News Briefs

Clinton: I am allergic to Trump

Hillary Clinton on Monday interrupted her stump speech involuntarily in a coughing spell, and wryly blamed the incident on GOP rival Donald Trump.

“Every time I think about Trump I get allergic,” said the Democratic nominee in the midst of her coughing outbreak during a Cleveland rally, Ohio. Behind Clinton, running mate Tim Kaine clapped while the audience laughed in response.

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, seized on the episode to tweak Clinton over her distance from the media — including not holding a full-blown press conference since last December.

“Must be allergic to media. Finally spent a minute w/ them,” Conway wrote on Twitter.

Earlier Monday, Clinton took steps to seemingly answer more press questions, by including her traveling press corps on the same plane on which she flies.

“I will come back and talk to you more formally but I wanted to welcome you onto the plane,” Clinton said at the outset of a Labor Day campaign swing.

Clinton has dealt with coughing fits before, but Monday’s among the most disruptive. She previously coughed excessively during a February 17 speech about race, in Harlem, New York, and in an earlier Iowa address, on January 25, at the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines.

Ethiopia fires kills 23 at prison holding oromo protesters

At least 23 inmates have died after a fire at an Ethiopian prison where anti-government protesters are reportedly being held, the government has said.

A government statement says 21 died of suffocation after a stampede while two others were killed as they tried to escape.

Some local media have disputed the account, citing unnamed witnesses who say prisoners were shot by the wardens.

There has been an unprecedented wave of protests in Ethiopia in recent months.

The identity of the prisoners has not been made public.

Sustained gunfire could be heard coming from Qilinto prison, on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, after the fire broke out on Saturday, local media reported.

TV footage and photos posted on social media showed plumes of smoke rising from the prison compound.

Reports that the fire was started deliberately as part of an attempted jailbreak have not been independently verified.

There have been numerous protests in the Oromia region by members of the country’s largest ethnic group since November 2015.

Many Oromo activists are being detained at the Qilinto facility, a remand prison, where people can be held for three years or more as they await trial.

The prison is divided in four zones made up of brick walls and tin-roofed cells.

The prison hosts around 3,000 inmates at a time who are held in cells measuring 24m by 12m. Each cell holds between 90 and 130 inmates.

It is a highly secured prison with surveillance cameras installed on many corners.

All types of prisoners are held there but it is where political prisoners including bloggers, journalists and activists are usually sent.

UN body expresses concern over violence against journalists

A top United Nations agency has raised alarm over the increasing incidences of acts of violence and intimidation meted against journalists in their line of work.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) says it is shocked by “extremely high” levels of impunity for crimes against journalists.

According to UNESCO figures, the rate of impunity for crimes against journalists remains extremely high worldwide showing that since 2006, fewer than 7% of these crimes have been brought to justice.

The agency also expressed lethargy among African nations in prosecuting against journalism-related cases, stating that out of the continent’s 54 countries, only 7 have ratified for cases to be brought to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Right (ACHPR).

“Legal protection for journalists in the exercise of their profession is an important prerequisite for freedom of expression,” said Frank La Rue, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information.

He added that freedom of expression risks being curtailed as long as journalists are at risk of being threatened, arbitrarily detained or killed for informing the public.

As a result, UNESCO and ACPHR will host an inter-regional dialogue in Arusha on September 10 to raise awareness and help reinforce capacity building of law professionals in the continent on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, ways to ending impunity and the need to decriminalize defamation.

The revelation comes on the backdrop of investigations into the death of a journalist after meeting a member of parliament over the weekend.

Joseph Masha, a writer with the Standard newspaper, met his untimely death last Saturday after collapsing at his Kiwandani home in Kilifi. It is alleged that he had previously met the MP over a meal to discuss an article the legislator claims had been written in bad light against him.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations has begun inquiry into the death of the journalist even as his family allege foul play.

The Kenya Union of Journalists and the Media Council of Kenya condemned the killing of Masha calling for expedited investigations, starting with a post-mortem to identify the cause of death scheduled for Thursday.


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