Ethiopia: Floods Leave Thousands Homeless in Ethiopia

Source:  Allafrican.com
28 SEPTEMBER 2017

CAJ News Agency (Johannesburg) 

RESOURCE: Heavy Downpours Caused Widespread Street Flooding in Addis Ababa

By Adane Bikila in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

floods in ethiopia.jpgAddis Ababa — EXTENSIVE flooding has displaced more than 93 000 people in crisis-torn Ethiopia. The Ambeira zone in Afar region, special zones surrounding the capital Addis Ababa , Jima, South-east Shewa and South-west Shewa in the Oromia region have been worst affected by the incessant rains. It is estimated that a total of 18 628 households have been affected in the East African country.

In the background of the recent floods, civil unrest along the Oromo and Somali border, which stretches more than 1 000km, has complicated the situation. Ethnic clashes have led to the displacement of more than 45 000 households (225 000 people) from Oromia and Somali regions, including into the neighboring Hareri region. “The flood situation is happening in different areas than the conflict. The capacity of the response is being outstretched due to the simultaneity of the two disasters,” said a spokesperson of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society.

The organisation has deployed teams to conduct emergency needs assessments and distributions of emergency shelter in flood-affected areas. It has also begun distribution of relief to communities displaced by conflict. Ambulances have been provided to evacuate and offer first aid services to those wounded. Ehiopia, Africa’s second biggest country by population (102 million), is also enduring food shortages and an outbreak of cholera that has killed 800 people in 2017.

– CAJ News

Brazil: President Temer’s Popularity Plummets to Just 3%

Source:  TeleSUR
September 28 2017

Temer is the most unpopular Brazilian leader since the country’s dictatorship.

temer sept2017.jpgBrazil’s President Michel Temer reacts during press statement at the Planalto
Palace in Brasilia, Brazil. | Photo: Reuters

Brazilian President Michel Temer’s popularity has plummeted down to just 3 percent, according to a new poll published Thursday.

RELATED: Brazil President’s Attorney in Corruption Case Resigns Due to ‘Ethical’ Dilemma

The president, embroiled in a number of corruption charges, is the most unpopular Brazilian leader since the country’s dictatorship, which lasted from 1964 to 1985.

The results from the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics poll are based on surveys with some 2,000 residents in 126 Brazilian cities, taken between Sept. 15 and 20.

The poll found that those who see Temer’s management as “bad” or “very bad” has jumped to 77 percent from 70 percent in July. The survey also found that no female respondent had rated his administration as “very good.”

In the latest charges, Temer is accused of paying bribes to keep a jailed politician from testifying. He is also accused of leading a group in Congress that took millions of dollars in bribes from companies seeking state contracts.

RELATED:  Brazilian Chamber of Deputies Debate Charges Against Temer

Widely condemned

Temer defeated the first charge of bribery but may face trial for his involvement in the “Gang of the Lower House.”

Since he was appointed president, Temer has pushed through a series of neoliberal reforms, which have been widely condemned by women’s groups, Indigenous organizations, labor unions and environmental activists.

Yesterday, Indigenous people and social movements gathered in Rio de Janeiro to protest against an auction carried out by Temer’s government to sell their ancestral lands in Minas Gerais to mining companies.

57 Countries Express Support to Venezuela at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

Source: TeleSUR
September 28 2017

57 countries.jpgThe Venezuelan ambassador in the United Nations Human Rights Council
speaks for sovereignty and against interference. | Photo: teleSUR

Over 50 countries around the world expressed support for the constitutional government of Venezuela against foreign threats.

During the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday, 57 countries signed an expression of support of respect for the sovereignty and independence of Venezuela.

RELATED: Venezuelan Delegation Travels to Dominican Republic for Peace Dialogue

Pedro Luis Pedroso.jpg“We condemn any action that disturbs peace, tranquility, and democratic stability… and that threatens sovereignty, including the recent threats of a possible foreign military intervention,” the jointly signed document read, that was read by Cuba’s ambassador to the Council, Pedro Luis Pedroso.

The nations, among whom are Cuba, China, Bolivia, Russia, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Libya, Ecuador, Vietnam, South Africa, and Iran, expressed their “support for the constitutional government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in its commitment to preserve peace and maintain democratic institutions in the country.”

They expressed support for the calls and efforts of President Nicolas Maduro to political dialogue in Venezuela in order to “preserve peace and guarantee the stability of the democratic institutions.”

RELATED: ‘Latin America Must Be a Region of Peace’: Bolivia’s Morales on Venezuela Dialogue

Hernán-Estrada-Román.jpgAlso read during the session was a declaration by the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America (ALBA) that echoed the calls for respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity in Venezuela. Presented by the Nicaraguan ambassador, Hernan Estrada, ALBA repudiated the “international media campaign” against Venezuela and condemned the recent threats of the United States President Donald Trump in his address to the United Nations General Assembly.

Jorge Valero.jpgThe Venezuelan representative to the council, Jorge Valero, also spoke, expressing solidarity to those countries who support Venezuela’s sovereignty and saying that “peace reigns” in his country due to the democratic National Constituent Assembly.

“Thanks to the National Constituent Assembly, elected through the universal, direct, and secret vote of millions of Venezuelans, peace reigns in Venezuela,” he said.

The 36th session of the Human Rights Council is currently taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, from September 11th to the 29th.

The support of ALBA and 57 countries around the world is an affirmation of the international support Venezuela has behind it, in a crucial moment as it has been subject to renewed attacks from the United States and its allied countries in recent weeks.

U.S. blockade overwhelmingly rejected at United Nations

Source:  Granma
September 27 2017

By : International news staff | informacion@granma.cu

Although the world is facing many challenges – climate change, earthquakes, hurricanes, and the threat of nuclear war – rejection of the U.S. blockade of Cuba was heard loud and clear in the UN high level debate, which concluded September 25

us blockade rejected sept 2017.jpgPhoto: TELESUR

U.S. blockade overwhelmingly rejected at United Nations

  • THE UNITED NATIONS.- Although the world is currently facing many challenges – climate change, earthquakes, hurricanes, pandemics, and the threat of nuclear war – rejection of the United States economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba was heard loud and clear in the high level segment of the UN General Assembly, which concluded September 25.
    Several countries expressed their support for Cuba during the plenary session. For example, Jorge Arreaza, Foreign Minister of Venezuela – one of the nations that has been most affected by the United States’ interventionist foreign policy – described as unilateral and illegal the economic measures imposed by Washington on his country and nations like Cuba, which has suffered under the blockade for over 50 years.

Uruguay, Mozambique, Angola, Nicaragua, Timor-Leste, Vietnam

During the same session, Uruguayan Foreign Minister, Rodolfo Nin Novoa; Antonio Gumande, Mozambique’s permanent representative to the UN; Gaspar Ismael Martins, Angolan Ambassador to the UN; Deputy Foreign Minister of Nicaragua and the country’s permanent representative to the UN, María Rubiales; as well as Timor-Leste’s permanent representative, María Helena Pires, all called for an end to the blockade.
Vietnam’s Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Minh, stated that the unilateral policy against Cuba is inappropriate and called for its immediate lifting.

Belize, Lao

Likewise, Wilfred Elrington, minister of Foreign Relations of Belize, noted that for over half a century the Cuban people have been the victims of an unjust, flagrant, and illegal unilateral embargo.
Foreign Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Saleumxay Kommasith, described the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States as positive, going on to express the country’s hope that such efforts will intensify and soon lead to the lifting of the blockade, which will not only provide real benefits for both peoples but also the world in general.

Sao Tomé and Príncipe

President of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tomé and Príncipe, Evaristo do Espirito Santo Carvalho, expressed his nations desire to renew the call for the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, as well as the lifting of the blockade, which has inhibited the island’s development for decades.

Dominica

Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, one of the Caribbean islands devastated by recent hurricanes, expressed his solidarity with Cuba and other countries of the region affected by this natural phenomenon.

Cambodia, Barbados, Niger, Tanzania, St. Kitts & Nevis

Other leaders, including Prak Sokhonn, Cambodian Minister of Foreign Relations and Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean, Foreign Minister of Barbados, also expressed their support for Cuba at the UN.

Ibrahim Yacoubou, Niger’s Foreign Minister; Augustine Phillip Mahiga, Minister of Foreign Relations of the United Republic of Tanzania; and Mark Anthony Brantley, Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Foreign Minister, called for an end to the blockade during the plenary session.

Bahamas, Laos, DPRK, Surinam, Granada, Jamaica, Chad, Trinidad & Tobago, Burundi

Some 20 heads of state or government and foreign ministers also called for the lifting of the U.S. blockade of Cuba, prior to the high level segment.
For example, Foreign ministers of the Bahamas, Darren Henfield; Laos, Saleumxay Kommasith; the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ri Yong Ho; Surinam, Yidiz Pollack-Beigle; Grenada, Elvin Nimrod; and Jamaica, Kamina Johnson-Smith, all called on the U.S. to put an end to its inhumane policy; as did ministers of Foreign Affairs of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Mark Anthony Brantley; Chad, Hissein Brahim Taha; Tanzania, Augustine Philip Mahiga; Niger, Ibrahim Yacoubou; Trinidad and Tobago, Dennis Moses; and Burundi, Alain Aimé Nyamitwe.

Meanwhile, Pollack-Beigle, speaking before the forum, recalled that the entire world rejects the sanctions imposed on Cuba by 11 successive U.S. administrations.
During his speech Brantley defended the Cuban people’s right to live in dignity and peace, while Moses warned that the U.S. blockade constitutes a threat to the island’s sustainable development.

For his part, Taha described the over 50 year-long blockade as unjust and counterproductive, especially given the reestablishment of bilateral relations between Havana and Washington.

Johnson-Smith also highlighted the unjust nature of U.S. sanctions “which have limited the capacity of a hard-working people to participate in legitimate trade, travel, and realize international financial transactions.”

Last year, not a single nation voted against the resolution to put an end to the blockade which has proven unproductive from all angles, stated Suriname’s representative, who went on to describe the hostile policy as a violation of international law, sovereignty and self-determination. (PL)

Cuba will be ready for tourist high season without a trace of Hurricane Irma

Source:  Granma
September 27 2017

By Juan Diego Nusa Peñalver | internet@granma.cu

Cuba’s Tourism minister noted that the main damage in this sector was limited to light roofing, false ceilings, broken windows, and green areas

cuba ready sept 2017.jpgVaradero’s Hotel Meliá Las Américas is open and offering services to tourists. Photo: Juan Diego nusa Peñalver

We reiterate our commitment that all Cuban tourism facilities will be operational in time for the upcoming high season, Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero Cruz stressed during a meeting with some 160 tour operators September 23, in Varadero’s Plaza América Convention Center, to address the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

The minister explained that the necessary financial and material resources, equipment, and personnel are available for this purpose.

Marrero insisted that our “commitment to you is not limited to recovering from the effects of the hurricane, but that everything will be better than before and that we will have as a final result an updated and higher quality tourist product.”

Read more here:  Cuba will be ready for tourist high season without a trace of Hurricane Irma

Bolivia enacts law to provide job stability for the disabled

Source:  Granma
September 27 2017

By TeleSUR English | informacion@granma.cu

evo morales sept 2017 2.jpgMorales signed the new statute during a ceremony at Government Palace in La Paz. Photo: EFE

Under the new law, 4% of the public sector workforce must be disabled men and women.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has enacted a law to guarantee job stability for workers with serious disabilities.

The law also establishes a job quota for disabled people and offers a monthly payment of US$36 for those who are no longer able to work.

Morales signed the new statute during a ceremony at Government Palace in La Paz, which was attended by the nation’s Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, as well as ministers, ruling party lawmakers and representatives of disabled people.

It is a joy for me to enact this law

In his address, the president said: “it is a joy for me to enact this law” for the disabled, adding that the payment of US$36 a month will be financed by municipal governments with the support of the central government.

“This ruling also affects employers: 4 percent of those employed by the public sector and 2 percent employed by the private sector must be disabled men and women,” he said.
According to statistics provided this week by the Health Ministry, there were 67,912 disabled persons registered in the country by December 2016.

Of that number, 46,062 had serious or very serious disabilities and will benefit from the new job quotas, while those unable to work will receive monthly payments.  Those eligible to receive the benefits must register with the Ministry of Health’s Sole Disabled Persons Register and possess an up-to-date disability card.

People with vision problems who are registered with the Bolivian Blindness Institute are excluded from the monthly payment as they already receive support from the state, but they will be able to benefit from the job quotas, the Health Ministry said.

The monthly municipal payment will take effect in 2018. In the meantime, the government will continue the annual solidarity payments of almost US$144 to the sector, the ministry said.

In 2016, hundreds of disabled persons fought the Bolivian government to demand the annual payment be substituted by a monthly payment of US$72.

Cuba: Decision by US is ill-advised and will affect bilateral relations

Source:  Granma
September 29 2017

By Cubaminrex | internet@granma.cu

Statement to the press by Josefina Vidal, director general for the United States at Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

josefina vidal sept 2017.jpgPhoto: Cubaminrex

Today we have learned of a State Department communiqué that reports the decision of the U.S. government to reduce personnel at its embassy in Havana.

As we reported this past September 26, in a meeting held that day with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on the initiative of the Cuban side, our minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla:

  • advised him not make hasty decisions that were not based on evidence or conclusive results of investigations;
  • called on him to avoid politicizing an issue of this nature; and
  • reiterated our request for effective cooperation on the part of U.S. authorities to fully conclude the investigation underway regarding the alleged incidents involving U.S. diplomats in Havana.

He emphasized that the government of Cuba has no responsibility whatsoever for the alleged acts, and seriously, rigorously fulfills its obligations according to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, in terms of protecting the physical integrity of accredited diplomatic agents in the country and their family members, without exception.

We believe that the decision announced by the State Department is ill-advised and will affect bilateral relations, in particular, cooperation on issues of mutual interest and exchanges of a diverse nature between our two countries.

I would like to reiterate Cuba’s willingness to continue active cooperation between authorities of our two countries, to fully clarify these events, which requires more efficient involvement on the part of the United States.

Havana, September 29, 2017