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22 Sep

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses

English Online International Newspapers

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Eye on Africa

From Dakar to Johannesburg…Africans march for action on Climate change

In tonight’s edition Africa takes part in the global climate strike. Some countries on the continent are the most vulnerable to climate change at least equipped to deal with it.Tens of thousands of protesters brave heavy security in Algeria, taking to the streets once again to demand the departure of the country’s army chief.And France 24 catches up with South Africa’s first black rugby captain in the leadup to the Springboks first World Cup clash with New Zealand.

Greta Thunberg’s speech to New York climate strike

Source: Reuters

‘We will make them hear us’: Greta Thunberg’s speech to New York climate strike

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has warned world leaders the ‘eyes of the world will be on them’ at a key UN summit next week.
‘We are not just some young people skipping school,’ she told thousands of school strikers in Manhattan, on a day when millions around the world demonstrated for action. ‘We are a wave of change. Together, we are unstoppable.’
Across the globe, millions join biggest climate protest ever

From babies to bagpipers, hundreds of thousands filled the streets in more than 200 rallies

Activists in Edinburgh join the global climate strike.

Activists in Edinburgh join the global climate strike. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

From the small sun-drenched Inner Hebridean island of Iona to the packed streets of central London, parents and grandparents, children and trade unionists have stepped out of their Friday routines to tell their political leaders time is running out to tackle the climate crisis.

Organisers said it was the biggest-ever environmental protest the UK had seen, with 300,000-350,000 taking part, including more than 100,000 people in London and tens of thousands more in towns and cities from Edinburgh to Bristol, Leeds to Brighton, Bedford to Cambridge. There were more than 200 demonstrations across the UK.

Jake Woodier, who campaigns for the Student Climate Network, which co-organised the event, said it marked a turning point in the fight to tackle the climate crisis.

“Millions of people across the globe, and hundreds of thousands across the UK, have sent a clear message about the need for urgent climate action,” he said from the protest in central London.

A protester in Cardiff, Wales.

A protester in Cardiff, Wales. Photograph: Mark Hawkins/Composed Images/Barcroft Media

“The people have spoken and said enough is enough … We need an ambitious Green New Deal to tackle the climate crisis head on and deliver a world that works for everyone.”

In London, young people – who have been protesting in growing numbers on Fridays this year – were joined by trade unionists, politicians, and two generations of antecedents.

Mariana Clayton, 41, was with her two-year-old daughter, Albe, in Parliament Square. She said: “I am so fearful for the future. I feel totally powerless – but here, together we have a chance to get our voice heard and force action.”

Emma Beresford, 14, was with her younger brother, Archie, and their mother, Anna. She said: “I went on the march for a people’s vote for Brexit but climate change is an even more urgent and pressing issue than anything else.”

Jeremy Corbyn and Green MP Caroline Lucas addressed the crowd in London, with the Labour leader promising a “green industrial revolution” – a version of the Green New Deal – to tackle the climate crisis and create hundreds of thousands of well paid unionised jobs.

However, the schools minister, Nick Gibb, struck a different note earlier in the day when he said the cause – which he said he supported – did not warrant missing school. That advice was ignored by hundreds of thousands of people across the UK.

In Edinburgh, a huge crowd marched from the Meadows, down the Royal Mile to the Scottish parliament. They were clapped and cheered by onlookers, saluted by a bagpiper and entertained by a percussion drummer and jazz bands.

A student dressed as a bear takes to the streets, in Manchester.

A student dressed as a bear takes to the streets, in Manchester. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Chants of “Hey hey, ho ho, climate change has got to go!” filled the streets of the Scottish capital along with tens of thousands of people, bearing banners that were both funny and dark: “33.2C in Scotland. Time to panic!”, “Sea levels are rising. So are we!”, “You’ll die of old age. I’ll die of climate change.”

Ruby, 10, and Dougie, seven, have been ahead of the shift in public opinion. They were inspired by Greta Thunberg to start striking outside the Scottish parliament on a cold day in January.

“There was only me and my brother there and the police. The next week there was one more, and eventually loads of people, and now there is this,” Ruby said, gesturing to the vast procession that stretched back as far as the eye could see. “I’m happy and proud.”

Her younger brother said the demonstration was “absolutely amazing”. The seven-year-old was among those due to give a speech outside the Scottish legislature. His message to politicians was straightforward: “They are trying their hardest but they need to try lots harder.”

In Manchester the square outside the city’s grand central library was taken over by a sea of people carrying homemade placards and demanding change.

The city’s mayor, Andy Burnham, received a warm applause at the protest when he gave a speech pledging that “fracking is the past, it is not the future” – but by far the biggest cheers went to a 10-year-old girl called Lillia who took to the stage next.

Young climate strikers in Birmingham.

 

Young climate strikers in Birmingham. Photograph: Jacob King/PA

The local schoolgirl gave a rousing speech that took aim at politicians for their “lies”, before turning directly to Burnham.

She said: “Lies, when you don’t count the airport in the emission figures! Lies, when we have 1,200 air pollution-related deaths in Manchester just last year – but they plan to build a huge car park right next door to a school in Ancoats.”

Elsewhere, in Birmingham demonstrators staged a die-in outside the BBC offices in the city to protest at what they said was inadequate coverage of the climate crisis.

Similar actions were staged at an Oxford University open day for prospective students and by 3,000 Cambridge residents in King’s Parade in the city.

One of those taking part in the Oxford protest, Ell Ludlow, said: “We are doing this because we feel like a world leading university should lead on climate. Oxford is not doing that at the moment and so we want them to act now.”

Andrew Bevan, 29, of Cardiff, brought Rico, a six-year-old rescue dog, to the protest in Whitehall, London.

Andrew Bevan, 29, of Cardiff, brought Rico, a six-year-old rescue dog, to the protest in Whitehall, London. Photograph: Helen William/PA

In Iona, a few dozen members of the island community supported local children from the primary school in a climate strike “in the centre of the island, near the jetty”.

Sarah Macdonald, an island resident and member of the Oran Creative Crafts cooperative, said: “In our small island community, we see shorelines eroding and changing; the gales that hit our exposed wee island are growing more frequent.

“Most importantly, we see that the island’s children care deeply about this issue. We have to support them, speak out with them for their future. And we have to do it now.”

World Politics

United States

Donald Trump answers reporter’s questions as he leaves the White House.

Donald Trump answers reporter’s questions as he leaves the White House. Photograph: Ron Sachs/REX/Shutterstock

Trumpworld went on the offensive on Sunday, over what the president and his allies claim is corruption involving Joe Biden and his son in Ukraine.

In return, the Democratic chair of the House intelligence committee said the president’s reported conduct in the matter may make impeachment “the only remedy that is coequal to the evil”.

Trump’s reported pressuring of the Ukrainian president to investigate claims about Biden, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, has clouded the White House in scandal. On Saturday, Biden accused Trump of an “overwhelming abuse of power”.

Leaving the White House for Texas and Ohio before continuing to New York and the United Nations General Assembly, Trump denied wrongdoing and told reporters he was “not looking to hurt Biden, but he did a very dishonest thing”.

Aides and allies attacked more fiercely.

“Swamp media says Biden corruption disproven,” Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor now Trump’s personal attorney, wrote on Twitter. “Typical lie.”

The claims about Ukraine concern Hunter Biden’s work for a gas company in the country and a visit by the then vice-president in March 2016, in which he pressed for the firing of the country’s top prosecutor, an aim of the US, its allies, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

An investigation into the company for which Hunter Biden worked was dormant at the time. In May 2019, the Ukraine prosecutor general told Bloomberg, “We do not see any wrongdoing” by the Bidens.

Giuliani, who has admitted seeking to pressure Ukrainian authorities to investigate the Bidens, claimed on Sunday: “Three Ukrainian prosecutors on tape saying case fixed and dismissed because of Biden pressure. Tapes available to the Swamp media. But there is much more proof. Witnesses, documents, millions in circuitous wire transfers … more to come.”

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that in a 25 July call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Trump asked eight times for the Bidens to be investigated.

The call is reportedly the subject of an intelligence services whistleblower complaint which the White House is refusing to release to Congress.

It has been suggested that Trump may have threatened to withhold US military aid to Ukraine if it did not accede to his demands. About a month after the call, $250m in military assistance to a country fighting Russian-backed separatists was delayed. The aid was released this month, after the existence of the whistleblower complaint became public.

Chris Murphy, a Democrat on the Senate foreign relations committee, told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday: “The timing is obviously incredibly suspicious.”

Trump has denied such a move and on Friday the Ukrainian foreign minister said the aid was not discussed in the July call, which he characterised as “long and friendly”.

But Trump has not denied asking Zelinskiy about Biden and Ukraine. On Sunday he said his conversation with the Ukrainian leader was “perfect” and there was “no quid pro quo”.

The former vice-president, who in Iowa on Saturday said “Trump is using this because he knows I’ll beat him like a drum”, has called for the transcript of the call to be released. So have allies of Trump.

It is not certain that the call is the subject of the whistleblower complaint, which Trump’s acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, has refused, against legal precedent, to release to Congress.

But Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House intelligence committee, told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday: “Clearly [Trump] is afraid of the public seeing such things.”

On the same show, treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said even showing the complaint to leaders in Congress “would be a terrible precedent”, as conversations between world leaders should be confidential and not released after “political complaints”.

Mnuchin repeatedly said he did not know what was said on the call between Trump and Zelinskiy, a line followed by secretary of state Mike Pompeo in appearances on ABC’s This Week and CBS’s Face the Nation.

Schiff made unusually strong remarks about the prospects of Trump being impeached over the Ukraine issue, as it meant “We may have crossed the Rubicon”.

Of Giuliani’s admitted behaviour, he said “betraying your country … is one thing when it’s done by the court jester, another thing when by the man who would be king.”

House Democrats are already exploring impeachment proceedings over Trump’s links to Russian interference in the 2016 election. Schiff cited Senate Republican opposition to impeachment as one reason still to go slow, but said Democrats needed to establish public support.

Trump and Zelinskiy are due to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week.

In his tweets, Giuliani linked to a 2015 New York Times report about Hunter Biden and Ukraine and promised to “lay out some of the evidence of Ukraine corruption” on Fox News Sunday.

Trump seemed likely to be watching. On Saturday night, he repeated a Fox analyst’s suggestion that the whistleblower may have been “an American spy … spying on our own president”.

 

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