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New York Governor Cuomo resigns amid sexual harassment scandal

“You know me, I’m a New Yorker born and bred, I’m a fighter and my instinct is to fight through this controversy because I truly believe this is politically motivated.”

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The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has resigned Tuesday following months of  pressure amid mounting allegations of sexual harassment. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul took his place.

Cuomo, 63, maintained his innocence against serious allegations of sexual harassment detailed in a bombshell report released last week by the New York State Attorney General’s Office, describing the scandal as “politically motivated,” according to US media.

But he acknowledged making women uncomfortable with unwanted hugs, kisses and comments, portraying some highlighted encounters as the result of “generational or cultural” differences as he “didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.”

Cuomo, who previously appeared hellbent on staying in office, said he decided to step down because—with state lawmakers probing his impeachment and a growing number of high-profile figures calling for his resignation—“this situation by its current trajectory will generate months of political and legal controversy.”

“This is one of the most challenging times for government in a generation,” Cuomo said, explaining he believes “the best thing I can do now to help is step aside and let government get back to governing.”

The resignation will be effective in 14 days, Cuomo said, at which point he will be replaced by second-in-command Kathy Hochul, who will be the first woman to serve in the role and who said in a statement she agrees with Cuomo’s decision to step down.

“You know me, I’m a New Yorker born and bred, I’m a fighter and my instinct is to fight through this controversy because I truly believe this is politically motivated,” Cuomo said. “But when I took my oath as governor, then it changed. I became a fighter, but I became a fighter for you, and it is your best interest I serve.”

Cuomo and his personal attorney Rita Glavin disparaged the investigation overseen by New York Attorney General Letitia James and many of its key claims up until Cuomo’s resignation. Glavin held a press conference right before Cuomo’s announcement at which she attacked allegations from multiple accusers, including an aide, Brittany Commisso, who claims the governor groped her at the executive mansion last year. “This has not been a fair process. In fact, the governor has been given no process,” Glavin said.

The tide turned for Cuomo after New York Attorney General Letitia James released the findings of her five-month investigation into him last Tuesday. The governor had previously been publicly accused of sexual harassment by multiple aides, but this report backed up allegations from 11 different women, including current and former staffers, who claimed Cuomo acted inappropriately toward them through comments, unwanted touching and more.

Cuomo repeatedly and vehemently denied making inappropriate sexual advances toward any of the women, but nonetheless was met with mounting opposition and calls for his resignation, including from President Biden. The New York State Assembly expedited its impeachment investigation into Cuomo and planned to make a decision on whether to introduce articles of impeachment within the next few weeks.

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Politics

Farmajo names committee of inquiry to investigate disappearance of former spy Ikran Tahlil

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Somali president Mohamed Farmajo has appointing a five-member committee to investigate the disappearance of former spy agent Ikran Tahlil.

“I hereby appoint a five-Member Commission of inquiry Chaired by the Attorney-General and deputized by Head of Military Court to expedite investigations on the case of IKRAN TAHLIL and to hand over the findings and evidence to responsible legal institutions for the execution of Justice.”

In the presidential decree, Farmajo appointed the Attorney-General to lead the fact-finding mission. The Armed Forces Court Attorney General is also a member of the committee. The three committee members will be nominated later by the Somali Police Force Commander, the Commander of the Somali National Army and Col. Yasin Abdulahi Mohamud, his new appointee Director-General of the National Intelligence and Security Agency.

The statement added that Ikran’s case was a “sensitive one that needs a thorough investigation.”

Farmajo instructed the commission to submit its investigative reports to the relevant authorities, although there will undoubtedly be demands to make the findings of any report public. There will also likely be apprehension to Somalia’s intelligence agency being a part of the investigation. Many lawmakers have called on an independent inquiry into Ikran’s murder.

Farmajo declared that the decree came into effect immediately after he signed it.

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Politics

Qorqor and Laftagareen try to bring Farmajo and Roble together

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The presidents of Galmudug, Ahmed Abdi Karie Qoor Qoor his South West State counterpart and Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed Laftagareen have taken the role of mediators to find a solution the wrangle between President Mohamed Farmajo and his Prime Minister Mohamed Roble.

The two  met with Farmajo and Roble separately, and urged both parties to refrain from further action that would escalate the tense situation.

Reports indicate that the president and the prime minister have accepted the mediation, although each has developed conditions attached to the talks.

Prime Minister Roble insisted that Commander Bashir Goobe was the commander of NISA, and President Farmajo emphasized that the steps taken by the Prime Minister were invalid.

The meeting is expected to continue on Friday. The two presidents are hopeful that the two top officials will finally be reconciled so that their differences do not affect the election process.

The intervention comes amidst heightened political tensions between Farmajo and Roble which could threaten the fragile security of the Horn of Africa nation.

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Politics

Finland swears-in its first Somali-born member of parliament

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Suldaan Said Ahmed has been officially sworn in as a Member of Parliament, becoming Finland’s first Somali-background MP, according to Finnish news oulrt Yle News.

The Helsinki city councillor replaces party colleague and outgoing MP Paavo Arhinmäki (Left), who left Parliament to take up a role as Helsinki Deputy Mayor.

Said Ahmed told Yle News that he still “cannot quite believe” he is now an MP.

“If someone had told the refugee-background, single-mother raised, teenage Suldaan, that you would one day become a Finnish legislator, I would not have believed it,” he said.

“There were no people like me in Parliament when I was growing up.”

He added that he intends to help “build a better Finland” during his time in Parliament.

“I want a Finland where every young person, regardless of their background or starting point, can pursue their dreams. I hope that my selection here will send a message to young people that anything is possible,” he added.

Said Ahmed and two other incoming MPs — Atte Kaleva (NCP) and Jari Kinnunen (NCP) — were officially announced as Members of Parliament by parliamentary speaker Anu Vehviläinen (Cen) at a plenary session on Thursday afternoon.

Kaleva and Kinnunen are replacing party colleagues Anna-Kaisa Ikonen and Juhana Vartiainen, who became mayors of Tampere and Helsinki respectively.

Said Ahmed was born in Somalia in 1993 and moved to Finland in 2008. He was elected to Helsinki City Council at the municipal elections in 2017, garnering over 1,000 votes, and was re-elected to the council at the last municipal election in June, increasing his vote count to 1,634.

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