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TIMBUKTU

Swedish rapper confused by Trump-loving black uncle

The Swedish hip hop artist Timbuktu has discovered to his horror that his much-loved African American uncle has become an avid campaigner for US presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

Swedish rapper confused by Trump-loving black uncle
Jason Diakité's uncle Obi is standing to the far right of the picture. Photo: AP/TT
The rapper, who has ambitions to enter politics with one of Sweden’s three four left-wing parties, spotted his uncle Obi standing behind Trump wearing a baseball cap with the slogan “Make America great again” during a Washington press conference broadcast on CNN. 
 
”As soon as Trump delivered his punchline, my uncle and the little huddle of men and women around him started to applaud,” the rapper, whose real name is Jason Diakité, wrote in an article in Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter newspaper. “God Damn! Uncle Obi! Behind Trump!”
 
Diakité’s father, the US-born documentary filmmaker and human rights lawyer Madubuko Diakité, settled in Lund, Sweden in 1968,  after marring a Swedish woman. But his uncle stayed in the US, managing to put his two children through college by working as a bus driver in Baltimore.  
 
In his article, Diakité said he had challenged his uncle when he rung up for a family call.  
 
”Yes, that’s completely right,” Diakité quoted his uncle saying in the article. “I’m ideally working sixteen hours a day for the campaign now.” 
 
His uncle explained that he had been drawn to Trump because of his pledge to support US veterans, many of which are homeless in his area. 
 
”I did not want to row with my uncle over politics, especially not over the telephone, because we hardly ever talk,” Diakité continued in the article. 
 
 
“I listened to him talk, I listened, but I still couldn’t comprehend how an older black man, who like his wife worked as a bus driver for most of his life, and managed to get four children through college, could vote Trump.” 
 
Diakité, 41, broke through in Sweden in the 1990s, and was one of it’s most successful artists throughout the 2000s. 
 
He has recently released a book, “En droppe midnatt” or “a drop of midnight” which interweaves his own family history with the history of black people in America and in Sweden. 
 
Below is a picture of Diakité performing at this summer's Bråvalla festival in Sweden. 
 

NORWEGIAN

Norwegian to slash staff by half in wake of Trump travel ban

Norwegian Air Shuttle said on Thursday it would temporarily lay off up to half its staff, following the US travel ban and the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Norwegian to slash staff by half in wake of Trump travel ban
A Boeing 737 33-S operated by Norwegian landing at Oslo's Gardermoen Airport. Photo: Erlend Aas/ NTB Scanpix/AFP
“The new restrictions imposed further pressure on an already difficult situation,” Jacob Schram, CEO of Norwegian, said in a statement, referring to the 30-day travel ban from Europe to the US introduced by US president Donald Trump.
   
“Due to the extraordinary market situation as a result of the coronavirus… we must look at all possible measures to reduce costs,” the company said in a statement.
   
“This unfortunately also includes temporary lay-offs of up to 50 percent of our employees and the number may increase,” it added, confirming the staff would be let go.
 
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The low-cost carrier also said it was cancelling more than 4,000 flights, including 3,000 already announced on Tuesday.
   
“We do not rule out that others may follow,” airline spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen told AFP. “The situation is changing from minute to minute,” he told AFP.
   
According to the airline, about 40 percent of its long-haul fleet would be grounded as it was cancelling the majority of flights from European airports to the US.
   
The company said it would continue to operate flights between London — which is excluded from the travel ban — and the US, and hoped to re-route as many of its passengers as possible.
   
Norwegian, which has been in deficit for three years and is heavily indebted due to an ambitious expansion policy, especially in long-haul flights, has been plummeting on the Oslo Stock Exchange.
   
On Thursday, after the announcement by the US president, the share fell by 22 percent. The stock has fallen by over 80 percent in the last month.
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