What’s The Latest News Abroad & Home This Week?

Monday, August 15, 2011
By ugandansabroad


Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) forensics lab. Photograph by ICE.

Compiled By Ugandans Abroad Staff

-Employer Crackdown on Undocumented Workers.   More than 2,300 U.S. companies have been audited this year by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, to see if they have been employing undocumented workers, the Wall Street Journal reported

Chiplote Mexican Grill, for instance, recently laid off 450 undocumented employees after being audited.  The audits have forced many undocumented workers further underground.

-U.S. Community Meetings Scheduled On Secure Communites Program.  The Security Communities Program,  a federal task force that lets immgration authorities access the fingerprints of people who have been arrested, is holding a Los Angles community meeting to hearing from immigrants and advocates.  Other similar community meetings have been scheduled after Immigration and Customs Enforcement has told state governments that the program is mandatory, despite many refusing to get involved with the program, the Washington Post reported.

Some of Security Communities’ critics say many of the undocumented immigrants arrested have not committed criminal acts, and immigration enforcement should focus on violent offenders.  The program was initially voluntary.

“The recent actions constitute a crisis not only for our civil rights but our democracy as a whole,” said Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer’s Organizing Network, according to reporting by the Huffington Post.  “Governments cannot rule by decree.”

Kenyans Living Abroad Have Opportunity For Absentee Ballot.   A bill in Parliament could allow Kenyans living in the diaspora to vote next year during the Kenyan presidential elections, Capital FM reported.  About 3 million Kenyans live abroad in the diaspora.

-The U.N. is investigating whether aid for famine victims is being stolen and sold in markets, the Daily Mercury reported.  The Security Council has called on governments to meet a $2.4 USD billion appeal to cope with drought in East Africa.  The U.N. World Food Program said it would suspend any parties responsible that work with the agency.  A special force has also been set up to protect food and distribution to starving people.

-Mabira Controvesy.   President Museveni said he would allow  a public-private sugar corporation to farm 7,100 hectares of old-growth forest  for sugarcane, Reuters Africa reported.    The Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL) is owned by the Ugandan government and Indian privatei nvestors.  Mabira Forest has about 30,000 hectares of old-growth forest, and is home to many rare monkeys, birds, butterflies, and shrubs used for medicine.  In April 2007, the government attempted to give the land away for sugar farming, triggering demonstrations that lead to the death of three people and many injuries. 

Butterflies in Mabira Forest. Photograph by Tom Tarrant.

Tamale Mirundi, the spokesperson for President Museveni, said that part of the forest has been degraded and can be used for development. 

 However, during a government-organized trip for journalists of the area, guides were unable to find degraded parts of the forest to show reporters after 90 minutes of searching, and National Foret Authority officials called off the hunt for degraded areas, the Daily Monitor reported.

“The parts that I passed I could see some free and bare places at a distance,” said Flavia Nabugere, the minister of Environment, who was nearby at the Colline Hotel, to the Daily Monitor. “If a nation is to develop, it must exploit the environment.

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