Africanews RSS free and in real-time all news published by, by subscribing to our RSS feeds.Fri, 18 Sep 2020 20:09:04 +0000NBA: Giannis Antetokounmpo wins MVP for second consecutive year Antetokounmpo is fast becoming an NBA legend. The Greek basketball player of Nigerian descent has been crowned with the most valuable player award for a second consecutive year. At just 25, he's the 12th player in history to win the award twice in a row. The Bucks forward, nicknamed "The Greek Freak" also won the Defensive Player of the Year title in the same season. Only 2 others before him accomplished the same feat: Nigerian Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994 and Michael Jordan, in 1988. He's also ahead in rankings of current titans Lebron James and James Harden. The award softens the blow since the Bucks were eliminated in the semi-finals against Miami Heat. But he will have to wait a little longer to rise to the ranks of his Bucks predecessor Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who won MVPs 2 years in a row and led his team to its first NBA championship in 1971.  Fri, 18 Sep 2020 20:09:04 +0000editorial@africanews.com Union urges Mali junta to restore civilian rule African Union urged Mali's military junta to quickly appoint civilian leaders to manage an 18-month transition towards elections following last month's coup. Smail Chergui, the AU's peace and security commissioner, said on Twitter Thursday night that he was calling "for a return to constitutional order and early civilian-led transition in Mali" and called for the toppled President Keita's release.  A separate Twitter post from the official AU Peace and Security Department account said it backed ECOWAS' call for an 18-month civilian transition. The AU announced the day after the August 18 putsch that it was suspending Mali until constitutional order was restored.  The junta met with West African leaders in Ghana this week.  Though ECOWAS and the junta did not resolve a key issue of whether soldiers of civilians will lead the transition. The Ecowas bloc said it would lift sanctions if it installed a civilian-led government in days. Colonel Ismael Wague said after the talks ECOWAS could implement a total embargo if it fails to do so. That would hit the country with an already bruised economy even harder. But Wague made clear the junta would prefer the transition be run by the military. Fri, 18 Sep 2020 19:45:15 +0000editorial@africanews.com Bids Adieu to Moussa Traoré with a State Funeral in His Honour held a state funeral on Friday for ex-dictator Moussa Traoré who recently passed away at 83 on September 15th and was in power for 22 years after instigating a coup as a young lieutenant in 1968 that ousted Modibo Keita, the nation’s first president following independence in 1960 from coloniser France. In attendance, along with other former leaders of the Sahel state, was the head of the National Committee of the Salvation for the People, Colonel Assimi Goïta, i.e. the junta which staged a coup d’etat that saw the stepping down of ex-president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18th. The former autocrat was buried at a Bamako military camp against a soundtrack of a funeral band at the arrival of his coffin which was draped in the Malian flag. Soldiers dressed in full regalia stood at attention, while two planes performed a flypast overhead in Traore’s honour. Traoré himself was ousted from power in a coup in 1991 but was increasingly seen as an elder statesman within the country — with politicians soliciting his advice in recent years.  Fri, 18 Sep 2020 17:03:07 (Kizzi Asala) African women still in running for WTO top job African women are among the five candidates still in the running to take the World Trade Organization top job. No Africans and no women have ever been at the helm of the global trade body. On Friday the pool of eight candidates was whittled down to five. It includes women Amina Mohamed of Kenya, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, and Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea. Male candidates still in the running are Liam Fox of Britain and Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri of Saudi Arabia. The narrowing of the field came after the WTO in recent days hosted consultations, dubbed “confessionals”, with all 164 member states. The three with the least support, Jesus Saede Kuri of Mexico, Tudor Ulianovschi of Moldova and Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh of Egypt, were cut from the list. The WTO has been leaderless since Roberto Azevedo stepped down as WTO chief last month, a year ahead of schedule. The trade body was created in 1995 and has had three director-generals from Europe, and one each from Oceania, Asia and South America. The winner will be decided in a third round of voting in early November. But it is feared increasing politicisation of the organisation, which relies on consensus to reach decisions, could draw out the process much longer. Whoever is named the successor will have a tough job ahead as the global economy is battered by the coronavirus pandemic and the United States and China are locked in a trade dispute. The organisation is also facing attacks by Washington after cristicism from the Trump administration last year crippled the WTO's highest judicial institution, the appellate body. The US has refused to appoint judges to replace those retiring and threatened to leave the WTO.  Fri, 18 Sep 2020 15:57:11 +0000editorial@africanews.com Date for Zimbabwean Author Tsitsi Dangarembga to appear in court on Friday, award-winning and renowned Zimbabwean author, Tsitsi Dangarembga — facing charges for disturbing the peace and inciting violence following her arrest at anti-government Harare-based prohibited protests in June. The arrest took place days after her latest novel, 'This Mournable Body,' was included in the long list of nominees for the Booker Prize.  The Cambridge-educated writer, who was released on bail July 1st and is the only female writer from Zimbabwe to have won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, has been recently using her word-weaving talents to call for government reform in the country. Two years after coming into power, President Emmerson Mnangagwa is accused of using the Covid-19 pandemic to repress political opposition and free speech in the media, as over 60 people have been arrested for staging demonstrations to call out corruption and national economic stagnation. Among others, two notable arrests in recent months were of prominent journalist Hopewell Chin'ono and Fadzayi Mahere, an advocate for the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, Zimbabwe's main opposition party. Fri, 18 Sep 2020 15:32:47 (Kizzi Asala)'s son slams 'judicial war' in French jail sentence son of the former head of the world athletics body, Lamine Diack, said his father's conviction and four-year prison sentence handed down in France was a "denial of justice." Papa Massata Diack was also convicted by the Paris court in absentia and sentenced to five years. Speaking from Dakar, he condemned the judicial proceedings while addressing journalists. He fled to Senegal after an investigation was opened in France. Senegal declined to extradite him after an international arrest warrant. "We have not committed any crime that deserves jail time. Lamine Diack's integrity has never been lacking," he said. "What happened in Paris was a denial of justice." "It's a judicial war at all levels, I think the truth will come out. I can assure my compatriots that we have not committed any crime that deserves jail time," he said. Diack's father was president of the IAAF, now known as World Athletics, from 1999-2015. Prosecutors said Lamine Diack directly or indirectly solicited 3.45 million euros (3.9million usd) in bribes from athletes, many of them Russian, to cover up their positive doping tests. Papa Massata Diack worked under his father as a consultant for the athletics body and is accused of siphoning off millions of dollars from sponsorship deals. "We are facing a media lynching coming from Germany, England, France mainly, and from the United States and Canada," he said. Fri, 18 Sep 2020 14:33:10 +0000editorial@africanews.com Ranks Senegal #1 in African Football is #1 The Teranga Lions remain the kings of African football.  The Senegalese national team starts the new season in 20th place in the FIFA world ranking list published this week. Far from Belgium in first place but ahead of all other nations on the African continent. Senegal, whose national team relies on Liverpool striker Sadio Mané is preparing for a competition-free year - as The African Nations Cup, initially scheduled for January, was postponed to the same time next year in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Senegalese finalists of the last ANC beat Tunisia and Nigeria who placed continentally 2nd and 3rd, respectively. The reigning African champions, the Algerian fennecs came in fourth place with Moroccan neighbour right behind and Ghana narrowly missing the top 5 in 6th place. Fri, 18 Sep 2020 14:21:11 (Kizzi Asala) Pro Gymnast Says #BLM in Brazil Multiracial Society Brazil, last in the Americas to abolish slavery in 1888 with over half its population of African descent. And yet, racism is still a reality for many Afro-Brazilians like professional gymnast Angelo Assumpção whose career suffered a racist blow. The wronged athlete proclaims, "If I hadn't had this racist experience, I would already have my Olympic medal, I would have already participated in the Olympics, so we can't normalise these kinds of attitudes." Dismissed for Denouncing Racism The budding athlete was let go by his Gymnastics club Pinheiros — situated in a wealthy white-majority suburb in São Paulo where Assumpção grew up, after he reported his white teammates comparing his skin colour to trash bags and mocking his hair on video. In what was supposed to be a positive celebratory moment, the racially-motivated mockery came right after the talented gymnast had just won a gold medal for the club. The club terminated his contract shortly after - citing “poor performance.” However, Assumpção believes it was punishment for his speaking out against the racist behaviour he had suffered at the hands of his white teammates. Blackballed for Saying His Black Life Mattered Both dejected and hurt on a personal level — but also blackballed from the sport since the incident in November 2019, the gymnast wishes for more racial solidarity in Brazil as he draws inspiration from black American pro athletes currently taking a stand against police brutality and racial injustice via the now global Black Lives Matter movement. He expresses his sadness and frustration at his professional situation, "It is very bad for Brazil to have an athlete training in these conditions, at home, not only because of the pandemic but because of racism, which is very present in our country." An internal audit of Pinheiros last year revealed a culture of microaggression and racial insults. The club denies all allegations of racism brought against and insists that the contract termination was purely based on his performance and not his ethnic background as an Afro-Brazilian or related to the incident he had reported to the club's board. "It takes hope away from the victim because it is the victim who pays the highest price. The people behind all this (racism) are still employed, with sponsors, they keep training, while I'm here." Still Hope Not all hope is lost, however, as Angelo Assumpção — 24 years old and financially supported by family while also socially supported by friends, continues to stay in shape and keep training in spite of the racial injustice that saw his career take an unexpected detour as he only hopes to revive his gymnastics career and for a more racially just Brazil.  Fri, 18 Sep 2020 13:28:21 (Kizzi Asala) aerospace manufacturer Strata pivots from plane parts to mask production during pandemic so many industries around the world, manufacturing has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The key to its survival is digitizing and modernizing, so said executives at the Global Manufacturing & Industrialization Summit 2020 this September. Topics discussed by the captains of industry, ministers & diplomats, who gathered together virtually, included how the sector’s road to recovery could be eased by advanced technology. Executive views Honeywell’s chief executive, Darius Adamczyk, said that economic stimulus was the correct approach to the pandemic. Whilst Schneider Electric’s CEO, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, said that government stimulus could also be directed towards SMEs, which provide "the lifeblood of the economy." Meanwhile, Siemen’s President & CEO, Joe Kaeser had this to say: "Honestly, the jury is still out on when this is going to end, or whether it's ending at all. And the question for us, which is very important, is what is going to be temporary in nature - in terms of the changes - and what is going to be structural in nature." Fourth Industrial Revolution Spearheading discussions at GMIS was head of the organizing committee, Badr Al Olama, who highlighted the urgent need for global dialogue to shape the future of the industrial sector. Badr Al Olama speaks to Inspire Middle East He pointed to how, in a short space of time, consumer needs had changed, forcing manufacturers to adjust their products and services, whilst digitizing. “Some companies that were digital ready, they had a very high level of readiness,” Al Olama told Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham of Inspire Middle East. “I think companies that haven't done that are going to be wiped out, very simply put.” As for what the future of manufacturing & industry looks like in the UAE and internationally, following the global pandemic, Al Olama had this to say: “It is going to develop, in my opinion, in the form of hybrid models where technology and people have to co-exist, have to work together. What COVID-19 has done, it's simply accelerated that process so that we could embrace technology and get the most out of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” He added that private sector companies needing to take the lead, whilst governments should focus on providing the right policies and frameworks to capitalise on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Mubadala Aerospace N95 masks are produced at Strata’s facility in Al Ain Central to the UAE government’s strategy for 4IR, and Abu Dhabi’s vision for economic diversification, is Mubadala Aerospace. Al Olama heads up the global network of aerospace businesses, which is supported by a homegrown manufacturing ecosystem. One of the companies under his remit is Strata , a supplier of aircraft parts & components to global plane manufacturers like Airbus and Boeing. The worldwide aerospace sector has been badly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, with IATA (International Air Transportation Association) estimating this year’s global airline industry losses will be $84.3 billion. As a result, Strata pivoted during the pandemic, and in partnership with Honeywell, it established the first production line for N95 masks in the region. Its facility in Al Ain, an oasis city near Abu Dhabi, is capable of producing 90,000 units per day. In terms of how best to weather the global aerospace downturn and the wider pandemic, Al Olama told Euronews that keeping employees safe was paramount and adaptability as a business was key. “How do you deal with a pandemic when you need to continue from an operational perspective, maintaining an operational drumbeat?” he says. “You need to constantly focus and make sure that those products are getting out. That's number one. The second thing is when you are in the manufacturing world, when you are in the aerospace world, which dictates a very high-level quality standard, there is no reason whatsoever that you cannot repurpose those skills.” SEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA: PORTRAIT Egyptian filmmaker & photographer Mohamed captured this portrait on his phone, at a steel factory in Cairo. With contributions from Nancy Sarkis and Arthur de Oliveira. Fri, 18 Sep 2020 13:00:35 +0000editorial@africanews.com 'Eric the eel' transformed swimming in Equatorial Guinea years ago, Eric Moussambani became a global star after swimming a 100-metre freestyle alone in the Olympic pool in Sydney so slowly that it looked like he might sink. Moussambani was the first swimmer to compete in the Olympics for Equatorial Guinea, a Central African nation with less than one million inhabitants at the time. "Honestly I didn't know how to swim, I just had notions, nothing more than that," Moussambani explained. "On an international level and on a competitive level I didn't have much experience, really none at all. I didn't know how to move my arms, feet, and coordinate my breathing in the water. I didn't have much experience of any of that." Moussambani, nicknamed 'Eric the Eel' by fans and sponsors, had only recently learned to swim and had never seen a 50-metre pool before arriving in Sydney. "Here in (Equatorial) Guinea we did not have Olympic size swimming pools, and in the pool where I trained, in the old Hotel Ureca, it was a 12-metre-pool, I think," he said. "It would be more or less like this one here. A pool that small and I would train at five in the morning." That swim, for which he was not properly trained, but in which he embodied the Olympic spirit, transformed his life. Moussambani became a symbol for swimming in Equatorial Guinea, The country now counts two Olympic-size pools. Fri, 18 Sep 2020 12:35:30 +0000editorial@africanews.com The latest in Africa is seeing an average fall of 10% in new COVID-19 cases. But situations on the ground vary widely. South Africa has reported the continent's highest number of cases and deaths, and the world's seventh highest number of cases. Hospital admissions have started to slow down, but the number of deaths is yet to follow the same rate. With almost 650,000 cases, the country is far ahead of Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Algeria, all of which have reported between 100,000 and 50,000 COVID patients. Cases have declined in Algeria and Egypt over the past month but in some countries, numbers are still rising. Over the last week, Morocco reported the highest number of new cases on the continent, more than South Africa and Ethiopia. The situation is also deterioating fast in Libya, according to the World Health Organisation. Testing capacity can affect numbers. In Kenya, cases have been dropping for three weeks after the country decided to focus its testing on high-risk groups Fri, 18 Sep 2020 12:34:07 +0000editorial@africanews.com State claims August killings of French aid workers in Niger Islamic State group claimed the August killing of six French aid workers and their two local guides in Niger.  The NGO workers, aged between 25 and 30, were visiting the Koure National Park, a popular nature reserve which sits 60 kilometres (37 miles) from Niger’s capital Niamey. The statement, issued in the Islamic State publication al-Naba  on Thursday and authenticated by US monitoring group SITE, said that the eight were killed after their capture in a “blitz attack”. IS also said the attack was “a major security lapse” for France, which has more than 5,000 troops stationed in the Sahel region of West Africa to fight extremist groups.  French anti-terror prosecutors have already said that the attack appeared to be a “premeditated” strike against Westerners. It is unclear if the French aid workers and their NGO Acted were specifically targeted.  French investigators have been sent to Niger to carry out the probe. French President Emmanuel Macron has described the killings as “manifestly a terrorist attack” and said there would be repercussions. Fri, 18 Sep 2020 13:03:11 +0000editorial@africanews.com's Cape Verdean community stars in award-winning film eight years in a correction house, the young Spira returns to his neighbourhood of Reboleira, in Amadora, Portugal, and tries to reconnect with his close ones. This is the beginning of the film "O Fim do Mundo", "The End of the World". Director Basil da Cunha worked with non-professional actors to tell the struggles faced by the young generation from Cape Verde descent in Reboleira. "These three protagonists that I have chosen are kids that I have seen grow up, they are children of friends of mine," Basil da Cunha explained. "I thought it was important to portray the reality that they live and pay homage to our neighbourhood, Reboleira, that is disappearing" The Portuguese-Swiss director has lived in the slums of Reboleira for more than ten years. The marginalised area and its Cape Verdean community remain invisible in Portuguese society, he says, which is why he decided to make it the centre of his film. "Cinema serves to portrait communities that are unfortunately in the shadows of a country's history," da Cunha said. "O Fim do Mundo" was in competition in 2019 at the Locarno festival in Switzerland and won the prize for best national feature film at this year's Indie Lisboa festival. It was released on Thursday in Portuguese cinemas. Fri, 18 Sep 2020 07:12:26 +0000editorial@africanews.com Rwanda hero denied bail in terrorism trial Rusesabagina, whose actions during the 1994 Rwandan genocide inspired the film "Hotel Rwanda", was denied bail by a Kigali court on Thursday. Rusesabagina, a critic of the Rwandan government, has been living in exile for years. He holds both Belgian citizenship and a US Green Card. He has been charged with terrorism after being arrested in shady circumstances. According to his family, he was kidnapped abroad. The court ordered his detention for at least 30 days pending his trial. He has said he will appeal. The 66-year-old had asked to be released to receive medical care. He is a cancer survivor and suffers from a heart condition and hypertension, Rusesabagina, a Hutu, became famous as a hotel manager who sheltered hundreds of Tutsi during the Rwandan genocide. After the genocide, Rusesabagina became increasingly critical of President Paul Kagame's Tutsi-dominated government, accusing his ruling party of authoritarianism and anti-Hutu sentiment. He has also been charged of financing militant groups, murder, arson and conspiracy to involve children in armed groups. Fri, 18 Sep 2020 06:39:22 +0000editorial@africanews.com jail break: Manhunt for more than 200 naked and armed prisoners forces are searching for more than 200 naked inmates, who escaped in a jailbreak on Wednesday. Many of the 219 escapees stripped off their yellow uniforms to avoid being identified as they fled into the wilderness in Moroto, in northeastern Uganda. "We saw the prisoners all over the mountain when they were running they were very many so even us we were scared," said eyewitness Kevin Nakiru. The military said they are "hardcore" criminals who were jailed for offenses relating to cattle theft. The inmates also took off with several arms. "These prisoners had actually broken into the armory and took 15 rifles, that is AK-47s," said Deo Akiiki, a spokesman for the Uganda People's Defence Force. "These rifles are not yet recovered and in that pursuit they were able to shoot towards us and we shot towards them those were exchanging fire," he said. The military said At least three people, a soldier and two of the escapees, died in the firefight several others were also reportedly captured. The site has been put under lockdown as the hunt continues. But it is doubtful they will be able to survive in the mountains for long. "We don't think they can survive first of all in those mountains - there is no food and the environment there is very hostile for anyone to be able to stay there for more than two days," Akiiki said.  Thu, 17 Sep 2020 21:39:42 +0000editorial@africanews.com rights abuses continue in Burundi, UN watchdog report rights violations are still being committed in Burundi, including sexual violence and murder, a report by a UN watchdog said. Hopes had been pinned on new President Evariste Ndayishimiye, who was elected in May. He took over from his predecessor Pierre Nkurunziza, who was in office for 15 years. During his tenure, at least t 1,200 people were killed and more than 400,000 displaced during unrest between April 2015 and May 2017, according to the UN. It was hoped the new leader could change the face of the central African country. But the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi described evidence of killings and disappearance in recent weeks. It also said during the election there was evidence of summary executions, torture and sexual violence. “In recent weeks there have continued to be killings, there have continued to be arbitrary detentions and there have continued to be disappearances,” said Commission of Inquiry member Francoise Hampson. "It’s slightly surprising that it is continuing as it was even though elections have finished. And that is a matter of very grave concern.” The investigators also looked at serious violations committed on youngsters under 18, who they said were "specifically targeted.” “They are forcibly recruited into the ruling party’s youth league, the Imbonerakure, other times they were harmed when other family members are the real targets,” the commissioners said. “We very much fear the consequences of the 2015 crisis for Burundi’s future, not least because of the long-term impact it will have on the children”, said Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor. Over the past four years, the commission has been the only independent mechanism to report on human rights violations in Burundi The panel is concerned that this oversight will disappear when it ends its mandate this year. The report will be presented to the Human Rights Council on 23 September.  Thu, 17 Sep 2020 19:15:04 +0000editorial@africanews.com African Franschhoek Wine Tram Back on Track Post-Lockdown Glasses at the Ready! All aboard the famous South African Franschhoek Wine Tram back on track following a six-month hiatus due to strict sanitary regulations in light of the Covid-19 pandemic — as was the case with many businesses across the globe who saw their activity shut down or negatively impacted by the global coronavirus health crisis. David Blyth, owner and founder Franschhoek Wine Tram, explains the return to the business activity, "In February it was a thousand people a day. And today, on Saturday, we're doing 250. And this is the third Saturday we've been going, so the numbers are going up. They are going up. But we only work on the weekends, which is Saturday and Sunday." During South Africa's lockdown, the total of 100 of the Franschhoek Wine Tram staff had to be put on unpaid leave for almost half a year. Just like the tram itself, the wine farms were also closed to customers for almost six months. A necessary evil that hurt the income of the associated business such as bars, restaurants and guest accommodation. And now, passengers can now ride through South African wine country — sipping on a few glasses aboard and experiencing full-on wine tasting at designated farm stops along the route. Sweety Roro, a local tourist, shares her excitement, " Ooo, it's fabulous. You know with COVID-19, being a healthcare worker, it's very difficult because you're in and out, you're either at work or at home. So being out definitely doing wonders with the fresh air, you know. Escaping the mask as much as we can. So it's fabulous. And we're slowly opening the economy. So it can only be good for us." International Tourists are Wanting However, with the nation’s borders still closed to the outside till October 1st, the lack of international tourists to partake in the activity sees only doùmestic visitors on the wine tasting trail. As such, in spite of the local market being good and the initial semblance of the return to normalcy, trade is far from being at pre-Covid 19 levels. Dani van Velden, the Tasting Room Manager at Rickety Bridge wine farm, shares his insight into the situation, "Our biggest foot traffic is international tourists. Especially off the tram and the big groups that we get from the tour operators in Cape Town. Those are all international guests. We do have a small percentage of local families that come out for the day but definitely the borders being closed is terrible for us. Especially in this side of the valley." The tram The wine tram — a popular solution for wine tasting and safe alcohol consumption, has a total of eight lines which circulate every half hour, but only four are currently in operation. Franschhoek, known for its many wine farms, art galleries and upscale restaurants, is one of the most popular tourist hotspots in South Africa. Thu, 17 Sep 2020 20:09:06 (Kizzi Asala) in South Africa face 'routine' xenophobia, says Human Rights Watch nationals in South Africa suffer "routine" xenophobic violence and live in constant fear of being targeted, a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday. Foreign workers from across Africa and Asia emigrate to South Africa for economic opportunities but compete against locals for jobs, which are few and far between as the country's unemployment rate sits above 30%. HRW said in a 64-page report foreigners are scapegoated for economic insecurity in one of the world's most unequal societies. The right's group relayed testimonies by over 50 African and Asian nationals of "routine" and "sometimes lethal" xenophobia. In September last year, businesses were ransacked in a bout of xenophobic violence. Clashes left at least 12 people dead, of whom 10 were South African, according to the government. One Bangladeshi shop owner told HRW he had to stand guard for three days without sleep until police arrived. Other foreigners said they sometimes suffered verbal and physical harassment in their daily interactions with locals. A common insult in South Africa is "kwerekwere", a derogatory word for "foreigner". The report said last year, a Congolese student was allegedly beaten up by her peers after being elected class monitor at a Cape Town high school. She was hospitalised for nine months. 'Living in constant fear' At least 62 people died in xenophobic attacks in 2008, seven were killed in unrest in 2015. HRW accuses law enforcement officials of being complicit, often operating in "discriminatory" and "abusive ways" towards non-nationals. It claims foreign-owned businesses are disproportionately targeted by crackdowns on counterfeit goods, and that migrants are arbitrarily detained for allegedly lacking the right documents. According to the group, police are reluctant to protect immigrants and investigate crimes against foreigners. The report has called for "more urgent, concrete measures" to protect foreign nationals, claiming a government plan unveiled last year has been "just words on paper" so far. Author Kristi Ueda condemned the "impunity" that "only emboldens others" and perpetuates violence against foreigners. "Non-South African nationals have suffered wave after wave of xenophobic violence and live in constant fear of being targeted," said Ueda. "Government should hold those responsible accountable to the fullest extent of the law." South Africa's government has yet to respond to the report. The country attracts people from neighbouring Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, who seek better employment prospects. Others come from even further afield including Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria and South Asia. South Africa plays hosts to more than 2.2 million foreigners, ranging from political refugees and economic migrants to skilled expatriate workers, according to the last population census in 2011.  Thu, 17 Sep 2020 16:48:09 (Pascale Davies) Senegalese allege racism in Diack corruption verdict and the sporting world has been shaken after the former head of the world athletics body, Lamine Diack, was found guilty of corruption by a Paris court. Residents in Dakar alleged racism and said Wednesday's verdict by a Paris court was unjust. "As a Senegalese, I think it was an injustice to condemn him. African people are tired because if Lamine Diack was a white person, he would not be sued, arrested," said Cheriphe Toure. "It is not normal, he is a Senegalese, he is about 80 years old and they want to put him in prison, he is tired. The trial (against Diack) is not a real trial, it's just politics." Lamine, an 87-year-old Senegalese, was charged for his role in a scheme that allowed Russian athletes to pay bribes to keep competing when they should have been suspended for doping after they paid bribes. Prosecutors said Diack solicited $5.5 million in bribes and paid off other officials at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to help with the cover-up. The court handed Diack a four-year prison sentence, two years of which are suspended and a fine of $590,000. He was also ordered to pay €5 million in damages to World Athletics (formerly IAAF) with his son and co-accused, Papa Massata Diack. From 1999-2015 Diack was the head of the IAAF and was influential in the world of Olympic sports. Diack's lawyers said they would appeal the verdict. "I think if the law is valid in France, it will be overturned because it's really unfair," Abdoulaye Diagne, Coordinator of the support committee for Lamine Diack.  Thu, 17 Sep 2020 14:06:06 (Pascale Davies) Africa Holds Funeral for Apartheid Activist Lawyer George Bizos funeral service was held for the renowned human rights lawyer and apartheid social activist George Bizos on Thursday morning at the Greek Orthodox Church in Johannesburg, South Africa — following his passing at his residence last week at the age of 92.  President Cyril Ramaphosa gave a televised national address on Tuesday in the icon's honour. The Head of state also outlined details about the funeral — with arrangements being made for the official special service to be both televised and streamed live on the government's social media pages. Measures which were put in place for those unable to attend in light of Covid-19 pandemic public gathering restrictions. A burial at the Westpark Cemetery in Randburg will follow the funeral.  Thu, 17 Sep 2020 13:21:05 (Kizzi Asala) Hendrix legends and myths live on in Moroccan village"I saw him here. He was young and carried a guitar on his back," swore Mohammed Boualala, who is in his 60s and grew up in the small settlement of Diabat. In the summer of 1969, Hendrix, the pioneering US guitar wizard whose hits include "Purple Haze" and "Hey Joe", made a brief stop in Essaouira, a former fort town and latter-day tourist magnet located five kilometres (three miles) from the village. There are no soundtracks or images left from the rock icon's journey, but countless myths surround his fleeting trip. "He visited friends who were staying in the village. It was the last time that we saw him," sighed Boualala, clad in traditional brown qamis tunic. "They say he is dead but only God knows." Hendrix died in a hotel in London on September 18, 1970, after swallowing sleeping pills and drinking red wine. His "short visit... produced a mountain of erroneous information and fictitious stories," said Caesar Glebbeek, a Hendrix biographer, in an article on the website UniVibes. Local legend even has it that Hendrix's "Castles made of Sand" was inspired by the ruins of Diabat's Dar Sultan Palace. But in reality that track was released in 1967, two years ahead of the star's Morocco visit. Moreover, Glebbeek goes on to asser that, contrary to the hazy claims of tour guides and nostalgic fans, he "didn't even visit Diabat". Thu, 17 Sep 2020 14:48:02 (Alexis Caraco) movement plans protests ahead of Guinea's October vote's opposition movement announced a new round of protests from late September, just weeks ahead of a presidential election. The movement is opposing President Alpha Conde's controversial bid to run for a third term in the October 18 vote. Clashes erupted last October, claiming several dozen lives, after the 82-year-old leader pushed through constitutional reforms so he could run for a third term. It fuelled accusations he sidestepped limits on presidential terms. "Our citizens' movement calls on the population of Conakry and the surrounding area to join a series of peaceful marches, starting on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, to demand Mr. Alpha Conde's departure," said one of its leaders, Abdourahmane Sanoh. "The people of Guinea are urged to mobilise massively, in the greatest civic responsibility... to block" Conde, he said. He described Conde as a "dictator... whose sole ambition today is to stay in power for the rest of his life." Conde became the country's first democratically elected president in 2010 and was re-elected for a second time in 2015. He is a former opposition figure who was jailed under previous regimes. Critics say he has become increasingly authoritarian and resorts to crackdowns to quell dissent. Will COVID stop the protests? The opposition's announcement came hours after Conde declared coronavirus restrictions would be extended for another month. The measures include bans of gatherings of more than 100 people, meaning the protests could be declared illegal. Human rights defenders and the opposition accuse the authorities of using the coronavirus pandemic to repress protests and political rallies ahead of the vote. But rallies held by government supporters in recent days have been allowed. Guinea has officially declared 10,111 coronavirus cases and 63 deaths. Thu, 17 Sep 2020 12:42:07 +0000editorial@africanews.com Africa Over Covid-19 Hump and Reopens Borders Next Month Worst is Over South Africa will ease coronavirus-prevention restrictions — moving to alert level one from September 20 and reopening its borders October 1st as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday. This announcement comes after a significant drop in daily new infections in the nation that still accounts for the highest number of confirmed cases on the Africa continent. Ramaphosa stated in his public address, "We cannot afford a resurgence of infections in our country. A second wave would be devastating to our country and would again disrupt our lives and livelihoods. It is up to each and every one of us as South Africans to ensure that this does not happen." The Head of State believes that there is sufficient capacity in the nation’s health system to manage the current daily caseload rate — which at its peak in July saw a recorded 15,000 cases daily but is now at 772 from official figures on Tuesday. Borders Will Reopen He also affirmed that the visitors allowed to enter South Africa, i.e. only from countries deemed non-high risk, would be required to show negative results from coronavirus test results taken at least 72 hours before departure. In addition, South Africans can enjoy more relaxed guidelines at public gatherings which will now be limited to a maximum of 250 people indoors and 500 outdoors. The ministry said 142 more people lost their lives due to the disease, bringing the death toll to 15,641. The country has conducted nearly 4 million coronavirus tests and over 583,000 people have recovered from the virus.   Thu, 17 Sep 2020 12:06:04 (Kizzi Asala)'s Fayez al-Sarraj announced plans for resignation Prime Minister of Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj announced plans for resignation by the end of October. The head of the Tripoli government said in a televised speech that the political and social situation in Libya is in a state of absolute instability, hampering any attempt to find a political resolution in order to avert bloodshed.  Fayez Sarraj, Chairman of the Government of National Accord's presidential council said: " honest desire to hand over my duties to the next the end of October. Hoping the negotiating committee would have completed its work and chosen a new presidential council, and also chosen and appointed a new head of the government, who can take on the duties'' Negociations in Morocco Saraj also said that the recent UN-sponsored talks in Morocco between the warring parties had led to a new preparatory phase for the unification of state institutions and the launch of parliamentary and presidential elections. With Turkey's help, Al-Sarraj ‘s recognized government was able to control only parts of western Libya, in June quashed a year long offensive on the capital by eastern commander Khalifa Haftar. In Tripoli, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Presidential Council, complaining about shortages of basic services and calling for elections, which have been delayed for years. Thu, 17 Sep 2020 10:47:22 (Afolake Oyinloye) approves $1 billion in funds for Angola, adds $765 million to program International Monetary Fund said it had authorised an immediate $1 billion disbursement to Angola under an existing programme on Wednesday, and raised its overall access to funding by $765 million to help it contend with the coronavirus pandemic. The decision of the IMF Executive Board was made after the conclusion of the third review of Angola's $3.7 billion three-year program under the IMF's Expanded Fund Facility, which was approved in December 2018. Since two previous reviews over $1.5 billion had now been allocated. IMF urges Angola to continue its efforts to reach a market-clearing exchange rate and pursue reforms oof two public banks, and also to be vigilant about public debt. According to Moody’s ratings agency, Angola, Africa’s second largest oil exporter has seen its debt-to-GDP ratio blow out to 120% with more than 90% of its debt denominated in hard currency, mostly U.S. dollars. Thu, 17 Sep 2020 10:31:41 (Rédaction Africanews)’s Myth-Filled Jimi Hendrix Shrine Village Guitar Rock Legend Some claim to have caught sight of him, others swear they even conversed with him, Jimi Hendrix. 50 years after the untimely loss of the pioneering black American guitar legend, a Diabat village on Morocco's Atlantic coast pulsates with his memory following a claimed brief stop in Essaouira, a former fort town in the summer of 1969. Said Bousbaa, retired and former owner of a Jimmy Hendrix coffee shop in Diabat, explained the goings-on at that time, "Jimmy Hendrix came to Essaouira in 1969, he made a stint here in Diabat, at that time there was the hippie movement, almost 60,000 visited at that time from all nationalities, artists, doctors, writers, painters, a lot of people came here." The mystery swirling around the undocumented stay of the "Purple Haze" and "Hey Joe" hit song artist has given rise to countless myths surrounding the fleeting trip. Hence, with its Cafe Jimi and the Hendrix inn, the village is now a tourist magnet - a nostalgic walk down memory lane full of images celebrating the musician in Diabat's white houses. "I saw him here. He was young and carried a guitar on his back," swore Mohammed Boualala, who is in his 60s and grew up in the small settlement of Diabat before joining the army. "He visited friends who were staying in the village. It was the last time that we saw him," sighed Boualala, clad in a traditional brown tunic. "They say he is dead but only God knows." "Hendrix looked in good shape" when he visited, insisted Abdelaziz Khaba, 72, his memory seemingly unhindered by the sands of time. "He was surrounded by hefty bodyguards."Khaba added that he had posed for a snap with the guitar wizard, but "lost the photo." His Legacy Lives on in Diabat Action shots and colourful portraits commemorate the historic passing of the guitar hero just before he wowed the crowds at Woodstock. Local legend even has it that Hendrix's "Castles made of Sand" was inspired by the ruins of Diabat's Dar Sultan Palace. But in reality, the track was released in 1967, two years before the star's Moroccan visit. Still, this song title is triumphantly displayed in a wooden plaque nailed to the wall in the little Diabat cafe. Further stories of Hendrix's Moroccan adventure recount how he explored the country in a van, sought to purchase an island off the Essaouira coast - and even the entire village of Diabat, before retreating behind sandcastle walls. But there seems to be little truth amidst the haze of fantastical stories and all are to the amusement of Hendrix biographer Caesar Glebbeek, who claims that Hendrix never even visited Diabat. His "short visit... produced a mountain of erroneous information and fictitious stories." Thu, 17 Sep 2020 09:54:54 (Kizzi Asala) junta to appoint interim president after embargo threat’s ruling junta said on Wednesday that it is making moves to appoint interim president This comes after West African leaders imposed economic sanctions after the coup, but they appear to have had a limited effect so far. Junta meeting with ECOWAS in Ghana ECOWAS leaders had given one week for a civilian interim president and prime minister to be in place. Wague, the junta spokesman, told reporters it could not give an immediate response. A transitional charter approved at multi-party talks says the interim president can be a soldier or a civilian and will be chosen by electors selected by the junta. The ruling junta announced a plan that would allow a military leader to oversee an 18-month transitional period but this wasn't accepted by the opposition groups. Thu, 17 Sep 2020 11:51:42 (Rédaction Africanews) EDS coalition calls for protests against Ouattara's third term figures reacted angrily on Tuesday after Ivory Coast's top court rejected 40 candidates for upcoming presidential elections, validating the contested bid of head of state Alassane Ouattara but sidelining his predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo. Also barred was former rebel leader turned prime minister Guillaume Soro, 47, a onetime Ouattara ally who had been sentenced to 20 years in absentia over alleged embezzlement. But on Tuesday the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights called on the Ivorian authorities to allow Soro to contest the vote. However, the court's provisional ruling is likely to have limited impact, as Ivory Coast withdrew its recognition of its jurisdiction in April. Soro had late Monday lashed the Constitutional Council's rejection of his candidacy "politically motivated, legally flawed, and part of a process of crushing democracy and the state of law" . Tensions in the West African state are running high ahead of the polls -- more than 3,000 people died in post-election violence in 2010-11. Protests broke out in several cities, including in southeastern Bonoua, the hometown of Gbagbo's wife Simone,where some 300 mainly young people marched against Ouattara's candidacy in defiance of a ban on demonstrations. Local residents said the protesters set up barricades on the motorway to neighbouring Ghana before police broke them up. Anti-Ouattara demonstrations drawing hundreds of protesters were also staged in the main western cities of Guiglo, Bangolo, Facobly and Duekoue. Simultaneously the Ivorian authorities announced that a ban on "marches and sit-ins" was prolonged to September 30. - 'Spiral of exclusion' - One of the four accepted candidates, former prime minister Pascal Affi Nguessan, said the country was "descending into a spiral of exclusion", a phenomenon he described as "the most consummate sign of the regime's tyrannical nature." Nguessan, 67, served under Gbagbo and heads the party he founded, although he is struggling to win over loyalists who want the former president to be their flagbearer. Gbagbo was forced out by Ouattara after a brief civil war following the elections in 2010 and was then prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity. He was released by the ICC in January 2019 and lives in Brussels pending the outcome of an appeal against the ruling. But Gbagbo's application for the October 31 elections -- submitted in his name by followers -- was rejected by the Constitutional Council as he had been sentenced to a 20-year term in absentia last November over the looting of a regional bank during the post-election crisis. "The Constitutional Council missed a historic chance to show its independence," Nguessan said in a statement. He referred to a constitutional change in 2016 that enabled Ouattara to argue that the two-term limit on presidential tenure had been reset to zero -- a rationale accepted by the court. "It accepted the candidacy of the outgoing president, who is clearly ineligible, and refused those of Laurent Gbagbo and Guillaume Soro, who have been deprived of their civic rights out of purely political opportunism," Nguessan said. - Violence fears - Ouattara, 78, had initially said in March that he would not seek a third term but was forced into a U-turn just four months later when his preferred successor, prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, died of a heart attack. Violent protests against Ouattara's candidacy left around 15 dead last month, reviving memories of the post-election bloodshed nearly a decade ago. Clashes broke out in several Ivorian cities on Monday ahead of the announcement by the Constitutional Council, while on Tuesday, the police presence in Abidjan was beefed up and security forces reinforcements were sent out to other regions. The Ivory Coast Democratic Party (PDCI), whose champion, 86-year-old former president Henri Konan Bedie, has been allowed to contest the polls, made no immediate response to the court's decision. But it said it would boycott elections to the offices of local election commissions on September 15 -- a reflection of its long-running anger at what it says is a rigged electoral system. ***AFP*** Thu, 17 Sep 2020 08:50:19 (Rédaction Africanews) seizes explosives 'large enough' to blow up Khartoum has arrested 41 people and seized a large amount of explosives big enough to blow up the capital Khartoum, authorities said on Wednesday. The materials included amonium nitrate, the same chemical that caused a deadly explosion in Lebanon on August 4. "Forty-one people were arrested in possession of explosives, enough to destroy (the capital) Khartoum," said public prosecutor Tagelsir al-Hebr in a press conference, adding that his office had opened an investigation. Intelligence gathered since August on "the movements of terrorist groups" led to the arrests, according to Jamal Jumaa, spokesman for the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. "We fear now that some Sudanese people will resort to carrying out sabotage and bombings," he said. Sudan is been led by a transitional government, which took power months after the April 2019 ouster of longtime president Omar al-Bashir. The country has continued to suffer economically, which has been battered by decades of US sanctions and internal conflict under Bashir's rule. Since 1993, Khartoum has been on a Washington blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism, a designation that has kept away much-needed foreign investment and strangled Sudan's economy. Post-Bashir transitional authorities have been has pushing to end the country's pariah status and boost its standing among the international community. During the press conference, Jumaa warned that the transfer of explosive materials to neighbouring countries could derail the process. Before even being removed from the US blacklist, "we fear that we will once again be classified as a state sponsor of terrorism," he said. Wed, 16 Sep 2020 20:28:17 (Pascale Davies) Faso faces armed conflict, COVID-19 and floods Soré is one of the many displaced people in the Sahel, who fled to the city of Kaya in central Burkina Faso. She came here with her children from Pensa, a village located some 90 kilometres away. The region is in the grips of armed conflict. “Before, we farmed our land and raised our livestock. We made a living,” she explains. “We fled after the attacks on our village. The people who came after us were armed. They shot at us, and shot at us, and shot at us. That’s why we had to leave. Sadly, not all of us made it.” Due to rising insecurity, large numbers of people seeking safety in towns and cities. In Kaya, the local population of 130,000 has been swelled by the arrival of 100,000 displaced people, who are living in four temporary camps, some in makeshift shelters. But the city is facing its own humanitarian and ecological crisis. Growing insecurity has caused five health centres in the Kaya area to close their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in collaboration with the health authorities, opened its own centre in the city in response. Health needs are now so great that the Kaya health facility is providing care to eight times the usual number of patients. And 80 percent of the patients are displaced people. But the country has faced another setback. Burkina Faso was hit by heavy rains 10 days ago, affecting over 7,000 people, according to the authorities. Kaya was also devastated by the floods, with 1,440 people affected, including 880 internally displaced people.  Wed, 16 Sep 2020 16:45:16 +0000editorial@africanews.com Former IAAF chief Lamine Diack found guilty of corruption former head of athletics' governing body Lamine Diack, has been sentenced to prison after being found guilty of corruption. The Senegalese 87-year-old faced money laundering and corruption charges for his role in a scheme that allowed Russian athletes to pay bribes to compete when they should have been suspended for doping. He was handed a two-year prison sentence at a Paris court on Wednesday. He was also sentenced to an additional two year suspended jail time. And was fined 500,000 euros ($590,000). His lawyers said they will appeal, keeping Diack out of jail for now. Diack did not comment as he walked out of court. Who is Diack? It's a spectacular fall from grace. From 1999- 2015 he was the head of the International Association of Athletics' Federations (IAAF), now called World Athletics. Diack was found guilty of multiple corruption charges and of breach of trust but acquitted of a money laundering charge. One of Diack’s lawyers, Simon Ndiaye, called the verdict “unjust and inhuman” and said the court made his client a “scapegoat.” His lawyers said they will appeal, keeping Diack out of jail for now. Diack did not comment as he walked out of court. His son's role The court also handed guilty verdicts to five other people, including Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, who worked as an IAAF marketing consultant. The court sentenced him in his absence to five years in prison and a fine of 1 million euros ($1.17 million). The judge said $15 million was funneled to the younger Diack’s companies, including commissions and money creamed off contracts and the sale of TV rights and other transactions while his father was in charge at the IAAF. Papa Massata Diack, fled to Senegal after the investigation was opened in France. He was tried in absentia and Senegal has refused to extradite him. Ahead of the verdict, Papa Massata Diack this week called the charges “the biggest lie in the history of world sport.” Reaction in Senegal Wahany Sambou from Africanews in Senegal said: "What we can take from the verdict is that it is a big disappointment for most Senegalese. Today everyone is asking the question of why the double standard compared to the Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini cases, at the level of FIFA, who have not yet been investigated by European justice system." "Papa Massata, who refuses for the moment to answer to the French court. His lawyers believe that it will not be a fair trial, which is why for the moment he does not want to respond to the French justice system." Thu, 17 Sep 2020 11:14:45 (Pascale Davies) displaced in Sudan as it battles record floods Sudan grapples with the aftermath of its worst floods in a century, there is a glimmer of hope as the Blue Nile waters have started to drop.  The water and irrigation ministry said on Sunday, the waters had reached 17.67 metres (58 foot), but by Sunday the level went down to 17.36.  Sudan experiences heavy rains from June to October and faces severe flooding every year.  But officials said this year the highest waters were recorded in 100 years on the Blue Nile, which joins the White Nile in the  capital Khartoum.  More than 100 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.  "More than 120,000 houses have been destroyed, either partially or fully. We're talking about more than 650,000 people affected," said Lena al-Sheikh, Sudanese Minister of Social Development. "People are now in dire need of shelter, of health, of water and sanitation, of nutrition."  On Thursday the UN said that the floods had affected more than half a million people in Sudan, destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of homes. It also warned the floods have raised the risk of water-borne disease outbreaks. Sudan's government declared a three-month state of emergency earlier in September.  Wed, 16 Sep 2020 16:21:08 +0000editorial@africanews.com Mixed Reactions to Recent Public Execution Incident Images on Social Media On Monday, the Mozambican government denounced gruesome video footage posted by several human rights activists on social media of what appears to be government troops in army uniform shouting and marching behind a nude woman stripped of her clothing before violently beating her and finally shooting her dead amidst accusatory shouts of, "We killed al-Shabab" — in reference to the jihadist group behind a growing insurgency against the government in the country since 2017. The Government Under Fire The videos have sparked international outrage — and comes after Amnesty International alleged that the Mozambican security forces had carried out gross atrocities, citing other videos showing men in army uniforms torturing and murdering suspected militants in the northern Cabo Delgado region, where the insurgency operates and then dumping their bodies in mass graves. The organisation’s accusations are based on several other leaked videos in May allegedly showing soldiers abusing unarmed captured civilians believed to be linked to al-Shabab. Adriano Novunga, president of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), shared his thoughts, "An investigation should be launched immediately and ascertain responsibilities and act in accordance with the law because this is a serious crime committed in a service mission and they should be held accountable." Denial and Deflection The government refuted the allegations last week, saying the violence was carried out by jihadists impersonating troops and the Mozambican defence ministry condemned these most recent "horrifying" images calling for an investigation to "ascertain their authenticity." In response to widely circulated videos showing men in Mozambican army uniforms torturing and killing unarmed civilians, Interior Minister Amade Miquidade said the footage may have been filmed by Islamic extremist rebels trying to discredit government forces. Miquidade was speaking Tuesday after a video was distributed on social media showing people in the uniforms of the Mozambican Armed Defence Force beat and then shoot dead a naked woman. The video sparked outrage and the government said it would investigate. Interior Minister Amade Miquidade dismissed the videos’ contents on a televised broadcast claiming that the footage may have been filmed by Islamic extremist rebels trying to discredit government forces. He said the "macabre acts'' shown in videos and images circulating on social media are "acts of subversion'' aimed at pitting the Mozambican people against the defence and security forces. "We want to assure you that we are in an investigative process to identify what is the nucleus, where is the nucleus where these videos are prepared,'' said Miquidade. Background and Context Mozambique's extremist insurgency began three years ago in northern Cabo Delgado province, bordering Tanzania in the north and the Indian Ocean to the east and military forces have been struggling to regain control of the region which is home to one of Africa's biggest liquefied natural gas projects. Militants have launched a series of attacks on villages and towns in the area killing more than 1,500, mainly by the rebels, displacing at least 250,000 and the total number of fatalities stands at 1,854 including combatants on either side, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED). The jihadists dramatically stepped up their attacks in 2020 escalating violence as part of a campaign to establish an Islamist caliphate and on August 12 occupied the strategic port city of Mocimboa da Praia and have held it for a month. Cabo Delgado province has lucrative ruby mines and massive deposits of liquified natural gas. The intensifying extremist violence threatens to disrupt the investment by international firms of billions of dollars to develop gas projects. Wed, 16 Sep 2020 11:30:05 (Kizzi Asala) Uses a Bomb Disposal Robot to Clear Minefields explosions boom across Libyan landscapes frighteningly reminiscent of violence in the nation's recent past as a focused group of military forces, from the Government of National Accord, set out to detonate lingering minefields on former battlegrounds — where hundreds of explosive devices are still buried from a tumultuous time when Marshal Haftar was commander of the nation’s armed forces. The detonation operation this time, however, is being carried out with the use of a bomb disposal robot to ensure that the mines get cleared both safely and efficiently. Ahmed Al-Hadi Bayou, Brigadier General; shares his insight, "With these mines, the best way is to use the automated robot in the process of withdrawing these mines from their whereabouts and placing them in other places to detonate them when they are adjacent to buildings" These mines have killed or wounded more than 100 people to date, including many civilians, south of Libya’s capital following deadly combat between rival forces. Wed, 16 Sep 2020 16:21:09 (Kizzi Asala) Flights Take Off Once Again in Angola Post Runways are Ready Ready for takeoff, commercial flights in Angola which resumed this week following their suspension in early March at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic — with only domestic flights available for booking as of now. The first highly anticipated roundtrip flight between Luanda and Cabinda on Monday was surrounded by confusion at the airport with more passengers as there were seats. Nevertheless, domestic flights will continue with a round trip to Soyo, in Zaire province on Wednesday and a two-way connection between the capital city and Huambo on Thursday. International flights are scheduled to operate next Monday. National Progress This marks a huge step towards economic recovery that also coincides with a rise in the country’s coronavirus testing capacity as for the first time more than 1,800 tests were carried out in a single day — as reported by officials on Tuesday. Tests that resulted in the confirmation of 51 new infections which sees the national caseload at nearly 3,500 with 136 deaths since the start of the global coronavirus health crisis. A situation to which the newly opened Walter Strangway hospital unveiled this week by President João Lourenço, in Cuito, the capital of the province of Bié, will now be able to provide assistance. Along with several other medical specialities available at this new hospital in the centre of Angola — such as dialysis procedures undergone by the first patients on Monday. Wed, 16 Sep 2020 07:21:04 (Kizzi Asala) Racing Back on in Egypt Post Covid-19 Lockdown Hiatus the Hump Hooves thundering against the sands of the vast Tih plateau in the Sinai desert, Egypt as more than 500 mechanical jockey-clad and jersey-wearing camels completing a 2 km race were vibrantly cheered on by their traditionally clad spectators in jalabiyas and headdresses riding alongside the sporting event n SUVs — and thrilled to be able to once again partake in this cherished cultural heritage after a 6-month hiatus in light of the covid-19 pandemic. The competition "is training for the international race, which should take place in October in Sharm el-Sheikh," Saleh al-Muzaini, head of the Nuweiba camel club, told AFP. Cultural Tradition Camel racing is a popular traditional sport in many Arab countries, most notably in the Gulf region. And in Egypt, Bedouins of the South Sinai desert have kept up the tradition. To the Bedouins, the race is a way of keeping a traditional heritage alive. Saleh el-Muzaini, shared the cultural perspective on the sport, "This race is considered as an ancestral heritage and we are trying to preserve and renew it to hand it over from one generation to the next. This race has been going on for 100 years." Pandemic Suspension The sporting event had been suspended in March following the onset of the coronavirus global health crisis in line with the strict sanitary regulations — which included the banning of large gatherings, to prevent contagion. Camel races — which are typically held every two or three months, often attract large audiences of tourists, visitors and Bedouins to the middle of the Sinai desert. An unideal situation as far as social distancing guidelines are concerned. Hence, after six months of imposed suspension of the sport, authorities only just gave the official go-ahead to resume racing competitions only last weekend. Economic Losses Hassan Sallam, sheikh of the Alegat tribe which organises the sporting event, "Coronavirus has affected us economically, the losses of the Bedouins, and specifically the owners of camels, are no less than 15 million Egyptian pounds (nearly 820K Euro), for the reason that the one who receives the prize is the one who does the trading, therefore coronavirus has impacted South of Sinai." Suspending the races amounted to severe financial losses for camel owners who still had to cover food — with camel costing up to 2,000 Egyptian pounds monthly to feed, training and health expenses for their animals. According to Sheikh Hassan, many camel owners lost around 10 and 15 million Egyptian pounds (between around 527,00 and 820,000 euros ) over the six-month suspension alone. Egypt has so far registered over 100,000 coronavirus cases, and more than 5,500 fatalities.  Wed, 16 Sep 2020 16:21:13 (Kizzi Asala)'s opposition group says junta's plan "does not reflect" views of the people Mali's junta tried to hash out a political roadmap with West African leaders in Ghana on Tuesday, the 18-month transition plan agreed by the military just days ago is being contested in Bamako by the popular opposition protest group. "A delegation from the junta went to Accra to negotiate and discuss the fate of Mali without involving the M5-RFP ( the 5 June Movement – Rally of Patriotic Forces opposition coalition)," said Dr Choguel Kokala Maiga, President of the M5-RFP strategic committee. Mali's popular opposition movement led the demonstrations against the ousted president Keita. The military junta over the weekend adopted a "transition charter”. It has yet to be published. But according to reports, it would provide an 18-month transition government, led by a president named by a committee set up by the military junta. "The M5-RFP has distanced itself from the document produced, which does not reflect the views and decisions of the Malian people," said Maiga. The opposition group said in a statement it condemned the “intimidation, anti-democratic and unfair practices worthy of another era” and “distances itself from the resulting document which does not reflect the views and decisions of the Malian people.” But said it did not intend to start a conflict with the junta and would work together to modify the charter.  Tue, 15 Sep 2020 20:51:03 +0000editorial@africanews.com's Aubameyang signs new Arsenal contract striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has put rumors to bed and signed a new three-year Arsenal contract It's made him the club's highest ever paid player with a salary of 20 million euros per season. He will also be one of the Premier League's highest-paid footballers. The 31-year-old was in the sights of several European clubs, including Barcelona and Real Madrid for several months. But after months of negotiating, the north London club finally convinced the striker to stay. He has been at Arsenal since 2018. In that time, he's scored 72 times in 111 appearances across all competitions. Tue, 15 Sep 2020 20:36:02 +0000editorial@africanews.com of Mali's first military coup, Moussa Traore, dies at 83 Traore, who led Mali's first military coup in 1968, died at his home aged 83 in the capital Bamako on Tuesday, his family said. Traore was the main instigator of a coup that overthrew Modibo Keita, the country's first post-independence president. He became president the following year and ruled until 1991, when he was overthrown by a military takeover.  He is known for ruling with an iron fist but also for his diplomatic skills. As chair of the then Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union), he played a key role in the 1989 Senegal-Mauritania crisis and the Chadian-Libyan conflict, as well as Liberia's first civil war. Traore reached a peace agreement in 1990 with Mali's Tuareg armed rebel groups after making significant concessions. But in 1991, the soldiers he had sent to quell pro-democracy demonstrators turned against him and overthrew him in a bloody insurrection, which officially resulted in more than 200 dead and 1,000 wounded. He was sentenced to death for "political crimes" in 1993 and, along with his wife, for economic crimes in 1999. The sentences were commuted to life in jail, and Traore was pardoned in 2002. In recent years, Traore was increasingly seen as an elder statesman, with politicians soliciting his advice. Traore's death comes just four weeks after another putsch in Mali after rebel army officers overthrew president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18. Tue, 15 Sep 2020 20:21:03 +0000editorial@africanews.com's Bashir trial adjourned to September 22 trial of Sudan's toppled strongman Omar al-Bashir over his role in the 1989 military coup that brought him to power was adjourned to September 22, the judge said on Tuesday. The judge said the hearing was "procedural" and that requests were being considered to change the packed courtroom to meet coronavirus measures. The short-lived trial was broadcast on Sudan TV. Bashir was on trial with 27 other defendants, who could face the death penalty. Bashir seized power following an Islamist-backed military coup in 1989. He stayed in power for 30 years before being overthrown on April 11, 2019 after several months of youth-led street demonstrations. Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in the western region of Darfur. The United Nations estimates 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million displaced in the conflict since 2003. Sudan's transitional government has agreed that Bashir would face the ICC. However, an August 31 peace deal with rebel groups includes the commitment to set up a special court for crimes in Darfur, and that Bashir should also stand trial before that. Tue, 15 Sep 2020 17:21:07 +0000editorial@africanews.com leaders urge swift political reform in Mali African leaders urged a swift political solution in Mali on Tuesday, fearing an Islamist insurgency that has been nestled in the country since 2012 could take advantage of the fragile situation. The 15-nation regional bloc known as ECOWAS met with Mali's junta in Ghana. It had set the military chiefs a Tuesday deadline for naming a new civilian interim leader. "The terrorists are taking advantage of the situation in Mali to flex their muscles even more," said Nana Akufo-Addo, Ghanaian President and current rotating chair of ECOWAS. "Today is supposed to be the day when the military junta in Mali is to put in place a government... That has not been done," he said.  "The circumstances of life in Mali today require that closure be brought to the matter now. " ECOWAS has also urged a return to democracy within a year. But the junta, which grabbed power after a coup in August, said it would step down in 18 months. After a similar coup in 2012, Islamic extremists took advantage of a power vacuum and grabbed control of major towns in northern Mali. Only a 2013 military intervention led by former colonial power France pushed extremists from those cities and the international community has invested more than seven years into the fight against extremism there. Tue, 15 Sep 2020 17:09:07 (Pascale Davies) journalist Khaled Drareni jailed for two years journalist Khaled Drareni received a two-year prison sentence at his appeal hearing on Tuesday for his coverage of the anti-government protests. Rights groups have condemned the verdict as an attack on press freedom as the country has been rocked by demonstrations for the last year. The 40-year-old journalist was arrested on March 29 on charges such as “endangering national unity” after covering demonstrations by the so-called “Hirak” protest movement. In August he was handed a three-year jail term. Drareni is a correspondent for French-language channel TV5 Monde and an editor at the Casbah Tribune news site. Algeria's judiciary has stepped up prosecutions journalists and activists in recent months. "We are outraged by the blind stubbornness of the Algerian judges who have just condemned (Drareni) to 2 years in prison," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire tweeted after the verdict was announced. "Khaled's detention proves the regime locks itself into a logic of absurd, unfair and violent repression." Tue, 15 Sep 2020 14:57:07 (Pascale Davies) leaders meet with Mali junta on deadline day's junta must name a civilian interim leader on Tuesday, as the military chiefs meet with West African leaders who are also calling for fresh elections within a year. The 15-nation regional bloc known as ECOWAS gathered for a summit in Ghana, with its new president Nana Akufo-Addo also attending. The bloc has set an ultimatum for a return to democratic rule within a year and has called for a civilian to take the top job in the meantime. The military junta backed an arrangement for an 18-month transition government on Saturday. But said the interim president chosen to oversee the transitional government could come from the military. The junta seized power in an August 18 coup that overthrew president Boubacar Keita.  Tue, 15 Sep 2020 13:21:09 +0000editorial@africanews.com Back in Session for Children in Tunisia to school for children in Tunisia on September 15, following the approval of the health protocol by the Tunisian scientific committee for the fight against coronavirus — which calls for the application of social distancing between pupils and the mandatory mask-wearing only for teachers and educational staff as children are at less risk of infection. The Tunisian government imposed strict coronavirus-prevention restrictions shortly after detecting the first national case on March 2nd and health official, Habib Guedira, explained that this protocol is a preventive measure in areas seeing a rise in cases — with the national confirmed caseload now at just over 7,000 with just over 2000 recoveries and 117 fatalities. In order to help in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the nation has received several batches of medical aid from the Chinese government, Chinese foundations and other companies since late March. Wed, 16 Sep 2020 16:18:04 (Kizzi Asala)‘Concrete Cowboy’ Revamps the Image of Black Fatherhood in Film'Concrete Cowboy' — a film based on the novel "Ghetto Cowboy" by Greg Neri, premiered worldwide on Sunday at the Toronto International Film Festival by way of pre-recorded messages from the film’s cast in light of Covid-19 pandemic social distancing measures and the country’s closed borders. The movie tells the story of urban Black cowboys in Philadelphia and was inspired by the real-life Fletcher Street Urban Club. Challenging Stereotypes Idris Elba plays the role of a modern-day urban cowboy that lives in Philadelphia, who takes in his troubled 15-year old son, played by "Stranger Things" star Caleb McLaughlin, in his first feature film role. The world-renowned actor of Ghanaian heritage believes there's an unfair portrayal of Black fathers in movies. Hence, this script caught his attention as he felt he could help change the global negative perception on the big screen. Idris Elba, the fil,’s main protagonist, "We had lots of conversations about, you know, how central this component of father-son is to the story. And from – listen, I've played a couple of fathers and I know as a father that, you know, fathers, black fathers are misrepresented in film a lot. A lot. A lot. And, you know, that is one of the things that touched me. You know, I was saying earlier that I'm an only child and my dad - he wasn't a lovey-dovey dude, but he raised the shit out of me, you know I mean. He really did. He made sure that I took on board some of the best things that he'd learned." Profound and Relatable Storytelling The story explores the complex and deep relationship between a father and son who get off to a rocky start but eventually learn to understand one another as the movie progresses. Producer Lee Daniels shares his take on the movie’s cultural impact, "Telling stories about - not telling your typical the stories that we see. Yes, there are drugs involved. Yes. Yes. It's that. But Black urban cowboys. I mean. Father and son. I'm in. We need that. The culture needs it." The troubled teenager played by "Stranger Things" star Caleb McLaughlin, in his first feature film role. His personal exchanges with Elba — sharing details about their own respective fathers, enables the actors to establish a bond both visually apparent and felt on screen. McLaughlin explains the approach, "Idris was able to communicate with me right before we filmed one of the most powerful scenes that we have in the film. We sat down under the tents outside and we just talked about the relationship and kind of going into it. I was talking to my father about the relationship - because my dad didn't have his father in his life. We were just talking about like there's a love-hate relationship there, like I want to love him, but I can't because he hasn't been there for me. And I think it was just the communication process." Cultural Impact Director Ricky Staub's unique shooting style also played a part in capturing meaningful moments thanks to his ability to shoot pretty much anything in front of the camera. "Ricky's the kind of director that if he sees it happening right there, the cameras are rolling immediately. There's no (calling) action. There's no you know, it's just like. 'I see it. I want it.' So, we really fed off that," Elba said. Staub also employed locals people as well as members of the Fletcher Street Urban Club to provide authenticity to the storytelling. Although not so well-known, the non-profit club has done great work dedicated to inner-city horsemanship in Philadelphia for more than a century.  Wed, 16 Sep 2020 16:18:06 (Kizzi Asala) and only 3 More Approved to Run for Ivorian Presidency Constitutional Council, the top court in Cote d’Ivoire has officially validated the presidential candidacy bid of current President Alassane Ouattara who seeks a contentious third term — clearing only four of the 44 candidates for the October 31 presidential election. Mamadou Koné, the President of Ivory Coast's constitutional council, read out the list in a public address, "The final list of candidates for the election of the President of the Republic to be held on October 31st, 2020 is hereby adopted as follows: 1. Alassane Ouattara, 2. Affi N'Guessan Pascal, 3. Bédié Konan Aimé Henri, 4. Kouadio Konan Bertin." Ouattara , who has been in power since 2011, had previously committed to not running again, but he changed his mind after the sudden death of his anointed successor, prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, from a heart attack in July. He initially postponed his decision to run for a third term to mourn and pay respects to the late prime minister but eventually filed his bid which has not been validated by the council. His presence in the presidential race is controversial as many Ivorians refer to the constitution which limits presidents to only two terms in office. However, Ouattara and his supporters argue that a seemingly questionable - and some believe deliberate, 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock. Barred from the list of candidates viable to run for the presidency, is rebel leader turned prime minister Guillaume Soro , in self-imposed exile in France, the former ally of President Ouattara had his candidacy bid filed on his behalf by his supporters — which was initially rejected by the Independent Electoral Commission proclaiming that any person committed of a misdemeanour or a crime and stripped of their civil rights could not run for president. Also kept out of the race by the council and with a bid initially rejected for the same reasons, is former president Laurent Gbagbo . He appears to be extremely popular and beloved amongst his devoted supporters who formed a pro-Gbagbo coalition calling themselves “Together for Democracy and Sovereignty” and quite unapologetically submitted a candidacy bid in his stead. Unfortunately, the lack of a signature rendered the bid inadmissible by the council. The announcement sparked violent protests in many cities as many fear a repeat of the post-electoral crisis from ten years ago that left more than 3,000 people dead as the upcoming October elections promise to be intense. Tue, 15 Sep 2020 10:36:14 (Kizzi Asala) Central African Republic Faces Food Shortage Crisis to a report published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), just over two million people — or about half of the population of the Central African Republic, live in a state of acute food insecurity. Rachida Abdoulaye, who lives in the Bornu district of Bria, checks every morning to see if the vegetables and fruits in her garden are ripe for picking in order to feed her family, "We used to have enough to eat up to three times a day, but now it's very difficult. With a bit of luck, we eat once a day, sometimes nothing at all, and the children go to bed without eating. Everything is expensive in the market, even making money is very difficult." Markets are Bare  Food products are almost non-existent at the markets and even the most widely consumed cassava flour, whose usual price is reasonable has not become a rarity. The growing security instability in the region no longer enables the population to go to the fields for supplies. Zibert Mouna, a cassava trader, shares her experience, "We used to sell cassava here at 2,000 or 2,500 francs, but today it's very difficult to get it, it's not easy to go to the fields and with the rains everything is spoiled. People travel two or three kilometres to deliver it to us." Local and International Initiatives Humanitarians are doing their best to distribute food to a population frightened by the strong presence of armed groups. In addition, training of agricultural monitors on the simplest farming techniques has been put in place in order to be able to feed the communities. Fatmata Fofana Bintou, a food security officer of OXFAM BRIA explains the approach, "We are teaching the producers a technique that will enable them to increase their productivity, even if they cannot go beyond the city to cultivate it will enable them to cultivate around their homes to cope with this food insecurity situation." Samuel Thierry Nzam, a correspondent on the ground, summarises the current situation from a farmer school field, "All the crops have gone beyond the harvest period and everything has rotted, everything has become unusable, unconsumable so that over a period of three years food insecurity has taken hold in the region. Today, according to reports from humanitarian organisations, more than 65% of the population in the town of Bria is said to be food insecure. As you have seen there is still a lot to be done to meet this challenge. Samuel Thierry NZAM BRIA for Africanews."  Tue, 15 Sep 2020 08:04:47 (Kizzi Asala)'Hotel Rwanda' hero charged with terrorism Rusesabagina, portrayed as a hero in a Hollywood movie about Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, was charged with 12 counts against him on Monday including terrorism. It's one of Rwanda's most high profile cases against a government critic. He appeared in the Kigali court and was also accused of complicity in murder and forming or joining an irregular armed group. Rusesabagina is the leader of an opposition group, the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change, which is said to have an armed wing called the National Liberation Front. The 66-year-old has Belgium citizenship and was living abroad. His lawyer, Vincent Lurquin, said he hoped he could get to Rwanda this month. "In order to go to Rwanda, there is a big procedure, especially with visas. So we hope that the Rwandan government will accept that we have visas in order for us to defend Mr. Rusesabagina over there. "But I have to tell you that the talks between the Belgian and the Rwanda authorities on that front are not progressing much. ." His lawyer has urged his provisional release. "The conditions of his detention are very tough for him and for his health. But other than that he cannot talk about anything else as he is never alone, even when he speaks with his family over the phone," said Lurquin. It is still unclear how Rusesabagina came to be in Rwanda. His family says the charges against him are politically motivated and allege he was kidnapped while in Dubai for meetings and brought to Rwanda against his will. The Rwanda Investigation Bureau has said international cooperation was involved in detaining Rusesabagina -- who has lived abroad since 1996 and holds both Belgian citizenship and a US Green Card -- but refuses to disclose further details. He's credited with saving more than 1,2000 Rwandans by sheltering them in a hotel. Mon, 14 Sep 2020 20:20:08 (Pascale Davies) still vigilant and suffers economically post Mali coup Mali attempts to build a roadmap for a new political order, the streets of desert city Timbuktu are on high alert. The concerns of the capital Bamako, after a military coup on August 18 ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, are still being felt. "We must be vigilant because in such situations, the enemy lurking in the shadows could take advantage of negligence," said Colonel Boubacar Sanogoh, commander of Timbuktu's military zone. Mali has struggled to contain a brutal Islamic insurgency since 2012, which has since spread to the centre of the country as well as neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger. Thousands of civilians and soldiers have died in the conflict, which has also exacted a heavy economic toll on the already impoverished West African state. Mali's military junta must name a new leader by Tuesday or it could face sanctions from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The bloc has already closed Mali's border and banned trade. "ECOWAS sanctions, however, do more harm to the people than to the government," said Aboubacrine Cissé, Mayor of Timbuktu. The bloc has already closed Mali's border and banned trade, which has affected those in Timbuktu. " It ( the border closure) created a lot of problems for us, because everything comes from outside. We don't have a factory here, we don't have anything, so when we close the borders it's a big problem for us," said shopkeeper Baba Wangara. Mali's junta is trying to convince leaders to accepts its roadmap for a return to democracy. Last week, it unveiled a political charter that could see a military officer heading a transitional government for 18 months. But members of the M5-RFP, the main opposition coalition, oppose the proposition.  Mon, 14 Sep 2020 20:08:48 (Pascale Davies) hikes petrol prices as COVID-19 bites budget prices have risen in Nigeria after the oil-rich nation dumped a controversial petrol subsidy system in the face of a coronavirus budget crunch. The cost of fuel at the pump has risen by around 15% in recent days, hitting a record high of 162 naira per litre ($0.42), after the government pushed on with deregulation. "In a virtue of one month the fuel price was increased twice, it’s sad and disheartening, honestly it’s not encouraging," said Julius Apeh, military personnel. "It is we the poor masses that are suffering, they don’t feel anything about it, theirs is to remain in their house and they will supply them." People in Africa's most populous country, where almost half of the 200 million population live in extreme poverty, have for years relied on the artificially inexpensive fuel. Nigeria is Africa's biggest crude producer but has almost no working refinery capacity and the authorities have spent tens of billions of dollars to subsidise imports. But the government says it cannot afford to subsidise petrol any more as the coronavirus pandemic batters the economy. Nigeria said it would end to the subsidies earlier this year, as falling oil prices robbed Nigeria of a major chunk of its revenues. Increasing the pain for average Nigerians, the government has also almost doubled the cost of electricity from 33 to more than 60 naira per kilowatt. President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday defended the increases, saying they were "crucial decisions" because of dwindling revenues. "There is no provision for fuel subsidy in the revised 2020 budget, simply because we are not able to afford it, if reasonable provisions must be made for health, education and other social services," he said in a statement. "We now simply have no choice".  Mon, 14 Sep 2020 18:13:37 (Pascale Davies)