Newswire: World health body wants new name for ‘monkeypox’ virus,calling it ‘discriminatory and stigmatizing’

June 20, 2022 (GIN) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced plans to find a new name for the viral disease informally known as ‘monkeypox’ which, says the world body, is “discriminatory and stigmatizing.”
 
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a briefing on the matter, said the virus is no longer behaving as it did in the past and therefore should be renamed.
 
But a public narrative persists in suggesting the current outbreak is linked to Africa, West Africa or Nigeria, noted a group of 29 biologists and other researchers. That builds on an existing stigma, although the virus has been detected without a clear link to Africa.
 
The majority — 84 percent — of confirmed cases are from the European region, followed by the Americas, Africa, Eastern Mediterranean region and Western Pacific t obvious manifestation of this is the use of photos of African patients to depict the pox lesions in mainstream media in the global north,” the researchers said.
 
Ahmed Ogwell, deputy director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more than a dozen infectious disease experts in the U.S. and Europe are soliciting suggestions for a new name using the website virological.org.
 
“We are removing the distinction between endemic and non-endemic countries, reporting on countries together where possible, to reflect the unified response that is needed,” the WHO said in its outbreak situation update dated June 17 but sent to media on Saturday.
 
As for what the virus should be called, the scientists suggest starting with hMPXV, to denote the human version of the monkeypox virus. Rather than geographic locations, they say, letters and numbers should be used, based on order of discovery. In that system, the lineage behind the current international outbreak would be dubbed B.1.
 
The Geneva-based UN health agency is due to hold an emergency meeting on June 23 to determine whether to classify the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern – the highest alarm the UN agency can sound.
 
It has been reported in 39 countries so far in 2022, and most of them are having their first-ever cases of the disease, according to the WHO. Worldwide, it says, there are around 3,100 confirmed or suspected cases, including 72 deaths. The normal initial symptoms include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery chickenpox-like rash.
Between January 1 and June 15, 2,103 confirmed cases, a probable case and one death have been reported to the WHO in 42 countries, it said.
 
 

Newswire: The real story of Juneteenth must be told, historians and educators say  By Hazel Trice Edney 

Dr. Frank Smith, president/CEO of the African American Civil War Museum and Memorial

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – When President Joe Biden signed into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act last year, making Juneteenth a federal holiday, he and Vice President Kamala Harris envisioned it as a holiday mostly for the celebration of freedom.
“We are gathered here in a house built by enslaved people. We are footsteps away from where President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation,” said Harris at the White House signing ceremony alongside Black Caucus members on June 17, 2021. “We have come far, and we have far to go. But today is a day of celebration. It is not only a day of pride. It’s also a day for us to reaffirm and rededicate ourselves to action.”
But, a year later, based on interviews with historians and educators around the nation, this year’s Juneteenth public holiday, Monday, June 20, 2022, will likely turn out to be mostly a day to turn up the struggle for freedom, justice and equality that have yet to be attained.
“I had to warm up to this day like everybody else because it wasn’t on my radar as a significant holiday until Congress passed the bill,” said Dr. Frank Smith, president/CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based African American Civil War Museum and Memorial which will spend Juneteenth correcting a wrong. “We will be lifting up the names of those 200,000 Black troops” who helped defeat the Confederate Army in the Civil War,” Smith said, a story that is so often untold.
The overwhelming bipartisanship support for the Juneteenth federal holiday came last year amidst widespread protests as millions of people took to the streets against police violence in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and other racial traumas and inequities. It was the first federal holiday attained since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in 1983. But, African-Americans and several states had celebrated Juneteenth for decades as the day they’d been freed.
However, given the nearly 4,000 lynchings of Black people across the U. S since the end of slavery; given the August 28,1955 killing of Emmett Till; the massacre of nine Black people by Dylann Roof at a Bible study in 2016, the horrific public murder of George Floyd by police only two years ago, and the shocking murders of 10 people in a racist rampage at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y. on May 14 this year, many think they’d best spend Juneteenth continuing to work for freedom instead of just celebrating it.
Caroline Brewer, the author of 13 children’s books, agrees. She pointed out that Black people have long commemorated Juneteenth. Therefore, she has noticed that during the official holiday, her associates are leaning toward continuing their work to build up the Black community as she is attempting to do with Black children.
“I think with any holiday, and when it comes to Black history, where most people that I know are and where I am is that I am celebrating Black history every day. I am doing something for the liberation of our people every day. So, I am focused on promoting my children’s books,” one of which is going to be published in August.
The new book is titled, “Say Their Names”, Brewer said. “We’re having conversations about the trauma that we’ve experienced as Black people as a result of police violence and racial violence.”

Newswire: Vice President Kamala Harris talks voting rights, racism with Black press publishers By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Vice President Harris stepping off helicopter

Vice President Kamala Harris held an exclusive discussion with publishers from the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents the Black Press of America, to discuss various issues from voting rights to Roe v. Wade and racism in the United States.“The Black Press has been very special,” Harris told the publishers in a 30-minute conversation moderated by NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.“[The administration] doesn’t expect special treatment, just fair treatment to cover the accomplishments because they are significant and will have, in many cases, a generational impact on families and communities,” Harris remarked.With a record number of women of color representing the administration in various capacities, Harris asserted that “when people hold office reflect those impacted, we can effect change.”“At the top, as vice president, I am humbled and honored to hold this position,” she insisted.“I’ll say that I think this administration and President Joe Biden have been exceptional. For example, I recently gave a speech in South Carolina, and it was in South Carolina that President Biden, then a candidate, said he was going to put a Black woman on the United States Supreme Court.”In April, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson earned Senate confirmation as the first Black woman to the nation’s high court. “This president, our administration, has appointed more Black women to the federal court than, I believe, any administration in the history of this country,” Harris demanded.Also, she noted the appointment of former Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge as secretary of Housing and Urban Development. “One of the big issues affecting our country right now is affordable housing, and one of the accomplishments of our administration is the work we’ve been doing on home appraisals and how Black families’ homes get appraised for less than white people,” Harris said. “We have confronted that issue of biased appraisals,” she added.Harris said the administration understands the vital issue of voting rights, despite the Senate failing to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the suppression laws that Republican-led states have adopted.She acknowledged how the large voter turnout in the 2020 election and the special Senate election in Georgia in January 2021 helped catapult Democrats to the White House and control both chambers of Congress.“We need to pass legislation. But, short of that, we’re going to have to keep uplifting states that are doing good work around the right to vote every election cycle,” Harris offered.“If we help people to understand when they turned out in record numbers in 2020, what we were able to accomplish. We must remind people of what they get when they vote; that’s the reality we face, but we must speak up and keep fighting.”The vice president noted that many states with voter suppression laws also have statutes restricting other rights. “There’s an overlap that I think we should be aware of,” Harris insisted.Additionally, Harris offered concern about racism within politics. “I’m very concerned about elected officials around the country who won’t put a name on white supremacists,” Harris stated.She said part of the solution lies in communities. “One of the strongest tools is to build coalitions around communities that are targeted, to speak up and be informed so that nobody would be made to stand alone,” Harris said.“I believe in many ways [students] are entering an increasingly unsettled world. The things we took for granted as being settled are not settled.“Foreign policy, the concept of the sovereignty of a nation and its territorial integrity, the right to not be invaded by force … and you see what’s happened in Ukraine. For 70 years, Europe went without war, and now there is war.“Domestically, 70 years ago, we thought voting rights was settled. Shelby v. Holder gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, and now we’re seeing laws sprout up all over the country denying people the ability to receive food and water if they are standing in line to vote. Unsettled is the woman’s ability to decide about her own body.“We’re not asking anyone to change their beliefs; just let everybody have what they believe and not have the government tell them what to do.”Harris concluded by sharing her planned celebration of Juneteenth. She said she would open the Vice President’s official residence, not to celebrities or politicians but to families and individuals from the various wards in the District of Columbia.“When you look at the epidemic of hate, all that says is that we as leaders have to make sure that we use our platform,” Harris said.“We have to speak the truth and speak with the spirit of trying to unify our communities.”

Despite apathy, activists and strategists urge
Black voters not to sit out 2022 midterms

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Sign-to-encourage-voting

The failure of Congress to pass legislation like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act have frustrated African Americans.
With new voter suppression laws, the leaked Roe V. Wade opinion, and the assault on many other rights, some question whether the voting bloc that allowed Democrats to take the White House and control both houses of Congress will abandon the polls during the midterm election.
“Black voters are understandably frustrated with the lack of reform around voter rights, but the lack of success with this is due to actions by Republicans, not Democrats,” insisted Dr. Michal Strahilevitz, the director of the Elfenworks Center for Responsible Business and marketing professor at Saint Mary’s College of California.
“Black voters are far more pragmatic than most segments of the Democratic voter base. I expect them to show up not so much to reward Democrats for their lackluster success as to limit the power Republicans have to stop the necessary reforms,” Strahilevitz continued.
“In short, black voters are not just a loyal part of the Democratic base, and they are a very practical one too.” Daniel Chan, chief technology officer at Marketplace Fairness, added that Black voters have several concerns that Democrats haven’t addressed adequately.
“These include police reform, voting rights, and economic inequality. If they do not turn out to vote in the midterms, the Democrats could lose control of Congress,” Chan offered.
“The party has plans to address some of these concerns, but more needs to be done. Black voters are an essential part of the Democratic coalition, and it is important that the party does more to address their concerns,” he concluded.
The Black Lives Matter co-founder who now leads Black Futures Lab, Alicia Garza, observed the strict voter requirements that include restrictions for returning mail-in ballots.
Noting the unique challenges faced by Black voters, Black Futures Lab partnered with other groups to look closer at vote-by-mail in three states, Alabama, Nevada, and Texas.
“The first solution and probably the only solution to turn the tide of the ongoing and multiple assaults on our rights is to build independent progressive Black political power,” Garza asserted. “We must equip Black voters with the tools necessary to be powerful. Unfortunately, black voters are targeted by misinformation and disinformation every day,” she determined.
“In 2020, Black voters were getting messages online telling them not to go to the polls, so we must make sure that our people can get to the polls and challenge the laws and policies that keep us from making important decisions. Black voters are kept from being powerful on purpose, by policies and the conservative movement has designed.”
Krystal Leaphart of Black Girls Vote said her organization begins engaging young girls as early as middle school with the mantra that “our vote is our voice.”
“We target all age groups and communities of Black girls, and we seek to educate and empower Black girls. However, we must make sure that those on the margins are fully engaged,” Leaphart stated.
“Many young people are shocked at the amount of power that we collectively have,” Leaphart continued. “When we engage young Black girls, they are excited to vote, and the earlier we get to people and get them excited about the process and get them civically engaged, the better we will be.”
Leaphart noted that issues affecting adults also bother the young.
“They are dealing with many the same issues that are not restricted to adults,” Leaphart asserted.
“They are dealing with reproductive justice issues, Black girl pushout, and overcriminalization. But hearing that those issues can be dealt with at the polls and talking to elected officials have them excited.”
In a radio interview, Democratic Strategist Karen Finney implored all to understand what was at stake during the 2022 midterms. “It’s very clear in terms of the GOP candidates who emerged – one of the big things we saw is that people who were peddlers of The Big Lie, deniers of the 2020 election, seem to do pretty well, regardless of Donald Trump,” Finney told radio personality Charles Ellison on his Reality Check show.
“That tells you a lot about what their agenda would be if they win. Voters came out in record numbers in 2020, and we did something extraordinary,” Finney recounted.
“We’re going to have to do it again in 2022 if we want to keep America moving away from what I saw as a very divisive destruction of the Trump years.”

A stunning Jan. 6 hearing removes any doubt
about Trump’s role in the deadly insurrection

U.S. Capitol under violent attack on Jan. 6, 2021

The stunning revelations broadcast during the House Select Committee investigation of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol included the laying out of a scheme by former President Donald Trump to retain power.
While many have long understood that Trump did nothing to stop the deadly riots, the Committee laid bare his scheme that led to the death of at least nine people – including five law enforcement members – and left more than 150 officers injured.

“It was a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power,” Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the chair of the House committee, remarked during the presentation.
Further, Cheney noted that several GOP members of Congress pressed Trump for pardons during the insurrection – the inference could explain why many Republicans have remained loyal to the former President and have shown a reluctance to participate in the hearings.

Cheney also reminded the Committee of a Tweet sent by Trump encouraging the attack. “Be there, will be wild!” Trump tweeted. Trump’s supporters responded, including the extremist groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

One of the rioters read Trump’s tweet on a megaphone at the Capitol, and others, including one that criticized Vice President Mike Pence for denying a request to overturn the election loss to Joe Biden.

“Hang Mike Pence,” the supporters chanted. “Maybe he deserves it,” Trump allegedly said in response. Committee officials then displayed a photo of noose and gallows erected near the Capitol by the insurrectionists.

Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards emerged during the June 9 public hearings and recounted for the first time her trauma. “It was something like I’ve seen in the movies,” the officer stated. “I couldn’t believe my eyes; there were officers on the ground. They were bleeding,” Edwards recounted. “I was slipping in people’s blood. It was carnage. It was chaos.”

Further, documentarian Nick Quested described his interaction with the Proud Boys, whose leader, Enrique Tarrio, recently was hit with sedition charges related to the attack. Quested had been embedded with the Proud Boys and shared never-before-seen footage of the members, including Tarrio’s meeting with the Oath Keepers.
Additionally, a new video of the deposition by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, revealed that Pence gave the orders to send National Guard troops to the Capitol. However, Milley said administration officials told Pence to falsely state that Trump gave those orders.

Testimony also came from Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who served as an adviser for the Trump administration. Ivanka Trump testified that she accepted then-Attorney General William Barr’s declaration that Biden had defeated Trump in the 2020 election.

Several former White House officials from the Trump administration said the President refused to stop the insurrection and ignored his team of advisers who urged him to intervene.

“Our democracy remains in danger,” Committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) declared during the hearing. “The conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over. Unfortunately, there are those in this country who thirst for power but have no love or respect for what makes America great: devotion to the Constitution, allegiance to the rule of law, our shared journey to build a more perfect Union.”

 

Newswire: California Reparations Task Force releases detailed ‘Report on the Harms of Slavery and Racism in the U.S.’; propose specific remedies

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Federal and state governments, including California, failed to protect Black artists, culture-makers, and media-makers from discrimination and simultaneously promoted discriminatory narratives.
Further, state governments memorialized the Confederacy as just and heroic through monument building while suppressing the nation’s history of racism and slavery.
Government actions at every level across the country, including California, have directly segregated, and discriminated against African Americans at work. After intensive research, the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans reached those conclusions and made concrete recommendations to compensate those affected.
The group issued its interim report to state legislators on June 1.Separate from the federal proposal pushed by Texas Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, the report surveyed ongoing, and compounding harms experienced by African Americans because of slavery.
It also studied the lingering effects the slave trade had on America.The report includes a set of preliminary recommendations for policies that legislatures in the Golden State could adopt to remedy the harms.Officials plan to release a final report next year.
“Federal and state policies like affirmative action produced mixed results and were short-lived,” Task Force members wrote in the report. “African Americans continue to face employment discrimination today in the country and California,” members wrote.They determined that the American government at all levels, including in California, has historically criminalized African Americans for social control and maintaining an economy based on exploited Black labor.
“This criminalization is an enduring badge of slavery and has contributed to the over-policing of Black neighborhoods, the school to prison pipeline, the mass incarceration of African Americans, a refusal to accept African Americans as victims, and other inequities in nearly every corner of the American and California legal systems,” the report authors stated.
“As a result, the American and California criminal justice system physically harms, imprisons, and kills African Americans more than other racial groups relative to their percentage of the population.”
The authors continued: “The government actions described in this report have had a devastating effect on the health of African Americans in the country and California. “Compared to white Americans, African Americans live shorter lives and are more likely to suffer and die from almost all diseases and medical conditions than white Americans.
“Researchers have linked these health outcomes in part to African Americans’ unrelenting experience of racism in our society. In addition to physical harm, African Americans experience psychological harm, which can profoundly undermine Black children’s emotional and physical well-being and academic success.”
The Task Force has recommended several remedies, including:
• Implement a detailed program of reparations for African Americans.• Develop and implement other policies, programs, and measures to close the racial wealth gap in California.• Provide funding, and technical assistance to Black-led and Black community-based land trusts to support wealth building and affordable housing.• Establish a cabinet-level secretary position over an African American/Freedmen Affairs Agency tasked with implementing the recommendations of this task force.
They said the agency would identify past harms, prevent future harm, and work with other state agencies and branches of California’s government to mitigate the wrongs.
The Task Force suggested policies to the Governor and the Legislature designed to compensate for the harms caused by the legacy of anti-Black discrimination and work to eliminate systemic racism that has developed because of the enslavement of African Americans in the United States.
The authors recommended that the agency include the following:
• A branch to process claims with the state and assist claimants in filing for eligibility.• A genealogy branch to support potential claimants with genealogical research and to confirm eligibility.• A reparations tribunal to adjudicate substantive claims for past harms.• An office of immediate relief to expedite claims.• A civic engagement branch to support ongoing political education on African American history and to support civic engagement among African American youth.• A freedmen education branch to offer free education and to facilitate the free tuition initiative between claimants and California schools.• A social services and family affairs branch to identify and mitigate how current and previous policies have damaged and destabilized Black families.• Services might include treatment for trauma and family healing services to strengthen the family unit, stress resiliency services, financial planning services, career planning, and civil and family court services.• A cultural affairs branch to restore African American cultural/historical sites; establish monuments; advocate for the removal of racist relics; support knowledge production and archival research; and provide support for African Americans in the entertainment industry, including identifying and removing barriers to advancement into leadership and decision-making positions in the arts, entertainment, and sports industries.• A legal affairs office to coordinate a range of free legal services, including criminal defense attorneys for criminal trials and parole hearings; free arbitration and mediation services; and to advocate for civil and criminal justice reforms.• A division of medical services for public and environmental health.• A business affairs office to provide ongoing education related to entrepreneurialism and financial literacy, offer business grants, and establish public-private reparative justice-oriented partnerships.
A copy of the report is available on line from the California.gov site.

Newswire: World Trade Organization head predicts food riots in poorer countries due to Ukraine war

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala

Mar. 28, 2022 (GIN) – Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the head of the World Trade Organization, is warning that skyrocketing global food prices as a result of the war in Ukraine could trigger food riots from people going hungry in poor countries.
 
WTO Director General Okonjo-Iweala urged food-producing countries against hoarding supplies and said it was vital to avoid a repeat of the Covid pandemic, when rich countries were able to secure for themselves the bulk of vaccines.
 
In an interview with The Guardian of the UK, the WTO director general noted the dependence of many African countries on food supplies from the Black Sea region.
 
“I think we should be very worried. The impact on food prices and hunger this year and next could be substantial. Food and energy are the two biggest items in the consumption baskets of poor people all over the world,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
 
“It is poor countries and poor people within poor countries that will suffer the most.”
 
Okonjo-Iweala, a former Nigerian finance minister, said 35 African countries were dependent on food imported from the Black Sea region, adding that Russia and Ukraine were responsible for 24% of global supplies of wheat.
 
After being strongly critical of the “vaccine apartheid” that affected Africa during the pandemic, she said WTO member states had to resist the temptation of protecting their own food stocks.
 
“It is a natural reaction to keep what you have – we saw that with vaccines. But we shouldn’t make the same mistake with food.”
 
The last time rising food prices sparked food riots was between 2006 and 2008. Protests broke out in developing countries as prices in a wide range of food, oil and other primary commodities increased in dramatic fashion, in some cases more than doubling within a few months. Policymakers were presented with the challenge of simultaneously addressing hunger, poverty, and political instability.
 
In Africa, food riots swept across the continent, from Egypt and Tunisia in the North, to Burkina Faso and Senegal in the West, and Madagascar and Mozambique in the South.

The crisis reinforced the extent to which oil and food markets have become highly interdependent, and highlighted the relative inability of national governments and the international community to adequately deal with
dramatic surges in food prices.
 
“We must make sure we learn the lessons from vaccines and previous food crises,” Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said. “I am not sure we can fully mitigate the impact of the war in Ukraine because the numbers involved are huge, but we can mitigate some of it.” 

Newswire : Senate passes Anti-Lynching Bill and sends Federal hate crime legislation to Biden

Congressman Bobby Rush, a major sponsor of the legislation, poses with photo of Emmett Till

By: Peter Granitz/NPR
The Senate unanimously passed a bill on Monday that criminalizes lynching and make it punishable by up to 30 years in prison. It sailed through the House of Representatives last month, and President Biden is expected to sign it.
While it eased through both chambers of Congress this time with virtually no opposition, the path to passage took more than 100 years and 200 failed attempts.
Under the bill, named the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act after the 14-year-old boy from Chicago who was lynched while visiting family in Mississippi, a crime can be prosecuted as a lynching when a hate crime results in a death or injury, said Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., a longtime sponsor of the legislation.
“Lynching is a longstanding and uniquely American weapon of racial terror that has for decades been used to maintain the white hierarchy,” Rush said in a statement Monday evening. “Unanimous Senate passage of the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act sends a clear and emphatic message that our nation will no longer ignore this shameful chapter of our history and that the full force of the U.S. federal government will always be brought to bear against those who commit this heinous act.”
Unanimous consent in the Senate allows a bill to pass without a roll call, so long as there’s no senator present to object.
“Tonight the Senate passed my anti-lynching legislation, taking a necessary and long-overdue step toward a more unified and just America,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., wrote on Twitter. “After working on this issue for years, I am glad to have partnered with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to finally get this done.”
The scale of the crime is staggering: The Equal Justice Initiative documented 4,081 lynchings in 12 Southern states from 1877 to 1950. The report advocates for the erection of monuments and memorials to lynching victims to begin to “correct our distorted national narrative about this period of racial terror in American history while directly addressing the harms borne by the African American community, particularly survivors who lived through the lynching era.”
Congress failed to pass legislation for more than a century. The first anti-lynching legislation was introduced in 1900 by Rep. George Henry White of North Carolina — then the body’s only Black lawmaker. His bill failed to advance out of committee. The Senate passed a resolution in 2005 expressing remorse for failing to pass anti-lynching legislation; but Congress never passed a bill out of both chambers before Monday. The effort to pass an anti-lynching bill gained momentum after the murder of George Floyd in 2020.
The bill’s passage marks a career-defining achievement for Rush, who has represented a Chicago-area district since 1993. He announced in January that he’ll retire at the end of this Congress. Before politics, he was a longtime civil rights activist.
On Monday, he said he looked “forward to President Biden signing the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act into law very, very soon.

Newswire: Africans in the Ukraine plead for help
as Poland says ‘Ukrainians first’

Nana Arthur Hochman, a Nigerian medical student in the Ukraine, describes the difficulty for African students trying to leave the country as Ukrainians block their way, saying Ukrainians must leave first.

 


(TriceEdneyWire.com/Global Information Network) – Thousands of African students are among the tens of thousands of Ukrainians seeking shelter from a barrage of Russian airstrikes against its southern neighbor in what has been called an unprovoked and unjustified effort to remove and replace the Ukrainian government by the President of Russia.

The students, using Twitter and other social media platforms, have been pleading with their governments for help to escape the war-hit nation. The students say they have been prevented from crossing to Poland due to a ‘Ukrainians’ first’ policy.

While the Africans are feeling the Russian boot against its southern neighbor, President Vladimir Putin’s invasion has so far been met with diplomatic silence on the continent except for an acid-tipped comment from Kenya’s ambassador at the UN earlier this week. While rebuking Russia’s move into eastern Ukraine, he compared the experience of African nation-states and their colonial borders with the crisis in Eastern Europe, calling the current conflict ”just one more symptom of a pathology spawned by the Western colonial tradition.”

Ambassador Martin Kimani faulted a “pathological nostalgia for the enforced order of the old Soviet Union,” adding that Kenya “strongly condemn[s] the trend in the last decades of powerful states, including members of this Security Council, breaching international law with little regard.”

“Multilateralism lies on its deathbed tonight,” Kimani declared. “It has been assaulted today as it has been by other powerful states in the recent past.”

Separately, South Africa issued a statement Wednesday urging Ukraine and Russia to find a way to de-escalate tensions.

Dr. Araba Maame Arkoah of Ghana, a medical doctor speaking with the Accra-based Starr FM, said Ghanaians living or studying in the Ukraine were waiting for a rescue plan from the Ghanaian government following the surprise attack launched by the Russians.

“We are asking ourselves, has the government of Ghana heard what is happening here? We really need the help of the government. As it stands now, we need to come home. I’m scared, very scared, everybody around me is scared,” Dr. Arkoah said.

On Thursday, Feb. 24, a train carrying Ghanaian students was reportedly attacked by Russians, according to Member of Parliament for North Tongu constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, speaking in a TV interview.

According to the ministry, over a thousand Ghanaian nationals are currently studying or working in Ukraine, adding that the ministry is “gravely concerned” for their safety.

“There are about 900 students and in total, we have about 1,500 Ghanaians in Ukraine,” said Kwasi Mintah who was home when he heard a number of explosions. “The Ghanaians here are panicking, they are afraid”.

Similarly, some 4,000 Nigerians studying in tertiary institutions have been sending distress calls for their evacuation from the theatre of war. A special flight operation was announced by Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister Geoffrey Onyeama.

Ismail Adedolapo, a 23-year-old Nigerian studying in Kyiv, Ukraine, heard explosions starting around 5 a.m. Thursday morning as Russia began its invasion. “[It’s a] pretty grim situation, to be honest,” Adedolapo says. “And it’s a lot worse for a lot of young international students without a reliable embassy or exit plan.”

A statement released by the embassy simply urged Nigerian nationals to “remain calm but be very vigilant and be responsible for their personal security and safety”.

Aanu Adeoyo of the London-based Mo Ibrahim Foundation Academy at Chatham House was among the Africans who faulted the response of African leaders on the continent. “Even something as basic as having a functional website” was lacking, he said. “That just shows a lack of strategy.”

Some 200 Zambians are studying in Ukraine and have reportedly been told to move towards Poland and find a plane stationed in Warsaw waiting to take them home.

Over the last two decades, Ukraine has emerged as a choice destination for African students from Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, and South Africa, especially in the fields of medicine and engineering. According to Ukraine’s
Ministry of Education and Science, some 80,000 international students study in Ukraine with the largest number from India, followed by Morocco, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Nigeria.

Abuja resident Paul Enyim fears the consequences will be felt well beyond Ukraine.”The whole world is going to feel the heat. What is going to be the fate for Africa? How is business going to be?” he asked.

Newswire: President Biden nominates Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the U.S. Supreme Court

Judge Katanji Brown Jackson introduced at the White House, flanked by President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris

 

 

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor


For the first time in American history, a Black woman has been nominated to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
By selecting Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Feb. 25, President Joe Biden completed his pledge to select a Black woman for the court for the first time in history.
A Black woman has never served on the U.S. Supreme Court since it was created in 1789 — over 232 years ago. Since then, only two other Black persons have served on the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall, who was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967, and Clarence Thomas, who was appointed by President George H. W. Bush in 1991 amid significant controversy.
In over two centuries, 114 justices have served on the Supreme Court and 108 of them have been white men.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That federal court is seen as a feeder for nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judge Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Miami, Florida.  She attended Harvard University for college and law school and was the editor of the Harvard Law Review. She began her legal career as a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer.
In what may have been a clue that Judge Jackson would be nominated, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia broke with tradition on Feb. 24 and issued an opinion on a Thursday.  That scheduling change was noted by the media since the court typically only issues opinions on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Only one other woman of color has served on the Supreme Court, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor of New York, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009. Three other women have served on the Supreme Court: Sandra Day O’Connor, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981; Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993; Associate Justice Elena Kagan, who was appointed by President Obama in 2010; and Associate Justice Amy Barrett who was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2020.
In 1958, just 3 percent of law school students were women. In 2020, women made up 54 percent of law students in the United States.
The 51-year-old District native, who shares two children with her husband Patrick Jackson, worked in civil and criminal appellate litigation in both state and federal courts for Morrison & Foerster LLP.
Judge Brown Jackson also served as an assistant federal public defender in the appeals division of the Office of the Public Defender in D.C. She will be the first public defender to serve on the Supreme Court. She will also be the first defense attorney since Thurgood Marshall to serve on the high court.
Though the selection represents a historic moment in American history, the court will maintain its 6-3 conservative edge as it tackles high-profile and controversial cases, including gun rights, religious liberty, and abortion.
“Judge Katanji Brown Jackson will fight for African Americans and other communities of color. We haven’t had this on the Supreme Court since Justice Thurgood Marshall,” said National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.
With a 50-50 Senate, Democrats do not need Republican help to confirm Judge Jackson. Democrats can accomplish the historic confirmation with their 50 votes and Vice President Harris breaking a deadlock.
Three Republican senators – Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Susan Collins of Maine – supported Judge Jackson when the jurist earned confirmation to the appellate court.