Category Archives: World

Update: Foreigners locked up as catastrophic protests hit South Africa again

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Residents of Mamelodi, a community in Pretoria, South Africa have been locked up in their homes since last night due to protest against foreign nationals in that country.

Shops, houses and businesses belonging to foreign nationals including Somalis, Pakistanis and Nigerians have been burnt and others looted.

Some foreigners have sustained various degrees of injuries and are currently receiving treatment at various health facilities.

A Ghanaian living in Pretoria in an interview with Onua FM’s Yen Nsempa on Friday from South Africa recounted that Attridgeville, a suburb in Pretoria-West, started the protest by looting shops of foreign nationals. The protesters have barricaded the main road connecting the community to other areas.

Yaw Amponsah explained that only two police officers came to the scene but they were chased out by the protesters who outnumbered the police officers.

He said so far, no Ghanaian has been hurt but several Pakistanis, Somalis and Nigerians have been injured.

Yaw Amponsah told Yen Nsempa host, Bright Asempa that, the protestors are of the view that foreigners from these countries are into drugs and other dubious acts.

He added that the South African President, Jacob Zuma, this morning told the protesters not to attack the legal immigrants but this did not deter the protestors from going ahead with the protest.

Meanwhile, police in Pretoria have fired rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray to disperse protesters at the Central Business District (CBD) of Pretoria Friday morning.

Foreigner nationals being attacked in the protest fled to Pretoria CBD to receive refuge but the protesters rushed to the place to attack them.

“It is a battle between the protesters and foreigners right in CBD. The police are dispersing the crowd with rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray”, a Ghanaian living in Pretoria, Yaw Amponsah told Onua FM News.

By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|Onua 95.1FM||Ghana

Mexico’s foreign minister rejects Trump deportation policy

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A demonstrator holds a placard reading: "No wall. Respect to immigrants and human rights" during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's proposed border wall and to call for unity, in Monterrey, Mexico, on 12 February

“No wall. Respect to immigrants and human rights”:Mr Trump’s immigration policy has led to protests in Mexico

Mexico has condemned new guidelines issued by the United States, under which almost all illegal immigrants can be subject to deportation.

The new rules include sending undocumented people to Mexico, even if they are not Mexicans.

But Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray says his country cannot “accept unilateral decisions imposed by one government on another.”

Two top US officials are in Mexico to discuss the measures.

Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and the head of Homeland Security, John Kelly, will hold talks with President Enrique Pena Nieto, amid one of the most serious rifts between the two neighbours in recent years.

What is changing?

The changes announced on Tuesday include plans to enforce an existing provision of the US Immigration and Nationality Act that allows authorities to send illegal immigrants back to Mexico, regardless of where they are from.

But it is unclear whether the US has authority to force Mexico to accept foreigners.

The Obama government focussed on deporting immigrants convicted of serious crimes.

Now, the new priorities are broad enough to apply to almost any illegal immigrant, including anyone who has been charged with a crime, misrepresented themselves, poses a risk to public safety, or “abused any programme related to receipt of public benefits”.

The new guidelines also allow Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport people immediately.

Expedited deportations can now be used against undocumented immigrants anywhere in the US, who are unable to prove they have been in the country for more than two years.

US President Donald Trump discusses the federal budget in the Roosevelt Room of the White House

Mr Trump’s stance over immigration has angered Mexicans

Previously, expedited removals were applied to people who had been in the country for less than two weeks and were within 100 miles of the border.

An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the US, many of them from Mexico.

What has Mexico said?

Mr Videgaray said on Wednesday that Mexico would not accept the new rules. “We are not going to accept that because we don’t have to and it is not in the interest of Mexico.”

“We also have control of our borders and we will exercise it fully,” he added.

He said his country was prepared to go to the United Nations to defend the freedoms and rights of Mexicans under international law.

Roberto Campa, head of the human rights department of Mexico’s interior ministry, said the plan to deport non-Mexicans to Mexico was “hostile” and “unacceptable”.

A man walks to Mexico after crossing the international bridge on the US/Mexico border in Nuevo Laredo

Mexico says it will not accept the new US measures

Relations between the US and Mexico have been tense under Mr Trump, who has said Mexico will pay for a wall he wants to build on the southern border, expected to cost billions of dollars.

Last month, Mr Pena Nieto cancelled a planned meeting with the US president in Washington over disagreements over the wall.

What has the US said?

President Donald Trump made immigration and border control a key part of his campaign.

The government said the new guidelines would not usher in mass deportations, but were designed to empower agents to enforce laws already on the books.

A sign warns against trespassing near the US/Mexico border in Presidio, Texas

Border control was one of main points of Mr Trump’s election campaign

Earlier, in Guatemala, Mr Kelly reinforced that the measures did not signal mass deportations.

“We will be looking primarily at criminal offenders first. But there will be no mass round-ups, and when we do take someone into custody, they’re then put into the American legal justice system, that’s the courts, and the courts will decide what’ll happen to them,” he told reporters.

Despite the tensions, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Wednesday that the relationship with Mexico was “phenomenal right now”.

He said he expected a “great discussion” between US and Mexican officials. The talks are expected to also include drug trafficking and the North American Free Trade Agreement, among other issues.

Source: BBC

South Africa’s decision to leave ICC ruled ‘invalid’

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ICC in Ivory Coast in 2013

Africa has 34 signatories to the Rome Statute, the treaty that set up the court

South Africa’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been ruled “unconstitutional and invalid” by the High Court.

South Africa notified the UN of its intention to leave last October, accusing the ICC of undermining its sovereignty.

But the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) argued that the government had to first seek parliamentary approval.

The court ordered the government to revoke its notice of withdrawal.

The decision to pull out came after a dispute over Sudanese President Omar al-Bashar’s visit to the country in 2015.

South African authorities refused to arrest Mr Bashir despite him facing an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes.

Mr Bashir was attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg, when the government ignored an ICC request to arrest him.

The DA welcomed the judgement.

“The withdrawal by the South African government from the ICC was irrational and unconstitutional,” DA lawmaker James Selfie told AFP.

“We would like South Africa to stay in the ICC because we believe that it is consistent with our constitution and with the legacy of Nelson Mandela.”

Source: BBC

US widens net for deporting immigrants

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The Trump administration has issued tough guidelines to widen the net for deporting illegal immigrants from the US, and speed up their removal.

Undocumented immigrants arrested for traffic violations or shop-lifting will be targeted along with those convicted of more serious crimes.

The memos do not alter US immigration laws, but take a much tougher approach towards enforcing existing measures.

There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the US.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Tuesday the new guidelines would not usher in mass deportations, but were designed to empower agents to enforce laws already on the books.

“The president wanted to take the shackles off individuals in these agencies,” Mr Spicer said.

“The message from this White House and the Department of Homeland Security is that those people who are in this country, who pose a threat to our safety, or who have committed a crime, will be the first to go.”

What’s changed from the Obama era?

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new blueprint leaves in place Obama-era protections for immigrants who entered the US illegally as children, affecting about 750,000 young people known as Dreamers.

But it expands the more restricted guidance issued under the previous administration, which focused its policy on immigrants convicted of serious crimes, threats to national security or those who had recently crossed the border.

During his eight years in office, Barack Obama instructed US immigration officials to focus deportation efforts on undocumented migrants who were convicted of serious crimes or recent arrivals captured near the US border.

Donald Trump’s immigration order marks a sharp break with those policies. Instead – according to the Department of Homeland Security implementation memos – the Trump administration essentially will “prioritise” the deportation of almost all undocumented immigrants, everywhere.

The Homeland Security Department’s list of prioritised “removable aliens” is so broad as to include just about every class of undocumented immigrant – with only a carve-out for individuals who entered the US as children.

All this will require more money and manpower – and the Trump administration is going to ask Congress for the former and go on a hiring spree to address the latter. Local and state law-enforcement officials will also be allowed to arrest unauthorised immigrants.

While Mr Obama aggressively enforced immigration law and ramped up deportations in some areas and at some times, there were notable instances where he de-emphasised action. In the Trump era immigration authorities are now being given the power to make a sea-to-sea, border-to-border push.

What’s in the new orders?

The two memos released on Tuesday by the agency also allow Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport people immediately.

During Mr Obama’s presidency, expedited removals were applied to people who had been in the country for no more than 14 days and were within 100 miles of the border.

Under the new guidance, agents can expedite deportations for undocumented immigrants who are unable to prove they have been in the country for more than two years, located anywhere in the US.

Some of the new priorities include:

  • Expanding deportations to undocumented immigrants who have been charged with a crime, misrepresented themselves, pose a risk to public safety, or “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits” – effectively allowing agents to arrest any illegal immigrant they encounter
  • Ending US policy to release those caught on the border and instead placing them into detention centres until their cases are resolved
  • Calling for authorities to prosecute parents who help smuggle their children into the country
  • Allowing plans to begin on an expansion of the border wall along the US southern border

The DHS plans to hire an extra 10,000 agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and 5,000 more border patrol officers to enforce the new guidance.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly wrote in one of the memos: “The surge of illegal immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States.”

Mr Kelly’s memo also includes instructions to enforce an existing provision of the US Immigration and Nationality Act that allows authorities to send some people caught illegally at the border back to Mexico, regardless of where they are from.

It is unclear whether the US has authority to force Mexico to accept foreigners.

Where’s this guidance come from?

It is a blueprint to implement executive orders that Mr Trump signed on 25 January, days after taking office.

The new guidelines did not explain how Mr Trump’s border wall would be funded and where undocumented immigrants apprehended in the crackdown would be detained.

The memos instruct agents to “allocate all available resources to expand their detention capabilities and capacities”, but Congress would probably need to allocate money to build new detention centres.


Mugabe: ‘Stop working for white people’

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Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters shout political slogans and hold placards during a protest against the Zimbabwean government on May 28, 2016 in Bulawayo.
The oposition say Mr Mugbabe’s policies have caused poverty

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has called on black people to stop thinking of working for European investors and to focus on becoming  “masters of our own economy”.

In an interview with state media to mark his 93rd birthday, Mr Mugabe said his government had achieved its objective to increase land ownership among black people following independence in 1980.

“I would say we have continued to give land to the people and most of the land which used to be in the hands of the settlers is now in the hands of our people,” Mr Mugabe said.

“I think we have done that well,” he added.

But, on the business front, his concern was that Zimbabweans did not want to form companies and preferred to work for “Europeans as directors, managers [and] chief executives”.

“We would want to see our people turned into entrepreneurs. Have we really  become producers of our own goods? Have we become masters of our own economy or are we still thinking of whites as the best entrepreneurs and Africans as the labourers for these entrepreneurs?” Mr Mugabe said.

Mr Mugabe’s critics say his policies have ruined the economy, and that a corrupt ruling elite has benefited the most from his land reform programme.

Zimbabwe does not have its own currency, and introduced “bond notes” last year because of a shortage of US dollars, the main currency people used in the country.

Source: BBC

South Sudan warns of hundreds of thousands facing famine

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Families with malnourished children wait to receive treatment at the Leer Hospital, South Sudan, 7 July 2014

Civil war and an economic collapse have been blamed for the situation in South Sudan

A famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan, the first to be announced in any part of the world in six years.

The government and the United Nations report that 100,000 people are facing starvation, with a million more on the brink of famine.

A combination of civil war and an economic collapse have been blamed.

There have been warnings of famine in Yemen, Somalia and north-eastern Nigeria, but South Sudan is the first to declare one.

Last week, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned that more than 20 million people may face starvation in a series of famines over the next six months.

The WFP’s chief economist, Arif Husain, said a combination of wars and drought meant that for the first time in recent years, aid workers were now talking about four simultaneous famines in separate parts of the world.

He added that despite record levels of international humanitarian aid distribution, there was not enough to look after all the people in need.

Source: BBC

It’s easy supporting Mahama on choice of Ambassador Quartey – Nana Addo

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President Akufo-Addo has revealed that he had no difficulty whatsoever in supporting the candidature of Thomas Kwesi Quartey for the position of Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

According to President Akufo-Addo when his predecessor, former President Mahama, told him about presenting Thomas Kwesi Quartey as Ghana’s candidate for the position, “it was a very easy matter for me, because he was a Ghanaian who had the spirit and competence for the job.”

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, February 16, 2017, when Thomas Kwesi Quartey, now Deputy AU Commission Chairperson, and Ambassador Victor Gbeho called on the President to thank him for the support offered to the candidature of Kwesi Quartey by the government.

It will be recalled that Thomas Kwesi Quartey served as deputy Foreign Affairs Minister under the Mahama government, and was until recently Secretary to former President, John Dramani Mahama.

Nonetheless, Thomas Quartey received the strongest support and backing from the government of President Akufo-Addo, resulting in him receiving 44 out of 54 votes cast, representing some 82% of votes from the Heads of State gathered.

President Akufo-Addo noted that “it was with a clean and sincere heart that I threw my support and I am happy that we were successful. I got all the credit for it by my fellow Heads of State, but I believe it was a good day for Ghana.”

The President urged the new Deputy AU Commission Chairperson to help effect the vision of continental integration, and ensure that the proposals adopted at the 28th AU Summit, which include the proposals on continental free trade, and finding sustainable ways of financing the AU, are fully implemented.

He was confident that Kwesi Quartey would do a good job and hold high the flag of Ghana.

Ambassador Victor Gbeho, on his part, thanked the President for the immense support given to Thomas Kwesi Quartey’s candidature and assured him that the latter will work diligently to justify the confidence reposed in him, as well as enhance Ghana’s image in the comity of nations.


Gambian leader sworn in at packed stadium

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Gambian President Adama Barrow greeted thousands of supporters at Independence Stadium

The Gambia has sworn in its new president, Adama Barrow, in front of a crowd of thousands.

It is the second time Mr Barrow has taken the oath.

The first time was at very low-key event at the country’s embassy in Senegal last month, after a lengthy power struggle forced him into exile.

After his predecessor finally agreed to step down, Mr Barrow was able to arrange a stadium event back in his homeland, near the capital city Banjul.

Crowds queued through the night to get a good spot inside the stadium.

Brass bands prepared to play and flags waved.

Mr Barrow is only the third president in the history of The Gambia, and the celebrations also mark 52 years of the west African country’s independence.

Long-time leader Yahya Jammeh was voted out in December but he only agreed to step aside when regional powers sent in troops ready to remove him by force.

He has since fled to Equatorial Guinea.

Mr Barrow has promised a new dawn for the country, which Mr Jammeh had ruled with an iron fist.

Many political prisoners have already been freed and The Gambia is set to rejoin international institutions such as the International Criminal Court and the Commonwealth.

Mr Barrow, a successful property developer who has never held public office, defied the odds by winning the election.

Speaking to the BBC just before the election, Mr Barrow said that Gambians “had been suffering for 22 years” and were ready for change.

His predecessor had once told the BBC he would rule for a billion years, if necessary.

Source: BBC

Even a dead Robert Mugabe could stand in Zimbabwe election – wife

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Grace Mugabe (left) has often professed undying loyalty to her nonagenarian husband

The wife of Zimbabwe’s 92-year-old President, Robert Mugabe, has said that he is so popular that if he died, he could run as a corpse in next year’s election and still win votes.

Grace Mugabe, 51, was addressing a rally of the governing Zanu-PF party.

Mr Mugabe has governed Zimbabwe since the end of white-majority rule in 1980 following a bitterly fought war.

His wife, who has often professed her undying loyalty to her husband, has assumed an increasingly high profile.

“One day when God decides that Mugabe dies, we will have his corpse appear as a candidate on the ballot paper,” Mrs Mugabe told the rally in Buhera, south-east of the capital Harare.

“You will see people voting for Mugabe as a corpse. I am seriously telling you – just to show people how people love their president.”

President Mugabe has been backed by his party to stand again in next year’s election, but recently cut back on his public engagements.

Grace Mugabe has warned contemporaries of Mr Mugabe from the guerrilla war era that they are not in a position to replace him because they likewise would be too old.

“Anyone who was with Mugabe in 1980 has no right to tell him he is old. If you want Mugabe to go, then you leave together. You also have to leave. Then we take over because we were not there in 1980,” she said, gesticulating towards herself.

Last September, the president was rumoured to have died after he reportedly cut short his attendance of an AU summit to fly to Dubai for a health check.

Mr Mugabe later joked about the rumours, saying he indeed died but was only resurrected.

Source: BBC

Tony Blair calls for people to ‘rise up’ against Brexit

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Tony Blair pictured with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in January

Tony Blair is to announce his “mission” to persuade Britons to “rise up” and change their minds on Brexit.

The former prime minister will say in a speech later that people voted in the referendum “without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit”.

He will say he wants to “build support for finding a way out from the present rush over the cliff’s edge”.

But former Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith said Mr Blair’s comments were arrogant and utterly undemocratic.

Downing Street has said it is “absolutely committed” to seeing Brexit through.

Prime Minister Theresa May wants to trigger formal Brexit talks by the end of March – a move which was backed in the House of Commons by MPs last week.

‘Expose relentlessly’

Mr Blair, who was UK prime minister between 1997 and 2007, will say in his speech to the pro-European campaign group Open Britain that those driving a withdrawal from the European Union “always wanted a hard Brexit”.

“Indeed even the term ‘Hard Brexit’ requires amendment. The policy is now ‘Brexit at any cost’,” he will say.

“Our challenge is to expose, relentlessly, the actual cost.

“To show how this decision was based on imperfect knowledge, which will now become informed knowledge.

“To calculate in ‘easy to understand’ ways how proceeding will cause real damage to the country and its citizens and to build support for finding a way out from the present rush over the cliff’s edge.”

Mr Blair, who campaigned to Remain in the EU, will say he accepts the verdict of June’s referendum, but would recommend looking again at Brexit when “we have a clear sense of where we’re going”.

He will also say the debate is being driven by immigration “which I fully accept is a substantial issue”.

“Nonetheless, we have moved in a few months from a debate about what sort of Brexit, involving a balanced consideration of all the different possibilities; to the primacy of one consideration – namely controlling immigration from the EU – without any real discussion as to why, and when Brexit doesn’t affect the immigration people most care about.”

‘Rallying call’

Mr Blair has faced criticism in the past for his government’s decision to allow people from Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to work in Britain without restrictions, while most EU states imposed transitional controls to slow the rate of migration.

BBC political correspondent Tom Bateman said the former prime minister’s intervention on Friday is “quite an explicit rallying call” for those who campaigned on the Remain side, warning them that now is not the time to retreat but to “rise up in defence of what we believe”.

But he added that not everyone on the Remain side agrees with Mr Blair, with one former campaign boss arguing that they should be working for the best version of Brexit, rather than fighting against it.

A government spokesman said the British people had expressed their view very clearly on 23 June, adding: “There will be no second referendum.”

Iain Duncan Smith, who was a prominent Leave campaigner, said Mr Blair’s comments were arrogant, utterly undemocratic and showed that the political elite was completely out of touch with the British people.

Brexit bill

Supporters of leaving the EU argue it will free up the UK to trade better globally and give the government better control of immigration.

Previously, Mr Blair has called for the views of the “16 million” people who had backed remaining in the EU not to be ignored.

He has argued that there has to be a way, either “through Parliament, or an election, or possibly through another referendum, in which people express their view”.

Earlier this month, MPs overwhelmingly agreed to let the government begin the UK’s departure from the EU by voting for the Brexit bill.

The draft legislation was approved by 494 votes to 122, and will move to the House of Lords on Monday.

But the Commons vote prompted splits in the Labour party, with shadow business secretary Clive Lewis quitting the front bench to vote against the bill. Despite calls by leader Jeremy Corbyn for his party to back the government, 52 MPs rebelled.

Lib Dem attempts to amend the bill to include a provision for another referendum were defeated by 340 votes to 33.

The government has promised to invoke Article 50 – setting formal talks with the EU in motion – by the end of next month, but it requires Parliament’s permission before doing so.

Source: BBC