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Kofi Annan dead: Former UN Secretary General dies aged 80 after battling short illness

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Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has died aged 80 after battling a short illness.
Mr Annan, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for humanitarian work, died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland this morning with his wife and three children by his side.

The family confirmed the tragic news on his Twitter account, writing: “It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness,” read a post on his Twitter account.

“His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nine were by his side during his last days.”
Mr Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat, serving two terms from 1997 to 2006.

He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
In his family’s full post announcing his death they wrote: “Kofi Annan was a global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world.
“During his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.

“After stepping down from the United Nations, he continued to work tirelessly in the cause of peace through his chairmanship of the Kofi Annan Foundation as chair of The Elders, the group founded by Nelson Mandela.
“He was an inspiration to young and old alike.

“Kofi Annan was a son of Ghana and felt a special responsibility towards Africa.
“He was particularly committed to African development and deeply engaged in many initiatives, including his chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel and his early leadership of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).”Wherever there was a suffering or need, he reached out and touch many people with his deep compassion and empathy.

“He selflessly placed others first, radiating genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did.
“He will be greatly missed by so many around the world, as well as his staff at the foundation and his many former colleagues in the United Nations system.
“He will remain in our hearts forever.
“The family kindly requests privacy at this time of mourning.

“Arrangements to celebrate his remarkable life will be announced later.”
In 2012 Mr Annan dramatically quite as UN special envoy for Syria after six months of failing to stop the civil war, saying: “The world is full of crazy people like me so don’t be surprised if Secretary General Ban Ki-moon can find someone who can do a better job than me.
“There may be other plans, other approaches that may work quite effectively.”

Annan tried repeatedly to make peace in Syria with his six point plan to mediate between the regime and the 17-month-old armed rebellion.
Praising his efforts, former UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon said at the time: “Kofi Annan deserves our profound admiration for the selfless way in which he has put his formidable skills and prestige to this most difficult and potentially thankless of assignments.”
Born in Kumasi, Ghana on 8 April 1938, he was the first secretary general to emerge from the ranks of United Nations staff.

Current UN Secretary General António Guterres said: “Kofi Annan was a guiding force for good. It is with profound sadness that I learned of his passing. In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination.
“Like so many, I was proud to call Kofi Annan a good friend and mentor. I was deeply honoured by his trust in selecting me to serve as UN High Commissioner for Refugees under his leadership.
“He remained someone I could always turn to for counsel and wisdom — and I know I was not alone. He provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving and a path to a better world.
“In these turbulent and trying times, he never stopped working to give life to the values of the United Nations Charter. His legacy will remain a true inspiration for all of us.
“My heartfelt condolences to Nane Annan, their beloved family, and all who mourn the loss of this proud son of Africa who became a global champion for peace and all humanity.”

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Episcopalis communio: what does the Pope’s new document mean for the Church?

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Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Constitution on Tuesday morning, which introduces significant reforms to the structure of the Synod of Bishops. Titled Episcopalis communio — “Episcopal communion” — the document is composed of a six-page introduction articulated in ten numbered sections, and a 27-article dispositive part.
The introduction talks a good deal about collegiality, broad consultation with all the faithful of every state of life in the Church, and the general spirit of synodal collaboration:

  • Although in its composition it appears as an essentially episcopal organism, the Synod does not therefore live separately from the rest of the faithful. On the contrary, it is an instrument apt to give voice to the whole People of God, precisely through the Bishops, who are constituted by God as, “authentic guardians, interpreters and witnesses of the faith of the whole Church,” showing itself from Assembly to Assembly to be an eloquent expression of synodality as “[a] constitutive dimension of the Church.”

In effect, however, the reforms Pope Francis introduced on Tuesday may create a situation in which the bishops gathered in synod assembly act at least as much as filters, as they do channels for the voice of the faithful.
The role of the General Secretary appears greatly increased and his powers expanded, along with those of the General Secretariat. These expanded powers especially regard the steering of Synod Assemblies, from their early organisation, through the sessions, to the drafting and approval of final documents — all of which come to be part of the Synod Assembly proper.
Though the Synod of Bishops remains a consultative body, the new law envisions a sort of elision of the body’s teaching authority with that of the Roman Pontiff. Article 18 § 2 reads, “If expressly approved by the Roman Pontiff, the final document participates in the ordinary Magisterium of the Successor to Peter.”
Lawyers will quibble over just what sort of elision that is, as they will also discuss the nature of and extent the participation any document thus approved has in Papal teaching authority.
The old saying tells us that the proof of the pudding is in the eating of it. Applied to current circumstances, this means that we need to wait and see how the Synod of Bishops actually operates under its new paper dispositions.
If the new document makes anything clear, it is that Francis — whose “synodal” approach to governance has been the subject of much discussion — meant what he said when he told the participants in the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that “synodality” means being with Peter, and that “being with Peter” means being under him. How “synodal” is the Church Francis envisions? One short answer might be: as synodal as Peter says it is.

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South African Court Legalizes Cannabis

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South Africa’s highest court has legalised the use of cannabis by adults in private places.

Pro-marijuana activists cheered in the public gallery and chanted “weed are free now” when the constitutional court gave its landmark ruling.
In a unanimous ruling, judges also legalised the growing of marijuana for private consumption.

It has not yet commented on the ruling, which is binding.
In April Zimbabwe became the second country in Africa, after Lesotho, to legalise the use of marijuana for medical use.
Three South African cannabis users who had faced prosecution for using cannabis brought the case, saying the ban “intrudes unjustifiably into their private spheres”.
In his judgement, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said: “it will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption.”

The judges did not specify the quantity of cannabis a person can use or have in private.
It will, however, remain illegal to use cannabis in public, and to sell and supply it.
The cannabis development council of South Africa welcomed the ruling, and called on the government to drop charges against people found in possession of the drug.

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UN General Assembly Opens In New York

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Activities for the 73rd session of the United Nations general assembly began on Tuesday at the headquarters in New York.

Among the issues to be deliberated on by the assembly are the global fight against tuberculosis, comprehensive review of the progress achieved in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, among others.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to address the assembly at the first high-level general debate on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018.

The theme for the general debate is “Making the United Nations Relevant to All People”: global leadership and shared responsibilities for peaceful, equitable and sustainable societies”.
The assembly debate is expected to last for nine working days
The United Nations in a tweet thanked twitter for launching the Unga Hastag as world leaders head to New York for the general assembly
The killing of the Red Cross aid worker is also expected to feature in discussions at the session especially the address of the UN secretary general.

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Kofi Annan’s quest for a better Africa

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Tributes to Kofi Annan on his extraordinary accomplishments as UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006 have poured in since he passed away on 18 August. They have been well-deserved. His achievements are towering.
I am honoured to have called him a friend and to have worked alongside him, learned from him, and been inspired by him. He became my boss in 1997, having replaced Boutros Boutros Ghali at the helm of the UN. Two years prior, Ghali had appointed me as a UN Under-Secretary-General and the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). I held that post until 2005, so Kofi’s tenure at the UN and mine overlapped for a decade. We worked together closely during that time and stayed in contact afterwards.
Throughout my association with Kofi, I was convinced that, in his quest for a more peaceful world, he was driven by the desire to see a prosperous Africa. That desire drove his emphasis on halving poverty by 2015, the ultimate objective of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which set aggressive and unprecedented benchmarks for progress.
Kofi also pushed for a doubling of development financing from rich to poorer countries. Determined to improve health conditions in the developing world, he established the Global Fund in 2002 to mobilise billions of dollars to combat AIDS and slow the HIV pandemic as well as treat other infectious diseases. Equally important were his recognition that gender equality was a moral imperative and the key to a more prosperous Africa, his passion to reform agriculture to help Africa feed itself, and his efforts to bring greater transparency to Africa’s relations with the developed world.

 

As Kofi Annan receives a three-day state funeral in Ghana, we should take the opportunity to celebrate and remember his vision and optimism.

As head of the ECA, I had the good fortune to work with Kofi on many issues around the turn of the century. He was my inspiration for several initiatives – including the African Peer Review Mechanism and the New Partnership for African Development – the ECA spearheaded in collaboration with African leaders. As a result of our collaboration, I came to observe first-hand the abundant charisma, style, and sincerity that accorded Kofi so much respect and admiration worldwide.
For example, in 1998, Kofi and a few African leaders joined more than 1,000 participants at a conference the ECA convened in Addis Ababa. The meeting focused on the role of African women in economic development. During a panel with the African leaders, the discussion turned to the issue of ministerial quotas for women. One leader responded that when selecting his own appointments, he believed foremost “in competence” and “not necessarily women.”
Kofi responded before anyone else had a chance: “I am sure some of the men in your Cabinet turn out to be incompetent,” he said. “Why don’t you give women a chance? They have a right to be incompetent too.”
The audience exploded in applause.
I last visited Kofi four months ago in Geneva. I presented him with the manuscript of a book soon to be published. It recounts the lessons of African development over the last five decades, and I asked Kofi if he would provide a foreword. He readily agreed, sending his two-page contribution a few weeks later. He used the occasion to articulate two factors that will shape the future of Africa.
Firstly, he wrote that Africa’s transformation will “require many things, especially sound leadership”. But he warned against the “litany of selfish, dangerous, or destructive leaders that have greatly exacerbated the many challenges that independent Africa faced”. Instead, he wrote, “strong and capable states that manage their resources well, provide visionary leadership, and reject authoritarianism and corruption are the ones best placed to make lasting gains”.
Secondly, he reiterated his belief that the drivers of these gains will be Africa’s growing youth population. “Throughout my career I have always been struck by the energy, talent and appetite for knowledge of the continent’s youth,” he wrote. “They want to create a better and more just world, and I am convinced they have the ambition and tools, especially through new forms of technology, to do so.”
As the Financial Times noted after his death, Kofi Annan often said that he was never going to stop being an optimist because if he did, it meant he had given up. And he was never going to give up. Yet, as he once told me: “Optimism should not be mistaken for romanticism; rather it is tempered by realism even as we strive continuously for improvements in the human condition”.
As we mourn his passing, we should celebrate his life and remember him as he lived: as a kind and remarkable man, a visionary leader and humanitarian, and a proud and inspiring African who strove continuously for an end to poverty and a prosperous Africa.


K.Y. Amoako

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Russia is the latest world power eyeing the Horn of Africa

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Russia is joining the list of nations intent on establishing their foothold in the Red Sea. In a meeting with Eritrean leaders on Friday (Aug. 31), foreign minister Sergey Lavrov announced plans to establish a “logistics center” at a port in the East African nation. Moscow didn’t specify the location or the timetable of the project but said it was aimed at boosting bilateral trade and infrastructural investment between the two nations.
The latest declaration underscores Russia’s efforts to renew its ties with African states and boost its cultural, political, and economic influence. Russia is stepping in even as the US retreats from Africa under Trump and China deepens its reach. In March, Lavrov undertook a week-long tour of Africa, visiting Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe. During his visit, he signed agreements to establish economic zones, explore opportunities in accessing minerals including diamonds and platinum, and enhance military and technical cooperation.

In the Central African Republic, the Kremlin is also supplying weapons and security advice to the embattled government. Three Russian journalists probing these ties were recently killed 180 kilometers (112 miles) northeast of the capital, Bangui. Moscow is also holding a poetry competition in CAR which would send the winners to a holiday in a camp in Russian-annexed Crimea.

The choice to set up base in Eritrea is calculated, given the nation’s strategic location in the Horn of Africa. Its Assab and Massawa ports have been at the center of the changing power dynamics in the region. Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who are part of the coalition fighting in Yemen, have used the Assab port for logistics purposes and as a detention facility.
After decades sparring with landlocked Ethiopia, a recent rapprochement also means Addis Ababa is looking to utilize and invest in Eritrea’s seaports. As a nation coming out of isolation, Asmara also hopes to use its significant geographic position as a leverage to attract global investment, says Omar S. Mahmood, a researcher with the Institute for Security Studies in Addis Ababa. Leaders from nations including Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Japan, and Germany have all visited the country in recent weeks. Asmara, Omar added, “is making up for lost time.”
Russia’s arrival in Eritrea will, however, mean a crowded Horn of Africa. Neighboring Djibouti, the third smallest country in mainland Africa, is home to various European, Asian, and American military bases. And there’s growing friction there too: in May, the Pentagon accused China of using military-grade lasers to distract its fighter pilots in the country.


Abdi Latif Dahir

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AFRICAN UNION PEACE COMMITTEE : PRESS RELEASE OF THE 26TH MEETING OF THE MILITARY OPERATIONS COORDINATION COMMITTEE (MOCC)

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The Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC) for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) held its 26th Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya on 27 August 2018. The Chiefs of Defense Forces/Staff (CDF/S) or designated representatives of AMSIOM Troop/Police Contributing Countries (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda) attended the meeting. The Somalia National Security Advisor (NSA) and the CDF attended the MOCC. The Head of UNSOS attended the meeting as well as representatives from partner organizations and countries (European Union, United Kingdom and United States of America).

The meeting was chaired by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui, in light of the 25th MOCC meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the AU-UN Joint Review conducted in May 2018, the UNSCR 2431 (30 July 2018), the ongoing Operational Readiness Assessment (ORA) of AMISOM to be completed by 15 September 2018 and the upcoming Review of the AMISOM CONOPS scheduled for October 2018.
Participants received briefings from the AMISOM Special Representative, the Force Commander (FC) and the Ag. Police Commissioner (PC). The SRCC made a presentation on the political and security situation while the FC and Ag. PC presented the progress made on the implementation of the Somalia Transition plan (STP) including the 3 Pilot projects in terms of force generation as well as allocated resources. The ongoing AMISOM Operational Readiness Assessment (ORA) was also presented. AMISOM further briefed the meeting on possible options for the reconfiguration of AMISOM in view of the Feb 2019 drawdown, the re-sectorisation of AMISOM Area of Responsibility (AOR) as well as AMISOM’s role in mentoring of the SNA. The Somalia NSA briefed on the progress made by FGS including the inclusive politics in Somalia, the reconciliation efforts and the constitutional review process. The CDF of Somalia briefed the meeting on the steps taken by FGS to implement the Pilot Phase 1 of the STP. As part of the joint planning, the meeting instructed AMISOM to work closely with the FGS to ensure that SNA troops generated for phase 1 operations are assembled and their operational readiness assessed.
Noting the progress made by AMISOM in Somalia and the steps taken by the SNSF, the MOCC emphasized that the transfer of security responsibility from AMISOM to SNSF is dependent on enhancing SNSF capacity. Additionally, the MOCC noted the progress made by the Joint Somalia-AU Taskforce in the enhancement of AU’s political and technical support to Somalia and to ensure a proper handover process. The meeting called for greater attention to the political risks of the transition and called for collective effort to bring coherence to partner support to the transition. For effective implementation of the UNSCR 2431, the MOCC observed the need for enhanced capacities and capabilities for AMISOM and SNSF to allow effective joint operations in support of the Transition plan.
On the ongoing ORA, the Meeting noted the progress made and urged for synergy and coordination between all stakeholders. The meeting further urged consultation with TCCs/PCCs and looks forward to the final report to be submitted to the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) for consideration.
On training the SNSF, the meeting noted the progress made by the AMISOM police component in support of the SNP. In this regard, the MOCC urged SNA to identify its training requirements and submit to AU which will coordinate with TCCs and other stakeholders for consideration. The Meeting further noted that the combat mentoring of SNA requires additional capacities and capabilities to enhance the combat readiness of the SNA troops in a coordinated and coherent manner.
On the AMISOM drawdown of 1000 troops by 28 February 2019, the meeting considered the modalities and implications of the drawdown pending the outcome of the ORA. In the meantime, the meeting urged AMISOM to have quick wins in support of the STP and to study the implications of the drawdown in terms of reconfiguration of the forces, the collapsing/reduction of the number of Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), handover of FOBs to SNA and related issues.

On the reconfiguration of AMISOM, the Meeting affirmed the need for establishment of an AMISOM Mobile Force under the command and control of the FC with increased military ground and air capabilities. The meeting further noted that the AMISOM civilian component is being enhanced to deploy in strategic locations of AMISOM’s Area of Responsibility and to focus its effort in support of the political and stabilization process in Somalia, the Somalia Transition Plan, in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, Federal Member States and other stakeholders.
On the Re sectorisation of AMISOM AOR, the MOCC agreed to maintain the current sector boundaries and urged AU and TCCs to continue the consultations which outcome will be reflected in the review of the CONOPS. In the meantime, the meeting urged AU in coordination with TCCs and other AU member states to generate qualified and experienced staff officers for the establishment of multinational Sector Headquarters.
Finally, the MOCC encouraged the AU in coordination with the TCCs/PCCs and other stakeholders to start the CONPOS review process immediately to be completed by 31 October 2018.

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UK PM, German Chancellor To Visit Nigeria

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British Prime Minister, Theresa May, is expected in Nigeria this week and will meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on her first visit to Africa.

German chancellor Angela Merkel is also expected in Nigeria.
According to a statement by the government of the United Kingdom, she’ll be the first British Prime Minister to visit sub-Saharan Africa since 2013. She’ll also visit Kenya and South Africa.

She will meet President Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday, august 29, and also spend some time in Lagos where she is expected to visit victims of modern slavery.
May’s central message during her visit will be focused on a renewed partnership between the uk and Africa, which will seek to maximise shared opportunities and tackle common challenges in a continent that is growing at a rapid pace – from the Sahara to South Africa, according to the statement.
She will also use the visit to announce further support to tackle instability across the region. Nigeria has been dealing with the insurgency of terrorist group, Boko Haram, for nine years.
Ahead of her visit, she noted that Africa will play a transformative role in the global economy, making it important to the world to ensure a “more prosperous, growing and trading Africa”.

She said, “Africa stands right on the cusp of playing a transformative role in the global economy, and as longstanding partners this trip is a unique opportunity at a unique time for the UK to set out our ambition to work even closer together.
“A more prosperous, growing and trading Africa is in all of our interests and its incredible potential will only be realised through a concerted partnership between governments, global institutions and business.
“As we prepare to leave the European Union, now is the time for the UK to deepen and strengthen its global partnerships. This week I am looking forward to discussing how we can do that alongside Africa to help deliver important investment and jobs as well as continue to work together to maintain stability and security.
“I am proud to be leading this ambitious trip to Africa and to become the first UK prime minister in over 30 years to visit Kenya.”

The prime minister will be joined by a business delegation made up of 29 representatives from UK business – half of which are SMES – from across all regions of the UK and its devolved administrations.
Delegates include the London stock exchange, Cardiff-based cooling technology firm, sure chill, solar tech provider, North Umbria energy from North Tyneside, London-based start-up, farm.ink, who have created a knowledge-sharing mobile platform for farmers, Northern Irish Agri-Tech leader, Devenish nutrition, and the world-renowned Scotch Whisky Association and midlands manufacturing giant JCB.

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Catholic students have better self-discipline, US study finds

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The study said religion can mould hearts and minds in ways that typical methods of discipline cannot
A recent study by the University of California Santa Barbara has found that a Catholic education helps to improve students’ self-discipline.
According to associate professor Michael Gottfried’s and doctoral student Jacob Kirksey’s findings, Catholic schools are better at instilling traits of self-discipline in their students than US public schools and other private schools.
Their study focused on answering two questions. One: Are children in Catholic elementary schools more self-disciplined than comparable students in other schools, as measured by their likelihood to engage in verbal and physical confrontations and control their tempers? And two: Is the relationship between Catholic school attendance and self-discipline stronger in certain subsets of students?
Analysis of nationally representative data collected by two Early Childhood Longitudinal Studies conducted in 1999 and 2011, examining child development, school readiness and early school experiences, uncovered three key findings: Students in Catholic schools are less likely to engage in disruptive behaviour than their peers in other schools; students in Catholic schools displayed greater self-control than other students; and finally, regardless of demographics, students in Catholic schools showed greater self-discipline that students in other private schools.
The study’s data set was drawn from two cohorts, comprising 15,000 – 17,000 kindergarteners who attended public schools and 1,000 – 2,000 who attended non-public schools, of which close to 50 per cent attended a Catholic school.
As part of their process, the authors attempted to construct a plausible control group but were forced to account for the fact that parents often made a conscious decision to send their children to Catholic schools and that, therefore, there may be unobservable differences between Catholic and other private school students which could bias the study.
Despite this, the authors felt confident enough to come to several conclusions. “Since Catholic school doctrine emphasizes the development of self-discipline, it seems likely that Catholic schools devote more time and attention to fostering it,” they wrote. “If other schools took self-discipline as seriously as Catholic schools do, they would likely have to spend less time, energy and political capital on penalizing students for negative behaviours.”
“The most obvious feature that Catholic schools and similar faith-based schools have in common is their focus on religion — including such specifically Judeo-Christian values as humility, obedience, kindness, tolerance, self-sacrifice and perseverance,” the authors added.
“Perhaps students are more likely to internalize such values when they know they are loved not only by their teachers but by their Creator . Religion can mould hearts and minds in ways that suspensions, restorative justice and Positive Behavioural Intervention and Supports can’t begin to match.”

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Trump impeachment: Is it possible – and how would it play out?

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Michael Cohen’s testimony on Monday, that he broke campaign finance laws at Donald Trump’s direction, has renewed calls for Trump’s impeachment or even his removal – but is that likely, and what would actually happen if it did?
Impeachment?
Without doubt, Cohen’s testimony increases the chances that Trump will face impeachment – but it is not quite as simple as that. Cohen’s testimony is not the only factor which will determine how the coming drama will play out. In essence, much rests on what happens on November 8th – the midterm congressional elections. That day could quite possibly determine Trump’s fate as president.

So, how bad do things look for Trump?
Former US diplomat Jim Jatras told RT that the chances of impeachment currently stand somewhere at “about 65 percent and growing” but said that number could go up or down based on what happens in November. If the Democrats manage to take back control of the House of Representatives, the “odds of impeachment go up to at least 85 percent,” Jatras predicted. If Republicans retain the House, Trump will be in a much safer position.
In contrast, Brussels-based Russian affairs analyst Gilbert Doctorow told RT that the chances of impeachment are effectively zero “until and unless” the November elections give Democrats back control of the House.
Bill Clinton’s impeachment in December 1998 set the precedent and makes it likely that Trump will be called to testify in the civil suit brought by adult film actress Stormy Daniels, US journalist Dave Lindorff said. Lawyers will try to create a “perjury trap” similar to the one Clinton fell into which could lead to impeachment, he added.

Removal from office?
Impeachment is one thing, but there has also been talk of the possibility of Trump being fully removed from office. This is a far more difficult task for Democrats who want to get rid of Trump once and for all. Removal from office would require a two-thirds vote in a Senate trial.
After Clinton was impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, he won his Senate trial and remained in office. Trump, on the other hand, “starts from a much weaker position,” Lindorff said, because he is “only backed by a minority of Americans according to polls”. His current average approval rating is at 43.5 percent according to Real Clear Politics.
Despite that weaker starting position, however, Democrats would still need “at least 15 Republican Senators to vote for conviction and removal from office, which would be a heavy lift” – and that’s if they had regained control of the Senate. If they failed to do that, it would be an even steeper hill to climb.
Jatras was more categorical about the chances of Trump being removed from office, however, arguing that “if the Democrats take the House, Trump will be impeached and removed, even if the Republicans retain the Senate.”
“Anywhere from a quarter to a half of GOP Senators would jump at the chance to put a knife in Trump’s back and get Mike Pence in the Oval Office and Nikki Haley in as VP, restoring the pre-Trump status quo ante,” Jatras said.

Whether any of this happens may all depend on what other information Special Counsel Robert Mueller has up his sleeve – or what else Cohen might decide to reveal to win a reduction or full removal of his jail sentence. “My guess is [Cohen] is going to sing like a canary to stay out of jail at this point,” he said.
What next?
Let’s imagine things go badly for Trump and he finds himself impeached and removed from office. What happens next? Well, we know one thing, at least. The person to replace Trump would be Vice President Mike Pence. But what kind of president would Pence be – and what kind of domestic strife would he be facing in post-Trump America?
Doctorow said that Pence “would not continue Trump’s aggressive policies of tariffs and sanctions against US allies” – an assumption that seems to be widely shared by analysts. When it comes to Russia sanctions, however, there is some disagreement among experts about what might happen next.

Doctorow suggested that, under Pence, the world could “expect the sanctions against Russia to be relaxed” because they have only been strengthened in recent months in an effort by Congress to “handcuff” Trump into implementing as many anti-Russia measures as possible. The sanctions are “anti-Trump much more than they are anti-Russia,” Doctorow said.
Lindorff said sanctions would probably be continued because it is “good for US arms manufacturers” to have the “Russia threat” pushed as much as possible. Jatras was more pessimistic, however, suggesting that sanctions would not only continue but could “vastly intensify” if Trump was gone – and not only against Russia, but against “other designated adversaries like Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela—not for economic reasons but purely as a form of warfare”.
In fact, Jatras suggested that Pence in office could mean that a “major global conflict” would be almost “unavoidable” given Pence’s more traditional foreign policy views which are more in alignment with the pro-war establishment. It is possible too, he said, that Trump could even do something “reckless” regarding Iran “in a desperate bid to save himself”.
Domestically, there would be huge challenges for Trump’s successor, too. Politically, Pence could find himself in an even weaker position than Trump, given that his strict religious views mean Evangelicals make up his support base – and they are a small group.
Lindorff suggested that Pence would “totally lose the support of some key liberal or middle-of-the-road Republicans in both House and Senate, who would not be able to support his rigid stands on things like abortion, gay rights, etc. that Trump gets a pass on.”

Domestic strife is also a distinct possibility, given large swathes of the population may not sit back and accept that Trump had been removed from office legitimately. It is certainly possible that such a dramatic end to the Trump presidency could result in political unrest and even violence.

Perhaps the most significant result, however, would be how determined the “Republican-Democrat duopoly” would be to prevent anything similar ever happening again.

The establishment would do everything in its power to “make sure that no future accidents happened, that no ‘unapproved’ populist will ever again break through” – and the US political system will be “every bit as immune to reform as the USSR in the 1980s, except with two nominal parties, not just one,” Jatras said.


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Melania Trump to visit Africa

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US FIRST Lady Melania Trump will travel to Africa later this year, she announced in a statement.
The trip is going to be Melania’s first major solo international visit and she intends to visit several countries in the continent.
“This will be my first time travelling to Africa and I am excited to educate myself on the issues facing children throughout the continent, while also learning about its rich culture and history,” she said.
She is expected to visit Africa in October and focus on humanitarian work and “development programmes being done in many of the countries”.
Melania Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said the first lady chose Africa after she learned about some of the development programs that are under way in many of its countries, especially in children’s health and education.
“We are a global society, and I believe it is through open dialogue and the exchanging of ideas that we have a real opportunity to learn from one another,” the statement said.
She will not be travelling with US President Donald Trump, who was criticised earlier for allegedly referring to some African nations as “shithole countries”, though he denied he was being a racist.

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Book Review : The Morning Sunset By Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru

 

By Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru
The Morning Sunset is a book written to sensitize our people over the issue of engaging in a perilous journey to Europe via Libya. It is a story written for everyone: the youths; kids; fathers and mothers. The continuing migration of people into Europe across the Mediterranean is unnecessary. People are not born to waste their future that way.
The Morning Sunset is simply passing a message to people in Africa. Those that have not been opportuned to visit western world think that it is a bed of roses. In fact a paradise . Where as it is not like that. Many chose to come in search of greener pastures. They believe that Europe is the only place they will have the opportunity to get a better life for themselves and that of their families.

My messages to Nigerians and Africans are that our people should not abandon any tangible thing they have or their education just to embark on this long and dangerous journey through road and desert because the life in Europe does not worth such risk . Also let some parents and relatives be aware especially those that are anxiously waiting for the day their beloved children will come back from Europe but they never knew that the bones of their children have been rotten in Sahara deserts and in the seas of foreign land.

 


Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru is originally from Nigeria but lived in Italy for several years before moving to Leicester , UK.

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