socially divided and economically disadvantaged states.

This time, Mr Modi's party was expected to face stiff competition from a formidable alliance of powerful regional parties, the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, which was aptly named the "mahagatbandhan" or grand alliance.

Mr Modi's charisma and chemistry appear to have triumphed over the hard-nosed "social arithmetic" forged by these two regional parties who have always counted on the faithful votes of a section of lower caste Indians and untouchables (formerly known as Dalits). That faith is now broken, and it also proves that caste arithmetic is not immutable.

India's regional parties must now rethink their strategies and offer a more compelling economic and social vision. Otherwise, more and more of their own voters will abandon them.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-48293048

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Turkey's Erdogan defends Istanbul election re-run amid protests

Istanbul's mayoral election was affected by "organised crime and serious corruption", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says.

Mr Erdogan was defending the decision to re-run the 31 March vote, which returned a slim win for the opposition.

Opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu, who has been stripped of his duties, described the move as "treacherous".

The European Parliament also said the decision would end the credibility of democratic elections in Turkey.

The decision to hold a new vote, which will be held on 23 June, sparked protests across the city on Monday. Hundreds of people gathered in several districts, banging pots and pans and shouting anti-government slogans.

The opposition sees the move by the electoral authorities as bowing to Mr Erdogan's pressure, says the BBC's correspondent Mark Lowen.

Istanbul's Governor Ali Yerlikaya has been assigned as the acting mayor of the city until the new vote.

What did the president say?

Speaking at a parliamentary meeting of his AK Party, Mr Erdogan said that re-doing the vote was the "best step" for the country.

"We see this decision as the best step that will strengthen our will to solve problems within the framework of democracy and law," he said.

He insisted there was "illegality" in the vote and said a re-run would represent "an important step to strengthen our democracy".

The president, who first came to power in 2003, also said "thieves" had stolen the "national will" at the ballot box, adding that if they were not held to account "our people will demand an explanation from us".

Why is the vote being re-held?

An AKP representative on the electoral board, Recep Ozel, said the re-run was called because some electoral officials were not civil servants and some result papers had not been signed.

But CHP deputy chair Onursal Adiguzel said the re-run showed it was "illegal to win against the AK Party".

Mr Adiguzel tweeted that the decision was "plain dictatorship".

"This system that overrules the will of the people and disregards the law is neither democratic, nor legitimate," he wrote.

And in a speech broadcast on social media, CHP's Ekrem Imamoglu, who was confirmed as Istanbul's mayor before being stripped of the title, condemned the electoral board and said they were influenced by the ruling party.

"We will never compromise on our principles," he told the crowd. "This country is filled with 82 million patriots who will fight... until the last moment for democracy."

A supporters' group for Mr Imamoglu urged restraint, saying: "Let's stand together, let's be calm... We will win, we will win again."

What has the international reaction been?

The European Union called for Turkey's election body to explain its reasons for the re-run "without delay".

"Ensuring a free, fair and transparent election process is essential to any democracy and is at the heart of the European Union's relations with Turkey," the EU's diplomatic chief, Federica Mogherini, said in a statement.

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the decision was "not transparent, and incomprehensible to us".

The French government also said the Turkish authorities needed to show "respect for democratic principles, pluralism, fairness [and] transparency" in the new poll.

What is the background?

Municipal elections took place across Turkey on 31 March and were seen as a referendum on Mr Erdogan's leadership amid a sharp economic downturn.

Although an AKP Party-led alliance won 51% of the vote nationwide, the secularist CHP claimed victory in the capital Ankara, Izmir, and in Istanbul - where Mr Erdogan had once been mayor.

In Istanbul, more than 8 million votes were cast and Mr Imamoglu was eventually declared the winner by a margin of less than 14,000.

The ruling party has since challenged the results in Ankara and Istanbul, which has prompted opposition accusations that they are trying to steal the election

President Erdogan was in typically conspiratorial form, slamming what he called "the dark circles, economic saboteurs and so-called elitists" who were attacking Turkey and collaborating to "rob the nation of its will".

He was never going to take the loss of Istanbul lying down. "Whoever wins Istanbul wins Turkey", he has often said. He is determined to win back the country's economic powerhouse.

But it's a strategy fraught with risk. The Turkish lira - which has lost more than 30% over the past year - has slumped again. An economy in recession can hardly cope with more uncertainty. After all, it was economic woes that lost Istanbul for Mr Erdogan in the first place.

What's more, Ekrem Imamoglu, who was formally appointed mayor last month, is gaining popularity, fast. He's reached out beyond his base and has settled into the role with ease. The re-run could widen his win - barring major irregularities against him, which many of his supporters fear.

And Mr Erdogan's own party is deeply split on the issue. His diehard loyalists believe victory was stolen. But other wings of the party accept they lost, and that rejecting the result is another nail in the coffin for what's left of Turkish democracy.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48184149

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Breaking News: Ghana Police on manhunt for Nigerians who kidnapped Estonian Consular General

Police are on a manhunt for three Nigerian men who kidnapped a Consular General and Head of Mission of Estonia in Accra on Thursday.

According to the Public Relations Officer of the Accra Police command, DSP Efia Tenge, 61-year-old Nabil Makram Bashbous was on his usual morning walk in his neighbourhood when he was abducted.

Narrating what happened Nabil Makram Basbous said on Thursday morning that about 10 minutes into the walk, a white Hyundai Elantra private car pulled up in front of him.

One of the occupants came out, pulled a pistol on him and ordered him to enter the car or risk being shot if he resists.

Mr Makram Basbous obliged, entered and was driven away with the kidnappers pointing a pistol and an axe at him.

According to Makram Basbous, he could not make out the location he was driven to but was detained in a room and held hostage for payment of ransom.

Meanwhile, the SWAT Unit of the Accra Regional Police Command picked up intelligence that some Nigerians residing at NTHC Estates, Vivian Farms in Lashibi in Accra, were engaging in suspicious activities.

They stayed home all day and only go out only at night, police intelligence revealed.

 

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India election 2019: PM Narendra Modi's Tamil Nadu problem

Politicians often make strange promises on the campaign trail.

Of course not everyone feels that way. Political analysts say that there are many in the state who identify with Mr Modi's message of patriotism and see him as a strong leader.

Narayanan Thirupathy, a spokesman for the BJP in south India, said the prime minister was the only person who could fill the vacuum left by the deaths of Jayalalitha in 2016 and Karunanidhi in 2018. The two former chief ministers dominated politics in the state for decades.

"The parties here fear the name of Modi. So they have been part of a malicious campaign to paint him as an enemy of the Tamil people. They are trying to destabilise the culture and government of this state," he told the BBC.

But KN Arun, a senior journalist and political analyst, said that Mr Modi's silenceafter cyclone Gaja devastated the state last year, had angered many people.

"He didn't even tweet about it or make an aerial survey. And now after elections have been announced, he has come here three times. People are very rankled."


India votes 2019:


Analysts in the state say however, that the disconnect is much more fundamental than that.

The BJP and its ideological fountainhead, the RSS, are widely perceived to represent an upper caste, north Indian agenda. Although Mr Modi is not a Brahmin (the caste on top of India's social hierarchy) and the RSS has in recent years tried hard to shed its image of a purely upper caste organisation, it does not seem to have convinced too many people.

"It's been about eight decades now, but the BJP is still seen as a Brahminical party here. They really need to shed this image," Mr Arun said.

Tamil Nadu is a state that has long seen itself as a bulwark against the "hegemony" of north India. In 1965, it saw violent protests against the proposed imposition of Hindi as India's only official language.

Its politics are also influenced by the Dravidian movement, at the core of which is anti-Brahmin sentiment with a strong emphasis on "self-respect" for other castes and a focus on social welfare and development.

So successive state governments in Tamil Nadu have invested heavily in social welfare projects such as nutrition schemes, the building of free schools and colleges, and the electrification of villages.

Therefore Tamil Nadu, along with its neighbouring state of Kerala, stands apart in a country that still has massive challenges to overcome in terms of human development.

According to the 2011 population census, the state has a literacy rate of more than 80%. It also has a maternal mortality rate of just 67 per 100,000 live births and low levels of malnutrition. This is mainly due to the fact that successive state governments have followed strong socialist welfare policy schemes.

It also has the second-largest state economy in India, with strong agricultural and industrial sectors. The latest data shows that the eonomy grew by an impressive 8% in 2017-2018.

"The problem is that everything he offers Tamil Nadu was irrelevant to us 20 years ago. All the goals of his so-called landmark schemes were achieved in this state decades ago," says PTR Thiyagarajan, a lawmaker from the state's opposition DMK party, who called Mr Modi's rallies "embarrassing".

"He is so used to talking in the language of deprivation that he doesn't know what to say when he comes here."

But Mr Narayanan of the BJP said his party had introduced both infrastructure development programmes and welfare programmes which had greatly benefited the state.

Elsewhere in India the BJP has worked to consolidate a common Hindu vote. But this strategy has not succeeded in Tamil Nadu: the party won a single seat in the state there in 2014.

"Although it is deeply religious, Tamil Nadu has always been a truly secular state. People here don't want that disturbed. We don't want all these fundamentalist slogans and divisive politics," author and journalist Vaasanthi said.

"Dravidian ideology runs counter to the Hindu fundamentalist ideology of the BJP. Even if it has some traction among some sections it is highly unlikely to convert to votes here," says KN Arun.

However, it is not as though Tamil Nadu does not have issues that Mr Modi could seize on.

'Not a game-changer'

"There are gripping local issues, extremely important regional issues, but none of these things are reflected in Mr Modi's speeches. He cannot be expected to keep track of what is happening everywhere in the country but his speech writers should know better," RK Radhakrishnan, the associate editor of the Frontline current affairs magazine, said.

Mr Radhakrishnan said that instead of talking about things like station names, which he described as a "joke", Mr Modi could have talked about how the state's industrial hubs were floundering, with massive job losses in recent years.

"And why can't he directly address voter demands? When he went to the city of Tiruppur he could have talked about the speciality hospital that people had asked for. Yet he never even brought it up. Why can't he talk about how a Supreme Court ban on firecrackers is hurting industries in Sivakasi?"

He believes that the BJP has simply decided that Tamil Nadu is not a priority - at least for now.

"Of course he would love to get Tamil Nadu right, but it's not a game-changer if he doesn't. I believe he comes just to galvanise his base in the south. And for that, this is enough."

But even so, a pledge relating to in-flight announcements is not quite what you would expect to hear at a large political rally. And especially in a country like India where much of the population has never seen the inside of an airport, let alone a plane.

Yet that is exactly what India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about to a large gathering in Kancheepuram in the southern state of Tamil Nadu earlier this month.

"We are also seriously thinking about ensuring that flights flying to and from Tamil Nadu have in-flight announcement in Tamil language," he told the crowd in halting English with the aid of a Tamil translator.

The chief minister of the state, whose AIADMK party had recently signed an alliance with Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), looked gleeful and clapped his hands together briefly. The crowd dutifully cheered but soon fell silent.

Mr Modi's second promise - to rename the iconic Chennai Central Station in honour of AIADMK's founder MG Ramachandran got a better response. But these were still unusual announcements from a politician who normally sells his crowds much more ambitious dreams.

Usually a captivating and fiery orator, the prime minister looked discomfited during his speech of just over 40 minutes. His decision not to speak in Hindi was a clear handicap although in a state known for its strong sentiments against the language, it was an unsurprising choice.

Even as he stood on the stage, social media in the region was lighting up as people began tweeting with the hashtag #GoBackModi. The slogan, which was first prominently raised by opposition parties when Mr Modi visited Chennai (formerly Madras) for an event last year, has begun trending on social media every time he visits the south. On several occasions, including this one, it began trending worldwide.

In parts of his address, it seemed as though India's PM genuinely did not know how to connect with the people gathered there. And it appears many voters in the state, which has a population of 72 million and has always defined itself in opposition to the Hindi-speaking North, do not connect with him either.

"Not many youngsters attend BJP meetings. I have seen many memes and video trolls of Modi and other Tamil Nadu BJP leaders and laughed loudly," D Selvakumar, a first-time voter in Chennai, told BBC Tamil. "We do not look up to Modi as a national leader because he lacks relevance among Tamil people."

 

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India election 2019: The mystery of 21 million 'missing' women voters

Indian women got the right to vote the year their country was born. It was, as a historian said, a "staggering achievement for a post-colonial nation". But more than 70 years later, why are 21 million women in India apparently being denied the right to vote?

It is one of India's many social riddles.

Women have been enthusiastic voters in India: voter turnout among women will be higher in this year's general election than that of men. Most women say they are voting independently, without consulting their spouses and families.

To make them secure, there are separate queues for women at polling stations and female policemen guarding them. Polling stations contain at least one female officer.

More than 660 women candidates contested the 2014 elections, up from 24 in the first election in 1951. And political parties now target women as a separate constituency, offering them cheap cooking gas, scholarships for studies and bicycles to go to college.

Yet, a truly astonishing number of women - equal to the population of Sri Lanka - appear to be "missing" from India's voters lists.

In their upcoming book, The Verdict: Decoding India's Elections, poll experts Prannoy Roy and Dorab Sopariwala find that the available data on women points to this.

They looked at the number of women above the age of 18 in the census, extrapolated it, and compared it to the number of women in the latest list of voters. And they found a sizeable "shortfall" - 21 million to be exact - in the number of female voters.

Three states - Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan - accounted for more than half of the missing female voters. Southern states such as Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu fare better.

More than 20 million missing women, analysts say, translates into 38,000 missing women voters on average in every constituency in India. In places like Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous and a key bellwether state, the figure swells to 80,000 missing women in every seat.

Given that more than one in every five seats are won or lost by a margin of fewer than 38,000 votes, the missing women could swing the results in many seats. The absence of a large number of women also means that India's electorate would be higher than the 900 million people who are eligible to vote in the summer elections. If the sex ratio in a constituency is skewed against women and the average voter is male, the preferences of female voters are likely to be ignored.

"Women want to vote, but they are not allowed to vote. This is deeply worrying. It also raises a lot of questions. We know that there are some social reasons behind this problem. But we also know that by controlling turnouts you can control results. Is that one of the reasons? We really need to investigate further to get to the truth," Prannoy Roy told me.

With a sex ratio that is skewed in favour of men, India has had a problem of missing women for a long time.

Last year, a government report found that 63 million women were "missing" from India's population because the preference for sons led to sex-selective abortions and more care was given to boys. Separately, economists Shamika Ravi and Mudit Kapoor estimated that more than 65 million women - some 20% of the female electorate - were missing. This included women who were not registered to vote and women "who were not in the population because of gross neglect" (worsening sex ratio, which reflected the gross neglect). So elections, they said, were "revealing the preferences or the will of a population that is artificially skewed against women".

It's not that election authorities haven't worked hard to get more women to vote.

The Election Commission adopts a rigorous statistical method - gender ratios, elector-population ratios and ages of voters - to make sure that eligible voters are not left out. There is doorstep verification of voters and a substantial number of officials involved in this exercise are women. In villages, child welfare workers and women's self-help groups are roped in. State-run TV and radio programmes motivate women to register. There are even polling stations dedicated exclusively to women.

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  • Nigeria election 2019: Who benefits from poll delay?

    On 20 February 1969, seven blind climbers and their four sighted companions completed the arduous trek to the 5,750m (18,865ft) crater summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania.

    The group took nine hours to climb the last 914.4m (3,000ft), fighting against high winds and freezing temperatures, to where they observed a circling Fokker F27 Friendship aircraft dipping its wings in a salute to their achievement.

    Trek participants at Mount Kilimanjaro

    The object of the expedition - the brainchild of John Wilson, founder of the charity Sightsavers - was to "help create a new image of blindness in Africa" and demonstrate that "trained blind people have the mental and physical stamina to achieve exacting goals".

    Trek participants at Mount Kilimanjaro including Sightsavers' founder John WilsonImage copyrightPAUL LATHAM/SIGHTSAVERS

    Eight embarked on the journey but on the evening of 19 February, after sleeping in a cave and making a steep and rocky climb that day, one of the climbers had to drop out.

    Eight blind climbersImage copyrightPAUL LATHAM/SIGHTSAVERS

    "That day we had sore feet and one or two people started being sick from the altitude," said Geoffrey Salisbury, of the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, as Sightsavers was then known.

    "By now, we were all suffering from burned faces due to the direct rays of the Sun.

    "We came across our first snow. I climbed the rocks and broke off a giant icicle and showed it to John Opio, who was suffering from a headache

    "He was so startled that I think he forgot the pain.

    "It was at this point that John Kisaka, from Tanzania, asked to drop out.

    "He had climbed gallantly but was obviously not fit to go on."

    Trek participants during a two week training courseImage copyrightPAUL LATHAM/SIGHTSAVERS

    The fittest trekkers were selected from hundreds of volunteers from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and underwent a two-week training programme, which included rope climbing, night camping and mastering the use of mountaineering equipment.

    Trek participants during a two week training course

    Trek participants practice camping during a two week training courseTrek participants practice camping during a two week training course

    The trek was covered on front pages of African newspapers and all the trekkers received a hero's welcome. Three pairs of their worn out boots are displayed in the Ugandan National Museum.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-47278655

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    In pictures: Haiti anti-government protests

    Protesters are angry at soaring inflation and demand an independent investigation over claims that officials and former ministers misappropriated development funds from an oil deal signed between Caribbean countries and Venezuela, the PetroCaribe.

    The alleged theft amounts to $2bn (£1.55bn), according to a court report.

    The demonstrators have demanded the resignation of President Jovenel Moise, in power since 2017, who has also been accused of involvement in irregularities. But last week he rejected calls for his resignation, saying he would not leave the country in the "hands of armed gangs and drug traffickers".

    Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas and 60% of the population live on less than $2 (£1.56) a day, according to the World Bank.

    The Caribbean nation was devastated by a powerful earthquake in 2010 that killed more than 200,000 people. Then in 2016, Hurricane Michael hit, killing some 3,000 people and badly damaging the country's infrastructure. Thousands of residents were displaced.

    A tire placed by a small group of demonstrators burns on a street in the commune of Petion Ville in the Haitan capital Port-au-Prince

    In an address on Saturday, Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant announced measures including a 30% reduction in government's expenses and the removal of privileges - such as allowances for petrol, and telephones and trips abroad - for government officials.

    He also vowed to continue with the investigation into the alleged irregularities involving PetroCaribe funds.

    A child covers his face as he walks past a burning barricade during anti-government protests in Port-au-PrincePresentational white spaceThousands have joined the demonstrations that have plunged Haiti into political crisis and paralysed everyday life in the largest towns. New protests were expected this week and Mr Céant warned of the risk of a humanitarian crisis.

    "The population suffers a lot, because blocked roads can't deliver water to drink, food, gasoline. It's almost impossible to have electricity."

    A woman walks past a burning barricade during anti-government protests in Port-au-Prince

    Since the protests broke out on 7 February, several foreign governments, including the US and Canada, have urged citizens to avoid travel to Haiti and ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-47277534

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    Tanzania male MPs face circumcision call to stop HIV spread

    A female MP in Tanzania has called for checks to determine whether or not her male colleagues have undergone circumcision - a procedure known to reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

    Jackline Ngonyani said any MPs found not to have been circumcised should be required to undergo the procedure.

    Her suggestion divided opinion among her colleagues.

    HIV is seen as a major threat to public health in Tanzania. Around 70% of the male population is circumcised.

    Around 5% of Tanzania's adult population is believed to have been infected by HIV - giving it the 13th highest rate of infection in the world, according to figures from 2016.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) says circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexual men contracting HIV by around 60%.

    Several African countries that are fighting HIV epidemics have launched campaigns to encourage men to undergo the procedure, which involves surgically removing the foreskin from the penis.

    Image result for pictures of tanzania male mps

     

    Ms Ngonyani made the comments during a debate in parliament about how to curb the spread of HIV in the country.

    Her suggestion was backed by MP Joseph Selasini.

    In neighbouring Kenya, some top politicians voluntarily submitted to the procedure in 2008 as a way of encouraging men from their communities to do the same.

    However, MP Joseph Kasheku opposed Ms Ngonyani's proposal, describing it as uncouth and invasive.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-47169732

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    Thailand's king condemns bid by sister to become PM

    Thailand's King Vajiralongkorn has denounced as "inappropriate" his sister's unprecedented bid to run for prime minister.

    In a palace statement, he said such an act would "defy the nation's culture".

    Princess Ubolratana Mahidol, 67, has been nominated as a candidate for a party allied to divisive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

    Such a move would break with the tradition of the Thai royal family publicly staying out of politics.

    Thailand's election is due to take place on 24 March.

    It is being closely watched as the first chance for Thailand to return to democracy after five years under military rule.

    In a palace statement read out on all Thai TV networks, the king said: "Even though she has relinquished her royal titles in writing, she maintained her status and carried herself as a member of the Chakri dynasty.

    "Involvement of a high-ranking member of the royal family in politics, in whatever way, is considered an act that defies the nation's traditions, customs, and culture, and therefore is considered extremely inappropriate."

    He cited a passage of the constitution that says the monarchy should maintain political neutrality.

    File image of Thai King Vajiralongkorn outside Bangkok's royal palace on May 14, 2018

    King Vajiralongkorn says the princess retains her status as a member of the royal family

    Hours earlier, Princess Ubolratana defended her decision to run for office.

    In an Instagram post, she reiterated that she had relinquished all her royal titles and now lived as a commoner.

    She said she wanted to exercise her rights as an ordinary citizen by offering her candidacy for prime minister. She said she would work with all sincerity and determination for the prosperity of all Thais.

    Who is Princess Ubolratana Mahidol?

    Born in 1951, Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi is the oldest child of Thailand's beloved late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He died in 2016.

    She attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and after marrying an American in 1972 she gave up her royal title. After her divorce she returned to Thailand in 2001 and once again started participating in royal life.

    The princess engages actively in social media and has also starred in several Thai movies.

    She has three children, one of whom died in the 2004 tsunami. The other two now also live in Thailand.

    The princess has registered for the Thai Raksa Chart party, which is closely linked to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-47175604

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    A protest Pakistan wants to hide from the world

    Why do some protests get reported in Pakistan and others not? M Ilyas Khan examines a story of human rights abuses the media is reluctant to cover and the authorities do not want to be told.

    Pakistan's vibrant, at times almost cacophonic media, is struggling to report a fundamental contradiction in state policy.

    This was at its most visible this week outside Islamabad's National Press Club.

    An open ground outside the club premises - which some call Pakistan's Hyde Park because it is used for gatherings and protests - was occupied by a few hundred students from religious seminaries linked to a banned militant group.

    They were holding an event to mark Kashmir Day, an official holiday in Pakistan which is observed to highlight human rights violations by Indian security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir.

    People listen to a speaker during a protest to show solidarity with Kashmiris living in Indian-administered part, on Kashmir Solidarity Day, in Islamabad, Pakistan, 05 February 2019.

    tThe Kashmir rally was given lots of prominence and went ahead

    But on the periphery of the Kashmir rally, police were busy spotting and arresting young men they suspected had come to attend another rally due to be held at the same venue.

    Far from being militants, they were members or supporters of a rights movement that has been highlighting abuses by Pakistan's own military, in the ethnic Pashtun regions along the border with Afghanistan.

    By the end of Tuesday, more than 30 activists of the Pashtun Tahaffuz (Protection) Movement, or PTM, had been rounded up, thrown in a police truck and taken to a police station.

    The drama unfolded against the backdrop of speeches from the Kashmir rally in which speakers listed rights violations in Kashmir by the Indian army, and right in front of the eyes of the waiting media.

    Dozens of television and newspaper photographers raced from one end to another trying to capture each arrest on camera.

    But it was just their journalistic instincts kicking in - not a race to be first to actually cover the drama.

    Because, while their TV channels thoroughly covered Kashmir Day events all over the country, including Islamabad, none of the videos of the arrests of the activists made it to the TV screens. Nor did they make headlines in the morning newspapers.

    The six tribal districts of Pakistan - collectively called the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), and turned into a vast sanctuary for Taliban fighters fleeing the US invasion of Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks - have been likened to an information black hole.

    Many say the Talibanisation of these districts was allowed by the Pakistani establishment under a policy which sought to control Afghanistan with a view to prevent it from emerging as a strong regional ally of India, Pakistan's arch-rival.

    Subsequent factionalisation of the Taliban drew the Pakistani military into tribal rivalries, triggering large-scale rights violations both by the military and the Taliban.

    Quetta, Pakistan. 11th March, 2018. Chief of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement Mr Manzoor Pashteen addressing to Public gathering in Quetta, during campaign of Pashtun Long march in Pakistan.

    Manzoor Pashteen has accused the military of covering up years of rights abuses

    The number of civilians killed in the conflict runs into thousands, and about three million people have been displaced, many of them many times.

    For years, the local population caught in the conflict were too afraid to speak about transgressions, until the PTM burst onto the scene last February and started to circulate well-documented cases of abuses by the military and the Taliban, as well as the nature of the relationship between the two.

    The material, the PTM's peaceful tactics and its insistence that the authorities treat people in the tribal areas in accordance with the law, as elsewhere in the country, caught the imagination of the media, and progressive elements across all ethnic groups hailed it as a good omen for the country's quest for democracy.

    But then in the second half of 2018 the media came under increasing pressure, reportedly from the military, to stop covering the PTM. One by one, columnists offering analysis of the movement's message and its activities were dropped - not only by the marginal press but some of the most respected newspapers of the country.

    Supporters of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) shout slogans during a protest against the arrest of one of their leader Alamzeb Mehsud in Karachi, Pakistan, 23 January 2019.

    PTM supporters have been demonstrating but the story is not making headlines

    And any mention of the PTM completely vanished from the television screens.

    More recently, the authorities have gone a step further and have begun breaking up PTM gatherings, confident in their knowledge that it is not going to get play in the media.

    Over the weekend, police in Balochistan province cracked down on one such PTM gathering in which a prominent activist, Ibrahim Arman Luni, was killed.

    Tuesday's gatherings were called by PTM chief Manzoor Pashteen in protest at Mr Luni's killing.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-47147409

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    Yellow-vest protests: France warns Italy Deputy PM Di Maio

    France has warned Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio not to interfere in the country's politics, after he met French "yellow-vest" protesters.

    "This new provocation is unacceptable between neighbouring countries and partners at the heart of the EU," the French foreign ministry said.

    Mr Di Maio, leader of the populist Five Star Movement, met two leaders of the anti-government protests on Tuesday.

    "The wind of change has crossed the Alps," Mr Di Maio tweeted (in Italian).

    He also posted a picture of himself with "yellow-vest" leader Christophe Chalençon and Ingrid Levavasseur, who is heading a "yellow-vest" (gilets jaunes) list for elections to the European Parliament in May.

    The meeting took place near Paris.

    Relations between France and Italy have been tense since the Five Star Movement (M5S) and right-wing League parties came to power in Italy in June 2018.

    In January, France summoned Italy's ambassador after Mr Di Maio said Paris had "never stopped colonising tens of African states".

    Italy's populist leadership has also recently clashed with France on issues such as migration protests and culture.

    Who are the 'gilets jaunes'?

    The "gilets jaunes" protests against fuel tax hikes began last November, saying the measure hurt those who live in remote areas of France and depend on cars.

    France fuel protests: Who are the people in the yellow vests?

    The "gilets jaunes" derive their name from the high-visibility vests they wear - and which French motorists are required by law to carry in their vehicles.

    But since their first marches - and the government's subsequent U-turn on fuel taxes - their demands have expanded to boosting people's purchasing power and allowing popular referendums.

    In December, French President Emmanuel Macron said he was "partly responsible" for the "insufficient response" to the protests that have rocked the country.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47152638

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