Monday, March 18, 2019

Cyclone Idai May Have Killed 1,000 People in Mozambique, Says Country's President
Widespread flooding has "made whole villages disappear" and bodies are floating in the water, says Mozambique's president.

Monday 18 March 2019 18:06, UK
Sky News

Four days after Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique, there are fears it may have killed more than 1,000 people in the country.

It is thought to have been the most destructive storm to have hit the southeast African nation in more than 10 years.

Widespread flooding has left whole villages submerged and bodies were floating in the water, as some areas were completely cut off by road.

Mozambique's president Filipe Nyusi said the official number of dead was 84 but added "it appears that we can register more than 1,000 deaths".

He also said it was a "real disaster of great proportions".

"The waters of the Pungue and Buzi rivers overflowed, making whole villages disappear and isolating communities, and bodies are floating," he said.

President Nyusi spoke after flying over the central port city of Beira and the rural provinces of Manica and Sofala, where there was severe flooding.

According to the Red Cross, 90% of Beira, which has 500,000 inhabitants, has been damaged or destroyed.

Jamie LeSueur, who led a Red Cross aerial assessment of the city, said the damage was "massive and horrifying".

"The situation is terrible," he said. "The scale of devastation is enormous."

"Communication lines have been completely cut and roads have been destroyed. Some affected communities are not accessible."

Mozambique was hit last Thursday before the cyclone moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi.

More than 215 people have been killed by the storm in the three countries, including 89 in Zimbabwe, official figures show. And hundreds more were reported missing.

In Zimbabwe's Chimanimani district, rescuers were struggling to reach people cut off after torrential rains and winds up to 105mph swept away roads, homes and bridges and knocked out power lines.

UN agencies and the Red Cross have been helping with the rescue efforts that included delivering food and medicine by helicopter in the impoverished countries.

Mozambique is a long, narrow nation with a population of 30 million people, and has a 1,500-mile coastline along the Indian Ocean.

This time of year, it is prone to cyclones and tropical storms, and was struck by severe flooding from Cyclone Eline in February 2000.

That storm killed 350 people and made 650,000 homeless across southern Africa, including Zimbabwe.
India to Provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Support to Mozambique
Africa News

In response to a request from the Republic of Mozambique that is hit by a tropical cyclone ‘IDAI’ of Category 4, causing loss of lives and severe damage to properties in Central and Northern part of Mozambique, Government of India has decided to divert three Indian Naval Ships (INS Sujatha, INS Shardul & INS Sarathi) to the port city of Beira to provide immediate Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to the affected people. Indian Naval Ships will provide relief material in the form of food, clothes and medicine to the affected people. In addition, the ships have 3 medical practitioners and 5 nurses to provide immediate medical help.

In this hour of tragedy, Government of India stands ready to extend support to the affected people.

India has been extending humanitarian assistance to Mozambique and had provided 10 million dollars for food grains in 2017, after it suffered food shortage as a result of natural calamities.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of External Affairs - Government of India.
Theresa May's Brexit Deal Suffers New Blow
UK Speaker of Parliament John Bercow ruled that May could not put her deal to a new vote without changing it.

Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plans were thrown into further turmoil on Monday when the speaker of Parliament ruled that she could not put her separation deal to a new vote unless it was re-submitted in a fundamentally different form.

In comments that blindsided May's office, Speaker John Bercow said the government could not bring forward proposals for a vote in Parliament that were substantially the same as had already been defeated twice before, in January and last week.

"If the government wishes to bring forward a new proposition that is neither the same, nor substantially the same as that disposed of by the House ... this would be entirely in order," Bercow said.

"What the government cannot legitimately do is to resubmit to the House [of Commons] the same proposition or substantially the same proposition as that of last week which was rejected by 149 votes."

The ruling put the UK in a difficult place - Brexiteers seeking a complete break from the European Union saw a "no-deal" exit as now more likely while others thought May might put off Brexit beyond the set March 29 departure date, if the EU approves.

One of the government's senior law officers, Solicitor General Robert Buckland, said: "We're in a major constitutional crisis here."

He told the BBC that one way to bring May's deal back for a vote in the House of Commons could be prorogation - ending the parliament session prematurely and starting a new one. But the government has rejected that.

"The Government has no plans to prorogue parliament and remains committed to delivering an orderly exit from the EU in line with its pledge to deliver on the outcome of the referendum," it said Monday.

Maddy Thimont Jack, a researcher at the Institute for Government in London, said that while Bercow's decision clearly frustrates Theresa May's initial plans to bring a third " meaningful vote" back to parliament this week, it does not prevent her doing so.

"Essentially what he is trying to say is 'Look what you have done has not got a majority, it has been roundly rejected twice, you need to try something else this time'," she told Al Jazeera.

However, Thimont Jack believes May can still secure a vote by having MPs pass a "paving motion" to get round Bercow's ruling that simply states that they now wish to vote on the deal.

"If there is will in the House, if MPs want to vote for it, I don't think Bercow is going to get in the way of that, that's not his role and that would be quite a significant issue," said Thimont Jack.

Surprise announcement

Bercow's pronouncement appeared to take May's Downing Street office by surprise.

READ MORE
Another big Brexit week begins. What's expected?
May's spokesman said her office had not been warned the statement was coming. Nor could Downing Street say anything about plans for a new Brexit vote or when it might be held.

Sterling dropped below $1.32 with investors saying it had damaged May's already sagging prospects of getting her EU withdrawal agreement ratified by parliament before March 29.

EU leaders have ruled out renegotiating the exit deal.

As it stands, Britain is due to leave the EU by default in 11 days. But Parliament voted last week for a delay and May is expected to seek an extension to that deadline when she meets EU leaders at a summit on Thursday.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES
Third Brexit Vote Must Be Different - Speaker
BBC World Service

Speaker John Bercow has thrown the UK's Brexit plans into further confusion by ruling out another vote on the PM's deal unless MPs are given a new motion.

In a surprise ruling, he said he would not allow a third "meaningful vote" in the coming days on "substantially the same" motion as MPs rejected last week.

With 11 days to go before the UK is due to leave the EU, ministers have warned of a looming "constitutional crisis".

The UK is currently due to leave the EU on 29 March.

Theresa May has negotiated the withdrawal deal with the EU but it must also be agreed by MPs.

They have voted against it twice, and the government has been considering a third attempt to get it through Parliament.

Mr Bercow cited a convention dating back to 1604 that a defeated motion could not be brought back in the same form during the course of a parliamentary session.

He said the second vote on the prime minister's deal last week was "in order" as it was substantially different to the first, but any further votes must pass the "test" he had set out to be allowed.

The prime minister's official spokesman said Mr Bercow "did not warn us of the contents of the statement or indeed the fact that he was making one".

Analysis by BBC political correspondent Iain Watson

How can the government get another vote on Theresa May's deal?

Well, first of all, rules are there to be changed.

If MPs suspend or change the "standing orders" of Parliament, they could get the Brexit deal back on the agenda.

Secondly, the government could change the proposition on offer.

The former Attorney General Dominic Grieve has suggested that something "substantially" different would be to ask Parliament to vote for the deal subject to a referendum.

Or change the Parliament?

If MPs can't discuss the same thing in the same session of Parliament, why not simply start a new one?

What's the current state of play?

The prime minister had been expected to bring back a third vote on her Brexit deal this week - a week after MPs rejected the agreement for a second time by 149 votes - and ahead of the EU summit on Thursday.

Last week MPs also backed plans to rule out leaving the EU without a deal, and they voted in favour of an extension to the process.

All 27 EU member states would have to agree to an extension.

Brexit minister Kwasi Kwarteng told MPs on Monday that Mrs May would write to European Council President Donald Tusk to ask for a delay.

If the EU agreed to the request for a new exit date, the government would ask both Houses of Parliament to approve the change, he said.

Mr Kwarteng said the length of the extension would depend on "whether the meaningful vote goes through or not".

"If we have a deal... we will ask for a short extension," he said.

"Now if for whatever reason that vote doesn't happen, or is frustrated or is voted down, we will probably ask for a long extension of the period - and that would be a matter for the EU and for our government to decide."

European leaders are expected to discuss a UK request to extend the Brexit process and delay the UK's departure at the summit on Thursday.

What's been the reaction to the Speaker's intervention?

Ministers and MPs supportive of Mrs May's deal expressed anger at the timing of Mr Bercow's intervention.

Conservative MP James Gray, who plans to vote for the deal after rejecting it twice, said he was "absolutely furious"; while fellow Tory Greg Hands suggested Mr Bercow was the only person in the country who was "accountable to nobody".

Solicitor General Robert Buckland warned there was now a "constitutional crisis" and suggested the onus was on the EU to come up with "new solutions" to enable MPs to vote on the deal again.

"Frankly we could have done without this but it is something we are going to have to deal with," he said.

He suggested "there were ways around this" - including potentially cutting short the current session of Parliament to an end, a move which would lead to calls for a general election.

Opponents of the PM's Brexit deal welcomed the Speaker's ruling.

Conservative former cabinet minister Owen Paterson said it was a "game-changer" and would "concentrate minds" ahead of Thursday's EU summit.

Sir Bill Cash, chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, said it seemed to make an "enormous amount of sense" given that the Brexit deal has been defeated twice and there would need to be a "substantial difference" to allow a third vote.

But the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford suggested there was now a "constitutional crisis" and he suggested the prime minister should "immediately" call a meeting of opposition leaders.

The view from the EU
By BBC Brussels reporter Adam Fleming

The EU's official position is that they are waiting for Theresa May to come to a summit in Brussels on Thursday with a clear statement about how she plans to proceed, and there definitely won't be any more negotiations when she gets here.

Unofficially, EU officials wonder if the government can get itself out of this situation, either with Parliamentary wizardry or by coming up with UK-only additions to the package, such as new guarantees about the role of Northern Ireland's Stormont Assembly in the future.

And could the joint UK/EU decision about an extension to the Brexit process, due to be taken on Thursday, be appended to the deal and then count as something new enough to justify another vote in the Commons?

But explain to diplomats that the solution might be the Queen closing Parliament and re-opening a new session with a speech and their reactions are priceless.
ADOS Shrinks Reparationist Politics to Fit the Cramped Horizon of Tribalism
Bruce A. Dixon, BAR managing editor 
15 Mar 2019
   
“ADOS followers throw away the internationalism of their forbears, embracing instead a sometimes polite, but always frank hostility toward immigrants of all nations on the grounds that they’re either economic competition for native-born blacks...”

Why can’t y’all just decide to be what you already are – more like us – a white co-worker named Travis asked me in the early 1980s. He was a diehard Southern Baptist, Reagan was the newly elected president, and we were working at the Chicago Pullman plant, laying on our sides all day or night, whatever shift it was, routing ducts and cabling in the tiny equipment rooms beneath Amtrak cars, talking politics and history. I’d just brought up the war in Vietnam, in which the US killed 3 million Vietnamese alone, and the murderous wars in Central America which were happening as we spoke. I probably threw in some references to the ongoing wars for liberation in southern Africa as well where the US was backing, financing and arming the wrong side as usual.

But you were born here, Travis insisted. Your parents and grandparents were born here, not over there. You’re an American, just like me. What are those people to you?

I never did get through to Travis. War crimes against black and brown people and a mountain of dead, likely communist foreigners meant nothing to him. His identity was not with humankind and certainly not with the working class. It was to his White God, his white or mostly white tribe whose flag was the stars and stripes and whom White God had deputized to rule the planet. In the decades since I have heard the same question posed a few more times. Why can’t black folks just be good Americans?Why shouldn’t we embrace empire and line up for our cut like everybody else? Well, now It looks now like Travis got his wish.

There’s an internet current of US-born black people calling themselves ADOS, the American Descendants of Slaves who seem to be trying their level best to be the kind of Good Black Americans Travis talked about.

The ADOS people claim to be relentless advocates of reparations for the crimes of slavery, Jim Crow, the prison state and more, but with an important right wing twist which sharply differentiates them from the previous generation of reparistas. ADOS followers throw away the internationalism of their forbears, embracing instead a sometimes polite, but always frank hostility toward immigrants of all nations on the grounds that they’re either economic competition for native-born blacks, that they’re stealing the contracts, the patronage, the affirmative action and similar spots which ought to go to native-born black Americans, or that they are somehow cashing in the accumulated moral and social capital which belongs to the US born descendants of slaves alone.

It’s a tribal thing, #LineageMatters, ADOSers tell anybody listening, and anyone not a US born descendant of US slaves on both sides of the family is in some other tribe. Until last summer’s wave of public revulsion at the deliberately cruel separation of refugee children from their parents at the border, the kindest sentiment you could find on ADOS Twitter feeds was the equivalent of Latinos don’t never stand up for us, why we gotta stand up for them?

Yvette Carnell and Antonio Moore, originators of the #ADOS name and hashtag would like us to believe ADOS is a movement. But that claim is made so often by so many canny self-promoters that it’s hard to take seriously without some kind of proof. Carnell has been doing podcasts, internet writing and commentary, and most reccently YouTube blogging the past several years, while former LA assistant DA Antonio Mooreis a more recent entry into the world of internet propaganda. They’ve got a web site at ados101.com and plan to hold a conference this fall in Louisville.

Politically bankrupt black Democrats of the black political class just don’t know what to make of #ADOS. CNN commentator, corporate lobbyist and former general counsel for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Angela Rye, following the lead of similarly enlightened Democratic pundits, has declared that the ADOS message originates with the Russians . Rye is worse than clueless, she’s the cynical mouthpiece of corrupted politicians and the lying political police of the so-called intelligence community, a great number of whom are also Democrats. These are the government functionaries who have guaranteed their budgets and careers by painting Americans in America who disagree with the establishment as foreign-inspired traitors for a century, since the Red Scare of 1919.

It’s the RussiaGate scam, and while some of the faces are new, the tactics are pretty old. Democrats get to lead us into permanent wars while avoiding responsibility for the failure of their party to represent anybody except the lords of capital. They accuse anyone with unanswerable arguments or inconvenient facts of being mouthpieces for foreign subversion. It’s cynical BS when they level it at the Green Party, or at Wikileaks and Julian Assange. It’s baseless garbage when they throw it at Black Agenda Report, and they have, by name. It’s errant nonsense when lazy corporate Democrat hacks like Angela Rye throw it at ADOS. But then the Democrats are a party of capital, a party of the permanent government.

ADOSers may be misguided, but they don’t take money or direction and have no need to borrow bad ideas from the Russians We’ve got plenty bad ideas already. Their insular tribalism, and ADOS co-founder Yvette Carnell frequently refers to #ADOS, American Descendants of Slaves as in terms of “our tribe” is entirely home grown and very very tribal. If you look, you can find similar, and similarly backward looking ideas represented in every country on this planet. Like patriarchy and monarchy tribalism is one of those ancient backward looking but widespread human social contraptions which belong in a museum.

The reparations advocacy of ADOS departs from the previous generation of pro-reparations activists, who for convenience I’ll call the Pan-Africanists, even though some of them probably reject that label.

The historic vision and practice of the Pan Africanist movement flowed through the careers of Guinea’s Sekou Toure, Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah and the final years of W.E.B. DuBois’s life in Africa. Pan-Africanists had their own reparationist ideas, and by the late 70s and mid 80s significant numbers of Pan Africanists had entered the academy. They were influenced in the United States by the current that flowed through SNCC’s James Forman who called upon white synagogues and churches to hand over $500 million as black reparations to philanthropic organizations, printing and publishing enterprises and organizations that included the National Welfare Rights Organization.

These reparistas, or reparationists, whichever you prefer, kept the internationalist view of the Pan Africanists, even when they don’t identify as such. They embrace the entire human family, while holding that the political and economic unification of the African continent and the coordinated democratic uplift of the African Diaspora is a giant and indispensable step towards human liberation worldwide. Their fundamental moral and political calculus centers international solidarity, with Africans and their descendants worldwide, and with oppressed people struggling against imperialism everywhere.

ADOSers take a different road. Being tribalists rather than internationalists, ADOSers rarely mention the existence of class differences among American blacks. They usually manage to ignore the very existence of the US empire in whose heartland they and their tribe were born and raised, let alone explain how that global capitalist empire generates the influx of refugees to its center, to which they object so vehemently.

But clearly the refusal to talk about class is a kind of class politics itself, while the inability or unwillingness to examine and acknowledge the role of global capitalist empire in creating transnational refugee flows is a de facto endorsement of the same. Opposing white supremacist and capitalist empire is what an actual left would do, and whatever ADOSers are, they ain’t leftists. ADOSers are one of the home grown intellectual outcomes of what Adolph Reed calls the substitution of the neoliberal politics of antiracism for having built an actual functioning left in the United States. If you’re listening to this instead of reading it, you really should go back to the printed version at www.blackagendareport.com to check out the links in the text which flesh out this and other important pieces of timely and relevant background information.

ADOSers are in a permanent rage against Democrats, and declare that like it or not this election cycle will be the one in which the issues of #reparations2020 and #tangibles2020 will be relentlessly pressed upon every party, every candidate. ADOSers see Democrats as going out of their way to appease and pander to every other voting constiuency EXCEPT the descendants of slaves who are owed reparations.

What ADOSers miss of course is that while Democrats do rhetorically pander to women, to gays and to Latinos every election cycle, they only deliver results to the lords of capital who fund their careers. Promises to voters aside, Democrats actually deliver not to women, gays, Latinos and certainly not to African Americas but to Big Insurance, Big Real Estate, Big Media, and Big Energy. They actually deliver to Silcon Valley, to military contractors, to charter school sugar daddies and to hedge fund boyz and similar malefactors of great wealth.

ADOSers forget how candidate Barack Obama won the whopping majority of the Latino vote in 2008 and 2012 by promising them a road to citizenship. But President Obama proved to be the deporter-in-chief, with an all time record 2 million deportations, so many that even a two-term Trump administration is unlikely to match his total. There may not be enough undocumented people and green card holders to hang the necessary misdemeanor under current law which allow the feds to manufacture deportation cases against. Like his successor, President Obama separated immigrant families at the border and built hundreds of miles of border wall, leaving only the last six or seven hundred miles for Trump successor to complete. Obama opposed gay marriage in 2008 , only coming around when election to a second term seemed certain. The pandering to other voting blocs that so enrages ADOSers is pretty much fakery, but as tribal folks will do, ADOSers seem to perceive only the slights, the lies, the insults which are directed at them.

ADOS leaders Carnell and Moore have probably never participated in, probably never seen a mass movement against unjust authority. As far as most of us know, they’ve never organized a new union or tried to take over a corrupt old one, never led a rent strike, never helped found or lead a cooperative, never gotten themselves arrested for defying unjust authority. There was a time when those sorts of credentials were required for aspiring black leaders.

So where, if anyplace will ADOS go from here? Right now it’s just internet noise. A lot of noise. If ADOSers have ever managed to put fifty or a hundred people in a room or anywhere in meatspace, not cyberspace it’s news to most of us. What put #BLM on the map back in 2015 was their Cleveland conference attended by six or seven thousand people into which corporate philanthropists allied with the Democratic party sunk an estimated two million for hotel and conference rooms, for travel expenses, food, entertainment, per diems, media production and the organizing person-hours to coordinate it all and bring that six or seven thousand people in and out of town.

ADOS has nothing like that kind of money, and it’s hard to imagine where they might get it. Carnell and Moore are not about to turn ADOS into a membership supported organization. The only possible donor institutions they’re know to have public ties with are some are some broke HBCUs and sectors of the black church. But the black church’s pockets are not that deep, and the black church has no tradition of funding political initiatives. In this respect they are quite unlike the mainline US Protestant churches, which by now have probably shoveled a cool million into their New Poor Peoples Campaign and the promotion of its leader Bishop William Barber as the reincarnated voice of Dr. Martin Luther King.

I never saw Travis again after they closed the last Pullman plant and putting 3,000 of us workers, black, brown and white into the street. Travis wasn't exactly a friend and I wouldn't know his face if I met him today almost forty years later. But if I had his email today, I'd want to send Travis links to the ADOS site and their YouTube and Twitter feeds. I think once he got past the reparations stuff, he'd find a whole lot to agree with, American Descendants of slaves really DO want to be more like him.

ADOS is not a movement. It’s another hashtag. It’s a brand. It’s a shrunken, shrill, shriveled and tribal version of reparationist politics. Its tacit endorsement of US global empire and its abandonment of international solidarity spring inevitably from its backward looking tribalism. Hopefully their inability to find sponsors or internal methods to finance its growth into any kind of effective political force will doom it to haunt the margins of black twitter, YouTube celebrity, and some dusty corners of the academy.

If we’re lucky.

For Black Agenda Radio Commentaries I’m Bruce Dixon. Find our audio podcasts – there are two of them, Black Agenda Radio and Black Agenda Radio Commentaries on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Libsyn or wherever you get your podcasts.

Please do know that Black Agenda Report is being censored by Google and other commercial social media, and has been singled out by anonymous cowards who, like Angela Rye does with ADOS, accuse us of making propaganda for the Russians. So please do like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and all, but old fashioned email direct from us to you is the only way to guarantee you’re receiving the fresh news, commentary and analysis from the black left that Black Agenda Report has delivered each and every week since 2006. So please visit our web site at www.blackagendareport.com and hit the subscribe button to receive our free weekly email newsletter containing weekly summaries of and links to all our weekly posted print, audio and video content neatly packaged for your listening and sharing convenience.

To comment on our material, join the conversation on our Facebook page, or send us email to comments(at)blackagendareport.com, or you can message us on Twitter @blkagendareport.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport. He answers email, and has also been known to answer tweets to @brucedixon.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Connecticut School Employee Resigns After Video Surfaces of Her Using Racial Slur
"Someone who will use that sort of language in any setting, whether public or private, is not someone we want anywhere near our children," the school district said in a statement.

Image: Hamden High School in Hamden, Connecticut.

Hamden High School in Hamden, Connecticut.Google Maps
March 17, 2019, 2:12 PM EDT
By Janelle Griffith

A public school clerk in Connecticut has resigned after a video surfaced of her spitting at an African-American man and repeatedly referring to him using a racial slur on Friday night, officials said.

"We have become aware of video footage that appears to show an employee in our district engaged in abhorrent conduct," Hamden Public Schools said in a statement. "Specifically, the video appears to show the employee repeatedly calling an African-American man the N-word in a supermarket in East Haven."

The incident took place at a Shop Rite in East Haven.

The video, which has been widely shared on social media, also appears to show the woman spitting at the man as he was walking away from her in the presence of her children, the school district said.

Because her children were present, the district said it filed a Department of Children and Families report.

The woman resigned shortly after an investigatory meeting was scheduled, according to the district.

"The language the employee used in the video is in conflict with the values of the Hamden Public School System," the district said. "Someone who will use that sort of language in any setting, whether public or private, is not someone we want anywhere near our children."

The district said it hopes the woman's children receive support "after witnessing such a traumatic event."
Black Residents' Voting Power Diluted: Court Orders Mississippi to Redraw Senate District
Emily Wagster Pettus
Associated Press
4:04 p.m. CT March 16, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. – A federal appeals court told Mississippi lawmakers to redraw a state Senate district where a judge found that black residents’ voting power had been diluted.

A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the order Friday, denying a request by state officials to delay the impact of a ruling that U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves issued last month.

Reeves said Senate District 22 should be redrawn because it fails to give African-American voters an “equal opportunity” to elect a candidate of their choice. The appeals court wrote that a majority of members on its three-judge panel found “there is not a strong likelihood” that state officials ultimately would persuade them to overturn Reeves’ ruling.

Three black residents sued the state in July, saying the composition of the district violates the Voting Rights Act.

It stretches through parts of six counties, including poor and mostly black parts of the Delta into the affluent and mostly white Jackson suburbs of Madison County. It has a 51 percent black voting-age population and a white senator, Republican Buck Clarke of Hollandale, who was first elected in 2003 under a somewhat different configuration of the district. Clarke is not seeking re-election this year because he’s running for state treasurer.

“The Court of Appeals quite properly confirmed Judge Reeves’ ruling that lines of District 22 should be changed for this year’s election. That configuration added wealthy majority-white suburbs in Madison County to an otherwise largely African-American rural district in the Delta to dilute African-American voting strength in violation of the Voting Rights Act,” Rob McDuff, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, said in a statement Friday.

McDuff, Mississippi Center for Justice and the Washington-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law were among those representing African-Americans who brought the lawsuit, including a former state lawmaker who lost to Clarke in 2015.

An attorney for the state could not immediately be reached after business hours Friday.

Mississippi has 52 state Senate districts, and all of the state’s legislative seats are up for election this year. The current district lines were set in 2012 and have been used since the 2015 legislative elections.

Both Reeves and the appeals court judges acknowledged that redrawing District 22 will require at least one nearby Senate district to be redrawn, as well.

The appeals court set an April 3 deadline for lawmakers to draw the new districts. Candidates’ qualifying deadline for all legislative races was March 1, but the appeals court said the qualifying deadline in the newly drawn districts will be April 12.
Here’s the State of African-American Media Today — and Steps it Can Take Going Forward
“We are watching organizations like Huffington Post determine what Black stories are elevated to national news stories. We plan to drive that narrative too, instead of others having the final say in what’s important to us.”

By CHRISTINE SCHMIDT
@newsbyschmidt
March 1, 2019, noon

“It’s important that we stop thinking of ethnic media as a ‘nice to have,’ as something on the side. It’s a must have,” Glenn Burkins of Q City Metro, a Charlotte-based African-American news website, said at the Knight Media Forum earlier this week. Discussions about how to better amplify and support diverse media are still a core part of the future of the industry — and the numbers are unfortunately still dismal — but it helps to have a data-driven understanding of the state of ethnic media now.

Appropriately, Democracy Fund released a report on the state of African-American media in the last days of Black History Month here in the U.S. It includes a detailed history of African-American media, from the 1800s’ Freedom’s Journal and Frederick Douglass’ The North Star — creating a legacy of, according to the late Columbia Journalism professor Phyllis Garland, “never [intending] to be objective because it didn’t see the white press being objective. It often took a position. It had an attitude. This was a press of advocacy. There was news, but the news had an admitted and a deliberate slant.”

Today, 205 publications across 29 states and D.C. are part of the 70-plus-year-old trade organization representing America’s black press, with Los Angeles as a circulation stronghold despite its relatively lower level of black residents. (The Los Angeles Wave has the most subscribers of any black newspaper in America, 92,000.) The average reader is between 25 and 35, more likely to be married, and earning a median income between $35,000 and $45,000, the report finds. Unusually, their biggest social referrer online is Twitter, not Facebook (which finished second, with Instagram in third).

But digital transformation hit these publications hard, and the next (digital) generation have tried to seize social media for traffic as much as any other digital-first company:

Using Comscore data for the top 22 Black-focused websites, the median audience size of these websites is just under two million average monthly unique visitors. Collectively, these websites saw a median decrease in average monthly visitors of about four percent between 2015 and 2016. However, there were a few standouts that saw large growth in their audiences in 2016. The website for Black Entertainment Television, bet.com, the largest Black-focused website, had over 13 million average monthly unique visitors, a 136 percent increase from 2015. Huffington Post Black Voices also saw a 136 percent increase to just over six million average monthly unique visitors. The largest increase, however, was seen by the Atlanta Black Star. Average monthly unique visitors for the Atlanta Black Star rose to 2.75 million in 2016, a 236 percent increase from 2015.

The report also includes snapshots of Blavity, The Grio, and The Root as the three most promising black digital media outlets for Millennials and Gen Z:

Each of these sites seems positioned for future growth. Blavity is growing by launching new platforms and acquiring other platforms. In 2017, Blavity acquired Travel Noire and debuted 21Ninety, which is a lifestyle brand aimed at Black women. The Grio, now a part of Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, is brilliantly positioned to take full advantage of the growing importance of web video in driving traffic and ad revenue. The Root, while enduring some raised eyebrows after its 2015 sale to Univision (Fusion Media Group), continues to draw eyeballs to its site, and it has established franchises like The Root 100 and Very Smart Brothas (VSB) to build upon. In this way, The Root is also primed for the future.

Black publishers face the specific challenge of preserving their archives — which hold huge amounts of the history of and by African Americans — along with more common problems like declining ad revenue and the need for a more robust digital presence.

In many African-American communities, traditional legacy newspapers are either in the process of closing or have already ceased operation. In the worst cases, this leaves some communities without an operating source of local news. Even in communities where legacy newspapers continue publication, some newspapers are either not equipped to provide adequate news coverage in the communities where they operate or have relied on operating standards that no longer reach a viable target audience. Smaller community newspapers that rely on traditional print-and-newsstand/box or delivery circulation options are struggling to survive. Some have turned to an online solution, with varying degrees of success.

In terms of ad revenue, African-American newspapers were especially hard hit by tobacco companies — which had long advertised disproportionately to black audiences and spent heavily in print after being banned from advertising on television — reducing or eliminating its print ad buys in the 2000s. (A 2007 meta-analysis found that billboards in predominately black neighborhoods were 70 percent more likely to advertise tobacco than those in predominantly white neighborhoods. The black press was criticized for being too pro-tobacco editorially in the era when it took in lots of tobacco ad dollars.)

The report’s authors — Angela Ford, Kevin McFall, and Bob Dabney of Chicago-based nonprofit the Obsidian Collection — recommend:

— developing a think tank to zero in on journalism for and in African-American communities:

A think tank would serve as a “connector” for the “new” African-American press, commissioning projects that identify interesting reporting techniques, technologies, and business models, as well as editorial innovations. These projects would connect with the people who can help make them part of tomorrow’s journalistic ecosystem.

Such an organization would also be focused on the African-American experience, with recommendations and blueprints for calls to action. The information from this think tank should be topical to the social and political issues impacting the African-American community and suitable for journalists to communicate relevant and actionable information to readers and legislators.

— syndicating national news relevant to African-American communities:

One way to help support journalism in African-American communities is helping news organizations focus their efforts on reporting local news and events by syndicating content that is of interest to these communities nationwide. An organization with a dedicated corps of journalists and writers focused on coverage of national current events and on opinion content for African-American communities is vital for the advancement of the Black press.

— and providing more support for training and collaborating with black media outlets.

As the Black press continues to move online, there should be more support for tools and training to maintain the digital presence of African-American media. This includes the development and training for use of apps by journalists; conventions bringing together editors of the Black press to discuss and learn about new techniques for business growth and reporting; and a clearinghouse for information about and access to programs that focus on audience development, revenue generation, business and leadership acumen, and tech and reporting issues.

The report highlights collaborations it says have found success, particularly noting The Marshall Project.

FRONT PAGE OF THE JUNE 2, 1848 EDITION OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS’ THE NORTH STAR VIA THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.
A Black Woman Took Over a Paper That Said the KKK Should 'Ride Again.' Now She's Stepping Down.
N'dea Yancey-Bragg
USA TODAY
1:59 p.m. ET March 17, 2019

Goodloe Sutton, publisher of the Democrat-Reporter newspaper, discusses media coverage of his controversial editorial in Linden, Ala., on Thursday February 21, 2019. Montgomery Advertiser

The African-American woman who took control of an Alabama newspaper that once called for the Ku Klux Klan to "ride again" has stepped down because of continuing interference from the paper’s previous leader.

Elecia Dexter, who replaced Goodloe Sutton as publisher and editor of the Democrat-Reporter in February, told The New York Times on Friday that she was stepping down to maintain her “integrity and well-being.”

“I would have liked it to turn out a different way, but it didn’t,” she told the newspaper. “This is a hard one because it’s sad – so much good could have come out of this.”

Sutton, 80, sparked outrage around the country when he penned a Feb. 14 editorial calling for "the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again" to clean up Washington, D.C., from "Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats (who) are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama."

Goodloe Sutton: Alabama newspaper editor calls for the Ku Klux Klan to 'clean out D.C.'

He drew even more backlash when he doubled down on his comments in an interview with the Montgomery Advertiser.

"If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we'd all been better off," Sutton told the Advertiser. "We'll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”

Once a lauded newspaperman, nationally acclaimed in the 1990s for his and his wife's work in bringing down a corrupt local sheriff, Sutton’s peers in journalism stripped him of past commendations after his comments were published. State leaders resolutely condemned his comments and editorials, and local residents decried the way Sutton was representing the area to the rest of the world.

Sutton, who has worked at the paper since 1964, inherited the publication from his father. He handed over control of the Democrat-Reporter to Dexter on Feb. 21 but retained ownership of the paper.

Dexter was chosen to succeed Sutton in hopes that she would move the paper “into a new direction,” according to a press release from the Democrat-Reporter.

She told CNN that Sutton sent out an altered version of the Feb. 28 issue of the paper featuring a story defending his controversial editorial and attacking the Advertiser's reporting. Dexter also accused Sutton of interfering with Thursday's paper, the network reported.

"The decision to accept the role of Publisher/Editor of The Democrat Reporter was an honor and I have no regrets," Dexter wrote in a statement obtained by CNN. "I am not discouraged; healing will come to the wonderful and loving people here."

Contributing: Melissa Brown and Brian Lyman, The Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser
Aretha Franklin’s Family Fires Back After Wendy Williams Throws Shade at Upcoming Movie
Brian McCollum
Detroit Free Press
8:37 p.m. ET March 17, 2019

Dwane Casey downplays the Pistons’ three-game season sweep of the Raptors, analyzes 110-107 win on March 17, 2019 in Detroit.Vince Ellis

Aretha Franklin’s estate is blasting Wendy Williams for “irresponsible” and “mocking” remarks after the talk-show host attacked the late singer’s upcoming, long-delayed gospel film.

In a lengthy fact-checking statement Sunday, the Queen of Soul’s family said Williams made “inaccurate and disparaging statements” during a Friday segment about “Amazing Grace.” Shot in 1972, the church performance is set to hit screens nationwide in April.

Departing from widespread critical acclaim for the film, Williams questioned its visual quality, Franklin’s natural look and the motivations behind the movie’s release.

Franklin’s estate said Williams’ commentary “indicates that she has neither seen the documentary nor understands its import or intent.”

Williams also seemed to accuse Franklin’s family of mismanaging the singer's affairs through the years: “When you don’t have real professional people doing real professional things for you, sometimes you lose out.”

The family's response pushed back: “Contrary to Williams’ derisive reference, there is no 'Cousin Junebug' making decisions for the Estate."

“Amazing Grace” will hit theaters nationwide April 19 after events in Detroit and other cities. Shot by Sydney Pollack at an L.A. church while Franklin recorded her top-selling gospel album of the same name, the footage was abandoned for decades before being shaped into a final cut by UCLA music professor Alan Elliott.

Though Franklin told the Detroit Free Press in 2015 “I love the film itself,” she stonewalled the release, securing two court injunctions and saying she had not licensed use of her likeness.

Following her death in August, her estate cleared the way for the film’s premiere, and early screenings have earned glowing reviews from critics.

On Friday’s episode of “The Wendy Williams Show,” Williams set out to sympathize with Franklin resistance to the movie, calling it a “one-camera shot” (Pollack used five cameras) and pointing out Franklin’s unglamorous appearance in the church setting.

The family fired back in its statement.

“1972 was the era of Black Power and Black Is Beautiful," the estate said. "In her short natural hair and simple makeup, Ms. Franklin was in step with the times and appropriate to the occasion. There was no ‘showgirl glamor,’ no ‘pressed hair’ and no ‘eyelashes’ – the lack of which Williams ridiculed on her program. The simplicity of the presentation gives ‘Amazing Grace’ its power.”

Williams also speculated that the film is being released only because Franklin’s estate is in a financial “mess.”

“I would imagine that now the bill collectors are like, ‘OK, rest in peace, Aretha Franklin. But we still need our money for this, we need money for that,’” Williams said, prompting “oohs” from her audience. “So by putting this movie out, I would say the estate is probably going to be paying bills with this.”

Franklin’s estate said the talk-show host was perpetuating falsehoods in the era of "fake news."

“While Franklin had initially imposed an injunction on ‘Amazing Grace,’ her objections had nothing to do with its quality; negotiations were incomplete at the time of her death,” the statement read.

The Free Press was unable to reach Williams or a spokesman for a response on Sunday.

Full response from Aretha Franklin's estate to Wendy Williams on 'Amazing Grace'

Aretha Franklin was an icon, a musical genius, and a much-awarded American cultural treasure. Therefore, it is astounding that on the March 15, 2019, broadcast of The Wendy Williams Show, host Wendy Williams made a series of inaccurate and disparaging statements about the Aretha Franklin concert film “Amazing Grace,” which opens in limited theaters on April 5, 2019, and nationally on April 19, 2019. Her commentary indicates that she has neither seen the documentary nor understands its import or intent.

First, “Amazing Grace” was conceived as a documentary. The footage was shot by Oscar-winning director Sydney Pollack in anticipation of broadcasting a once-in-a-lifetime event – a live gospel album recording – but was never completed for technical reasons. The film remnants were rediscovered, restored and championed over two decades by producer Alan Elliott. As such, the unburnished images capture Aretha Franklin in New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 1972, as a premiere R&B and gospel interpreter who had just notched eight consecutive R&B Number One hits. Ms. Franklin had specifically sought to perform in a stripped-down, church-service setting. By showing a brief clip out of context and mocking its quality on her show, Williams inaccurately represented Ms. Franklin and the movie to her audience.

Second, 1972 was the era of Black Power, and Black Is Beautiful. In her short natural hair and simple makeup, Ms. Franklin was in step with the times and appropriate to the occasion. There was no “showgirl glamor,” no “pressed hair” and no “eyelashes” – the lack of which Williams ridiculed on her program.  The simplicity of the presentation gives “Amazing Grace” its power. Scholars, film critics, pop culture experts, and Hollywood stalwarts have raved about the film, including Oscar-winning director Spike Lee, who recently came aboard as a producer and told Variety the film is “mesmerizing and transformative.”

Third, Williams mentioned that Ms. Franklin “made an album from this.” She failed to note that the album is Aretha Franklin’s seminal recording “Amazing Grace,” which sold more than two million copies, earned a Grammy Award, and is still the biggest-selling live gospel album of all time. By not highlighting this fact, Williams further diminished both the documentary and Ms. Franklin’s legacy.

Fourth, Williams’ statement that “Nobody’s going to the movies to see a one-shot deal, like black-and-white,” is punitive and misinformed. Thousands if not millions are clamoring to see this full-color film; many have already enjoyed repeated viewings during last December’s  Oscar-qualifying one-week run in L.A. and N.Y., where the film earned glowing reviews in publications from Rolling Stone to The New York Times. “Amazing Grace” earned a 95-average rating on Metacritic and a 96 critical score at Rotten Tomatoes.

Finally, Williams suggests that the Franklin Estate sought national distribution for “Amazing Grace” to satisfy the singer’s outstanding debts. This is not true. It is only through the approval of the Estate and the efforts of the film’s producers that it is finally being seen. The public rollout for “Amazing Grace” – which includes screenings at African American museums and black churches this month – has received support from African American pastors and fans across the country. And while Franklin had initially imposed an injunction on “Amazing Grace,” her objections had nothing to do with its quality; negotiations were incomplete at the time of her death.  Her family feels this documentary is another prime example of The Queen of Soul’s genius. 

Williams gave additional false information in her March 15 program. Sabrina Owens, Ms. Franklin’s niece and executor of her estate, has never been head of the singer’s security detail. Ms. Owens is a career professional who holds a Master’s degree and is employed as a chief negotiator at one of the nation’s top public universities. Further, she is the personal representative of her mother’s estate, singer and songwriter Erma Franklin. Owens also created the blueprint for Franklin’s Celebration of Life and week-long homegoing services. None of Ms. Franklin’s four sons has ever served as her manager. However, Franklin’s brother, Rev. Cecil Franklin, who was a Morehouse College graduate was her manager for more than 30 years, until his death in December 1989. Contrary to Williams’ derisive reference, there is no “Cousin Junebug” making decisions for the Estate.

Wendy Williams is the host of the most-watched daytime gossip show in syndicated television. However, that does not give her license to offer misleading commentary about a legacy entertainer based on unverified information. In this instance, the show’s research team let Williams down. At a time when the media is fighting a battle against “fake news,” Williams’ continues to perpetuate false facts, and her commentary was irresponsible.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Water: Harare Seeks to Declare State of Emergency   
Eng Chisango

Harare has been facing water problems and the city recently introduced water rationing and a timetable to go with it. Residents have also been complaining that the city has not been following its own water rationing schedule.

Our senior Reporter Innocent Ruwende (IR) caught up with Harare Town Clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango (HC) to discuss these and other issues.

IR: Engineer, the city recently introduced water rationing, but we are just coming from a rainy season, what is the problem?
HC: Harare has in the last couple of years faced water supply problems due to growing population, deteriorating water infrastructure and the worsening raw water quality due to pollution. This has now been exacerbated by the current drought.

During normal rainy seasons, our dams would be spilling or near 100 percent full during this time. This year, Seke and Harava dams are at 6,3 percent and seven percent respectively. We, therefore, are forced to stop water production from Prince Edward Waterworks. We have, therefore, lost 70 megalitres of production capacity.

The 70 mega litres was supplying Chitungwiza, Hatfield, Waterfalls, Sunningdale and parts of Mbare. It means then that the water we get from Morton Jaffray now has to supply the whole Harare Metropolitan Province and Norton. Water rationing is a programme initiated to manage water demand and ensure equitable water distribution to all consumers. The current water rationing programme has been necessitated by the poor rainy season.

Water demand in Harare is higher than our capacity to supply, but this time around the situation has been exacerbated by the drought. We can no longer abstract water from the other two dams (Seke and Harava). For us to ensure that people get this essential commodity, we have to give people water on different days so that people get some water at least twice a week.

IR: What has been the impact of the drought on your water sources?
HC: Normally at this time of the year, all our dams should be 100 percent full or spilling, but at the moment Harava Dam is at seven percent and Seke Dam 6,3, while Lake Chivero is at around 60 percent full.

Virtually there is no water in these dams, which shows that we are in a drought situation which we have to manage in terms of water supply for the city.

We have also been forced to decommission Prince Edward Waterworks because we can longer draw water from Seke and Harava Dams. Everyone in the province will have to rely on Morton Jaffray.

 IR: What is then the permanent solution to the perennial water woes faced by the capital?
HC: The permanent solution lies in the construction of additional water sources. Three sites have been identified and these are Mazowe, Kunzvi and Musami.

These are Government projects and we are anticipating the speedy construction of the dams. Morton Jaffray at full capacity and 100 percent efficiency would produce 614 mega litres per day. This would satisfy about 50 percent of the peak demand.

The production capacity of 614 mega litres cannot be attained because of the state of parts of the infrastructure as well as the quality of the raw water. The current water supply infrastructure has been outstripped by the demand and the solution is to bring in new sources of water.

To reduce the impact of the drought and other factors causing water shortages, we will work on improving the transmission and distribution efficiencies by managing the systems pressure and reducing losses. I encourage residents to improve water use efficiency by recycling and reusing water as well as avoiding any wasteful use of water.

IR: What is the city doing to ensure that residents get at least some water during these difficult times?
HC: The city had begun to implement stricter water rationing and restrictions to ensure some equity in access to water. The western suburbs, most of which were enjoying uninterrupted supplies will be experiencing water supply cuts of between 48 and 72 hours every week. This is meant to ensure that all corners of the supply area access the water services.

Water rationing will also see us stretch the raw water in the dams to the next rainy season. During such emergencies, the city bans the use of hosepipes and filling of swimming pools as these contribute to water wastage.

The city will on its part improve responsiveness to pipe bursts and leakages. Let me also urge the residents of Harare to always report any pipe bursts so that they are timely responded to. Let us all make each drop count.

IR: And the talk of mobile treatment plants?
HC: We are working flat out to ensure the mobile treatment plants come on board. We want to satisfy the water demand backlog.

IR: Is water rationing going to be a permanent feature or it is only temporary while council makes other plans to augment existing supplies?
HC: Drought is a natural phenomenon. God was not smiling on us this year and we do not know when he will smile on us. We are praying that this coming season we have more rains which will make us revert to our normal water supply situation. If we have another drought this year, we will actually put more stringent measures on our water rationing system.

At the moment we are going into a dryer season. So far we have banned the use of hosepipes and we will reduce the number of days that some of those areas access water. We will be earmarking more acutely on our key institutions like hospitals because as water rationing comes in, we will expect some diseases to crop up. So we will be focusing more on strategic areas and reduce the number of days people will be getting water.

If the status of our raw water sources improves, the rationing will be relaxed.

IR: We understand the city intends to declare the current situation a state of emergency, how does that work?
HC: When we get to a situation like where we are now, our dams are drying up. We are getting into a state of emergency, so we have to be prepared as a city and as a nation to survive in that mode.

We will be going through council so that we get the necessary resolutions for implementation as well as from Government to make sure the situation is declared as a national emergency so that we are also able to mobilise resources to deal with the current situation. We need water bowsers for emergency. We also need to sink deeper boreholes in this situation and it also brings to the fore the issue of additional water sources. The water we have is not going to take us as a city another three years.

IR: What does this mean to the water consumer?
HC: Water rationing will go further. We are also expecting people to be conserving water. What water do we use for flashing our toilets?

For example, can we not use the water we used for cleaning plates or bathing to flush our toilets rather than using fresh water?

How much water do you need to take a bath? Do you need a full tub or just 10 litres? Those are issues the residents can question themselves. How many times do you want to wash your car or do you need to wash it at all with running water?

We have banned the use of hosepipes and we will also be regulating the amount that people are supposed to use. If they exceed a certain amount, we will add another charge if we go by the law of water rationing. Those with boreholes are also included in the ban because that water table is what affects the resource at the end of the day.

Even if you have a borehole, we advise residents to be conservative in terms of water usage because we are in a crisis.

IR: You have not been sticking to the timetable you released and some other areas are omitted, can you explain why?
HC: Admittedly, the water rationing timetable we published has not been fully followed due to some technical challenges we have faced in water treatment and distribution.

The timetable will continue to be refined to include all areas and to prioritise critical institutions.

This level of water rationing will not be a permanent feature. The way it was prepared was based on our water supply zones. So if people were getting water supply from a certain inlet or a certain reservoir, we then lump that area together to say this is called Highlands and we will include other smaller suburbs within Highlands.

We are still polishing that because we have been having some technical problems going on over the week. We advertised the schedule and we are taking in what the customers are saying. We will then go further and sharpen it to a suburb particularly.

We will be posting it to our customers almost on a weekly basis and or whenever there are changes so that people really know when they are supposed to get water.

IR: And are your water chemicals enough?
HC: We have been having challenges with the two major suppliers of aluminium sulphate. As we were getting into last weekend, there was a delay of delivery of that chemical. We rely mostly on our local producers who seem to have some challenges.

Instead of the four or five loads we expect a day, we were getting two or three. There is a shortage, but the other supplier has chipped in to close the gap, but we still have those challenges. We are working together with our suppliers to ensure that we have adequate stocks.
Use It or Lose It, ED Tells Mining Firms
 16 MAR, 2019 - 00:03
Tendai Mugabe
Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mnangagwa has said mining companies holding onto claims should either use them or risk losing them to the State even if they are paying fees to keep the claims. He said there were some big conglomerates that have been holding on to mining claims for more than 60 years, thereby denying new players an opportunity to venture into the mining sector.

Responding to questions from the floor during the inaugural youth indaba in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said there were enough pieces of legislation in the statute books that empowered the Mines and Mining Development Minister to acquire such claims.

“In the mining sector, we have come to realise that most of the minerals discovered or known have been claimed by companies that are not using those claims at all,” said President Mnangagwa.

“They just registered the claims across the country for either speculation or for future extraction. You rarely find free, unpegged or areas where there are no claims in the country.

“So, to create opportunities for young generation coming into the market, we have introduced the policy of use it or lose it. So if you have a claim which you do not use, you lose it to the State.

“Just yesterday in Cabinet, we realised that we have adequate pieces of legislation already in existence in our statute books which gives the Minister of Mines power to acquire such claims. We have big mining companies who own vast tracts of land which they have claimed.

“Whether you are paying annual fees to keep the claim, we are saying no. Use it or lose it, whether you are paying for these claims.

“We are doing this because we have discovered the need which has come to us from many young people who have come together who want to be assisted to do some mining projects, but then they fail to secure claims because they have been secured 50, 60 years ago, 100 years ago, by mining conglomerates.”

President Mnangagwa said Government secured funding from China to buy machinery for those who want to venture into small-scale mining in groups.

“We have a financial window in the Ministry of Mines supported by our friendly country of the People’s Republic of China where we have applied for mining equipment to support groups who register,” said President Mnangagwa.

“We don’t want you to just go around mining without mining using proper methods. If you come together as a group and follow the laid down procedures, we will support and empower you. We will grant you the opportunity to set up your mining operations.”

With regards to land, President Mnangagwa said Government was ready to assist young people who come together in groups to start income-generating projects.

He said there were also vast opportunities that the youths could exploit in the tourism sector and other industries such as ICT.

The youth indaba was organised by the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation for young people to have direct engagement with President Mnangagwa.

Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga also attended the indaba, which was running under the theme: “My future is today.”

Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry chaired the discussion where youths from various organisations posed questions to President Mnangagwa.
Malawi Floods Leave at Least 56 Dead, Thousands Homeless
15 MAR, 2019 - 16:03 

Homeless: Children cook corn at a camp for displaced people in Bangula, southern Malawi. - AFP

BLANTYRE. – “We just sleep on the floor in the tents,” said 28-year-old mother-of-five Mary Amidu who like thousands of other Malawians fled her flood-ravaged home. “It’s a camp, so the situation is dire. You just find a small space in the tent with your family and make it home.”

Her village is just 10 kilometres away on the Mozambique border, beside the west bank of the Shire river which has burst its banks following days of torrential rain.

Across Malawi, at least 56 people have been killed following flash floods while the government estimates almost 83,000 people have been displaced.

The waters last week invaded her home so swiftly that the young widow had to scramble to get her family to safety.

“The floods came very quickly and we had no time to rescue anything, most of my property went with the floods,” she said. “What was important was to save lives.”

They are now at the emergency camp, located in Bangula, southern Malawi — close to the border with Mozambique which was hit by tropical cyclone Idai late Thursday, cutting off the coastal city of Berea.

“Although we have food, we have no cooking utensils to prepare the food because everything was lost,” said Amidu who said she fears a long stay at the camp as waters begin to subside.

“We cannot go back soon because the water has not receded and so the house has been destroyed. So we will hang around the camp until the situation normalises. We have no other choice.”

Pilirani Andulu, walked 15 km to the camp after her home collapsed and has been forced to sleep in the open with her two-year-old girl because the tents are full.

A lack of blankets and mosquito nets means her child is exposed to mosquitoes, malaria and cold.

Relief official Humphrey Magalasi has been battling to ensure the 21 camps opened to handle the crisis can keep up.

“We have huge gaps in terms of resources such as food and non-food items,” he told AFP. “What we desperately need right now is food, tents, medication and mosquito nets.”

As many as 1,700 households had settled at the Bangula camp as of Thursday.

So far, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs has received just 5,000 bags of rice, supplied by China.

At Bangula airfield, Magalasi has also been dispatching food and emergency supplies to areas cut off by flooding including Makhanga, 65 kms from Bangula.

“We are airlifting supplies to Makhanga where about 2,000 households have been affected,” he said.

“Due to the flooding, the area is only accessible by boat or by air. We intend to airlift 600 bags of rice and other non-food items to Makhanga.”

At least 56 people have died in flood-hit areas as of Wednesday, according to the government, while 577 had been injured and three are missing.

“Most of the displaced families are living in camps. So far, a total of 187 camps have been established in the affected districts,” said the government in a statement.

“Assessments to establish the extent of damage in all the 14 affected districts (of Malawi’s 28) are still underway.”

The floods also caused heavy damage to property, including roads and crops which forced President Peter Mutharika to declare a state of disaster.

An AFP correspondent saw extensive damage to fields of corn, also known as maize, around Bangula. The destruction could potentially wreak havoc with the harvest due in April and May.

The country’s Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has warned Malawians to expect further downpours.

– AFP
Libya’s High Oil Production Puts Pressure on OPEC Deal 
Oil & Companies News
16/03/2019

Libya’s oil output is steadily increasing in March, as the production from the country’s largest oil field El-Sharara resumed last week, lifting the North African nation’s total production to an estimated 6-year high.

El-Sharara oil field, which has a production capacity of around 315,000 barrel per day(bpd) according to the Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC).

Production restarted in the field after the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces swept through the south and took control of El-Sharara and Al-Feel oilfields, cementing their effective control of the country’s crude.

Since 2017, the LNA leader, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar—who is backed by Egypt and the UAE—seized Libya’s oil crescent ports (Ras Lanuf, Al-Sidra, Zueitina, and Brega), the country’s only source of hard currency.

However, El-Sharara field’s current production stands at 183,000 bpd, and is expected to be restored to 300,000 bpd in two weeks, according to Reuters.

Libya’s total oil production currently stands at around 1.17m bpd, according to Bloomberg.

Earlier, the NOC said that the field closure led to $1.8bn losses, and that they are working to restore the 20,000 bpd production capacity that was lost due to vandalism and looting in El Sharara.

The OPEC Secretary General, Mohammad Barkindo, assured in February, that the barrel’s price will not exceed $70, until the next meeting of the OPEC members in April in order to discuss extending the production cut during 2019.

Crude oil prices stood at around $66.37 per barrel of Brent crude in Monday trading, driven by the OPEC supply cuts, as well as the trade developments between the US and China, compared to $61 per barrel in January.

In November 2016, oil-producing countries, including Russia, agreed to curb their production by 1m bpd. The agreement entered into force in early 2018 and was later extended until the end of 2018.

However, Libya was exempted from the cuts because of its internal turmoil. OPEC are scheduled to meet in April, to discuss further extension of the deal for the second half of 2019.

Source: Albawaba
EU Delegation to Libya Reaffirms Support for Stability
PRETORIA NEWS
14 MARCH 2019, 10:34AM
MAHMOUD DARWESH

THE EU delegation to Libya this week reaffirmed its support for stability, democratic transition and prosperity.

On Tuesday, the ambassadors of the EU and its member states to Libya met senior officials in the capital, Tripoli, including Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, chairperson of High Council of State Khalid al-Meshri, Foreign Minister Mohamed Sayala, and Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha.

“In our meetings we reaffirmed the EU’s unwavering commitment to Libya’s stability, democratic transition and prosperity. We are keen to develop with our Libyan neighbour a solid partnership based on shared interests and values,” the EU delegation said.

“We call on all parties to put aside their differences and work towards the establishment of a stable, unified and inclusive government that can deliver basic services for all Libyans,” it said. The delegation called on the Central Bank of Libya to fund the basic services in the country, particularly in southern Libya, while highlighting the importance of building an appropriate framework for effective governance.

Libya suffered political division and escalating violence since the counter-revolution against the government of Muammar Gaddafi’s government in 2011.

Local authorities are struggling to provide basic services, mainly proper education and health care, amid chaos and insecurity. “The EU welcomes effective and rules-based actions against terrorist groups and organised crime, in compliance with human rights and Libya’s obligations under the international law,” the EU statement said. The EU delegation also pledged to continue supporting institution building and services in Libya through current and future projects and programmes worth e431million (R7billion).

With Libya the preferred point of departure for thousands of illegal immigrants to Europe, the EU delegation urged Libyan parties to “fight human trafficking and ensure respect for human rights and humanitarian standards with regard to migrants and refugees, including in detention centres.”

Xinhua
African News Agency  (ANA)
Is Tripoli Next? A Warlord's Victories Risk Libya Conflagration
By Samer Al-Atrush
Bloomberg
March 14, 2019, 4:40 PM EDT

Libya’s most powerful warlord has his sights on the capital. And even his international backers are nervous.

Based in the east of Libya, Khalifa Haftar has made no secret of his ambition to capture Tripoli, the northwestern seat of the internationally-recognized government. His threats were long dismissed as bombast, but a lightning advance through the south this year has put Haftar in control of most oil resources and could embolden him to make his much-vaunted final push.

Alarmed, international powers are clamoring to avert a military showdown that could rattle global oil markets and sow further chaos in a divided country already struggling to defeat Islamic State and stem the flow of migrants toward Europe.

In late February, the United Arab Emirates, one of Haftar’s main backers, hosted him and Tripoli-based Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj for talks aimed at channeling that battlefield momentum into peacemaking. The men agreed to pursue a negotiated resolution and accelerate a UN-backed roadmap to elections that has faced repeated delays.

But Haftar has continued to indicate that an offensive on Tripoli is looming, according to three Western diplomats who declined to be named. Rumors his self-styled Libyan National Army is building up troops and weapons in the west are adding to the anxious mood. LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said as recently as February that elections could only take place once the whole country was secure.

“We should be in no doubt that everything Haftar has done until now has been to get to Tripoli, to be the man in Tripoli,” said Mohamed Eljarh, co-founder of Libya Outlook for Research and Consulting, a think-tank based in the east. He’s likely to continue planning for a takeover “whether peacefully or violently.”

Southern Welcome

Since a NATO-backed war ended Muammar Qaddafi’s 42-year rule in 2011, Libya has been carved up among militias, with rival administrations eventually emerging in the east and Tripoli. Though it sits on Africa’s largest proven reserves of crude, infighting has repeatedly interrupted oil shipments and production, hitting the economy and roiling global oil markets.

A UN-brokered unity deal concluded in 2015 failed to heal divisions. The government it brought into Tripoli, led by Sarraj, has no army of its own and struggled to impose its authority. A look at the map leaves little doubt about who now has the upper hand.

Already in control of Libya’s main oil-exporting terminals, the LNA has secured its biggest oil field since beginning its southern campaign in January. That puts Haftar in control of more than 1 million barrels of production a day, giving him crucial leverage over the OPEC member’s key source of income as well as command of its most powerful fighting force.

Libya Clashes Resume as Warlord Haftar Tries to Seize Oil Field

Libya-watchers say Haftar could simply be exploiting fears about his motives as negotiating leverage. Despite the tensions, diplomats said talks were underway to form a unity government that could give Haftar more political sway in Tripoli and offer a path out of the crisis.

As well as Russia and the U.A.E, Haftar is supported by France and Egypt, which consider him an ally in the fight against Islamist militants. But even they’re seeking to reason with him, according to another diplomat with knowledge of the efforts.

The Western diplomats said Haftar also received a clear message from the U.S.: Tripoli’s off limits.

‘We Are Ready’

The southern campaign “emboldened the LNA”, said Claudia Gazzini, the International Crisis Group’s senior Libya analyst. “Even Haftar’s allies are scared of the prospect of an outright military advance to Tripoli and appear to be exercising pressure.”

The accepted wisdom is that no side has the firepower to bend the nation to its will.

Haftar captured the main eastern cities through grinding war over the past two years. In the long-neglected south -- a hub for extremists, smugglers, Chadian rebels and African migrants en route to Europe -- many were prepared to welcome Haftar’s forces if they brought security. The LNA mostly negotiated its way into oil fields and towns in recent weeks.

A military drive toward the northwest -- home to most of Libya’s population -- would be much harder.

While better organized than rivals, Haftar’s forces are a disparate collection of moderately-trained troops and guns-for-hire. They could face more determined opposition around Tripoli as well as Misrata and Sirte, where local militias jealously guard their hard-won autonomy.

A Misratan official said a force had prepared recently to attack the LNA’s rear but later stood down. “Misrata won’t fight unless Haftar comes to the city,” he said.

In Sirte, the local protection force declared a state of emergency and mobilized troops. “Any attempt to assault the city will be a declaration of war that will scorch the earth -- and we are ready,” it stated.

And despite its successes, the southern campaign also exposed the LNA’s constraints, including tribal enmities, weak finances and overreach. Overstretched, it has already had to hand over some recently-captured towns to local allies.

“The plan was to peacefully take over the south in three days,” said police Brigadier General Ahmed Barka. But a festering conflict between Barka’s Tebu community, who live in southern Libya, Chad and Niger, and fighters from the Awlad Suleiman clan, who’d been drafted into LNA ranks, triggered violence.

Where’s the Money?

Haftar’s handed the captured oil facilities to the Tripoli-based National Oil Company, which he still needs to generate revenue: various forces have controlled the oil terminals over the years, but none succeeded in selling commercial volumes of crude except through the official oil body.

Libya’s Oil Said Poised to Hit 6-Year High After Field Restarts

What he can do, though, is turn off the taps and effectively hold negotiating rivals to ransom.

“Any deal Haftar’s willing to accept will be so lopsided that key forces in western Libya will reject it,” said Wolfram Lacher, a Libya researcher at Germany’s SWP think-tank. So “any international attempt to push through such a deal would therefore also risk provoking open conflict.”
Sudan’s al-Bashir Invited to Russian-African Meeting in Sochi
Al-Bashir meeting Russian Presidential Envoy Mikhail Bogdanov in Khartoum on 16 March 2019 (Photo SUNA)

March 16, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir has received an invitation from his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to attend the first Russian-African summit in October in Sochi.

On Saturday, al-Bashir met with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, who arrived in Khartoum as part of an African tour.

Following the meeting, Bogdanov told reporters that they discussed bilateral issues of common concern particularly with regard to trade and economic cooperation as well as coordination at the regional and international forums.

He expressed pleasure at the mutual trust between Khartoum and Moscow on African, Middle East and international issues, saying his country highly praises Sudan’s objective and balanced stances on these issues.

"We are happy with the level of confidence between Moscow and Khartoum in many international, African and Middle East issues," Bogdanov said following his meeting with al-Bashir.

"We highly appreciate the balanced and objective stance of our Sudanese friends towards all these affairs," he further said.

Russia is seen as a major ally of the government of al-Bashir that faces isolation from the West. However, economic cooperation between the two countries has remained very low, with a trade balance that does not exceed $400 million.

Last January, there were reports that the Russian mercenaries of Wagner private military are participating in the government efforts to quell popular protests that call on President al-Bashir to step down.

However, the Sudanese government dismissed these reports, saying the security situation is fully under control and does not require the intervention of foreign mercenaries.

On the other hand, Sudanese security sources confirmed the presence of Wagner Russian military in the country and that they work with the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) but refused to speak about their activities in Sudan.

(ST)
U.S. Congress Delegation Wouldn’t Mediate Between Sudanese Government and Opposition
March 16, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese parliament on Saturday said the visiting U.S. Congressional delegation hasn’t offered to mediate between the government and the opposition.

Deadly protests have rocked Sudan since December 19, with demonstrators holding nationwide rallies calling on President Omer al-Bashir to resign.

The government said 31 people have died in the violence, while other credible reports including from Human Rights Watch says at least 51 people have been killed. Also, dozens of demonstrators have been injured and hundreds arrested during the protests.

A delegation from the U.S. Congress has started a three-day visit to Khartoum on Saturday during which it would meet with government officials and opposition figures.

In press statements on Saturday, the deputy chairman of the parliamentary sub-committee on foreign relations Mutwakil Ahmed pointed out that the visit has nothing to do with the mediation between the government and the opposition.

He added the visiting delegation on Saturday has discussed with the director of the intelligence services Salah Abdallah (aka Gosh) ways to promote bilateral relations particularly the second phase of dialogue between the two countries.

According to Ahmed, the meeting also discussed religious freedoms in the country as well as Sudan’s positive efforts on counter-terrorism.

Last November, Khartoum and Washington signed a framework agreement for Sudan removal from the list of countries supporting terrorism, accordingly Khartoum has to ensure freedoms and fundamental democratic reforms.

Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed hope that calls by Sudanese people for regime change will be heard.

Also, during his visit to Khartoum last month, the Senior Director for Africa at the National Security Council (NSC) and Special Assistant to the U.S. President Cyril Sartor called for the need to ensure freedoms in Sudan.

He pointed out that he understands that “Sudan is going through a complex transition”, calling on the government to “respect the right of people to express themselves peacefully”.

However, the U.S. official stressed that “there are no external solutions to be imposed on Sudan”.

(ST)