- U.S State Dept
The state has long eluded Democrats, but significant gains in the 2018 midterms and a series of GOP congressional retirements have raised hopes for changeSupporters of Julián Castro gather near the site of the Democratic presidential primary debates on 12 September 2019 in Houston, Texas. Photograph: Eric Gay/APAt a party after the Democratic presidential debate in Houston on Thursday, Texas Democrats reveled in their state’s new status as a “battleground”.There was little effort to conceal their pride in native sons Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke, who are competing alongside top contenders Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination.Animated post-debate analysis unfolded in Spanish, English and Spanglish, their conversations strained over the pulse of Selena’s Baila Esta Cumbia and Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello singing Señorita. There were women in cowboy boots and men in bolo ties. As if there was any doubt, posters papered the walls: “We’re Texas Democrats, y’all.”The Lone Star State has long eluded Democrats. But significant gains in the 2018 midterms and a series of Republican congressional retirements – a phenomenon Democrats have gleefully branded a “Texodus” – have raised hopes that 2020 will be a year of sweeping political change.“In my 35 years or 40 years of working for the Democratic party, this has never happened in the state of Texas,” Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the state party, boomed over the music. “Texas is now the biggest battleground state in the country.”> Beto O’ Rourke lost by 200,000 votes. There were 3.5 million voters last year, Latinos, who did not vote> > Tom PerezIt was John Steinbeck who said: “Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word.” More recently, New Yorker writer and Austin resident Lawrence Wright, author of God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State, wrote: “Texans see themselves as a distillation of the best qualities of America: friendly, confident, hardworking, patriotic, neurosis-free.”Though Texas as a Republican stronghold is fixed in the popular imagination, significant demographic and cultural shifts – a growing Hispanic population and an influx of newcomers to the cities – are loosening the GOP’s grip. Given the importance of the state in the election of president, accounting for 38 electoral votes and 7% of the electoral college in 2016, this has huge national significance.Suddenly, everyone from House speaker Nancy Pelosi to Republican senator Ted Cruz believes Texas is up for grabs. It was O’Rourke’s spirited Senate run last year, against Cruz, that led many here to believe that the political sands may be shifting.“Texas is going to be hotly contested in 2020,” Cruz said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast last week. He was confident that Trump would win, but said the result “will be closer than last time”.Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee chair, said his organization chose Houston for the third debate because the state is “in play up and down the ballot”. He said there are millions of Latinos eligible to vote in Texas but who sat out in 2018 and could make a difference in 2020.“Beto O’ Rourke lost by 200,000 votes,” he said at a “Cafecito con Politics” event in Houston on Friday. “There were 3.5 million voters last year – Latinos – who did not vote and could have voted.”Texas has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1976. Donald Trump continued the streak in 2016, but by a far slimmer margin than past nominees.Democrats believe Trump’s unpopularity with suburban women and Hispanic voters could accelerate the political upheaval. ‘1,000 new Texans a day’Texas is often portrayed in popular culture as emblematic of the frontier spirt, populated by God-fearing, gun-loving, rock-ribbed conservatives. The reality is more nuanced. As Wright pointed out, “Texans are hardly monolithic. The state is as politically divided as the rest of the nation. One can drive across it and be in two different states at the same time: FM Texas and AM Texas. FM Texas is the silky voice of city dwellers, the kingdom of National Public Radio. It is progressive, reasonable, secular – almost like California. AM Texas speaks to the suburbs and the rural areas: Trumpland.”Since 2010, 3.5 million new residents have moved to the state. Jobs and affordable housing continue to lure young, college-educated workers to Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, said Lila Valencia, a senior demographer at the Texas Demographic Center.These newcomers, many of them diverse and liberal, are reshaping the political landscape in once-reliably conservative suburban districts. In recent weeks, five Texas Republicans have announced their retirement from Congress, including three who won in 2018 by less than 5%.Among them is Will Hurd, the only black Republican in the House, who beat Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones by less than 1% in 2018. Jones is running again. If she wins, and barring any incumbent losses, the entire 2,000-mile US-Mexico border will be represented by Democrats.After flipping two districts in 2018, Democrats are targeting half a dozen Republican seats in 2020. For their part, Republicans will aim to win back both seats next year. > We have magic in the air right now, so much excitement from all communities but especially the Latino community> > Lina Hidalgo“We have magic in the air right now, so much excitement from all communities but especially the Latino community,” Lina Hidalgo, a 28-year-old Colombian immigrant who beat an incumbent Republican for judge in Harris county, said at an event in Houston. During a later panel, Latina organizers and activists warned that politicians cannot sweep into their communities, “say a few words in Spanish” and expect their vote. The outreach must be sincere - and nuanced. As several speakers stressed, the Hispanic electorate in Texas is not a monolith and immigration is not their only priority.“Every cycle [pundits] will start to say ‘Latinos are not going to turn out,’” said Michelle Tremillo, the executive director of the Texas Organizing Project. “It’s infuriating because we know that if they have a reason to turn out, they will turn out.”Yet demographic changes – or anger at Trump – will not transform Texas politics, saids Monica Gomez, the political director of Annie’s List, a progressive group dedicated to electing Democratic women in Texas. She said Democrats must invest heavily in voter registration and mobilization efforts to turn out these new, eligible voters. “We’re going to turn out more Texans than ever in 2020,” she said. “We gain 1,000 new Texans a day. By 2022 there will be more people who are Hispanic than white in the state, so we are really seeing trends that are younger and more diverse.”Despite growing political clout in Texas and around the country, many Hispanic voters say Trump’s nativist, anti-immigrant rhetoric makes them feel unsafe.In August, a mass shooting in El Paso left 22 people, many of them Latino, dead. The deadliest attack on Latinos in modern US history, it forced a conversation on immigration, guns and white nationalism. In a Univision Poll released last week, 71% of Texas Latinos said they believed the gunman was a “racist who was influenced by anti-immigrant and anti-Mexican statements made by President Trump”. ‘Keep Texas red’Ahead of the debate, the Texas Democratic party launched an initiative to register 2.6 million new voters, with an emphasis on Hispanics and people under 35. In contrast, Republicans increasingly rely on white, rural voters. The state GOP has duly launched its own effort to “keep Texas red”.In Houston on Thursday, a plane flew above \ the debate venue trailing a banner that read: “Socialism will kill Houston’s economy! Vote Trump 2020!”Amid all the Democratic optimism, some observers say it should be remembered that it has been 25 years since Texas last elected a Democrat to statewide office. And though the state’s electoral votes are a tempting prize, some warn that chasing them will be a waste of time. The party, such critics believe, should focus on winning back traditionally Democratic states in the rust belt, such as Wisconsin and Michigan.In the state itself, Democrats believe the party should absolutely mess with Texas.“Republicans in Texas want us to believe that there was some kind of ‘Beto miracle’ in 2018, that it was a one-time thing and that Democrats are never going to get that close again,” said Tara Pohlmeyer of the liberal advocacy group Progress Texas.“But from everything we’re seeing on the ground it’s clear his campaign was not an outlier. It was just the beginning.”
The state has new forms, which let applicants “Declined to Answer” about race
A pair Confederate statues will remain standing in the city of Virginian city Charlottesville where clashes over their removal left a young woman dead.After city officials decided to remove statues of Confederate American Civil War generals Robert E Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, one resident filed a lawsuit to prevent this.
More than half of the tigers that Thai authorities confiscated in 2016 from an infamous Tiger Temple tourist attraction have died from a viral disease because their immune systems were weakened by inbreeding, media reported. The Buddhist temple west of Bangkok was a tourist destination where visitors took selfies with tigers and bottle-fed cubs until authorities removed its nearly 150 tigers in 2016 in response to global pressure over wildlife trafficking.
A British-Australian woman who has been sentenced to 10 years in a notorious Iranian prison has been identified as Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a Cambridge-educated academic specialising in Middle Eastern politics. Dr Moore-Gilbert, who was working as a lecturer and researcher for Melbourne University's Asia Institute and has published work on authoritarian governance and activism in the Middle East, was jailed in October 2018. However, her detention had not been reported in case it harmed the prospects of her release. On Saturday, the Australian government confirmed Dr Moore-Gilbert was being held in prison in Iran. A statement from the family of Dr Moore-Gilbert, who is incarcerated in Evin prison, said they were in close contact with Australian authorities on the matter. "Our family thanks the Government and the University of Melbourne for their ongoing support at this distressing and sensitive time. "We believe that the best chance of securing Kylie's safe return is through diplomatic channels." It is not known what Dr Moore-Gilbert was charged with, but 10-year terms are routinely given in Iran for spying. She is one of two British-Australian women whose detentions in Iran have come to light in the past week. Jolie King with her partner Mark Firkin Jolie King, a travel blogger, and her Australian fiancé Mark Firkin were arrested near a military site in Jajrood near Tehran on August 9, it was revealed on Thursday. They had reportedly been using a drone to film aerial footage in the area. They too have been sent to Evin prison, the main detention centre for Iran's political prisoners, which also houses 41-year-old Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian mother of one who is midway through a five-year sentence on spying charges. Tehran has pursued a campaign of detaining Iranian and dual nationality academics in recent years, raising fears the Islamic Republic is using them as diplomatic leverage. The Australian government has said it is lobbying Tehran to ensure all three are appropriately looked after. Iran is believed to be holding the trio captive in the hope of exchanging one of them for an Iranian imprisoned in the US on charges of evading American sanctions. Tensions between Britain and Iran escalated dramatically after it emerged the women were being held in the first recent case of Tehran arresting British citizens who do not also hold Iranian nationality. Sources said Tehran sees the women as bargaining chips to secure the release of Negar Ghodskani, a 40-year-old Iranian woman facing jail in the US after pleading guilty to a conspiracy to export prohibited technology to Iran. Ghodskani was arrested in Australia in 2017 at the request of US government and gave birth to a baby boy while in custody in Adelaide. She was extradited to the US and now faces five years in federal prison. Negar Ghodskani Credit: AP While Iran has not commented publicly on any of the arrests, in April the country's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, proposed swapping Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe for Ms Ghodskani. According to the University of Melbourne's website, Dr Moore-Gilbert "specialises in Middle Eastern politics, with a particular focus on the Arab Gulf states," and has published work on the 2011 Arab uprisings, authoritarian governance, and on the role of new media technologies in political activism. In 2018 she was awarded a grant to investigate "Iran’s relationship with Bahrain’s Shi’a after the Arab Uprisings". Dr Moore-Gilbert's LinkedIn profile shows her first degree came in Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge, where she also completed her Master of Arts. Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she has raised the cases of the three prisoners "many times" with Mr Zarif, and denied the arrests were politically motivated. "We have no reason to think that these arrests are connected to international concern over Iran's nuclear programme, United Nations sanction enforcement or maritime security concerning the safety of civilian shipping," Senator Payne said. What appears to be the Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1 off the coast of Tartus, Syria, Credit: Reuters News of the three prisoners has come amid a downturn in relations between Britain and Iran, sparked by issues including the Royal Marines' seizure near Gibraltar in July of an Iranian oil tanker, the Grace I. Iran responded by seizing British-flagged oil tanker the Stena Impero. While Britain released the Iranian tanker, the Stena Impero is still being held. Australia also said in July that it would join the US and the UK in protecting shipping in the Strait of Hormuz from Iranian threats. Relations between Tehran and the West, especially the United States, have deteriorated significantly since the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions, prompting Iran to ramp up restricted enrichment.
US President Donald Trump on Saturday confirmed that Hamza bin Laden, the son and designated heir of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, was killed in a counter-terrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. US media reported more than a month ago, citing intelligence officials, that the younger Bin Laden had been killed sometime in the last two years in an operation that involved the United States. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said last month that it was "his understanding" that Bin Laden, who was thought to be about 30, was dead.
A fire that destroyed a historic synagogue in northeastern Minnesota doesn't appear to have been a hate crime, authorities said Sunday in discussing the arrest of a suspect. Matthew James Amiot, 36, of Duluth, was arrested Friday in the fire last week at the Adas Israel Congregation in downtown Duluth, the city's police chief, Mike Tusken, said at a news conference. Tusken said he has no reason to believe the fire was a hate crime, although the investigation is ongoing.
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photo GettyThis story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 220 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story. Religious Christians are the key to America taking action on global warming. And yet, the way climate activists frame the issue often alienates the very people they most need to persuade. First, the math. Seventy percent of Americans say they want the government to take action to combat global warming. But the Republican Party has, in the last two decades, gone from accommodating a wide range of perspectives on climate change to marching lock-step to the energy industry’s climate denial tune.Most Republicans, however, don’t work for the energy industry. Over half of Republican voters identify as conservative Christians—either evangelicals, Catholics, or others. These voters may be right-wing on social issues, right-wing on immigration, and right-wing on ‘big government.’ But they’re not necessarily right-wing on allowing the Earth’s climate to be radically disrupted—and if they move, the Republican Party will have to move too.But according to two new studies conducted by the Yale Program for Climate Communication and published in the journal Science Communication, most religious Christians understand global warming in very different terms from others.The first study “found that ‘protect God’s creation’ is one of the most important motivations that Christians report for wanting to mitigate global warming.” Resonant messages included “God made humans responsible for taking care of His creation”; “We can use nature for our benefit, but it is not OK to destroy God’s garden that He entrusted to us”; and the language of “stewardship” over the Earth.And the second study found that framing the issue of global warming in moral and religious terms was crucial for Christians to care about it, because it suggested that “people like themselves” care about the issue.“People derive values, a sense of self, and social norms from the groups to which they belong,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program and a co-author of the two studies. “Messages that resonate with group identities may be especially effective in influencing people’s attitudes.”In other words, we think the way our group thinks. If we believe that no one in our group cares about a certain issue, we’re less likely to care about it. If we believe that our core values have nothing to do with a certain issue, we’re less likely to care about it.Unfortunately, when one turns to how the issue is framed in public, these messaging frames are conspicuously absent.For example, the introduction to next week’s U.N. Climate Action Summit reads, in part:> Global emissions are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking. The last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and we are starting to see the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heatwaves and risks to food security.> > The impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere and are having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow. But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.If you’re like me—highly educated, privileged, urban-dwelling, and liberal—that language is probably pretty effective. But according to the new Yale studies, it will probably ring hollow for the constituency that’s most central to changing the United States’ current intransigence on climate science and climate action.Indeed, the U.N. language doesn’t even include the “most important reason to reduce global warming” chosen by both Christians and non-Christians in the Yale studies, namely: “Provide a better life for our children and grandchildren.” Instead, it provides a bunch of ecological verbiage about coral reefs and food security.Nor, of course, is the problem confined to the United Nations.The Environmental Defense Fund—one of the more centrist and mainstream of American environmental organizations—likewise only mentions the environmental impacts of global warming on its page “why fighting change is so urgent”: “extreme weather events… chunks of ice in the Antarctic have broken apart… wildfire seasons are months longer… coral reefs have been bleached of their colors… mosquitoes are expanding their territory, able to spread disease.” And yet it doesn’t provide the primary reasons given by people in general (leaving a better world for our children) or Christians in particular (protecting God’s creation). Of course, these omissions make sense in some ways. First, obviously, plenty of atheists, Jews, Muslims, and people of other religious backgrounds care about climate change. Especially anyone with kids or grandkids.But it’s also unlikely that the people writing copy for climate change websites are religious Christians themselves, and are using language that “preaches to the choir,” which in this case means other secular environmentalists. But if no one speaks in terms that Christians, especially conservative Christians, care about, then climate activists are only going to be talking to themselves.Which is exactly what’s happened. Levels of understanding and concern about climate change have more or less plateaued in the last few years. On the political level, nothing is happening. Thirty-four percent of Americans still do not “believe” that global warming is being caused by humans, and only 44 percent of Americans say they “worry a great deal” about it. Another recent Yale study found that voters rank it just 17th among issues of concern.Given the extreme likelihood of an unprecedented refugee crisis brought on by rising seas and changing crop patterns, mass extinctions, and global food shortages, all of those numbers are shocking. According to the World Health Organization, 250,000 people will die each year from 2030-2050 because of increased rates of malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress. Climate denial, meanwhile, is now a billion-dollar industry, with energy-funded think tanks, pseudoscience, lobbying, and media campaigns. The energy industry is using the most persuasive, most effective methods to persuade people about global warming. Why isn’t the environmental movement?Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Could it have worked?
During the third Democratic debate he said he planned to take away military grade assault rifles from civilians as part of a nationwide buy-back scheme.
Turnout was low at 45% in what was seen as a test of one of the world's newest democracies.
The boat was carrying at least 110 passengers, 76 of whom were rescued.
The late Zimbabwean leader's body is in Kutama, where his body will be viewed by the public.
Schoolchildren in South Africa tell the BBC how they feel about a recent wave of xenophobic attacks.
Oly Ilunga denies the accusation that he mismanaged money meant for the fight against Ebola.
Nigerian mother Asibi faced an impossible choice when she was forced to flee Boko Haram.
People in Zimbabwe queue up to pay their last respects to the country's founding father.
Campaigners want firms to contribute to efforts to tackle the high levels of violence against women.
A crowd gathers outside the presidential palace and calls for justice for dozens of slain protesters.
Malawian sex workers share the stories of their struggles to access healthcare.
Hong Kong's businesses and underground rail stations re-opened as usual on Monday morning, after a chaotic Sunday that saw police fire water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who blocked roads and threw petrol bombs outside government headquarters.
Italy's new government allowed a French charity ship to bring ashore 82 migrants on Saturday in an apparent reversal of the uncompromising, closed-door policy of the previous administration.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited U.S. President Donald Trump to visit Pyongyang in a letter sent in August, a South Korean newspaper reported on Monday, citing diplomatic sources.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that the United States was "locked and loaded" for a potential response to the attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities, after a senior official in his administration said Iran was to blame.
Venezuela's opposition said on Sunday a dialogue mediated by Norway's Foreign Ministry to try to resolve the country's political crisis had ended, six weeks after President Nicolas Maduro's government suspended participation.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has sent a draft law to Congress that aims to grant amnesty to people serving jail time for lesser offenses, including abortion and possession of small amounts of drugs, the government said on Sunday.
U.S. President Donald Trump will meet next week with the leaders of India and Australia at events in Texas and Ohio to promote trade and investment.
Mexican prosecutors will target a former attorney general and his top aides in their investigation into the handling of a controversial probe into the disappearance five years ago of 43 student teachers, a government official said on Sunday.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday appeared to play down the chances that he might be willing to meet with Iranian officials, saying reports that he would do so without conditions were not accurate.
The United States believes it knows who was behind the attacks on Saudi oil facilities and is "locked and loaded," but is waiting for verification and for a Saudi assessment of responsibility before deciding how to proceed, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday.
As in the past, you will be able to choose from several Department of State RSS feeds to get the latest news from the Department delivered directly to your desktop via an RSS reader or news aggregator. Or sign up to get updates via our email subscription service.
RSS Error: WP HTTP Error: Recv failure: Connection reset by peer
INDUSTRIALISATION, UP CLOSE, is organised monotony. For eight hours a day workers at a cashew factory in northern Mozambique scoop nuts from their oily shells. It is hard to talk above the thrum of machines. The pay is a modest 4,600 meticais ($76) a month. But it is a job. There are precious few good ones in Mozambique. African countries are trying to climb the industrial ladder, and the processing of agricultural commodities seems a natural first step. By roasting coffee and spinning cotton they hope to boost export earnings and create jobs. For example, a fifth of the retail price of cashews goes to primary processors (see chart). By reviving its industry, Mozambique has captured some of that value. But its story also shows why industrial policy is hard to get right. In the 1960s Mozambique produced half the world’s raw cashew nuts and processed much of the crop domestically. Then the industry was brought to its knees by a long civil war. The knockout punch...
IT WAS THE first true presidential debate in the Arab world, yet the front-runner was nowhere to be seen. Nabil Karoui was not entirely to blame for his absence from the stage, though. The businessman and media mogul is campaigning to be president of Tunisia from jail. On September 15th Tunisians will choose a new president for the second time since their revolution in 2010. The democracy that emerged has endured assassinations, terrorist attacks and a moribund economy. Most recently it survived the death of a president: Beji Caid Essebsi, the winner of the election in 2014, who died in July. In a country that had only two rulers for the first half-century after independence, 26 people are now competing to replace Essebsi. With the winner needing at least 50% of the vote, a run-off is likely. The televised debate that began on September 7th was spread over three nights and featured most of the candidates. Some appeared nervous and hesitant. The format precluded any real discussion. Still, Tunisians were riveted. Cafés that showed the debate drew the sorts of crowds usually reserved for a big football match. Whether the people turn out to vote is a different matter. The electoral commission, known as ISIE, has worked hard to sign up new voters. Almost everyone eligible is registered. But voters seem increasingly...
ROBERT MUGABE had been out of power for nearly two years when he died on September 6th (see Obituary). He had been far away and sick since April, so you might think his death would not rattle his successor as president of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa. But bones have a way of making themselves felt. In the past few months Zimbabwe has fallen into a pit of despond that is as deep as it was during a horrendous period in 2008 when inflation reached world-record levels and shelves in the shops went bare. Rumours of rancour and plots in Zanu-PF, the ruling party, especially among the generals, are flying thick and fast. Even the arrangements for the dead despot’s funeral have been causing confusion, consternation and bad blood. As The Economist went to press, Mr Mugabe’s body, after arriving from Singapore, where he died, was due to lie in state for two days in a football stadium near the centre of Harare, the capital, before being moved to the bigger National Sports Stadium. This happens to be across the road from Heroes’ Acre, a hill on the edge of the city where the leading lights of the anti-colonial liberation struggle, including Mr Mugabe’s first wife, Sally, are...
BY NOW IT is something of an Israeli ritual. As an election looms, Binyamin Netanyahu digs deep for ways to scare or thrill his hawkish supporters. He says unkind things about Israel’s Arab minority. He warns of voter fraud. He invites nervous conservatives to imagine a cabinet minister named Ahmed. On September 10th he offered a carrot: if re-elected, Mr Netanyahu said, he would annex the occupied Jordan Valley in the West Bank. Such a move—indeed, any discussion of it even—would be reviled abroad, including by Israel’s allies. But foreign criticism worries him far less than the threat of defeat at home. This will be Israel’s second election since April. The previous ballot gave 65 seats to hawkish and religious parties, which should have let Mr Netanyahu form a government (see chart). But Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, refused to join unless the government agreed to pass a long-delayed law to make it harder for ultra-Orthodox Jews to avoid military service by attending religious schools. Mr Netanyahu could not agree to this without spurring his ultra-Orthodox allies to quit any potential coalition. He was left humiliated, one seat short of a majority. ...
WAVING FIGHTING sticks, improvised spears and shields, they advanced like an army through the streets of central Johannesburg, chanting and singing in Zulu: “Foreigners must go back to where they came from.” As they went they looted and burned shops, attacked a mosque and killed two people. The murders on September 8th came after more than a week of attacks—mostly by South Africans against migrants from other African countries—that had already led to ten deaths. This is not the first time South Africa has experienced such horrors. Dozens of people were killed in anti-foreigner riots in 2008 and 2015. But the most recent outbreak of violence shines a particularly harsh light on the rabble-rousing of South African politicians, some of whom have blamed migrants for supposedly taking jobs from locals and committing crimes. Two years ago the deputy minister of police complained in a press conference that South Africans had allowed foreigners to take over the centres of cities such as Johannesburg. “We fought for this land...we cannot surrender it to the foreign nationals,” he said. Aaron Motsoaledi, then the health minister but now in charge of home affairs, last year blamed overcrowded hospitals and the spread of infectious diseases on sick foreigners. Anti-foreigner sentiment is not confined to politicians from...
IT IS EASY to spot the Jewish and Arab neighbourhoods in Ramle, one of Israel’s few “mixed” cities. The Jewish ones consist mainly of tall, fairly new apartment buildings, with neat pavements. Arab areas, clustered around the city’s old centre, are haphazard and dilapidated. Naif Abu-Swiss, an independent city councillor, insists that things are changing. After being elected last year, he joined the municipal ruling coalition, headed by a mayor from the right-wing Likud party, and has been put in charge of urban renewal. “A Likudnik mayor is best for us,” says Mr Abu-Swiss. “He’s close to the government and gets funds for Ramle. He’s not prejudiced and is investing in planning and renewal in the Arab neighbourhoods.” Even so, the councillor hopes the long-serving Likud prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, loses the parliamentary election on September 17th, Israel’s second this year (Mr Netanyahu failed to form a coalition after the first, in April). “He needs to be replaced, so Israel won’t be like an Arab dictatorship,” says Mr Abu-Swiss. Arab voters could be key to turfing him out. Mr Abu-Swiss, a property developer, is one of a new wave of Arab-Israeli politicians who advocate a change of political strategy for Israel’s main minority. A fifth of Israeli citizens are Arabs. They have had the right to vote in every...
GETABALEW SEIFE is beginning to feel suspicious. Four times a week he saunters into the same bar in downtown Addis Ababa and puts down a bet. He often punts on Manchester United, his favourite football club. But he almost always loses. “I think Manchester United is somehow supporting the betting companies,” he says. Still, he returns. “I’m playing just to get my money back.” Like Getabalew, Ethiopia has caught gambling fever. Sports betting shops are springing up across the country. “People have gone crazy,” he says. His friend had to sell his car last year after a run of bad luck. Others, though, are making out just fine. “It’s a cash cow,” says Sophonias Thilahun of Bet251, which plans to open 100 betting shops in Addis Ababa over the next six months. It may soon compete with 18 other companies, most of which were granted licences in the past year. Sports gambling has been growing across Africa, fuelled by the spread of smartphones and mobile money. Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa lead the way, with multimillion-dollar gambling industries. A survey in 2017 across six sub-Saharan African countries found that more than half of young people had tried gambling. Over 75% of young Kenyans have placed a bet. Ethiopia was until recently a laggard. Addis Ababa had a hotel casino in the time of Emperor Haile Selassie,...
A YEAR AGO President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique went to the Vatican and announced triumphantly that he had persuaded the pope to visit his country. Pope Francis retorted that he would make the trip in 2019—if he was still alive. This week the 82-year-old pontiff is keeping that promise, making only his second trip to sub-Saharan Africa, which is by far the biggest area of expansion for Christianity. His tour also takes in Madagascar and Mauritius. In some ways the itinerary is apt. In Mozambique alone he can see many of the woes that afflict his burgeoning flock across Africa: terrorism, interfaith conflict, environmental harm and the spectre of state failure. Madagascar, a fragile store of biodiversity, is similarly afflicted by poverty and rapid deforestation, which reduces nature’s resilience against disasters, such as the cyclones that swept the region last spring. Around 2m poor Mozambicans were hit by storms and floods. With the locus of Christianity moving southward, this troubled continent represents the faith’s greatest hope. According to Pew, an American research institute, the share of the world’s Christians who live in sub-Saharan Africa will surge to 42% by 2060, up from 26% in 2015 (see chart). Without that demography-fuelled expansion in Africa, Christianity would be destined to fall rather swiftly...
AN AIRLINE IS a way of showcasing a people, says Jenifer Bamuturaki, commercial director of Uganda Airlines, which made its first commercial flight on August 28th. Passengers can tuck into katogo, a popular banana dish, served with a warm Ugandan welcome. The airline will soon fly to seven regional destinations, such as Nairobi and Mogadishu, on four 76-seater planes. It has also placed orders for two wide-body Airbus A330-800s, which could one day reach London and Guangzhou. Uganda has had a national airline before. It started out shipping whisky for President Idi Amin in the 1970s and collapsed in 2001. Now Uganda is returning to the air, and it is not alone. Neighbouring Tanzania, which is reviving its national carrier, has bought eight new planes and is considering flights to London. Ethiopian Airlines, the regional leader, is entering into joint ventures across the continent: it helped resurrect Chad’s national airline last year and has plans to do the same in Ghana and Zambia. In the past decade new airlines have taken to the skies in countries such as Senegal and Ivory Coast. African governments are not in it for the money. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade group, forecasts that carriers on the continent will lose $300m this year, or $3.51 per passenger. Planes...
THERE IS A reason that men with machetes keep killing people in Congo and that Ebola has infected close to 3,000 people there. These are signs that the end is nigh, claims Reverend Eddy Kybantu of the Kimbanguist church, a branch of Christianity. Simon Kimbangu, who founded the church in 1921, said Congo would endure pestilence, poverty and war shortly before the end of time—and salvation for believers. “Papa Kimbangu is preparing us, he knows it’s not long,” says Mr Kybantu. Such dismal beliefs do not put off Kimbanguists. They make up about 10% of Congo’s 85m-100m people. The church says it has 22m members worldwide. Today it is run by the founder’s grandson, Simon Kimbangu Kiangani, who lives in the hilltop town of Nkamba—or “New Jerusalem”, as Kimbanguists call it. The younger Mr Kimbangu, like his grandfather, is believed to be the human form of the Holy Spirit, able to cure the sick, raise the dead and see the future. Kimbanguists adhere to an ascetic lifestyle. Sex before marriage is banned, as are alcohol, tobacco and homosexuality. But this isn’t simple puritanism. Kimbanguists are also forbidden from sleeping naked, in case God calls on them at night. Pork is prohibited because pigs are vessels for evil spirits. Kimbanguists must pray eight times a day, fast twice a week and attend a nine-hour church service...
Au moins douze soldats burundais de la Mission de l'Union africaine en Somalie sont morts samedi 14 septembre et une dizaine d'autres ont été blessés, dans une attaque de jihadistes d'al-Qaïda en Somalie, les Shebabs.
Plusieurs localités sont confrontées à des attaques récurrentes de groupes armés. Dans ces régions, les forces de défense et de sécurité sont soumises à de rudes épreuves. En fin de semaine dernière, ce sont les forces de police de la ville de Djibo dans la province du Soum qui ont décidé de fermer le commissariat central de la ville et de plier bagages.
Ce lundi 16 septembre dans la soirée, le président congolais Félix Tshisekedi sera accueilli avec tous les honneurs au pied de son avion sur le tarmac de l’aéroport de Melsbroek aux portes de Bruxelles. La première étape d’une visite officielle très dense.
La dépouille de l'ex-président Robert Mugabe sera transporté ce lundi 16 septembre dans son village natal de Kutama, au nord-ouest de Harare, afin de permettre à ses proches de lui rendre un dernier hommage.
Dans l'affaire dite des « 15 millions de dollars » du Trésor public présumés disparus, la présidence à Kinshasa annonce qu’une rencontre a finalement eu lieu ce week-end entre le président Félix Tshisekedi et l’inspecteur général des finances Victor Batubenga. Ce dernier avait affirmé sur RFI être menacé et avait demandé à rencontrer le chef de l'État.
La Communauté économique des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest a décidé de consacrer 1 milliard de dollars sur 5 ans à la lutte contre le jihadisme. Mais selon quelles modalités ?
Le Comité d’appel de la Confédération africaine de football (CAF) a rejeté le recours déposé par le Wydad Casablanca (WAC) concernant la finale de Ligue des champions 2019. Le club marocain demandait l’annulation d’une décision prise par le Comité de discipline de la CAF. Celui-ci avait confirmé la victoire de l’Espérance Tunis, plusieurs semaines après un match retour houleux. Les Casaouis avaient refusé de reprendre le match suite à un problème avec l’arbitrage vidéo.
Dans un discours à la nation diffusé par la télévision nationale ce dimanche 15 septembre, le président par intérim Abdelkader Bensalah a convoqué le corps électoral pour le 12 décembre prochain.
Le premier tour de l'élection présidentielle s'est déroulé dimanche 15 septembre. La participation s'élève à 45% et deux candidats se disent qualifiés pour le second tour, mais il n'y a pas encore de chiffres officiels.
L’ancien président de la République tchadienne, Lol Mahamat Choua, est mort ce dimanche 15 septembre des suites d’une longue maladie à l’âge de 80 ans, selon des sources familiales jointes par RFI. Celui qui a dirigé le Tchad d’avril à septembre 1979 était député et président du groupe parlementaire de son parti depuis deux législatures.