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For every 4 women in Mexico City, about 3 worry about sexual harassment or abuse on transit: poll – National




Mexico City has the most dangerous transport system for women out of five of the world’s biggest commuter cities, according to a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll, with women saying other passengers often turned a blind eye to abuse.

The poll published on Thursday found about three in every four women in Mexico City were not confident about using the transport system without the risk of sexual harassment and abuse or sexual violence.

WATCH: Migrants flood Mexico City metro station as caravan continues journey to U.S.

Cairo ranked a close second while less than one in four women in London, New York and Tokyo thought they were at risk of such abuse on public or private transport.

“Transport isn’t safe and assaults happen all the time,” Berenice Guerrero, a 22-year-old teacher from Mexico City, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“I sometimes feel intimidated by men, and I try not to travel at night,” said Guerrero, who spends 90 minutes a day commuting to work using the city’s public buses and subway.

The survey conducted between Aug 13-24 asked 1,000 women about safety, time spent traveling and cost of transport in the five of the world’s largest commuter cities with underground train networks in five different cultural regions.

The poll of 200 women in each city comes as city authorities globally look at ways to ensure women have safe, efficient transport to reach work, education and healthcare which can help tackle poverty and boost the economy by including women.

In Mexico City, 151 women said safety was their top transport concern while 141 women in Cairo saw it as the key issue.

In both cities about three in four women said they were not confident of traveling without sexual harassment or violence.

READ MORE: Is Mexico safe? Experts say yes, despite isolated attacks on tourists

In Tokyo women also said safety was the top concern, ranked as such by 105 women, but only 15 percent thought they risked abuse or violence while on the move and strongly backed single-sex train carriages introduced in the city from 2000.

In New York the time spent traveling trumped safety as the top concern for women while in London women were more concerned about the cost of commuting.

Crowding and chaos

Erika Aguilar, a cleaner who uses Mexico City’s bus and metro that carries about 5.6 million people on working days in the city of 21 million, said overcrowding led to assaults, including women groped, and fellow travelers looked away.

“If a woman is being harassed people don’t want to get involved. People are afraid to,” said Aguilar, 30. “There should be a strict limit on how many people are in each carriage.”

Hadeer Khaled, 28, a research coder in Cairo, said authorities needed to be more pro-active to protect women.

“Once people know they are monitored and will be punished, they will behave well. But it’s hard to impose control and monitor all kinds of transportation in Cairo,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Commuters ride a “Metrobus” rapid transit bus as night falls in Mexico City, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Teresa Inchaustegui, head of the Mexican government’s National Institute of Women (Inmujeres), said women feel safer in public than private transport which needed more regulation.

She said city authorities were ramping up efforts to improve safety for women on public transport with initiatives such as more cameras, more police, help booths and women-only carriages. Other measures include public awareness raising campaigns aimed at encouraging men not to turn a blind eye when they witness violence against women, Inchaustegui said.

The poll, supported by Uber, found only about a third of women in Mexico City were confident or very confident anyone would help if they were being harassed compared to half in London.

“This is a problem we have tried to combat,” Inchaustegui told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Part of it could be to do with being afraid but the other part is due to complicity … because they consider that men have the right to touch the woman they want.”


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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