Saturday, September 30, 2023

House Passes 45-day Funding Bill in Late Bid to Avert Government Shutdown

SEPTEMBER 30, 2023

The House passed a bill 335-91 Saturday afternoon to fund the government for 45 days, hours before a government shutdown was to go into effect. 

The bill House Speaker Kevin McCarthy put to a vote ultimately won support from more Democrats than Republicans. Ninety Republicans voted no, and just a single Democrat voted against the short-term funding measure.  

McCarthy was forced to rely on Democrats for passage because the speaker's hard-right flank said it would oppose any short-term measure. The speaker set up a process for voting requiring a two-thirds supermajority, about 290 votes in the 435-member House for passage. Republicans hold a 221-212 majority, with two vacancies.

The bill will now go to the Senate for a vote.

McCarthy announced Saturday morning he would try to push the short-term funding bill through the House with Democratic help — a move that could keep government open but would put his speakership at risk.

"The House is going to act so government will not shut down," McCarthy said, after an early-morning meeting with the Republican conference Saturday. "We will put a clean funding, stopgap on the floor to keep government open for 45 days for the House and Senate to get their work done." 

He told reporters that it would give lawmakers more time to finish work on individual appropriations bills. The measure does not contain funding for Ukraine that was sought by Democrats but opposed by many Republicans. It does, however, include spending for disaster relief.

"Knowing what transpired through the summer — the disasters in Florida, the horrendous fire in Hawaii and also disasters in California and Vermont — we will put the supplemental portion that the president asks for in disaster there, too," McCarthy said.

The White House welcomed passage of the House bill, noting that it "keeps the government open at a higher funding levels than the Senate bill and includes disaster relief and FAA authorization," a White House official said. The official, noting McCarthy's support for Ukraine funding, said the White House expects he "will bring a separate bill to the floor shortly."

Republican Sen. Mike Rounds, of South Dakota, also said Ukrainians "should not take anything negative" from the vote Saturday, and added, "we can do border security and a supplemental on Ukraine in a connected type of approach somewhere in a very short time period, whether that's over the next two days, three days, 10 days."

Before the House vote, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, of New York, initially said Democrats needed more time to review the bill and criticized Republicans for "rushing it at the 11th hour, when in fact, just yesterday, extreme MAGA Republicans voted on a bill that would slash spending by 30%."

To give Democrats more time to read the bill, Jeffries spoke for nearly an hour on the House floor, using his "magic minute" — a privilege that allows House leaders to speak for a virtually unlimited time.

The Senate had been working on advancing its own bill that was initially supported by Democrats and Republicans and would fund the government through Nov. 17.

But once the House plan emerged, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged his members to vote no on advancing the Senate version to see whether the House could get its temporary funding measure passed. 

"It looks like there may be a bipartisan agreement coming from the House," McConnell said. "So, I'm fairly confident that most of my members, our members are going to vote against cloture — not necessarily because they're opposed to the underlying bill, but see what the House can do on a bipartisan basis and then bring it over to us. So, under these circumstances, I'm recommending a no vote, even though I very much want to avoid a government shutdown."

The sudden House action would fund government at current 2023 levels for 45 days and provide money for U.S. disaster relief.

With no deal in place before Sunday, federal workers face furloughs, more than 2 million active-duty and reserve military troops will work without pay and programs and services that Americans rely on from coast to coast will begin to face shutdown disruptions.

Relying on Democratic votes and leaving his right-flank behind is something that the hard-right lawmakers have warned would risk McCarthy's job as speaker. They are almost certain to quickly file a motion to try to remove McCarthy from that office, though it is not at all certain there would be enough votes to topple the speaker.

"If somebody wants to remove because I want to be the adult in the room, go ahead and try," McCarthy said of the threat to oust him. "But I think this country is too important."

The quick pivot to Saturday's bill came after the collapse Friday of McCarthy's earlier plan to pass a Republican-only bill with steep spending cuts up to 30% to most government agencies that the White House and Democrats rejected as too extreme.

The federal government has been heading straight into a shutdown that poses grave uncertainty for federal workers in states all across America and the people who depend on them — from troops to border control agents to office workers, scientists and others.

Families that rely on Head Start for children, food benefits and countless other programs large and small would be confronting potential interruptions or outright closures. At the airports, Transportation Security Administration officers and air traffic controllers would be expected to work without pay, but travelers could face delays in updating their U.S. passports or other travel documents.

An earlier McCarthy plan to keep the government open collapsed Friday due to opposition from a faction of 21 hard-right holdouts despite steep spending cuts of nearly 30% to many agencies and severe border security provisions.

Catering to his hard-right flank, McCarthy had returned to the spending limits the conservatives demanded back in January as part of the deal-making to help him become the House speaker.

Some of the Republican holdouts, including Gaetz, are allies of former President Donald Trump, who is Biden's chief rival in the 2024 race. Trump has been encouraging the Republicans to fight hard for their priorities and even to "shut it down."

Keshia Butts, Ellis Kim, Willie James Inman and Alan He contributed to this report.

Republic of Congo-Brazzaville to Participate in Belt and Road Forum

By Xinhua 

September 30, 2023

China’s invitation for the Republic of the Congo to the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation shows the “excellence” of Congo-China relations, Congolese Minister of International Cooperation and the Promotion of Public-Private Partnership Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso said on Friday evening.

He made the remarks at the reception held in the capital of Brazzaville, celebrating the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

“This invitation shows the excellence of the relations between the two countries,” he said, expressing his high expectations for this event scheduled for October.

Noting the upcoming 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2024, the Congolese minister said the Congo-China comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership has enabled the realization of numerous projects beneficial to the country’s development.

“In the future, we hope that this cooperation will continue, strengthen, and above all diversify,” he said.

For her part, Chinese Ambassador Li Yan affirmed that the traditional friendship between China and Congo continues and is further consolidated.

“Those who make friends by sincerity gain eternal friendship. China and Congo set a good example of people-to-people cooperation,” she said.

The GERD: Successful Fourth Filling

By News Desk 

September 30, 2023

A decade ago, Ethiopia embarked on the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Abbay River with the ambitious goal of bringing its citizens out of energy poverty. However, the downstream countries did not initially view the dam’s construction in the same positive light as Ethiopia had intended, which led to a series of negotiation between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan under the auspices of the African Union (AU).

The (GERD) negotiations /tripartite talks/ facilitated by the (AU), aimed to address the critical issues surrounding the fillings and annual operations of the GERD. The AU’s pivotal role include providing a neutral platform for the three countries to engage in constructive dialogue. Ethiopia strongly believes that the tripartite talks are essential in fostering cooperation and understanding among the three countries. One notable aspect of the AU process is the support received from mutual friends of Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt. Nonetheless, the negotiation process encountered its share of challenges along the way, resulting in a protracted stalemate despite Ethiopia’s steadfast dedication to the guiding principle of “African Solutions to African Problems.”

A renewed commitment to the trilateral Negotiations took place on 13 July 2023, when H.E. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PH.D.) and H.E. President Al Sisi of Egypt met in Cairo, discussed bilateral and regional issues, and agreed to resume the trilateral negotiation. Accordingly, the tripartite talks continued in Cairo on 27 and 28 August 2023.

Recently, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced the completion of the fourth filling of GERD. Prime Minister Abiy congratulated all who contributed in terms of finance, knowledge, and prayers. Prime Minister also called on citizens to replicate the best practices registered on GERD issues as well as other affairs. This collective effort, he emphasized, could yield improved outcomes and a brighter future for all Ethiopians.

On the contrary, to Ethiopia’s surprise, Egypt’s Foreign Minister dispatched a letter to the President of the United Nations Security Council levelling several accusations against Ethiopia. These included claims of Ethiopia’s infringement upon the Declaration of Principles and its purported disregard for the Security Council’s statement, which allegedly mandated Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan to accelerate the development of a binding agreement concerning the filling and operation of the GERD.

Despite facing numerous challenges, Ethiopia’s resolve to construct the GERD remains unwavering. Ethiopians remain steadfast in its commitment to the dam’s successful realization. Ethiopia’s active participation in the trilateral negotiation reaffirms its determination to engage constructively with downstream countries, Sudan, and Egypt, with the ultimate objective of finalizing a draft agreement outlining guidelines for the GERD’s filling and annual operation.

The GERD, a hydroelectric dam situated on the Abbay River (blue-Nile), embodies Ethiopia’s aspirations for water, energy, and food security, as well as its efforts to uplift millions from poverty. It aligns with the universal right of Ethiopia’s citizens to lead dignified lives. Ethiopia’s proposal for concurrent negotiations on the GERD’s construction and filling is a testament to its commitment to cooperation. The Declaration of Principles (DoP), signed in 2015, stands as an embodiment of Ethiopia’s goodwill in the negotiation process.

Ethiopia reminds the UN Security Council that the GERD is fundamentally a development project and that there is no justifiable reason for the council to engage in this matter. In addition, the past four years of GERD filling have adhered to the DoP and scientific recommendations provided by the National Independent Scientific Research Group in September 2018. These fillings have had no adverse impact on downstream countries. Ethiopia remains confident that, with good-faith negotiations and adherence to accepted principles of international law, the GERD negotiations can achieve success on par with the Declaration of Principles.

Furthermore, following the Cairo negotiations second round of tripartite talks was held in Addis from September 23-24, 2023 in which the three countries were able to make progress on identifying issues of possible convergence. However, Egypt’s stance of undermining the DoP and self-claimed ‘water quota’ have set back the progress in the negotiation.

In conclusion, It is important to stress Ethiopia’s commitment to the tripartite talks in line with the 2015 DoP. Therefore, Ethiopia will continue its engagement to reach a win-win outcome through the ongoing trilateral process.

G77 Summit 2023:

The Group of 77 (G77) is a significant intergovernmental organization comprising developing countries within the United Nations. Its primary mission is to provide a platform for countries from the Global South to articulate and advocate for their collective interests. In 2023, the Republic of Cuba assumed the presidency of the G77, hosting a vital summit that focused on addressing current development challenges through the lens of science, technology, and innovation. The Summit under the Theme: “Current Development Challenges: The Role of Science, Technology, and Innovation” was held from September 15 to 16, 2023. The summit drew the participation of high-level delegates, including H.E. Demeke Mekonen, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia who delivered a statement during the general debate, addressing the pressing issues that hinder global development.

One of the most critical messages conveyed during the summit was the persistent disparity in innovative capacity between industrialized and developing countries. This innovation gap has posed a significant hurdle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations. Ethiopia, through its representative, called for substantial reforms within global institutions to foster more inclusive decision-making processes that prioritize the interests of the Global South.

Ethiopia, along with other G77 member nations, expressed strong disapproval of unilateral sanctions and coercive economic measures imposed in violation of United Nations principles and international law. Such measures have had a detrimental impact on scientific, technological, and economic development progress in many developing nations. Ethiopia’s stance was clear as it rejects any unilateral sanctions and calls for the removal of such coercive financial measures, promoting global harmony and cooperation.

Recognizing the seismic shift brought about by the fourth industrial revolution, Ethiopia unveiled its first Digital Strategy. This strategy envisions an inclusive digital economy that not only promotes comprehensive development but also enhances Ethiopia’s participation in regional and global value chains. It is a forward-looking approach that embraces the transformative power of technology and innovation.

The anticipated outcome of the meeting includes the adoption of a declaration that will articulate the Group’s perspectives and interests regarding the role of science, technology, and innovation in relation to the Global Digital Compact, the General Review process of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS + 20), the SDG Summit, and the Summit of the Future.

In Conclusion the Summit highlighted the crucial role of science, technology, and innovation in addressing the development challenges facing the Global South. Ethiopia’s strong stance against unilateral sanctions and its commitment to fostering a more inclusive global decision-making process underscored the summit’s significance. As the world grapples with increasingly complex global issues, events like the G77 Summit serve as crucial platforms for collaboration and dialogue among developing nations to advance their collective interests and promote global peace and development.

Students Celebrates Chinese Festival in Tanzania

By Xinhua 

September 30, 2023

A Kenyan dressed in a Chinese opera costume poses for a photo during a Chinese cultural event held at the Kenya National Theater in Nairobi, Kenya, Nov. 28, 2022. Launched by Chinese Embassy in Kenya, Kenya Cultural Center and Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi, an event themed with Chinese opera was held at the Kenya National Theater on Monday in Nairobi.(Photo: Xinhua)

More than 200 Tanzanian students, who are learning the Chinese language at Baobab Secondary School in Bagamoyo District of Coast Region, celebrated China’s Mid-Autumn Festival with pomp and pageantry on Friday.

The students marked the festival, which fell on Sept. 29 this year in accordance with the Chinese lunar calendar, with traditional Chinese music, dance, drama, and poetry as well as the preparation of mooncakes.

The students were joined by teachers from the Confucius Institute at the state-run University of Dar es Salaam and other guests.

Zhang Xiaozhen, Chinese director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Dar es Salaam, noted that the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival went in tandem with the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Confucius Institute in Tanzania.

Venance Hongoa, headmaster of Baobab Secondary School, said the celebration helped to enhance the students’ understanding of Chinese culture.

Hongoa added that the Confucius Institute has been organizing summer camp programs for Tanzanian students to visit China and learn more about Chinese culture, which encouraged more Tanzanian students to learn the Chinese language.

Sharjah Sadick Yasini, 17, a student of Baobab Secondary School, shared her summer camp experience in China this year, saying her visit to China in June helped her learn more about the Chinese language and Chinese culture, including martial arts and traditional food.

Joseph Kazembe, a retired civil servant and Tanzania’s first Chinese translator, shared his work experience and talked about the friendship between the two countries, especially the story of the Chinese-built Tanzania-Zambia Railway, which has strengthened cooperation between Africa and China.

Gabon’s Coup and Regional Stability: Implications for Central Africa

By Abdul Rafay Afzal

September 30, 2023

In recent developments, Gabon found itself thrust into the international spotlight as a coup unfolded, resulting in the ousting of President Ali Bongo by a military junta on 30th August, 2023.

The coup’s unfolding events took many by surprise and raised concerns about the stability not only within Gabon but also its potential ramifications on the broader Central African region.

Bongo family was in power in Gabon for last 56-Years and this coup ended the power of the five decades long Bongo family regime. Ali Bongo who had been in power since 2009 in the country faced significant opposition during his rule due to allegations of electoral fraud and concerns over his health issues. He got physically impaired after suffering from a serious stroke on October 2018. The coup that ousted him from power ending his 14 years of power in Gabon carried out by the military junta, and it marks a pivotal moment in Gabon’s political landscape. This coup was shortly occurred right after the results of the General elections in the Gabonese Republic on 26th August according to which Ali Bongo Ondimba had won the elections. Few days later Remarkably former president Ali Bongo is free to leave the country and travel abroad as per the leader of military junta General Brice Oligui Nguema said on the State Television of Gabon. This indicating a somewhat peaceful transition of power, albeit under military pressure.

President Ali Bongo’s tenure had been marked by both domestic and international challenges. He succeeded his father Omar in 2009 who ruled this Central African nation for 4 decades. His rule was characterized by a blend of authoritarianism and efforts to modernize the country’s economy. The recent ousting of power, orchestrated by the military, has raised important concerns regarding the functionality of democratic institutions and the military’s involvement in Gabonese politics.

Following the coup, the military junta recently announced the appointment of Raymond Ndong Sima as the transitional prime minister of Gabon. The recent appointment holds great significance, as it highlights the substantial role of the military in shaping the political landscape of the nation moving forward. The upcoming actions of Ndong Sima during this transitional phase will be under close examination, as they could offer valuable insights into the junta’s plans for governance and political stability.

The recent coup in Gabon has sparked apprehension regarding its potential repercussions on the stability of the Central African region. Gabon, a prominent actor in the region, has consistently played a significant role in regional peacekeeping endeavours throughout its history. The potential for political instability in Gabon raises concerns about its potential impact on neighbouring countries.

In recent years, Central Africa has faced its fair share of conflicts and political challenges. The recent coup in Gabon further complicates the already delicate situation, adding another layer of complexity to the region’s stability. The international community, along with regional organisations like the African Union, will be closely observing the developments in Gabon to ensure a peaceful transition of power and the preservation of democratic values.

The recent revolution in Gabon and subsequent expulsion of President Ali Bongo have surely had a significant influence on the country’s political dynamics. The recent selection of Raymond Ndong Sima as transitional prime minister underscores the military’s considerable involvement in the political environment. This trend raises legitimate worries about Central African regional stability, which remain pertinent. The global environment. The current political instability in Gabon has prompted worries about the country’s stability and democratic procedures. The disputed presidential election results provoked protests and unrest, reflecting Gabonese society’s fundamental differences. The final outcome of this scenario will definitely have far-reaching implications for Gabon’s future. The international world is especially interested in how the administration and opposition parties will handle the situation and strive towards a peaceful conclusion. Gabon’s stability is vital not just for its citizens, but also for the whole region. Furthermore, the changes in Gabon have larger global ramifications. Gabon, being a country rich in natural resources, plays an important role in the world economy. Any disturbances to its stability might have repercussions on worldwide markets, particularly in industries like oil and mining. Furthermore, the democratic processes in Gabon are being closely scrutinised. The transparency and fairness of elections are fundamental pillars of a functioning democracy. The international region.

Four More Officials Held After Libya Flooding Disaster

30 Sep 2023, 16:05 GMT

Benghazi, Libya - Libya's prosecutor general has ordered the arrest of four more officials, bringing to 12 the number held as part of an inquiry into this month's flood that killed thousands.

Flooding caused by hurricane-strength Storm Daniel tore through eastern Libya on September 10, leaving at least 3,893 people dead and thousands more missing.

The seaside city of Derna was the worst hit in the flash flood, which witnesses likened to a tsunami. The water burst through two dams and washed entire neighborhoods into the Mediterranean.

The four additional suspects, including two members of the Derna municipal council, were arrested for suspected 'bad management of the administrative and financial missions which were incumbent upon them,' said a statement issued overnight Thursday into Friday by the prosecutor general's office in Tripoli, western Libya.

On Monday, the office ordered the arrest of eight officials, including Derna's mayor, who was sacked after the flood.

Libya Prosecutor General Al-Seddik al-Sour belongs to the internationally recognized government in the country's west. A rival administration in the flood-stricken east is backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

The eastern government has said it plans to host an international donors conference in Benghazi on October 10 to focus on the reconstruction of flood-ravaged areas, but its failure to involve the Tripoli government has drawn mounting criticism from donors.

Libya has been wracked by division since a NATO-backed counter-revolution toppled and killed longtime Pan-Africanist statesman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

'Separate' reconstruction plans

The United States called on Libyans to set aside their political differences and agree a framework to channel aid to eastern towns.

'We urge Libyan authorities now to form such unified structures - rather than launching separate efforts - that represent the Libyan people without delay,' U.S. special envoy Richard Norland said in a statement Friday.

'A proposal to hold a reconstruction conference in Benghazi on October 10 would be much more effective if it were conducted jointly and inclusively,' he said.

Norland echoed concerns expressed by the United Nations that mechanisms need to be put in place to ensure that foreign aid is spent accountably.

'Libyans need to be assured public funds are used transparently, accountably, and that assistance goes to those in need,' the U.S. envoy said.

On Thursday during talks with the European Commission, U.N. envoy Abdoulaye Bathily said he had called for funds to be monitored.

'I ... emphasized the need for a joint assessment of reconstruction needs of storm-affected areas to ensure the utmost accountability in the management of reconstruction resources,' he said.

On Friday, the eastern authorities said they would begin paying compensation to people affected by the disaster, which a U.N. agency has said uprooted more than 43,000 people.

People whose homes were destroyed would receive $20,500 in compensation, Faraj Kaeem, the eastern administration's deputy interior minister, said separately.

He said those with partially destroyed homes would get about half that amount and those who lost furniture or household appliances would be given one-fifth.

The eastern administration announced on Wednesday the creation of a fund for the reconstruction of Derna.

The authorities have yet to specify how the new fund will be financed, but the eastern-based parliament has allocated about $2 billion to reconstruction projects.

Canada's ReconAfrica Violated Namibia's Laws

01 Oct 2023, 04:05 GMT

WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA - A parliamentary investigation in Namibia found that Canadian oil exploration company ReconAfrica violated several of the country's laws and that its local partner deceived and misled the public about the value of its shareholdings on various international stock exchanges.

Despite the findings, ReconAfrica has been allowed to continue exploring for oil.

Vincent Marenga, a ruling party member of Namibia's Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources, told VOA that the committee's investigation found ReconAfrica did not secure the proper permits before it began its oil exploration activities. But he said the violations were minor.

"That is our argument," Marenga said. "We are not saying that ReconAfrica is an angel that has been doing everything accordingly. They have violated [laws], but it was for permits. They drilled boreholes without permits, and on that one there will definitely be penalties against them."

Nadia April, one of the petitioners who approached parliament to protest ReconAfrica's presence in the Okavango Delta - a wilderness area in northeastern Namibia - said their opposition to the presence of Recon was based on the contamination the oil drilling could create, as well as the plight of the indigenous people.

She said the fact that the company was found in violation of the law but still allowed to proceed was a disappointment to her and the group she represents.

"The project started without the proper consultation within the region, and the consultations were done without the indigenous people," April said. "We were referring to also the U.N. declaration on rights of indigenous people that says there has to be free, prior and informed consent ... from indigenous people, so those consultations were not being done."

Outside of Namibia, ReconAfrica is being sued in a U.S. court for having allegedly misled its shareholders. The Namibian parliamentary committee said it was concerned that ReconAfrica is seeking to raise money using Namibian resources on the basis of a 10% partnership with a local partner, the Namibia Petroleum Corp., or NAMCOR.

Rinaani Musutua, a trustee of the Economic and Social Justice Trust, opposed ReconAfrica's presence in Namibia on the basis of environmental concerns, such as fracking and water pollution.

"Some of the activists that are on the ground in the Kavango region have also told us that ReconAfrica has left, and it's not a surprise to us at all that they have left," Musutua said. "They have built up quite a bad reputation for themselves. In the end, they started getting sued by investors, first in the Unites States of America and now in Canada, for having given investors misinformation and provided them with information that wasn't true."

ReconAfrica's spokesperson could not be reached despite various attempts by the Voice of America.

The parliament committee that investigated the petitioners' concerns said the issues in their petitions were not serious enough to warrant the company's expulsion from the country.

While the protesters want the company to be forced to leave, the parliament committee recommended the company stay but refrain from breaking Namibian laws.

Seven Nigerian Artists Who Had Issues with Record Labels

Adedamola Ogunbewon 

September 30, 2023

The music industry is a tough nut to crack, and a lot of artists struggle to navigate without the help of record labels.

However, there has been a few instances in Nigeria of record labels fallout with artistes due to contractual issues, artiste brand etc.

Here are seven musicians who have had issue with their labels:

1. Wizkid:

Before launching his Starboy label, Wizkid was under Banky W’s EME Records.

He fell out with them because of the unfavorable split he was given on his contract – where he was reportedly getting 25% of his turnover.

This was at a time when Wizkid was the major artist on the label and one of the biggest acts in the country.

He asked for a review of the contract, but an agreement wasn’t reached, and as a result, he left. This later led to an online spat.

2.  Cynthia Morgan:

Cynthia Morgan secured a recording contract with Jude Okoye’s Northside Entertainment Inc. in 2013.

After a few months, she released two chart-topping songs, “Don’t Break My Heart” and “Lead Me On,” which were well appreciated by fans; the latter was nominated for “Best Reggae/Dancehall Single” at The 2014 Headies.

Cynthia went into seclusion after recording a few popular songs until 2020, when she resurfaced to social media and trended highly after saying that Jude Okoye, the owner of record label Northside Entertainment, stole everything she owned away from her.

The singer revealed this during an Instagram live session in which she lamented the loss of her name and Instagram account owing to a terrible deal.

3. Kizz Daniel:

Kizz Daniel, a Nigerian musician, burst onto the music scene in 2014 with his popular song “Woju”; he was signed to G-Worldwide Label at the time.

Kizz Daniel had a falling out with his record label in 2017.

The musician was allegedly in breach of the conditions of his seven-year contract, which he signed in 2013.

The deal was due to expire in 2020, however Kizz Daniel opted to leave the label before it expired. Several constraints were imposed on the singer’s ability to cooperate with other artists.

An injunction preventing him from performing over the holiday season of 2017 was issued as a result of the disagreement.

4. Temmie Ovwasa:

Singer Temmie Ovwasa, has once again made some allegations against her former record label boss, Olamide, claiming that he ‘messed her mind up’.

During a question and answer session via her Instagram handle, the singer was asked by a fan if she still keeps in touch with the YBNL boss.

In response to the question, the young lady alleged that although Olamide gave a platform, he rejected all the deals and show that she was offered. Ovwasa also alleged that her former boss stopped her from releasing songs.

She claimed, “That man brought me to Lagos from Ilorin as an 18-year-old, put me on a platform then proceeded to reject every show I got, every offer I got. Stopped me from releasing songs, kept me in his house with his wife (who spoke to me like I was garbage in front of her friends) and kid in the name of ‘family’. Put my face on the wall, on an album where the ‘men’ were allowed to be people.

5. Runtown:

In 2014, Runtown signed a record deal with Eric Many Entertainment, which is controlled by Prince Okwudili Umenyiora, the millionaire CEO of Dilly Motors.

After a few hits, their relationship soured, and matters intensified when his label accused him of signing up for and attending events behind his firm’s back – a breach of contract.

After determining that the situation was unfavorable, Runtown attempted to cancel his contract in May 2016.

He claimed that he never got compensation for live concerts, recorded royalty revenue (MTN Music Plus, caller ring back tracks), and so on. The musician further claimed that the label threatened him with death.

6. Brymo:

Brymo and Chocolate City record label were at odds over allegations of contract violation.

The singer left the record label in 2013, shortly after his debut album, Son of a Carpenter, was released. He further accused the firm of neglecting to promote the record and of ignoring him.

The record label then stated that the singer had violated a five-year contract that required him to release three albums between 2011 and 2016.

7. May D:

May D took to social media after leaving Square Records in 2012, claiming he lived under unbearable conditions while signed with the P Square brothers.

He painted a grim picture of shared living quarters, using a television carton as a makeshift bed and covering himself with his shirt.

Jude Okoye defended their stance, explaining that they signed artists to give back to society but encountered issues when May D wanted to become a part of Psquare, a brand that had taken years to build.

Peter Obi: Nigeria Needs Leaders With Genuine Identity, Verified Credentials

Presidential Candidate of Labour Party in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, has said Nigeria needs political office holders who have identity and authentic credentials.

By Seun Adeuyi

Sat, 30 Sep 2023 13:18:38 WAT

Presidential Candidate of Labour Party in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, has said Nigeria needs political office holders who have identity and authentic credentials.

Obi said this in the United States where there is an ongoing case on President Bola Tinubu’s academic record.

Recall that former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who contested the presidential election under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is digging for the academic and personal records of Tinubu, from Chicago State University (CSU).

A court ruled in favour of Atiku, ordering CSU to release Tinubu’s record, but the Nigerian president filed a suit against this.

Speaking at the Chinua Achebe Symposium at Princeton University, US on Friday, Obi said Nigerians must start working towards a country driven by competence and commitment to fighting corruption.

He submitted that leaders in Africa’s biggest economy must be committed to the rule of law.

“We must have leadership that is committed to the rule of law… that has an identity and credentials that can be verified. We can start thinking of a new Nigeria with competence, and capacity that is committed to fighting corruption. Is it possible to fight corruption? The answer is yes!

“The trouble with Nigeria is self-inflicted. If Achebe was alive, he would have taken back the book. When he wrote it, there was no trouble. Now, there is real trouble in Nigeria.Rascality has become a measure of success in Nigeria. That must change.”

Obi is one of those who filed an appeal at the Supreme Court to challenge the tribunal’s ruling that upheld Tinubu’s victory.

Analysis: Nigerian Reform Drive Falters, Threatening Africa's Biggest Economy

By Macdonald Dzirutwe and Libby George

September 28, 20231:42 PM EDT

LAGOS/LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Nigerian President Bola Tinubu's lightning-fast reform push after taking office in May sparked hope that his administration would be a business-friendly antidote to mounting economic troubles facing Africa's biggest economy.

Fast forward to more than 100 days in office, and the key planks of his economic overhaul - unshackling the naira from its rigid regime, and allowing fuel prices to rise - are coming loose.

The naira hit a record low of 1,000 to the dollar on the black market this week, widening the gap with the official rate, which stood at 785 on Thursday.

Petrol pump prices, meanwhile, have not budged since July - despite a more than 30% rise in oil prices.

Some now fear Tinubu will not be able to wean Nigeria off the costly policies that have stymied investment and throttled economic growth.

"Momentum just seems...almost in reverse," said David Omojomolo, Africa economist at research firm Capital Economics.

Public anger is swelling as inflation spirals higher, however, and Nigeria's two biggest workers' unions are planning an indefinite strike next week to protest over a cost-of-living crisis.

"Sentiment towards Nigeria has been continuing to sour as the initial reform momentum under President Tinubu's administration has faded," said Tellimer analyst Patrick Curran.


For years, Nigeria has tightly controlled the official naira rate, even amid declines in the price of oil, sales of which bring in 90% of the country's foreign currency supply.

But providing dollars at an artificially low rate has led to a yawning gap between official and black market rates, leaving businesses and investors unable to access dollars. The central bank has also created import restrictions aimed at reducing dollar demand.

Tinubu's decision to let the official naira rate weaken saw it briefly converge with the black market. Last week, he assured investors they could take money out, touting a "reliable, one figure exchange rate of the naira."

But the gap has widened to nearly 30% this week, and four sources told Reuters it was virtually impossible to get dollars from the central bank on an ad hoc basis.

The incoming central bank chief said on Tuesday that policymakers faced a nearly $7 billion backlog in foreign exchange demand; foreign airlines alone had $783 million in ticket sales trapped, the International Air Transport Association said.

This is one major factor keeping investors from putting money to work in Nigeria.

Another is negative real bond yields and the slow central bank response: 10-year local government bonds yield less than 15% while inflation is running above 25%.

"What they have done so far is not enough to attract domestic debt holders or foreign investors into their domestic debt market," said Carlos de Sousa, portfolio manager at Vontobel Asset Management.

The tattered finances left by the previous administration have also been no help.

In August, the central bank published audited accounts for the first time since 2018, revealing that its $33 billion in FX reserves included a $19 billion commitment in derivatives - slashing the liquid amount of reserves.

JPMorgan calculated net FX reserves stood at $3.7 billion as of the end of 2022, "significantly lower" than prior estimates.

That news sent Nigeria's international bond tumbling.

"Lower net FX reserves reduce the willingness to introduce a flexible exchange rate regime in the near term," said JPMorgan's Gbolahan S Taiwo.

The central bank has also kept other restrictions that businesses say make life tough, including a ban on using central bank foreign exchange to import 43 items.

"The government may have intended to make it a free market, but the CBN isn't allowing it to be one," said a Nigerian private equity investor who did not want to be named.

The delay in scrapping fuel subsidies is exacerbating the dollar crunch. Last year, subsidies cost 2% of gross domestic product, according to Fitch.

Despite being Africa's largest oil exporter, Nigeria imports nearly all its fuel as it does not refine nearly enough to meet the demand of its 200 million citizens. In recent years, it has swapped crude for fuel, depriving it again of a source of U.S. dollars.

It is still using oil cargoes now to pay for fuel it imported previously, and a de-facto pump price limit set by state oil company NNPC LTD's sale price means it is again the sole petrol importer.

Tellimer said Nigeria's gasoline prices would need to rise 73% to align with global prices.

Analyst say Tinubu, elected with the narrowest margin since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999 and facing inflation at nearly two-decade highs, lacks the social capital and mandate to push any harder.

"There is the concern that when the going gets tough...they will walk back on the reforms," Omojomolo said.

Additional reporting by Rachel Savage in Johannesburg; Editing by Hugh Lawson 

Friday, September 29, 2023


September 29, 2023

DETROIT – UAW President Shawn Fain just announced on Facebook Live that the union will expand its Stand Up Strike against General Motors and Ford at GM’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly and Ford’s Chicago Assembly. An additional 7,000 UAW members at these two plants will join the strike at Noon Eastern Time. This brings the total number of Big Three strikers to 25,000 members at 43 facilities in 21 states.

There was no additional strike action announced at Stellantis, due to considerable progress in bargaining moments before the broadcast.

Following is an excerpt from Fain’s prepared remarks describing the status of negotiations. You can view the remarks as delivered at the UAW’s Facebook and YouTube channels:

“Over the last week, the vice presidents, your national negotiators, and my office have been working night and day to bargain a record contract that reflects the record profits we have produced for the Big Three.

Sadly, despite our willingness to bargain, Ford and GM have refused to make meaningful progress at the table.

That is why at noon Eastern today, we will expand our strike to these two companies.

To be clear, negotiations have not broken down.

We are still talking with all three companies.

I am still very hopeful that we can reach a deal that reflects the incredible sacrifices and contributions our members have made over the last decade.

But I also know that what we win at the bargaining table depends on the power we build on the job.

It’s time to use that power.

That is why I’m calling on an additional 7,000 members across Ford and GM to go on strike starting at noon Eastern today.

I am calling on Ford’s Chicago Assembly plant to Stand Up and go on strike.

And I’m calling GM’s Lansing Delta Township to Stand Up and go out on strike.

Let me be clear and this is important: Lansing Regional Stamping WILL CONTINUE WORKING.

Our courageous members at these two plants are the next wave of reinforcements in our fight for record contracts.

We are NOT calling on any additional members at Stellantis to go on strike.

Moments before this broadcast, Stellantis made significant progress on the 2009 COLA, the right to not cross a picket line, as well as the right to strike over product commitments, plant closures, and outsourcing moratoriums.

We are excited about this momentum at Stellantis and hope it continues.

Until then, we will keep building our Arsenal of Democracy.

And we will win. Our strategy is working.

As the President of the United States recently put it, UAW members “saved the automobile industry back in 2008. We made a lot of sacrifices. We gave up a lot. And the companies were in trouble. But now they’re doing incredibly well.  And guess what?  We should be doing incredibly well too.”

Over the last ten years, the Big Three have made a record quarter of a TRILLION dollars in North American profits.

Over the last six months, the Big Three have made a record $21 BILLION in total profits.

We knew going into this fight that the road ahead was going to be difficult.

And we knew that it was unlikely this would be quick.

To quote the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

UAW family, you are the force that bends that arc.

Our anger is righteous. Our struggle is just.

We are fed up with corporate greed.

We are fed up with corporate excess.

We are fed up with breaking our bodies for companies that take more and more and give less and less.

And as of noon eastern today, 25,000 of us will be on strike for a better future.

To all our community and political allies, we invite you to join our picket lines.

To our UAW family still working on the job, keep monitoring for status quo violations and keep refusing voluntary overtime.

And keep showing the companies that you are ready to Stand Up when called.

When we win this fight, when we right the wrongs of the past 15 years, and when we set a new course for future generations, it won’t be because of any President.

Not the UAW President. Not the President of the United States.

It will be because ordinary people did extraordinary things.

Our solidarity is our strength.

And right now, our strength is the hope of working-class people everywhere.

Let’s Stand Up and win this thing. For ourselves. For our families. For our communities. For our country. And for our future.”

China’s Story Stirs Africa onto the Path of Independent Growth

By Xinhua 

September 29, 2023

Inspired by China’s development over the decades, more and more African countries are seeking to follow the development paths that suit their own domestic conditions.

At the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue held in South Africa’s Johannesburg in late August, Chinese President Xi Jinping once again encouraged African countries to find the path that suits Africa best.

“The African people have the most say on which path suits Africa best. Advancing modernization through integration is the independent choice made by African countries and people,” Xi said.

Despite being rich in resources and boasting a large population and a vast market, Africa has remained the world’s poorest continent.

“Obviously, by default, in almost every country in Africa, our conversations are Western-led or Western-engineered. But because the information flow is very easy now, people could really appreciate different voices and new perspectives,” said Paul Frimpong, executive director of the Africa-China Center for Policy and Advisory, a Ghana-based think tank.

Tichaona Zindoga, founder and director of the think tank Ruzivo Media and Resource Center in Zimbabwe, said that Western-oriented approaches have not served post-independent Africa well.

“The design and structure of the colonial economy was suited to fit into a Western model and to serve only a few people who were the capitalist class of that time, and that model also predicated largely on the international finance that was coming from Western countries, the development that was coming from Western countries as well as the banking itself,” he said.

Melaku Mulualem, senior international relations and diplomacy researcher at Ethiopia’s Institute of Strategic Affairs, said African countries have begun to explore the localization of development paths suitable for their own conditions.

China’s path to peaceful development is particularly worthy of learning from for the African continent, which shares a similar history with China, but still faces chaos and upheavals in some regions, Frimpong said.

“This is the kind of insight that I get from the Chinese modernization,” he said.

“I had a chance to witness how democracy was delivered in China’s town halls, how the people’s opinions are being channeled to the leaders, how they present it and discuss, and a decision is taken, and then it goes back to the people about what has happened. I think that is the kind of conversation that we want to have in here,” said Frimpong.

Benjamin Akuffo, acting editor of The Insight, a Ghanaian newspaper, praised the Chinese modernization drive, saying it will not only provide the African continent with an optional path to follow, but also help propel Africa’s industrialization process and alleviate extreme poverty to achieve a self-determined development.

African countries need to expand industrialization, promote infrastructure development and trade networks and invest in human capital like China did, said Mulualem.

Official data showed that China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years. The China-Africa cooperation has expanded from traditional trade and engineering to emerging areas such as digital technology, green development, aerospace and finance.

Over the years, Chinese companies have actively participated with Africa in the construction of digital infrastructure on the continent and promoted the rapid development of e-commerce, mobile payment, media and entertainment industries, which have played an important role in promoting the economic and social development and improving people’s livelihood.

At the dialogue in Johannesburg, Xi announced that China will launch the Initiative on Supporting Africa’s Industrialization, the Plan for China Supporting Africa’s Agricultural Modernization and the Plan for China-Africa Cooperation on Talent Development, which were warmly welcomed by African leaders.

In terms of cooperation in talent development, China will train 500 principals and high-caliber teachers of vocational colleges every year, and 10,000 technical personnel with both Chinese language and vocational skills for Africa, and will also invite 20,000 government officials and technicians of African countries to participate in workshops and seminars.

Within the framework of China-proposed initiatives, African nations can pursue development under conditions that suit their unique experiences, said Zindoga. “So what is critical is that various countries, including Zimbabwe, have to take what is relevant to them,” he said.

“What we have seen from China is that when it is providing these concepts, these frameworks, these propositions, it is doing so from a persuasive perspective, it is not forcing those ideas, it is not enforcing using military force, it is not coercing countries into adopting these various initiatives,” said Zindoga.

Akuffo said the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has played an important part in helping Africa achieve the Agenda 2063, which was proposed by the African Union with the aim of transforming Africa into a global powerhouse.

Through the BRI, infrastructure has been built in Africa, which has boosted trade, created jobs, and improved education, Mulualem said.

The initiative is also in line with the “One District One Factory” program proposed by Ghana, which has reaped tangible benefits through the infrastructure built by Chinese companies, Akuffo said.

“China has fully demonstrated its support for African countries to pursue an independent development path by transferring science and technology to the continent, and it has helped Africa, a continent with the youngest population, accelerate its pace of industrialization,” Akuffo added.

Zimbabwe’s Annual Inflation Falls Sharply After Change in Computing Methodology

By Xinhua 

September 29, 2023

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate in September fell sharply to 18.4 percent from 77.2 percent the previous month, Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) said Thursday.

ZIMSTAT attributed the sharp decline to its migration from arithmetic aggregation to geometric aggregation method in computing the weighted price indices with effect from this month.

“The significant drop in the year-on-year inflation to 18.4 percent was caused by the change in the methodology. Previously we have been using arithmetic aggregation but now we are using geometric aggregation, which has resulted in a decline of weighted inflation rates,” said Thomas Chikadaya, the manager for price statistics, while presetting the inflation data.

He said monthly inflation in September rose by 2.3 percentage points to 1.0 percent from minus 1.3 percent in August. The major drivers of monthly inflation in September were high costs of food and non-alcoholic beverages, education and communication.

South Africa’s Food Security Threatened by Avian Flu

By Xinhua 

September 29, 2023

The current avian flu outbreak may jeopardize food security in South Africa if it’s not properly managed, a senior official said Thursday.

“There’s an acknowledgment that if we are not successful in managing the avian flu, that might be threatening the food security, in particular the availability of poultry products, especially eggs and meat,” Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said at a media briefing.

Trade measures in the form of imports to manage the availability of fertile eggs, table eggs and poultry meat may be implemented, and South African ministers of agriculture, trade and industry were focusing on mechanisms and deciding what should be a preventative step, according to Ntshavheni.

Over 5 million chickens that were laying eggs have been culled in South Africa due to the avian flu outbreak. So far, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Free State have been the provinces most severely impacted.

South Africa reported the first bird flu cases in commercial farms in April in the Western Cape Province, according to the South African Poultry Association.

Republicans ‘Still Can’t Get Their S*** Together’ – This Week Proves It

Republicans – from Kevin McCarthy, to James Comer to presidential donors – are all living in a fantasy world and are unable to figure out how to clean up their mess

Eric Garcia

By all accounts, it looks like the House of Representatives is headed for a government shutdown. And House Republicans have only themselves to blame for it.

Right after the House passed the rule to begin debate on a stopgap bill to keep the government open on Friday, Speaker Kevin McCarthy smugly brushed off reporters’ questions, saying he wanted to take the Capitol press corps out to dinner to prove the shutdown pessimists wrong. He told us “you’ve got to believe.”

But literally a little more than an hour afterward, as he waltzed onto the House floor for the vote on the stopgap bill, known as a continuing resolution, the bill already flamed out in spectacular fashion, with 21 Republicans opposing it.

House Republicans have griped that they should pass individual spending bills and send them to the Senate and have opposed continuing resolutions to keep the government functioning.

But the problem with that strategy is twofold. First, there simply isn’t enough time to finish the spending bills before the clock runs out at midnight on 1 October. On top of that, the spending bills Republicans have passed have zero chance of clearing the Senate, let alone President Joe Biden signing them.

But Mr McCarthy has chosen to live in a fantasy world where he can somehow keep passing these types of spending bills and maintain his speaker’s gavel.

This is part of the collective magical thinking that Republicans have by and large adopted when all evidence seems to contradict what they seem to believe.

Mr McCarthy is not the only person to engage in this sort of fantastical thinking. His chief antagonist, Rep Matt Gaetz (R-FL) also seems to think that these individual spending bills could somehow make it through the Senate or, at minimum, he wants to continue to waste time so that he can signal to the most conservative voters that he is pushing for policies that will never become law.

Of course, Mr Gaetz also engaged in this magical thinking earlier this year when he took Mr McCarthy to 15 rounds to become speaker. Mr Gaetz never had any plan except to embarrass Mr McCarthy and never considered who else would get enough votes to pose a serious challenger to Mr McCarthy. Rep Maxwell Frost (D-FL) put it best to me after the failed continuing resolution vote.

“I got sworn in 2am on a Saturday night because they couldn't get their s*** together and they still don't have their s*** together,” he said.

But this collective dream is not confined to the House of Representatives. This week, Republican presidential candidates in Simi Valley, California, engaged in a Potemkin debate that had all the fixtures of an exchange among candidates.

But it is an utterly moot debate considering the fact that former president Donald Trump was not on hand. None of these back-and-forths matter as long as the former president does not participate. Whoever “wins” or “loses” these debates is irrelevant. Even when they do point their javelins toward Mr Trump, his lack of retorts turns them into the political equivalent of an old man yelling at a cloud from The Simpsons.

Meanwhile, friend of Inside Washington Robert Costa reported for The Washington Post that Republican donors, not confident that anyone on the debate stage could defeat Mr Trump, are now pushing to draft Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin into the race. While Mr Youngkin certainly could be formidable, given that he flipped a state that Mr Biden won, the Maga base is unlikely to turn on the former president in the primary campaign.

If the GOP donor class were serious about stopping Mr Trump, or at least understood how politics is played, they’d push the also-rans to drop out, stop funding their campaigns and super PACs and consolidate behind the most formidable candidate to get the non-Trump slice of the electorate to unite and take out the former president. Instead, they are thinking of adding another candidate who would further split the vote.

Also just this week, James Comer and the House Oversight Committee embarrassed themselves on biblical levels with their first impeachment hearing into President Joe Biden that produced zero firsthand evidence. Democrats routinely mocked them and it generated little more than derision, even in conservative circles.

Ultimately, the GOP has nobody but itself to blame. The elite donor class is disconnected from the base voters who show no signs of abandoning Mr Trump. Mr Gaetz and the House Freedom Caucus have chosen purity instead of achieving conservative goals. Mr McCarthy has chosen to keep his gavel instead of governing. The problem is this magical thinking risks cursing the rest of the country in an incantation that doesn’t mention our name.

McCarthy’s Last-ditch Plan to Keep the Government Open Collapses, Making a Shutdown Almost Certain

The U.S. House of Representatives passed bills to fund three federal government departments on Thursday night. A fourth vote failed. The bills do not stop the government from shutting down midnight Saturday. (Sept. 29)


6:38 PM EDT, September 29, 2023

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s last-ditch plan to keep the federal government temporarily open collapsed in dramatic fashion Friday as a robust faction of hard-right holdouts rejected the package, making a shutdown almost certain.

McCarthy’s right-flank Republicans refused to support the bill despite its steep spending cuts of nearly 30% to many agencies and severe border security provisions, calling it insufficient.

The White House and Democrats rejected the Republican approach as too extreme. The vote was 198-232, with 21 hard-right Republicans voting to sink the package. The Democrats voted against it.

The bill’s complete failure a day before Saturday’s deadline to fund the government leaves few options to prevent a shutdown that will furlough federal workers, keep the military working without pay and disrupt programs and services for millions of Americans.

A clearly agitated McCarthy left the House chamber. “It’s not the end yet; I’ve got other ideas,” he told reporters.

The outcome puts McCarthy’s speakership in serious jeopardy with almost no political leverage to lead the House at a critical moment that has pushed the government into crisis. Even the failed plan, an extraordinary concession to immediately slash spending by one-third for many agencies, was not enough to satisfy the hard-right flank that has upturned his speakership.

The federal government is heading straight into a shutdown after midnight Saturday that would leave 2 million military troops without pay, furlough federal workers and disrupt government services and programs that Americans rely on from coast to coast. Congress has been unable to fund the agencies or pass a temporary bill to keep offices open.

The Senate was pushing ahead Friday with its own plan favored by Republicans and Democrats to keep the government open while also bolstering Ukraine aid and U.S. disaster accounts. But that won’t matter with the House in political chaos.

The White House has brushed aside McCarthy’s overtures to meet with President Joe Biden after the speaker walked away from the debt deal they brokered earlier this year that set budget levels.

“Extreme House Republicans are now tripling down on their demands to eviscerate programs millions of hardworking families count on,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Jean-Pierre said, “The path forward to fund the government has been laid out by the Senate with bipartisan support — House Republicans just need to take it.”

Catering to his hard-right flank, McCarthy had returned to the spending limits the conservatives demanded back in January as part of the deal-making to help him become the House speaker.

His package would not have cut the Defense, Veterans or Homeland Security departments but would have slashed almost all other agencies by up to 30% — steep hits to a vast array of programs, services and departments Americans routinely depend on.

It also added strict new border security provisions that would kickstart building the wall at the southern border with Mexico, among other measures. Additionally, the package would have set up a bipartisan debt commission to address the nation’s mounting debt load.

Ahead of voting, the Republican speaker all but dared his holdout colleagues to oppose the package a day before Saturday’s almost certain shutdown. The House bill would have kept operations open through Oct. 31.

“Every member will have to go on record where they stand,” McCarthy said.

Asked if he had the votes, McCarthy said, “We’ll see.”

But as soon as the floor debate began, McCarthy’s chief Republican critic, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, announced he would be voting against the package, urging his colleagues to “not surrender.”

The hard right, led by Gaetz, has been threatening McCarthy’s ouster, with a looming vote to try to remove him from the speaker’s office unless he meets the conservative demands. Still, it’s unclear if any other Republican would have support from the House majority to lead the party.

Gaetz said afterward that the speaker’s bill “went down in flames as I’ve told you all week it would.”

He and others rejecting the temporary measure want the House to instead keep pushing through the 12 individual spending bills needed to fund the government, typically a weeks-long process, as they pursue their conservative priorities.

Some of the Republican holdouts, including Gaetz, are allies of Donald Trump, who is Biden’s chief rival in 2024. The former president has been encouraging the Republicans to fight hard for their priorities and even to “shut it down.”

The margin of defeat shocked even Republican members.

Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., said: “I think what this does, if anything, I think it’s going to rally people around the speaker and go: ‘Hey, the dysfunction here is not coming from leadership in this case. The dysfunction is coming from individuals that don’t understand the implications of what we’re doing here.’”

Garcia said, “For the people that claim this isn’t good enough, I want to hear what good enough looks like.”

Another Republican, Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, a member of the Freedom Caucus who supported the package, suggested the House was losing its leverage with the failed vote: “We control the purse strings. We just ceded them to the Senate.”

Republicans convened for a closed-door meeting later Friday afternoon that grew heated, lawmakers said, but failed to produce a new plan. Leaders announced the House would stay in session next week, rather than return home, to keep working on some of the 12 spending bills.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, criticized the proposed Republican cuts as hurting law enforcement and education and taking food out of the mouths of millions. She said 275,000 children would lose access to Head Start, making it harder for parents to work.

“This is a pointless charade with grave consequences for the American people,” DeLauro said.


The authorities imposed rationing measures last week, with the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco) saying on Wednesday that the shortages would end by March next year.


AFP | 28 September 2023 19:27

DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA - Drought and maintenance issues have forced Tanzania to ration electricity, the national provider said, as power shortages roil the East African nation.

The authorities imposed rationing measures last week, with the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco) saying on Wednesday that the shortages would end by March next year.

Tanzania currently has the capacity to generate about 1,900 megawatts, according to Gissima Nyamo-Hanga, the new managing director of Tanesco, with natural gas accounting for about 65% of its energy output.

"We have a shortage of 400 megawatts in the national grid due to low inflow of water, maintenance of gas-powered plants and the increasing demand for electricity," Nyamo-Hanga said in a statement released on Wednesday.

"We are working hard in cooperation with government agencies to reduce this shortage starting next month," he said, adding that Tanesco plans to restore 100 megawatts to the national grid in October after undertaking maintenance activities.

Nyamo-Hanga was appointed to the power utility company last week, with President Samia Suluhu Hassan urging him and other officials to "end the crisis" within six months.

"I don't want to hear anymore about power rationing," she said.

The country is trying to increase its hydropower capacity, including through the ongoing construction of the controversial Julius Nyerere dam project in the Selous Game Reserve, which is expected to produce 2,100 megawatts once operational.

DRC: State-owned Cobalt Company to Work with Pilot Mines

Dela wa Monga, an artisanal miner, holds a cobalt stone in the Shabara artisanal mine, near Kolwezi, on 12 October 2022.

After a long period of inactivity, the state-owned company that buys artisanal cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo is preparing to designate pilot mines with which it will work, its boss Eric Kalala announced on Thursday.

In 2019, the DRC created Entreprise Générale du Cobalt (EGC), which holds a monopoly on the purchase and sale of artisanal cobalt, in order to improve the working conditions of artisanal miners, known as "creuseurs". Since then, the state-owned company has remained largely inactive.

It is estimated that more than 200,000 people are working in disastrous conditions in informal cobalt mines in the DRC, the world's largest producer of this mineral essential for the manufacture of electric batteries, against a backdrop of accusations of child labour and corruption.

Speaking on the sidelines of a cobalt workshop in Kinshasa, EGC's managing director told AFP that the company was studying eight pilot sites from which it could soon start sourcing.

These sites are located on concessions belonging to state-owned Congolese mining company Gécamines, in Lualaba and Haut-Katanga, two provinces in the south-east of the country. "We are in the process of analysing the mineralisation to ensure that we can use them as pilot sites", explained Eric Kalala.

Confirmation of the designation of these sites is expected within the next few weeks, he added, explaining that the EGC would then endeavour to control access to the mines, distribute protective equipment and launch an ore traceability programme. "This is a first step", he said.

According to EGC officials present at Thursday's meeting, the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and delays in setting up a market regulator have contributed to the difficulties in getting the company off the ground.

Speaking before the meeting, mining activist Franck Fwamba accused politicians with interests in the informal cobalt mines. He also referred to the supposed hostility of the Minister of Mines, Antoinette N'Samba, towards EGC and its monopoly, which she considered illegal.

When contacted for comment, the minister's office had not responded by the end of the day on Thursday.

New Gabonese Administration Charges Wife of Ousted President with 'Money Laundering'

Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba (R) and wife Sylvia Bongo Ondimba

Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Valentin, the wife of Gabon's ousted president Ali Bongo Ondimba has been charged with "money laundering" and other offences, the public prosecutor said Friday (Sep. 29) a month after a coup toppled her husband.

Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Valentin was charged by an investigating judge on Thursday (Sep. 28), Andre Patrick Roponat announced on state TV channels on Friday.

"A dozen compatriots were arrested and charged with criminal and misdemeanor offences, and some were remanded in custody. It was in this context that Madame Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Valentin appeared before the examining magistrate on the 28th of September 2023. She was charged with money laundering, receiving stolen goods as well as forgery and fraud, all offences punishable under articles 116, 117, 312 and 380 of the Penal Code, before being placed under house arrest." the prosecutor said. 

The former first lady has not been free to move since her husband was toppled on August 30.

The presidency said at the time that Mrs. Bongo Valentin was under house arrest in Libreville "for her protection"; her lawyers who have in France said she was "arbitrarily detained together with her youngest son".

One of her lawyers said earlier this month that she was being kept "incommunicado outside any legal framework".

Ali Bongo, who was initially placed under house arrest in Libreville after the coup, was then declared "free to move about" with the possibility of "travelling abroad".

Their son, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, has already been charged with corruption and embezzling public funds with several former cabinet members and two ex-ministers.

Bongo, 64, who had ruled the central African country since 2009, was overthrown by military leaders, moments after being proclaimed the winner in a presidential election.

The result was branded a fraud by the opposition and the military coup leaders, who have also accused his regime of widespread corruption and bad governance.

The junta however took a tougher stance on the former first lady and the eldest son of the former first couple.

The coup leader general Oligui accused the duo of "forging Ali Bongo's signature and giving orders on his stead" after he suffered a stroke in 2018.

Ali Bongo took over when his father Omar died in 2009 after nearly 42 years in power.

Eswatini Voters Cast Their Ballots in Legislative Elections

A voter wearing the traditional emahiya attire marks a ballot at a voting boot during Eswatini's parliamentary elections at the National High School in Lobamba. 29/09/2023

Africa News

Voters in Eswatini began casting their ballots on Friday for legislative elections taking place in Africa's last absolute monarchy.

The 500,000 registered voters will select 59 members of the lower house of parliament, whose sole role is in advising King Mswati III. 

Any political change is unlikely in the kingdom where the monarch wields absolute power and political parties are banned. 

In 2021, the country formerly known as Swaziland was shaken by pro-democracy protests that were violently quashed by security forces. At least 46 people were killed. 

On Friday, however, as polling stations opened there was no sign of turmoil. 

The candidates running were nominated by traditional chiefs close to the king. Most remain loyal to King Mswati. 

A foregone conclusion

The opposition believe the results, to be announced within a few days, to be a foregone conclusion. 

""They are saying that there are elections that are free and fair (but) there is nothing like that," says Sakhile Nxumalo, 28, who heads the Swaziland Youth Congress, the youth wing of a banned pro-democracy party.

"We don't take this election seriously because they serve the interests of only a few."

"We live in a dictatorship. If one raises his voice, the police come knocking at his door at night and charge him for treason or something," said Thantaza Silolo, spokesperson for the largest opposition group, the Swaziland Liberation Movement (Swalimo).

High unemployment rates

Poverty persists in the southern African country where youth unemployment rates are particularly high. 

In 2021, overall unemployment was at 33.3% and youth unemployment for those aged between 15 to 24 was at 59.1%.

"Life in Eswatini is terrible, terrible," said Phinah Nxumalo, 58, who sells spinach and dried corn kernels.

"Our kids are educated, we groom them but they're staying at home because there's no job. It doesn't make sense."

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Russia Continues to Develop Relations with African Countries — Kremlin Spokesman

Dmitry Peskov specified that today Putin "will hold Russian-South Sudanese talks and then have a working luncheon with President Kiir"

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov Sergey Bobylev/TASS Host Photo Agency

MOSCOW, September 28. /TASS/. Russia continues to work on the development of relations with the African continent, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

The Kremlin official recalled that today Russian President Vladimir Putin would hold a meeting with his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir, who is in Russia on an official visit.

"We continue to develop our relations with the states of the African continent," the Russian leader's spokesman said.

He specified that today Putin "will hold Russian-South Sudanese talks and then have a working luncheon with President Kiir."

Russia to help South Sudan with security matters — Putin

The Russian leader underlined that relations between the countries are developing very intensively

MOSCOW, September 28. /TASS/. Russia will support South Sudan in addressing its internal political challenges and ensuring security, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.

"Of course, we are aware that further development is associated with ensuring security, with the settlement of all those problems and difficulties that you inherited from the old times. So, we will do everything to support you in this area as well," Putin said.

The president also said that he expected to discuss regional stability and security issues.

"I would be very interested in your opinion," he told his counterpart.

In opening the meeting, the Russian president said that relations between the countries are developing very intensively.

"We were one of the first countries to recognize the sovereignty and independence of South Sudan. I must say that we believe that much remains to be done, first of all in the area of economic development," he said.

According to the Russian president, bilateral trade dropped slightly last year, but is on the rise this year.

"And this is only the very beginning. We have a lot of good opportunities in various areas, including energy. I hope that the work we have done - I mean the construction of a refinery in your country in coordination with our companies, and the plans to build a second phase of this refinery - will benefit the development of our trade and economic ties," he said.

Putin also brought up the issue of humanitarian cooperation.

"People from your nation are being trained in educational institutions of our country. We intend to expand this collaboration. I know that there is similar interaction with the regions of the Russian Federation, including Tatarstan. I hope that this area of activity will only develop," he said.

There was a slight hiccup at the start of the meeting. The president of South Sudan, apparently encumbered by his big black cowboy hat, struggled with the earpiece for simultaneous interpretation. Putin waited patiently, then showed how to put on the earpiece, saying, "Like this."

Putin's Talks with the Head of South Sudan

In this pool photograph distributed by Sputnik agency Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) prior to their meeting

By Africa News with Agencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said relations between Russia and South Sudan were developing "intensively".

Speaking at a meeting with the South Sudan President Salva Kiir in Moscow, Putin noted Russia was one of the first countries to recognise the sovereignty and independence of South Sudan.

"I must say we believe that we have a lot to do, primarily in the area of economic development," Putin added.

Kiir said he was happy for the warm welcome and stressed that he was in Moscow "as an opening for our long work in the future."

South Sudan was one of the African countries present at the Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg.

The meeting took place as Kremlin seeks more allies amid the military campaign in Ukraine.