Small But Rare Protests in Egypt After Online Call for Dissent

Hundreds protested in central Cairo and several other Egyptian cities late on Friday against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, responding to an online call for a demonstration against government corruption, witnesses said.

Protests have become very rare in Egypt following a broad crackdown on dissent under Sisi, who took power after the overthrow of the former Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in 2013 following mass protests against his rule.

Security forces moved to disperse the small and scattered crowds in Cairo using tear gas but many young people stayed on the streets in the center of the capital, shouting “Leave Sisi,” Reuters reporters at the scene said.

Police arrested some of the demonstrators, witnesses said.

Small protests were also held in Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast, Suez on the Red Sea as well as the Nile Delta textile town of Mahalla el-Kubra, about 110 km (68 miles) north of Cairo, according to residents and videos posted online.

There was a heavy security presence in downtown Cairo and on Tahrir Square where mass protests started in 2011 which toppled veteran ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Authorities could not be immediately reached to comment.

State TV did not cover the incidents.

A pro-government TV anchor said only a small group of protesters had gathered in central Cairo to take videos and selfies before leaving the scene. Another pro-government channel said the situation around the Tahrir Square was quiet.

Mohamed Ali, a building contractor and actor turned political activist who lives in Spain, called in a series of videos for the protest after accusing Sisi and the military of corruption.

Last Saturday, Sisi dismissed the claims as “lies and slander.”

Sisi was first elected in 2014 with 97% of the vote, and re-elected four years later with the same percentage, in a vote in which the only other candidate was an ardent Sisi supporter.

His popularity has been dented by economic austerity measures.

Sisi’s supporters say dissent must be quashed to stabilize Egypt, after a 2011 uprising and the unrest that followed, including an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula that has killed hundreds of police, soldiers and civilians.

They also credit him with economic reforms agreed with the International Monetary Fund.

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Judge: Trump Must Give Deposition in Protesters’ Lawsuit

A New York judge has ordered President Donald Trump to give a videotaped deposition in a lawsuit filed by protesters who claim they were roughed up outside Trump Tower.

State Supreme Court Judge Doris Gonzalez of the Bronx on Friday denied Trump’s effort to quash a subpoena seeking the president’s testimony.

She ordered Trump to videotape a deposition before the trial, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 26.

The lawsuit was filed by six activists who say they were assaulted by Trump security staff during a Sept. 3, 2015, protest by people upset over comments Trump made about Mexican immigrants.

The judge says Trump’s testimony is “indispensable” as someone in charge of the business and his campaign.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately return a phone message.
 

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US Marines Charged in Connection With Human Smuggling Ring

Thirteen U.S. Marines arrested in July in connection with an alleged human smuggling operation in Southern California are now facing formal charges from the military.

The charges range from failure to obey an order to drunkenness and theft, and include the alleged transportation of undocumented immigrants, according to a statement from the 1st Marine Division.

Two of the Marines, Lance Corporal Byron Law II and Lance Corporal David Salazar-Quintero, were arrested on July 3 after border patrol agents found them picking up three illegal aliens along a stretch of Interstate 8, about 11 kilometers (7 miles) north of the U.S. border with Mexico.

According to court documents, Law and Salazar-Quintero admitted to having been in contact with a recruiter, who offered to pay them for transporting the illegal immigrants from the interstate to other locations.

Law told authorities he and Salazar-Quintero were never paid for the interaction, according to the complaint.

A third Marine was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol a week later, on July 10.

The other 10 were taken into custody during what some officials described as a sting operation July 25 at Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps base located about 79 kilometers (49 miles) north of San Diego.

In a statement following the mass arrests, the Marine Corps’ 1st Division said the regiment’s commanding officer “will act within his authority to hold the Marines accountable at the appropriate level, should they be charged.”

In addition to the Marine Corps and U.S. Border Patrol, officials with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service also aided in the initial investigation.

According to the Marine Corps, none of the Marines detained as part of the investigation were assigned to the U.S. military operation to support efforts to secure the U.S. southern border with Mexico.

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Pennsylvania Latinos Changing the Political Rhythm in Key Swing State

More than a half century ago, a group of Puerto Ricans moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, to work the nearby mushroom fields. Since then the Latino and Hispanic population of the city itself has mushroomed — to 65% of the total. That majority-minority population is being closely watched politically because it is a key constituency in a swing state considered a must-win for both parties in next year’s presidential election. VOA’s White House bureau chief, Steve Herman reports from Reading.
 

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Trump Administration Revokes California’s Strict Emission Standards Despite Its Pollution

Remnants of tropical storm Imelda have caused serious flooding in eastern Texas, including parts of Houston, forcing evacuations, flight cancellations, school closures and causing some outages. Reports of other environmental disasters come from various parts of the world, as the United Nations General Assembly prepares to discuss climate change, which is linked to human activity such as pollution and gas-fueled transportation. Zlatica Hoke reports the Trump administration so far has shunned efforts to curb pollution, and there are no signs this will change.
 

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African Children Will Make Up ‘Half of World’s Poor’ by 2030

African children are being left further and further behind and will make up more than half of the world’s poor by 2030, according to a new report.

The stark warning comes as more than 150 world leaders prepare to attend the U.N. Sustainable Development Summit in New York beginning Sept. 25 to work on tackling global poverty.

The United Nations has agreed on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). No. 1 on the list is eradicating extreme poverty by 2030. But the world will fall well short of that target, according to the report by Save the Children and the Overseas Development Institute, which delivers a devastating verdict on global efforts to eradicate extreme poverty among children in Africa.

“On our projection, children in Africa will account for around 55% of all extreme poverty in the world by 2030,” said Kevin Watkins, chief executive of Save the Children UK.


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An estimated 87 million African children will be born into poverty each year in the 2020s, according to the report, which also says about 40% of Africans still live on less than $1.90 a day.

“On average, women are still having four to five children, and it’s the part of the world where poverty is coming down most slowly, partly because of slow growth but also because of very high levels of inequality,” Watkins said. “A child born into poverty faces greater risks of illiteracy; greater risks of mortality before the age of 5. They’re between two and three times more likely to die before their fifth birthday. They are far less likely to escape poverty themselves, which means that they will become the transmission mechanism for poverty to another generation.”

A child, who fled with others from his village in northern Burkina Faso following attacks by assailants, eats inside a school on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, June 15, 2019.

The report criticizes African governments for failing to develop coherent policies, and also warns that the IMF, the World Bank and other donors are failing in their response.

Watkins said dramatic changes in approach are urgently needed.

“Transferring more monetary resources to children who are living in poverty has to be part of the solution,” Watkins said. “But we also know that money is not enough. It’s critically important that these children get access to basic nutritional services, the basic health interventions, and the school systems that they need to escape poverty.”

The report warns that if poverty reduction targets are not met, the world will also fall short on other sustainable development goals in education, health and gender equality.

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