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How Uganda’s election has been stacked against the pop star who would be president | World News

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Everyone in Uganda knows the country is going to the polls on Thursday.

Election signs and slogans have been plastered on just about every billboard and lamp post in the nation.

And everyone knows who is likely to win the presidency.

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Uganda’s police and military have made life extremely difficult for opposition parties

President Yoweri Museveni, who is seeking his sixth term, has got the state’s key agencies working hard to secure his victory.

The 76-year-old has the country’s electoral commission, which organises the vote, under his effective control, as well as the police and military, who have made life extremely difficult for Uganda‘s opposition parties.

His most prominent opponent, charismatic popstar turned politician Bobi Wine, has been attacked and arrested on multiple occasions and dozens of his supporters have been killed.

Journalists following Mr Wine have been tear-gassed, beaten and shot with rubber bullets.

Opposition groups depend on social media to communicate safely and securely. But this week the government moved to block all social media platforms.

Mr Museveni was particularly unhappy when Facebook deleted accounts belonging to government officials accused of attempting to manipulate public debate before election day.

In televised remarks he told the nation: “The government has closed social media… There’s no way anyone can come and play around with our country, to decide who is good [and] who is bad… we cannot accept that.”

President Yoweri Museveni
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President Yoweri Museveni is seeking a sixth term in power

In response, Bobi Wine – whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi – told Sky News that Uganda’s ruler was trying to shut his opponents down.

He said: “Taking on General Museveni [means] taking on the Ugandan police force, the Ugandan military, the bank of Uganda – all the institutions of state have been deployed against us to attack us with impunity, with brutality.

“There is no rule of law.”

Mr Wine was in a pensive mood as he circled the garden on his property outside the capital Kampala.

He said 92 polling agents from his National Unity Platform party had been arrested over the past week, making their efforts to observe the vote count far more difficult.

“[Our team] is calling us, informing us that agents are being arrested and that those coordinators are being picked up by the military and are being charged with recruiting rebels,” he said

Uganda election
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The country heads to the polls on Thursday

The 38-year old musician, who was raised in a slum, has given the president a run for his money in this election.

But the insurgent candidate said he does not expect the president to go quietly and that more violence could lie ahead.

“We are already seeing the events unfolding, as you must have seen, the military has been heavily deployed with heavy combat weapons, as if the nation of Uganda is under attack by a foreign aggressor,” he said.

“We expect more violence, but again, we expect more resistance.”

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Bitcoin ‘flash crash’ sees long positions worth $2bn closed by exchanges | Business News

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A so-called “flash crash” for Bitcoin over the weekend has wiped out positions worth $2bn and left market experts pondering whether a wider reset for value has set in.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency lost over a fifth of its value at one stage, taking the market capitalisation back below $1trn, after a broader flight from riskier assets kicked in on Friday.

Then, stock markets on Wall Street were among those hit in the wake of a weaker-than-expected report on the US labour market.

Experts also cited traditionally low trading volumes for crypto assets over weekends – a scenario that can exacerbate downward or positive value movements.

They said the weekend rout in Bitcoin‘s price and the amount invested in Bitcoin futures returned to levels last seen in October, just before a massive price surge that sent the token to an all-time high of $69,000.

The digital currency – which is no stranger to wild fluctuations in value – also started Monday on the back foot and was trading around the $47,000 mark on most exchanges.

Matt Dibb, from Singapore-based crypto fund distributor Stackfunds, said: “Our expectation is the rest of Q4 will be a hard month; we aren’t seeing the strength in bitcoin that we generally see after one of these crushing days.

“Leverage markets have been completely reset, and open interest within leverage markets has completely reset.”

Coinglass, the cryptocurrency futures trading and information platform, said that as prices fell on Saturday, investors who had bought bitcoin on margin saw exchanges close their positions, causing a cascade of selling.

A range of retail-focused exchanges closed more than $2bn of long bitcoin positions.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said of the plunge: “The cryptocurrency is highly sensitive to the fortunes of the stock market and traders were spooked by a stock sell off in the US, following some disappointing jobs figures.

“The sharp fall erased the last two months of gains, yet more evidence of the highly volatile nature of the asset.

“Crypto coins and tokens have been propelled higher in this era of ultra-cheap money and as speculation swirls about just when central banks will start further tightening mass bond buying programmes and start raising interest rates, they are likely to continue to be highly volatile.”

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Berlin techno music scene should be protected by Unesco world heritage status, say campaigners | World News

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DJs and music fans are hoping to secure Unesco world heritage status for Berlin’s techno culture amid ongoing fears it could struggle to survive.

Music fans from across the world still travel to the German capital to visit renowned clubs such as Tresor and Berghain – and a growing campaign is calling on the authorities to apply to Unesco to protect the countercultural genre.

Techno’s popularity grew in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall with abandoned sites such as power plants and factories providing the setting for clubbers to musically express their freedom.

Although still seen as the world capital for the music genre, there are fears the COVID pandemic and the rising value of the city’s real estate will threaten its existence.

Some estimates say around 100 clubs have closed in the last decade in a city which first adopted the techno sound after its emergence in Detroit in the 1980s.

Berlin’s creative scenes are the ‘city’s currency’

Detroit DJ, Alan Oldham, who is now based in Berlin, said recognition from Unesco would help to protect key venues.

He told the Observer: “Unesco protection would go a long way towards maintaining that old spirit.

“Legacy venues like Tresor and Berghain for example would be protected as cultural landmarks.

“So many venues have closed in just the seven years I’ve lived here full-time.

“In other cities, it would be the natural club cycle at work, but Berlin is a different kind of place, where the club and creative scenes are the currency of the city.”

Support has been growing for the campaign spearheaded by Berlin-based organisation Rave The Planet, which says the techno scene should be “protected by Unesco as an intangible cultural heritage”.

If Unesco status is granted, clubs would get extra protection under planning laws and there would also be access to subsidies and other funding.

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Omicron: Curve of COVID cases driven by new variant ‘much steeper’ than previous waves, professor warns | World News

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A curve of new COVID cases – driven by the Omicron variant – is “much steeper” than previous waves, the director of the Africa Health Research Institute has warned, as South Africa prepares its hospitals for more admissions.

Speaking to Sky News, Professor Willem Hanekom said: “The wave that we are in at the moment is much steeper than the curve was for previous waves.”

He said “reinfections seem to be more common during this wave so far,” which he said “suggests that the virus may resist some aspects of the immunity that we have to protect ourselves”.

Professor Willem Hanekom tells Sky News 'reinfections seem to be more common during this wave so far'
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Professor Willem Hanekom tells Sky News ‘reinfections seem to be more common during this wave so far’

Professor Hanekom explained that the profile of Omicron patients “seems to be slightly different,” in that younger people are becoming sick, especially those who have not been vaccinated.

But he said those who have been vaccinated “have been having a milder disease than one would anticipate”.

“So that is probably good news and a reason to go and get vaccinated, because it appears that the vaccine will still protect against severe disease and death,” he added.

South Africa is preparing its hospitals for more admissions as the Omicron variant pushes the country into its fourth wave of COVID-19 cases, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.

Daily infections surged last week to more than 16,000 on Friday, up from around 2,300 on Monday.

Mr Ramaphosa said Omicron appeared to account for the majority of new cases in most of the country’s nine provinces.

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Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that Nigeria will be added to the UK’s travel red list from Monday at 4am

“South Africa now has sufficient supplies of vaccines… vaccination is essential for our economic recovery because as more people are vaccinated more areas of economic activity will be opened up,” he said in a weekly newsletter.

Professor Hanekom echoed Mr Ramaphosa’s remarks, saying “virtually all the virus that we have in South Africa is now Omicron.”

He added: “But it appears as if the disease in those that have been vaccinated is relatively mild.

“So the message I think that needs to be out there is that if you can get vaccinated, you should get vaccinated.

“This is the best way to protect yourself against severe disease. So if you have access, for example, to the booster dose, go and get that booster dose.”

Mr Ramaphosa also said South Africa’s government will soon convene the National Coronavirus Command Council to review the state of the pandemic and consider whether further measures are needed to keep people safe.

“We are keeping a close eye on the rates of infection and hospitalisation,” he said.

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