June 13, 2013
By Kirubel Tadesse
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) -- Ethiopia's leader has vowed that no one will stop a $4.2 billion energy project that is diverting the flow of the Nile River after Egypt's president warned that all options were being considered to halt the dam.
In an interview aired on state television and radio, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Tuesday that he did not think Egypt would start a war over the vital river.
"'All options' include a war. I don't think they will take that option unless they go mad," Hailemariam said during the interview. "I urge them to abandon such an unhelpful approach and return to dialogue and discussion."
Ethiopia started diverting the flow of the Nile River in late May to make way for its $4.2 billion hydroelectric plant, which will be Africa's largest. The project has been under construction for over two years on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia's Benishangul-Gumuz region near the Sudan border.
Egypt fears that the project will mean a diminished share of the Nile River.
Egyptian political leaders last week told President Mohammed Morsi to consider hostile acts against Ethiopia. Apparently unaware their discussion was being televised live, the leaders recommended spreading rumors, aiding rebels and even sabotaging the dam itself in a meeting with Morsi.
During the meeting, Morsi said that Egypt will not engage in any aggressive acts against Ethiopia. However, he hardened his stance on Monday, warning that "all options are open."
Hailemariam then accused Egyptian leaders of using the dam issue to divert attention away from local issues. He said it was wrong of Egyptian politicians to use the Nile dam as "a distraction to escape the strong domestic opposition they are facing."
A 10-person Egypt-Sudan-Ethiopia experts' panel has concluded that the dam will not significantly affect water flow to both Egypt and Sudan, Hailemariam explained.
The finding of the experts' panel, which includes four international experts, was fully accepted by Sudan, Hailemariam said.
"I like to thank the government and people of Sudan for their support and determination to work for mutual benefit. Others should learn from this," he added.
In a further escalation of the conflict, the Ethiopian foreign affairs ministry in a statement issued Tuesday condemned the "belligerent rhetoric" coming from Cairo. The ministry said Ethiopia "will not even for a second" stop the construction of the dam due to Cairo's rhetoric.
Ethiopia is currently leading a group of nine countries that signed the new Cooperative Framework Agreement for the Nile. The new agreement replaces colonial-era deals that awarded Cairo veto powers over projects on the Nile.
Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda signed the agreement in 2010, and Burundi did so a year later. Sudan and Egypt have been strongly opposed to the deal.
Ethiopian parliament since April is reviewing the deal. It is expected to approve it in few days' time.
June 13, 2013
By Jennifer Bihm
LAWT Staff Writer
Drowning was the cause of death for Terrilynn Monette who grew up and attend high school in Long Beach, but whose missing body was discovered in Bayou St. John on Saturday June 8 in New Orleans.
Monette, who was teaching in New Orleans and the subject of bi-coastal candle light vigils, was found in the passenger seat of her car which apparently had been submerged in a Louisiana bayou since March, said city officials.
According to the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office there were no signs of trauma to her body, said John Gagliano, the coroner's chief investigator.
LSU forensic dentists confirmed Monette's identity through dental records, Gagliano said. Toxicology results are pending and the results will be ready in about two weeks, he said. New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) fatality unit will try to reconstruct the accident to determine what caused Monette's car to end up in the bayou, said NOPD spokeswoman Remi Braden. Meanwhile, officers in NOPD's 3rd District are working to enhance all the video evidence in the case.
Monette was last seen at a bar in New Orleans where she had been celebrating a teacher of the year nomination.
"It was not the outcome we had looked for, but we did find her,” said State Rep. Austin Badon who had helped the family to organize the initial searches for Monette.
“It allowed the family to have some sense of relief and closure."
Monette’s mother Toni Enclade told reporters in New Orleans that she was “overwhelmed” at the discovery.
“I don't understand why it took them so long to find her car," she said.
"This is supposedly one of the first places they would have checked. It doesn't make sense."
Monette arrived in Louisiana in 2011 to participate in a program that connects teachers to students in low-income areas. On the night she went missing, according to a New Orleans police report, the 26-year-old had been drinking and announced to friends that she was going to sleep in her car before heading home. Some who knew her however, said that was out of character for the young woman.
“My sister and Terrilynn are VERY CLOSE. In fact they consider themselves to be best friends,” said Gaynell Diamond Robinson-Watkins via an Internet post in March.
“The two plus other educators including her former principal are always out together. That night, she chose to go out to hear her college friend who plays in a band. She did not go with her normal group of three to four but figured it was ok because he is a college friend that she looks at as a brother.
“Here's the issue, when Terri is out with her real friends she NEVER gets drunk. She's not a heavy drinker. One maybe two is always her max. She is always the one that reminds everyone that they are driving.
“Now true, we all make bad choices from time to time but none of us who know her personally believes that she would say she's going to sleep in her car. If she were to ever think that then she would not broadcast it. She lives 5 minutes away from the bar, 2 miles away.
“Believe me, she is a very nice, smart person, she's been here two years... She knows about the crime here in the city... She would never tell a stranger she was going to sleep in her car. Never. She would never get drunk knowing she was driving. NEVER… VERY RESPONSIBLE. Now if she did those things then that's because something may have been added to her drink... And I am not talking about a lemon, lime nor cherry. Bottom line is that friend said he played with his band then he left her… Friends don't leave friends especially if she appeared to be drunk…”
Law enforcement in New Orleans have not said whether or not they believe Monette was a victim of foul play.
June 06, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama’s top national security adviser is resigning and will be replaced by Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. who has been a lightning rod for Republican criticism over faulty explanations for the attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
Tom Donilon has been a key foreign policy adviser to President Barack Obama. But the 58-year-old had been expected to depart sometime this year, with Rice seen as the likely candidate to replace him.
Rice’s selection was greeted by a muted response from some Republicans who had earlier accused her of being part of an administration cover-up in the Benghazi attacks.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, one of Rice's harshest critics, wrote on Twitter Wednesday that he disagreed with her appointment but would “make every effort” to work with her on important matters. And Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the foreign relations committee, said he had spoken with Rice and looked forward “to working with her on shaping important foreign policy and national security issues.”
Rice, a close Obama confidante, came under withering criticism from Republicans as part of the investigations into the deadly attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi. Relying on talking points from the intelligence community, Rice said in television interviews that the attacks were likely spontaneous, which was later proven incorrect.
Obama considered nominating Rice as his second-term secretary of state, but she withdrew amid the GOP criticism, saying she didn’t want her confirmation fight to be a distraction for the White House. The president instead nominated John Kerry, who easily won confirmation from his former Senate colleagues.
Rice's new post as national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation. A White House official confirmed the foreign policy personnel changes Wednesday morning ahead of a planned announcement by the president in the afternoon. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the changes before they were publicly announced.
Obama will also name Samantha Power, a human rights expert and former White House adviser, to replace Rice at the United Nations. Power left the White House earlier this year.
Power won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction for her book “A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” which examined U.S. foreign policy toward genocide in the 20th century. She is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School.
According to a biography on the White House website, Power also served as a professor at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she taught courses on U.S. foreign policy, human rights, and extremism.
The White House official said Donilon is expected to stay on the job until early July, after Obama wraps up overseas trips to Europe and Africa, as well as an unusual summit in California later this week with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Donilon has overseen a foreign policy agenda at the White House that put increased emphasis on the U.S. relationship with Asia. He’s also played a key role in the administration's counterterrorism strategy, including the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, and in managing the complex U.S. ties with Russia.
Rice, who first started working for Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign, has a close relationship with the president and many of his advisers. She’s known for being outspoken on human rights issues and also pushed for a more interventionist strategy in Libya.
June 06, 2013
By George E. Curry
ATLANTA (NNPA) – Sacramento, Calif. Mayor Kevin Johnson, the newly-elected president of the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM), told his colleagues that if they don’t improve the lives of their constituents, they don’t deserve to remain in office.
“We got these good seats, we’ve been elected and we get honored and esteemed everywhere we go,” Johnson said at a luncheon here at the group’s 39th annual convention. “It’s not just for us. It’s for the communities that we represent. Our obligation is to bring more and more people along. Because if we don’t do that, then we’re not fit for the seats that we hold.”
Johnson, a former star NBA point guard for the Phoenix Suns, cited the enormous growth of the mayors’ group. He noted that the NCBM began as a small, Southern organization in 1974 and now is a national force with nearly 700 mayors in the U.S., representing 48 million people or 15 percent of the U.S. population.
In recent years, it has expanded its international reach and now has more than 26,000 mayors on its roll, including many from Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, Columbia and throughout the Caribbean.
“In terms of [population served], we’re bigger than Spain, Canada and Australia,” Johnson said. “Think about that. If we come together in numbers, we have that type of strength as an organization to do some remarkable things.”
He continued, “The question we all have to ask ourselves is this: As African-American mayors, are our cities better off because we’re elected? Are the people we represent better off because we hold the seats that we hold?”
In too many cases, Johnson said, the answer is no.
“Any category that’s bad, Black folks are at the top,” Johnson said. “Any category that’s good, Blacks folks, we’re at the bottom. That’s hard to do. We have somehow managed to do that.
“If you think about obesity, which is bad, we’re at the top. If you’re talking about unemployment, which is not good for us, we’re at the top. If you’re talking about dropping out, we’re at the top. If you’re talking about teenage pregnancy, we’re at the top. If you’re talking about being a renter instead of a homeowner, we’re at the top. Come on now.”
Because mayors work so closely to people, they are in position to bring about some fundamental change.
“We’re where the rubber meets the road,” Johnson explained. “Don’t expect Washington to solve our problems. That’s what this organization is all about.”
He said, “I’m just saying to us today, we have an opportunity to do something really special. And it’s not only about talk, it’s about us holding ourselves up and banding together as one unit and making sure our voices are heard, that we have a seat at the table
“We don’t just want a seat at the table, we want more than one seat at the table. And when you’re at the table, we need to be able to make decisions at the table and give some solutions and problem-solving ideas.”
Johnson was passionate as he discussed the future of the organization.
“The National Conference of Black Mayors – that name needs to mean something,” Johnson stated. “Every decision that we make going forward needs to be in the best interest of this organization. It’s not about one individual, it’s not about our cities, it’s not about any staff or mayor. It’s about what’s in the best interest of this organization. And that’s the commitment we’re all making here.”
He also said, “There are many people who counted us out. They said over and over, this organization can’t last. And we’re standing here after 39 years and the best days are ahead.”
June 06, 2013
By Chris Kardish
About 140 people have been arrested during the latest weekly demonstration led by the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP against the state's Republican-led General Assembly.
Police estimate that roughly 1,000 people attended a rally late Monday afternoon behind the Legislative Building. Hundreds later entered the building, with those intending to get arrested wearing green wrist bands.
Those arrested were taken away in plastic bindings. They bring the total arrested in the weekly demonstrations to about 300. The rallies have taken place nearly every Monday since April.
Hundreds more waited outside to cheer on those arrested as they were transported to a detention facility.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has spearheaded demonstrations to protest cuts to social programs, changes to voting laws and other issues championed by the GOP.