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At UN, African leaders say enough is enough: They must be partnered with, not sidelined

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ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — If you listen to the African leaders addressing the U.N. General Assembly this year, the message is emphatic and unanimous: The continent is done being a victim of a post-World War II order. It is a global power in itself and must be partnered with — not sidelined.

Most of Africa has logged a lifetime of independence — roughly 60 years — and the continent of more than 1.3 billion people is more conscious of the challenges stifling its development. There’s also a new boldness that comes with the African Union’s G20 seat.

“We as Africa have come to the world, not to ask for alms, charity or handouts, but to work with the rest of the global community and give every human being in this world a decent chance of security and prosperity,” Kenyan President William Ruto said.

In recent years, Africa has been clear about its capacity to become a global power, from efforts to tackle climate change at home — such as the existential threat of climate change upending lives and livelihoods in the region, despite Africa contributing by far the least to global warming — to helping to foster peace elsewhere, like in Russia and Ukraine.

In his address, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo blamed Africa’s present-day challenges on “historical injustices” and called for reparations for the slave trade. President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said the continent is poised to “regain its position as a site of human progress” despite dealing with a “legacy of exploitation and subjugation.” Nigeria’s leader, Bola Tinubu, urged his peers to see the region not as “a problem to be avoided” but as “true friends and partners.”

“Africa is nothing less than the key to the world’s future,” said Tinubu, who leads a country that, by 2050, is forecast to become the third most populous in the world.

With the largest bloc of countries at the United Nations, it is understandable that African leaders increasingly demand a bigger voice in multilateral institutions, said Murithi Mutiga, program director for Africa at the Crisis Group. “Those calls will grow especially at a time when the continent is being courted by big powers amid growing geopolitical competition.”

A PARADOX, YET UNSTOPPABLE

On the U.N.’s sidelines, the African Development Bank mobilized some political and business leaders at an event tagged “Unstoppable Africa,” a phrase seen as reflective of the continent’s aspirations just days after the first-ever Africa Climate Summit called richer countries to keep their climate promises — and invest.

But with a young population set to double by 2050, Africa is the only rapidly growing region where its people are getting poorer and where some are celebrating the rampant takeover of their democratically elected governments by militaries.

“Africa is a paradox,” said Rashid Abdi, Horn of Africa/Gulf chief analyst at the Nairobi-based Sahan Research think tank. “It is not just a continent of dwindling hope, there are parts of Africa where we are seeing innovation, progressive thinking and very smart solutions.”

Abdi said the world is becoming more interested in Africa and how it contributes to current global challenges.

“There is definitely potential for Africa to be more assertive and to drive progressive and fairer change in the global system,” he said.

For Ghana’s Akufo-Addo, correcting an “unfair” world order must begin with the payment of reparations from the era during which an approximated 12.5 million people were enslaved, according to the often-referenced Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database.

“It is time to acknowledge openly that much of Europe and the United States have been built from the vast wealth harvested from the sweat, tears, blood and horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the centuries of colonial exploitation,” Akufo-Addo said.

A SEAT AT THE TABLE

The continent relies heavily on foreign aid for its development needs, receiving the largest share of total global aid, according to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Still, it continues to suffer from a global financial system that forces its countries to pay eight times more than the wealthiest European nations, resulting in surging debt that eats up what is left of dwindling government revenues.

In 2022, Africa’s total public debt reached $1.8 trillion, 40 times more than the 2022 budget of the continent’s largest country Nigeria, according to the U.N.’s agency for trade and development.

“Africa has no need for partnerships based on official development aid that is politically oriented and tantamount to organized charity,” President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo said. “Trickling subsidies filtered by the selfish interests of donors will certainly not allow for a real and effective rise of our continent.”

Tshisekedi’s country has the world’s largest reserves of cobalt and is also one of the largest producers of copper, both critical for clean energy transition.

What Africa needs instead, according to Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, is a more inclusive global financial system. In such a system, Nyusi said, Africans can participate as “a partner that has (a) lot to offer to the world and not only a warehouse that supplies cheap commodities to countries or international multinational corporations.”

The coronavirus pandemic laid bare how the challenges could be life-threatening: Officials were forced to confront that barely any drugs or vaccines were made on the continent, and that more solutions need to start at home.

CHALLENGES LIE AHEAD

Africa’s capacity is not only in its population but also its rich natural resources. However, speaking with a collective voice is stymied by national-focused, rather than regional, policies , said Ibrahim Mayaki, the African Union’s special envoy for food systems.

“The main obstacle to Africa’s development is its fragmentation in 50-plus countries,” said Mayaki at a New York event organized by the Africa Center think tank.

As African leaders spoke glowingly about the continent as a force on the global stage, some at home said the leaders must begin by delivering the dividends of democracy to their people.

In this richly endowed region, at least half of its 54 countries are among the 30 least developed in the world, according to the latest U.N. Human Development Index.

“People will respect you naturally if you’re doing well as a leader and they see your people are not suffering,” said Grace Agbu, a resident of Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja. “You don’t beg people to respect or partner with you.”

In Nigeria, chronic corruption and bad governance have robbed millions of the benefits of being Africa’s largest economy.

And on the day Ghana’s Akufo-Addo demanded equal rights and justice for Africa in his address, police officers in his country were arresting dozens protesting the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.

“If Africa wants to be taken seriously, its leaders need to address the serious challenges the continent confronts including preventable ones such as acute conflict in several parts of Africa and a wave of coups, some driven by despair among the population about a failure to deliver security and basic governance,” said the Crisis Group’s Mutiga.

Guinea’s military leader told the General Assembly the continent’s challenges sometimes have to be addressed by soldiers like him when elected presidents fail to do so. He took power after a 2021 coup.

“The era of the old Africa is over,” Col. Mamadi Doumbouya said. “This is the end of an unbalanced and unjust era where we had no say. It is time to take our proper place.”

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OMG: Donald Trump Shooter Was a Registered Republican

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Trump assassination attempt: Donald Trump shooter, 20, was a registered Republican, what does it mean? The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has identified the person who shot at former United States president Donald Trump during an election rally in western Pennsylvania on Saturday as a 20-year-old man, Thomas Matthew Crooks, of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. The police are assessing the motive of the attack.

Trump was shot at during a rally in Pennsylvania, with Secret Service agents swarming the former president after a series of gunshots. He was quickly bundled off stage and into a waiting vehicle and has since returned home to New Jersey.

He is “doing well” and is grateful to law enforcement officers, according to a statement published on the Republican National Committee (RNC) website.

The FBI says they are treating the incident as an assassination attempt on Trump.

In a post to his Truth Social network, Trump said a bullet pierced the “upper part” of his right ear.

“I knew immediately that something was wrong in that I heard a whizzing sound, shots, and immediately felt the bullet ripping through the skin,” Trump wrote. “Much bleeding took place, so I realized then what was happening.”

Blood was clearly visible on Trump’s ear and face as protection officers rushed him away.

The FBI statement added that the incident is an “active and ongoing investigation”.

Pennsylvania police say there are no further threats following the shooting.

The suspect was shot dead at the scene by a US Secret Service sniper, the agency’s spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said.

He added that one bystander was killed in the shooting and two others were critically injured. All three victims were male, officials later confirmed.

Law enforcement sources told CBS News that Crooks had been armed with “an AR-style rifle” and had fired from a building a few hundred metres away outside the venue.

Special Agent Kevin Rojek confirmed the agency was treating the shooting as an assassination attempt.

He added that the Crooks had not been carrying ID and that investigators used DNA to formally identify him.

They have yet to identify a motive for the assassination attempt, Mr Rokek said.

State voter records show that Crooks was a registered Republican, US media report. He is also reported to have donated $15 to a liberal campaign group in 2021.

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Eddie Murphy and Paige Butcher Are Married! Inside Their Private Caribbean Wedding

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Eddie Murphy and Paige Butcher are officially married. The Oscar nominee, 63, and the Australian model, 44, tied the knot after first getting engaged in September 2018, PEOPLE can exclusively confirm. The two also share an 8-year-old daughter, Izzy Oona, and a 5-year-old son, Max Charles.

Murphy and Butcher got married on Tuesday, July 9 in Anguilla during a small private ceremony in front of family and close friends. Butcher wore a corseted gown adorned with lace designed by Mira Zwillinger, while the groom wore a white Brioni suit.

This marks the second marriage for Murphy and the first for Butcher.

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The news of their nuptials comes less than a month after Murphy and Butcher stepped out together during the Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F premiere in Los Angeles on June 20. At the Netflix event, the two were joined on the red carpet by his daughters, Bria, 34, Shayne Audra, 29, and Bella Zahra, 22 — whom he shares with ex-wife Nicole, 56.

Murphy’s Beverly Hills Cop costar, Judge Reinhold, recently told PEOPLE, “He’s crazy about his kids and his family. He’s a family guy at heart. Truly is. He really is.”

In 2012, Murphy and Butcher began dating. The pair welcomed their first child together, Izzy, on May 3, 2016. The couple then welcomed their second child, Max, on Nov. 30, 2018, two months after getting engaged.

While Butcher doesn’t often do interviews, she spoke about her then-fiancé on the red carpet at the 2020 Golden Globes.

When asked what he whispered to her on the red carpet, Murphy told Extra, “I told her how wonderful she looks.” Butcher then chimed in, saying, “He actually says that kind of stuff all the time. He’s very, very sweet and romantic.”

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Yale honors a young Black scientist after a neighbor falsely reported the 9-year-old to the police

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The girls returned to the prestigious campus for a special event commemorating Bobbi and her commitment to both science and her community.

The spotted lanternfly, a beautifully colored but highly invasive species, has garnered significant attention due to its rapid spread. People have been encouraged to eliminate them to protect apple and maple trees. In Caldwell, New Jersey, 9-year-old Bobbi Wilson took action against these pests with a homemade, non-toxic spray. Unfortunately, a neighbor reported her as “suspicious,” highlighting the issue of racial profiling, reported My Modern Met.

Bobbi faced a distressing incident of racial profiling, a reality many people of color endure. Despite this, Yale University recognized Bobbi’s value as a young Black scientist. After the incident in October 2022, Bobbi’s 13-year-old sister Hayden courageously addressed the town council, protesting the injustice her sister and other children of color faced in their community.

Her passionate statements caught the attention of news organizations like CNN. Ijeoma Opara, an assistant professor at Yale School of Public Health, invited Bobbi and her family to visit Yale. They returned to the campus on January 20, 2023, for an event celebrating Bobbi’s dedication to science and her community. Bobbi donated her collection of mounted spotted lanternflies to Yale’s Peabody Museum, ensuring her name will always be part of their catalog.

 

Professor Opara, who organized the event, said, “Yale doesn’t normally do anything like this … this is something unique to Bobbi. We wanted to show her bravery and how inspiring she is, and we just want to make sure she continues to feel honored and loved by the Yale community.” Lawrence Gall, the Peabody Museum’s Entomology Collections Manager and Nicole Palffy-Muhoray, the museum’s Assistant Director of Student Programs, then encouraged Bobbi to identify one of her 27 specimens. They said, “We’re so grateful for all of the work you’ve done down in New Jersey and your interest in conservation and checking out the lanternflies advance. We don’t have many of them in Connecticut right now. They are just starting to come up here. But I’m sure we’ll see them, so we’re very happy to have these specimens.”

Monique Joseph, Bobbi’s mother, spoke at the award ceremony, expressing her fear and concern for all children subjected to racial stereotypes. Hayden was praised for her courageous speech. She said, “Dr. Opara, you have been a blessing. You are part of our testimonial and what it means to have a community of amazing, beautiful, Black, intelligent scientists and doctors and more important than that is your heart and your passion for the work that you do…You helped us change the trajectory of that day.”

She said, “This happened because of what happened to Bobbi, but it also happened because the whole community, the science community, got together and said ‘She’s one of us and we’re not going to let her lose her steam for STEM. We’re going to support the family, we’re going to support this girl, we’re going to make sure her big sister Hayden doesn’t lose that light.'”

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