Nigeria: At last a cabinet, and now for the policies

Africa Confidential

After balancing political interests and restructuring ministries, the most urgent issue facing President Buhari is economic strategy

At his self-imposed eleventh hour, President Muhammadu Buhari submitted his list of 21 ministerial nominees to the Senate on 30 September. On 8 October, the Senate was to start vetting the names but it will not know the portfolios that Buhari intends to give to his nominees. That means that most of the questions will be about personal integrity and political loyalties rather the technical competence required in a specific portfolio (AC Vol 56 No 9, APC to lead with a leaner team).

The list is the outcome of a tricky political balancing act which has taken far too long – he was inaugurated on 29 May – but has at least succeeded in not alienating critical constituencies in the political and business worlds. In addition to the complexity of mediating among and sifting through the myriad interest groups which descended on Abuja to press their claims to run ministries, Buhari has been trying to restructure the government at the same time. Not only does he want a leaner government – the 21 nominees are likely to be the substantive ministers and the next 15, so far unnamed, will be the deputy or state ministers – he also wants to cut the ministers’ scope for patronage. Continue reading Nigeria: At last a cabinet, and now for the policies

Renewable s Can Create Jobs and Heal the Planet: Report

Common Dreams

“The Clean Energy Future represents a pathway away from climate destruction…. Should we let greed and inertia prevent us from taking it?’

A clean energy future is possible. (Photo: Labor Network for Sustainability)
A clean energy future is possible. (Photo: Labor Network for Sustainability)

The U.S. can reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, while creating half a million jobs a year and lowering energy costs for consumers, simply by limiting use of fossil fuels and allowing the renewable sector continue to grow at its current pace, according to a new report published this week.

The report, The Clean Energy Future: Protecting the Climate, Creating Jobs and Saving Money (pdf), refutes claims that meeting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions would take a toll on the economy and introduces an energy platform that would:
• Transform the electric system, cutting coal-fired power in half by 2030 and eliminating it by 2050; building no new nuclear plants; and reducing the use of natural gas far below business-as-usual levels. Continue reading Renewable s Can Create Jobs and Heal the Planet: Report

I’m a sex trafficking survivor. America’s laws won’t let me leave my past behind

The Guardian

Sex work criminalization means potential employers and landlords treat me as a person who was arrested for prostitution, not a survivor

Photograph: Alamy
Photograph: Alamy

I am a survivor of sex trafficking in America. I’m also a former sex worker. Because of the latter and despite the former, the legal system views me more as a prostitute who deserves to be punished than a victim in need of assistance. And, until we decriminalize sex work, it always will.

Criminalization contributes to our inability to exit sex work or end trafficking, rather than helps us. Whether sex workers or sex trafficking victims, thousands of women and men are arrested on charges of prostitution, trespassing, curfew violations and all sorts of crimes, limiting our ability to support ourselves in less dangerous or stigmatized ways when we so choose.

We are, instead, pushed underground, where we are forced to engage with pimps for protection because the police don’t protect us. Many of us want a different life, but don’t know a way out, while others have decided this is our path in life. None of us deserve abuse or arrest; we should have the right to decide how to use our bodies, and we don’t need more abuse and fear when we’re already on the streets in what is inherently a violent industry. Continue reading I’m a sex trafficking survivor. America’s laws won’t let me leave my past behind

Son of Immigrants Provides Hopeful Message on Immigration

Pope Francis’ Visit to U.S.

Just South Monthly

Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

After the “Summer of Trump,” when the immigration debate reached new lows for rancor and resentment, Pope Francis’ remarks on immigration during his six day visit last month to the U.S. were a welcomed call to compassion and solidarity.

He began his first speech in the United States, held at the White House on Wednesday morning, September 23, by immediately identifying himself with our nation’s immigrant past: “As the son of an immigrant family I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families,” adding that, “American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination.”

During the motorcade on Constitution Avenue following his White House visit the pope was reminded how urgent the need for a just resolution to our nation’s immigration crisis is to millions of American families. Seeing a five-year-old girl trying to get his attention, he waved her over. When she was lifted up to receive his kiss, Sophie Cruz handed the pontiff a letter she had written asking him to urge the President and Congress to pass immigration reform so her undocumented parents could remain in the U.S. Continue reading Son of Immigrants Provides Hopeful Message on Immigration

Lord Alton: ‘Syria and Iraq – a genocide that dares not speak its name’

Independent Catholic News

This genocide – which was named as such by Pope Francis – but which western political leaders refuse to speak its name – is part of a wider picture.

Lord Alton of Liverpool gave the following statement at a meeting held in the House of Lords on October 13th 2015, organized by the charity Aid to the Church In Need for the launch of Persecuted and Forgotten – a Report on Christians Oppressed for their faith. The full text follows:

Syria and Iraq “a genocide that dares not speak its name.”

Masking itself in the cover of conflict, and no doubt fortified by the world’s silence, in Syria and Iraq a genocide of Christians is underway.

With its echoes of the genocide launched against Armenian Christians one hundred years ago, in 1915, other defenseless ethnic-religious minorities, such as the Yazidis, are also victims of this Islamist genocide. Continue reading Lord Alton: ‘Syria and Iraq – a genocide that dares not speak its name’

‘Out of Control’ Inequality: Global One Percent Owns Half of World’s Wealth

Common Dreams

The Credit Suisse report shows worldwide inequality growing even faster than experts had predicted

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

Credit Suisse estimates that the number of global millionaires will probably increase 46 percent to 49.3 million over the next five years. (Photo: epSos.de/flickr/cc)
Credit Suisse estimates that the number of global millionaires will probably increase 46 percent to 49.3 million over the next five years. (Photo: epSos.de/flickr/cc)

The top one percent of households “account for half of all assets in the world,” according to a new report from a leading multinational bank.

The 2015 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report puts worldwide wealth inequality at a level “possibly not seen for almost a century,” the researchers write. The data also reveals a declining middle class and that the poorest half of the world’s population owns just one percent of its assets. Meanwhile, the number of “ultra-wealthy” people continues to climb.

Credit Suisse’s analysis is in line with a warning from the international humanitarian group Oxfam, issued earlier this year, that the richest one percent of people on the planet would own at least half of the world’s wealth by 2016.
“The ‘trickle up’ economic model is working its magic for the super rich at the expense of the rest.”
—Claire Godfrey, Oxfam Continue reading ‘Out of Control’ Inequality: Global One Percent Owns Half of World’s Wealth

Teen sex workers rescued by FBI in pan-US operation

BBC

An officer with the Alexandria, Virginia, Police Department monitors an undercover sting operation in a hotel room during Operation Cross Country.Image copyrightFBI
An officer with the Alexandria, Virginia, Police Department monitors an undercover sting operation in a hotel room during Operation Cross Country.Image copyrightFBI

The FBI has broken up several sex trafficking rings across the US, uncovering more than 100 sexually exploited teenagers in a nationwide operation.

Agents arrested more than 150 people on sex-trafficking charges in dozens of cities including Atlanta, Denver and Seattle.

The youngest victim found was 12 years old, the FBI said.

The FBI targeted hotels, casinos and lorry stops to find underage victims.

The majority of the teens found were girls. Agents also found three boys and three transgender teens.

The FBI worked with local police departments and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to help the teenage victims to find shelter and get medical attention.

The agencies want to ensure the teenagers do not return to prostitution.
“When kids are treated as a commodity in seedy hotels and on dark roadsides, we must rescue them from their nightmare and severely punish those responsible for that horror,” FBI Director James Comey said in a statement.

The raids involved about 500 local police departments from across the country. A similar FBI-led campaign carried out last year uncovered about 160 teenagers working as prostitutes.