BEIJING: Since Chinese rubber-stamp Parliament has abolished presidential term limit with 2,958 votes – negating the theory of collective leadership and orderly succession advocated by Deng Xiaoping – the 64-year-old Xi Jiping is all set to remain at the helm of affairs till his death.
Hence with the amendment that had only seen two opposing votes, China has decided to go back to Mao Zedong era letting one man enjoy all powers to turn the country into an economic powerhouse with a world-class military by 2050.
Readers may recall that Xi Jiping was elevated to the post of Communist Party’s General Secretary in 2012. After that he consolidated his power from the top office of the country and now is all set to rule indefinitely.
It is pertinent to mention here that two predecessors of Xi gave the post of president up after two terms and before the new amendment he too was supposed to call it a day by 2023.
64-year-old Xi Jiping, all set to remain at the helm of Chinese affairs till his death.
Diplomatic Speed Dating expected at UN this week!
MANHATTAN: Some 130 world leaders are gathering at the United Nations here for the annual high-level debate to address pressing global issues, from scrapping North Korea’s nuclear weapons to financing development.
With so many world leaders in one place, security is ultra-tight. New York police are shutting down streets to traffic near UN headquarters in midtown Manhattan and warning New Yorkers to brace for gridlock. The annual gathering elicits complaints from New Yorkers having to deal with a steady stream of motorcades and detours to get to work.
From Tuesday, 81 heads of state and 47 heads of government along with dozens of foreign ministers will take turns at the General Assembly podium. President Donald Trump will be the second speaker, right after Brazil’s President Michel Temer. France’s Emmanuel Macron and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are also speaking on the first day. On the sidelines of the speeches, some 342 meetings are scheduled and hundreds of bilateral talks in a marathon that UN ambassadors have dubbed “diplomatic speed-dating.”
Several leaders are making their debut on the world stage including from Africa: Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Angolan President Joao Lourenco. Other newcomers include Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, and Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez.
The United Nations is getting a serious dose of star power on Monday when K-pop sensation BTS – the world’s most popular boy band – speaks at the launch of the “Generation Unlimited” UNICEF campaign. British-Lebanese international lawyer Amal Clooney will for the first time speak on the case of two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar and actress Anne Hathaway will address a UN event on gender equality.
UN chief Antonio Guterres is hosting a luncheon for world leaders tomorrow that caters to a wide range of culinary tastes.
Tanzania buries ferry disaster dead as toll hits 224
UKARA: Tanzania declared the whole nation was in mourning Sunday as the first dozen bodies were buried from a devastating ferry capsize on Lake Victoria that left people 224 dead.
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa led “national funerals” on the island of Ukara, where the MV Nyerere had been coming in to dock on Thursday.
He spoke of “great mourning by the whole nation” as the first coffins were placed in individual graves, many of the victims unidentified.
The remainder of the dead were to be laid to rest later or taken away by families wishing for privates funerals.
The prime minister said a memorial would be built on Ukara.
Hopes had faded of finding any more survivors three days after the disaster, even after rescuers pulled out an engineer on Saturday who had holed up in an air pocket in the upturned vessel.
But Majaliwa said divers would continue the grim search in the waters around the boat. The ferry would also be refloated.
He updated the death toll to 126 women, 71 men, 17 girls, and 10 boys. Just 41 people survived.
Transport Minister Isack Kamwelwe said 265 people had been on board the ferry, which had an official capacity of 100 or 101 passengers.
The prime minister said initial investigations suggested overloading was one of the causes of the accident.
“We have already arrested all those people in charge of operating and supervising the MV Nyerere. Questioning has begun,” he said.
A broader commission of inquiry into the disaster would also be set up, Majaliwa added.
One survivor was an engineer who shut himself into a “special room” with enough air for him to stay alive until he was found, said local lawmaker Joseph Mkundi.
Transport minister Kamwelwe said on Saturday that 172 of the bodies had been identified by relatives.
State television cited witnesses reporting that more than 200 people had boarded the ferry at Bugolora, a town on the larger Ukerewe Island. It was market day, which usually sees the vessel packed with people and goods.
Witnesses told AFP that the ferry sank when passengers rushed to one side to disembark as it approached the dock. Others blamed the captain, saying he had made a brusque maneuver.
Dozens of wooden coffins had lined the shore on Saturday, waiting to be seen by families as police and volunteers sought to keep hundreds of curious locals at bay.
Aisha William came to collect the body of her husband. “He left on Tuesday around noon, but he never came home. I do not know how I am going to raise my two children,” she said.
Ahmed Caleb, a 27-year-old trader, railed at a tragedy “which could have been prevented. I’ve lost my boss, friends, people I went to school with,” he sighed.
The aging vessel, whose hull and propellers were all that remained visible above water, was also carrying cargo, including sacks of maize, bananas, and cement, when it capsized.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday ordered the arrest of the ferry’s management and declared four days of national mourning.
“It appears clear that the ferry was overloaded”, he said, adding that the government would cover the funeral expenses.
With a surface area of 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles), oval-shaped Lake Victoria is roughly the size of Ireland and is shared by Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya.
It is not uncommon for ferries to capsize on the lake, and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many local people cannot swim.
In 1966, more than 800 people lost their lives on Lake Victoria when the MV Bukoba sank off the mainland town of Mwanza, according to the Red Cross.
US tighten rules for immigrants seeking Green Card
WASHINGTON: The administration of President Trump is seeking to make it difficult for immigrants to get Green Card is considered a burden on public exchequer, a news report said on Sunday, the latest in a series of measures to tighten rules for not just illegal but legal aliens.
The proposed rule called “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” will now be open for comment for 60 days. In the meantime, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services would continue to apply the current public charge policy.
Since becoming president in January last year, President Trump has sought to put a plug on the flow of people seeking legal as well as illegal means to stay in the country. The legal and administrative measures have accounted for a drastic fall in a number of intending immigrants and visitors traveling to the United States.
The latest measure would affect about 382,000 people per year who legally use food stamps or housing vouchers and could result in denial of the green cards, according to an announcement by the Trump administration. The officials could even deny extensions to those who might become “public charges”.
It may be mentioned here that the rule is not new and introduced in 1999 under which people who apply for green cards have always had to prove they would not be a burden. This is aimed at preventing people from getting green cards if they were considered likely to need financial assistance from the government.
But, this would be the first time that the use of food stamps and Section 8 housing assistance would be considered negative factors in deciding whether someone should be given a green card, a news report said.
The latest move drew a quick reaction from immigrant activists and Democrats who termed it as a baseless attack on immigrants.
“From the first day of the Trump campaign, the message has been that immigrants are a danger and a drain. Trump wants you to think Latinos and immigrants are rapists and murderers, they vote illegally against him, they are lazy and at the same time are stealing American jobs,” Democrat lawmaker Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) said in a statement.
According to The New York Times, among those most affected will be elderly immigrants who depend on Medicare Part D for low-cost prescription drugs. The move will not affect those who have already received green cards.