Newswire : Trump ramps up attack on Manhattan DA with violent imagery and call for ‘Death’ and ‘Destruction’

Trump ramps up attack on Manhattan DA with violent imagery and call for ‘Death’ and ‘Destruction’

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Former President Donald Trump has ramped up the rhetoric and the threats as potential criminal charges loom in New York, Georgia, and Washington. Trump took to his Truth Social platform and posted a photo of him swinging a bat to the head of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
He also threatened that his anticipated arrest would lead to “death and destruction.”
“What kind of person can charge another person, in this case a former President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in history, and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime, when it is known by all that NO Crime has been committed, & also known that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country? Why & who would do such a thing? Only a degenerate psychopath that truly hates the USA!” Trump wrote.
Then in all capital letters, Trump continued his tirade:
A week before, Trump predicted that authorities from New York would arrest him, however, that has not happened yet.
Bragg’s office said Trump simply misled the public about an imminent arrest.
“We will not be intimidated by attempts to undermine the justice process, nor will we let baseless accusations deter us from fairly applying the law,” Bragg said through a spokesperson.
Bragg, 49, maintained that no one is above the law, and everyone receives equal treatment. “In every prosecution, we follow the law without fear or favor to uncover the truth,” his statement continued. Our skilled, honest, and dedicated lawyers remain hard at work.”
Trump’s social media attack on Bragg could reveal the frustrations and even the concern he might possess over all of the legal problems he currently faces.
Bragg’s case, in which the former President allegedly paid hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and committed campaign finance crimes, is just the tip of the iceberg for the bombastic Trump.
Most legal experts believe Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis might have a more serious case. A special grand jury disbanded in January after reportedly recommending charges that include obstruction, bribery, and interfering with a presidential election.
Additionally, a Special Counsel’s investigation into Trump allegedly mishandling classified documents at his Florida home has amped up with a federal judge ordering the former President’s lawyer to testify.
Finally, the Congressional committee that investigated the January 6 insurrection has recommended serious charges against Trump to the U.S. Department of Justice. Those charges could include treason.
“It would be a travesty of justice,” Mississippi Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson said if Trump isn’t prosecuted by federal authorities for his role in the insurrection.
“Nobody is above the law, not even the President of the United States,” said Thompson, who chaired the commission.
“What we saw after interviewing more than 1,000 people – the majority of who identify with the Republican Party – we are convinced that whatever happened, happened because of one person. So, we are clear in our recommendation.”

Newswire: At least 26 dead in Mississippi tornado, predominately Black community devastated

By Hazel Trice Edney

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell and other emergency management officials speak with a survivor of the devastating tornadoes that impacted Rolling Fork, Mississippi. (PHOTO:FEMA) – A couple of mornings of national news focus on the tornado that killed at least 26 people in 80 percent Black Rolling Fork, Mississippi and many news agencies have now  turned to another mass shooting in Nashville. Competing news interests have faded from the people of Rolling Fork, but they are receiving help from politicians, private and public disaster assistance agencies, churches and kind-hearted volunteers.

“Friend – a series of violent tornadoes have devastated Mississippi and neighboring areas: destroying homes, damaging businesses, and tragically taking at least 26 lives,” the NAACP wrote in a mass email appealing for help from its members. “The NAACP is urgently responding to Mississippi’s state of emergency. We’re coordinating relief efforts with the Red Cross, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, and local branch leaders so that every Mississippian gets the support they need ASAP. Your donation, no matter how large or small, will help our teams on the ground provide shelter, food, water, and other essentials to NAACP members and others who are suffering.

According to Abre’ Conner, NAACP director of Environmental and Climate Justice, author of the email, “In some areas, the destruction evokes horrifying memories of record-breaking storms like 2005’s Hurricane Katrina and 2011’s Tuscaloosa–Birmingham tornado.”

He concludes, “A rapid and robust response is essential. With hundreds of Americans displaced and untold damage done, we’re calling on our nationwide NAACP community to come together and support the families and individuals suffering from this disaster.”

Emergency responders are on the scene, but the rare tornado which was on the ground for more than an hour, destroyed homes, businesses and cars beyond imagination. According to initial reports, Diesel trucks were flipped over and cars were picked up and dropped on top of buildings and debris piled as high as 20 feet tall. Rolling Fork, Silver City, Black Hawk and Winona were hit hardest by the EF-4 tornado that tour through the area late Friday night, March 24.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued a state of emergency for all the counties affected by the severe weather, describing the state as “devastated.” President Biden has approved escalated response to that declaration. Rolling Fork Mayor, who led the governor on a tour of the destruction, expressed appreciation for those who are sending help and expressed hope amidst the tragedy. 

“On behalf of this entire community, first we want to say thank you. We want to thank you for all you’re doing for the families of this community and making sure the city of Rolling Fork will come back bigger and better than ever before,” Walker told the media. “Now, I’m having to meet my families, those who have lost loved ones, and help them make it through this traumatic time,” Walker said. “But you know what? I’m a firm believer that when you do right, right will follow you. And I think that I’ve been prepared to take on this task and I am going to do it in the name of the mayor of Rolling Fork and the man that I am and the man that God has made me to be.”

Newwire: Advocates visit Alabama lawmakers to urge support for Medicaid Expansion 

Members of Cover Alabama demonstrate for Medicaid Expansion at Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery

More than 80 Alabamians gathered outside the State House in Montgomery on Tuesday to urge state lawmakers to expand Medicaid to cover adults with low incomes. The Cover Alabama coalition sponsored the event as part of its advocacy day for Medicaid expansion. Alabama Arise is a founding member of Cover Alabama.

Some advocates shared stories of how Medicaid expansion would help their families and communities. Others highlighted how expansion would benefit Alabama’s economy and health care system. All sought to show the human faces of the state’s health coverage gap and the suffering it causes.

“I lost my job because of a chronic health condition. I’m the primary provider for my family, but I could not stay well enough to do my job,” said Jesse Odland, a Huntsville line cook. “Now, I worry my medical debt will affect how my family can thrive. The working class drives our economy, and we’re hit the hardest by the coverage gap.”

Closing the coverage gap would help nearly 300,000 Alabamians access potentially life-saving care. It also would create thousands of new jobs and invigorate the state’s economy, research shows. Medicaid expansion could create more than 20,000 new jobs and save the state almost $400 million each year for the next six years, according to a recent report by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama. And in rural areas, expansion would have the added benefit of reinforcing rural hospitals.

“Alabama’s rural hospitals are in trouble. More than a dozen are at immediate risk of closing this year,” said Dr. Marsha Raulerson, who has been a pediatrician in Brewton for more than 40 years. “When a rural hospital closes, that community loses not only their access to health care but also a primary economic engine and the jobs that come with that. Medicaid expansion is a win-win for patients and providers alike.”

Rev. Carolyn Foster, the faith in community coordinator at Greater Birmingham Ministries, argued that expanding Medicaid is just the right thing to do.

“No matter our creed, we can all agree that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves,” Foster said. “So long as we allow our neighbors to fall into the health care coverage gap, we are failing to answer that calling. It is an affront to people of faith and people of good will.”

Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid, and North Carolina likely will join that list next week. Debbie Smith, Alabama Arise’s Cover Alabama campaign director, said advocates hope this is the year Alabama will expand, too.

“Research shows Medicaid expansion is favorable on both sides of the political aisle,” Smith said. “We are hopeful Alabama lawmakers will do the smart, compassionate and fiscally responsible thing and expand Medicaid now. How can our state not afford to save money?”

Newswire : Vice President Kamala Harris to reset relations with Africa on her first trip to continent

VP Harris welcomed to Ghana


Mar. 27, 2023 (GIN) – The U.S. has been sending its best and its brightest to Africa with gifts and promises aimed at winning back the continent from its partnerships with China.
This week, Vice President Kamala Harris went off on a 9 day trip designed to discuss increased investment in three countries to help spur economic growth.  Starting with Ghana, she will stop over in Tanzania before winding up in Zambia.
It is the fifth major trip by a senior administration official since the U.S.-Africa summit in Washington, DC, following trips by Secretary Janet Yellen, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the First Lady, and Secretary Antony Blinken, most recently.
This reality tour reflects a growing awareness of the need to deepen U.S. engagement with the continent when it faces growing competition from other global powers, especially China and Russia.
 According to an official statement, the trip will build on December’s US-Africa summit in Washington where President Joe Biden said the U.S. was “all in on Africa’s future.” 
But Ghana’s once-thriving economy is going through its most difficult financial crisis in decades which has presented President Nana Akufo-Addo with rare opposition from the youth. Once described as Africa’s shining star by the World Bank, today it is no longer the economic poster child of West Africa. 
The country is seeking to restructure its debt amid surging inflation of over 50%. Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has just been in Beijing leading negotiations with the Chinese government.
“So far, very positive and encouraging meetings in China,” the finance minister tweeted as he expressed optimism that it would secure external assurances “very soon”.
It is not clear what, if any help, Ms Harris can offer, but she will be under pressure to act like a willing partner in the wake of Mr Ofori-Atta’s China visit.
Her bilateral meeting with President Akufo-Addo will be followed by a visit to a local recording studio in Accra and a meeting with young people in the creative industry.
Next, after delivering a major speech to an audience of young people, the VP will visit the Cape Coast slave castle where she will give a major speech about the brutality of slavery and the African diaspora to an audience of young people. 
On Wednesday, in Accra, the Vice President will meet with women entrepreneurs and discuss the economic empowerment of women.  She will announce a series of continent-wide public and private sector investments to help close the digital gender divide and to empower women economically more broadly. 
Ghana will be followed by Tanzania where she is scheduled to meet President Samia Suluhu Hassan and take part in a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy there followed by a session with entrepreneurs at a tech incubator and co-working space in Dar.
Finally, off to Zambia which finds itself in a similar position to Ghana. The copper-rich nation became the first African country to default on its debt when the Covid pandemic hit. Zambia is in prolonged discussions with China to restructure its debt and has also sought financial support from the IMF. 
Lastly, in Lusaka, on Saturday, April 1st, the Vice President will convene business and philanthropic leaders, from both the continent and from the United States, to discuss digital and financial inclusion on the continent.  They will discuss how to best partner together and build on the work of her trip and all the private sector announcements that she announced on the trip. 
For decades, the perception of the U.S. has been that it treats African countries like charity cases, according to several regional experts. That was exacerbated during the Trump administration, which largely ignored the continent or reportedly disparaged it. Former President Donald Trump, in a 2018 meeting, referred to some African nations as “shithole countries.” At the same time, China enhanced its investments in Africa, helping to build roads and other infrastructure projects and creating firmer economic and political relations.
“Washington is playing catch up in Africa,” said Cameron Hudson, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Africa Program. “With all of the business investment that the Chinese have made comes a lot of leverage and political influence in those countries. It’s not just that they’re making money there. It’s that they now have skin in the game in Africa in ways that we don’t. And that gives them leverage that we don’t have.



As of March 21, 2023, at 10:00 AM
(According to Alabama Political Reporter)

Alabama had 1,648,385 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(1,962) more than last report, with 21,114 deaths (23) more
than last report.

Greene County had 2,320 confirmed cases, 7 more cases than last report, with 54 deaths

Sumter Co. had 3,186 cases with 55 deaths

Hale Co. had 5,742 cases with 110 deaths

Note: Greene County Physicians Clinic has testing and vaccination for COVID-19; including the new bivalent booster for Omicron variants.
Call for appointments at 205/372-3388, Ext. 142;
ages 5 and up.

Black Women in Political Office in Greene County

Judge Lillie Jones Osborne is first Black Woman Probate Judge in Greene County.
Mrs. Brenda Goree was first Black Woman elected as Greene County Revenue Commissioner
Honorable Hattie G. Edwards served as first Black Woman on Eutaw City Council and first Black Woman Mayor of Eutaw.
Mrs. Elzora Fluker served on Greene County Board of Education and Greene County Commission

Judge Lillie Jones Osborne has served Greene County as District Judge since 1999, when she was appointed to follow in the footsteps of her late husband, Judge Richard Osborne, who was the first Black District Judge in Greene County.  He served in that position from 1985 to 1999.
She is a 1982 graduate of Tuskegee University with a B.S. Degree in Political Science. She received her Juris Doctor in 1985 from the University of Alabama School of Law. She served as staff attorney with Legal Services Corporation of Alabama, Inc., Selma Regional Office from 1996-1999, when she was appointed to the position of District Judge in Greene County. From 1984 to 1995, she served as staff attorney with Legal Services Corporation in the Demopolis Satellite Office.
Prior to that, she was Teaching Assistant, University of Alabama School of Law Minority Retention Program from 1984-1985. She was a law clerk with England & Bivens Law Firm from May 1984 to September 1984.
Judge Osborne currently serves as President of the Greene County Children’s Policy Council; directs various youth initiatives including the local youth group, SPOT (Strategically Preparing Our Students); initiated the countywide project Little Free Outdoor Libraries, providing children and adults access to books in their local communities; initiated Strengthening Families Program in Greene County. She is a member of the Alpha Beta Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. which sponsors the local Youth Leadership Institute (YLI).
Judge Osborne has two sons and one grandson. She is a members of St. Paul United Methodist Church, Eutaw, AL.

Mrs. Brenda Jackson Goree was the first Black Woman elected to the position of Revenue Commissioner in Greene County in 2002, when the county offices of Tax Collector and Tax Assessor were combined by state legislative action. Prior to her election as Revenue Commissioner, Mrs. Goree served as Greene County Tax Collector. She was first elected to that office in 1990 and served until her election as Revenue Commissioner.
Mrs. Goree is a graduate of the Greene County School System and Stillman College, where she earned a degree in Business Administration. Prior to running for public office, Mrs. Goree was employed with West Alabama Health Services where she served as Clinical Administrative supervisor.
Organizations she has served with include the following: Deep South Network for Cancer, Sickle Cell Disease Board, Greene County Self Help Project and the Greene County School System PTA.
Mrs. Goree is a native of Forkland, AL, but currently lives in Clinton. She was married to the late Edward Goree. She has two children and several grandchildren.

Honorable Hattie G. Edwards graduated from Farragut High in Chicago, Illinois. She furthered her education at the National Career Institute obtaining a degree in Business Administration Management 1986-1989. She began her work experience with the Greene County Engineer’s Office in 1985 as the first Black woman. With the Engineer’ Office, she worked in the field or on the road with the repair crews working her way up to the position of Office Manager.
She retired from the county after 34 years.  She loved her community so much that she became a true advocate. She had 46 years as a public servant, 34 years with the county commission, eight years, (2004-2012) on the Eutaw City Council, where she served as mayor Pro Temp, and four years as Mayor of Eutaw from 2012 to 2016.  She was the first Black Eutaw City Councilwoman and Mayor for the city.
She served on several boards and organizations, including the following: Greene County Democratic Executive Board, Greene County Chapter of Alabama New South Coalition, Greene County Chapter of SCLC, Greene County Schools PTA; a member of the Civil Rights Freedom Movement; a member of the Eutaw Housing Authority Board and the Board of the Housing Authority of Greene County and Greene County Parks and Recreation Board.
Mrs. Edwards had four children. She was a member of Pine Grove Baptist Church.

Mrs. Elzora Fluker is the first Black Woman in Greene County to serve as an elected official on the Greene County Board and later as an elected official on the Greene County Commission. Mrs. Fluker was elected to the school board in 1990 and served until she was elected to the District 3 County Commission seat in 2010. While on the Board of Education, Mrs. Fluker served as Chairperson for 12 years.
Mrs. Fluker began her career in law enforcement with the Tuscaloosa Sheriff Department in 1989, remaining there two years. She joined the Greene County Sheriff Department in 1991 and was the first certified deputy in the county. She transitioned to the Eutaw City Police Department in 1997, was the first certified officer, and remained with the force until 2007. She returned to the Greene County Sheriff Department in 2007 as a Sex Offender Officer and served as Director of the Junior Deputy Program, until her election to the County Commission in 2010, where she served one term.
She has been an essential volunteer with the Greene County Children’s Policy Council since 2007, and an active member of the Greene County Chapter of Alabama New South Coalition.
Mrs. Fluker is a 1972 graduate of Paramount High School and enrolled in Miles College in Eutaw in 1973.
She has three children, eight grandchildren and is a member of Christian Valley Baptist Church.

Alabama A&M University awards nine scholarships during bus tour to GCHS

The Greene County Board of Education held its regular meeting on Monday, March 20, 2023 with all board members present except Ms. Carrie Dancy.
In his positive news for Greene County High School, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones stated that nine seniors received scholarships from Alabama A&M University, totaling $168,000, when the Alabama A& M Bus Tour visited GCHS on March 2, 2023. Adopt-A-School partners and community leaders read to scholars at GCHS for Read Across America Week. Act testing at the high school was successful with nearly 100% student participation. GCHS seniors attended Stillman College TIGERFEST, with several scholars showing interest in enrolling at Stillman College. GCHS Honor Society and Peer Helpers read to scholars at EPS for Read Across America Week. GCHS football team participated in community service, picking up litter and helping to repair a house.
In positive news for Greene County High Career Center, Jones noted that Career Tech Student organizations recently competed in regional and state events: National Career Association (NCA) – 4th place winner at regional events; DECA; Skills USA. The Career Center has scheduled Parent Night for April 6 at 5:30 pm at the Career Center; Awards Banquet for April 27 at 5:30 p.m. at GCHS gym; Cosmetology Hair Show for May 5 at 5:00 pm GCHS gym.
In his positive news for RBMS, Dr. Jones noted that as Teacher of the year, Ms. Vanessa Bryant was awarded the Digital Discovery Scholarship for Title I Schools. Ms. Bryant was chosen over 200 plus applicants. This is her second year winning the award.
RBMS also hosted Muffins for Mom, a living Wax Museum and their annual Black History Program during the month of February. Parents were involved in all three events. RBMS hosted its first Mardi Gras Extravaganza on March 16.
The City of Eutaw hosted a job fair for RBMS students on March 14. According to Jones, Eutaw City is a faithful sponsor of RBMS.
Superintendent Jones included in his report the school system’s testing schedule. The ACT testing at Greene County High School was held March 15 through 17; ACAP Summative at Eutaw Primary School 2nd grade is scheduled for March 28 – April 4; ACAP Summative at Eutaw Primary 3rd grade is scheduled for April 5 – April 12; ACAP Summative at Robert Brown Middle Schoo 4th – 8th grades is scheduled for April 4 – April 21.
The board acted on the following personnel items recommended by Superintendent Jones.
Approved 2023-Language Essentials of Reading and Spelling Stipend: Danielle Sanders; Quenterica White; Chandra Toney.
Approved Employment: Canesha Ray, Long-Term Substitute Teacher for 2022-2023 Eutaw Primary School; Shelia Wade, Substitute Cafeteria Worker.
* Approved One-time Supplemental – COVID Testing: Jacqueline Raby, RN, Lead Nurse, $5,000; Brenda Lawerence, LPN, $2,500; Dorothy Jones, LPN, $2,500.
Approved FMLA Maternity Leave\Catastrophic Leave: Ms. Chandra Toney effective February 13, 2023.

The board approved the following administrative service items.
* Payment of all bills, claims, and Payroll.
* Bank reconciliations as submitted by Ms. Marquita Lennon, CSFO.
* UWA Black Belt Stem Institute Stipend Agreement.
* Service Agreement between Greene County Board and Stericycle Medical Waste Disposal.
* Contract between Greene County Board and Demisha Stough, Child Find Gifted Specialist.
* Contract between Greene County Board and E-rate Technologies Wide Area Network. For FY-23 School Term.
* Agreement between Greene County Board and Stericycle Service
* Agreement between Greene County Board and ABSS Staffing Solutions
Approval of Robert Brown Middle School to travel to Atlanta, Georgia Aquarium.
The CSFO, Ms. Marquita Lennon prepared the following Financial Snapshot as of February 28, 2023. Operating Reserve totaled 5.10M combined general fund reserve; 3.24M cash reserve, with all bank accounts reconciled. The General Fund Balance totaled $3,892,135.82, reconciles to the Summary Cash Report; Accounts Payable Check Register totaled $227,189.46; Payroll Register totaled $929,917.04 – total gross pay to include employer match items; Combined Ending Fund Balance totaled $6,157,563.17. The report indicated that the system is financially stable and maintaining the state mandated operating reserve.

Eutaw City Council approves purchase
and financing of a new backhoe

The Eutaw City Council held its first regular meeting of the month on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. All members of the council were present.

The purchase and financing of the new $121,900 John Deere Backhoe was approved with Warrior Tractor and Equipment Company of Northport, Alabama. The company decided it did not want the city’s old machine as a trade in. The new backhoe will be financed over 48 months at a cost of $2767 per month, with a $10,000 down payment and 5.75% interest. The old machine will be sold as surplus.

Mayor Latasha Johnson commented, “This is part of our plan to have the equipment our employees need to get the job done in repairing and maintaining our streets, water, and sewer systems. The cab of the backhoe is enclosed so the driver will be air conditioned in the summer and warm in the winter.” The monthly payments will be shared 50% by the 7-cent gas fund and 25% each by the water and sewer fund.

The Council also received five months of financial reporting (October 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023 on city accounts, which showed that most account revenues were slightly above budgetary projections and expenses were at or below budget. The financial report on the USDA Loan and Reserve funds were on target. The annual loan payment to USDA of $102,218 was made as scheduled in December 2022.

The Council accepted a proposal for grant-writing from Grant Management of Fairhope, Alabama who will be paid out of grant proceeds.
The Mayor indicated that this group was experienced in writing state grants like Community Service Block Grants (CSBG) and others. The Mayor said there were many grant opportunities available to the city but that a grant writer was needed to prepare the proposals necessary to compete for grants.

Dinah Foreman, Alabama Coordinator of Environmental Services for Communities Unlimited, in Rogersville, Alabama, a technical assistance provider to ADEM, EPA and other state and Federal agencies made a presentation to the council on the services her agency could provide at no cost to the City of Eutaw. Her agency was referred to the city as part of our multi-year grant agreement for the improvement of the Eutaw-Boligee water and sewer system. Among the Assistance this group will provide are management analysis, water operator training, rate studies, board training and development of a policies and procedures manual for the system.

A representative of the PRC Specialized Transport Company, a wrecker service operating out of Northport addressed the council about his interest in purchasing some land around the National Guard Armory for an office and wrecker truck and car lot. No action was taken on the proposal and the representative said he would be back with a more definitive proposal.

In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:

• Approved travel for the Mayor and Water Department staff to attend the Alabama Rural Water Association Meeting in Montgomery, March 19-22, 2023
• Approved a City of Eutaw Public Records request form to seek information from the city.
• Approved payment of bills and claims.
• Heard complains in the public comments section about the service provided by Community Cable Company; assistance provided by Corey Martin, Water Operator, in moving a water meter at Wheatland Circle and concerns about the grant writer and locating sewer lines.

Newswire: U. S. offers $331 Million to help Ethopia heal from war

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken meets with Ethopian President A. Alby

Mar. 20, 2023 (GIN) – The United States has promised Ethiopia $331 million in humanitarian aid to help heal the war-torn Horn of Africa country.
The funds were announced during a visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Ethiopia last week.
The funding will provide life-saving support to those displaced and affected by conflict, drought, and food insecurity in Ethiopia,” he said.
But the aid may not be enough to patch up the frayed relations between the two nations. A tweet posted by African Stream, put it succinctly: “Uncle Sam in the guise of Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Ethiopia to heal ties after the US earlier accused Addis Ababa of war crimes in the Tigray conflict and cut trade ties.
“So what’s with the sudden change of tune?  Could it have anything to do with the fact that arch-geopolitical rival China has been busy signing trade and development deals with Ethiopia and helping the country upgrade its infrastructure?  Looks like someone’s worried they’re losing clout on the continent…”
When Mr. Blinken arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, he was the latest in a parade of Biden administration officials courting the continent amid rising competition for influence with Russia and China, noted the NY Times.
Just a year ago, the two countries were at odds and ends after the U.S. expelled Ethiopia from a regional trade group, citing “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” by the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Such denunciations were not repeated during the meeting Wednesday, however, which focused on “progress in the agreement to cease hostilities.”
This time, Mr. Blinken’s goal was to reset America’s relationship with Ethiopia, a nation of 120 million, headquarters of the African Union and until recently a pillar of American security policy in the region. But the war badly strained that relationship.
Under the new terms of friendship, Mr. Blinken said that Mr. Abiy, along with Tigrayan leaders with whom he also met here, “should be commended” for bringing a halt to the violence, though he cautioned that more work was needed to carry out the agreement.
He also suggested that the U.S. bore some historical responsibility for Ethiopia’s civil strife by remaining silent when abuses were carried out.
“For our part, the U.S. acknowledges (the) human rights violations and repression committed during the past few decades, actions which sowed the seeds of future conflict,” in an apparent reference to a period when Ethiopia was a major American counterterrorism partner and its government was run by a Tigrayan-dominated coalition. “We and others were insufficiently vocal about these abuses in the past.”
In a photo op before a private meeting, Ethiopia’s foreign minister, Demeke Mekonnen, noted that the two nations “have longstanding relations, and it is time to revitalize them and move forward.”
Former U.S. diplomat to Africa Elizabeth Shackelford, opined: “Mr. Blinken should be skeptical toward Mr. Abiy, whose heroic image as a 2019 Nobel Prize winner has been eclipsed by a ruinous civil war for which he bears much responsibility and during which his forces and allied troops from the neighboring country of Eritrea were accused of massacres, sexual assault and ethnic cleansing in Tigray.
“My hope is that the war has changed our approach to the Ethiopian government and made us buy Abiy’s lines less readily.” 

Newswire: Hate crimes jumped nearly 12% in 2021, new FBI figures show

People demonstrating against hate crimes

By Michael Kosnar, NBC News


Hate crimes in the U.S. increased by 11.6% in 2021 from the previous year, according to revised figures the FBI released Monday.
The statistics showed that 12,411 people were reported to have been victims of hate crimes in 2021, 64.5% of them targeted because of their race or ethnicity, 15.9% targeted for their sexual orientation and 14.1% for their religion. The reports were up from 8,120 in 2020 to 9,065 in 2021 — some crimes had multiple victims.
In 2020, reports of hate crimes increased by less than 3% from the previous year.
The FBI released initial 2021 data in December that indicated a slight decrease in the number of hate crimes. Officials said that report was flawed because of low participation rates by law enforcement agencies across the country that were not using a new reporting system known as the National Incident-Based Reporting System.
The initial figures also did not include data from New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — the country’s three biggest cities by population.
Analysts then went back and had more than 3,000 agencies that had not originally submitted statistics hand in data so the FBI could have a fuller picture of hate crimes.
The figures released Monday include numbers from New York and Los Angeles. Chicago submitted data for part of the year, a senior FBI official told reporters in a background briefing.
The official said the top five hate crimes in 2021 were motivated by feelings against African Americans, whites, gay men, Jews and Asian Americans. The incidents were as varied as intimidation and assault to rape and murder.
The same official said 14,859 law enforcement agencies across the country are now enrolled in the National Incident-Based Reporting System, representing 79% of police agencies covering 91% of the U.S. population.
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, said” “We are continuing to work with state and local law enforcement agencies across the country to increase the reporting of hate crime statistics to the FBI.
“Preventing, investigating and prosecuting hate crimes are top priorities for the Justice Department, and reporting is key to each of those priorities,” Gupta said in a statement.