The White Zulu has Fallen: South Africa Mourns Singer Johnny Clegg

South African musician Johnny Clegg, who was one of the loudest voices in pop during the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s, has died at age 66 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  The “White Zulu” — so named for his use of indigenous South African music and dance — is being widely mourned in South Africa. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
 

The White Zulu has Fallen: South Africa Mourns Singer Johnny Clegg

South African musician Johnny Clegg, who was one of the loudest voices in pop during the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s, has died at age 66 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  The “White Zulu” — so named for his use of indigenous South African music and dance — is being widely mourned in South Africa. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
 

Living and Dying in Battle for Libya’s Capital

As Libya’s two rival governments fight for control of the capital, Tripoli, airstrikes and artillery fire continue to batter the city. Nearly 1,100 people have died and more than 100,000 have been displaced by the war. As VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Tripoli, officials say if the fighting does not slow down, the country is headed toward “disaster.”
 

Living and Dying in Battle for Libya’s Capital

As Libya’s two rival governments fight for control of the capital, Tripoli, airstrikes and artillery fire continue to batter the city. Nearly 1,100 people have died and more than 100,000 have been displaced by the war. As VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Tripoli, officials say if the fighting does not slow down, the country is headed toward “disaster.”
 

3 Charged in Killing of Maltese Journalist

VALLETTA, MALTA — Three suspects were formally charged this week in the 2017 slaying of Maltese anti-corruption journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia. 
 
Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio and Vince Muscat, all in their 50s, were arrested in December 2017. The Justice Ministry’s confirmation of the charges, which allows a trial to be held, came Tuesday, days before a 20-month deadline. 
 
The public prosecutor now has another 20 months to set a date for the trial, which legal experts said might not take place for years. 
 
Late last week, the government of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, at the recommendation of the Council of Europe, said it would create a public commission of inquiry within two months that would investigate whether the Oct. 16, 2017, attack could have been prevented. 
 
Caruana Galizia, described as a “one-woman WikiLeaks,” was responsible for a number of corruption exposes targeting both Muscat and opposition figures. 
 
In the wake of the killing, Malta asked American and Dutch experts to help in the probe. 
 
After her death, her sons demanded Muscat’s resignation, accusing him of surrounding himself with crooks, creating a culture of impunity and turning the tiny Mediterranean state into a “mafia island.” 

US House Passes $15 an Hour Minimum Wage

House lawmakers voted Wednesday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

In a vote that mostly followed party lines, House members passed the Raise The Wage Act, the first minimum wage increase since 2009. The measure has not yet come up in the Senate. The bill would more than double the national minimum wage over the next 6 years, a marked increase from the current $7.25 federal minimum wage.

The bill would also raise the minimum wage for tipped employees to the same level from the current $2.13 an hour.

In the 231-to-199 vote, three Republican representatives joined the majority and voted for the bill, while six Democrats voted against it.

“This is about workers, it’s about their economic and financial security and today is a bright day because it affects so many people in our country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters at a news conference.

Skepticism

While the vote was nearly unanimous by Democrats, some members were skeptical.

Democrats Tom O’Halleran of Arizona and Stephanie Murphy of Florida introduced an amendment that would mandate the Government Accountability Office to track the bill’s effects and report to the House before the entire wage increase is implemented. It passed 248-181.

Republican lawmakers voiced sharp opposition, arguing it will stifle economic growth.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said that the bill would “eviscerate millions of American jobs,” referencing a report by the Congressional Budget Office that projected between 1 million and 3 million Americans could lose their jobs if the bill were to become law. 

The CBO also predicted that the bill would give over 30 million Americans raises, lifting 1 million from poverty.

In the Republican-controlled Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell questioned why the Senate would “depress the economy at a time of economic boom,” in an interview with the Fox Business Network, indicating that he would not bring the bill for a vote.
 

Pompeo: China’s Mistreatment of Muslim Minority Is ‘Stain of the Century’ 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that China’s mistreatment of its Uighur Muslim minority had created one of the most significant human rights crises in contemporary world history. 
 
Speaking at a conference on religious freedom in Washington, Pompeo said, “China is home to one of the worst human rights crises of our time” and that “it is truly the stain of the century.” 
 
The nation’s top diplomat also accused Chinese government officials of intimidating countries to keep them from attending the conference and said the U.S. had “taken note” of the countries that succumbed to China. While not naming them, Pompeo urged the countries to “find the courage” to stand up to China. 
 
Pompeo said earlier this week that representatives of more than 100 countries would attend the three-day conference that ends Thursday, but a State Department spokesman could not confirm the number. 
 
“We know the Chinese government called countries specifically to discourage participation,” the spokesman said, but “we cannot prove the exact number they successfully impacted.”

FILE – Uighurs and their supporters protest in front of the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations in New York, March 15, 2018.

The Chinese government has dismissed accusations it violated rights to religious freedom. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a Beijing news briefing Thursday that “this situation of so-called religious persecution does not exist.”  
 
Lu also said China “demand[s] that the United States correctly view China’s religious policies and the status of religious freedom in China, and stop using the issue of religion to interfere in other countries’ affairs.” 
 
U.N. experts and activists contend China has placed at least 1 million ethnic Uighurs in detention centers. Nearly two dozen countries on the U.N. Human Rights Council earlier this month called on China to stop its persecution of Uighurs in the country’s western Xinjiang region. 
 
The U.S. has been considering sanctions against Chinese officials over their policies in Xinjiang but has yet to impose them amid Chinese threats of retaliation. 
 
U.S.-China relations are already tense because of a trade war between the world powers. 

Pence offers solidarity
 
Vice President Mike Pence also addressed the conference, telling attendees that U.S. trade talks with China would not influence America’s commitment to religious freedom in the East Asian country. 
 
“Whatever comes of our negotiations with Beijing, you can be assured that the American people will stand in solidarity with people of all faiths in the People’s Republic of China,” he said. 

Pence, offering rare criticism of U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, also called on the kingdom to release jailed blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for insulting Islam. 
 
Pence also demanded the release of detained religious dissidents in Eritrea, Mauritania and Pakistan and vowed the U.S. would press for religious freedom in North Korea amid efforts to denuclearize the country. 

Метеорологи зафіксували перший антирекорд літа у Києві

Центральна геофізична обсерваторія імені Бориса Срезневського повідомляє, що зафіксувала перший температурний антирекорд цього літа в Києві.

«Завдяки тривалому зниженню температури повітря у Києві, яка з 9 липня є нижчою за кліматичну норму, у середу температура води у Дніпрі в межах Києва вперше після 27 травня стала нижчою за +20,0°С. За даними спостережень гідрологічної станції Центральної геофізичної обсерваторії імені Бориса Срезневського, 17 липня середньодобова температура води була +19,8°С і продовжує знижуватись», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Раніше в обсерваторії повідомляли, що цьогорічний червень у Києві став найтеплішим із 1881 року.