Newswire : African leaders and Russians sign nuclear deals in a ‘winning week for Putin’

Russian TU 160 bomber delivered to South Africa

Oct. 28 2019 (GIN) – Taking advantage of the Russia-Africa summit and the presence of dozens of African leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin advanced his goal of expanding Moscow’s geopolitical clout.

At the two-day summit in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, the Russian president resurrected old bonds forged by the Soviet Union with the result that arms shipments are now flowing from Moscow to Algeria to Mozambique. Consultants are assisting embattled strongmen with election strategies and development plans for natural resource projects.

As the summit opened, Russia landed two nuclear-capable bombers in South Africa on a training mission. The two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers touched down at Waterkloof air force base in Tshwane, the South African National Defense Force confirmed.

Praising what it said were strong diplomatic links between the countries, the South African body added: “Our relations are not solely built on ‘struggle politics’, but rather on fostering mutually beneficial partnerships based on common interests.”

Rwanda is the latest African country to sign a nuclear deal with the Russian state atomic company Rosatom.

The deals between Russia and several African countries have raised concerns among environmentalists who say nuclear energy is not always clean and does not come free.

“Rosatom is prepared to help our African partners in creating a nuclear industry,” Putin declared, with “the construction of research centers based on multifunctional reactors.”
The nuclear pacts come despite an African Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone Treaty – also called the Pelindaba Treaty – which obligates Parties not to develop, manufacture, acquire, or possess any nuclear explosive device. Parties may engage in peaceful nuclear activities but must conclude safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Opened for signature in 1996, it came into force in 2009 with 40 countries signing on.

Other new military deals include Nigeria which will receive 12 Russian-made Mi-35 attack helicopters, according to the RIA Russian news agency.

Rosatom is also in talks with Ethiopia to build a nuclear power station there, Interfax quoted the Russian company as saying.

Putin has called for trade with African countries to double over the next four to five years, adding Moscow had written off over $20 billion in African debts.

Michael Gatari, the head of nuclear science and technology at the University of Nairobi, said African countries can pursue nuclear technology but must get their own people to manage the nuclear reactors.

Russia was seeking business in Africa, not giving away gifts, he observed.

“Africa is not going to get a free reactor… They’re selling their technology… Of course, there is a component of ‘we will train your people, we’ll do this,’ but if you calculate the cost, it’s we who cough. So the African countries should move into it with a business vision.”

Newswire : Master of comedy Dave Chappelle receives ‘Mark Twain Prize for American Humor’

Dave Chappelle receiving award at Kennedy Center

By Lauren Poteat, NNPA Newswire Washington Correspondent

On Sunday night, Dave Chappelle, the legendary, no holds barred comedian, was awarded the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Gifted with a spirit of perseverance, determination and extreme creative intelligence, the award recognizes Chappelle as one of the world’s greatest humorists.
Bestowed only on a select few, including comedic geniuses Eddie Murphy, David Letterman and the late Richard Pryor (who received the inaugural award), Chappelle emphasized the importance of the genre, while also paying tribute to the late Pryor, during his award at the Kennedy Center.
In honor of Chappelle’s brilliance and ability to convey more than one thought-provoking message within a single joke, the event brought out a slew of a-list celebrities, all eager to support the clever comedian and his work, including Morgan Freeman, Bradley Cooper, Marlon Wayans, Tiffany Haddish, Keenan Thompson, QTip, Sarah Silverman and Saturday Night Live (SNL) creator, Lorne Michaels, who recounted Dave’s 2016 anticipated hosting debut on SNL.
“I knew when the moment came, [Dave would] be ready to perform, yet small doubts about his appearance still lingered until, [he sat down] beside me and everyone in the room and asked if he could read a quote by Toni Morrison,” Michaels reminisced, as he delivered the first official remarks of the night.
“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal,” Michaels recited. “I knew then, we’d be ok.
A Washington, D.C. native and former student of the Duke Ellington School of Performing Arts (located in the Northwest quadrant of the District of Columbia), Chappelle recounted his love for the arts and an even bigger appreciation for those cultivating those same skills within the youth.
“To be on a list with Richard Pryor is unfathomable, like nobody would actually feel worthy enough,” Chappelle reflected during an interview prior to the award ceremony. “And not just Richard, you’ve got George Carlin, Lorne Michaels—that really shaped my imagination, my life… and I hope that one day, somebody will look at me the same way and literally stand on something that I’ve built on, that wouldn’t fall apart.”
“There’s something divine about artistry, it’s like the god-like part of a person that can write a song or tell a good joke, it’s the best part of our nature,” Chappelle said.
“Life without art would be miserable. If I could never laugh again at a great joke, hear no beautiful music, or only see bare walls, what kind of life would that be?” Dave went on. “You touch a higher part of yourself, you connect with people on a more profound level and society is better with good art, so it should be protected and cultivated, and the youth should be encouraged to express themselves in every way.”
Chappelle earned his bearings as a stand-up comedian from many platforms, including Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam (1990’s), Eddie Murphy’s “The Nutty Professor” (1996), and Martin Lawrence’s “Blue Streak” (1999).
However, it was Chappelle’s 2003 Comedy Central show, aptly titled, “Chappelle’s Show,” that cemented his place in history.
Challenging race relations with controversial skits like “Ask a Black Dude,” Black White supremacist “Clayton Bigsby,” and his spoofs of celebrity icons Rick James, Prince and Wayne Brady — the segmented show earned three Emmy nominations and became the best-selling TV show in DVD history.
In a special recorded interview presented during the awards ceremony, Eddie Murphy heralded Chappelle as one of the most intellectual comedians ever. As the ceremony was coming to a close, the former host of “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart, took to the stage to share his appreciation and admiration for Chappelle.
“I met Dave in the early ‘90s, a 17-year-old kid cutting his teeth in the toughest comedy clubs in the country and he was shockingly formed. This young prodigy. This young Mozart,” Stewart said.
“But he didn’t become a legend to me until 2005. I was at ‘The Daily Show’ and he was at ‘Chappelle’s Show.’ …Comedy Central offered him $50 million to just give us one more [season]. He walked away. It was at that moment I remember thinking, ‘Comedy Central has $50 million?’ …Dave left, but I knew that money was going to need a home. I want you to know that I raised that money like it was my own.”
Like the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain, Chappelle is among the small group of people whose humor has been able to have an enduring impact on American society and culture.

Chappelle shared that maybe the only thing second to being able to make people laugh is having the right to do so. “There’s something so true about this genre when done correctly,” Chappelle said. “That I would fight anybody that isn’t a true practitioner of this artform’s way, because I know this is the truth and you are obstructing it. I’m not talking about the content. I’m talking about the artform.”
The show will air on Jan. 7, on PBS.

Newswire : Former Congressman John Conyers has died at 90

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By Frederick H. Lowe
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com

Cong. John Conyers

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – John Conyers, Jr. the longest serving African American member of Congress and co-founder in 1969 of the Congressional Black Caucus, died Sunday in Detroit. He was 90 years old. The cause of death has not been revealed.

Mr. Conyers served 53 years in Congress and was once fondly known as the dean of the Congressional Black Caucus which he helped found in 1971. He was the sixth longest serving member of Congress before he resigned in 2017 amid sexual harassment allegations. During his tenure, he represented the 1st, 14th and 13th Congressional Districts in Detroit and the suburbs.

A graduate of Wayne State University and Wayne State University School of Law, voters elected Conyers to Congress in 1964. He took the oath of office in 1965 during the Civil Rights struggle. He befriended Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and he hired Rosa Parks to work in his Detroit congressional office when no one else would give her a job. Parks sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, one of the great civil rights victories, when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to a White man. Her refusal sparked the more than one year long Montgomery Bus Boycott that ended segregated seating on the city’s buses.

Conyers introduced the 1965 Voting Rights Act under President Lyndon Johnson, and he succeeded in establishing a national holiday honoring the birthday of Dr. King.

Conyers was chair of the House Judiciary Committee from 2007-11. As the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, he joined other committee members in 1974 submitting Articles of Impeachment against President Richard M. Nixon. However, Nixon resigned from office before he could be impeached.

Conyers was also chair House Oversight Committee from 1989 to 2004. The late Elijah Cummings held the same position when he died.

In addition, Conyers introduced in every Congress starting in 1989, legislation that would set up a commission to examine the institution of slavery in the nation and its colonies. The legislation recommended appropriate remedies.
He also pushed for a single-payer or government-directed health care system.

Conyers was the son of John Conyers, Sr., a labor lawyer. He was born in Highland Park, Michigan, on May 16, 1929. He served in the Korean War.He is survived by his widow and two sons.

Tributes from civil rights and Democratic leaders had begun to pour out this week.

“From co-founding the Congressional Black Caucus, to advocating for the creation of Martin Luther King Day, some of the most important civil rights victories of the last half-century would not have been possible without the enduring leadership of Rep. Conyers in Washington,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP. “As a Detroit native, I can attest to what John Conyers meant to his beloved Detroit community, and we are eternally grateful that he fought for justice on behalf of the entire nation with the same commitment and perseverance he showed his beloved hometown. Today we have lost a trailblazer for justice, a titan of the movement, and a true friend and ally to the NAACP.”

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said, “Congressman John Conyers was a civil rights warrior, a lifelong public servant, and a stalwart Democrat. Over the course of his public service career, which spanned more than half a century, Rep. Conyers led groundbreaking fights that advanced the course of history, including introducing the first bill to establish the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. As a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, he changed the face of leadership in the halls of Congress and blazed a trail for future leaders of color.”
The Trice Edney News Wire contributed to this article.

Newswire : HBCU funding blocked by Senate Education Chair

By Charlene Crowell

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Each year as families beam with pride at seeing a son, daughter or another relative graduate from college, that achievement is nearly always the result of a family’s commitment to higher education. And when these institutions are among the more than 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), that pride is magnified by the history of how our forefathers overcame what once seemed to be insurmountable challenges.

According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, between 1861 and 1900 more than 90 HBCUs were founded. From the first HBCU, Pennsylvania’s Cheney University, established in 1837, ensuing years led to even more educational opportunities that today include institutions spread across 19 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

So when federal legislation is blocked that would extend and preserve funding for HBCUs, such actions are not only an affront to today’s college students, but also to a history that has led to only 3% of the nation’s colleges and universities educating nearly 20% of all Black graduates. The success of HBCU graduates is even more noteworthy considering that 70% of students come from low-income families.

On September 26, the damaging action taken by Tennessee’s Senator Lamar Alexander, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee blocked HBCU funding. Even worse, Senator Alexander made this move just days before funding was set to expire on September 30.

The bill sponsored and introduced on May 2 by Alabama Senator Doug Jones and co-sponsored by South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, was named the FUTURE Act,an acronym for Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources Act. It began with bipartisan and bicameral support to extend critical HBCU and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs) funding through 2021 for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

“Alabama is home to 14 outstanding HBCUs that serve as a gateway to the middle class for many first-generation, low-income, and minority Americans,” stated Sen. Jones. The FUTURE Act will help ensure these historic schools and all minority-serving institutions continue to provide excellent education opportunities for their students.”

Senator Scott agreed, adding “We all have a role to play in making the dream of college a reality for those who wish to pursue their education. The eight HBCUs in South Carolina have made a significant impact in our communities, creating thousands of jobs which translates to over $5 billion in lifetime earnings for their graduates.”

By September 18, a total of 15 Senators signed on as co-sponsors, including eight Republicans representing the additional states of Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Dakota, and West Virginia. Other Democratic Senators signing on represented Arizona, California, Connecticut, Minnesota, Montana, Virginia and West Virginia.
On the House side, two North Carolina Representatives, Rep. Alma Adams and her colleague Mark Walker introduced that chamber’s version that quickly passed in just two days before Alexander’s actions on the Senate floor.

So why would the HELP Committee Chair oppose a bill that had such balanced support – in both chambers as well as geographically and by party?

“Congress has the time to do this,” said Sen. Alexander on the floor of the Senate. “While the legislation expires at the end of September, the U.S. Department of Education has sent a letter assuring Congress that there is enough funding for the program to continue through the next fiscal year.”
Alexander concluded his comments by using his remarks to push for a limited set of policy proposals that would amend the Higher Education Act piece by piece.

His comments prompt a more basic question: Why is it that Congress has failed to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) for so many years?

Competing HEA legislative proposals with different notions have been bandied about since 2014. Most of these ideas were variations of promises for improved access, affordability, and accountability, simplified financial aid applications and appropriate levels of federal support.
Yet for families faced with a financial tug of war between rising costs of college and stagnant incomes, Congress’ failure to act on higher education translates into more student loans, and longer years of repayment.

The same day as Senator Alexander’s block of the bill, Wil Del Pilar, vice president of higher education at The Education Trust, a national nonprofit that works to close opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income families, reacted with a statement.
“The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) is of vital importance to millions of students who currently struggle to afford college, lack adequate supports while enrolled, and are underserved by a system that perpetuates racial inequity,” said Pilar. “Students need a federal policy overhaul that addresses these issues and acts to close racial and socioeconomic equity gaps, and they can’t afford to wait any longer.”
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Charlene Crowell is the Deputy Communications Director with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.

Newswire : Senate passes Jones amendment to fund Heirs’ Property Program

Sen. Doug Jones speaking on floor of the Senate

WASHINGTON – By a vote of 91-1, the Senate passed an amendment on Monday, October 29, 2019, introduced by Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.) to help heirs’ property landowners secure a clear title for their land. The amendment to the FY2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill includes $5 million to fund a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program Senator Jones was able to include in the 2018 Farm Bill. His provision authorized the Farm Service Agency to make loans that will help families resolve heir’s property ownership and succession issues.
The Federation of Southern Cooperatives and the Rural Coalition worked on helping to frame the language for the heirs property sections of the 2018 Farm Bill which were introduced in a bi-partisan effort by Jones and Senator Tim Scott (R – SC).
Senator Jones took to the Senate floor immediately before the vote to encourage his colleagues to support the amendment. Copies of his statement are available on his werbsite.
Heirs’ property is land that has been informally passed down within families, often for several generations when the original owner fails to make a will. This can lead to costly legal complications and prevent landowners from qualifying for federal assistance. Heirs’ property is predominantly owned by African American farmers and producers and an estimated 60-percent of minority-owned land is projected to be heirs’ property.
Challenges associated with heirs’ property status are the leading cause of involuntary land loss among African Americans. Landowners of heirs’ property also cannot qualify for USDA loans necessary for farming, receive disaster relief funding, or use their land as collateral in private lending. More background on heirs’ property and the amendment are on the Senator’s website
Over the past year, Senator Jones has led a bipartisan effort in the U.S. Senate to help these landowners gain fair access to federal programs and to make it easier to resolve legal issues that result from their heirs’ property status. In addition to the re-lending provision, Senator Jones also secured a provision in the 2018 Farm Bill to help heirs’ property owners obtain a USDA farm number, which is key to accessing assistance from the agency’s programs.
More information on Heirs Property and an upcoming national confertence is also available at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives website at www.federation.coop.

Whats Happening

*Greene County Hospital will host a
Ribbon Cutting at 11:30 a.m. for new
ER Department
Thursday, October 24, 2019


*Greene Co. Associates
Black Belt Community Foundation
are holding a YARD SALE
Saturday , October 26, 2019
8:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m.
in front of Imagine Me Bldg.
(Boligee Street)
on Old Courthouse Square


*Love’s Truck Stop and Travel
Center opens October 24

Greene County schools enrollment up, but short of previous year

In his report to the school board on Monday, October 21, 2019, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones reported that the school system’s enrollment has increased to 1000, still short of the 1,056 enrolled by the same period in the previous school year. Enrollment by school is as follows: Eutaw Primary 346; Robert Brown Middle 355; Greene County High 299.
“ We are continuing to visit families and other community persons to encourage them to enroll their children in our Greene County schools. We have in place programs and instructional staff to provide quality educational experience for our students,” Dr. Jones stated.
According to Superintendent Jones, the STAR Program at Robert Brown Middle School has begun; instructors and staff have received initial training and the classrooms are re-designed for the innovative curriculum. He stated that an open house for the community will be announced very soon.
In his report, Dr. Jones stated that Eutaw Primary had the highest daily attendance for September with 95.77 % daily attendance, and would receive a school banner indicating the same. Robert Brown Middle School had 94.78 % daily attendance and Greene County High had 94.48% daily attendance. Dr. Jones stated that the Principals at the various schools will determine the individual student attendance awards.
Dr. Jones also gave updates on school plants maintenance. “Currently we have work orders out for maintenance and repair at Greene County High and the Career Center,” he said. Facility preservation award for the month of September will be given out this week. Jones pledged a complimentary lunch for the maintenance staff at the school earning the award.
The school board approved the following personnel items recommended by Superintendent Jones.

  • Employment: Tara Thomas – Long-Term Substitute Kindergarten Teacher, Eutaw Primary (until internship is completed); Kayla Gray – Science Teacher, Robert Brown Middle; Starr Christian – English Teacher Robert Brown Middle; William Wilkins – Bus Driver, Department of Transportation.
  • Supplemental Pay Raise: Lurena Smith, Football and Basketball Cheerleader Coach, Greene County High.
  • Supplemental Contracts (Separate Contracts): Jeffery Wesley – Assist. Basketball Coach, Greene County High; Havoline Carodine – 9th Grade Boys Basketball Coach, Greene County High.
  • 21st Century Community Learning Center: Janice Jeames – Teacher Robert Brown Middle School; Shirley Noland – Librarian, Eutaw Primary; David Peterson – Bus Driver; Carol Caruthers – Bus Driver.
  • Family Medical Leave: Josef Stancer, Band Director GCHS, effective October 9, 2019.
  • Maternity Leave: Lakeisha Johnson, effective October 28, 2019.
    Resignation: Jacqueline Carter – Science Teacher, Robert Brown Middle.
    The board approved the following administrative items recommended by the superintendent.
  • Travel Request: Green County High Debate Team – travel to Kennesaw State University, March 19-20, 2019; Greene County High Math Department – travel to Carowinds, April 24, 2020, sponsored by Mu Alpha Theta; Robert Brown Middle School teachers and staff attend Star Academy Summit in New Orleans.
  • Capital Plan – 2019-2020.
    *Change of Communication Vendor.
    *Payment of all bills, claims and payroll

GCHS Volleyball team advances to Super Regional Tournament in Montgomery

On Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, the Greene County High School Volleyball Team competed in the Area Tournament in Hale County.  According to Coach, Janice Jeames, although the Greene County players weren’t the overall winners, the young ladies beat Holt High School and became the Area 7 Class 3A Runners-up.  On Thursday, October 24, 2019, the GCHS Volleyball Team will be competing again in Montgomery, AL at the Super Regional Volleyball Tournament.  The names of the GCHS Girls Volley Team are listed below in the order they appear: Front Row:  Captain Jamealeyah Williams, Quantayia Williams and Destinee Wilson
Back Row:  A’Mya Edwards, Karyn Atmore, Coach Janice Jeames, Captain Haley Noland, Daesa Goree and Assistant Coach KelviNeisha Williams.

County Commission approves purchase of new equipment for Public Works Department

The Greene County Commission met in regular session, Tuesday, October 15, 2019 and authorized the purchase of several work vehicles for the County Public Works Department. These included the following: Three – 2020 Mack Dumps GR64F at $124,474 each; three -21 yd Dump Bodies at $25,084 each; one – 55 ton Lowboy Trailer at $54,375 and one – Motor Grader at $239,049.
According to County Engineer Willie Branch, the Dump Trucks are operated for a year and sold, usually retrieving the cost paid. Branch explained that the Motor Grader and the Low Boy are used until they stop running.
The commission made the following board appointments: Marilyn Jennings for the Greene County Hospital Board (District 2); Carolyn Morgan Young for the DHR Board (District 2). In other actions the commission approved the following:

  • Contract with Knox Pest Control, providing all necessary paperwork is submitted.
  • 2020 Severe Weather Preparedness Tax Holiday – Feb.21-23, 2020.
    • Travel: Engineer to ACCA Legislative Conference, Dec. 4-5, Auburn University; Engineer, Assist. Engineer and office personnel to CIMS User Training, Nov. 6-7, Anniston, AL; Two equipment operators – Flagger Training and Field Exercise, Oct. 29, Columbiana, AL;
  • Payment of claims.
    In her financial report, CFO Paula Bird noted the following bank balances as of September 19, 2019: Citizen Trust Bank – $3,132,651.79; Merchants & Farmers Bank – $2,192,308.10; Bank of New York – $358,782.51; Bond Sinking Fund – $1,049,464.99

Nov. 8, 2019 is qualifying deadline for Democratic Party 2020 Primary Elections

Lorenzo French, Chairperson of the Greene County Democratic Executive Committee announced that qualifying is now open for persons interested in running for political positions in the March 3, 2020 Primary Election. The closing date for qualifying to run in the primary is November 8, 2019 at 5:00 PM.
There are several positions national, statewide and local which are subject to the 2020 Democratic Primary elections. The positions include: District Judge (6 year term – The Hon. Lillie Osborne incumbent); Revenue Commissioner (6 year term –incumbent Barbara McShan, plans to retire); Board of Education (6 year Term – District 3 – incumbent William Morgan, District 4 – incumbent Leo Branch, and District 5 – incumbent – Carrie Dancy); Constables (5) – one from each Commission District.
Persons interested in qualifying for the District Judge and Revenue Commissioner positions must qualify with the Alabama Secretary of State’s office.
Candidates for the three positions on the Greene County Board of Education and the five Constable positions must qualify by filing out forms with Lorenzo French, Democratic Executive Committee at the Greene County Courthouse, Commissioner Roshanda Summerville’s office, 9:00 AM to 4:00PM or contact French by cell phone at 205-799-2691.
The qualifying fee for Board of Education positions is $144 and for constable is $5.
Candidates running for President of the United States, U. S. Senate and Congressional positions must qualify with the State Democratic Party.
The Democratic President Primary, which includes other state and local positions, will be held on March 3, 2019; with a Primary Run-off Election, if needed, on March 31, 2020. The General Election is set for November 3, 2020.