Newswire : Study finds most of the World failing at Gender Equality

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Graphic of women’s faces

Nearly 40 percent of the world’s girls and women live in countries that are failing on gender equality, according to information compiled by Equal Measures 2030 and its partners.

According to the website for the project, “The 2019 SDG Gender Index measures the state of gender equality aligned to 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 129 countries and 51 issues ranging from health, gender-based violence, climate change, decent work and others. The 2019 SDG Gender Index provides a snapshot of where the world stands, right now, linked to the vision of gender equality set forth by the 2030 Agenda.”

The index reveals that 1.4 billion girls and women are living in countries that get a “very poor” or failing grade on gender equality.
The SDG Gender Index is considered the most comprehensive tool available to measure the state of gender equality when compared to defined SDGs.
The average score across the 129 countries – which represent 95 percent of the world’s girls and women – is 65.7 out of 100, which translates to a “poor” rating based upon the index’s scoring system).
No single country is the world’s best performer – or even among the world’s top ten performers – across all goals or all issues.
In 2015, world leaders from the participating countries committed to achieve gender equality by 2030 for every girl and every woman when they signed on to the ambitious goals and targets of the SDGs.
“With just 11 years to go, our index finds that not a single one of the 129 countries is fully transforming their laws, policies or public budget decisions on the scale needed to reach gender equality by 2030,” Alison Holder, the director of Equal Measures 2030 said in a news release.
“We are failing to deliver on the promises of gender equality for literally billions of girls and women,” Holder said.
Overall, the world is furthest behind on gender equality issues related to public finance and better gender data (SDG 17), climate change (SDG 13), gender equality in industry and innovation (SDG 9) and – worryingly – the standalone ‘gender equality’ goal (SDG 5).
Denmark tops the index, followed closely by Finland, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands.
The countries with the lowest scores in the index – Niger, Yemen, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Chad – have all faced conflict and fragility in recent years.
Altogether, 2.8 billion girls and women live in countries that get either a “very poor” (59 and below) or “poor” score (60 – 69) on gender equality.
Just 8 percent of the world’s population of girls and women live in countries that received a “good” gender equality score (80 – 89) and no country achieved an “excellent” overall score of 90 or above.
The 129 countries featured in the index cover five regions – Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
“It’s clear that even the most gender-equal countries need to improve on issues like climate change, gender budgeting and public services, equal representation in powerful positions, gender pay gaps, and gender-based violence,” Holder said.
The index also shows that countries with far fewer resources are still able to tackle key gender inequalities.
Senegal, for example, has a higher percentage of women in parliament (42 percent) than Denmark (37 percent), despite Denmark’s GDP per capita being 56 times higher than that of Senegal.
Kenya has very high rates of women who use digital banking (75 percent) – higher rates than three quarters of the world’s countries.
Colombia has better coverage of social assistance (81 percent) amongst its poorest people than the United States (65 percent), a higher-income country.
“This report should serve as a wakeup call to the world. We won’t meet the SDGs with 40% of girls and women living in countries that are failing on gender equality,” said Melinda Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“But the SDG Gender Index also shows that progress is possible. Many countries with the most limited resources are making huge strides in removing the barriers for girls and women across economies, politics and society – demonstrating that when it comes to gender equality, governments shouldn’t have excuses for inaction,” Gates said.
Officials said it’s also imperative that the global community provides investment and support to fragile and conflict-affected countries – those with the lowest scores in the Index, such as Yemen, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad.
“As advocates for gender equality in Africa, we can no longer operate on presumptions and approximations,” said Memory Kachambwa, the executive director of the African Women’s Development and Communication Network – or FEMNET.
“Gaps of inequalities must be marked, counted and recorded so that the trail of implementation is clear and decision makers are held to account. The SDG Gender Index will help to ensure that Africa’s girls and women are counted and accounted for,” Kachambwa said.
While some issues are lagging far behind, dedicated international efforts appear to have made a difference on other issues.
Overall, countries have performed best on issues where coordinated and concerted policy focus and funding has been directed over the past 10-20 years, including on hunger and nutrition (SDG 2), water and sanitation (SDG 6), health (SDG 3) and education (SDG 4).
“With 8,000 decision-makers, advocates, and influencers gathered in Vancouver as part of the Women Deliver Conference, and over 100,000 participating around the world, we have the collective power to drive real progress on these gender equality scores and create real impact for girls and women,” said Katja Iversen, the president and CEO of Women Deliver.

Newswire: Democrats hold hearing on White Supremacy

Newspapers with stories on white supremacy

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

House Democrats on Tuesday, June 4, grilled officials from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security during a hearing focusing on how the Trump administration is addressing the growing threat of violent white supremacist groups.
The House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties hearing, titled “Confronting White Supremacy: Adequacy of the Federal Response,” reportedly is the latest effort by Democrats to spotlight ways they say the Trump administration has systematically cut back on resources used to address threats from domestic extremists even as the FBI has reported a 30 percent to 40 percent rise in domestic terrorism cases 2. just since October.
The hearing included FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Michael McGarrity, FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Criminal Investigations Calvin Shivers and DHS assistant secretary Elizabeth Neumann.
Democratic committee members have said they would press those members of Trump’s cabinet on their “budgets and allocations of personnel, data collection practices, and strategic plans” to address threats from white supremacists.

Newswire: Studies indicate reparations must include costs of predatory lending

New University Studies Track High Costs of Discriminatory Housing

By Charlene Crowell

Charts showing impact of housing discrimination

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – In recent years, the spate of homicides linked to questionable uses of deadly weapons and/or force, have prompted many activist organizations to call for racial reparations. From Trayvon Martin’s death in Florida, to Michael Brown’s in Missouri, Eric Garner’s in New York and many other deaths — a chorus of calls for reparations has mounted, even attracting interest among presidential candidates.

While no amount of money could ever compensate for the loss of Black lives to violent deaths, a growing body of research is delving into the underlying causes for high poverty, low academic performance and — lost wealth. Public policy institutes as well as university-based research from the University of California at Berkeley and Duke University are connecting America’s racial wealth gap to remaining discriminatory policies and predatory lending.

This unfortunate combination has plagued Black America over multiple decades. And a large part of that financial exploitation is due to more than 70 years of documented discriminatory housing.

The Road Not Taken: Housing and Criminal Justice 50 Years After the Kerner Commission Report, returns to the findings of the now-famous report commissioned by President Lyndon Johnson. In the summer of 1967, over 150 race-related riots occurred. After reviewing the 1968 report’s recommendations and comparing them to how few were ever enacted, the Haas Institute tracks the consequences of recommendations that were either ignored, diluted, or in a few cases pursued. Published by Berkeley’s Haas Institute for Fair and Inclusive Communities, it weaves connections between education, housing, criminal justice – or the lack thereof.

“Although in some respects racial equality has improved in the intervening years,” states the report, “in other respects today’s Black citizens remain sharply disadvantaged in the criminal justice system, as well as in neighborhood resources, employment, and education, in ways that seem barely distinguishable from those of 1968.”

In 1968, the Kerner Commission report found that in cities where riots occurred, nearly 40% of non-white residents lived in housing that was substandard, sometimes without full plumbing. Further, because Black families were not allowed to live wherever they could afford, financial exploitation occurred whether families were renting or buying a home.

As many banks and insurance companies redlined Black neighborhoods, access to federally-insured mortgages were extremely limited. At the same time, few banks loaned mortgages to Blacks either.This lack of access to credit created a ripe market for investors to sell or rent properties to Black families, usually in need of multiple needed repairs. Even so, the costs of these homes came at highly inflated prices.

In nearly all instances, home sales purchased “on contract” came with high down payments and higher interest rates than those in the general market. The result for many of these families was an eventual inability to make both the repairs and the high monthly cost of the contract. One late or missed payment led to evictions that again further drained dollars from consumers due to a lack of home equity. For the absentee owner, however, the property was free to sell again, as another round of predatory lending. As the exploitive costs continued, the only difference in a subsequent sale would be a home in even worse physical condition.

The Plunder of Black Wealth in Chicago: New Findings on the Lasting Toll of Predatory Housing Contracts, also published this May, substantiates recent calls for reparations, as it focuses on predatory housing contracts in Illinois’ largest city. Published by Duke University’s Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, this report analyzed over 50,000 documents of contract home sales on the Windy City’s South and West Sides and found disturbing costs of discriminatory housing in one of the nation’s largest cities, as well as one of the largest Black population centers in the nation. Among its key findings:

During the 1950s and 1960s, 75-95% of Black families bought homes on contract;

These families paid an average contract price that was 84% more than the homes were worth;

Consumers purchasing these homes paid an additional $587 each month above the home’s fair market value;

Lost Black Chicago wealth, due to this predatory lending ranged between $3.2-$4 billion.

“The curse of contract sales still reverberates through Chicago’s Black neighborhoods (and their urban counterparts nationwide,” states the Duke report, “and helps explain the vast wealth divide between Blacks and Whites.”

Now fast forward to the additional $2.2 trillion of lost wealth associated with the spillover costs from the foreclosure crisis of 2007-2012. During these years, 12.5 million homes went into foreclosure. Black consumers were often targeted for high-cost, unsustainable mortgages even when they qualified for cheaper ones. With mortgage characteristics like prepayment penalties and low teaser interest rates that later ballooned to frequent and eventually unaffordable adjustable interest rates, a second and even worse housing financial exploitation occurred.

A 2013 policy brief by the Center for Responsible Lending, found that consumers of color – mostly Black and Latinx – lost half of that figure, $1.1 trillion in home equity during the foreclosure crisis. These monies include households who managed to keep their homes but lost value due to nearby foreclosures. Households who lost their homes to foreclosures also suffered from plummeting credit scores that made future credit more costly. And families who managed to hold on to their homes lost equity and became upside down on their mortgages – owing more than the property is worth. Both types of experiences were widespread in neighborhoods of color.

In terms of lost household wealth, nationally foreclosures took $23,150. But for families of color, the household loss was nearly double — $40,297.

CRL’s policy brief also states. “We do not include in our estimate the total loss in home equity that has resulted from the crisis (estimated at $7 trillion), the negative impact on local governments (in the form of lost tax revenue and increased costs of managing vacant and abandoned properties) or the non-financial spillover costs, such as increased crime, reduced school performance and neighborhood blight.”

As reparation proposals are discussed and debated, the sum of these financial tolls should rightly be a key part. While the Kerner Commission recommendations remain viable even in 2019, it will take an enormous display of public will for them to be embraced and put into action.

“The Kerner Report was the ‘road not taken’, but the road is still there,” noted john a. powell, the Hass Institute’s Director.

Charlene Crowell is the Communications Deputy Director with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached atcharlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.

Newswire : Arab autocrats funding violent crackdown in Sudan

Sudan’s military junta turns guns on civilian protestors

June 3, 2019 (GIN) – The hopeful path to peace in Sudan evaporated almost overnight as members of Sudan’s military junta suddenly cocked their rifles and aimed them at a sit-down demonstration by hundreds of civilians.

Over 30 Sudanese peaceful protestors preparing for the Muslim ritual Eid al Fitr – Festival of Breaking the Fast – lost their lives in an instant. Audio from civilian radios posted online captured the sounds of crying, shouting, and nonstop gunfire.

The question on everyone’s lips has been: What changed? What unleashed this deadly assault on quietly seated pro-democracy demonstrators?

Some analysts suspect the influence of ‘outside agitators’ – namely the autocratic leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – who had tried to maintain ousted president Omar al-Bashir in power but, failing that, would fuel a counter-coup under the leadership of Sudan’s restive military junta.

These countries had faced their own “Arab Spring” years back and were unwilling to see another pro-democracy movement rise in this major center of influence, reports Simon Tisdall of The Guardian news.

Only a week before, negotiations appeared to be nearing a settlement between Sudan’s ruling military junta and the civilian leaders of a movement that was now numbering in the thousands. But the talks stalled over a core demand that civilians assume immediate leadership of the country until elections could be held.

The Sudanese military leaders turned to their allies in the anti-democratic governments of Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia and help was forthcoming.

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman promised $3 billion in aid, Tisdall reported, while the powerful Emirati crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, vowed to help “preserve Sudan’s security and stability”.

Al-Sisi, who publicly pledged to honor the “will of the Sudanese people”, is believed to playing both sides of the struggle, seeing Egyptian interests in the Nile water disputes as a possible outcome for backing the generals.

Egypt has already given the Sudanese junta significant assistance. The African Union, which Egypt currently chairs, set a 15-day deadline for the military to hand over power when Bashir fell. The deadline was extended to three months, however, when al-Sisi intervened.

While some in Sudan’s pro-democracy movement had anticipated foreign meddling, the brutality of the attack leveled at civilians with tear gas and live rounds of ammunition were shocking.

“This is a critical point in our revolution. The military council has chosen escalation and confrontation … Now the situation is us or them; there is no other way,” said Mohammed Yousef al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which has spearheaded the protests.

Meanwhile Washington, while publicly urging dialogue, has shown little interest in supporting Sudan’s democratic renaissance.

Similarly, Britain, the former colonial power, appears uncaring and unengaged.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, one of the main pro-reform groups, has called on Sudanese people to take part in “total civil disobedience” to topple the military council and for people for take to the streets to protest.

Amnesty International has called on the UN Security Council to consider imposing sanctions on members of the Transitional Military Council (TMC).

The TMC “has completely destroyed the trust of the Sudanese people and crushed the people’s hope for a new era of respect for human rights and respect for the right to protest without fear,” they said.

Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, condemned violence and reports of excessive use of force by Sudanese security forces on civilians. He urged all parties “to act with utmost restraint”.

And on Twitter, a tweet signed Mehairy J. Blige read: “We are trying to overthrow one government but instead we are facing four. Our own and the gulf “allies” funding and organizing these massacres.”

Newswire: Leah Chase, legendary ‘Queen of Creole Cuisine’ and Civil Rights icon dies at 96

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Leah Chase


Known as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” Leah Chase carved out quite the niche in and around New Orleans for more than six decades.
During that time, she fed individuals like Quincy Jones, Jesse Jackson, Duke Ellington, Thurgood Marshall, James Baldwin, Ray Charles, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and countless others as Executive Chef of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant — one of the best-known and most culturally significant restaurants in New Orleans.
“If your soul is in New Orleans, I know what to give you,” Chase once said in response to being asked if she served soul food.
“I’m going to give you some jambalaya. I can give you some stewed chicken. I can give you some shrimp Creole,” she said.
The renowned cook and freedom fighter, Chase died on Saturday, June 1. She was 96.
“Her daily joy was not simply cooking but preparing meals to bring people together. One of her most prized contributions was advocating for the Civil Rights Movement through feeding those on the front lines of the struggle for human dignity,” Chase’s family said in a statement announcing her death.
“She saw her role and that of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant to serve as a vehicle for social change during a difficult time in our country’s history,” the family said.
Born on January 6, 1923 in New Orleans, Chase was one of 14 children. She was raised in the small town of Madisonville, Louisiana.
There were no high schools for black children, so after sixth grade, Chase moved to New Orleans to live with an aunt, according to her official biography.
After completing high school, Chase had a colorful work history including managing two amateur boxers and becoming the first woman to mark the racehorse board for a local bookie.
Her favorite job, though, was waiting tables in the French Quarter. It was there that she developed her love for food and feeding others.
In 1946, she married local musician Edgar “Dooky” Chase Jr., whose father had opened a street corner stand selling lottery tickets and his wife’s homemade po’boy sandwiches.
Eventually, Leah and Dooky Jr. took over the business, which by then had become a sit-down restaurant and a favorite local gathering place.
In a town deeply divided by segregation, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant was one of the only public places in New Orleans where mixed race groups could meet to discuss strategy for the local Civil Rights Movement.
Although such gatherings were illegal through most of the 1960s, Dooky Chase’s was so popular; it would have caused a public uproar if local law enforcement had interrupted the meetings.
Black voter registration campaign organizers, the NAACP, backdoor political meetings and countless others often found a home at Dooky Chase’s, and Leah cooked for them all, her biography noted.
Chase was also a patron of black art and her collection — displayed on the walls of her restaurant — was at one time considered New Orleans’ best collection of African American art.
Her cookbooks, including “The Dooky Chase Cookbook,” “And Still I Cook,” and “Leah Chase: Listen, I Say Like This,” are popular and have received great praise among her most famous colleagues.
“Leah Chase was a legend, an icon and an inspiration,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. “It is impossible to overstate what she meant to our City and to our community. At Dooky Chase’s Restaurant: she made creole cuisine the cultural force that it is today,” Cantrell said.
Chase fed Freedom Riders during the Civil Rights Movement and she fed James Meredith and put him up the night before he integrated the University of Mississippi, said Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
“She provided a space for whites and Blacks to strategize when other restaurants wouldn’t,” Clarke said.

Newswire: $1.5 million granted to a man who served 45 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit

By BlackmansStreet.Today

Richard Phillips
     The state of Michigan has awarded $1.5 million to Richard Phillips who was locked up in prison for 45 years for a murder he didn’t commit.
     The $1.5 million seems like a lot of money, and it is, but Phillips couldn’t work a job that would have enabled him to earn a salary, a pension and Social Security Benefits because he was in prison.
     Men and women cannot receive Social Security unless they earned at least 40 credits for 10 years of work, a  spokesman for the Social Security Administration told me in 2015.“Social Security does not have a program that compensates wrongfully convicted individuals with no work history,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

     Phillips may qualify for Supplemental Security Income, which pays a modest monthly benefit to people who don’t have any income. He earns some money selling paintings he drew in prison.
     A Go Fund Me Page has been established to help Phillips.
     Phillips, who is now 73, was sentenced to prison when he was 26 years old in 1971.

     His conviction was overturned in 2017 when another man confessed to the murder. University of Michigan law students learned about the man’s confession and went to court.

     Meanwhile, the cops and prosecutors who convicted him are now retired and collecting their pensions.

    Phillips served more time in prison than any other wrongfully convicted man. After being released from prison, Phillips said he would like to see members of family who has not seen in decades.

Newswire: Black man kills colleagues in a workplace shooting; it is the second deadly workplace shooting by a black man since February

By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet.Today

DeWayne Craddock

The mass shooting in Virginia in which an African-American engineer killed 12 people, including 11 of his colleagues and a contractor, before being shot to death in a gun battle with police is the second deadly workplace shooting since February by a Black man.

     Other than the common denominator that both gunmen were Black, the circumstances couldn’t be more different.

     DeWayne Antonio Craddock, 40, walked into the Virginia Beach, Virginia, municipal building on Friday where he worked, and nothing seemed amiss. He told some of his co-workers to have a beautiful day before pulling out a .45 caliber pistol, fitted with a suppressor known as a silencer.

Armed with two pistols, he raced throughout the building, shooting some and walking away from others.

     Craddock worked for Virginia Beach 15 years. He had a pristine work record. However, he resigned by email the morning of the deadly shootings without giving a reason.

It remains a mystery what set off Craddock.

     This is unlike the fatal shooting that occurred in February in Aurora, Illinois, near Chicago, where Gary Martin,45,who had been fired from his job as a large valve assembler for the Henry Pratt Co., shot to the death five of his former colleagues before police killed him in a shootout.

     The company fired Martin for various workplace rule violations, said Sean Hall, CEO of Mueller Water Products, a Henry Pratt subsidiary.

     Martin, a 15-year Henry Pratt employee, was depressed because he had lost his job, his sister, Tameka Martin, told the New York Times. He was armed with a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol with a laser sight.

     Job loss causes depression and anxiety because of a lack of money. For Black men, it can be even worse because the unemployment rate is much higher for us compared with other racial and ethnic groups, the U.S. Bureau of the Labor Statistics reports.

Newswire : Ava DuVernay’s Central Park Five Documentary debuts on Netflix

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent@StacyBrownMedia

Scene from ‘Central Park Five’


The morning after Ava DuVernay’s four-part Netflix miniseries about the Central Park Five, “When They See Us,” premiered at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, she was in a daze. “I don’t drink, and I don’t do any other kinds of substances,” she told Rolling Stone, “but I think I have a hangover.”
She had the headache, but also the hazy memory of the community she’d felt the previous night, screening her labor of love in the neighborhood that raised the five teenagers wrongfully convicted of brutally raping jogger Trisha Meili on April 19, 1989.
It was a whirlwind of fellowship that involved “a lot of smiles, hugs, and a lot of tears,” DuVernay said.
“When They See Us,” debuts on Netflix on Friday, May 31.
The true and gripping tale of five boys of color between the ages of 14 and 16 who were forced to falsely confess to the rape of a white woman in New York’s Central Park, has received critical acclaim with reviewers noting that it’s “impassioned,” and “moving.”
One critic said it’s “must-see TV.”
We already have a category of movies that we expect to artfully, if painfully edify – think of 12 Years a Slave, or Schindler’s List – but we’re not acculturated to it on television, said Willa Paskin of Slate Magazine.
On April 19, 1989, the lives of Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, and Korey Wise changed forever.
News media described them as “a wolf pack,” and “animals,” and then-citizen Donald Trump took out a full-page ad in four New York City area newspapers attacking the youth and calling for the return of the death penalty.
Decades after they’d been exonerated, Trump still has refused to rescind his damning words against the men and he even denounced a multi-million civil settlement reached between New York City and the five men.
“Trump was the fire starter,” Salaam said. “Common citizens were being manipulated and swayed into believing that we were guilty.”
The police-coerced confessions were the only evidence against them, but racism made the boys convenient scapegoats and metaphors for all that had gone wrong in a stratified, corrupt, crime-ridden, rape-infested, and fearful New York City, according to Slate.
DuVernay, who took on the project after Santana suggested it to her via tweet, wants to dramatize what the criminal justice system and New York City stole from these innocent teenagers.
The series begins on the day of the rape. Antron (Caleel Harris and, as an adult, Jovan Adepo), Raymond (Marquis Rodriguez and Freddy Miyares), Kevin (Asante Blackk and Justin Cunningham) , Yusef (Ethan Herisse and Chris Chalk), and Korey (Jharrel Jerome) are going about their regular lives: talking about the Yankees with a father and dreaming of becoming a shortstop; kissing a girlfriend; lugging an instrument around after school.
Though they don’t know each other particularly well, they all wind up in a group of about 25 boys who head into the park that night, where some goof around, while others harass bikers or a homeless guy.
The police descend, arresting a handful of them, but the cops don’t consider any of them suspects in anything particularly serious.
That changes after the rape victim is discovered in the early hours of the morning and Assistant District Attorney Linda Fairstein decides the boys’ presence in the park that night can’t be a coincidence.
Despite there being no physical evidence that the boys were involved, the police set out to make the facts fit the theory of the case. They start trying to get confessions and names, which they use to pick up additional suspects.
Korey Wise, whose name is not on the police’s list, goes down to the precinct with Yusef just to be a good friend. He won’t leave police custody for more than a decade.
For his act of kindness, he will spend years at Rikers Island awaiting trial and then 13 years in an adult prison, the only one of the five who was 16 and so sentenced as an adult.
When Rolling Stone noted that this story had never been told from the perspective of the five men, DuVernay said she started just speaking with the men first.
“That was my first way in. And from there I folded in all of the court transcripts, different records and files that we were able to get a hold of through public means or private transfer,” DuVernay said.
“We then read every single stitch of press coverage to really get an understanding of the ways in which this was being reported, to understand the propaganda around this case. You know, there was a study done that 89 percent of the articles that were written at the time, by the New York papers, didn’t even use the word ‘alleged,’” DuVernay said.
She continued:
“I also talked with academics to get underneath the state of New York City at the time. What were the political motivations?
“But it always came back to the men and then their families. Over a four-year period, it was just exhaustive. Interviews, but sometimes just spending time. Lunches, dinners, just getting to know them. Sometimes it’s the little things more than just the core stories.”

Newswire : U.N. creates new ‘Ebola Chief’ position as fears of cross border transmission in Africa

Ebola protection suit

May 27, 2019 (GIN) – “We have no time to lose.”

That’s the new mantra at the United Nations as the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo now appears almost unstoppable.

In an effort to bolster efforts to contain the growing outbreak that has killed more than 1,200 people in 10 months, United Nations officials on Thursday named David Gressly as the emergency Ebola response coordinator.

Gressly will oversee the coordination of international support for the Ebola response and work to ensure that an enabling environment — particularly security and political — is in place to allow the Ebola response to be even more effective,’ according to a statement from the World Health Organization.

The drive to rein in the deadly virus has been hampered by attacks on treatment centers by armed groups operating in Congo’s lawless east as well as by distrust among local residents, many of whom view the disease as a conspiracy.

In addition, the WHO announced it discovered holes in its ring vaccination program, which thwarted efforts to track down and vaccinate all exposed people.

“Somehow we have to catch up with the outbreak and break the transmission chain very quickly,” Congolese Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said, adding that a new approach was already been used in a few remote villages.

Meanwhile, as the second-largest Ebola outbreak continues to spread, health officials say it’s likely to reach the populous city of Goma. Once there, the risk of it spreading beyond the Democratic Republic of Congo to Rwanda, South Sudan, or Uganda increases. … ‘I wouldn’t say (the spread to Goma) is inevitable, but it’s highly probable,’ said Ray Arthur, director of the Global Disease Detection Operations Center at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Newswire : SPECIAL NNPA REPORT: Election process in Malawi exhibited best of African Democracy

By Stacy M. Brown,NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

NNPA delegation to observe Malawi elections


LILONGWE MALAWI, AFRICA —May 22, 2019 — Late Wednesday, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) head, Dr. Jane Ansa, continued to urge the international media and local stakeholders to hold off from announcing premature election results. The country’s activated election system received praise for the peaceful way its 6.9 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday.

With lines in some places that stretched as far as the eye could see – and after many voters walked several miles to participate – the process had some noting that the Western world, including the United States, could learn a lesson from Malawians in Democracy.
“After the election, life has to continue … we are brothers and sisters,” said Augustine Suwedi Chidzanja, an election official in the Salima Central District, which is about 90 minutes from Lilongwe.
In a meeting with National Newspaper Publishers Association President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., who headed an independent African American Election Observers Team, Chidzanja said he was surprised to learn that many Americans aren’t allowed to vote if they have a felony criminal record.
“Prisoners here in Malawi do vote,” he said, as an assistant observed that he didn’t see a deterrent that would keep Americans in prison from returning to prison upon release because “all their rights” have been taking away.
“We are living in Malawi and we think that the United States is the No. 1 Democracy, but what [I now understand] leaves a lot to be desired,” said Chidzanja, who also noted that while America has a two-party system, Malawi has 51 political parties.
The top three presidential candidates in Malawi’s 2019 Tripartite elections – Incumbent Peter Arthur Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Dr. Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), and Vice President Saulos Chilima of the United Transformation Movement (UTM) – each cast their vote in their respective villages.
Mutharika, 78, voted in Thyolo; Chakwera, 64, voted in Malembo; and Chilima, 46, cast his ballot in Lilongwe.
The first election results numbers authorized by MEC showed Chakwera in the lead with 533,217 votes (37.65 percent), Mutharika at 524,247 (37.01 percent), and Chilima at 293,978 (20.76 percent).
Malawi operates a first past the post system, which means whoever comes out on top regardless of the percentage will be declared winner – in contrast, America’s Electoral College System allows for someone to win the presidency even if they lose the popular vote.
“It is pleasing to note that polling appears to be underway in all the areas where we have observers, meaning materials have been delivered and polling staff were ready,” said European Union Elections Observer Mission (EUOM) Chief Miroslav Poche. The EUOM deployed more than 80 staff members at polling stations across the country.
It’s believed that the voter turnout may have exceeded 90 percent. “We salute the people of Malawi for their historic voter turnout and exhibition of true Democracy for all of the people,” Chavis said.
“Multi-party elections don’t exist in the United States of America, yet here in the heart of Africa in Malawi and in other nations across the continent, there are, in fact, successful multi-party elections that provide a wide diversity of political opinions for all those who vote,” Chavis said.
The NNPA president and CEO also said it’s his intention to invite officials from Malawi to observe the 2020 elections in the United States. “Maybe Americans can learn something from Africans about how to fully embrace and practice democracy for all without voter discrimination or suppression,” Chavis said.
Chidzanja indicated that he’d relish the opportunity to observe the U.S. election.
“We will keep in touch as brothers and sisters after this,” Chidzanja said. “We are brothers and sisters no matter how many parties there are. There’s a lot to be done and, after the elections, life continues, so think of Malawi as your home,” he said.