Tuesday, January 19We Break the News

USA

US Futures Lower on Martin Luther King Holiday

US Futures Lower on Martin Luther King Holiday

AFRICA, Business, COVID-19, INTERNATIONAL, USA
US futures were lower on Monday amid rising coronavirus cases and restrictions and doubts over whether Congress will pass Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan. Meanwhile, US President-elect Joe Biden is due to be inaugurated on Wednesday amid risks of violence and security concerns. Coronavirus deaths in the US are approaching 400K and the number is expected to reach 500K next month, according to incoming CDC director. US financial markets are closed Monday for the Martin Luther King holiday.
Indian Rupee Weakens on Monday

Indian Rupee Weakens on Monday

AFRICA, Business, INTERNATIONAL, USA
India's rupee traded lower at 73.3 against the US dollar, from an over ten-month high hit last week, as investors rushed for safety amid ongoing concerns over the pace of the global economic recovery. Meanwhile, India launched on Saturday one of the world’s biggest Covid-19 vaccination programme, with New Delhi planning to inoculate some 300 million people, or more than 20% of its 1.3 billion population, in the first phase of the exercise. Last week, economic data showed the country's retail price inflation slowed more than expected in December, falling within the central bank's target of 2%-6% for the first time since March; while industrial production contracted at a steep pace in November, as the coronavirus crisis hit manufacturing and mining activities.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to officially resign her Senate seat on Monday

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to officially resign her Senate seat on Monday

INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS, USA
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has notified California Gov. Gavin Newsom that she will step down from her California Senate seat effective Monday, two days before she and President-elect Joe Biden are inaugurated. Newsom named California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to serve out the final two years of Harris’ first term. When Harris makes history as the first woman, first Black person and first South Asian to serve as vice president, she'll also become president of the Senate.
UGANDA ELECTIONS 2021: US demands audit of election results

UGANDA ELECTIONS 2021: US demands audit of election results

AFRICA, EAST AFRICA, INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS, UGANDA, USA
The United States on Sunday called for an audit of last Thursday’s presidential and parliamentary elections, citing “credible reports” of pre-election violence and election irregularities. The Electoral Commission (EC) on Saturday declared President Museveni, who was the flag bearer of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), winner with 58.6 per cent of valid votes cast. Voting and result tallying happened in largely information black-hole after the State shut down the Internet alongside blocking mobile money transactions.  In a statement issued yesterday, US Department of State spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said: “We are deeply troubled by the many credible reports of security force violence during the pre-election period and election irregularities during the polls. W...
US Futures Lack Direction as Investors Assess Stimulus, Political Turmoil

US Futures Lack Direction as Investors Assess Stimulus, Political Turmoil

Business, COVID-19, INTERNATIONAL, USA
US futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors digest prospects of more fiscal stimulus, political turmoil and rising coronavirus cases. Joe Biden is expected to give more details on his trillions of dollars economic package on Thursday but Bloomberg reported that he will seek a deal with Republicans, rather than trying to ram a package through without their support. Meanwhile, the House voted 223-205 to call on Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office although the Vice President rejected it. On the corporate front, the earnings season will kick off later in the week with reports from Citigroup, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan. S&P 500 earnings are seen dropping 12% yoy in the final three months of 2020, according to data from Bloomberg. On Tues...
US Mortgage Applications Rise the Most Since March

US Mortgage Applications Rise the Most Since March

Business, INTERNATIONAL, USA
Mortgage applications in the United States rose 16.7 percent in the week ended January 8th, 2021, the largest increase since a record 55.4 percent jump during the first week of March, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed. Applications to refinance a home loan spiked 20.1 percent, up 93 percent year-on-year; and those to purchase a home increased 8.0 percent, 10 percent higher than a year ago. The average fixed 30-year mortgage rate was up 2 bps to 2.88 percent last week, still close to an all-time low of 2.85 percent hit in mid-December.
UGANDA POLLS 2021: United States Condemns Uganda Social Media Shut Down

UGANDA POLLS 2021: United States Condemns Uganda Social Media Shut Down

AFRICA, BREAKING NEWS, EAST AFRICA, INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS, TECHNOLOGY, UGANDA, USA
The United States has condemned the government of Uganda’s act to shut down social media as the country heads for general elections this Thursday 14th January. “We are concerned by reports that the government of Uganda has ordered Internet service providers to block social media platforms, messaging apps and select content in the runup to general elections,” said Tibor Nagy, the top US diplomat for Africa.UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged respect for human rights in the run-up to the presidential election noting that such restrictions undermine human rights and fundamental freedoms. Uganda ordered a shutdown of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp ahead of Thursday’s vote in which Uganda chooses the next President. However, the statement comes...
Twitter condemns social media shutdown in Uganda

Twitter condemns social media shutdown in Uganda

AFRICA, EAST AFRICA, EUROPEAN UNION, INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS, TECHNOLOGY, Twitter, UGANDA, USA
Social networking service, Twitter has condemned the shutdown of the internet in Uganda ahead of the Thursday general election as hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and principles of Open Internet. On Tuesday, it was alleged that the Uganda communication commission executive director, Irene Sewankambo in a letter ordered telecommunications companies to “immediately suspend any access and use” of social media and online messaging platforms. Several social media users in Uganda have reported the inability to access Facebook and Twitter, among other social media platforms as the country braces for a tense election that has been marred with violence. Last evening President Museveni confirmed that the government had closed social media channels ahead of Thursday’s poll. Acc...
UGANDA DECIDES 2021: Statement by U.S. Ambassador Natalie E. Brown on Cancellation of U.S. Diplomatic Observer Mission of Uganda’s Elections

UGANDA DECIDES 2021: Statement by U.S. Ambassador Natalie E. Brown on Cancellation of U.S. Diplomatic Observer Mission of Uganda’s Elections

AFRICA, EAST AFRICA, EUROPEAN UNION, INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS, UGANDA, USA
U.S. Embassy Kampala January 13, 2021 Kampala, Uganda  Statement by U.S. Ambassador Natalie E. Brown on Cancellation of U.S. Diplomatic Observer Mission of Uganda’s Elections  It is with profound disappointment that I announce U.S. Mission in Uganda’s decision to cancel our diplomatic observation of Uganda’s January 14 elections due to the decision by the Electoral Commission of Uganda to deny more than 75 percent of the U.S. election observer accreditations requested.  With only 15 accreditations approved, it is not possible for the United States to meaningfully observe the conduct of Uganda’s elections at polling sites across the country. Despite multiple requests, the Electoral Commission provided no explanation for its decision, which it communicated mer...
USA: House Democrats plan to vote Wednesday to impeach Trump

USA: House Democrats plan to vote Wednesday to impeach Trump

INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS, USA
House Democrats plan to vote Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told Democrats on a caucus call Monday. The decision sets up an impeachment vote one week after rioters incited by Trump overran Capitol police and breached some of the most secure areas of the US Capitol. The House will vote Tuesday evening on a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power, and then plan to vote Wednesday at 9 a.m. ET on the impeachment resolution, Hoyer said. Democrats formally introduced their impeachment resolution Monday, charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” as they race toward making him the first president in history to be impeached twice. Wednesday’s vote underscores Democrats’ fu...
COVID-19 Risk Communications Toolkit Uganda COVID-19 Resource Toolkit #2

COVID-19 Risk Communications Toolkit Uganda COVID-19 Resource Toolkit #2

AFRICA, COVID-19, EAST AFRICA, HUMAN INTEREST STORIES, IGAD SUMMIT, INTERNATIONAL, UN Human RiGHTS, UN Women, USA
U.S. Embassy in Greetings friends and colleagues, My name is Natalie E. Brown, and I am the recently arrived U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Uganda. I am delighted to be here in Uganda, but only wish I could send New Year's wishes under better circumstances. As the New Year begins and the desire to resume normal activities increases, I wish you strength and restraint. I know that doesn't sound very festive, but we have hung on this long, and relief is coming, although not yet within reach for most of us. Strength and restraint will allow us to keep ourselves safe, protect those we love, and demonstrate the tenacity and courage we all need as COVID infections surge and new and more infectious strains of the virus have emerged. Rather than sending a traditional New Year's greeting, I ...
Here’s How Trump’s Supreme Court Will Put the Screws to President Biden

Here’s How Trump’s Supreme Court Will Put the Screws to President Biden

INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS, USA
Democrats will control Congress, but the newly radicalized court poses a grave threat to the incoming president’s ability to govern and to save lives The newly radicalized Supreme Court issued a stark warning last month that it may use the coronavirus pandemic to attack the power of the executive branch, potentially hamstringing President Joe Biden and Democratic governors in the midst of the greatest crisis America has faced since World War II. The threat went mostly unnoticed because it came as the nation’s highest court passed on the opportunity to rule upon an audacious challenge to a governor’s power to protect the public health during the height of the outbreak. But the decision made the court’s intentions clear, and also raised a warning flag about the imminent threat the ...
Statement by U.S. Ambassador Natalie E. Brown on the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol Building and the Nurturing of Democracy

Statement by U.S. Ambassador Natalie E. Brown on the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol Building and the Nurturing of Democracy

AFRICA, EAST AFRICA, INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS, UGANDA, USA, USA
Like observers across America and around the world, I was appalled by the events that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.  On a day traditionally characterized by history, pomp, and ceremony, the world instead saw more than just an act of lawlessness, we witnessed a violent attack on America's democracy.  As America's Founding Fathers recognized, and as we were reminded Wednesday, democracy is fragile.  Democracy is hard.  To survive, it must be constantly tended to and renewed--by leaders and ordinary citizens alike.  More than 230 years after the adoption of its constitution, the United States is still striving to build a more perfect union so that all Americans can enjoy the blessings of liberty and justice enshrined in a document that when ...
Congress certifies 2020 Electoral College vote. Joe Biden is confirmed as the next President of the United States, Kamala Harris is confirmed as the next Vice President.

Congress certifies 2020 Electoral College vote. Joe Biden is confirmed as the next President of the United States, Kamala Harris is confirmed as the next Vice President.

INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS, USA
After a day defined by fear, violence and unprecedented chaos, Congress officially confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Republican attempts to contest the results of the election served only to delay the inevitable. Vice President Mike Pence officially pronounced Biden the President-elect and Kamal Harris the Vice President-elect. They will be sworn in and assume office at noon on Jan. 20. The tally tipped the win to Biden and Harris at 3:31 a.m. ET. The counting finally ended at 3:40 a.m. The final proclamation on what is supposed to be a routine Congressional procedure capped off the most intense day on Capitol Hill in living memory. Shortly after lawmakers gathered in a joint session to certify Biden’s victory Wednesday, Trump sup...
DC mayor extends public emergency to 15 days after four people confirmed dead amid violence at the Capitol

DC mayor extends public emergency to 15 days after four people confirmed dead amid violence at the Capitol

INTERNATIONAL, USA
Local authorities announced that four people died after a mob of Trump supporters entered the Capitol building and engaged with riot police on Wednesday afternoon as Congress held a joint session to count the 2020 Electoral College votes. Both chambers of Congress recessed debate after the mob forced a lockdown at the Capitol and the evacuation of lawmakers and VP Mike Pence. Mayor Muriel Bowser said that the city will be under a state of public emergency lasting until January 21.
Senate and House vote to reject the challenge to President-elect Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania as Electoral College certification continues

Senate and House vote to reject the challenge to President-elect Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania as Electoral College certification continues

INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS, USA
The breach by a pro-Trump mob at the US Capitol on Wednesday forced members of the House and Senate to suspend a joint session of Congress to certify President-elect Joe Biden's presidential victory. Congressional leaders have since resumed the electoral vote count.
UK political leaders condemn violence at US Capitol

UK political leaders condemn violence at US Capitol

INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS, USA
Boris Johnson has joined Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP in condemning the chaotic scenes in Washington DC that saw Donald Trump supporters storming the US Capitol. While the crowd that broke through barricades to roam through the building had been whipped up by a speech from Trump earlier, Johnson’s brief comment did not mention the US president or his role. “Disgraceful scenes in US Congress,” the prime minister tweeted. “The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.” The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “The US rightly takes great pride in its democracy, and there can be no justification for these violent attempts to frustrate the lawful and proper transition of power.” The c...
4 dead, Congress evacuated, National Guard activated after pro-Trump rioters storm Capitol

4 dead, Congress evacuated, National Guard activated after pro-Trump rioters storm Capitol

INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS, USA
The U.S. Capitol descended into chaos and violence Wednesday as hundreds of pro-Trump rioters swarmed the building, leaving four dead and forcing the Senate to evacuate and Vice President Mike Pence to be ushered to a secure location. The frenzied scene after rioters broke through barricades forced Congress to evacuate parts of the building and abruptly pause a ceremonial event affirming that President-elect Joe Biden won the November election. In one dramatic moment, police officers drew guns as rioters tried to break into the House chamber. Pence, who was presiding over the joint session of Congress, could be seen rushing out of the Senate chamber amid the sounds of throngs of President Donald Trump's supporters who surrounded the Capitol. Pence and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, ...