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Trump’s government shuts down

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The United States government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

According to Associated Press, last-minute negotiations crumbled as Senate Democrats blocked a four-week stopgap extension in a late-night vote, causing the fourth government shutdown in a quarter century.

Trump’s office issued a statement blaming opposition Democrats for the crisis.

AFP reported that spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the Democrats’ insistence that the interim measure include protection for undocumented immigrants who arrived as children killed the deal.

“Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown,” she declared, referring to the minority leader, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who met with Trump earlier Friday.

“Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans.

“We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands,” she warned.

US federal services and military operations deemed essential will continue, but thousands of government workers will be sent home without pay until the crisis is resolved.

The slide toward closure lacked for high drama: The Senate vote was all but predetermined, and since the shutdown began at the start of a weekend, many of the immediate effects will be muted for most Americans.

Still, it comes with no shortage of embarrassment for Trump and political risk for both parties, as they wager that voters will punish the other at the ballot box in November.

Social Security and most other safety net programs are unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority.

Critical government functions will continue, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay. But if no deal is brokered before Monday, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be furloughed.

After hours of closed-door meetings and phone calls, the Senate scheduled its late-night vote on a House-passed plan. It gained 50 votes to proceed to 48 against, but 60 were needed to break a Democratic filibuster. A handful of red-state Democrats crossed the aisle to support the measure, rather than take the politically-risky vote. Four Republicans voted in opposition.

Even before the vote, Trump was pessimistic, tweeting, “Not looking good” and blaming the Democrats who he said actually wanted the shutdown “to help diminish the success” of the tax bill he and fellow Republicans pushed through last month.

Democrats balked on the measure in an effort to pressure on the White House to cut a deal to protect “dreamer” immigrants — who were brought to the country as children and are now here illegally — before their legal protection runs out in March.

Trump watched the results from his White House residence, dialling up allies and affirming his belief that Democrats would take the blame for the shutdown, said a person familiar with his conversations but not authorised to discuss them publicly.

Predictably, both parties moved swiftly to blame one another. Democrats laid fault with Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress and the White House and have struggled with building internal consensus. Republicans declared Democrats responsible, after they declined to provide the votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate over their desire to force the passage of legislation to protect some 700,000 younger immigrants from deportation.

Republicans branded the confrontation a “Schumer shutdown” and argued that Democrats were harming fellow Americans to protect “illegal immigrants.”

Trump had brought Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to the White House Friday afternoon in hopes of cutting a deal.

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UN wants Africa to prepare for effect of climate change

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UN wants Africa to prepare for effect of climate Change

UN wants Africa to prepare for effect of climate Change


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called on international community to evolve measures to prepare the African continent for the ravages of climate change.

Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa, Director of UNDP’s Africa Bureau, who made the call at the 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) climate conference, in Katowice, Poland, said preparing Africa for the reality of climate change “cannot be an afterthought.”

Eziakonwa said: “Taking reactive approaches to food security and disaster recovery costs the people of Africa billions of dollars in lost GDP, and syphons off government resources that should be dedicated to education, social programmes, healthcare, business development and employment”.

According to a new report launched by the UNDP, Africa is at a “tipping point” as global warming increases, and urgent action needs to be taken across the continent now to mitigate risks and safeguard a decade of social and economic gains.

For two weeks, the COP24 has brought together thousands of climate action decision-makers, advocates and activists, with one key objective: adopting global guidelines for the 197 parties of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

At the Paris Agreement, countries committed to limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees centigrade – and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees centigrade – above pre-industrial levels.

Ahunna noted that in spite of major structural inequalities, nations across the continent have achieved “impressive economic, political and social growth in recent decades.”

She, however, argued that “climate change, droughts, floods, changing rainfall patterns and conflict have the potential to unravel efforts to reduce hunger and achieve the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The UNDP study shows that, should the world fail to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees centigrade, families will find it hard to feed themselves, and the risk of famine and increased poverty will rise along with temperatures.

Higher levels of poverty would further limit the capacity of communities to manage climate-related risks, according to the report.

The report warned that failure to mitigate climate-related risks could translate into more risky migration patterns, serious epidemics such as the 2014 Ebola outbreak across West Africa, and greater political instability.

Drawing on years of data from projects geared to enabling communities to adapt to a changing climate and build resilience, the report shows that as emissions continue going up, support for climate adaptation initiatives must be increased urgently and accelerated across the continent, especially across the 34 African least developed countries.

However, measures to enable communities to adapt to the changing climate is a costly matter that would require creative financial mechanisms and substantial engagement with the private sector to meet.

It would also require developed nations to make good on their 2015 Paris Agreement commitments to dedicate $100 billion annually to supporting climate action in developing nations.

The report analyses a number of noteworthy successes in climate change adaptation in Africa over the past decade, including projects aimed at improving food security in Benin, Mali, Niger and Sudan.

It also analysed supporting governments in having improved climate information and early warning systems to save lives from fast-acting storms; and empowering women to be effective climate action champions.

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Ukraine demands release of seized ships, crew from Russia

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Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria Dr Valerii Aleksandruk

Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria Dr Valerii Aleksandruk

The Ukrainian authority has protested Russian’s armed attack and capturing of its navy ships “Berdyansk” Nikopol and the tug boat `Yana Kapu’ as well as injuring of the crew members.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria Dr Valerii Aleksandruk who said this in a statement in Abuja said the country demanded for immediate release of the seized vessels and crew members.

Aleksandruk said Russian forces opened fire on a group of Ukraine ships in the Black Sea off the coast of the Crimean Peninsula late on Nov. 25th.

The envoy said the country also protested striking of two warships and wounding of two crew members before seizing the vessels along with a Ukrainian Navy tugboat.

He said that the attack on Ukrainian ships was carried out during a sea crossing from the port of Odessa to the port of Mariupol.

“The attack, in accordance with the provisions of all effective multilateral and bilateral international treaties and navigation rules, is nothing but another act of armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine

“It is against Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations and the provisions of UN General Assembly Resolution 29/3314 of 14 December 1974 on the definition of aggression.

“Russia has de facto expanded its military aggression against Ukraine to the sea.

“Kremlin’s criminal regime has today once again demonstrated that it won’t stop its aggressive policy and is ready for any acts of aggression against the Ukrainian state,” he said.

According to him, Ukraine also requested for urgent medical assistance to the wounded and to ensure their immediate safe return home.

“Ukraine also demands to return the captured navy ships and to compensate for the damage caused.

“It is Kremlin’s regime who bears full responsibility for further aggravation of the situation in the Azov and Black Seas and for undermining the peaceful settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict.

“Ukraine urges its allies and partners to take all necessary measures to deter the aggressor, by applying new and strengthening existing sanctions

“Ukraine also urges its allies to provide military assistance to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty within the internationally recognised borders,” he said

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CNN sues White House for barring reporter

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CNN sued Donald Trump’s administration on Tuesday, alleging the White House violated journalist Jim Acosta’s rights under the constitution by revoking his press credentials following a heated exchange with the US president.

“The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process,” the news network said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process.”

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