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Uganda draws up new Draconian anti-LGBT law: activists

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Uganda’s ruling party has drawn up new anti-gay legislation and could push it through parliament before the end of the year, rights activists said Saturday.

The move comes nearly a year after Ugandan MPs passed a bill that would have seen gays face up to life in prison, only to see the bill struck down by the constitutional court on a technicality.

According to a leaked copy of the new draft bill, MPs have instead focussed on outlawing the “promotion” of homosexuality — something that activists said made it far more repressive and wide-reaching.

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“People don’t realise that the ‘promotion’ part of it will affect everybody,” prominent gay rights activist Frank Mugisha told AFP.

“If newspapers report about homosexuality it could be seen as promotion. My Twitter account could be seen as promotion. All human rights groups that include LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights defence in their activities could be accused of promotion.”

According to the draft, anyone convicted of promoting homosexuality would be liable to seven years in prison.

“We have confirmed that the draft comes from the cabinet. Their plan is to present it to parliament as soon as possible, before the end of the year,” Mugisha said.

“They have just twisted the language but it is the same thing. It’s actually worse because the ‘promotion’ part is harsher and it will punish the funding of LGBT and human rights groups,” he added.

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The new draft also outlaws “funding for purposes of promoting unnatural sexual practices” and “exhibiting unnatural sexual practices”, and deems consent invalid as a defence.

Mugisha said the revival of such legislation will also result in violence against gays.

“We will try as hard as possible to kill it before it is taken to parliament, because if the law gets to parliament it will be passed as soon as possible. Elections are coming, and the politicians want to be seen as fighting against this evil homosexuality,” he said.

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The government has not commented on the draft, although Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has been under pressure for several months from his own party to ensure that anti-gay legislation is passed.

Last month, however, Museveni — who signed off on the original bill — signalled he was having second thoughts. He argued the east African nation needed to consider the impact on trade and economic growth.

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Critics said Museveni signed the previous law to win domestic support ahead of a presidential election scheduled for 2016, which will be his 30th year in power.

Although very popular domestically, the previous law was branded draconian and “abominable” by rights groups and condemned by several key allies and donors including the European Union and United States.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda under a 1950s penal code which remains in force and prescribes jail for those found guilty of homosexual acts.

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Trump lawyer cites former GOP senator to discredit impeachment — but leaves out he supports convicting the president

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During the Senate impeachment trial on Monday, White House lawyer Robert Ray attempted to contrast the impeachment of President Donald Trump with that of President Richard Nixon, by arguing that unlike in the former case, Republicans came together with Democrats to call for removing Nixon. As part of the comparison, he brought up then-Rep. William Cohen, who went on to become a U.S. senator from Maine and Secretary of Defense for President Bill Clinton.

"Together these six Republicans made history," said Ray. "They did so with no sense of triumph and no fist bumps."

What Ray chose not to mention, however, is that Cohen has specifically weighed in on the Trump case, and said that he should be impeached and removed over the Ukraine scheme.

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There are 51 votes to approve calling witnesses in Trump impeachment trial: PBS

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After pieces of John Bolton's manuscript leaked to the press confirming President Donald Trump's bribery of Ukraine, Republicans have turned to support the witnesses they once opposed.

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) both voted against witnesses and were leaning against them until Bolton's manuscript was leaked to the press after it was turned over to the White House for approval.

PBS News Hour reporter Lisa Desjardins tweeted Monday evening that the news tipped the scales and there were officially 51 votes to approve witnesses.

https://twitter.com/LisaDNews/status/1221951089647538177

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‘Give me a break’: CNN analyst explains why Trump defense of Rudy Giuliani was terrible

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While the Senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump paused for a dinner break, CNN analysts responded to the White House's afternoon defense of the president was by blaming the Biden family.

Political commentator Gloria Borger noted that Trump lawyer, Eric Herschmann, going after former President Barack Obama just seemed desperate.

"Give me a break," she said. "What does that have to do with any of this right now? His defense boiled down to, 'He did it, so what? He did it. He was trying to root out corruption.' But if he was concerned about rooting out corruption, why haven't we seen more of that? His defense was, 'He had a reason to do it. It's OK. Therefore it was in the national interest.' This wasn't just about Joe Biden."

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