Newswire : Kenyan grassroots activist tapped for major humanitarian prize

 

Nov. 19, 2018 (GIN) – Kennedy Odede started SHOFCO (Shining Hope for Communities) as a teenager in 2004 with 20 cents and a soccer ball. Growing up in Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa, he experienced extreme povdedeerty, violence, lack of opportunity, and deep gender inequality. Odede also dreamed of transforming urban slums, from the inside-out. SHOFCO, based in Nairobi, Kenya, provides critical services that disrupt survival mode—giving people the opportunity to not just survive, but thrive. SHOFCO’s programs, which include health care, economic empowerment, and sustainable delivery of clean water through a cutting-edge aerial piping system, are always demand-driven and community led. Through its education programs for girls, SHOFCO empowers the future female leaders who will ultimately transform the structures that keep urban poverty in place. What began as a grassroots movement in Kibera by Kennedy in 2004 has ignited transformation and hope in six Kenyan informal settlements, reaching more than 220,000 people. “The jury’s selection of SHOFCO to receive the 2018 Hilton Humanitarian Prize really speaks to the power of local actors,” said Hilton Foundation President and CEO Peter Laugharn. “SHOFCO is a remarkable example of citizen-led change, created by people living in very challenging conditions. As Africa and the world urbanize and more informal settlements are created, SHOFCO provides an inspiring example of local creativity and solutions.” In a recent opinion piece in the New York Times, Odede wrote: “Flint (Michgan) and Kibera are reminders that the power of politics is the people. The process of organizing will bring forth the leaders who can truly represent their communities and push for change, whether or not those leaders hold political office. “We should look first to our neighborhoods, towns, schools, churches, mosques and temples to identify the leaders who represent our needs and values. Empower them, and the politicians will follow suit.” SHOFCO will receive $2 million in unrestricted funding, joining the list of 22 previous organizations that have received the Hilton Humanitarian Prize over the last two decades including most recently, The Task Force for Global Health and Landesa. For more information, visit www.shofco.org

Newswire:  Both Abrams and Gillum fall just short of Governors’ Mansions

By Barrington M. Salmon

 

Stacey Abrams and Andrew and C.J. Gillum

TriceEdneyWire.com) – In the end, Stacey Abrams said voter suppression and systematic voter manipulation by former Secretary of State and Governor-Elect Brian Kemp tilted the Georgia governor’s race in his favor. After 10 days of legal, electoral and other maneuvering, Abrams bowed out of the race, ending a combative and bitter contest in her bid to become the first Black woman governor in the country. An attorney, author and former minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, Abrams called Kemp “the architect of voter suppression” and accused him of purging voters rolls, delaying and denying new registrations and generally disenfranchising African-American and other non-white voters. “I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election,” said Abrams at a Nov. 16 press conference. “But to watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in this state baldly pin his hopes for election on suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling.” Abrams castigated Kemp – who served since 2012 as secretary of state until he stepped down last week – making it clear that she refuses to act as if the election was normal, while pointing out that she wasn’t making a concession speech. She castigated Kemp for the “deliberate and intentional” voter suppression he employed and promised to continue to fight for fair and comprehensive elections. “Pundits and hyper-partisans will hear my words as a rejection of the normal order. You see, I’m supposed to say nice things and accept my fate,” she said. “They will complain that I should not use this moment to recap what was done wrong or to demand a remedy. You see, as a leader I should be stoic in my outrage and silent in my rebuke but stoicism is a luxury and silence is a weapon for those who would quiet the voices of the people. And I will not concede because the erosion of our democracy is not right.” Investigative Journalist Greg Palast filed an affidavit on November 15 in federal district court in Atlanta in support of the Common Cause Georgia’s case filed against Kemp. Palast said on his website that an expert report from one of his consultants shows that 340,134 voters were wrongly purged from Georgia’s voter rolls – without notice – by Kemp in 2016 and 2017 while Kemp was Secretary of State and preparing his run for Governor. There are documented efforts of Kemp’s machinations to suppress the vote in investigations by the Associated Press, Mother Jones and other news outlets. Kemp has removed significant swathes of African-Americans, Asians, and Latinos from voter rolls by purging more than 1.5 million voters – almost 11 percent of those registered – from the rolls between 2016 and 2018. He also closed 214 polling stations, the majority of them in poor and non-White neighborhoods. And using a program called ‘exact match,’ he blocked almost 35,000 Georgia residents from registering from 2013 to 2016. Exact match only grants residents the right to vote if their registrations exactly match information found in state data bases. Registrations aren’t accepted if there is a name difference, a misspelled word or an accent. Kemp’s office also put more than 50,000 voter registrations on hold by using the unreliable “exact match” system. Fully 70 percent of those are Black. Abrams’ election run electrified African-Americans around the state. And the Black-woman-powered ground game brought Abrams to within two percentage points of beating Kemp. “We’ve been working in Georgia all year,” said Melanie Campbell, president/CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. “Sisters laid the groundwork. We’ve been doing voter registration. While the focus has been on leaders, this was a coalition effort of women like Helen Butler of the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, who was all over the state. We were phone banking since the primaries calling Black women. People like Deborah Scott and Felicia Davis and groups like the Southern Black Women’s Initiative and Shirley Sherrod were canvassing neighborhoods, developing voter profiles and putting women together.” Campbell said the emergence of Donald Trump, the rise in hate crimes and the ratcheting up of racism are of most concern to Black women. This has animated their resistance to Trump and the Republican agenda. “The whole notion is that our lives are at stake. It’s in our DNA,” she said. “There is a drumbeat, a drumbeat knowing that this country is in peril. We’re seeing, feeling and hearing it. It took a minute for folks to tune in.” Campbell said campaigns like Abrams represents a power shift and will have important implications for African-Americans in 2020 and beyond. In Florida, after a flurry of lawsuits, uncertainty about the fate of uncounted ballots, and two South Florida counties failing to meet the deadline, a machine recount determined that Tallahassee Mayor was unable to catch Republican Ron DeSantis in that gubernatorial contest. Gillum trailed DeSantis by 33,683 votes, a net gain of one vote for Gillum from the unofficial results reported last week. Of eight million votes cast, the margin was a mere 0.41 percent. Despite the apparent insurmountable lead, Gillum would not concede and called for counting to continue. His lawyer hinted at a lawsuit. “A vote denied is justice denied — the State of Florida must count every legally cast vote,” Gillum said in published reports. “As today’s unofficial reports and recent court proceedings make clear, there are tens of thousands of votes that have yet to be counted. We plan to do all we can to ensure that every voice is heard in this process.” There grew a cacophony of calls for Gillum to concede. So far, he has refused. The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board has called him “ungracious,” saying that his refusal to concede is “a display of ill-grace that won’t help his political future in Florida.” Ultimate, he conceded saying he will not stop working for fair elections in Florida.“We wanted to make sure that every vote, including those that were undervotes and overvotes –as long as it was a legally cast vote – we wanted those votes to be counted,” Gillum said. He concluded, “We also want you to know that even though this election may be beyond us, that this – although nobody wanted to be governor more than me – this was not just about an election cycle…This was about creating the kind of change in this state that really allows for the voices of everyday people to show up again in our government, our state, and our communities.” This story includes information from The Tallahassee Democrat, gregpalast.com and NPR

Greene County Commissioners take Oath of Office

 

Shown L to R: Coroner Ronald Kent Smith and his wife, Mrs. Pamela Smith; Commissioner Lester B. Brown and his granddaughter Peyton Brown; Commissioner Tennyson Smith and Mrs. Brenda Burke; District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne. Shown L to R: Commissioner Roshanda Summerville and her son Brian Summerville; Mrs. Emma Turner, mother of Commissioner Allen Turner, Jr. and Judge William “Nick” Underwood. Shown L to R: Commissioner Corey Cockrell and his mother Mrs. Margree Davis; Probate Judge Julia Spree.

The Greene County Commission held its Installation Program on Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 5:00p.m. at the William M. Branch Courthouse in Eutaw, AL. The Greene County Coroner was also installed. Greene County District Judge, Lillie Jones-Osborne conducted the installation and Oath of Office of Commissioner Lester Brown, for District 1; Commissioner Tennyson Smith, for District 2; and Coroner Ronald Kent Smith. Greene County Probate Judge Julia Spree installed and conducted Oath of Office for Commissioner Corey Cockrell for District 3. Eutaw City Judge William Nick Underwood installed and conducted Oath of Office for Commissioner Allen Turner, Jr. for District 4 and Commissioner Roshanda Summerville for District 5. The program opened with welcome and greetings by Greene County Circuit Clerk Mattie Atkins. Invocation and scripture were given by Rev. John Kennard. Following the Oath of Office of the commissioners, there was a recognition of elected officials present. Rev. Kennard closed the program with Benediction. A repast was held at Ruby’s. The re-organization of the County Commission is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018 at 5:00 pm.

$3,000,000.00 awarded to local man

 

On Friday, October 26, 2018, the Alabama Supreme Court unanimously upheld a $3,000,000.00 jury verdict for a Eutaw, Alabama man who was seriously injured in an automobile accident while traveling through a road construction site in Greene County, Alabama. Mr. Kennedy was represented by Attorney John Stamps of The Black Belt Law Center and Attorneys Tom Perry and Hunter Compton of Manley Traeger Perry Stapp & Compton. Mr. Eduard Kennedy was driving on State Highway 43, when a motor grader, operated by employees of Tomlin Construction, that was parked suddenly pulled into his lane of travel. As a result of the negligence of Tomlin Construction and their employees, Mr. Kennedy suffered severe life changing injuries. Mr. Kennedy is satisfied with the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision and is hopeful that it will prevent in the future the type of road construction negligence that injured him. One of Mr. Kennedy’s attorneys, John Stamps, also expressed his satisfaction with the Alabama Supreme Court’s favorable decision. He said, “We are happy Mr. Kennedy was able to obtain justice in this matter and we will continue to fight the good fight for all of our clients and the people of the Black Belt of Alabama.”

Over the four-day trial, Circuit Judge Eddie Hardaway “did an excellent job of requiring the defendants to adhere to the evidence and the rule of the road laws” according to Attorney Hunter Compton. “The defendants tried to control and manipulate evidence to make it appear the accident was caused by Mr. Kennedy, but I am glad the Alabama Supreme Court agreed with Judge Hardaway and saw through that smoke screen to get to the truth”, stated Attorney Tom Perry.

Newswire :  Huge heist by Ghanaian bank officers worse than feared

 Ghanaian Times headlines about theft

Nov. 12, 2018 (GIN) – Depositors may want to steer clear of banking in Ghana while over a dozen bank officers and shareholders face claims they lent themselves millions of dollars but failed to repay. Business Ghana, a local news outlet, reported that 13 shareholders and directors of the defunct Capital Bank Ghana Limited and UT Bank engaged in acts that led to the collapse of the two banks. By their alleged actions, the defendants “have breached their fiduciary duties under the Companies Code and have caused serious financial loss to the banks,” say receivers for the defunct banks. The officers allegedly lent themselves about $837 million Ghanaian cedis – equal to $174 million U.S. dollars. Auditors with the PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting firm confirmed that actions by the bank officers destabilized Capital Bank which was declared bankrupt earlier last year. That led to the collapse of five other indigenous banks that were merged into one in August 2018. Capitol Bank founder William Ato Essien allegedly flouted “all banking and risk management rules by treating depositors’ funds and public funds as his personal cash,” the auditors said. Briefly detained by the Economic and Organized Crimes Office, he was granted bail and invited to assist with ongoing investigations. All this has occurred despite a campaign pledge by President Nana Akufo-Addo to be the anti-corruption candidate. An investigation by Business Insider, published this month, found that a half dozen appointees of the president were accused of serious corruption, from bribery to extortion, selling contaminated fuel , visa fraud, and posing as journalists to attend the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. After an inquiry, all the accused were fully exonerated by ad-hoc committees of Parliament. Meanwhile, a Special Prosecutor to investigate corruption complains that a year after his office was established, it is confined to a small house “woefully inadequate” to accommodate employees. And in Italy, some 200 Ghanaian students say they are stranded without food, are homeless and possibly facing deportation because necessary documents for their scholarships have not been validated by the Embassy. Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Giovanni Favilli, however, charged the students with abusing Italy’s hospitality and threatened them with prosecution. The claims were dismissed by the President of Ghanaian Students in Italy who disputed the accuracy of the charges.

Newswire : The battle for Florida and Georgia ends in vote recounts

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia

 Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum

 

The heartache expressed on Tuesday night by the many supporters of Stacey Abrams has suddenly turned to hope after absentee and other ballots counted brought the Georgia Democratic governor hopeful closer to a runoff with Republican Brian Kemp. And, after conceding to Republican Ron DeSantis in Florida on Election night, Tallahassee Mayor and Florida Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum found new life when votes were finally tabulated from the more blue areas of the state like Broward and Miami Dade. Gillum said he conceded based on “the limited information we had.” That’s now changed. As of Friday morning, Gillum was just 0.44 percentage points behind DeSantis, a margin of about 36,000 votes. A margin within 0.5 percentage points triggers an automatic recount, something the Florida Secretary of State would still have to approve. “On Tuesday night, the Gillum for Governor campaign operated with the best information available about the number of outstanding ballots left to count,” Gillum spokeswoman Johanna Cervone said in a statement. “Since that time, it has become clear there are many more uncounted ballots than was originally reported.” The campaign reportedly has hired attorney Barry Richard, who represented the Bush campaign during the contentious 2000 presidential election in Florida, who was “monitoring the situation closely and is ready for any outcome, including a state-mandated recount,” Cervone said. “Mayor Gillum started his campaign for the people, and we are committed to ensuring every single vote in Florida is counted.” Meanwhile, after initial and unofficial tallies in Georgia gave Kemp a seemingly insurmountable lead, absentee and other provisional ballots drew Abrams ever closer and also in the range of recount and possibly a runoff. “All of the votes in this race have not been counted,” Abrams campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo said at a press conference on Thursday. Under Georgia law, if no candidate achieves a majority, then a runoff election will be held. Kemp currently leads with 50.3 percent of the vote. Abrams is also close to the possible threshold to earn a recount in the race, which, following his resignation, Kemp would now not oversee. “Brian Kemp is 25,622 votes above the threshold for a runoff election. Twenty-five thousand votes of nearly four million cast are at issue in this race,” Groh-Wargo said. “By [Kemp’s] own admission, there are at least 25,000 outstanding votes, and hundreds if not thousands of more that we are learning about and discovering every day.” The state chapter of the NAACP filed a pair of lawsuits claiming that students at Spelman College and Morehouse College were improperly forced to vote with a provisional ballot – or dissuaded from voting at all – because their names didn’t show up on voter registration lists. And the second, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, seeks to preserve the right for voters in the Pittman Park Recreation Center area to cast ballots. That was the precinct where massive lines formed because of too few polling machines. Even after five additional voting devices were delivered, some people waited four hours at the Atlanta site. In a televised interview early Tuesday, former talk show host Melissa Harris-Perry said Gillum and Stacey would change the way Democrats campaign in the south for decades to come. In saying so, Harris-Perry was clear that would be the case regardless of the outcome. “Gillum and Abrams, no matter what, they have changed the idea that Democrats should not be fighting for these seats in the south, and that’s going to have 25 years of impact,” Harris-Perry said. Much had been written about Abrams’ opponent interfering with voting rights and early reports from Georgia indicated that many polling locations were not up and running in a timely fashion. Voters in the Peach state dealt with long lines, malfunctioning election equipment and registration discrepancies as they swamped precincts Tuesday with an unprecedented turnout for a midterm election. Wait times of more than an hour were the most common hurdle facing voters across the state, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. But technical problems, like failing to plug in voting machines, worsened matters for some voters trying to get their ballots in. Three precincts in Gwinnett County had some of the most severe difficulties, causing them to stay open past the normal 7 p.m. closing time, the newspaper reported. The Annistown Elementary precinct remained open until 9:25 p.m. because of extensive issues with the electronic ExpressPoll system, which is used to check in voters before they’re issued voting access cards. Anderson-Livsey Elementary and Harbins Elementary precincts also stayed open late. Three more precincts in Fulton County also stayed open as late as 10 p.m. because of extreme lines, missing registration information and a shortage of provisional ballots. Those precincts were located at Pittman Park Recreation Center, Booker T. Washington High and the Archer Auditorium at Morehouse College. The Rev. Jesse Jackson got involved at the Pittman Park Recreation Center precinct in Fulton County, encouraging voters to remain in line after they had waited for hours. Only three voting machines were initially available before five more were sent out later. “It’s a classic example of voter suppression, denying people easy access to exercise their right to vote,” Jackson said, according to the newspaper.

Tennyson Smith defeats Pelt for Commission seat Greene County has high turnout for straight Democratic ticket; Not enough to stem state trend for Republicans

Gov. Kay Ivey and Tennyson Smith

Unofficial vote totals for Tuesday’s General Election show that 4,183 of Greene County’s 7,050 registered voters (59.3%) turned out and voted overwhelming for the straight Democratic ticket. In Greene County, in the Governor’s race, Democratic candidate, Walt Maddox received 3,506 votes (84.1%) to 661 votes (15.1%) for incumbent Republican Kay Ivey. Statewide Ivey received 849,410 (61%) to 562,521 (39%) for Maddox. Ivey becomes Alabama’s second woman Governor and at 74, the oldest elected Governor in the nation. In other statewide contests, the Republican candidates were all successful in their races including: Will Ainsworth for Lieutenant Governor, Steve Marshall for Attorney General, Tom Parker for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, John H. Merrill for Secretary of State, John McMillan for State Treasurer, Jim Ziegler for State Auditor, Rick Pate for Commissioner of Agriculture, Jeremy H. Oden, Public Service Commission, Place 1 and Chris ‘Chip” Beeker Jr., Public Service Commission Place 2. Beeker is a native and resident of Greene County. All seven of Alabama’s incumbent Congresspersons were reelected, including Terri Sewell, who ran unopposed for the 7th District. Sewell is the only Democrat in Alabama’s delegation to Congress. In local Greene County races, Tennyson Smith was reelected County Commissioner in District 2 by a vote of 620 defeating Independent Latoya ‘Mi-Mi’ Pelt with 191 votes. Tennyson Smith will be joining Commissioners Lester ‘Bop’ Brown (District 1), Corey Cockrell (District 3), Allen Turner, Jr. (District 4), and Roshonda Summerville (District 5), who were Democratic nominees from the primary who were unopposed in the General Election. This election also officially confirmed the election of other Greene County office holders who were nominated in the Democratic primary and unopposed in this election. This includes: Eddie Hardaway Jr, Circuit Judge, Veronica Morton-Jones, Circuit Clerk, Rolanda H. Wedgeworth, Judge of Probate, Jonathan ‘Joe” Benison, Sheriff, and Ronald ‘Kent’ Smith, Coroner. Greene County will also be represented by the same legislative delegation including Bobby Singleton, State Senator District 24, A. J. McCampbell, State Representative District No. 71 and Ralph A. Howard, State Representative District 72, who were unopposed and elected in yesterday’s election. All four State Amendments on the ballot were approved statewide by a 60% margin, however in Greene County voters opposed amendments 1, 2 and 4. Amendment 2, which says that Alabamians recognize the rights of the unborn, could lead to the outlawing of abortions and certain contraceptive measures in the future.

Sen. Doug Jones gives keynote address at Federation’s Co-op Month celebration at Rural Training Center in Epes

 

U. S. Senator Doug Jones was the luncheon speaker at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives celebration of National Co-op Month at its Rural Training and Research Center near Epes, Alabama. The Federation had a series of workshops on cooperative and credit union development and land retention issues during the morning. This included a presentation by several members of the SoGoCo, meat goat producers’ co-op on their efforts to promote goat production among family farmers in west Alabama. Rev. Samuel Fairley, Rev. Constance Scott and Pamela Madzima talked about their work with SoGoCo to encourage farmers to produce goats. The co-op now has 30 members with over 500 nannies, female reproductive goats. The cooperative is looking forward to having a large enough membership to support a goat processing plant. “We want to produce goat sausage and other quality cuts of goat meat for consumers and restaurants in the area,” said Fairley. The Federation’s Land Retention Specialist and Attorney, Monica Rainge, spoke on the problems of land tenure by Black farmers indicating that “heir property ownership” has become a significant obstacle to Black land owners making maximum utilization of their land. “When the original land owner dies without a will, the land title passes to all of the heirs without a division. This means all of the heirs have an un-divided interest in the land and all the heirs must agree on any decisions affecting the utilization of the land, including the application for USDA funds and programs. If several generations pass before the family tries to resolve this problem, there can be multiple heirs spread around the country, which makes it difficult for families to make decisive and timely decisions affecting the use of the land,” said Rainge. In his luncheon remarks, Senator Jones said he had been working since he was elected on bipartisan themes that would be helpful to rural people and communities in the State of Alabama including affordable health care, expanding high speed internet services and support for farmers. Jones said he was working on several aspects of the 2018 Farm Bill, which was now in a conference committee to reconcile differences between the Senate and House versions of the legislation. Jones said he had sponsored a proposal with Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina to provide support and assistance to heir property landowners, which is part of the Senate bill. He is also supporting an effort to provide support for veteran, minority and beginning farmers, which would provide outreach and technical assistance for these groups and help to pass down the farming legacy from older farmers to the next generations. Jones said he was also working to protect the basic safety net and disaster assistance sections of the Farm Bill as well as prevent excessive cuts to food and nutrition programs. “Overall I am looking for ways to bring people together and seek bi-partisan common ground in a Washington D. C. that is broken. This has been a difficult ten days for our nation and I hope you go out and vote. You also must demand that your public officials be more responsible and work together. “We learned from the period of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama that politicians could fan the flames of racism with their words and rhetoric. Governor George Wallace and Police Commissioner Bull Conner made things more difficult with what they said in the 1960’s and the current President’s words on the caravan of poor immigrants from Central America and Mexico weigh on our nation’s discourse. “We must put our common good at the forefront of our discussions and seize the opportunity to speak and work for unity and not discord in our nation,” said Jones. Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director of the Federation observed that, “ We appreciate Senator Doug Jones coming to the Federation’s Rural Training Center in Epes. We have had Congressmen and women, three Secretaries of Agriculture, numerous government officials, but Doug Jones is the first U. S. Senator to visit our facilities. He also came on a great day to celebrate National Co-op Month.

Newswire : Mauritania ordered to end forced labor or lose trade benefits

 

Anti-slavery activists in Maritania

Nov. 5, 2018 (GIN) – Forced labor tolerated by the Mauritanian government was called a decisive factor in the U.S. decision this week to end favored nation trade status for the country as of January 1. “Forced or compulsory labor practices like hereditary slavery have no place in the 21st century,” said Deputy U.S. Trade Representative C.J. Mahoney. “This action underscores this Administration’s commitment to ending modern slavery and enforcing labor provisions in our trade laws and trade agreements. “We hope Mauritania will work with us to eradicate forced labor and hereditary slavery so that its eligibility in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) may be restored in the future.” President Donald Trump, according to a press release from the executive office, had determined that Mauritania was not making sufficient progress toward establishing the protection of internationally recognized worker rights. It went without saying that such criticisms from United States were least expected from a nation built on slavery, challenged over voting rights and currently dismantling the rights of workers to unionize, to safe working conditions, to freedom from discrimination, among others. At a public hearing last August, a representative of the AFL-CIO federation of unions in the U.S. affirmed that Mauritania was in violation of established worker rights to association and to bargain collectively. A ruling by the African Union earlier this year found that anti-slavery laws were not enforced and slave owners received lenient sentences for violating human rights. Mauritanian government spokesman Mohamed Ould Maham called the decision by President Trump “a betrayal of the friendly relations between our countries and a denial of our efforts” to roll back slavery practices. The West African nation insists the country is no longer home to slavery, but to “the vestiges of slavery”, including poverty, social and economic exclusion and unequal access to education for members of the country’s former slave class, known as Haratin. An estimated 90,000 people in the country of about 4.3 million still live in modern slavery conditions. Haratins are the largest minority group in Mauritania and among the most economically and politically marginalized, according to UNPO – the Underrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization. Public comments and hearing testimony related to the eligibility review are available online at www.regulations.govunder docket number USTR-2018-022.

Newswire :  Baseball great Willie McCovey dies at 80

By Stacy M. Brown,NNPA Newswire Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia

Former San Francisco Giant slugger and one of Major League Baseball’s all-time greatest players, Willie McCovey, has died at the age of 80. Nicknamed “Mac,” and “Stretch,” McCovey played 22 seasons – mostly with the Giants but split time with the Oakland A’s and San Diego Padres – and produced 521 home runs while driving in 1,555 runs. He earned three National League Most Valuable Player Awards and six All-Star Game MVP honors. McCovey earned induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Giants built a statute in his honor outside of their stadium by the Bay in San Francisco. “San Francisco and the entire baseball community lost a true gentleman and legend, and our collective hearts are broken,” Giants CEO Larry Baer said in statement announcing the loss of the all-time greats. “Willie was a beloved figure throughout his playing days and in retirement. He will be deeply missed by the many people he touched,” he said. Baer continued: “For more than six decades, he gave his heart and soul to the Giants – as one of the greatest players of all time, as a quiet leader in the clubhouse, as a mentor to the Giants who followed in his footsteps, as an inspiration to our Junior Giants, and as a fan cheering on the team from his booth. “Willie’s greatest passion was his family and our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved wife, Estella, and his daughter, Allison, and her children Raven, Philip, and Marissa.” As noted by MLB Trade Rumors, McCovey’s name has become synonymous not only with the San Francisco Giants — who retired his No. 44 and named right field’s “McCovey Cove” at AT&T Park in his honor — but with baseball greatness. McCovey’s overall statistics include a slash line of .270/.374/.515 with 521 home runs, 353 doubles, 46 triples, 1229 runs scored and 1555 runs batted in. In addition to spending 19 seasons with the Giants, McCovey played three seasons with the Padres and also spent part of the 1976 season with the Athletics. He played with other legends like Willie Mays and Bobby Bonds and against greats like Roberto Clemente and Bob Gibson. “He really is Giants royalty. You see the statue out behind the cove, you hear about the Willie Mac Award,” Baer said. “You think of him as a gentle giant. He was just big and imposing and he was feared as a hitter and soft and cuddly and warm as a person.”