Newswire: DOJ wants a manager to oversee the troubled water system in Jackson, Mississippi

Community groups distribute bottled water in Jackson, MS

By The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. — The federal government filed a proposal Tuesday to appoint a manager for the troubled water system in Mississippi’s capital city, which nearly collapsed in late summer and continues to struggle.
The Justice Department said in a news release that the proposal is meant to be an interim measure while the federal government, the city of Jackson and the Mississippi State Department of Health try to negotiate a judicially enforceable consent decree. The goal is to achieve long-term sustainability of the system and the city’s compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and other laws.
The city and the state health department have signed the proposal, which needs approval of a federal judge.
The Justice Department on Tuesday also filed a complaint on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency against Jackson, alleging that the city has failed to provide drinking water that is reliably compliant with the Safe Drinking Water Act. According to the agreement, that litigation will be put on hold for six months while all parties try to improve the water system.
Edward “Ted” Henifin was appointed as interim third-party manager of the Jackson water system and Water Sewer Business Administration, the city’s water billing department. An online profile of Henifin says he is a registered professional engineer who served 15 years as general manager of the Hampton Roads Sanitation District in Virginia. Before that, he served as director of public works for the city of Hampton, Virginia.
The proposal lists 13 projects that Henifin will be tasked with implementing. The projects are meant to improve the water system’s near-term stability, according to a news release. Among the most pressing priorities is a winterization project to make the system less vulnerable. A cold snap in 2021 left tens of thousands of people in Jackson without running water after pipes froze.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in the news release that the Justice Department is “taking action in federal court to address long-standing failures in the city of Jackson’s public drinking water system.”
“The Department of Justice takes seriously its responsibility to keep the American people safe and to protect their civil rights,” Garland said. “Together with our partners at EPA, we will continue to seek justice for the residents of Jackson, Mississippi. And we will continue to prioritize cases in the communities most burdened by environmental harm.”
EPA Administrator Michael Regan, who has been to Jackson four times in the past year, said the Justice Department’s action “marks a critical moment on the path to securing clean, safe water for Jackson residents,″ adding that he is grateful to Garland for acting quickly on the city’s water crisis.
“Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege to spend time with people on the ground in Jackson — many who’ve struggled with access to safe and reliable water for years,″ Regan said. “I pledged that EPA would do everything in its power to ensure the people of Jackson have clean and dependable water, now and into the future. While there is much more work ahead, the Justice Department’s action marks a critical moment on the path to securing clean, safe water for Jackson residents.″
Jackson has had water problems for decades. Most of the city lost running water for several days after heavy rainfall exacerbated problems at the city’s main water treatment plant in late August. When that happened, Jackson had already been under a boil-water advisory for a month because health inspectors had found cloudy water that could make people ill.
The boil-water advisory was lifted in mid-September, but many people remain skeptical about water quality.
About 80% of Jackson’s 150,000 residents are Black, and about a quarter of the population lives in poverty.

Newswire : Montgomery school board votes to remove confederate names from schools

BY: Josh Moon, ALPolitical Reporters

Two confederate figures will be replaced by a renowned Black scientist and several Civil Rights Era figures. That, of course, is ludicrous. Lee was a slave owner who beat Black and tortured other humans for his own benefit. Davis was the leader of a traitorous revolt against this country – a revolt centered entirely on the issue of slave labor. In addition, neither man was from Montgomery, or even Alabama, and only Davis spent a miniscule amount of time in the state. 
In the meantime, Dr. Percy Julian was born in Montgomery and became one of the first Black scientists to earn a doctorate degree. He held more than 130 chemical patents and his work – pioneering the synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants – still influences the lives of every American on a daily basis. 
Judge Frank Johnson served as a federal judge in Montgomery and issued some of the most famous and consequential rulings of the Civil Rights Era. He is widely hailed as a champion of equality and justice, and some of his decisions still serve as precedent today. 
The Montgomery County School Board voted Thursday to officially remove the names of confederates from two city high schools and rename the schools after civil rights leaders, a federal judge and a renowned Black chemist. 
The school formerly known as Jefferson Davis High will be renamed Dr. Percy Julian High. Former Robert E. Lee High will now be called JAG High, an acronym combining the first initial of the last names of Judge Frank Johnson, Ralph Abernathy and Rev. Robert Graetz. 
“I’m glad we were able to put it on the table and move it forward,” said Montgomery Superintendent Melvin Brown, who made the formal recommendation for the name changes. “We can now get this change going in a positive direction. The bottom line is we’re going to make decisions based on what our kids need and not based around whatever nostalgia might exist.”
The renaming of the two high schools has been, unfortunately, a controversial issue, and the renaming of the schools did not receive unanimous approval from the county board. Two members voted against it, with one of those members proclaiming that choosing the civil rights leaders and a Black scientist was just as divisive as naming the schools for a confederate general and the former confederate president. 
Ralph Abernathy, a Baptist minister, was one of the most consequential figures of the Civil Rights Movement, working hand in hand with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Abernathy helped create the Montgomery Improvement Association, which launched the 1955 Bus Boycott – the starting point to the Civil Rights Movement. He also founded the Southern Christian Leadership Council and led hundreds of protests and movements in the name of equality. 
And Rev. Robert Graetz was one of the few white ministers to participate in the Civil Rights Movement. Graetz and his wife, Jeannie, took over a small, predominantly Black church in Montgomery just prior to the Bus Boycott and helped facilitate the transportation and other needs of the participants. Their home was bombed multiple times as a result. 
“The community wanted the names (of the schools) to be reflective of the people who live in Montgomery now,” said board member Arica Watkins-Smith.

Newswire: Texas judge stops President Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Program

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

A federal judge in Texas bent to the will of a few and struck down President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program that offered relief to at least 40 million borrowers.
The conservative group, Job Creators Network Foundation, filed the lawsuit against the plan on behalf who two individuals who didn’t qualify for relief under Biden’s program. There remains another legal challenge to the plan.
“We strongly disagree with the District Court’s ruling on our student debt relief program, and the Department of Justice has filed an appeal,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
“The President and this Administration are determined to help working, and middle-class Americans get back on their feet, while our opponents – backed by extreme Republican special interests – sued to block millions of Americans from getting much-needed relief,” she stated.
White House officials maintain that the Secretary of Education received power from Congress to discharge student loan debt under the 2003 HEROES Act. “The program is thus an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s legislative power and must be vacated,” wrote Judge Mark Pittman, a Donald Trump nominee.
“In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone,” he continued.
Under the president’s plan, borrowers who earned less than $125,000 in either 2020 or 2021 and married couples or heads of households who made less than $250,000 annually in those years are eligible to have up to $10,000 of their federal student loan debt forgiven.
If a qualifying borrower also received a federal Pell grant, the individual would receive as much as $20,000 of debt forgiveness.
In October, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals placed an administrative hold on Biden’s forgiveness program based on a suit filed by six GOP-led states.
In the most recent case in Texas, one plaintiff did not qualify for the student loan forgiveness program because the federal government does not hold her loans.
The other plaintiff is only eligible for $10,000 in debt relief because he did not receive a Pell grant.
They argued that they could not voice their disagreement with the program’s rules because the administration did not put it through a formal notice-and-comment rule-making process under the Administrative Procedure Act.
“This ruling protects the rule of law which requires all Americans to have their voices heard by their federal government,” said Elaine Parker, president of the Job Creators Network Foundation, in a statement.
CNN reported that major Trump donor and former Home Depot CEO Bernie Marcus founded Job Creators Network Foundation.

Newswire : Racist sentenced to Life in Prison for Buffalo mass killing of African Americans

TOPS supermarket in Buffalo, NY

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent


A white man who traveled to a Buffalo grocery store in May and killed 10 African Americans, including Black Press writer Katherine Massey, pled guilty to 25 criminal counts on Monday and will spend the rest of his life in prison.

A grand jury previously indicted Payton Gendron, 19, on domestic terrorism, first-degree murder, attempted murder, hate crimes, and weapons possession. A single domestic terrorism motivated by hate charge carries an automatic life sentence upon conviction.

Prosecutors said Gendron acknowledged that he committed the heinous crimes “for the future of the white race.”

A lawyer for the victims indicated relief that the state’s case didn’t go to trial.
“It avoids a lengthy trial that they believe would be very difficult for the families,” said Terrence Connors, an attorney representing the victims’ families.“I think it was pretty clear they had no real defense.”

The self-described white supremacist, Gendron, previously pled not guilty to federal hate crime charges. Federal law allows for the death penalty in those cases.

He still faces 27 federal counts, including ten counts of hate crimes resulting in deaths, three counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill, and 13 counts of using, carrying, or discharging a firearm related to a hate crime.

Prosecutors said Gendron possessed a 180-page manifesto that revealed troubling perceptions the self-avowed white supremacist had. He complained of the dwindling size of the white population and included his fears of ethnic and cultural replacement of white people.

Gendron described himself as a fascist, a white supremacist, and an anti-Semite.
His live-streamed shooting spree has left at least ten dead and several more wounded.

Unlike the many unarmed Black people killed during encounters with law enforcement, the white racist is alive to plead not guilty in court.

“While past violent white supremacist attacks seem to have factored into this heinous act, we must acknowledge that extremist rhetoric espoused by some media and political leaders on the right promoting theories that vilify or dehumanize segments of our society like ‘the great replacement theory’ is a factor too,” wrote U.S. House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson in an earlier statement.

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell added that the organization condemns the white supremacist terrorist attack targeting Black men and women in Buffalo and the racist rhetoric that has sparked such violence.

“The constant repetition of white supremacist conspiracy theories on social media and even mainstream media outlets has led to horrific violence in places as distant as Christchurch, El Paso, Oslo, and Charleston,” Mitchell asserted earlier.

“Those who promote racism, white supremacy, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of bigotry must be held accountable for the violence they inspire.”
Mitchell added that CAIR has often spoken against those who promote the “great replacement” and other racist conspiracy theories.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told National Newspaper Publishers Association’s live daily morning show, Let It Be Known, that Gendron surveilled both the community and the grocery store as part of the attack’s planning.

Brown said the teen surveilled the area for several days and targeted a busy place in an area predominantly populated by Black people. Gendron’s manifesto noted, “Zip code 14208 in Buffalo has the highest Black percentage that is close enough to where I live.”
According to the U.S. Census, the zip code is 78 percent Black and among the top 2 percent of zip codes nationwide with the highest percentage of the Black population. In addition, it has the highest rate of the Black population of any zip code in upstate New York.

“Well, this manifesto tells everything to us. And that is what’s so bone-chilling about
it is that there is the ability for people to write and subscribe to such philosophies filled with hate,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said after the shootings.

“The white supremacist acts of terrorism that are being fermented on social media and to know that what this one individual did has been shared with the rest of the world as well as the live-streaming of this military-style execution that occurred in the streets of my hometown.”

Massey, one of Gendron’s victims, spent her life trying to clean up and help her community. While she retired from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Massey, 72, remained active in her community as the Cherry Street block club president and as a columnist for the Buffalo Challenger, an NNPA member newspaper.
“She was the greatest person you will ever meet in your life,” her nephew, Demetrius Massey, told reporters.

 

Greene County Commission holds organizational meeting

Corey Cockrell

Garria Spencer

The newly elected Greene County Commission met on November 16, 2022, at the William M. Branch Courthouse for its organizational meeting.
All commissioners were present, including Garria Spencer-District 1, Tennyson Smith-District 2, Corey Cockrell – District 3, Allen Turner – District 4 and Roshanda Summerville – District 5.

Allen Turner, the current Commission Chair turned over the meeting to the attorney to conduct the election for officers. Spencer nominated Tennyson Smith and Summerville nominated Corey Cockrell for Chairperson of the Commission. Corey Cockrell was selected Chair by three votes (Summerville, Cockrell and Turner) to two votes for Smith.

For Vice Chair, Spencer and Summerville were nominated. Garria Spencer received three votes (Smith, Spencer, and Turner) to two votes for Summerville, and was elected Vice Chair. Committees will remain the same, although Turner and Cockrell will switch out their committee assignments.

The Commission agreed to meet on the second Monday of each month at 5:00PM and to hold a work session to hear reports and develop the Commission meeting agenda on the Wednesday, before the second Monday at 5:00 PM. The group agreed to use Robert’s Rules of Order to conduct business.

The Commission will maintain bank accounts with Citizens Trust Bank and Merchants and Farmers Bank, with the Chair, Vice-Chair, CFO-Mac Underwood and County Administrator, Brenda Burke as signatories.

Mac Underwood gave a financial report for the Commission as of October 31, 2022, the first month of the fiscal year, 2022-23. The report showed $6.9 million in Citizens Trust Bank and $3.9 million in Merchants and Farmers, and $872,063 in Bond Sinking Funds. Commissioner Turner asked the CFO to distinguish between restricted and unrestricted funds so that the Commissioners and the public will know that all these funds are not available for discretionary expenditure and only a small amount of funds are not budgeted or required to be spent for specific purposes.

The report also showed that the County Commission spent $1,241,663 for operations during October including $703,850 for Rebuild Alabama road and bridges expenses paid by the State of Alabama. The expenditure report showed the county general fund and agencies had remaining funds in their budget within the range of 90 to 96%, which means that their spending was in conformity with the budget, that allows for 92% of funds to remain for use later in the fiscal year.

In the Public Comments section of the meeting, Mrs. Marilyn Gibson, the Chief Librarian, requested assistance from the Commission to fix a leaking roof, which was endangering the books in the library. “The Commission covers the expenses of the library, including insurance. We had the insurance adjusters to come and look at the damages, but we have not received the report, and we need to fix the roof,” said Ms. Gibson.

Carrie Logan, representing the Eutaw Chamber of Commerce said that the Chamber had secured the Stillman College Band for the Eutaw Christmas parade, however $1,600 was needed to pay for three buses to transport the band members to march and play in the parade. Logan asked for assistance from the Commission toward this expense.

Joe Powell, Chair of the Greene County EMS Board, thanked the Commission for helping the ambulance service meet its financial obligations, including payroll, for the past three months. Powell asked the Commission to attend a meeting with the municipalities and other agencies seeking the long-term viability of the ambulance service for Greene County.

Eutaw holds ‘State of the City’ luncheon

Mayor Latasha Johnson, the Eutaw City Council and the city staff held the second annual ‘State of the City’ luncheon on November 16, 2022, at the Robert H. Young Community Center.

The mayor distributed a printed report on their challenges and successes during the past year.

In her talk, Mayor Johnson highlighted:

• The City has a budget for the second year in a row; this year’s budget has a General Fund with over $3 million in projected revenues and $5 million in total revenues, which are records.

• The City for the fiscal year ending October 2022, has audited financial statements which help qualify for state and Federal funds.

• Based on the budget, funds were borrowed from local banks for street repair equipment and police cars.

• The City of Eutaw reached agreement with the City of Boligee to consolidate its water and sewage systems and secure Federal grant funding for needed improvements.

• Work with the Eutaw Chamber of Commerce to promote and increase business development in the city.

• Purchase and renovate a building ( the current 911 office across from City Hall) to house the police force.

• Assist the Greene County EMS to improve the ambulance service and the Fire Department to acquire a new fire truck.

In concluding her remarks, Mayor Johnson said, “Together we can work to move the City of Eutaw forward for all of its people.”

Newswire: Vernice Miller-Travis, a crusader who continues the struggle to weed out environmental racism

Vernice Miller-Travis

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Vernice Miller-Travis has consistently recognized racism, including how race has played a significant role in environmental policy.
She’s the vice chair of Clean Water Action’s board of directors, executive vice president for environmental and social justice at Metropolitan Group, and co-founder of We Act for Environmental Justice.
Miller-Travis said that it’s her job to analyze data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of national priorities.
In that way, she’s able to keep abreast of hazardous waste sites in the United States, including the ones that pose an immediate health and environmental threat.
“You get to see the pattern,” Miller-Travis told National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.
“The pattern around the racial composition of who lives in a particular place in proximity to a hazardous waste site is not random,” she said during a riveting conversation inside NNPA’s state-of-the-art television studios in Washington.
The full discussion will air on Chavis’ PBS-TV Show, The Chavis Chronicles.
And when there’s any pushback, Miller-Travis stands at the ready.
“When they ask whether they’re being accused of being racist, I tell them that what I’m saying is that your policies you utilize have an unequal impact that people of color are always adversely affected, not white people.”
Born in 1959 at New York’s Harlem Hospital, where both her parents worked, Miller-Travis said she spent a lot of time at the famed health center.
She attended Barnard College before earning a political science degree from Columbia University’s School of General Studies.
“I started as a researcher working for the civil rights division of a small Protestant Church known as United Church of Christ – the remnants of the church established by the pilgrims,” Miller-Travis said.
As she spoke with National Newspaper Publishers Association President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., for a segment of his PBS-TV show, The Chavis Chronicles, they shared stories about the 40th anniversary of the Warren County, North Carolina protest that officially birthed the movement.
“One of the people leading that struggle was a minister in the United Church of Christ, and he called up to the headquarters in New York City and said, look, we need help. Nobody has talked to us, and the state has not reached out. There have been no briefings, no hearings, no nothing,” Miller-Travis recalled.
“And so, the national church did all they could to help and bring attention to it, but they thought, this is kind of curious.”
She continued: “We need to see if what’s happening in Warren County is endemic to what’s happening in rural North Carolina – is it the southeast? Is it bigger than that? And they hired me as a research assistant to help identify what we would then call environmental injustice and environmental racism, which Dr. Chavis coined the term.”
“And we found that race was the most statistically significant indicator of where hazardous waste sites were located across these United States, not just North Carolina.”
Miller-Travis said her grandmother encouraged her to use her “practical knowledge” as a scientist to understand the circumstances affecting predominately Black communities.
“Nobody was researching the lived experience in terms of environmental impacts on communities of color, on low-income communities, on tribal communities,” Miller-Travis recalled.
“People were focused on endangered species, endangered water bodies – that was where the environmental community’s head was. They were working on hazardous waste issues, but no one was connecting race and environmental threats’ location. So, we were the first folks to do this.”
She continued: “We published a report in 1987 called ‘Toxic Waste and Race in the United States,’ published by the United Church of Christ’s Commission for Racial Justice, which set the whole conversation aloft in this country.
Miller-Travis later traveled to Washington, where the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit took place.
She said she realized then that environmental racism existed throughout the United States.
Miller-Travis helped to adopt the 17 Principles of Environmental Justice, which remains relevant as the world wrestles with climate change, global warming, and a woeful environment.
However, she said she’s optimistic because the Biden-Harris administration has proven aggressive in its approach to these issues.
“This has been the most aggressive White House administration to address environmental injustice and environmental inequities in the history of the United States of America,” Miller-Travis asserted.
“They have policies, objectives, staff, executive orders specifically about environmental injustice in the climate space, and an executive order on addressing systemic racism across the breadth of the federal government.”

Newswire: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries announces bid to replace Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries

By Scott Wong and Sahil Kapur, NBC News

WASHINGTON — New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the fourth-ranking House Democrat, said Friday that he will run to replace House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the party’s leader after Republicans took back control of the chamber in last week’s midterm elections.
His announcement in a letter to colleagues came a day after Pelosi said in a powerful floor speech that she is stepping down after a two-decade reign as the top leader of House Democrats.

If Jeffries is successful, it would represent a historic passing of the torch: Pelosi made history as the first female speaker of the House, while Jeffries, the current Democratic Caucus chairman, would become the first Black leader of a congressional caucus and highest-ranking Black lawmaker on Capitol Hill. If Democrats were to retake control of the House — a real possibility with Republicans having such a narrow majority — Jeffries would be in line to be the first Black speaker in the nation’s history.
The ascension of the 52-year-old Jeffries to minority leader would also represent generational change. Pelosi and her top two deputies — Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C. — are all in their 80s and are receiving from within the party for “new blood” in leadership; Hoyer will not seek another leadership post while Clyburn plans to stay on and work with the next generation.
Reps. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., and Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., are seeking to round out the new leadership team, announcing Friday that they will run for the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in leadership. Clark, 59, announced a bid for Democratic Whip, while Aguilar, 43, is running for Democratic Caucus Chair.
Pelosi endorsed all three to succeed her leadership team in a statement Friday, saying they are “ready and willing to assume this awesome responsibility.” Clyburn has also endorsed the three, while Hoyer backed Jeffries for leader on Thursday.
“In the 118th Congress, House Democrats will be led by a trio that reflects our beautiful diversity of our nation,” Pelosi said. “Chair Jeffries, Assistant Speaker Clark and Vice Chair Aguilar know that, in our Caucus, diversity is our strength and unity is our power.”
Clyburn, a towering figure in the caucus and close ally of President Joe Biden, called his protege Jeffries “absolutely fantastic” and signaled support for a full slate of younger set of leaders taking the reins of the Democratic leadership apparatus: Jeffries, Clark, and Aguilar

Newswire: Delegates at Climate Confab reach deal to aid poor countries

Drought in East Africa

 

Nov. 21, 2022 (GIN) – With mere minutes to spare, delegates to the UN climate conference (also called COP27) reached a compromise to create a fund for disadvantaged countries coping with climate disasters worsened by pollution mainly from wealthy nations.
 
The meeting of over 200 countries, ending after two weeks of talks, put a finishing touch to one of the most contentious issues dogging the U.N. group that saw years of discussion but no agreement on how to phase out fossil fuels or meet the urgent needs of African and other regions of the Global South.
 
The compromise was a new “loss and damage” fund – a win for poorer nations that have long called for cash — sometimes viewed as reparations — for the costs of destructive storms, heat waves and droughts fueled by global warming. 
 
The United States and other wealthy countries have long rejected the loss and damage concept, fearing they could be held legally liable for the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change.
 
Although the Americans have now agreed to add to a fund, money must be appropriated by Congress. Last year, the Biden administration sought $2.5 billion in climate finance but secured just $1 billion, and that was when Democrats controlled both chambers. With Republicans in power, who largely oppose climate aid, the prospects for approving an entirely new pot of money appear dim.
 
Collins Nzovu, Zambia’s minister of green economy and environment, called the latest development “a very positive result for 1.3 billion Africans.” 
 
But many African climate activists were dismayed by the small steps taken by the global delegates and also by the African delegations who, they said, used the conference to embrace the new scramble for oil and gas on the continent. 
 
“For any meaningful outcome to be achieved in Egypt,” wrote Tal Harris of Greenpeace, “delegates must listen to the people of Africa – not the fossil fuel sector – and collectively commit to a phase out of all fossil fuels”.
 
Other outspoken critics of fossil fuel development were Kenyan climate activist Barbra Kangwana of Safe Lamu. The group squashed government efforts to build a coal plant at Lamu, a UNESCO world heritage site, in the name of boosting the national electricity supply.
 
“The community raised its voice, lobbied, signed petitions, went to court, and eventually the people won,” she said.
 
Patience Nabukalu, an activist from Uganda, has been organizing against an East African crude oil pipeline (EACOP), calling it “a clear example of colonial exploitation in Africa and across the global south.”
 
“EACOP is not going to develop our country: peoples’ land was taken, leaving many homeless and poor and critical ecosystems and biodiversity at risk of oil spills such as lake Victoria, rivers, National Parks, animals and birds, as well as aquatic life. We remain hopeful and vigilant as banks and insurers have withdrawn their support. We will continue to resist until everyone involved abandons it completely.”
 
“The fossil fuel industry has degraded our people, our lands, our oceans and our air,” charged Mbong Akiy with Greenpeace Africa. “Enough is enough. No matter how many deals they sign, no matter how many bribes they pay, or how fancy the suits they wear: we shall wait for them in our communities, we will wait for them on the frontlines. 
 
“We will not stop until we see a complete transition to clean, renewable energy that is guaranteed to take millions of Africans out of energy poverty… . In South Africa we have won against big oil, we sent Shell packing, and we will send them all packing again.”
 
“Fossil fuel production, if adopted, will stop Africa from leapfrogging towards a renewable and clean energy future,” said Dean Bhekumuzi Bhebhe of Powershift Africa. “We pledge to continue pushing for The Africa We Want beyond COP27.” 
 

Newswire : Young researcher from Ivory Coast tapped for women in science prize

Adjata Kamara, scientific researcher

Nov. 14, 2022 (GIN) – Twenty-five-year-old Adjata Kamara’s specialized research into plant-based biopesticides brought her to the attention of the L’Oréal Foundation and UNESCO – two organizations which aim to give visibility to women researchers worldwide. 
 
This week, Kamara was among 20 young women working in science to receive the UNESCO/L’Oreal prize. She had been exploring the use of plant extracts, fungi and beneficial bacteria on yams rather than chemicals which, she said, depletes the soil. Yams are a root that is highly prized in sub-Saharan Africa.
 
“The prize allows me to show my research to other women, to other countries and it puts a little pressure on me because I tell myself that now I have to be a role model for young girls in science,” she said.
 
Adjata explains that her goal is to develop “biopesticides based on plant extracts, fungi and beneficial bacteria,” in order to treat without chemicals this anomaly that disrupts the production of a plant that is the basis of staple food in several regions of Africa.
 
“I work on the development of biopesticides based on plant extracts, bacteria and also fungi. These bacteria and fungi are said to be beneficial and so I’m trying to find methods to control the fungi that attack post-harvest yams,” said Adjata.
 
Adjata is one of the twenty laureates of the “For women in science” young talent prize from sub-Saharan Africa who will receive US$10,000 to help them in their work.
 
She explained her interest in the field: “From an early age, my father had a mango plantation. And this plantation was attacked by mushrooms, but at that time we did not know it. And as the years passed, there was a drop in production. And from then on, I wanted to know why these mangoes were being attacked (by fungi), and why production was falling. And it’s since then that I devoted myself to it and that I loved science.”