Haiti's leaders marked the 201st anniversary of independence on Saturday while protesters demanded more help in this flood-ravaged city where political tensions still linger since a revolt ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. \nInterim President Boniface Alexandre urged Haitians to help pave the way for "free, honest, transparent and democratic elections" this year, addressing a restless crowd of about 200 in the northern city of Gonaives where the country's declaration of independence from slave-holding France was signed Jan. 1, 1804. \n"Haiti had 200 years of suffering, division and hatred," Alexandre said from a balcony in the city hall. "In 2005, we must not make our ancestors ashamed. We must all understand the problem is in us." \nEarlier, Alexandre and interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue listened to a church sermon while protesters outside the cathedral demanded that the US-backed interim government fulfill promises made in October to rebuild the battered city. \nThe crowed heckled Gonaives Mayor Calixte Valentin when he introduced Alexandre and other speakers, shouting "get out!" before settling down to listen to the interim president. Valentin later told The Associated Press he was considering resigning, saying he was frustrated about not having enough funds to meet people's demands. He didn't elaborate. \nHundreds are still homeless from September floods that killed at least 2,000 people and left another 900 missing and presumed dead. Piles of dried mud still block roads, agriculture is in ruins and half the city's schools have yet to reopen. \n"We're tired of the lies," said Barthelemy Dieu-Fils, a teacher. "They said there's money coming, but we don't see any money ... We can't live like this." \nLast year, bloody clashes between police and protesters in Gonaives and the capital of Port-au-Prince ruined Aristide's lavish bicentennial tribute to Haiti's independence as the world's first black republic. \nSouth African President Thabo Mbeki was among the few dignitaries who didn't cancel his appearance but left Gonaives prematurely amid security threats.
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
Former US vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he “should not have been so cavalier” after he told a radio host that African Americans who back US President Donald Trump “ain’t black.” In a call with the US Black Chamber of Commerce that was added to his public schedule, Biden said he would never “take the African American community for granted.” “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.” Biden faced criticism after his comments earlier on Friday on The Breakfast Club, a