The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

January 4, 2023

Associated Press: FBI Arrives in Sudan for Diplomat Death. The body of an American diplomat gunned down in Khartoum was placed aboard a jet Thursday for a flight out of the country, and FBI agents arrived to investigate his slaying, U.S. Embassy officials said. Washington had earlier said it would be sending officials from the FBI and the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security to determine who was responsible for the killing of John Granville, of Buffalo, N.Y. "The FBI team is there working closely with local authorities and the diplomatic security team," said Walter Braunohler, a public affairs officer at the embassy in Khartoum. Granville's body was taken in a large convoy from the hospital, where he was sent after the shooting, to the airport where the flag-draped coffin was loaded onto a KLM airliner in the presence of acting Charge d'Affaires Roberto Powers. Embassy officials refused to say where his body was being flown. Granville, an official for the U.S. Agency for International Development, was being driven home about 4 a.m. Tuesday when another vehicle cut off his car and opened fire before fleeing the scene, the Interior Ministry said. The driver, Abdel-Rahman Abbas, was also killed. Granville, who was hit by five bullets but initially survived, died after surgery, the embassy said.

The following editorial appeared in today's San Antonio Express-News.

Move forward with Sudan divestment

President Bush signed the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act on New Year's Eve. In doing so, he ended uncertainty about efforts to divest from companies that abet genocidal policies in Darfur, including speculation the president might try to exercise a pocket veto during the congressional winter recess.

The measure, which passed by overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress, gives legal cover to state and municipal authorities that want to sell off investments in a handful of companies identified as corporate accomplices of the Sudanese government. It also bars federal contracts with them. Those companies are foreign, since U.S. law prohibits most American companies from conducting business in Sudan.

Texas is one of 22 states that have adopted Sudan divestment policies in recent years. During last year's legislative session, lawmakers passed a measure directing the trustees of the Employees Retirement System of Texas and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas to divest targeted stocks. That law took effect Jan. 1.

However, some of the trustees of the two funds have shown derision bordering on defiance at the lawmakers' directive. "Those funds belong to the state," ERS Chairman Bill Ceverha told the Express-News. "They belong to the employees and retirees, and they want to see the best results."

The public best knows Ceverha as the state official who, for the purposes of ethics disclosure, holds that the word "check" — and nothing more — is sufficient to describe two $50,000 gifts he received.

The first response to the chairman and trustees of a similar mind is that state senators and representatives who make laws in Texas are elected. The trustees of the retirement funds are appointed — in Ceverha's case, by House Speaker Tom Craddick. The notion may seem quaint to Ceverha, but the will of the people as expressed though the Legislature surely outweighs his narrow agenda.

The second response is that the investment universe consists of more than 8,000 stocks listed on American exchanges. If the trustees of the Employees Retirement System and the Teacher Retirement System are incapable of achieving the best results without the stock of a dozen or so foreign companies in their portfolios, then it may be time to consider some new appointments.

The Darfur Daily News is a service of the Save Darfur Coalition.  To subscribe to the Daily News, please email [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Roberts at (202) 478-6181, or [email protected].


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