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USAfrica: Nigeria’s embattled President Buhari returns to London

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Nigeria’s embattled President Buhari returns to London

Special to USAfrica [Houston] • USAfricaonline.com  • @Chido247

In a few hours, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari will travel to Britain from Abuja on Monday April 9, 2017. According to a news release Sunday evening by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, Buhari who has been facing severe criticism on his performance since May 2015 will “hold discussions on Nigeria – British relations with Prime Minister Theresa May, prior to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings scheduled for April 18 to 20.”

Since Buhari became civilian President, his first trip to Britain for medical treatment, according to USAfrica News Index, took place from January to March, 2017. Soon, following the clear evidence of the challenges he had regarding his health, he made his longest and most talked about trip when he left Nigeria back to London on May 7, 2017 and returned to an apprehensive nation on August 19, 2017. He is 77 years old
The likely issue of his meeting with his doctors concerning his yet, officially, undisclosed health challenges was not mentioned by his spokesperson.

On another business matter, the former army General will meet the Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Plc, Mr. Ben van Beurden regarding “Shell and other partners’ plan to invest $15 billion in Nigeria’s oil industry. These investment ventures will lay the foundation for the next 20 years production and domestic gas supply, bringing with it all the attendant benefits both to the economy and the wider society.”

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World SOCCER SHOWDOWN: South Africa backs Morocco; U.S under pressure

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  • USAfricaonline.com  •  @Chido247  @USAfricalive

“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity, and naysayers should stop using the political argument. Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa,” said the SAFA president Jordaan.

Johannesburg – South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan has promised Morocco that South Africa will give its unqualified support to secure another World Cup on the African continent in 2026.

Morocco is vying to stage the world’s biggest football prize against a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The Moroccan delegation comprises ex-Senegal and Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf and former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell.

Jordaan said it would be great for Africa to have a second bite of the World Cup cherry, adding Morocco’s bid was Africa’s bid.

Jordaan assured Morocco that he would personally lobby for the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) and the rest of the continent to rally behind the Moroccans.

In his remarks, Antoine Bell said Morocco had all the ingredients to host another spectacular World Cup.

“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards, from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” he said.

By giving Morocco its support, South Africa’s voice would make all the difference on the continent, Bell said.

“When South Africa talks on the continent, the rest of the continent listens hence it is vital for South Africa to support Morocco. South Africa has the experience and Morocco will use this experience to win the 2016 bid,” added Bell. African News Agency

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BrkNEWS: U.S government, technically, shuts down as 4 Republican Senators vote against Trump

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Donald-Trump-getty-USAfrica

Washington DC (AP) — The U.S federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration in a striking display of Washington dysfunction.

Last-minute negotiations crumbled as Senate Democrats blocked a four-week stopgap extension in a late-night vote, causing the fourth government shutdown in a quarter century. Behind the scenes, however, leading Republicans and Democrats were already moving toward a next step, trying to work out a compromise to avert a lengthy shutdown.

Since the shutdown began at the start of a weekend, many of the immediate effects will be muted for most Americans. But any damage could build quickly if the closure is prolonged. And it comes with no shortage of embarrassment for the president and political risk for both parties, as they wager that voters will punish the other at the ballot box in November.

Social Security and most other safety net programs are unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. Critical government functions will continue, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay. But if no deal is brokered before Monday, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be furloughed.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney wasn’t optimistic Friday evening about the chances of Democrats and Republicans reaching a deal on a spending bill before midnight. Still, he said there’s a “good chance” they find a solution by Monday.

After hours of closed-door meetings and phone calls, the Senate scheduled its late-night vote on a House-passed plan. It gained 50 votes to proceed to 49 against, but 60 were needed to break a Democratic filibuster. A handful of red-state Democrats crossed the aisle to support the measure, rather than take a politically risky vote. Four Republicans voted in opposition.

In an unusual move, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allowed the roll call to exceed 90 minutes — instead of the usual 20 or so — and run past midnight, seemingly accommodating the numerous discussions among leaders and other lawmakers. Still as midnight passed and the calendar turned, there was no obvious off-ramp to the political stalemate.

Even before the vote, Trump was pessimistic, tweeting that Democrats actually wanted the shutdown “to help diminish the success” of the tax bill he and fellow Republicans pushed through last month. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders later termed the Democrats “obstructionist losers.”

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McCain kills Trump/Republicans’ second effort to repeal ObamaCare

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VA Secretary Shulkin Testifies To House Veterans' Affairs Committee On Reshaping Veterans Affairs Community

Washington (AFP) – US Senator John McCain on Friday announced his opposition to the latest Republican attempt to replace Barack Obama’s signature health care law, likely dooming the repeal effort.

It is the second time in two months that he has defied his party and President Donald Trump over efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as “Obamacare,” which has long been in Republicans’ sights.

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” McCain said of the bill proposed by fellow Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy.

“I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried,” the senator said in a statement.

In July, McCain made a dramatic return to Washington from Arizona after a brain cancer diagnosis to become one of three Republican senators who helped sink their party’s earlier bid to replace Obamacare.

Now, rebels within the party ranks appear set to torpedo what may be the party’s last chance to make good on a longstanding Republican goal, and a signature pledge of the president.

With both McCain and the conservative Rand Paul opposed, it would take just one more Republican defector to prevent the bill’s passage before a deadline of September 30, the end of the fiscal year. At least two party moderates — Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski — are known to have serious reservations.

The bill’s collapse would be yet another blow to the president and the Republican leadership, who have been unable to move forward on repealing Obamacare despite controlling Congress and the White House.

In coming out against the latest bill, McCain criticized the fact that it had bypassed regular Senate order, and noted that it would not be fully reviewed by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) before the end of the month.

The senator said he could not “support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will effect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.”

The bill’s supporters might be eager to avoid a CBO score. In July, the non-partisan body projected that the ranks of the uninsured would grow by 23 million Americans, and premiums would rise 20 percent annually, over the next decade if the previous Obamacare repeal bill became law.

The White House scrambled earlier this week to win over Republicans skeptical of Graham-Cassidy, with Trump himself phoning lawmakers and state governors seeking to tilt the scales in favor of the bill.

And Trump made his position on Republican defectors clear on Friday, writing on Twitter that those who vote against Graham-Cassidy “will forever…. be known as ‘the Republican who saved Obamacare.'”

While Republicans have pledged to repeal the Obama-era health care reforms, they have struggled to secure enough support to do so amid fears that proposed alternatives would dramatically increase the number of Americans without health insurance.

The American Medical Association has issued scathing criticism of the latest repeal effort, warning it “would result in millions of Americans losing their health insurance coverage, destabilize health insurance markets, and decrease access to affordable coverage and care.”

McCain’s rejection of the latest Obamacare replacement bill is yet another slight against the current president, someone he has repeatedly challenged from within the ranks of the Republican Party.

Trump, for his part, had mocked McCain’s war hero status as a former prisoner of war in Vietnam as he ran for president, declaring: “I like people who weren’t captured.”

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