Taking too long? Close loading screen.
Connect with us

World

Sudan: Annual inflation tops 200% in Sept as food prices soar

Published

on

Annual inflation in Sudan soared to a record 212.29 percent last month on surging food and transport prices.

Sudan’s annual inflation has hit a new record peak as prices of bread and other staples keep surging, according to official figures.

The country’s Central Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday that the annual inflation in September rose to 212.29 percent from 166.83 percent in August. The record high was driven by hikes in bread and vegetable prices as well as increasing transport fares, it said.

Inflation has been rising in Sudan since before the military’s overthrow of longtime President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 amid a popular uprising. The economy has suffered from decades of United States sanctions and mismanagement under al-Bashir who had ruled the country since a 1989 military coup.

The transitional government is struggling to revive the economy amid a huge budget deficit and widespread shortages of essential goods, including fuel, bread and medicine.

Sudan has close to $60bn in foreign debt, and debt relief and access to foreign loans are widely seen as its gateway to economic recovery. But access to foreign loans is linked to the removal of sanctions related to the country’s blacklisting by the US as a state sponsor of “terrorism”.

Sudanese and Israeli officials have said that US President Donald Trump’s administration is pushing Khartoum to normalise relations with Israel in exchange for being struck off the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The issue has divided Sudan’s fragile interim government.

If Sudan were to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, it would be another diplomatic victory for Trump heading into the final weeks before the November 3 US elections.

The International Monetary Fund last month signed off on the Sudanese government’s economic reform programme, which could eventually allow the country to get debt relief and move ahead with rebuilding the battered economy. The reform blueprint includes a gradual lifting of energy subsidies, which eat up 36 percent of the government’s budget.

Sudan’s national currency, the pound, has plunged dramatically, selling for more than 250 to $1 on the black market. The official rate remains at 57 Sudanese pounds to $1.

The coronavirus pandemic and recent seasonal flash floods have added to the calamity. Authorities in September declared an economic emergency, said the country was a natural disaster area and imposed a three-month state of emergency.

Meanwhile, tensions escalated in the country’s east on Wednesday, following Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s decision to fire Saleh Ammar, the newly appointed governor of Kassala province. In the neighbouring Red Sea province, authorities imposed 16-hour curfews in the cities of Port Sudan and Suakin, after angry protesters blocked major roads, according to the official SUNA news agency.

Ammar warned security forces not to use violence against the protesters on Wednesday, a day after he was fired, less than three months after his July appointment. Earlier, he was barred from entering Kassala by protesters, who opposed his appointment on tribal grounds.

Source

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

World

US Supreme Court pick ‘often ruled for police’ in force cases

Published

on

As appellate judge, Amy Coney Barrett often sided with police in excessive force cases, a Reuters analysis found.

In her three years as a federal appeals court judge, US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has consistently sided with police or prison guards accused of using excessive force, a Reuters news agency review of cases she was involved in shows.

Barrett, Republican President Donald Trump’s third nominee to the high court, has written opinions or been a part of three-judge panels that have ruled in favour of defendants in 11 of 12 cases in which law enforcement was accused of using excessive force in violation of the US Constitution.

The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to vote to confirm Barrett, a judge on the Chicago-based 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, to the lifetime position on Monday, cementing a 6-3 conservative majority.

While her Senate confirmation hearings focused attention on how she might rule on cases related to abortion, Obamacare and elections, the Reuters review illustrates Barrett’s record on police use of force at a time of reckoning in the United States.

There has been a wave of protests nationwide – and abroad – since May 25 when a Black man named George Floyd died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, just one in a long string of killings that civil rights advocates say is evidence of racial bias in the criminal justice system.

“Her record also makes clear she is predisposed to side with law enforcement in the context of excessive force cases,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which opposes Barrett’s confirmation.

Other groups that advocate for reform of the criminal justice system say she has written some encouraging rulings, with an overall record that is mixed. Barrett could not be reached for comment.

Qualified immunity

In five cases, the panel on which Barrett took part considered a request by police or corrections officers to be shielded from the lawsuits alleging excessive force through a controversial legal defence known as qualified immunity. The court granted those requests in four of the five cases.

A Reuters investigation published two weeks before Floyd’s death found the immunity defence, created by the Supreme Court 50 years ago, has been making it easier for police to kill or injure civilians with impunity. The report showed that federal appellate courts have been granting police immunity at increasing rates in recent years.

Barrett, who was appointed to the appeals court by Trump in 2017, wrote a ruling in July that said Green Bay, Wisconsin officers who shot and killed a suicidal man who had threatened them with a knife did not use excessive force in violation of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which prohibits illegal searches and seizures.

She was also part of rulings that overturned lower court decisions against Indianapolis police officers. In one, a federal judge had denied qualified immunity to officers in the case of shoplifting suspect Terrell Day, who died while handcuffed after telling officers he was having trouble breathing.

Barrett dissented from a 7th Circuit panel decision in 2019 to revive a lawsuit against prison guards at an Illinois prison for firing warning shots over a dining hall to help break up a fight, injuring several inmates.

She has also handled requests for qualified immunity outside of the excessive force context.

Barrett last year threw out a lawsuit by three Black men who sued Chicago cops for pulling them over while investigating a drive-by shooting near a school. The men, who had nothing to do with the shooting, said they were targeted because of their race, citing the “racialised nature of the mockery and threats” made by one of the officers. The driver, Marcus Torry, told the cops that he was complying because he feared police brutality.

Barrett granted the officers qualified immunity because it was not “clearly established” that the officers’ actions were unreasonable, noting that the plaintiffs matched the description of the suspects “in number, race and car color”.

In other cases, she has shown a willingness to side with plaintiffs.

In 2019, she wrote a ruling rejecting immunity for a police officer who used false statements in making the case against a murder suspect. She also joined a ruling denying immunity for officers who were accused of falsifying evidence that caused a man to be jailed for two years.

“I don’t think we can draw definite conclusions about how Judge Barrett would approach qualified immunity once she’s on the Supreme Court,” said Jay Schweikert, a policy analyst with the libertarian Cato Institute, which is campaigning against qualified immunity. “Her decisions all look like reasonable applications of existing precedent.”

Source

Continue Reading

World

Belarus police fire stun grenades as 100,000 protest

Published

on

The opposition has given Belarusian President Lukashenko an ultimatum: Resign by midnight or face a national strike.

Belarusian police have used stun grenades against protesters as more than 100,000 people marched in the capital Minsk demanding President Alexander Lukashenko resign.

The police action came hours before the expiration of an ultimatum set by the opposition: Lukashenko must resign by midnight or face a national strike.

Protesters carrying the red-and-white flags of the Belarusian opposition movement scattered on Sunday as loud bangs and flashes lit up the city’s streets after nightfall, videos showed.

Explosions and white smoke filled residential areas as people hid behind vehicles and ran from police, the videos, shared online by reputable news organisations, showed.

Law enforcement confirmed riot control weapons had been used and detentions had taken place, the TASS and RIA news agencies reported.

It was the 11th straight weekend of mass protests since a disputed election in August plunged the country into turmoil.

Karel Lannoo, CEO at the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels, told Al Jazeera on Sunday the resilience of the opposition movement was putting huge pressure on Lukashenko.

“They have managed to come out like this each Sunday. This Sunday again more than 100,000 protesters came out even if the police has been very forceful in the streets trying to prevent them from demonstrating,” he said.

“I do not expect Lukashenko to step down today, but I think the resistance remains extremely strong. We also see that all the European countries as well as the United States and other Western countries have given very clear warnings to Lukashenko,” Lannoo said.

“Sooner or later he will have to step down.”

A national strike

Earlier on Sunday, crowds streamed through the capital shouting “strike”, waving flags and beating drums.

At least 12 metro stations were closed, helmeted riot police patrolled the streets and mobile internet services were disrupted in Minsk.

Two journalists were arrested before the protest, a local journalists’ association said.

Tens of people were arrested and security forces used tear gas in the western town of Lida, the Russian news agency RIA quoted the regional branch of the interior ministry as saying.

The Viasna Human Rights Centre reported about 60 arrests in various cities in the country where there were also protests.

A former Soviet collective farm manager, Lukashenko has ruled Belarus for more than a quarter of a century and has shown little inclination to quit, buoyed by loans and the offer of military support from traditional ally Russia.

The president’s main opponents have been jailed or fled into exile following the August 9 election, which Lukashenko’s opponents accuse him of rigging to win a sixth straight term. He denies electoral fraud.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, his main electoral challenger, has led calls from exile for a national strike to begin on Monday if Lukashenko refuses to release all political prisoners and resign to make way for a new election.

“Today at 23:59 the term of the People’s Ultimatum will expire, and if the demands are not met, the Belarusians will start a national strike,” she said in a statement.

Lukashenko has signalled that he would ignore the ultimatum.

Source

Continue Reading

World

Amy Coney Barrett is now one step away from becoming a Supreme Court justice

Published

on

The Senate voted to end its debate over the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Sunday afternoon, a move that sets the stage for a final Senate floor vote for her confirmation on Monday.

Despite efforts by Democratic lawmakers to use procedural maneuvers to slow her appointment, Barrett is on track to be confirmed to the court just about a week before Election Day with almost unanimous support from Senate Republicans.

Republicans have moved quickly to seat Barrett on the court, following her nomination by President Donald Trump in late September. Democrats have protested Republicans working to fill the seat left open by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg so close to the presidential election — particularly given the GOP blocked President Barack Obama’s final Supreme Court nominee for months in 2016, arguing that the winner of that year’s presidential election should get to fill any empty seats.

But Republicans have the votes needed to secure the judge’s place on the court, and the Senate Judiciary Committee began its confirmation hearings for Barrett on October 12.

And on Thursday, the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve Barrett’s nomination, despite the fact that every Democrat on the panel boycotted the meeting — which technically meant they didn’t have the required number of minority members needed to conduct business. Chair Lindsey Graham (R-SC) disregarded the requirement and proceeded anyway.

On Friday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) deployed a number of tactics to try to slow down the nomination process, with little effect.

For example, he forced a closed Senate session on Friday for the first time since 2010. “The damage to Americans’ faith in these institutions could be lasting. So before we go any further, we should shut off the cameras, close the Senate and talk face to face about what this might mean for the country,” Schumer argued. But the GOP ended that session — which required cameras to leave — in just 20 minutes.

Schumer also tried to file several motions to delay the nomination process, like calling for the Senate to be adjourned until after the election unless both parties settle on a coronavirus relief package, but these all failed as the GOP-controlled Senate acted against them along party lines. Ultimately, McConnell filed a cloture motion, a mechanism for limiting debate, which set up Sunday’s vote.

Saturday, Schumer tried again to halt confirmation proceedings by raising coronavirus relief legislation, but was blocked by the GOP. And the Republicans’ position grew even stronger Saturday afternoon, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — one of just two Republican senators who had objected to confirming a justice before the election — saying she would in fact vote to confirm Barrett during a floor vote.

On Sunday Murkowski, along with Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, were the only two Republicans to decline to vote to end debate. Murkowski, however, has signaled that her objection is over the timing of the vote, not with Barrett herself, and that she intends to vote to confirm Barrett on a floor vote.

“I’ve concluded she’s the sort of person we want on the Supreme Court,” Murkowski said of Barrett on Saturday, according to Politico. “While I oppose the process that led us to this point, I do not hold it against her.”

Barrett is likely to be confirmed Monday

A final confirmation vote is likely to take place on Monday evening, and barring unforeseen events, Barrett is all but certain to be confirmed.

Republicans need 51 votes to confirm Barrett, and have 53 in the Senate. They can afford to lose three votes, since Vice President Mike Pence can cast a tie-breaking vote in the case of a 50-50 draw.

But that is unlikely to be necessary, since only one Republican lawmaker is expected to defect: Collins, who is running a competitive race for reelection this year.

Political scientists say that the controversy surrounding the Barrett confirmation battle could increase turnout for the elections by illustrating how high stakes the next presidency is as the Supreme Court becomes an increasingly politicized institution.

According to polling for Data For Progress, likely voters split largely along party lines in their perception of whether it was appropriate for Republicans to press ahead with one of the most rapid confirmation processes in modern American history.

Schumer has indicated that the Democrats have considered boycotting the final confirmation vote in a display of dissent — and to send a message to the voters that they feel the process is illegitimate.

Source

Continue Reading

Trending