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Trump holds rally in Florida Panhandle, promises more hurricane relief – National

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Trump holds rally in Florida Panhandle promises more hurricane relief National

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U.S. President Donald Trump promised a swift infusion of federal aid to the Florida Panhandle seven months after devastating Hurricane Michael as he rallied supporters Wednesday for his re-election.

Trump addressed a crowd of thousands at an outdoor amphitheatre, looking to rally loyalists in the reliably Republican corner of the swing state as he kicks his 2020 efforts into high gear. Federal emergency funds to the area hit by the Category 5 hurricane and elsewhere have been caught up in a Washington standoff over Trump’s opposition to more hurricane aid for Puerto Rico.


READ MORE:
Michael becomes strongest hurricane to hit continental U.S. in 50 years, at least 7 killed

“You’re getting your money one way or another,” Trump promised supporters in Panama City Beach, holding up a chart showing federal emergency aid to Florida, Texas and the island territory, “And we’re not going to let anybody hold it up.”

Trump took a victory lap after last week’s jobs report showing the nation’s unemployment at a generational low, crediting his cuts to taxes and regulations.

WATCH: Donald Trump takes aim at ‘crazy Bernie’ and ‘sleepy Joe’





Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who accompanied the president to Florida on Air Force One, said the 2020 election was a referendum on whether to allow Democrats to undo Trump policies like tax reform.

“This election is about reversing all of that,” he said. “It’s about going backward on all of that.”

Trump also told his supporters not to worry about this week’s talks between U.S. and Chinese negotiators, including his threat to increase tariffs on nearly all Chinese imports at the end of the week. “They broke the deal” in talks meant to de-escalate a year-long trade war, he said.

“We won’t back down until China stops,” Trump said. “The era of economic surrender is over.”


READ MORE:
U.S. to raise tariffs on China to 25% on $200B worth of imports

Trump earlier surveyed recovery efforts and lingering damage from last year’s storm, and he announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development would be granting $448 million to the state for hurricane response.

“We’ve already given you billions and billions of dollars and there’s a lot more coming,” Trump said.

Trump was greeted by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and local elected officials as he arrived at Tyndall Air Force Base, which was severely affected by the storm. Almost every building appeared damaged in some way, including a collapsed hangar.

The White House said almost all 700 structures on the base were damaged, roughly one-third were destroyed, and 11,000 base personnel were evacuated. The White House blamed “Democrat obstruction” for a stoppage in recovery work, with about 120 projects being deferred.

After touring the base, Trump took credit for rebuffing some who wanted to close the base as a result of the damage, promising officials it will be rebuilt “better than ever.”


READ MORE:
Donald Trump invokes executive privilege over Mueller report

The area has received about $1.1 billion in federal disaster aid through mid-April, but disagreements in Washington have left many still struggling to recover from the storm.

Trump repeated his claim that $91 billion has been spent in Puerto Rico, and said falsely it was the largest-ever federal disaster program. According to the White House, Trump’s $91 billion figure includes about $50 billion in expected future disaster disbursements that could span decades, along with $41 billion already approved. Actual aid to Puerto Rico has flowed more slowly from federal coffers — about $11 billion so far.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said House Democrats were once again taking up a $17.2 billion disaster relief package this week, with added money for Midwestern and Southern states hit by recent storms. But she said Senate Republicans have been more committed to “hurting our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico than healing communities everywhere.”

WATCH: Trump complains Puerto Rico ‘doesn’t like him,’ defends treatment after hurricane





“Meanwhile, the president has doubled down on Republicans’ callousness” by delaying assistance payments to the island, she said.

The campaign rally comes as Trump and congressional Democrats are locked in a bitter fight over constitutional powers related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and probes into the president’s tax returns.

Trump called on Democrats to stop the investigations and work with his administration to boost infrastructure spending, predicting their efforts would boost his re-election chances.

“They want to do investigations instead of investments,” said Trump.”I think it drives us right on to victory in 2020.”



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FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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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
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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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

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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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