Gambian Authorities Ban Internet, International Calls During Election

Gambian Authorities Ban Internet, International Calls During ElectionAuthorities of The Gambia, have banned internet and international phone calls, as President, Yahya Jammeh, contests for his fifth term in the West African state.

Officials have also banned demonstrations to prevent unrest after the elections.

Most of the main parties have united behind estate agent, Adama Barrow, to Challenge Mr Jammeh who has ruled the country since 1996 when he was first elected.

The Gambia has not experienced a Democratic transition of power since independence from the UK in 1965, as it has known only two presidents.

Meanwhile, President Jammeh has said he will rule for a billion years if Allah wills.

An unprecedented number of people turned up at opposition rallies ahead of the election, with its mostly young population now yearning for change.

Observers from the European Union (EU), and the West African Regional Bloc, ECOWAS, are not attending the vote, stating concerns about the fairness of the process.



EGYPT UPRISING: Public Opinion Can’t Be Unconstitutional In Democracy

A lecturer of International Law at the University of Lagos, Edefe Ojomo, while discussing African Union’s (AU) rationale for suspending Egypt following the removal of President Morsi, argued the that consent of many Egyptians to the military intervention should not be regarded as unconstitutional.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, she said that asides from military coups, a revolution as seen in Egypt could also be unconstitutional, by AU standards.

She however explained that if the “constitution gets its backing from the people, then obviously public opinion and public will can’t be unconstitutional.”

She attributed the success of 20 million signatories to the petition against the Morsi led administration to dissatisfaction by the people including those who had initially voted the ousted President into power.

She said the democracy, as interpreted by Egyptians, means the ‘people’s voice”

The uprising which led to the Egyptian Army ousting President Mohammed Morsi from power barely a year after being elected into power, was caused by people’s dissatisfaction.

Ojomo noted that the crisis, which involves international politics,  domestic politics and domestic economy would not spiral into a civil war.

“People don’t think it will spiral into a civil war because the Egyptian army is strong enough to maintain ‘some calm and some peace’.”

She disagreed with claims that external influences were involved in the uprising adding that “it is insulting to call a popular uprising a sort of manipulation” by outsiders.

She regarded it as a political manner of interpreting such problems.

Cuba Says Inclusion On U.S. Terrorist List ‘Shameful’

In what has become an annual ritual, the United States on Thursday kept Cuba on its list of “state sponsors of terrorism” and Havana reacted angrily, calling it a “shameful decision” based in politics, not reality.

Cuba said in a statement that the U.S. government was pandering to the Cuban exile community in Miami against its own interests and the wishes of the American people.

“It hopes to please an anti-Cuban group, growing smaller all the time, which tries to maintain a policy that now has no support and doesn’t even represent the national interests of the United States,” said the statement issued by Cuba’s foreign ministry.

Iran, Sudan and Syria also are on the list, which is published annually by the U.S. State Department. Cuba has been on it since 1982.

The terrorism designation comes with a number of sanctions, including a prohibition on U.S. economic assistance and financial restrictions that create problems for Cuba in international commerce, already made difficult by a U.S. trade embargo imposed against the island since 1962.

The State Department’s explanation for Cuba’s inclusion on the list discounted most of the reasons from previous years and said “there was no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups.”

In the past, the report fingered Cuba for harboring rebels from the Marxist-led FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and members of Basque separatist groups.

This year, it noted that Cuba is sponsoring peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government and has moved to distance itself from the Basques.

Washington’s primary accusation was that Cuba harbors and provides aid to fugitives from U.S. justice. Cuba does not deny that it has fugitives from the United States, but said none had been accused of terrorism.

Robert Muse, a Washington attorney who specializes in Cuba issues, said there is no legal basis for designating Cuba as a terrorist sponsor because of the presence of the fugitives.

He said they remain on the island because the Washington has refused to honor a longstanding extradition treaty with Cuba.

Earlier this month, the FBI placed one of the fugitives, Joanne Chesimard, on its most wanted terrorist list 40 years after she was convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper. Chesimard, a former member of a black militant group, has been in Cuba since 1984.

Cuba rejected the notion that she or anyone else on the island was involved in terrorist activities.

“The territory of Cuba has never been used and never will be to harbor terrorists of any origin, nor to organize, finance or perpetrate acts of terrorism against any country in the world, including the United States,” it said.

Geoff Thale, program director at the Washington Office on Latin America think tank, said President Barack Obama can take Cuba off the terrorist list at any time and should do so because it is “clear that the State Department doesn’t really believe that Cuba is a state sponsor of terrorism.”

Removing Cuba from the list would improve relations with Cuba and all of Latin America, which sees U.S. policy toward Cuba “as a reflection of U.S. attitudes toward the region as a whole,” Thale said.

Okonjo-Iweala congratulates newly selected World Bank President

The Coordinating Minister for the economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has called for a more transparent process in the selection of the President of the World Bank.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja on Monday after the selection of Jim Yong Kim as the President of the bank, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala says that Africa’s support for her candidature has gone a long way in breaking the jinx of having a European head the leadership of the bank.

She however congratulated Mr Kim over his emergence as the twelfth World Bank president. The Minister thanked Nigerians as well as all Africans for their teaming support for her candidacy.

Kim promised to work with Okonjo-Iweala

The newly selected President of the World Bank has promised to work with the other candidates who contested the position with him.

Mr Kim disclosed this in his acceptance statement published on the World Bank website.

“I have spoken with Minister Okonjo-Iweala and Professor Ocampo. They have both made important contributions to economic development, and I look forward to drawing on their expertise in the years to come,” he said.

Mr Kim said that as the World Bank’s President, he will seek a new alignment of the global institution with a rapidly changing world.

“Together, with partners old and new, we will foster an institution that responds effectively to the needs of its diverse clients and donors; delivers more powerful results to support sustained growth; prioritizes evidence-based solutions over ideology; amplifies the voices of developing countries; and draws on the expertise and experience of the people we serve.

My discussions with the Board and member countries point to a global consensus around the importance of inclusive growth. We are closer than ever to achieving the mission inscribed at the entrance of the World Bank – “Our Dream is a World Free of Poverty.” The power of this mission is matched by the talent of the World Bank Group staff. May this shared mission embolden our efforts to end the disparities which too often diminish our shared humanity. Let us work together to provide every woman and man with the opportunity to determine their own future.”

Mr Kim is expected to resume his new position in July.