Trump speaks out about Africa, many cringe
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — By now, many Africans cringe whenever “Trump” and their continent are mentioned together.
It’s happened again. In a tweet containing inaccurate comments, President Donald Trump said he had instructed his secretary of state to “closely study” alleged land seizures from white farmers in South Africa. The issue is racially divisive almost a quarter-century after the end of apartheid, the system of white minority rule.
Trump rarely turns his attention to Africa — the tweet was his first since he became president to mention the continent by name — but when he does it often backfires.
The most shocking example came earlier this year when Trump reportedly used vulgar language to compare African nations to a filthy toilet. Outraged countries swiftly summoned U.S. ambassadors to explain the comment — much as South Africa on Thursday was reaching out to the U.S. Embassy to clarify the latest remarks.
Many South Africans were stunned. “A racist bigot,” the morning host of one of the country’s most popular talk radio stations, Eusebius McKaiser, told listeners before opening the airwaves to lively debate about Trump’s comments.
Trump’s tweet appeared just days after first lady Melania Trump took a very different approach to Africa, announcing she would be visiting several countries on the continent in October in her first big solo international trip. She said she looked forward to learning about the issues children face and appreciating Africa’s history and culture.
It was the latest hint that the first lady might be subtly separating herself from her husband and his controversial views.
The last time Trump referred to Africa on Twitter was in early 2015, before his presidential ambitions were taken seriously by much of the public.
Uganda ex-pop star now facing treason charges
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A Ugandan pop star-turned-lawmaker who opposes the longtime president was charged with treason in a civilian court on Thursday, minutes after a military court dropped weapons charges.
The treason charge, for which the death penalty applies, was bound to bring fresh outrage from Ugandans and global musicians after Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known as Bobi Wine, alleged he was severely beaten in detention. The government denies it.
Ssentamu has emerged as an influential critic of President Yoweri Museveni, especially among youth, after winning a parliament seat last year.
The 36-year-old Ssentamu had been charged last week with illegal possession of firearms for his alleged role in an incident in which Museveni’s motorcade was pelted with stones. After the military court freed him on Thursday he was re-arrested by police and taken to a magistrate’s court.
Ssentamu had to walk with support during his appearance in military court and appeared to cry as he rubbed his eyes. A colleague wrapped a scarf in the colors of the national flag around his shoulders. He sat in the dock in magistrate’s court, with his lawyers saying he is unable to stand on his own.
The magistrate ruled that Ssentamu should be allowed access to his own physicians. He was remanded until Aug. 30.
Going abroad for treatment is desirable but first they are fighting for access to a private Ugandan health facility, said one of Ssentamu’s attorneys, Medard Sseggona. “As to whether they can do it is a different matter.”
Man kills mother, sister; France sees no terror tie
TRAPPES, France (AP) — A man with severe psychiatric problems killed his mother and sister and seriously injured another woman in a knife attack Thursday in a town near Paris, officials said.
French police shot and killed the man soon afterward.
The Islamic State group, which has a history of opportunistic claims, swiftly claimed responsibility for the attack.
French authorities weren’t currently treating the morning knife attack in Trappes, west of Paris, as a terrorism case, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said after visiting the scene. He noted the attacker suffered from serious mental health issues although he had also been flagged for glorifying terrorism.
However, officials were not ruling out a terrorism link in the early stage of the investigation. The prosecutor’s office in Versailles, handling the case, said in a statement Thursday evening that motive for the killings “remains uncertain.”
Interior Ministry spokesman Frederic de Lanouvelle said until the investigation advances it won’t be clear “100 percent” whether the attack at the family home was strictly a family drama or was linked to terrorism.
Collomb said the man killed his mother at her home and stabbed the other women outside. Still wielding the knife, he then ignored police warnings and was shot and killed, the minister said.
Husband: Woman freed from Iranian prison temporarily
LONDON (AP) — British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe left an Iranian prison for a three-day furlough Thursday — a breakthrough in the case that her family hopes will lead to permanent freedom.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt welcomed her temporary release and called on Iranian authorities “to capitalize on the goodwill from today’s announcement by going the whole way and releasing Nazanin and allowing her to go back to her family and come back to the UK.”
Hunt told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York that she “is innocent” and “every day that she is in prison is a reminder to the whole world of a gross injustice.” Iranian authorities accuse her of plotting against the government.
Richard Ratcliffe said his wife was released from Evin prison and has been reunited in Iran with her 4-year-old daughter Gabriella. The Free Nazanin campaign released images showing the beaming mother hugging her child and clutching a bouquet of roses.
“Gabriella had picked some flowers from the family garden, and was waiting to present them — the tradition she has seen for families waiting outside Evin prison. Gabriella has promised to show her the garden, and also her dolls house,” Richard Ratcliffe said. “She (Nazanin) was very happy on the phone, though confessed to having cried lots, particularly when seeing her grandmother, and to being still overwhelmed.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested during a holiday with her toddler daughter in April 2016. Her family says she was in Iran to visit family, denying that she was plotting against its government.
A former employee of the BBC World Service Trust, Zaghari-Ratcliffe worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the news agency.