‘SNL’: Robert Mueller Tells Eric Trump That Getting Elected Was Worst Thing That Ever Happened To Donald

Robert Mueller
Courtesy of NBC

Bonnie Fuller, HOLLYWOODLIFE|AIWA! NO!|Robert Mueller (portrayed once again by Robert De Niro) returned to SNL for this week’s cold open to literally hide in Eric Trump‘s closet.

At first, Eric gets comforted by Donald Trump Jr. that he won’t get indicted (although Eric thinks it means something to the effect that “there’s no sugar indict coke.”

After trying to read “Twas The Night Before Christmas”, Don Jr. and Eric hears a creak that Donald attributes to the “cheap steel dad uses to build these towers.” After Don Jr. leaves the room on what seems to be a very heated legal phone call, Robert Mueller (AKA Eric’s “dad’s friend from work”) appears next to Eric and eventually tells him that he’s not the worst thing to happen to Donald Trump.

No, Robert tells him “getting elected president was the worst thing that ever happened to your dad.” Watch the whole sketch go down here!

UK – Exiled Zimbabwean Journalist in Great Britain: Immigration; Racism, African Experience; Reflections Or None Of It

Crimson Tazvinzwa: "How to feel and how not to feel as an African immigrant ..."
Crimson Tazvinzwa: “How to feel and how not to feel as an immigrant …”


|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|For so many years I have worked very hard and waited for my left hand to be right. I’m still working hard and waiting …

I admit. This is not my writing style at all – especially when reporting myself. But then here we go. Eisch!. I have decided I share with you some random snippets of my experience or non of it over the 20-plus odd years I have lived on this side of the pond; for I forever shall live in mortal fear of being misquoted or lack of it thereof; or worse still forgetfulness and forgettable.  Non consequential or just as ‘SHIT HOLE’ as US President Trump’s  characterization of Africa and its populations myself included. 

You see! I have seen it all.  From ‘dog-whispers’ to ‘bull-horns’ of racial slurs. Some deliberated, calculated and unleashed and the outcome assessed, and blatant and yet others random and ignorant.  From people pretending they don’t understand my accent, and least still cannot spell my African surname even as it shows clearly on the identity badge laying on my lapel all the time, all written in English alphabet – and (‘by law’?). Wait! Aah! You name it. But jog on still.

But it still hates …

Take accents for example; and their  names. Already cause anxiety and discomfort among and between some lot.

Exhibit one;

One time years back; just over one-year after September 11: my partner and I planned visiting with friends in New York. Our respective annual leave were generous – could take a good 4 weeks in the summer. We didn’t think much about itinerary or anything except booking the tickets online – lastminute.com and whacked email to our friend Monika – a Czech – American to let her duly know we were on our way and asked what we should bring her from London. Flight Tickets were cheap; £420 apiece return and all. 

Except for me to be denied a visa DESPITE the fact I lived in America before. In Louisiana (Lousyana). Barton Rouge.

Despite I was the professionally fully employed between the two of us. As if it should have mattered.

Despite we had our own two bed room flat in North East London; Walthamstow . We bought it for £182.000.00. On mortgage of cause.

My bank statement at that time was very healthy. No reason to complain in this department … at that time at least.

Despite my manager John Pink at Community Volunteers (CSV) writing a passionate passion-able letter vouching for me; tax returns and payslips; bank statements; and the fact that I had not taken sick leave for all the 3 years I had been working with him. And that there was no reason whatsoever for me to get stranded or live off some American public freebies or on government recourse for that matter – we had enough savings in personal and joint account as it stood.

You name it. The whole shebang.

My application failed.

The ‘computer said no.’

Their Sentiment: “There was no sufficient evidence with my application to suggest I would want to return to the United Kingdom after my holiday in America.”

In their pitifully blinkered or myopic eyes on issues of human and social mobility, geography ie population movements and settlements; they had just done some non formulaic calculation;  I wasn’t gonna come back to the UK – would go on a runner. ????

SAY WHAT?

And they said my partner could still go ahead though and travel to visit with our friends as she was on a German passport. They made it sound we were very fortunate at least one of us could still be travelling. Dough!

No refund for airline tickets even as we informed the Airline two weeks in advance.

We took it in our synchronized stride and jogged on.

Images of ‘black men’ doing ‘black man bad man tings

Is it me? Every time I watch news on telly and there is  some robbery or stabbing or even an accident that has taken place. I’m conditioned to quickly check if the aggressor, violent person at that were a black man or not. Simple demographic statistics. And praying … “Oh God Let It Be Not A Black Man This Time.” Of course there is disproportionate representation of black man crime versus white man crime. The media do that everyday. I work there. Masochistic!

Look! As black men we are wired to self doubt; confess; self interrogate, and question our selves first before the other in any situation what ever situation; a bad one or a good one. We can be impressionable, callous, belligerent and gullible. Don’t speak out for fear of being labelled cocky or arrogant or both or self aggrandizing; therefore double-down on self-minimization  and our lack of potential; assumed of course-  trying to prove we can fit in while all the while dying of self-pity. The vulnerability.

I’m not a pub man but when I do do happen to go into one all sorts of things happen.

EXHIBIT 2 – Pub In Barcelona

Imagine the famous and memorable Gaudi Architecture; Las Ramblas and the Olympics village in Barcelona.

Las Ramblas Barcelona;

Las Ramblas is often the first landmark that most tourists identify with the city. It is the central most boulevard which cuts through the heart of the city centre and is a vibrant and lively promenade filled with Barcelona action at its best and sometimes the worst.

Barcelona Miró mosaic on La Rambla

Did you know there is a Miró on La Rambla? The famous painter Joan Miró actually created part of the Ramblas. Many thousands of people walk right over the Miró circle on the Ramblas every day and don’t even know it.
Human Statue:  Galileo

Human statue: Galileo

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was a Catalan architect who is the best known practitioner of Catalan Modernism.

Gaudí’s works have a highly individualized, and one-of-a-kind style. Most are located in Barcelona, including his main work, the church of the Sagrada Família

Elegant Sagrada Familia Church; Crimson Tazvinzwa, Travel Photos 2005

Magnificent!  We went up to Gaudi House’ by cable car; did little of  nosing around and taking pictures. A cup of coffee.  We were four of us; an English couple who had traveled with us from London; long time friends shall I say, and the two of us. My partner then heavily pregnant; irritable, irritating and all … as you can imagine. We all decided we needed a drink after the excursion up the Gaudi Hill. We headed into the next pub that came to sight by The Ramblers, except I thought I remain outside for a little-while to finish off my ‘fag’. I had just started smoking then, and drinking for that matter. And why not – that was pregnancy stress, anxiety and all.

Another piece of great work by Gaudi/crimson tazvinzwa travel photos 2005

I casually walked in the pub a little while later. Took a quick glance and spotted my little gang patched on a wide table by the corner.

flaherty barcelona


Flaherty’s – Square Joaquim Xirau 

Drinks ordered including my San Miguel. Happy days. Before I realized ; a notably smartly dressed gentleman whom I assumed to be a staffer walked up to me and accosted:

” PARRDONH! My ‘pathronh‘ patrons/customers are not pleased seeing you here.” he said.

“There is another nicer pub down the road,” he added helpfully of course.

Sheepishly and meekly as I always do in ‘these’ circumstances …; I smiled my normal broad smile showing only the white teeth and said something to the effect;

“Sorry. Thank you. Thank you so much. And God’s Blessings!”

What is that all for?

Crimson Tazvinzwa Travel Photos; Ras Ramblas Street Performing Artist; 2005

I believe BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS, BLACK BROTHERHOOD just as SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS has undesired consequences and outer-limits for thoughtful intercultural and interracial dialogue; and our common struggle against prejudice: religious, race, creed or OTHERWISE.

Or some pointless meaningless mumble of some sort.

This all happened in full glare of the Mexican and Brazilian dance troupe who stared at the scene in bewilderment, and bemused . World vision! Consequently my lot including the cacophony of the dance ensemble – wobbled out with some apologizing on ‘their behalf’ to me … which was bizarre but understandable for such brazen attack will not happen in the UK where I live; as I am still aware. I presume.

EXHIBIT 3 – Black on black crime and the language of self – hate and hurt.

I don’t know about you. I have decided the British Law of Etiquette & Decorum still works.

It doesn’t really matter what you are at and where are you at in life as long a you are not hurting or hating others, fair and fine.

For no reason.

Sometimes.

Facebook In Turmoil; Denial, Tension And Finger-pointing As Crisis Builds


tal arrogance,” one Facebook employee said of company leadership’s willingness to blame its communications team for recent crises.

Image: Mark Zuckerberg appears before the House and Energy Committee

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appears before the House and Energy Committee about privacy and election meddling on Capitol Hill on April 11, 2018.David Butow / for NBC News

By Dylan Byers, cnbc news

|AIWA! NO!|As challenges to Facebook mount from consumer organizations, politicians and journalists, the company’s leadership remains convinced that its recent crises are primarily public relations problems, according to people at the company.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive officer, and Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, believe Facebook’s negative image is a public relations problem that stems from a bungled press strategy and sensational media coverage, not a structural or philosophical shortcoming that requires a wholesale course correction, six Facebook sources familiar with their thinking told NBC News. The sources asked not be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

As a result, some inside Facebook believe the company’s leaders are likely to respond to the current controversy in the near-term by revamping their communications strategy, not by making drastic changes to personnel or the platform.

To critics from Silicon Valley to Capitol Hill, that is likely to be seen as a continuation of the “delay, deny and deflect” strategy covered by The New York Times that got them into hot water in the first place.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill on Sept. 5, 2018.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill on Sept. 5, 2018.Jim Watson / AFP – Getty Images file

In recent days, Zuckerberg and Sandberg have both publicly blamed the company’s communications team for the decision to hire a conservative public relations firm that included what one former employee called an “in-house fake news shop.” Both leaders also publicly claimed ignorance about the decision, even as Sandberg privately told staff that she “fully accepted responsibility.”

In a company-wide meeting on Friday, Zuckerberg blamed the media for fueling “bad morale” and called “bulls—” on The New York Times report, which insinuated that the company had tried to cover up its problems with Russia-based disinformation efforts. He also said he would not hesitate to fire employees who leaked information to the media.

Internally, the leadership’s decision to blame the media and the press shop has driven a wedge between them and members of the communications team who feel as if they’ve been thrown under the bus, the sources said.

Cummings: People ‘should be allowed to come in, seek asylum. That is the law.’

Cummings: Minority won’t get subpoena power on House Oversight

“It’s total arrogance,” one Facebook employee said. “Everyone is pissed.”

On Sunday night, a Facebook spokesperson told NBC News that the leadership “takes full responsibility for the issues we’re facing. They’ve been vocal about that internally and externally. No matter where people sit at Facebook, everyone wants to move forward — and that’s our plan.”

In recent months, Zuckerberg has taken a war-like attitude toward dealing with Facebook’s problems and with its PR strategy, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Zuckerberg, 34, believes his company didn’t move quickly enough to handle its problems in the past and has “expressed frustration at how the company managed the waves of criticism it faced this year.”

Former Facebook Security Chief on what happened at Facebook in 2016

But Facebook’s critics worry that the leadership still has yet to internalize the full scale of the problem.

“It’s important for Facebook to recognize that this isn’t a public relations problem,” Sen. Mark Warner told The New York Times on Sunday. “It’s a fundamental challenge for the platform and their business model.”

U.K. Parliament Seizes Facebook Documents As Part Of Ongoing Inquiry

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears before the House and Energy Committee in Washington on April 11, 2018.David Butow / Redux for NBC News file

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears before the House and Energy Committee in Washington on April 11, 2018.David Butow / Redux for NBC News file


The seizure of the documents comes after Mark Zuckerberg declined to appear in London on Tuesday before officials investigating disinformation and election interference.

|Saphora Smith and Olivia Solon, CNBC NEWS|AIWA! NO!|LONDON — British lawmakers have obtained documents that could be “highly relevant” to an inquiry that has been looking into Facebook’s response to disinformation, a spokesperson told NBC News on Sunday.


Cambridge Analytica, the Trump campaign-linked data firm under fire for sweeping collection of Facebook data, issued an expanded statement Thursday about its practices in the 2016 US presidential election.
In the statement, the firm reemphasized its claim that it “did not use Facebook data from research company GSR on the 2016 presidential election,” a reference to Global Science Research, which gathered up data en masse on behalf of Strategic Communication Laboratories, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, according to a report in The Interceptlast March.
Cambridge Analytica’s statement said the Trump campaign hired it in June 2016, and from “August onwards,” its data team used Republican National Committee voter files, polling, the Trump campaign itself, voting returns released by states and “consumer data available from commercial brokers.”

CNN politics

The documents reportedly contain revelations Facebook has been fighting to keep out of the public domain relating to the company’s data and privacy policies that led to the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, The Observer newspaper in London reported Saturday.

Image result for cambridge analytica

Alexander Nix, former Cambridge Analytica CEO

The Observer reported that the files, which it said include correspondence from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, were seized from the founder of a U.S. software company, Six4Three, which is engaged in legal action against the tech giant.

NBC News could not confirm the details of the report, but a spokesperson for the parliamentary committee conducting the investigation confirmed that it had obtained potentially useful documents for its inquiry.

NBC News could not confirm the details of the report, but a spokesperson for the parliamentary committee conducting the investigation confirmed that it had obtained potentially useful documents for its inquiry.

“The committee used a parliamentary order to obtain documents that could be highly relevant to the inquiry,” a spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee told NBC News.

A spokesperson for Facebook told NBC News late Saturday that “the materials obtained by the DCMS committee are subject to a protective order of the San Mateo Superior Court restricting their disclosure.”

Six4Three filed a complaint against Facebook at the Superior Court of California County of San Matteo in 2015. According to court documents, the company accuses Zuckerberg of attempting to “deliberately” mislead tens of thousands of software companies into “developing applications that generated substantial user growth and revenues for Facebook.”

NBC News has reached out to representatives for Six4Three for comment.

For two years Facebook has been rocked by crises involving covert Russian propaganda, the mishandling of millions of users’ personal information and the hiring of a public relations firm that had what one former employee called an “in-house fake news shop.”

Sources have told NBC News that Zuckerberg and Sandberg believe Facebook’s negative image is a public relations problem that stems from a bungled press strategy and sensational media coverage, not a structural or philosophical shortcoming that requires a wholesale course correction.

Zuckerberg says he isn’t leaving Facebook despite controversy

NOV. 21, 201800:51

The British parliament’s seizure of the documents comes after Zuckerberg declined to appear before an international coalition of elected officials investigating disinformation and election interference that is scheduled to meet in London on Tuesday.

Representatives from the U.K., Canada, Australia, Ireland, Argentina, Brazil, Singapore and Latvia invited Zuckerberg to give evidence at a meeting at the Houses of Parliament, but Zuckerberg declined.

British lawmaker Damian Collins — who is the chairman of the DCMS committee tasked with investigating disinformation and assembled the international coalition — told NBC News Zuckerberg was “frightened of being exposed.”

Collins said “the really big question” he wanted to ask Zuckerberg was, “what did he know about the concerns about data privacy?”

Related

EXCLUSIVE

Facebook hired firm with ‘in-house fake news shop’ to combat PR crisis

Collins assembled the “International Grand Committee” partly as a response to Zuckerberg’s insistence that he was too busy to visit individual national parliaments to answer further questions about Facebook’s efforts to crack down on the misuse of its platform.

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which triggered global scrutiny of Facebook’s data collection practices, Zuckerberg has only answered to lawmakers in public twice: before Congress in April and European Parliament in May.

Facebook has offered Richard Allan, vice president of policy solutions, to attend next week’s hearing in Zuckerberg’s place.

“It makes it look like he’s got something to hide and he’s worried that we may have information and questions we could put to him that would put him in a difficult position,” Collins said.

“He’s deliberately avoiding that sort of scrutiny.”

African Reflections: Exiled Zimbabwean Journalist In the United Kingdom; The Murdered Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi And The Remainder Of Us All …


Itai and Sheffra Dzamara’s children, Nokutenda and Nenyasha.


Mugabe may have gone, but the young Itai Dzamara, journalist cum human rights activist’s family is still picking up the pieces after his disappearance and are still demanding answers.

Three Billboards at a Zimbabwe bus terminal. They read: “Abducted at the barber. Still no arrests. How come ED [President Mnangagwa]?” Credit: Baynham Goredema.

Three Billboards at a Zimbabwe bus terminal. They read: “Abducted at the barber. Still no arrests. How come ED [President Mnangagwa]?” Credit: Baynham Goredema.


|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|You see! Sometimes you begin by reminiscing those pleasant moments and occasions visiting friends and relatives in the villages. Often around Christmas festive season – when families and extended families gather for annual reunions. They would travel all the way from across Zimbabwe boundaries.

Myself. Not even a journalist then; barely through high school. Things were dandy. Happy days.


Itai Dzamara, 35, is Sheffra’s husband and Nokutenda and Nenyasha’s father. He was abducted three years ago today. He was getting a haircut on a Monday morning when four men bundled him into an unmarked vehicle and sped off. Itai’s whereabouts and the identities of those behind his kidnapping have remained unknown ever since.
“Every day I think that I’ll hear him coming through the gate,” continues Sheffra. “I think maybe I’ll see him on the news, or someone will send me a WhatsApp. These days my phone is always on, ready to receive news that Itai has been found. Maybe someone will phone, and he’ll be on the other end, or someone will give us information about where he is or tell us he’s on his way back. It’s hard to live like this, every day waiting to hear good news.”

AFRICAN ARGUMENTS

The season. Culminating into Christmas festivities; people celebrate and reflect the successes and failures of the year gone or going by, by  way of feasts and prayers.

Bulls, goats, chickens, pigs and sheep or all of them and sometimes at once are slaughtered. This is ‘MEAT-CURE‘ Season at its best and for a REASON. People joke about this and say you can only come across vegetables at your next door neighbor’s – around this time. 

People eat; drink, talk, sing and dance.

Little harmless verbal fights. Little harmless white  lies here and there. Catching up and harmless gossip are in order. There are also sideline activities; plots: engagements or and birthdays.

People constantly talk and hardly sleep; sometimes music blurring  uncontrollably and catatonic-ally on ‘fading and dying batteries’ throughout the night – and to be honest; this exhausts me a  lot though.

There are no open quarrels except if they are, they are communicated via hidden messages in songs and folktale, proverbs and metaphors. Communication is delicate, deliberate as it is loose due to alcohol consumed and weed smoked –  necessary tasks given the circumstances. This is one of the things so dear to me that I have missed for over – 20 -odd- years and counting. The thought of it alone sends my head into a spindle.

And often wonder allowed as to when I would one day visit the motherland Zimbabwe. I scratch my head often – only for my bare fingers to scratch over a bump, ‘dent on the middle of my head’ – a stuck reminder of how close I came close quarters with  death. This dent on my head:  left by a cocoa-cola bottle struck from one of Mr. Mugabe CIO agents. Challenging my lectures and my views on a current affairs programme I used to co-present on ZTV; Sundays.

On the Zimbabwe Television program. It was a Sunday evening current affairs program. I just happened to have been co opted onto presenting the program by the Head of Radio 4; Sam Munyavi. The editorial content comprised of simple question and answer sessions and general dialogue.

One fateful day though I drew the ire of the then minister of Environment and Tourism Francis Nhema. I queried the minister on the inflated fees for foreign tourists; that included ‘tourist price’ for things like transport, shopping and meals. I pointed out:

  1. I had lived in Kenya in the previous years; had seen how Kenya promoted tourism, including nominal fees and such
  2. Foreign tourists are arriving in droves simply because of President Chiluba’s land and business policy: “I don’t care whether a cat is black or white for as long as it catches the rats”
  3. And that South Africa had embarked on amicable and equitable redistribution of the land
  4. And that Nigeria had just offered Zimbabwean white commercial farmers land leases that span 90 – years if they chose to settle in Nigeria.

That query alone landed me the nickname: Mr. ‘Been-to’ although I would have rather Mr. Bantu.

It has taken me this long to face and accept the reality of my British-ness; and for Zimbabwe to remain a pipe- dream destination; probably as it should be.

In the beginning it used to get to my head and my dreams too.

I reminisce weekends of barbecues/braai KWA MEREKI – HARARE. Fake birthday parties from and among friends to attend to – excuses for PARTIES and having fun. That was grand.

But when mum went to be with the Lord on July, and realised still I couldn’t travel to Zimbabwe for the funeral – for the danger is still as real now as it was under Dictator Robert Mugabe. Imagine! 

My beloved aunt remarked recently: “By the time you visit Zimbabwe all the people would be gone. Dead!. That scared me. For it is the stuck reality.


The narrative

It doesn’t get any better. Thinking of my former graduate journalism student cum human rights activist Itai Dzamara who disappeared into ‘thin air’ from some hair salon downtown Harare; and in broad daylight.

He was abducted three years ago. He was getting a haircut one Monday morning in March 2016 when four men bundled him into an unmarked vehicle and sped off. Itai’s whereabouts and the identities of those behind his kidnapping have remained unknown ever since. 

Rumors has it that he was ‘murdered’, his body soaked in sulfuric acid and dumped in Lake Chivero/McIlwaine – 5 miles west of capital Harare. 

“Every day I think that I’ll hear him coming through the gate,” says Sheffra, his wife.

“I think maybe I’ll see him on the news, or someone will send me a WhatsApp. These days my phone is always on, ready to receive news that Itai has been found. Maybe someone will phone, and he’ll be on the other end, or someone will give us information about where he is or tell us he’s on his way back.

It’s hard to live like this, every day waiting to hear good news.”


And then there is the fateful Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

A Saudi Arabian journalist, dissident, author, and a former general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel and Columnist for Washington Post who was assassinated at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 by agents of the Saudi.  


The CIA has a recording of a phonecall in which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave instructions to “silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible”, a Turkish news website has reported.
Gina Haspel, CIA director, is said to have revealed the existence of a wiretapped call between Prince Mohammed and his brother Khaled bin Salman, who is Saudi’s ambassador to the US, to Turkish officials during a visit to Ankara last month, according to Hurriyet.
“It is said that the crown prince gave an instruction to silence JamalKhashoggi as soon as possible and this instruction was captured during the CIA wiretapping,” Hurriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi wrote on Thursday. “The subsequent murder is the ultimate confirmation of this instruction.”

The Telegraph

It sends shivers through my spine. My head goes into an ‘intoxicated’ like dangerous spin. Imagine a journalist; one so prominent at that; can be murdered in a Turkish consulate and nobody knows how it happened; and no knowledge of the whereabouts of his body so family can lay him to rest with respect.


And for President Trump to say ;

“Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said. “In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!”


And for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to say:


“It’s a mean, nasty world out there — the Middle East in particular,” Pompeo told reporters at the State Department. “There are important American interests to keep the American people safe, to protect Americans — not only Americans who are here, but Americans who are traveling and working, doing business in the Middle East. It is the president’s obligation, indeed the State Department’s duty as well, to ensure that we adopt policies that further America’s national security.”

All in front of a ‘dead body.’

Shame! It is a shame.

Shall we ever live in fear for as long as we remain trained and practising journalists?

Russia loses to South Korea’s Kim Jong-yang in bid to lead global police body Interpol


Interpol’s new president, Kim Jong Yang. He is from South Korea.
AP


|Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY|AIWA! NO!|LONDON – The global law-enforcement group Interpol elected South Korea’s Kim Jong-yang as its new president Wednesday. Kim’s election averts a crisis in the international police body because it thwarts efforts by Russia to lead Interpol.

The General Assembly is INTERPOL’s supreme governing body. Here's how it works.

The General Assembly is INTERPOL’s supreme governing body. Here’s how it works.

Kim was chosen by a vote among Interpol’s 194 member countries – every country in the world with the exception of North Korea – during a general assembly in Dubai. Kim, 57, will serve a two-year term.

Russian national Alexander Prokopchuck, a senior general who for the past 12 years has been the head of Moscow’s national Interpol bureau, part of Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, was widely tipped to win the post. Prokopchuck is close to the Kremlin and has been accused of routinely abusing Interpol’s Red Notice system – global arrest warrants –  to target critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

The prospect of a Russian sitting atop the international police organization raised red flags in Washington and among critics of the Kremlin who believed Putin would have further tried to aggressively influence Interpol to go after his political opponents. 

“I can’t imagine a more inappropriate person” for Interpol, Bill Browder, an American businessman and prominent Putin foe, told reporters in London on Tuesday, speaking of Prokopchuck. “And I can’t imagine a more inappropriate country.”

Browder is responsible for pushing successful congressional passage of the Magnitsky Act, which imposes sanctions against government officials who commit human-rights abuses. The Magnitsky Act was used recently to sanction 17 Saudi nationals accused of murdering the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It has also been used for sanctions against Russia for its actions supporting separatists in Ukraine. 

“It was his (Putin’s) government that organized a terrorist attack in the U.K. using chemical weapons in Salisbury. It was his government that shot down (commercial airliner) MH17 (over Ukraine), killing 298 innocent individuals. It was his government that cheated and hacked in elections in the United States and Europe,” Browder said.

“To put his representative in charge of the most important international crime-fighting organization (would be) like putting the mafia in charge.”

More: Meet one of Putin’s top enemies. He’s a guy from Chicago

Ahead of the vote, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss, Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Chris Coons, D-Del. and Marco Rubio, R-Fla. issued a statement in which they described Russia’s candidacy as “akin to putting a fox in charge of the henhouse.” 

“Russia routinely abuses Interpol for the purpose of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists,” the senators said. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “strongly” endorsed the South Korean candidate.

Kim’s elevation to the presidency comes in the wake of the disappearance of Meng Hongwei, a Chinese national who ran Lyon, France-based Interpol before vanishing in China in mysterious circumstances two months ago. Interpol said Hongwei resigned but his wife fears he is dead after being detained as part of a corruption crackdown.

“Our world is now facing unprecedented changes which present huge challenges to public security and safety,” Kim said Wednesday after his election. “To overcome them, we need a clear vision: we need to build a bridge to the future.”

Zimbabwe aims to undo some land grab mistakes, says minister

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa  aims to undo some land grab mistakes, says minister

Zimbabwe' unidentified farmers who were facing eviction from their farms which were targetted for seizure under controversial government land reforms walk into Harare's magistrate's court in 2008.
Zimbabwe’ unidentified farmers who were facing eviction from their farms which were targetted for seizure under controversial government land reforms walk into Harare’s magistrate’s court in 2008. 
Image: DESMOND KWANDE / AFP

|AIWA! NO!|Zimbabwe’s government has started a land audit to cut farm sizes, flush out multiple farm owners and correct some of the mistakes from its chaotic land reform programme. The effort is an attempt by the government to redress the damage caused by its land seizures that started in 2000.

Recently lands, agriculture, rural resettlement, water and climate minister Perrance Shiri said his country regrets some of the injustices of its land reform programme and is taking corrective measures, including compensating white farmers and working with them.

Analysts on Wednesday confirmed the move is a realisation by Zimbabwe’s government of the folly of forced land grabs.

An informal audit by authorities exposed irregularities in the allocation of farms, with children as young as 10 years old reportedly getting land.

Once seen as the bread basket of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe’s food production has plummeted, forcing it to import basic foodstuffs because of dire shortages of wheat, soya beans and other crops. The already desperate situation has been worsened by a huge budget deficit of $3bn (R41.94bn) and crippling shortages of foreign currency.

Agriculture accounts for 15% of Zimbabwe’s GDP and provides about 70% of its formal employment. Zimbabwe’s land reform resulted in a huge displacement of 6,000 white farmers, with about 300,000 black families benefiting.

But the programme has been abused by top Zanu-PF officials.

Former president Robert Mugabe reportedly owns at least 21 farms, which is against the government’s one-person-one-farm policy. His wife and children are also said to have benefited from the programme.

Addressing the senate in Harare, Shiri said the land audit will help flush out multiple farm owners. “The land commission is currently on the ground carrying out land audits where they want to establish the occupants, production levels as well as eliminate multiple farm ownership,” he said.

“The issue of the resizing of the farms to the recommended standards will be pursued in earnest. In a bid not to step on each other’s toes, our ministry officials are not currently pursuing the resizing of the farms up and until the completion of the land audit.”

Shiri said the land audit will also deal with ownership and boundary disputes.