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  • Kenyatta wins 'chaotic' repeat poll with over 98%

    The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Monday declared incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta as winner of the poll re-run ordered by the Supreme Court.

    Deaths were recorded amid running battles between opposition members and the security forces as Kenyans returned to the polls to elect their president.

    The process was boycotted by the main opposition, NASA coalition led by former Prime Minister, Raila Amolo Odinga.

    Odinga called on all his supporters to “hold vigil and prayers away from polling stations”. That admonition has not been heeded as supporters continue to engage police in running battles.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta has on the other hand called on Kenyans to come out and vote. He said Kenya has underlined its democratic credentials with the process warning against tribal politics.

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  • Eritrea protest aftermath: military makes arrests, internet cut reported

    Eritrean authorities have made arrests following Tuesday’s rare protest in the capital, Asmara. The BBCTigrinya service said the military carried out overnight swoops where an undisclosed number of people were rounded up.

    Security forces fired gunshots to disperse protesting students who were resisting government involvement in affairs of their school reports say.

    The Diae Al Islam school is a community-funded institution whose leadership, parents and students have all kicked against attempts to regulate the school.

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  • NY attack 'in name of IS,' Trump vows visa crackdown

    he Uzbek who killed eight people in New York acted in the name of the Islamic State group, police confirmed Wednesday, as the US president vowed to scrap the visa program that allowed him to enter the country.

    Tuesday's attack, which mowed down pedestrians and cyclists at high speed on Lower Manhattan's West Side, was the deadliest attack blamed on terrorism in America's financial capital since the September 11, 2001 hijackings.

    While 29-year-old suspect Sayfullo Saipov had not previously been the subject of an FBI investigation, police confirmed he had planned the attack for weeks.

    Saipov, who moved to America legally in March 2010, rented a pickup truck in New Jersey without suspicion, before driving into New York, mounting a bike path and unleashing mayhem as children and their parents prepared to celebrate Halloween.

    Five of the dead were Argentines, visiting for a school reunion. A Belgian woman was also killed. Of 12 injured, nine remain in hospital -- four in a critical but stable condition. One Argentine, a German and three Belgians, were among the injured.

    The suspect was shot in the abdomen by a police officer after he crashed into a school bus and exited his truck, brandishing paintball and pellet guns. He has been interviewed in hospital and remains in custody, police said.

    "He did this in the name of ISIS," John Miller, the head of New York police intelligence and counter-terrorism, told a news conference.

    - Animal -

    "He appears to have followed almost exactly to a 't' the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack," Miller added.

    Vehicle rammings have been a frequent tactic deployed by IS sympathizers in the West, including in Barcelona, London, Stockholm and in Nice, where a Tunisian suicide truck bomber killed 86 people on Bastille Day last year.

    Police said it was too early to determine when Saipov may have become radicalized, but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said it happened after he moved to the United States. He is not a US citizen but a legal permanent resident.

    AFP / St. Charles County Dept. of CorrectionsSayfullo Saipov, the suspected driver who killed eight people in New York, mowing down cyclists and pedestrians, before striking a school bus in what officials branded a 'cowardly act of terror'

    Trump, confronting the worst jihadist-inspired attack of his 10 months in office, denounced Saipov as an "animal" and charged that he had been a point of contact for up to 23 immigrants or would-be immigrants, quipping that he "would certainly consider" sending him to Guantanamo Bay.

    The Republican president said that he was "starting the process of terminating" the popular green card lottery, which he said had enabled Saipov to enter the country.

    "We have to do what's right to protect our citizens," the Republican president told reporters. "We will get rid of this lottery program as soon as possible."

    The 1990 program awards US permanent resident visas to around 50,000 applicants around the world each year, opening the door as well for members of their wider families to follow them, so-called chain migration.

    Trump has already slashed the country's annual refugee intake by more than 50 percent, tightened visa issuance around the world and attempted to ban travelers from 11 countries, most of them with Muslim-majority populations, but not Uzbekistan.

    "We also have to come up with punishment that's far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now," the president said.

    Saipov lived in Florida and Ohio, before moving to Paterson, a former industrial hub in New Jersey about 20 miles (30 kilometers) northeast of New York, where he lived with his wife and three children. The truck was rented in New Jersey.

    - 'Scary' -

    Neighbors in the working-class, immigrant community reacted with shock and horror on Wednesday, saying that they knew little about the man who kept to himself.

    "It's a very quiet neighborhood. We leave our doors unlocked. We thought we were pretty safe, but to know that someone like that lives down the street is scary," said Kimberly Perez, 20, who lives across the street.

    In New York, leaders vowed that the annual marathon would go ahead as planned on Sunday. Police said the event, which attracts more than 50,000 runners and 2.5 million spectators, would be the most protected ever.

    "We will not be cowed, we will not be thrown off by anything," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    While officials say preliminary evidence suggests Saipov acted alone and was not part of a wider plot, Cuomo has drastically stepped up security at airports, tunnels and Penn Station, which he called the busiest rail hub in the hemisphere.

    Uzbekistan, a majority Muslim country that borders Afghanistan and formerly part of the Soviet Union, is a landlocked country racked with poverty, corruption and a stifling authoritarian regime.

    In less than a year, three other men with Uzbek links have been blamed for a deadly nightclub shooting in Istanbul, a Saint Petersburg metro bombing and Stockholm attack.

    In March 2015, two Uzbeks and a Kazakh living in New York were arrested on charges of supporting IS. One of them, who threatened former president Barack Obama, was sentenced to 15 years in prison last week

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  • Trump says will terminate US green card lottery after NY attack

    President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he would end the popular US green card lottery as police said a radicalized Uzbek man staged the deadly truck ramming in New York after entering the country under the program.

    The move could spell the end to the US immigration hopes of millions of people around the world who have tried to win US residence permits through the program since it was created 27 years ago.

    "I am starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program," Trump angrily told reporters.

    "We have to do what's right to protect our citizens," he said. "We will get rid of this lottery program as soon as possible."

    The program awards US permanent resident visas to around 50,000 applicants from around the world each year, opening the door as well for members of their broader families to follow them, so-called chain migration.

    According to Trump, Sayfullo Saipov, identified by authorities as the man who plowed a rented truck into cyclists and pedestrians on a New York City bike path Tuesday, came to the country via the program in 2010.

    AFP / St. Charles County Dept. of CorrectionsPresident Donald Trump said Sayfullah Saipov, the suspectecd driver who killed eight people in New York on October 31, 2017, immigrated to the United States on the "green card" visa lottery program.

    Saipov, 29, who was arrested after being shot by police, planned for weeks to undertake his attack in the name of Islamic State, following online instructions from the jihadist group, officials said.

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he was "radicalized domestically" only after he came to the country, "when he started to become informed about ISIS and radical Islamic tactics."

    - Closing doors to immigration -

    Trump's threat would further close the doors to hopeful US immigrants. He ran for election last year promising a crackdown on immigration, including building a wall on the Mexican border and banning Muslim immigrants.

    This year he has already slashed the country's annual refugee intake by more than 50 percent to 45,000, tightened visa issuance around the world and ordered a ban on travelers from 11 unnamed "high-risk" countries. Refugee experts say all but one have Muslim-majority populations; they do not include Uzbekistan.

    The officially titled Diversity Lottery Program aims to diversify the origins of people granted permanent residence -- so-called green cards -- in the United States.

    In 2015, lottery applications were received for more than 14 million people, and 49,377 won green cards, including 2,524 Uzbeks.

    Trump said he wants to move US immigration to a "merit-based system" and not allow immigrants to bring their extended families.

    "We want to get rid of chain migration," he said.

    Republicans in Congress have tried for several years to eliminate the visa lottery program, but were stifled by Democratic resistance.

    AFP / Don EMMERTPresident Donald Trump says Sayfullo Saipov, who plowed a rented truck into cyclists and pedestrians on a New York City bike path, killing eight, entered the country on the "green card" visa lottery system

    Trump blamed the program on Chuck Schumer, the senior Democratic senator from New York, even though it was resoundingly supported by both parties and signed into law in 1990 by a Republican president, George HW Bush.

    "The terrorist came into our country through what is called the 'Diversity Visa Lottery Program,' a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based" immigration, Trump tweeted.

    - Few US attacks by immigrants -

    Tuesday's incident was the second time the lottery has been tied to a jihadist attack inside the Untied States. In July 2002, an Egyptian man whose wife entered the country on the green card program shot two people dead at the ticket counter for El Al, the Israeli airline.

    Otherwise, Trump's immigration crackdown would not have prevented any of the deadly jihadist attacks inside the United States over the past 16 years.

    Most have been perpetrated by US-born and radicalized perpetrators. And most have family ties to countries not covered by Trump's travel bans -- Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and others.

    But Republicans expressed strong support for Trump's move.

    "Yesterday's attack was an outrage, especially because it was entirely preventable," said Senator Tom Cotton.

    "The diversity visa lottery program has long been deeply flawed, but now we see very clearly how it's a threat to our national security."

    Schumer rejected Trump's stance. "I have always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America," he said in a statement.

    And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Trump had politicized the situation.

    "That was a bipartisan law that was passed that had basically no relevance to the facts of this situation," he said.

    "As I said before, you play into the hands of the terrorists to the extent you disrupt and divide and frighten people in this society. And the tone now should be the exact opposite."

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  • 26 Togolese arrested in Ghana for staging illegal protest

    Twenty-six Togolese nationals have been arrested in Ghana for organising a protest in the capital Accra without notifying the authorities.

    The protesters were arrested on Saturday after converging at a park in solidarity with Togolese opposition supporters demanding the resignation of Faure Gnassingbe and the reinstatement of Togo’s 1992 constitution.

    The Ghana police spokesperson Afia Tenge told local media that their convergence without notification was a clear breach of the public order act.

    “Two of their leaders and a number of them were arrested. We have about 26 of them and we are waiting for Monday to put these persons before the law court,” she said.

    Two of their leaders and a number of them were arrested. We have about 26 of them and we are waiting for Monday to put these persons before the law court.

    Ghana is reported to have registered 513 Togolese asylum seekers who fled from the chaos into border towns including Chereponi, Zabzugu and Bunkpurugu-Yunyuo in northern Ghana.

    Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway told local media Citi FM that consultations are ongoing with the Togolese government on the crisis in the country.

    Togo faced a series of opposition demonstrations since August in demand for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe and the reinstatement of the 1992 constitution.

    The intended peaceful demonstrations resulted in the killing of at least 16 people after clashes with security forces who fired tear gas and live bullets to disperse the protesters.

    The opposition are also calling for a two five-year term limit for presidents as well as a two-round voting system.

    A bill was tabled before parliament by the cabinet during the early September round of demonstrations to reinstate the term limits which were struck out by the father of Faure Gnassingbe before his death.

    The opposition rejected the draft bill to modify Article 59 of the constitution which has maintained the exclusion of the clause that says “no one can serve more than two terms”.

    They believe it is a ploy to allow Faure, who is serving his third term, to attempt a fourth in 2020.

    The government banned weekday demonstrations yet the protesters defied the ban and stormed the streets last week resulting in further clashes.

    The six-party opposition coalition (CAP 2015) and the Pan-African National Party (PNP) have called for another series of demonstrations on November 7, 8 and 9 – which are weekdays – despite the ban on weekday protests.

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