Showing posts with label Government Out of Control. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Government Out of Control. Show all posts

January 27, 2019

Finally and Suddenly, America Had Enough and The Political Pressure Vise Was on

By Marc Fisher ,
Ben Guarino and
Katie Zezima
Finally and suddenly, America had had enough.

The drizzle of effects of the government shutdown morphed into a downpour, a winter storm of disruption, dysfunction, and desperation that shocked stubborn politicians into action.

The 35-day shutdown was supposedly going to linger for months because President Trump’s base insisted on a wall along the border with Mexico and the Democratic base demanded that federal workers return to their jobs without condition.

Now, that debate has been kicked down the road for three weeks. Despite his vow that he would never reopen the government without money for the wall, Trump relented without the promise of a single dollar.

The startling about-face happened because the shutdown almost overnight came to seem dangerous: an economic threat, a shock to the safety of the skies, and a political punch that un­settled both parties.
In a 24-hour flurry of events that added up to a breaking point, flight attendants warned that high absenteeism among air traffic controllers who weren’t being paid posed a threat to passengers’ sense of safety. Long delays hit several major airports because of control-tower staffing shortages, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

A flight information board shows new times for flights after the FAA announced delays at LaGuardia Airport in New York on Friday. (Julio Cortez/AP)
A Transportation Security Administration agent works Friday at a checkpoint at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, where delays led to long lines. (Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg)

Ford and other major manufacturers warned that the shutdown was delivering a hard hit to the nation’s economy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce alerted politicians that the travel and tourism industries were suffering harsh consequences. Thousands of Internal Revenue Service workers who had been ordered back to work to process tax refunds stayed home, many saying they couldn’t afford to get to their jobs without pay. 

Several polls showed a serious drop in Americans’ optimism about the economy. The president’s disapproval numbers jumped five points, to 58 percent, from three months ago, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. And some senior members of Trump’s own administration started speaking out against the shutdown in strikingly sharp language.

“Making some people stay home when they don’t want to, and making others show up without pay, it’s mind-boggling, it’s shortsighted and it’s unfair,” FBI Director Christopher A. Wray told bureau employees in a video message. “It takes a lot to get me angry, but I’m about as angry as I’ve been in a long, long time.”

President Trump announces a deal with congressional leaders to reopen the government on Friday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
The 800,000 federal workers who were either barred from working or forced to work without pay had been frustrated for weeks that their plight was being ignored or pooh-poohed by people in power.

And on Thursday, a series of comments from Trump administration officials exacerbated that feeling. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross drew widespread ridicule for suggesting that federal workers who were lining up at food banks instead should just “get a loan.”

“That was ridiculous,” said Andrew Perry, 51, whose wait Friday for a flight from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Miami had stretched beyond two hours. “No matter what your means are, you can’t get a loan that quickly. . . . I know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck.”

Late-night hosts react to Wilbur Ross’s tone-deaf comments about furloughed workers

Late-night hosts had a lot to say on Jan. 24 about Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross downplaying the hardships caused by a partial government shutdown. (Drea Cornejo/The Washington Post)
The scene at airports in New York, Newark, Philadelphia and other big cities, where long delays resulted from the shortage of traffic controllers, helped persuade Trump that the shutdown had to come to an end, according to White House officials.

Many travelers said Friday’s inconveniences cemented their belief that the shutdown was an unnecessary, juvenile battle that was more about a refusal to back down than about any deep rift over policy.

Stefanie Cornwall, 27, arrived for her Spirit flight out of Philadelphia International Airport 30 minutes earlier than she typically would. Cornwall, who was flying to Los Angeles to visit family, had serious concerns that the shutdown was affecting travel safety.

“It’s obviously annoying when you have to wait in line for a long time, but what’s more concerning is whether the planes are being properly checked,” she said. Although she had been talking about the shutdown with friends and family for weeks, this was the first time she felt directly affected.

“I’m affected because it’s annoying and it’s a nuisance to me, but for these federal workers, they’re not being paid, even when they’re coming in to work,” she said. “It’s ridiculous.”

“Do we have your attention, Congress?” the Association of Flight Attendants said in a statement early Friday that warned that air safety workers were ­“fatigued, worried and distracted. . . . Our country’s entire economy is on the line.”

Democrats and Republicans alike felt public opinion shifting. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said Friday that the airport trouble “ratchets up pressure tremendously.” And Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) sensed that the effects of the shutdown “have become very real and very personal for a lot of people who aren’t getting paid, and it obviously has a lot of impacts on ATC and TSA and a lot of other pretty important functions and agencies right now.” The initials stand for air traffic controllers and the Transportation Safety Administration.

In the end, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, the public’s mounting worry about the shutdown’s economic impact moved politicians off their hard stances.

“With public sentiment, you can accomplish anything,” she said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) address the media at the Capitol Building after President Trump agreed to end the partial federal government shutdown. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)
For the president, backing down from his vow not to reopen the government without a down payment of $5.7 billion on the wall he wanted to fulfill a signature 2016 campaign promise was both a convenient distraction and a dangerous retreat.

Settling the shutdown crisis provided Trump with a chance to deliver one of his trademark preemptions of bad publicity. His Rose Garden appearance instantly changed the national conversation away from the arrest Friday morning of his longtime adviser, Roger Stone, on charges that Stone lied to Congress about his role in the effort to undermine Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

On cable news channels, a ­seven-hour-long marathon of coverage of the indictment of one of Trump’s most loyal associates ended, replaced by live video of the president’s lectern. It was another assertion of the president’s ability to change the subject and monopolize the nation’s attention.

But Trump also was bitterly attacked for agreeing to end the shutdown without gaining any money for the wall.

Although public opinion weighed heavily against the shutdown all along, it had shifted in the past few days from concern for unpaid workers to insecurity about the well-being and safety even of people with no government ties.

Ben Alderman, who was heading home to Chicago from LaGuardia, said he was “dumbfounded” by Ross’s remarks and appalled by the “political games” that politicians were playing with federal workers’ lives. He said politicians appear to genuinely believe that missed wages “are not really important to people,” said Alderman, 35. “It’s divorced from reality.”

LaGuardia Airport in New York on Friday. The Federal Aviation Administration announced that there was a temporary restriction on flights into and out of the airport because of staffing issues linked to the partial government shutdown. (Justin Lane/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
A frequent air traveler who works in financial services, Alderman said he wasn’t frightened to fly Friday, but he was glad flights were delayed rather than pushed into the air despite high absenteeism among traffic controllers and TSA agents.

“What happened this morning is a testament to our safety,” he said. “If there aren’t enough people working, planes shouldn’t be in the air.”

Joe Keefe, an asset management executive, was booked on a flight from LaGuardia to Boston. But in the middle of his business in New York, he saw the news about the airport delays and changed his plans.

“We decided to take the train,” said Keefe, 65, of Rye, N.H. The change was the first concrete impact the shutdown had had on him, but he’d been upset about it all along. “I hope it’s a political disaster for him,” he said, referring to Trump. “The American people know where the blame lies. . . . It’s a manufactured crisis.”

Pete Nischt, 32, of Akron, Ohio, didn’t like the shutdown from the start, and now his flight from New York to Cleveland was delayed for three hours. In recent days, as he saw how people who had gone without pay for a month were suffering, he came to view the failure to pay public employees as “a breach of the social contract. Trump has been lying the whole time . . . and now we’re paying for it.”

The scope of that suffering seemed to metastasize late this week. At the IRS, at least 14,000 unpaid workers who were supposed to be in the office, preparing to process an avalanche of tax refunds, either could not be reached by their bosses or were out on “hardship” leave, in many cases because they said they could no longer afford gasoline to get to work.

Rosemary Bruscato, 50, who has worked at the IRS in Kansas City, Mo., for 10 years, said her manager placed her on leave after a two-minute conversation. It cost her $20 each week to fill the tank of her Ford Focus, and she had been paid zero dollars in 35 days.

“There was no retaliation or anything,” she said. “They were very understanding.”

Even as Congress finally moved toward funding the shuttered portions of the government, many workers struggled to meet their expenses. In many cases, it was missing that second paycheck on Friday that put them over the edge.

Lisa Oksala volunteers at the Greater DC Diaper Bank, which gave diapers, wipes and feminine hygiene products to furloughed government workers on Friday at the World Central Kitchen on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)
In the District, the Greater DC Diaper Bank has given away 33,800 diapers, 50,684 feminine hygiene products and nearly 7,900 incontinence supplies to federal workers, including Deborah Myrick, a D.C. Superior Court employee who picked up diapers and formula for her two grandchildren.

“It’s frustrating,” said Myrick, who lives in Temple Hills, Md. “There’s no other way to put it. I can’t manage without a check.”

Myrick and other employees stood in a line that snaked around World Central Kitchen’s #ChefsforFeds pop-up kitchen, which offered free lunch, vegetables, fruit, pet food and diapers. Some people hung their heads, as though they did not want to be spotted, and many declined to talk about it. One man picking up diapers said he felt a deep sense of shame that, as someone who is employed, he needed to seek help.

“The whole thing is very numbing,” Cynthia Clarke, an administrative assistant with the U.S. Agency for Global Media, said as she sipped vegetable soup. “This is a man-made disaster. I know what a natural disaster looks like. I’ve been through earthquakes. This was man-made. This was unnecessary.”

Furloughed government workers line up at the World Central Kitchen on Pennsylvania Avenue NW on Friday to receive diapers, wipes and feminine products. The giveaway was organized by the Greater DC Diaper Bank, the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association and the World Central Kitchen. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)
Guarino reported from New York. Simone Sebastian in New York, Rebecca Tan in Philadelphia and Mark Berman, Tim Carman, Josh Dawsey, Mike DeBonis, and Danielle Paquette in Washington contributed to this report. 

Marc Fisher
Marc Fisher, a senior editor, writes about most anything. He has been The Washington Post’s enterprise editor, local columnist, and Berlin bureau chief, and he has covered politics, education, pop culture and much else in three decades on the Metro, Style, National and Foreign desks. Follow 

Ben Guarino
Ben Guarino is a reporter for The Washington Post’s Science section. Before joining The Post in 2016, he worked as a freelance science journalist, an associate editor at the Dodo and a medical reporter at the McMahon Group. He also has a background in bioengineering. Follow 

Katie Zezima
Katie Zezima is a national correspondent covering drugs, guns, gambling and vice in America. She covered the 2016 election and the Obama White House for The Washington Post. Follow
The Washington Post

August 4, 2018

Trump Really Wants To Shut The Government Down Due to His Deep Love To This Country? Except He Won't Be Able To!

 A Younger Trump with an Older Cohn who was Lawyer to both Trump and Rep McCarthy (1952),who was on a mission to find homosexuals and commies to drag them to his committee on unamerican activities. Many well known people in Hollywood commited suicide others were jail to latter be released but no one will hire them now. Trump at times, particularly when he went for the families applying for assylum (or crossing the border). No need for that, a decission made from the bottom of his seat after having some Colonel Chicken nuggets.
There is no evidence that Mcarthy hated the "Reds" his  fight was against certain people which  if succesful, will make him move up politicly. He was heading a committee which really had no purpose. If people working in any field happened to like the communism it didn't mean they were spyes. Compare it it now the President of The US saying how much he likes the head of that systema and How he admires him. No one has dragged him to jail yet and they won't uunless there is more proof he is exchanging information for favors, either personal forloans or national for secrets (coliusion).

Donald Trump is a man conflicted. All around him, people counsel caution, particularly when it comes to the midterm elections just three months away. Things are already bad enough, they say, so let’s not make them worse with something foolish like a government shutdown, in yet another attempt to get something (a wall along the southern border) that most Americans don’t want anyway.
Trump listens, but he does not believe. To him, what matters are not the American people, but hispeople — the ones who put him in office, the ones who come to his rallies, the ones whose faith in him only grows stronger, no matter what the polls say.
So when he’s in a friendly place and has the chance to ruminate on his dilemma, the conflict comes out. That’s what happened when he went on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show yesterday. Here are some excerpts of their conversation:
Limbaugh: Here you are suggesting that you’d be willing to maybe — you’d talk about — shutting down the government if that’s what it took to get this wall built.
Trump: Yeah.
Limbaugh: Now the traditional Republican says, “Oh, no! No! Don’t say that!” There you are saying, “Oh, yeah. I’ll be glad to do it if that’s what it takes.”
Trump: Yeah, I actually think it would be positive.
Limbaugh: People don’t understand your voters rally to you for that.
[. . .]
Trump: I have to say that I have heard this theory. I happen to think it’s a good thing politically. I’m not doing it for politics. I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do. So I’m not looking at politics. But I happen to think that border security would be a good thing before the election, but there are many people within our party that are good people that are like you that agree with you on everything you say. But they’d rather do it after. They don’t agree on doing it before, and I accept their opinion, but I happen to think it would be a good thing to do before.
You can almost hear his aides, and every Republican running in a swing district, cringing in fear. A Republican president shutting down the government by refusing to sign temporary spending bills passed by his own party would be a disaster. But as Trump tells Limbaugh, “My polls are great, but the question is, is it transferable?” He then goes on to list some Republicans running in primaries who won with his endorsement. Of course, when it comes to the electorate as a whole, his polls are the opposite of great, and it’s his unpopularity that is transferable to Republicans. 
The fact that Trump is saying these things to Limbaugh isn’t evidence that he’s going to ignore what everyone is telling him and force a shutdown. But it does show his state of mind. When he’s faced with this kind of conflict — he wants to do one thing while his advisers and allies are begging him to do something else — two things usually happen. First, he backs down when it comes to the policy. And second, he’s so mad about it that he either lashes out on Twitter, to little real effect, or he goes on radio shows to complain.
But you have to understand that, from where he sits, it makes perfect sense to ignore what other people tell him and to trust his own instincts. After all, didn’t all the people who supposedly knew what they were talking about say he had no chance of becoming the Republican presidential nominee in 2016, and then said he’d surely lose the general election? He knew something they didn’t back then, so why can’t it be that he knows something they don’t right now?
The truth is that what he knew then and what he knows now are the same thing: Xenophobia works, anger works, fear works, hate works. If you stir them all together into the most toxic brew you can manage, the political effect can be dramatic. He also believes that conflict and controversy are things to be sought out, not avoided.
But the fact that his white-nationalist campaign succeeded in the particular circumstances of 2016 doesn’t mean that forcing a government shutdown over a border wall is the way to win a midterm election in 2018. It would certainly thrill a certain kind of hardcore Trumpite, but those people aren’t going to be the determining factor in this November’s elections.
If Republicans do indeed lose big on Election Day, as now seems almost inevitable, Trump will know just what to say: It was because the party was too timid, because it didn’t cater enough to his people, and because it didn’t shut down the government and get the wall built. And he’ll be more sure than ever that he should trust his instincts and ignore what everyone tells him. 

February 21, 2018

Peru's Fujimori 10 Years of Jailing and Deaths in the Name of Law and Order

Since the pardoning, four major street protests have taken place, lamenting the decision to give Fujimori a pardon. This has reduced confidence in the current political order of Peru. This affair has raised grave concerns about who now can continue Peru’s path. For businesses, there is no answer and the worst enemy of business in uncertainty. This act of apparent selfishness by Kuczynski in releasing a convicted human rights abuser so that he can remain in government runs the risk of jeopardising the until now certain path of growth and prosperity for Peru. 

To his supporters, Alberto Fujimori was the president who saved Peru from the twin evils of terrorism and economic collapse. To his opponents, he was an authoritarian strongman who rode roughshod over the country's democratic institutions in order to preserve his hold on power.
The son of Japanese immigrants, Mr Fujimori's decade in power from 1990 to 2000 in which he ruled with an iron fist was marked by a series of dramatic twists and turns.
His authoritarian government's crackdown on two violent insurgencies during his tenure resulted in the deaths of an estimated 69,000 people.
Several years after his presidency ended, Mr Fujimori was found guilty of bribery and abuse of power and was sentenced to 25 years in prison for human rights abuses during his time in office - including authorising a number of killings carried out by death squads.

Health issues lead to pardon

Sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2009 at the age of 70, most Peruvians assumed the former leader would spend the rest of his life in jail. 
But in December 2017, the 79-year-old was taken from prison to a hospital in the capital, Lima, because of health concerns; he was suffering from low blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythm.
That same month, Mr Fujimori was granted a pardon by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski after doctors said his illness was incurable, adding that prison represented a "grave risk to his life".

In response, Mr Fujimori said he was "deeply grateful" and that while his leadership was well received by some, he recognised that he had "let down others", adding: "Those I ask for forgiveness from the bottom of my heart."
Alberto Fujimori, accompanied by his son Kenji Fujimori, leaves the hospital in Lima, 5 January 2018He also called for the country to unite against crime and violence. "We'll be in a country in which security is regained and violence eliminated," he tweeted.

Image copMr Fujimori, 79, leaves the hospital in Lima with his son,i

The news of his pardon was both celebrated and demonstrated against with thousands taking to the streets of Lima. The minister of culture and the defence minister resigned over the pardon.
Within days Mr Fujimori was released from hospital a free man, waving at media from his wheelchair accompanied by his son, Kenji Fujimori.

President's iron fist

One of the key moments of his presidency was the hostage siege by Marxist rebels belonging to the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), which occurred at the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima in 1996-97.
After a four-month stand-off, commandos were sent in to take the building.
All 14 rebels were killed and nearly all the 72 hostages were rescued in an operation that at the time cemented Mr Fujimori's talking and acting tough.

Bribery scandal

The president's reputation was later tarnished by a bribery scandal involving former intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos, which led to him fleeing to his parents' native Japan in November 2000, where he lived for five years in self-imposed exile.
In an effort to resurrect his political career and launch a new bid for the presidency, he flew to Chile in November 2005, only to be arrested at the request of the Peruvian authorities.

Mr Fujimori then spent two years fighting to block his extradition to face a series of charges, a battle he lost in September 2007.
He was convicted and sentenced to six years in jail in December 2007 on charges of abuse of power, over the removal of sensitive video and audio tapes from Mr Montesinos's home.
In April 2009, judges found him guilty of authorising death-squad killings in two incidents known as La Cantuta and Barrios Altos, and the kidnapping of a journalist and a businessman.
Mr Fujimori repeatedly denied the charges, saying they were politically motivated.

Alberto Fujimori waving as he leaves the residence of the Japanese ambassador in Lima, 22 April 1997Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Alberto Fujimori: Key dates

  • 1990: Wins a surprise victory at polls
  • 1992: Dissolves Peru's congress with military backing, assuming greater control 
  • 1995: Restores congress and overwhelmingly wins a second term 
  • 2000: Re-elected for a third term amid allegations of ballot rigging
  • 2000: Flees to Japan after Montesinos scandal breaks
  • 2005: Detained in Chile at the Peruvian authorities' request 
  • 2007: Extradited from Chile to face trial in Peru
  • 2007: Jailed for six years for abuse of power
  • 2009: Convicted of human rights abuses, jailed for 25 years
  • 2013: Request for pardon on humanitarian grounds is rejected by President Humala
  • 2017: Pardoned on health grounds, prompting protests
  • 2018: Ordered to stand trial for the 1992 killings of six farmers

A country in ruins

Mr Fujimori's 15-month trial and the divisions in public opinion it generated echoed the controversy that accompanied him throughout his political career.
When he won the presidential elections in 1990, few Peruvians knew what to expect.
An agricultural engineer born of Japanese parents, Mr Fujimori was a political unknown until weeks before the vote.
He inherited a country on the verge of economic collapse and racked by political violence.
He implemented a radical programme of free-market reforms, removing subsidies, privatising state-owned companies and reducing the role of the state in almost all spheres of the economy.
Though this shock therapy brought great hardship for ordinary Peruvians, it ended rampant hyperinflation and paved the way for sustained economic growth in the second half of the 1990s. 

Alberto Fujimori attending the opening of a meeting of Latin American presidents in Lima, 9 June 2000Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionMr Fujimori's radical reforms led to sustained economic growth in Peru

Mr Fujimori also tackled the left-wing rebels whose 10-year insurgency had caused thousands of deaths. But he says he never approved a dirty war against the rebels.
In 1992, with the support of the military, the president dissolved the Peruvian congress and courts and seized dictatorial powers.
He justified the measure by arguing that the legislative and judiciary had been hindering the security forces in their fight against the rebels.
Opposition politicians said he was really seeking to escape any democratic checks on his power.
But he was soon vindicated in the eyes of most Peruvians by the capture of the leader of the main rebel group, the Shining Path.

Spying scandal

In 1995, Mr Fujimori stood for re-election and won an overwhelming victory. Most voters cited his victories over left-wing insurgents and hyperinflation as the reason for giving him their support.
But a growing number of Peruvians began to voice concern that the methods used against the insurgency were also being employed against the president's democratic opponents.
His critics accused him of using the intelligence service led by Mr Montesinos to intimidate and spy on rivals.
They said he exerted unfair control on the media and the judiciary, and used government resources to support his own campaigns.
This criticism increased when he announced he was to stand for an unprecedented third successive term.
Although he won the May 2000 elections, amid further allegations of vote-rigging, the prized third term began the start of his downfall.
After the Montesinos scandal broke, the opposition gained control of Congress for the first time in eight years and dismissed Mr Fujimori on grounds of "moral incapacity".
BBC {for More information and reading about Peru's then and now conditions on human rights)

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March 29, 2017

The Government of Cameroon Has Cut Off The Internet to All Since 01/17/17

Wednesday marks 73 days since people in northwest and southwest Cameroon have had no access to the internet — at all. And it doesn’t look like it's coming back anytime soon. 

On Jan. 17, the government of Cameroon shut down the internet in two regions of the central African country. Courts and schools in the two regions have also been on strike for the duration.
The blackout has affected everything: ATM machines no longer work; students can't gossip on Whatsapp; and businesses have folded up as they're no longer able to operate online.

The shutdown has targeted Bamenda and Buea, two regions which are home to most of the country's English-speaking minority. Citizens there have long said theyre marginalised by the central government in Yaoundé, the French-speaking capital. 

“The Anglophone problem" dates back to the end of colonialism in the 1960s. 

What's known as Cameroon today was once under control of both British and French colonialists. After independence, a series of referendums were held and the country went from being a two-state federation to having a centralized government with 10 semi-autonomous administrative regions. 
But Anglophone Cameroonians say it's far from a case of being separate but equal. Although English and French are both official languages, language remains a barrier in getting often lucrative state jobs, state funding is skewed towards Francophone regions and official documents and activities that should be bilingual are frequently in French alone. 
Over the decades, several civil organizations and caucuses have formed amid calls for the state makeup to be reviewed. Some activists are campaigning for a return to a two-state federation; in recent years though others have gone further, calling for the anglophone-phone regions to splinter and form independent states.

The internet shutdown came after a surge in protests by English-speaking Cameroonians against the government last year. Throughout the last three months of 2016, the government faced a series of protests from lawyers, teachers and students. The marches were triggered by the presidential appointment of French-speaking judges to courts in the Anglophone region. Aside from operating in a different language, English-speaking regions still operate under the English common law, as opposed to French civil law which the appointees were trained in. 

Judges went on strike. Teachers soon joined them, saying the prevalence of French-speaking teachers in classrooms — who spoke limited English — was hampering students' progress.
While discontent has simmered in the background for decades, by December they bubbled over into violence. The government responded brutally. Incidents of soldiers brutally assaulting students flooded Cameroonian Twitter. Several prominent government critics were arrested, including a senior judge. They have yet to be released. 
Paul Biya, the autocratic ruler who has held power for 35 years, soon after claimed the internet needed to be shutdown for "security reasons."

Cameroonians have responded creatively by setting up internet “refugee camps" where the data is always flowing. 

To get online, residents in the affected areas have been forced to travel for tens of kilometers to get to Francophone areas where there's still connectivity.
But in Buea, known as "Silicon Mountain" for its booming tech start-ups, a group of techies have come together to set up a "refuge," Quartz reports. They’ve rented a room in Bonako, a village bordering the French region, bought portable modems and hooked them up to generators, creating an oasis for struggling start ups. 

But there are also fears such repression can cross borders.

US watchdog Freedom House found last year that governments curbed social media communications in 24 countries last year, up from 15 the previous year. 
African governments been increasingly using blackouts as a tool to crush dissenting voices. This week a Tanzanian rapper was arrested after a song criticising the government went viral. And partial or complete internet blackouts were order in Gambia, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon in 2016. Officials in Zimbabwe also hiked the cost of internet cell data after protests jumped from social media to the streets. 

For now, most Cameroonians are calling on the government to begin implementing three simple measures. 

1. Bring back the internet
2. Free all the arrested
3. National Dialogue

March 7, 2017

Is Trump’s ICE After Father of American Fallen Hero Khizr Khan?

Khizr Khan at the Dem. National Convention. He told Trump He(Trump) did not know the Constitution

The father of a fallen Iraqi American soldier who became a household name due to a spat with Donald Trump has been forced to cancel a trip to Canada, owing to his “travel privileges bring reviewed”. 

Khizr Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention about his son, army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed during the Iraq war. 

A supporter of Hillary Clinton, he used his July speech to ask Mr Trump if he had ever read the US Constitution, and said that he would gladly lend him his copy. Mr Trump, enraged, then attacked the family – beginning a row that overshadowed the presidential campaign for several days.
Mr Khan, an American citizen born in Pakistan, had planned to speak at a lunch in Toronto on Tuesday in a discussion about Mr Trump's administration.
A US citizen for more than 30 years, Mr Khan, a lawyer, was notified on Sunday evening that his “travel privileges had been reviewed,” according to Ramsay Talks, the company behind the talks, based in Toronto and hosted by Bob Ramsay.

On Monday afternoon Mr Ramsay confirmed on Twitter that Mr Khan would not be speaking.

“Cancelled - Tuesday, March 7 Khizr Kahn talk. Tickets will be refunded,” he said.

Mr Khan, in a statement on Ramsay Talks’ Facebook page, said he had not been given a reason as to why his travel privileges were being reviewed and apologised to ticket-holders for the cancellation. 

"This turn of events is not just of deep concern to me but to all my fellow Americans who cherish our freedom to travel abroad," he said. "I am grateful for your support and look forward to visiting Toronto in the near future."

He told The Telegraph he had no additional comment to make.

It remained unclear why a US citizen would have his travel privileges reviewed – even one born abroad. Pakistan is not one of the six countries listed on Mr Trump’s travel ban, which was instigated on Monday.

US Customs & Border Protection told Reuters that it does not contact travellers in advance of their travel out of the United States. CBP would not comment specifically on the Khan case, citing privacy protections.

February 7, 2017

A Decree is Like an Exec.Order But in Romania the President Has to Rescind

A pro-government protester holds up a baby owl and an image of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis depicted as a Nazi soldier of Hitler's paramilitary SS Schutzstaffel organisation in front of the presidential office in Bucharest, Romania February 6, 2017. Inquam Photos/Octav... REUTERS

Romania’s president on Tuesday tore into the Social Democrat-led government over a corruption decree that has sparked the biggest protests since the 1989 fall of communism, but he backed it to remain in power in a potential reprieve for Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu.
The government on Sunday rescinded the decree, which critics said would have turned back the clock on the fight against corruption in the European Union member state, but some protesters have pledged to keep up the pressure until Grindeanu resigns.

In a speech to parliament, centrist President Klaus Iohannis admonished the government for issuing the decree a week ago "at night, in secret" without consulting parliament.
But he said the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) had won the right to govern in a December election and should continue to do so, a message that may take the sting out of the protests.
Hundreds of thousands of Romanians have taken to the streets for the past week in cities across the country, thronging Bucharest’s broad boulevards in scenes that will not have gone unnoticed elsewhere across Eastern Europe, blighted by corruption and cosy ties between business and politics since the end of communism.

"The prosperity of the Romanian people was not your first priority. Your first concern was to look after the penal files, and thats why Romanians are indignant and revolted," Iohannis told lawmakers.

Despite the crisis, he said new elections were not the answer.
"You have been saying in public that I would like to overthrow the legitimate government. That's false. You won, now you govern and legislate, but not at any price," Iohannis said.
"The resignation of a single minister is too little and early elections would at this stage be too much. This is the available room for manoeuvre."


Though his role is largely ceremonial, the president’s powers include nominating the prime minister after elections and returning legislation to parliament for reconsideration.
PSD lawmakers walked out of the assembly around half-way through the president’s speech. They later returned to approve the government’s 2017 spending plan, setting a shortfall of 2.99 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

The Romanian leu firmed to a four-month high of 4.4800 per euro, before retreating to trade 0.3 percent up on the day at 4.4910.

Romania, a country of 20 million people and host to a U.S. ballistic missile defence station, remains one of the poorest and most corruption-ridden members of the EU.
The decree would have decriminalized a number of graft offences and shielded many public officials from corruption allegations.

Even after the U-turn, 250,000 protesters turned out in Bucharest on Sunday evening, with some saying they would not be satisfied until the government resigned. 
Around 25,000 rallied again in the capital on Monday evening. It was unclear how many might turn out on Tuesday night, but some protesters have said they will continue until parliament votes on whether to endorse the government’s repeal of the decree, likely by the end of the week.

One minister has already quit over the decree, saying he could not support it, and the Social Democrats have said they expect Grindeanu to decide whether or not to keep Justice Minister Florin Iordache, the architect of the measure.

The government, which holds a big majority, faces a no-confidence motion in parliament on Wednesday, when several PSD sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, have told Reuters they also expect Iordache to submit his resignation.

"For sure, some resignations would be needed and probably inevitable from the government," said political commentator Cristian Patrasconiu. "This is what the street would like to see."
PSD leader Liviu Dragnea said he agreed with the president that an early election would solve nothing.

The governing programme is good," said Dragnea, whose current trial on abuse-of-office charges would have been halted by the decree.  f we let the government govern then the entire country stands to gain."

By Radu-Sorin Marinas and Luiza Ilie | BUCHAREST

(Additional reporting by Luiza Ilie; Writing by Matt Robinson)

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