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Obama’s Mandela lecture comes at an auspicious time for democracy

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Former US President Barack Obama will aim high with his Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johanesburg on July 17th. According to his close adviser and former speechwriter Benjamin J. Rhodes, Obama views this as the most important speech he has given since leaving the White House, one that will set the tone for his post-presidency.
Obama must deliver a more ambitious, activist, and forward-looking address than his eloquent remarks at Mandela’s memorial, in December 2013. That’s because much has changed politically in the five years since then. The world is in a much more precarious place.
Authoritative global indices portray dangerous trends of democratic decline. Principles of tolerance, inclusivity and the rule of law, abiding commitments that defined Mandela’s life, are under assault in other nations, from South Africa the US to Poland.

And, as Rhodes notes: ‘…..There’s an enhanced sense of tribalism in the world’.

It is therefore an auspicious time for Obama to speak about the lessons of Mandela’s life and leadership. The centennial anniversary of Mandela’s birth provides the opportunity for someone of Obama’s standing to encourage awareness about Mandela’s enduring relevance in the endless struggle to sustain democracies.
Drawing on Mandela’s legacy, Obama can help the world better understand the nature of the threats to all democratic experiments. This includes correcting and preventing corruption and abuses of power.
A new book on state capture, published by the Johannesburg-based Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, offers ample evidence of the threats facing countries. It includes country studies of South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Madagascar, plus chapters on state capture in post-communist European countries and in the US.
The diversity of case studies points to a common danger: The diversion of public funds for private gain. Dictators can do this at will. Those who are elected democratically face obstacles. They must subvert democratic norms and hollow out state institutions, all the while obscuring their real purposes, often exploiting populist fears and resentments.
Mandela, who survived apartheid to create a legitimate constitutional democracy where no one is above the law, with legal rights enshrined for all, embodies the values that are the only reliable protections against the subversion of the democratic project through state capture.

Democracies under threat

Justice Albie Sachs, one of the country’s first constitutional court judges, comments in the book’s foreward:..’The South African Constitution not only aimed for perfection. It required us to guard against corruption. We needed to guard against ourselves.

 

As a transitioning democracy, South Africa proved vulnerable to “state capture”. But a more potent combination of a free press and independent constitutionally created institutions, including the Office of Public Prosecutor and Independent Electoral Commission, were effectively vindicated by the Constitutional Court. The electoral commissions’s capacity to ensure free and fair elections in which the ruling party might lose ins majority unless corruption can be credibly curtailed may have been the tipping point.

In Zimbabwe “state capture” became more entrenched and typical of authoritarian electoral states that threaten democratic transitions and consolidation in many post-colonial states. The Zimbabwean Electoral Commission violated electoral law and process with protection provided by the courts and the security sector, which had long ago been corrupted and captured by the ruling oligarchy.
But no democracy is ever secure, even the US. That case study points to historic and current examples of how oligarchs masked as patriots and democrats can exploit the fears and resentments of key constituencies to win elections, disarm democratic protections, and divert public resources to the privileged few.
Co-editors of “State Capture in Africa,” Melanie Meirotti and Grant Masterson, ask if the concept of state capture as it has come to be known in South Africa, the US and post-communist countries, is also useful in the modern African context. They conclude that it is. But sustainable democracy requires constant effort.

Mandela’s service to South Africa exemplifies the same spirit. And I will be surprised if this idea is not at the core of Obama’s address on Tuesday.

Nelson Mandela, liberation struggle icon and first president of post-Apartheid South Africa.

New generation of leaders

Obama will use the occasion to motivate a new generation of political leaders. His primary audience will therefore be young people.

The Obama Foundation will convene 200 young African leaders in Johannesburg during the week prior to Obama’s address to study and debate Mandela’s legacy and leadership attributes. Selected from among 10,000 applicants, they are a vital regional component in the foundation’s broader goal to help develop future leaders among Millennials – those aged 24-40. They must be ready to sustain democracies amid growing unrest created by uncontrolled migrations, epidemics, famine, state failures, and climate change.

 

Recipe for resilience

 

Obama emphasised in his 2013 memorial remarks:

‘…Mandela taught us the power of action, but he also taught us the power of ideas; the importance of reason and arguments; the need to study not only those who you agree with, but also those you don’t agree with… Mandela [also] demonstrated that action and ideas are not enough. No matter how right, they must be chiselled into law and institutions. He was practical, testing his beliefs against the hard surface of circumstance and history’

 

We can expect Obama to propose practical ways to achieve this and for sustaining our democracies, ensuring that Mandela will inspire democrats of all ages everywhere.

 

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E.U. Prepares For Brexit

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The European Union says it is stepping up preparations for the possibility that Britain will crash out of the bloc.

The warning, made in Brussels on Monday comes on the heels of deadlocked talks on Sunday between UK Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and EU negotiator Michel Barnier
UK’s Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said the government was still “committed to making progress”.

He added that it meant Brexit talks “might not be wrapped up in November, as the UK would like”.
This week’s summit comes as domestic political pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May increases amid threats of potential cabinet resignations.
And labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keirstarmer has heaped further pressure on Mrs. May, calling for her government to publish its plan for the backstop.
Starmer said any proposal needed full scrutiny from MPS before an agreement could be struck with the rest of the EU at the Brussels summit.
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson said the backstop idea should be jettisoned altogether.

Johnson said that in presuming to change the constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom, the EU is treating Britain with naked contempt.1000
Meanwhile, Ireland’s ambassador to the UK, Adrian O’neill, said Sunday’s events in Brussels were a “setback” and could increase the prospect of a no-deal brexit.
The issue of the border between Northern Ireland and the republic of Ireland, which will become the UK’s border with the EU, is one of the last remaining obstacles to achieving a divorce deal with Brussels.

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Trump Accuses Climate Change Scientists Of “ Political Agenda”

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US President Donald Trump has accused climate change scientists of having a “political agenda” as he cast doubt on whether humans were responsible for the earth’s rising temperatures.

Trump also said he no longer believed climate change was a hoax.
His comment came less than a week after climate scientists issued a final call to halt rising temperatures.

The world’s leading scientists agree that climate change is human-induced.
Last week’s report by the intergovernmental panel on climate change the leading international body evaluating climate change – warned the world was heading towards a temperature rise of 3c.
Scientists say that natural fluctuations in temperature are being exacerbated by human activity – which has caused approximately 1c of global warming above pre-industrial levels.
The report said keeping to the preferred target of 1.5c above pre-industrial levels would mean “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.

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Kidnapped Aid Workers in Nigeria May Have Just Hours Before Being Killed

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The body of one of three aid workers killed in March during an attack in the Nigerian town of Rann, at Maiduguri Airport.

Either of two aid workers kidnapped by a faction of the Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria may have only hours to be rescued before being executed, according to a fervent appeal by the aid organizations they work for.
Hauwa Muhammed Liman, a 24-year-old midwife at a government health care center supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Alice Loksha, a nurse working for the United Nations agency Unicef, were abducted along with another aid worker in March, when militants thought to belong to a Boko Haram faction stormed Rann, a northeastern Nigerian town where there are tens of thousands of refugees.
The faction, the Islamic State West African Province, which is supported by ISIS, has been responsible for high-profile abductions and propaganda victories, further complicating the security crisis from an insurgency entering its 10th year.
On Sept. 16, another aid worker, Saifura Khorsa, a 25-year-old nurse with the international Red Cross group, was executed by the faction. Ms. Liman and Ms. Loksha remain captives, as does Leah Sharibu, a Christian student who refused to convert to Islam and was seized in February.

After Ms. Khorsa was killed, the militants said that the aid groups had one month to meet their demands before another worker would be killed, according to the Red Cross committee.
It is believed that the militants are holding the workers for ransom, but the Red Cross committee would not confirm that, and it does not pay to gain the release of kidnapped staff members, according to its officials. It said it had worked with the Nigerian government to secure the captives’ release.

In comments directed to both the Nigerian government and Boko Haram, Red Cross officials pleaded for urgent action.

Hauwa Muhammed Liman, who has been held since her abduction by a Boko Haram faction in March.

“I’m appealing directly to the Islamic State in West African Province,” one of the officials, Mamadou Sow, said in a videotaped statement. “Please show some mercy. Hauwa and Alice went to Rann to save lives, and they deserve to live.”

The Boko Haram faction kidnapped more than 100 girls at a boarding school in Dapchi, a town in northeastern Nigeria, in February. The last several abductions were reminiscent of that of more than 370 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014, which set off pervasive fear and protests around the world.
A month after the kidnappings in Dapchi, the terrorist group returned most of the girls and told local residents to stop sending their female children to school. The government denied paying a ransom, saying only that it had negotiated with the militants.
The March abductions of the three aid workers occurred when the militants attacked a military outpost in Rann, in Borno State, that is sheltering at least 80,000 Nigerians displaced by Boko Haram’s insurgency.
Dozens of people were killed, along with three United Nations staff members.
The events have raised security concerns among aid organizations, which have reduced the staff working in areas that have become more vulnerable.
Their fears contrast with the stance of the Nigerian government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, who continues to insist, ahead of elections scheduled for February, that the region is growing safer.
Aleksandra Mosinann, a Red Cross committee spokeswoman, said the need for humanitarian aid in the region remained acute.
“Borno State has 700 health care facilities, but nearly 400 are not functional,” she said in a telephone interview. “Those still open are overwhelmed. We are concerned that many people in the region will not have access to medical support if the region becomes too dangerous for staff to operate.”


This article was written by Emmanuel Akinwotu

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Africa on the Square returns to Trafalgar Square for the fourth time on Saturday 27 October.

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Africa on the Square returns to Trafalgar Square for the fourth time on Saturday 27 October.
This popular event continues to grow with over 25,000 attending last year. It celebrates African arts and culture, as well as enhancing Black History Month.
Mayor Of London will  be hosting a stage with live entertainment in addition to an African market, food stalls, roaming entertainment and lots of fun stuff for kids, showcasing communities from across the continent.
The Mayor organises and supports lots of different events to celebrate the many cultures and communities of London.
More information on this to follow.


Africa on the Square 2018
Date:
Saturday 27 October 2018
Time:
12:00pm to 6:00pm
Venue:
Trafalgar Square, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN, United Kingdom
Cost:
Free

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Zimbabwe’s KFC ‘has no money to buy chickens’

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FAST FOOD chains in Zimbabwe are closing their doors due to financial struggles.
KFC put up notices at its branches in the capital, Harare, and the second city, Bulawayo, saying they would remain closed “during these difficult times” until further notice.
According to BBC Africa, the notice said: “This is due to the fact that we are unable to source stock from our suppliers as they require US dollars. We are doing everything possible to resume trade as soon as possible.”
Other fast food outlets like St Elmos pizza had shut its branches for the same reason, and Chicken Inn ran out of chicken on Tuesday, and it was unclear when they will get supplies again, the state-run Chronicle newspaper reported.
Last week, Zimbabwe’s Financial Gazette newspaper reported that many retail shops were running out of some essential goods because of foreign currency shortages.
Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency in 2009, adopting the use of foreign cash, including the US dollar.
The government issued its own version of dollars called “bond notes” in 2016 to ease the continuing cash shortage, but they have rapidly lost their value, particularly following the election of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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Why is it so hard for Africans to visit other African countries?

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Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has said he needs 38 visas to travel within the continent on his Nigerian passport.
Many European nationals, meanwhile, waltz into most Africans countries visa-free.
African nations were supposed to scrap visa requirements for all African citizens by 2018.
It was a key part of the African Union’s (AU) “vision and roadmap for the next 50 years” that was adopted by all member-states in 2013.

But to date, the Seychelles is the only nation where visa-free travel is open to all Africans — as well as to citizens of every nation — as it always has been.
A recent AU report found that Africans can travel without a visa to just 22 percent of other African countries.
It is a sensitive topic, provoking xenophobic attitudes in some of Africa’s wealthier nations despite policymakers from Cape to Cairo insisting that the free movement of people is key for economic transformation.
“Our leaders seem to go to ridiculous lengths to preserve and protect the colonial borders,” says South African travel blogger Katchie Nzama, who has visited 35 of Africa’s 55 countries.

The AU may want a borderless continent where its 1.2 billion people can move freely between nations, similar to the European Union, but it seems there is no shortage of obstacles.
Whether it is immigration officials in Burkina Faso charging an arbitrary $200 (£155) for a visa on arrival, or Tanzania arresting and deporting other East Africans who enter illegally, or Tunisia refusing visas to stranded African passengers after a cancelled flight, intra-African travel is fraught with suspicion.
Double standards?
South Africa appears to be the most visible representative of the continent’s visa double standard, remaining largely closed to other Africans but more welcoming to the wider world.
Citizens of only 15 African nations can travel to South Africa without a visa, yet holders of 28 different European passports can enter the country freely.
The country’s Department of Home Affairs spokesman Thabo Mokgola defends its policy.

“This is an unfair assertion — visa-waiver agreements are premised on reciprocity and we are finalising such with a number of African countries,” he told the BBC.
Just how that reciprocity is applied is unclear.
Kenya, for example, gives South African citizens a visa on arrival for free.
But Kenyans must apply for a visa, then pay a service fee and wait for at least five working days before travelling to South Africa.
In 2015, two years after the African Union asked members to commit to abolishing visa requirements for all Africans by 2018, South Africa did the opposite and announced stricter regulations that were widely criticised.
Hit by a recession and a drop in tourist numbers, the country caved in and recently announced that it was relaxing travel rules in the hope of reviving its struggling economy.
Namibia, Mauritius, Ghana, Rwanda, Benin and Kenya have all loosened travel restrictions for other African nationals, and now either grant a visa on arrival or allow for visits of up to 90 days with just a passport.
But citizens of African countries still need a visa to travel to more than half of the continent’s 54 countries, protecting borders drawn up by European colonisers more than a century ago.

“Somebody like me, despite the size of our group, I need 38 visas to move around Africa,” complained Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote in an interview in 2016.
He is reportedly one of the first in line to receive the African passport which was launched in 2016.
The travel document is supposed to eventually replace individual nations’ passports, but is currently only available to some heads of state, senior diplomats and top AU officials.
It is easy enough to travel within regional blocs such as the East African Community, the Economic Community of West African States, the Southern African Development Community, the Maghreb, as well as the Central African Economic and Monetary Community. But it is rarely possible to travel from one region to another without restrictions.
Extortionate prices
Another impediment to African travel is that there are very few commercial flights from one region to another and when they do exist, they are prohibitively expensive.

“Flying from Kenya to Namibia is the same price as flying to Thailand, and the cost to Dubai from Nairobi is way cheaper than flying to Morocco,” says Kenyan travel blogger Winnie Rioba.
And this is on top of the visa fees.
Ms Rioba was charged $90 for a visa for Djibouti, more than the $75 she paid for a Schengen visa, which gave her access to 26 European states.
“I’ve spent more money applying for visas than transport costs in my travels across the continent,” agrees Ms Nzama.
“This is not just money paid to embassies. It’s the time and money wasted going back and forth to embassies, and preparing the required documents, which in most cases I felt were not necessary,” the South African travel blogger says.
To help her fellow Nigerians find their way through the maze of requirements, entrepreneur Funmi Oyatogun created a colour-coded map outlining which African countries were easiest to travel to.

“Our focus is to simplify travel for Africans across Africa,” she says of her start-up TVP Adventures.
She believes these efforts are a necessary part of what she calls the “African travel spring.”
“We are breaking through the barriers that made it difficult in the past – lack of information, poor flight connections, and incorrect perceptions of other African countries.”
There is widespread support for scrapping the visa requirements for Africans travelling within the continent.
But as the 2018 deadline slips by, few believe it is likely to happen soon.
And while we wait, it might remain more attractive to leave the continent.
“How will I convince an African traveller to go with me to Angola if the trip will cost as much as travel to five countries in Europe?” asks Ms Rioba.
Even a dollar billionaire like Mr Dangote has problems visiting his many investments across his home continent.
“They give you visas as if it is a favour,” he says. — BBC.

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South Africa’s finance minister Nhlanhla Nene resigns

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Nhlanhla Nene talks to the media at a press conference ahead of a roundtable bringing global business leaders to South Africa to discuss the government’s reform agenda in Johannesburg on June 28, 2018

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa accepted the resignation of the country’s finance minister Nhlanhla Nene on Tuesday, following what the President described as “errors of judgement.”
In a nationally televised address, Ramaphosa said he accepted Nene’s resignation because of “errors of judgment” as a result of a controversy surrounding Nene’s testimony in an ongoing graft inquiry in South Africa.

Ramaphosa announced that Tito Mboweni, a former South African Reserve Bank Governor, will replace Nene as finance minister.

Mboweni was sworn-in immediately following the address.
“After due consideration of the circumstances around this matter and in the interest of good governance, I have decided to accept his resignation,” said Ramaphosa.
Nene was sacked by former president Jacob Zuma as finance minister — in testimony to the ongoing ‘state capture inquiry’.
Although, Nene says he was fired because he refused to sign onto what many saw as a questionable nuclear deal with Russia.
Nene was re-appointed after Ramaphosa assumed the presidency.

Despite his reputation as a finance minister fighting the rot of corruption, Nene recently admitted to a series of meetings during his tenure with the Gupta family, wealthy Indian expats that are accused of large-scale corruption. He previously denied having those meetings.
Several other members of Ramaphosa’s cabinet have been accused of corruption and some analysts believe that Nene’s resignation will put more pressure on the president to clean up his leadership team.

The influential Gupta family are implicated in a 355-page State of Capture 2016 report published by South Africa prosecutors.

It contains allegations, questionable business deals and ministerial appointments in former president Jacob Zuma’s government.
The Guptas are a wealthy family who emigrated from India to South Africa, where they have built a business empire and wield much political influence.

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“We heard gunshots all through the day,” says Cameroon voter

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Voters in Cameroon’s troubled north and southwest regions stayed away from Sunday’s elections as violence broke out between security forces and armed separatists, residents told CNN.
In the Bamenda capital of the northwest region, where separatists had called on people to boycott the elections, residents said they were afraid to come out from their homes amid gunfire.
“We heard gunshots all through the day. The military was patrolling the streets all day trying to quell the attacks. No one wants to be caught in the gunfire,” said Kudi Eric Unji, who lives in Bamenda town, one of the regions the Anglophone secessionists want to turn into another country.

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, 85, is contesting for a seventh term and has ruled the country since 1982.
He has often recorded a landslide victory in past elections.
He was declared the winner of the 2011 elections by the Supreme Court, which found that he got 77% of the vote, beating out 22 other contenders.

Violence often erupts in Cameroon’s English-speaking provinces, where residents say they have been marginalized by the Francophone-dominated government.
Tensions deteriorated into a full-blown crisis last year after protests in the regions turned violent.
But Biya maintains his strong grip on the central African country despite the growing secessionist movement, which has worsened security in the nation.

Amnesty International, in a report last month, said it had recorded 260 security incidents, including kidnappings of civilians and violence between Cameroon’s soldiers and armed Anglophone separatists, this year.
The human rights organization said 400 civilians have been killed since January in escalating attacks between armed separatist groups and security forces in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions.
Biya’s government has been accused of using its military to crack down on armed separatists and killing English speakers.
Secessionist fighters also stand accused of kidnapping and killing soldiers and civilians.
The human rights organization said in a June report that English speakers were being targeted by both the Cameroon military and armed Anglophone separatists in waves of violence that Amnesty describes as “unlawful, excessive and unnecessary.”

ictims gave harrowing accounts of beatings and allegations of simulated electrocution and torture carried out by the military, as well as attacks on schools and teachers by armed Anglophone separatists.
However, an army spokesman dismissed claims of violence and torture as “rumors” and said it was fighting against a bloody insurgency.
Didier Badjeck, a spokesman for the army, said: “Since 2016, they have been attacking schools, and we are working against terrorists. The army defends itself against attackers.”

In the past, Biya has condemned “all acts of violence, regardless of their sources and their perpetrators.”
This is the 11th presidential election since Cameroon’s independence in 1960.

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Breaking News: The US Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court after a bitter partisan battle, shifting the ideological balance of the court.

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A deeply divided Senate voted on Saturday to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, delivering a victory to President Trump and ending a rancorous Washington battle that began as a debate over ideology and jurisprudence and concluded with questions of sexual misconduct.
The vote, almost entirely along party lines, was 50 to 48, with Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — the lone Republican to break with her party — voting “present” instead of “no” to accommodate a colleague who could not attend and would have voted “yes.” Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia was the lone Democrat to support Judge Kavanaugh.
The final result was expected; all senators had announced their intentions by Friday, after the nomination cleared a crucial procedural hurdle in a 51-to-49 vote.

But while the brawl over Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation may be over, people on both sides of the debate agree that it will have lasting ramifications on the Senate, the Supreme Court and the nation.

As the senators entered their final hours of debate on Saturday, hundreds of Kavanaugh opponents were massed on the steps of the Supreme Court. They later rushed the barricades around the Capitol and sat on its steps, chanting “No means no!” as Capitol Police officers began arresting them. Women and sexual assault survivors around the country were furious, feeling as though their voices had not been heard.

Inside the chamber, protests erupted as Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, delivered a speech deploring “mob rule” — a reference to the activists and sexual assault survivors who have roamed the Capitol in recent weeks, confronting Republican senators. “I stand with survivors!” one shouted. “This process is corrupt!”Even some of Judge Kavanaugh’s future colleagues sounded unsettled. On Friday, on the eve of the vote, two of them — Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — expressed concern that the partisan rancor around his nomination would injure the court’s reputation.
“Part of the court’s strength and part of the court’s legitimacy depends on people not seeing the court in the way that people see the rest of the governing structures of this country now,” Justice Kagan said in an appearance at Princeton University. “In other words, people thinking of the court as not politically divided in the same way, as not an extension of politics, but instead somehow above the fray, even if not always in every case.”

Once confirmed, Judge Kavanaugh will shift the ideological balance of the court to the right, giving it a solid conservative majority. He will replace the retired Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, a moderate conservative who was its longtime swing vote, and at 53 he is young enough to serve for decades, shaping American jurisprudence for a generation, if not more.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, was unequivocal about what Republicans had accomplished.
“It is the most important contribution we have made to the country that will last the longest,” Mr. McConnell said in an interview, ticking through two Supreme Court justices and 26 federal appeals court judges confirmed in the last two years.
For Mr. Trump, who has made stocking the federal judiciary with conservatives a signature of his presidency, Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation will fulfill a campaign promise in the middle of a difficult midterm election. He is already using Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process to energize his base; at a recent rally, he fired up his supporters by mocking Christine Blasey Ford, the Northern California research psychologist who accused Judge Kavanaugh of trying to rape her when they were teenagers.

Until Dr. Blasey went public, Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation seemed assured. But her account — first in an article in The Washington Post and later in riveting testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee — unleashed a cascade of other allegations and prompted a last-minute F.B.I. inquiry into the judge’s conduct.

Judge Kavanaugh vigorously denied the allegations in his own angry and emotional testimony before the Judiciary Committee. On Saturday, one of his accusers, Deborah Ramirez, who has said Judge Kavanaugh thrust his genitals in her face during a drunken dormitory party at Yale, issued a statement deploring what was about to happen.
“Thirty-five years ago, the other students in the room chose to laugh and look the other way as sexual violence was perpetrated on me by Brett Kavanaugh,” she wrote. “As I watch many of the senators speak and vote on the floor of the Senate I feel like I’m right back at Yale where half the room is laughing and looking the other way. Only this time, instead of drunk college kids, it is U.S. senators who are deliberately ignoring his behavior. This is how victims are isolated and silenced.”
As it did for the past week, the Senate debate on Saturday turned as much on Judge Kavanaugh’s own conduct during his Senate testimony as it did on questions of the law. In the Senate hearing, he called Dr. Blasey’s allegations “a calculated and orchestrated political hit” and directed barbed comments at his Democratic questioners.
“I had concerns at the very beginning of this process, and I fear it more than ever at the end of the process,” Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, said on the Senate floor. “Any remaining hope that Judge Kavanaugh could be trusted to be an impartial justice or perceived to be an impartial justice was shattered by his opening statement at his last hearing.”
But Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, who held the floor for a time overnight on Saturday, said those who would question Judge Kavanaugh’s demeanor “certainly didn’t see the same thing I saw, which is someone who was seeking sincerely to defend his own record of public service, his own private conduct against great adversity, in circumstances in which he and his family have been dragged through the mud by no choice of their own.”


Nicholas Fandos and Catie Edmondson contributed reporting

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A new immigration policy is preventing foreign students from using their skills in the US

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Unemployment is down, the economy is growing and companies have a need for recently graduated skilled workers. Some of those recent hires are foreign students who have applied for H-1B visas. But now, thanks to a change in Trump’s immigration policy, they can’t start working. That’s bad for the economy, bad for the workers, and a terrible policy for the country.

Previously, recent graduates who had applied for an H1-B visa could stay in the country and start working. The new policy changes mean that those individuals can stay, but they can’t work — if they do, they could be barred from the U.S. long-term.

The problem with this is that staying in the U.S. without a job is really, really expensive.

It didn’t have to be this way. These workers had already applied for the visa, and those with expired student visas or recent tech graduates had been given an extension until Oct. 1 that meant they could keep working.

That deadline has passed without those applications being processed. Adding to the pain is the fact that the option of paying a little more for expedited processing has also been also been suspended by the Trump administration.

Instead, companies are shorthanded, willing workers are left without jobs, and the only option seems to be to wait while U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services tries to process applications.

This might seem like a small problem. It’s not.

For one thing, it means that U.S. companies lose out on already-hired talent as their employees wait around for authorization. For another, it means that foreign students who want to work and contribute to the growth and profit of U.S. businesses and the economy cannot do so. That may push them to look elsewhere. Additionally, a failure to process visas in a timely fashion likely discourages students who expect employment after graduation from attending U.S. schools, which have come to depend on international students for their tuition dollars.

These are serious consequences and should be easily avoided. Trump’s crackdown on immigration shouldn’t come at the expense of students, companies, and the economy.

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Obiano Urges FG to Make Air Peace Flag Carrier

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BREAKING: INEC Declares Osun Governorship Election Inconclusive

Home4 days ago

Atiku/Obi: South East was never consulted – Umahi

Home2 weeks ago

APGA produces 2 governorship candidates in Abia

Home3 weeks ago

‘Obiano, Obi, two greatest leaders in Nigeria’

Home4 days ago

Nigerian opposition party candidate Abubakar chooses running mate – spokesman

Home3 weeks ago

Buhari meets Nigerian-born Italian Senator Tony Iwobi

Home3 weeks ago

PhotoNews : Eze Eri 34th, Eze Aka Ji Ovo Igbo arrives US to participate in the coronation ceremony of King Elect Koleoso

Sport3 weeks ago

Anthony Joshua KOs Alexander Povetkin to retain world heavyweight titles

Home7 days ago

APGA Presents Certificates of Return to Ukachukwu, Obidigwe, Enefe, Others

Photos/Videos3 weeks ago

PhotoNews : The US House Of Representatives of The Commonwealth Of Kentucky Honors His Majesty,Eze Aka Ji Ofo Igbo ,Eze Chukwuemeka Eri.

Home3 weeks ago

Governor Obiano – The Champion Of APGA

Home3 weeks ago

Independence Push for South-East Nigeria will not End with Disappearance of Nnamdi Kanu

Home1 week ago

Former VP Abubakar named opposition challenger to Nigeria’s president

Life & Style3 weeks ago

Prince Charles to visit Nigeria, others

Home2 weeks ago

Melania Trump arrives in Ghana, first stop on Africa tour — a continent her husband has yet to visit

Life & Style4 weeks ago

Linda Ikeji gives birth to baby boy

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