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Sewell Joins Obama at Africa Leaders Summit

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, August 5, Congresswoman Terri Sewell attended the Africa Leaders Summit at the White House.

Congresswoman Sewell said in a statement on Facebook, “It was my honor and pleasure to attend the U.S./Africa Leaders Summit at the White House. I was pleased to see President Obama speak, as well as meet with Mayor Bell and Mrs. Bell, Leader Pelosi, Susan Rice, and other Members of Congress. I hope America’s relationship with African countries can grow for the benefit of Americans and Africans alike.”

Lionel Richie was the entertainment at Tuesday night’s U.S./Africa Leaders Summit dinner at the White House state dinner that featured more than 400 guests.

President Obama said, “I do not see the countries and peoples of Africa as a world apart; I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world – partners with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children. That partnership must be grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect.”

President Obama welcomed the leaders from across the African continent to the nation’s capital for a three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.  The Summit was the largest event any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government and built on the President’s trip to Africa in the summer of 2013 and aimed to strengthen ties between the United States and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing regions. According to the White House, the August 4-6 Summit advanced the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa and highlighted America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.

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According to the White House, throughout the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, African leaders had the opportunity to engage with President Obama, his Cabinet members, and other key leaders, including business executives from the U.S. and Africa, Members of Congress, and members of civil society.

The discussions centered on how to encourage progress in key areas that Africans define as critical for the future of the continent: expanding trade and investment ties, engaging young African leaders, promoting inclusive sustainable development, expanding cooperation on peace and security, and gaining a better future for Africa’s next generation.

President Obama invited all African heads of state or government in good standing with the United States and the African Union to attend the U.S./Africa Leaders Summit. An invitation was also extended to the African Union Chairperson.  There were various African delegations in attendance including: the Algeria Delegation was headed by Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal; the Angola Delegation was headed by Vice President Manuel Domingos Vicente; the Benin Delegation was headed by President Boni Yayi; the Botswana Delegation was headed by Foreign Minister PhAndu Tombola Chanda Skelemani; the Burkina Faso: Delegation was headed by President Blaise Compaore; the Burundi Delegation was headed by President Pierre Nkurunziza; the Cabo Verde Delegation was headed by President Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca; the Cameroon Delegation was headed by President Paul Biya; the Chad Delegation was headed by President Idriss Deby Itno; the Comoros Delegation was headed by President Ikililou Dhoinine; the Cote d’Ivoire Delegation was headed by Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan; the Democratic Republic of the Congo Delegation was headed by President Joseph Kabila Kabange; the Djibouti: Delegation was headed by President Ismail Omar Guelleh; the Egypt: Delegation headed by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab; the Equatorial Guinea Delegation was headed by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo; the Ethiopia Delegation was headed by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe; the Gabon Delegation was headed by President Ali Bongo Ondimba; the Ghana Delegation was headed by President John Dramani Mahama; the Guinea Delegation was headed by President Alpha Condé; the Guinea Bissau Delegation was headed by President Jose Mario Vaz; the Kenya Delegation headed by President Uhuru Kenyatta; the Lesotho: Delegation was headed by Prime Minister Motsoahae Thomas Thabane; the Liberia: Delegation headed by Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Sr.; the Libya Delegation was headed by Prime Minister Abdalla Alteni; the Madagascar Delegation was headed by President Hery Rajaonarimampianina; the Malawi Delegation was headed by President Arthur Peter Mutharika; the Mali Delegation was headed by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita; the Mauritania Delegation was headed by President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz; the Mauritius Delegation was headed by Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam; the Morocco Delegation was headed by Prime Minister Abdel-Ilah Benkiran; the Mozambique Delegation was headed by President Armando Emílio Guebuza; the Namibia Delegation was headed by President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba; the Niger Delegation was headed by President Issoufou Mahamadou; the Nigeria Delegation headed by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan; the Republic of the Congo Delegation was headed by President Denis Sassou-Nguesso; the Rwanda: Delegation was headed by President Paul Kagame; the São Tomé and Príncipe Delegation was headed by Prime Minister Gabriel Arcanjo Ferreira da Costa; the Senegal Delegation was headed by President Macky Sall; the Seychelles Delegation was headed by President James Alix Michel; the Sierra Leone Delegation was headed by Foreign Minister Samura Kamara; the Somalia Delegation was headed by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud; the South Africa Delegation was headed by President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma; the South Sudan Delegation was headed by President Salva Kiir Mayardit; the Swaziland Delegation headed by King Mswati III; the Tanzania Delegation headed by President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete; the Gambia: Delegation headed by President Alhaji Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh; the Togo Delegation was headed by President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé; the Tunisia Delegation headed by President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki; the Uganda: Delegation headed by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni; and the Zambia Delegation was headed by Vice President Guy Scott.

President Obama pledged $33 billion in aid to African countries in coming years.

Public Service Announcement

Congresswoman Terri Sewell represents Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.  Sewell is seeking a third term in the Congress.  She has won the Democratic Primary and has no Republican opponent in November.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Health

Vaccines should protect against mutated strains of coronavirus

Public health experts say it will be some time before vaccines are available to the wider public.

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Multiple vaccines for COVID-19 are in clinical trials, and one has already applied for emergency use authorization, but how good will those vaccines be against a mutating coronavirus? A UAB doctor says they’ll do just fine. 

Dr. Rachael Lee, UAB’s hospital epidemiologist, told reporters earlier this week that there have been small genetic mutations in COVID-19. What researchers are seeing in the virus here is slightly different than what’s seen in the virus in China, she said. 

“But luckily the way that these vaccines have been created, specifically the mRNA vaccines, is an area that is the same for all of these viruses,” Lee said, referring to the new type of vaccine known as mRNA, which uses genetic material, rather than a weakened or inactive germ, to trigger an immune response. 

The U.S. Food And Drug Administration is to review the drug company Pfizer’s vaccine on Dec. 10. Pfizer’s vaccine is an mRNA vaccine, as is a vaccine produced by the drug maker Moderna, which is expected to also soon apply for emergency use approval. 

“I think that is incredibly good news, that even though we may see some slight mutations,  we should have a vaccine that should cover all of those different mutations,” Lee said. 

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Wisconsin-Madison found in a recent study, published in the journal Science, that COVID-19 has mutated in ways that make it spread much more easily, but the mutation may also make it more susceptible to vaccines. 

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In a separate study, researchers with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation found that while most vaccines were modeled after an earlier strain of COVID-19, they found no evidence that the vaccines wouldn’t provide the same immunity response for the new, more dominant strain. 

“This brings the world one step closer to a safe and effective vaccine to protect people and save lives,” said CSIRO chief executive Dr. Larry Marshall, according to Science Daily

While it may not be long before vaccines begin to be shipped to states, public health experts warn it will be some time before vaccines are available to the wider public. Scarce supplies at first will be allocated for those at greatest risk, including health care workers who are regularly exposed to coronavirus patients, and the elderly and ill. 

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, speaking to APR last week, urged the public to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing for many more months, as the department works to make the vaccines more widely available.

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“Just because the first shots are rolling out doesn’t mean it’s time to stop doing everything we’ve been trying to get people to do for months. It’s not going to be widely available for a little while,” Harris said.

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News

Tuberville looks forward to public service “probably for the rest of my life”

Tuberville’s term as senator will begin on Jan. 3 when the 117th Congress is sworn in.

Brandon Moseley

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Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville during an interview with Sean Spicer on Newsmax.

U.S. Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, told Newsmax’s Sean Spicer that he looks forward to the opportunity to give back to this country.

“After winning this and after being up here a couple of weeks and seeing how much of a difference we have made just to this point in the Senate has been gratifying,” Tuberville said. “I look forward to doing public service probably for the rest of my life.”

Tuberville said that he was 18 years old when the Vietnam War was coming to a close and then got into coaching so never served in the military and looks forward to the opportunity to give back to the country.

“As I went around the state of Alabama for those two years though I learned the respect of the people and how much that they want this country to remain the United States of America that we know and grew up in to go by the Constitution and those things. As I went through the campaign I got more and more fond of that I want to give back,” Tuberville said.

“I never served, I never gave back, but God was so good to me and my wife my family,” Tuberville said. “Giving back means so much to me after I was given so much for many, many years.”

Tuberville said that education will be a priority for him, getting education back to fundamentals like reading, writing, history and math. Tuberville said that unless the country gets back to fundamentals in education, “This country is not going to make it. We have got to get back to fundamentals and we are getting farther and farther every day.”

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Tuberville was the only Republican on Nov. 3 to defeat an incumbent Senate Democrat when he unseated Sen. Doug Jones.

“I want to be the voice for the people of Alabama,” Tuberville explained. “The previous Senator was a voice for his party, the Democratic party.”

Tuberville, a career college football coach, reiterated his position that we should play sports and send kids back to school despite the coronavirus global pandemic.

“I think we are doing a lot better in sports than we are doing in a lot of other areas,” Tuberville said. “I was keeping my fingers crossed back in August that we would let our young kids go play high school sports, number one, and then we get into college sports. There are so many people throwing negatives on why we should not do that. But I can tell you, you can see many more positives if we go back to school and we play sports. It’s important that we attack this virus as it has been attacking us. If it gives us an inch, we gotta take it.”

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Tuberville reiterated his opposition to shutting down restaurants, schools and businesses to fight the virus.

“We have to get back to everyday life,” Tuberville said. “You can’t keep shutting people down. Freedom is a power that we have. A power that we have earned because of our forefathers. We can’t give that up.”

Tuberville is an Arkansas native. He was the head football coach at Auburn University where he won an SEC championship, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, and Cincinnati. Prior to that, he was a national championship defensive coordinator at the University of Miami. He was also the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M.

Tuberville’s term as senator will begin on Jan. 3 when the 117th Congress is sworn in.

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National

UAB cancels third game

The only remaining game on UAB’s schedule is a game at Rice on Dec. 12.

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The UAB Department of Athletics on Thursday announced that it is canceling its final home game of the season. UAB was scheduled to play Southern Mississippi on Friday at Legion Field, but the game was canceled due to continuing problems with COVID-19.

UAB has said that it will “continue to work with Conference USA on the remaining regular-season schedule.”

The only remaining game on UAB’s schedule is a game at Rice on Dec. 12.

UAB currently has a record of just four wins and three losses.

A win at Rice would guarantee the Blazers a winning season, but in this COVID altered season, a four and three or four and four record is probably good enough to be bowl eligible.

Southern Miss has had a dreadful season. They are two and seven and have two remaining games, against UTEP and Florida Atlantic. Both of those games were postponed from earlier in the season.

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Unless the season is extended a week to the 19th, there is no way for UAB and Southern Miss to make up the canceled game.

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News

Official state Christmas tree was delivered

The approximately 35-foot tree will be displayed on the front steps of the state Capitol building.

Brandon Moseley

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The 2016 state Christmas tree in front of the state Capitol.

Alabama’s official Christmas Tree was delivered to the state Capitol this week.

This year’s tree was donated by Robbins Taylor Sr. It is an Eastern Red Cedar that was grown in Letohatchee, Alabama.

The approximately 35-foot tree will be displayed on the front steps of the state Capitol building.

The tree will be adorned with lights and decorations ahead of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 4. Gov. Ivey’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Capitol in Montgomery.

Alabama became the first state in the nation to make Christmas an official government holiday in 1836. Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.

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