Africanews RSS Receive free and in real-time all news published by africanews.com, by subscribing to our RSS feeds. http://www.africanews.com/feed/rss Thu, 29 Jun 2017 13:20:10 +0000 Thu, 29 Jun 2017 13:20:10 +0000 DR Congo cancels independence day parade over security concerns http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/dr-congo-cancels-independence-day-parade-over-security-concerns/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/dr-congo-cancels-independence-day-parade-over-security-concerns/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 13:20:10 +0000 Democratic Republic of Congo will not hold its annual independence day military parade on Friday because of security concerns, an adviser to President Joseph Kabila said on Thursday. Congo’s independence day parades, held each of the last three years, are usually festive events that mark the end of Belgian colonial rule in 1960 and have been used to show off the Central African country’s latest arms acquisitions. But rising militia violence, a growing humanitarian crisis and a spate of prison breaks have unsettled Africa’s largest copper producer in recent months, adding to an already tense political climate. Kabila refused to step down at the end of his mandate in December, increasing instability and raising fears of a backslide to the civil wars of the turn of the century that killed millions. Kabila’s deputy chief of staff, Jean-Pierre Kambila, told Reuters there would be no military parade on June 30 “for security reasons”, but did not elaborate. He said Kabila would likely still give a televised speech. The parade was also cancelled in 2012 and 2013 during the country’s war with the M23 rebellion. Thousands of inmates have escaped from jails this year, including about 4,000 from the capital Kinshasa’s main high-security prison last month. In response, police and army have set up night-time checkpoints in Kinshasa’s business district of Gombe. Meanwhile, fighting between government forces and a local militia in the central Kasai region has killed more than 3,300 people and forced 1.3 million to flee their homes since August. Opponents accuse Kabila, in power since 2001, of deliberately delaying the next presidential election in order to cling to power, but the government says the delays are due to a slow voter registration process and financing shortfalls. Reuters Gunmen open fire on U.N. convoy in Libya http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/gunmen-open-fire-on-un-convoy-in-libya/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/gunmen-open-fire-on-un-convoy-in-libya/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 13:21:30 +0000 Gunmen opened fired on a United Nations convoy on a coastal road west of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Wednesday, an incident that could complicate the gradual return of diplomatic and other international staff to Libya. “The U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) confirms that a U.N. convoy was hit today travelling between Surman and Tripoli,” a statement from the mission said, adding there were no reports of casualties among U.N. staff. A member of parliament for Zawiya, Abdallah Alafi, said five male U.N. staff and two female staff had been held briefly and then released and would be transferred to Tripoli. It was not clear why the convoy was hit and whether the staff had been detained or held for their own protection. A picture circulating on social media showed an unmarked white vehicle of the kind used by U.N. staff in Libya apparently immobilised on the edge of a road, with the front wheel casing badly damaged and shatter marks on two of the windows. “UNSMIL thanks the Government of National Accord, House of Representative Members from Zawiya and local authorities for their help in ensuring the safety of U.N. staff and is looking forward to their safe return to Tripoli,” the U.N. statement said. Surman is just west of the city of Zawiya. A number of militias have a presence in the area and the road is often closed because of local disputes. Kidnappings are common. UNSMIL along with most diplomatic missions evacuated from Tripoli to neighbouring Tunisia in 2014 as rival factions battled for control of the Libyan capital. Since last year, when the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) arrived in Tripoli, the mission and U.N. agencies have gradually been increasing their presence in Libya with regular visits by international staff. Diplomatic staff have also been visiting more frequently, and the Italian and Turkish embassies reopened in Tripoli earlier this year. However, the security situation in and around capital remains fragile, with armed groups retaining the power that they have held since the NATO-backed uprising that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Reuters U.N. agrees to $7.3 billion annual peacekeeping budget http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/un-agrees-to-73-billion-annual-peacekeeping-budget/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/un-agrees-to-73-billion-annual-peacekeeping-budget/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 13:22:54 +0000 United Nations states struck a deal on Wednesday on a $7.3 billion annual peacekeeping budget, diplomats said, cutting $600 million from current costs and slicing 7.5 percent off the U.S. bill following calls by President Donald Trump to slash funding. Washington initially proposed a peacekeeping budget of $6.99 billion for the year from July 1, 2017, which would have reduced its share of the bill by more than 10 percent to $1.99 billion. In the early hours of Wednesday, the 193-member U.N. budget committee agreed on $7.3 billion to fund 13 peacekeeping missions and a logistics support office. The budget is due to be adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, diplomats said. The U.S. initial peacekeeping budget proposal was the lowest made of all states and regional blocs and nearly $1 billion less than U.N. chief Antonio Guterres’ suggestion. While Trump has described U.S. funding for the U.N. as “peanuts” compared to its “important work,” he complains its share of the peacekeeping bill, currently 28.5 percent, is “unfair.” In his 2018 budget proposal he requested Congress approve only $1.2 billion for U.N. peacekeeping. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told U.S. lawmakers in Washington on Wednesday that Trump’s proposed U.S. federal budget was “making a point that he wanted to strengthen the military and it was putting the United Nations on notice.” “I have used that as leverage … now we’re seeing a lot of the other countries come forward and say ‘yes we should do reform,’” Haley said. “I really do think the message was effective.” The United States is also reviewing each of the U.N. peacekeeping missions as annual mandates come up for renewal by the U.N. Security Council in a bid to cut costs. The United States is a veto-wielding member of the council, along with Britain, France, Russia and China. “There’s a lot of fat around the edges and some abuses that happen at the U.N., but I do think it is very important that we make the most of it,” Haley said. Washington also pays 22 percent of the $5.4 billion biennial U.N. core budget. Ultimately the U.S. Congress sets the federal government budget and will decide how much money is available for U.N. funding. Republicans, who control both houses, and Democrats have said they do not support drastic cuts proposed by Trump. Trump wants to enforce a 25 percent cap on the U.S. contribution to U.N. peacekeeping. The U.N. General Assembly is due to negotiate next year new levels of contributions by countries for 2019, 2020 and 2021. Guterres has pledged to make U.N. peacekeeping more efficient but has noted that the current budget to fund it is less than one half of 1 percent of global military spending. Reuters 260,000 birds culled to contain bird flue outbreak in South Africa http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/260000-birds-culled-to-contain-bird-flue-outbreak-in-south-africa/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/260000-birds-culled-to-contain-bird-flue-outbreak-in-south-africa/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 13:24:54 +0000 South Africa has culled 260,000 birds so far to contain an H5N8 bird flu outbreak, Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana told a news briefing on Thursday. South Africa has confirmed outbreaks of avian flu, which is often transmitted by wild birds, on at least two farms. Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana suspended poultry imports from South Africa this week after the outbreak. Reuters Travellers from Sudan, Somalia and Libya must prove 'close relations' for U.S. visa http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/travellers-from-sudan-somalia-and-libya-must-prove-close-relations-for-us-visa/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/travellers-from-sudan-somalia-and-libya-must-prove-close-relations-for-us-visa/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 13:26:25 +0000 Visa applicants from six Muslim-majority countries must have a close family relationship to a U.S. individual or formal ties to a U.S. entity to be admitted to the United States under guidance distributed by the U.S. State Department on Wednesday. The guidance defined a close familial relationship as being a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling, including step siblings and other step family relations, according to a copy of a cable distributed to all U.S. diplomatic posts and seen by Reuters. The cable, first reported by the Associated Press, said close family “does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other ‘extended’ family members.” It also specified that any relationship with a U.S. entity “must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading the E.O.,” a reference to U.S. President Donald Trump’s March 6 executive order temporarily barring most U.S. travel by citizens of six nations. The cable provides advice to U.S. consular officers on how to interpret Monday’s Supreme Court ruling that allowed parts of the executive order, which had been blocked by the courts, to be implemented while the highest U.S. court considers the matter. Reuters Ghana signs $10b bauxite deal with China http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/ghana-signs-10b-bauxite-deal-with-china/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/ghana-signs-10b-bauxite-deal-with-china/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 13:27:55 +0000 Ghana has signed a $10 billion memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China to develop its bauxite industry, the country’s Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo said on Wednesday. Growth in the West African country slowed sharply in 2014 due to a fiscal crisis and tumbling commodity prices following years of economic expansion at around 8 percent on the back of gold, cocoa and oil exports. Taking office in January, President Nana Akufo-Addo has outlined a programme of job creation through the private sector and rural development. “To develop the bauxite project with its railway and converting bauxite into aluminium we will need about $10 billion … we signed an MOU,” Osafo-Maafo told reporters at a conference in London after arriving from China. “The money will come from the Chinese Development Bank, the implementation of the project will come from other agencies, infrastructure agencies in China, like China Railway,” he said. The funds from Beijing would contribute towards building 1,400 km of a planned 4,000 km railway network, which would connect bauxite mines and production sites as well as establish a rail link into neighbouring Burkina Faso. Details such as interest rates and terms had yet to be decided, he said, speaking on the sidelines of an investor conference organised by Developing Market Associates. During his China visit, a second MOU had been signed between China and the Association of Ghana Industries which could lead to some $2 billion being invested in agricultural projects and industries, Osafo-Maafo said. This was part of a government pledge to “build a dam in every village and a factory in every district”, he said. Asked about the government’s plan to issue a 10 billion cedi ($2.25 billion) bond, Osafo-Maafo said he expected the debt to be issued towards the end of the year, and with maturities ranging from 5-15 years. Earlier in June, Ghana had named Standard Chartered Bank and local lender Fidelity as lead managers for the issue expected to clear debts owed by public sector energy utilities. Reuters Laughter and memories fill funeral of ex-Botswana President Masire http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/laughter-and-memories-fill-funeral-of-ex-botswana-president-masire/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/laughter-and-memories-fill-funeral-of-ex-botswana-president-masire/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 12:28:08 +0000 Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, heads of government and several former African presidents on Thursday joined the funeral service of former Botswana President Ketumile Masire who died last week at the age of 91. The funeral, held at Masire’s home village of Kanye in southern Botswana, was filled with laughter and memories of the jovial second president of Botswana who served between 1980 and 1998. Each speech at the funeral elicited laughter from the mourners as the speakers remembered the celebrated leader. Among the leaders present at the funeral were Botswana President Ian Khama, Lesotho’s King Letsie III, South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy Prime Ministers of Swaziland and Lesotho, Former Presidents Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Armando Guebuza (Mozambique), Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzanian), Festus Mogae (Botswana) among other dignitaries. He was remembered for his role in various diplomatic initiatives in Africa, including chairing a panel that investigated the 1994 Rwanda genocide, co-ordinating the Inter-Congolese National Dialogue among other peace initiatives in South Africa, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Ghana and Swaziland. Robert Mugabe 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe remembered the struggle of Masire in the 1990s in the fight for peace in Congo, Mozambique, Rwanda and South Africa and the southern African region. “The death of Ketumile Masire has not only robbed Botswana of a great leader, but has also deprived southern Africa and the entire continent of a great statesman who served with valor and honour. “Even after retirement, Masire continued to be a servant of his people and humanity as he traveled the length of Africa in pursuant of peace and development … we come in tears because the man who we mourn here often rolled out the welcome mat regardless of the matter at heart; his ear was always ready to listen,” he said. Mugabe recalled his engagements with Masire before and after independence, as well as moments shared together. “Let us remember the road he has walked to walk it, or get our people and children to walk it,” he advised. Thabo Mbeki Former South African president Thabo Mbeki said: “with his departure, we will miss his laughter which tinkled as clear as a bell, his quiet humour and his wise and invaluable advise given in gentle ways,” he said. “Eventhough he has departed the world of the living, we will still walk tall throughout the world because as Africans we can proclaim to all humanity that from this small acre of Africa was born a son Ketumile Masire whose quality of leadership made us proud to call ourselves Africans,” he added. He mentioned Masire’s influence in the struggle for the liberation of South Africa. Ian Khama Botswana President Ian Khama amused the mourners as the last speaker after the family of Masire took turns to recall the happy moments of the departed former head of state. Khama cracked jokes about some dignitaries including Mugabe and government officials before offering his condolences to the family of Masire. “We should not only be mourning, but we should celebrate his life,” he said while thanking the public for partaking in the memorial service held on Wednesday. “When you hear someone say, what have Africans done for the world, you should say to them, what have Africans not done for the world, because we have done a lot. He said former Presidents Masire and Khama resisted pressure in the colonial times to stop freedom fighters from entering Botswana and … “based on our long standing principle for upholding human rights, we did not give in then nor shall we give in now. We will not be bullied and intimidated by anyone to abandon these principles”. Botswana President Ian Khama says cabinet will decide what to name after #Masire in remembrance #SABCNews pic.twitter.com/KJEGqBZGlg— Nthakoana Ngatane (@nthakoana) June 29, 2017 Sir Ketumile Masire was buried immediately after the service as hundreds of mourners looked on. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Profile of Sir Quett Ketumile Joni Masire Sir Quett Ketumile Joni Masire was born in July, 1925 in Kanye, southern Botswana, to a cattle herding family. His love for education and academic achievement gained him a scholarship to study at the Tiger Kloof Educational Institute in South Africa where he graduated in 1950. While teaching in his country, he entered into farming and earned a Master Farmers Certificate in 1957. Masire also served as a journalist for the African Echo/Naledi ya Botswana newspaper in 1958 when he married his late wife Gladys Olebile Masire who died in 2013 leaving him behind with six children. He ventured into politics and help found the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) which he served as its first secretary-general in 1961. The party won majority seats in the 1965 legislative elections and later, he became Deputy Prime Minister in 1966 and after independence, the country’s Vice-President and finance minister, serving under Seretse Khama until 1980. Five days after the death of Seretse Khama on July 18, 1980, Masire was elected president by secret ballot at the National Assembly. He went on to become chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)and vice chairman of the Organisation of African Unity. He was also chairman of the Global Coalition for Africa and a member of the UN group on Africa Development. During this period, he earned three Honorary Doctorates of Law (L.L.D.) from two universities in the United States and one in the United Kingdom. He also earned two Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from two other universities in the United States. In 1989, he was awarded the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger and the Grand Counsellor of the Royal Order of Sobhuza II in Swaziland. He was also knighted by the Queen of England in 1991 with the Grand Cross of Saint Michael and Saint George, earning him the title Sir. Masire also earned Namibia’s Order of the Welwitschia which is one of the highest honours of the land. He retired as president in 1998 but continued with diplomatic initiatives in Africa including leading the panel that investigated the 1994 Rwanda genocide, co-ordinating the Inter-Congolese National Dialogue among other peace initiatives in South Africa, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Ghana and Swaziland. Masire set up the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation in 2007 to promote the social and economic well being of Botswana as well as co-founded the Global Leadership Foundation to promote good governance and resolve conflict through mediation. Sir Ketumile Masire died on June 22, 2017 in a hospital in Botswana’s capital Gaborone after he was hospitalized on June 18. REMEMBERING SIR KETUMILE MASIRE |Rra-Gaone and Mma-Gaone’s weeding in pictures #RIPMasire pic.twitter.com/nlzDqb3UQT— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) June 28, 2017 Ismail Akwei I shall live forever with Masire in my heart - Mugabe mourns ex-Botswana leader http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/i-shall-live-forever-with-masire-in-my-heart-mugabe-mourns-ex-botswana-leader/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/i-shall-live-forever-with-masire-in-my-heart-mugabe-mourns-ex-botswana-leader/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 12:24:04 +0000 Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe joined mourners in Botswana on Thursday at the funeral service of former President Ketumile Masire who died last week at the age of 91. 93-year-old Mugabe spoke at the event where he recalled fond memories about the ex-leader who had served Botswana between 1980 and 1998. “I shall live forever, with Masire in my heart. As I said, I never had a friend as close as Masire in the SADC. He was the closest to me. The closest to my family. My wife and his wife great friends. May he rest in peace,” Mugabe said at the end of his speech. “Let us remember the road he has walked to walk it, or get our people and children to walk it,” he advised. The funeral, held at Masire’s home village of Kanye in southern Botswana, was filled with laughter and memories of the jovial second president of Botswana. Each speech at the funeral elicited laughter from the mourners as the speakers remembered the celebrated leader. Among the leaders present at the funeral were Botswana President Ian Khama, Lesotho’s King Letsie III, South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy Prime Ministers of Swaziland and Lesotho, Former Presidents Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Armando Guebuza (Mozambique), Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzanian), Festus Mogae (Botswana) among other dignitaries. He was remembered for his role in various diplomatic initiatives in Africa, including chairing a panel that investigated the 1994 Rwanda genocide, co-ordinating the Inter-Congolese National Dialogue among other peace initiatives in Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Ghana and Swaziland. Sir Ketumile Masire was buried immediately after the service as hundreds of mourners looked on. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Profile of Sir Quett Ketumile Joni Masire Sir Quett Ketumile Joni Masire was born in July, 1925 in Kanye, southern Botswana to a cattle herding family. His love for education and academic achievement gained him a scholarship to study at the Tiger Kloof Educational Institute in South Africa where he graduated in 1950. While teaching in his country, he entered into farming and earned a Master Farmers Certificate in 1957. Masire also served as a journalist for the African Echo/Naledi ya Botswana newspaper in 1958 when he married his late wife Gladys Olebile Masire who died in 2013 leaving him behind with six children. He ventured into politics and help found the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) which he served as its first secretary-general in 1961. The party won majority seats in the 1965 legislative elections and later, he became Deputy Prime Minister in 1966 and after independence, the country’s Vice-President and finance minister, serving under Seretse Khama until 1980. Five days after the death of Seretse Khama on July 18, 1980, Masire was elected president by secret ballot at the National Assembly. He went on to become chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)and vice chairman of the Organisation of African Unity. He was also chairman of the Global Coalition for Africa and a member of the UN group on Africa Development. During this period, he earned three Honorary Doctorates of Law (L.L.D.) from two universities in the United States and one in the United Kingdom. He also earned two Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from two other universities in the United States. In 1989, he was awarded the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger and the Grand Counsellor of the Royal Order of Sobhuza II in Swaziland. He was also knighted by the Queen of England in 1991 with the Grand Cross of Saint Michael and Saint George, earning him the title Sir. Masire also earned Namibia’s Order of the Welwitschia which is one of the highest honours of the land. He retired as president in 1998 but continued with diplomatic initiatives in Africa including leading the panel that investigated the 1994 Rwanda genocide, co-ordinating the Inter-Congolese National Dialogue among other peace initiatives in South Africa, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Ghana and Swaziland. Masire set up the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation in 2007 to promote the social and economic well being of Botswana as well as co-founded the Global Leadership Foundation to promote good governance and resolve conflict through mediation. Sir Ketumile Masire died on June 22, 2017 in a hospital in Botswana’s capital Gaborone after he was hospitalized on June 18. REMEMBERING SIR KETUMILE MASIRE |Rra-Gaone and Mma-Gaone’s weeding in pictures #RIPMasire pic.twitter.com/nlzDqb3UQT— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) June 28, 2017 Ismail Akwei Weak Boko Haram fights for dominance, boasts of latest abductions http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/weak-boko-haram-fights-for-dominance-boasts-of-latest-abductions/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/weak-boko-haram-fights-for-dominance-boasts-of-latest-abductions/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 12:19:36 +0000 Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for last week’s ambush on a convoy at northeastern Nigerian town of Damboa heading for a funeral in Maiduguri. Extremist leader Abubakar Shekau, in a video released on Monday claimed responsibility for the ambush that resulted in the death of at least two people and abduction of at least 16 women including suspected police officers. The convoy included security escorts, civilians and police officials who were heading for a funeral of a policewoman. Some of the victims managed to escape while others sustained injuries. Shekau described the ambush and abduction as a victory and evidence that they have not been defeated as claimed by the military and government. “We are responsible for the Damboa road ambush. This shows the claim of Nigeria military, the police and government that they have finished Boko Haram is a lie. The Damboa road ambush has made it clear that they have been lying to the world,” he said. He boasted about the vehicles taken and the abducted women who he said are “slaves given to them by God”. The video only showed still images of the kidnapped women and clips of the attack. The police has since refuted claims that its members were abducted. In a statement on Wednesday, Borno police spokesperson Victor Isukwu called on the public to “disregard the claims as “they are not a true representation of that unfortunate incident.” “For avoidance of doubts, and to put records straight, there are no policewomen under Boko Haram terrorist’s captivity as claimed by the sect leader … The personnel missing are Inspector Fatsuma Sale and Cpl Abubakar Haruna. There is no evidence in the video clip indicating that they are in the captivity of the sect,” he said. President Muhammadu Buhari said last year that the army had defeated Boko Haram in the Sambisa forest. The outgoing commander of Nigerian Army’s anti-Boko Haram operation Major General Lucky Irabor had reiterated in May that the Islamist militant group Boko Haram has been defeated and does not have the capacity to attack. Boko Haram has been perpetrating violence since 2009 in the northeast of Nigeria. Close to 20,000 people have been killed in clashes. Ismail Akwei Seychelles, South Africa granted visa-free travel to Qatar amid Gulf row http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/seychelles-south-africa-granted-visa-free-travel-to-qatar-amid-gulf-row/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/seychelles-south-africa-granted-visa-free-travel-to-qatar-amid-gulf-row/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 12:17:06 +0000 Nationals of Seychelles and South Africa have been listed among the 37 countries granted visa-free travel to Qatar as the Gulf nation is blocked by its neighbours amid recent diplomatic row. Qatari authorities announced in a statement on June 22, 2017 that they have introduced a visa-on-arrival policy, Russian news agency Sputnik reported. Among the countries are Argentina, Chile, French Guiana, Latvia, Macedonia, Paraguay, Slovakia, Lebanon, Bolivia, China, Ecuador, Guyana, Seychelles, Malta, Peru, Slovenia, Thailand, Brazil, Colombia, Estonia, Indonesia, Lithuania, Mexico, Romania, South Africa, Uruguay, Bulgaria, Croatia Falk Islands, Kazakhstan, Macau, Moldova, Russia, Suriname and Venezuela. The conditions for obtaining the visa-on-arrival includes a 100 QAR ($27) fee, valid passport of not less than 6 months, return ticket, hotel reservation and money equivalent to $1,500 or a credit card, the statement added. This move comes days after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates fell out with the Gulf country after it accused it of supporting Islamist militants and Iran. Qatar vehemently denies the claims. Some African countries took sides in the diplomatic row with Chad recalling its ambassador from Qatar “for consultations” after Senegal recalled its envoy citing its “active solidarity” with Saudi Arabia. Mauritania, a member of the Arab League, severed ties with Qatar following the lead of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – while Gabon condemned Doha. However, Guinean President Alpha Conde offered to mediate in the diplomatic crisis in his capacity as chairperson of the African Union to find a swift and peaceful solution. Somalia also expressed concern and advised that it should be settled with dialogue after it expressed neutrality. This resulted in a recall of the United Arab Emirates ambassador in the capital Mogadishu. The government of Seychelles also called on all the parties involved to engage in meaningful dialogue in order to resolve and deescalate the current situation. Ismail Akwei Ali Bongo's father-in-law attacked at Paris cafe by Gabonese men http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/ali-bongo-s-father-in-law-attacked-at-paris-cafe-by-gabonese-men/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/ali-bongo-s-father-in-law-attacked-at-paris-cafe-by-gabonese-men/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 13:22:10 +0000 Edouard-Pierre Valentin, father of Sylvia Bongo – wife of Gabon President Ali Bongo, was recently attacked by some nationals of the Central African country in France. A video circulating on social media showed about a dozen men shouting and banging on a table on which Ali Bongo’s father-in-law and a former minister sat at a Paris cafe. The ‘attackers’ were shouting insults at him and accusing his son in law of overseeing a fraudulent election that led to a political crisis in August last year. They repeatedly referred to the regime as a criminal one that was killing people back home. It took the intervention of Paris police to bring the almost violent situation under control. Mr Valentin is seen as an ally of the Bongo family having made a fortune in the area of insurance and oil in the country. #Gabon: Agression du beau-père du PresidentABO</a>, B.B. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Moubamba?src=hash">#Moubamba</a> réponds aux questions des auditeurs de <a href="https://twitter.com/Radio_Africa1">Radio_Africa1 à 22h (heure de Paris) pic.twitter.com/PCXOt20XGX— APO (@APO_source) June 28, 2017 Some media portals have reported that Ali Bongo summoned the ambassador to France with strict instructions that his father-in-law be given more robust security. Bruno Ben Moubamba, a leading opposition chief who run as independent candidate in the 2009 polls condemned the action. He was also a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, and was subsequently appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Urban Development and Housing as part of an all inclusive government. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Exploring Rwanda's tourism potential [Travel] http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/exploring-rwanda-s-tourism-potential-travel/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/exploring-rwanda-s-tourism-potential-travel/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 11:10:41 +0000 Recent African tourism records show Rwanda as one of the fast growing tourist destinations in Africa. The country’s tourism’s industry witnessed yet another double digit growth in 2016 over the previous year 2015. With this in hand, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is considering turning the country into a luxurious tourism destination that would drive up revenues. A few weeks ago the board announced an increase in the price of gorilla permits from $750 to $1,500 for all visitors effective immediately. In line with Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy, the price increase aims to strengthen conservation efforts and contribute more to the development of communities living around the Volcanoes National Park, said RDB. Take a look at the video for more. South Sudan's main university risks closure over financial squeeze http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/south-sudan-s-main-university-risks-closure-over-financial-squeeze/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/south-sudan-s-main-university-risks-closure-over-financial-squeeze/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:43:29 +0000 The University of Juba, South Sudan’s main institution of higher learning risks closure due to financial stress according to its vice chancellor. John Akec, told the BBC that the university could close before the current academic year ends due to the financial crisis. Whiles hoping that the government will up its funding for the institution he is also reported to have said that students could be asked to contribute money to print their exam papers. The government recently announced the cancellation of independence celebrations for the second year in a row. They cited the lack of funds as the main reason for the move. The country, which is the youngest on the African continent, is currently suffering from an armed conflict with the government on one side and an armed opposition on the other. Violent clashes have led to mass displacement of persons – majority of these people are internally displaced whiles others have fled to neighbouring countries. The fall in commodity prices, especially oil, has also affected the economy with galloping inflation not helping matters. In May last year, professors and lecturers in South Sudan’s five public universities embarked on strike because of non-payment of their salaries for three months (March – May) and other benefits for the previous year. The five Universities affected by the strike action were the University of Juba, University of Bahr el Ghazel, Upper Nile University, Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology and Rumbek University. President Salva Kiir is Chancellor of all universities in the country. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Pope elevates Bamako archbishop to cardinal, first Malian to be appointed http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/pope-elevates-bamako-archbishop-to-cardinal-first-malian-to-be-appointed/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/pope-elevates-bamako-archbishop-to-cardinal-first-malian-to-be-appointed/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:42:04 +0000 Archbishop of Bamako, Jean Zerbo, has been elevated to the position of cardinal by Pope Francis. He becomes the first ever Catholic cardinal from the Muslim dominated west African country. The 73-year-old who has been Archbishop since 1998 was at the Vatican on Wednesday (June 28, 2017) for the ceremony elevating him. He helped negotiate a peace agreement between the government and Tuareg rebels two years ago, on the back of that he was given the title ‘cardinal of peace,’ the Catholic News Agency reported. Zerbo was elevated along with four other persons. Three of the four were first time cardinals from their respective countries – El Salvador, Laos and Sweden. The fourth was from Spain. A financial scandal hit him months back when reports emerged that he and other church members had opened over $13 million in Swiss bank accounts. The scandal it was said could derail his elevation. He has maintained his innocence stating that his hands were clean. Brief profile of Archbishop Jean Zerbo 1. He was Born December 27, 1943 in Ségou, Mali. 2. Zerbo was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Ségou on July 10, 1971. 3. He earned his licentiate in Sacred Scripture at the Ponifical Biblical Institute in Rome, studying there from 1977 to 1981. 4. Upon returning to Mali in the early 1980s, he taught at the major seminary in Bamako, Mali’s capital, and served as a pastor in Markala. 5. In June 1988, St. John Paul II named him auxiliary bishop of Bamako. In 1994, he was appointed Bishop of Mopti, and in 1998 was made Archbishop of Bamako. ‘‘Archbishop Zerbo represents Pope Francis’ frequent calls to focus on areas where the Church is persecuted: Mali is a majority-Muslim nation that often sees harsh application of sharia as well as extremist violence against Christians,’‘ the Catholic News Agency wrote. Speaking to Cuore Amico in January this year, Archbishop Zerbo described the situation of Christians in the country as “a test comparable to that of the early disciples.” Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Arsenal star Welbeck in native Ghana, visits school his mom helped build http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/arsenal-star-welbeck-in-native-ghana-visits-school-his-mom-helped-build/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/arsenal-star-welbeck-in-native-ghana-visits-school-his-mom-helped-build/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:52:29 +0000 Arsenal and England forward, Danny Welbeck is in Ghana on vacation following the end of the football season when his side lifted the English FA Cup despite failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in two decades. The 26-year-old former Manchester United player visited his family in the town of Nkawie located in the Ashanti region of the country. A local journalist shared photos of Welbeck who was wearing a black T-shirt over blue jeans with two guys believed to be his relations at the family house. Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck is home in Ghana with his family. First visit in years. Currently at Nkawie family house in the Ashanti Region pic.twitter.com/UpcahcIckY— Sports Obama (@SaddickAdams) June 28, 2017 The player on his Twitter handle confirmed that his mother with the support of a church in Manchester had helped build a school in the village. He shared a picture of his mom standing behind some school children at the said school. ‘‘Proud of my mother & St Andrew’s Church Droylsden, Manchester for donations towards building St Paul’s Sunshine Pre-School in Nkawie Ghana,’‘ he wrote. Proud of my mother & St Andrew’s Church Droylsden, Manchester for donations towards building St Paul’s Sunshine Pre-School in Nkawie GH 🙏🏿🇬🇭 pic.twitter.com/HUhzCivVGe— Danny Welbeck (@DannyWelbeck) June 28, 2017 Welbeck was born to Ghanaian parents in 1990 but he opted to play for the English national side and went on to represent the Three Lions at the 2012 European championships and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He started his club career with Manchester United and only switched to London to join Arsenal in 2014. He is due to join the Arsenal pre-season campaign. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Top Vatican Cardinal charged with multiple sexual assault charges http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/top-vatical-cardinal-george-pell-charged-with-sexual-assault-charges-australia/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/top-vatical-cardinal-george-pell-charged-with-sexual-assault-charges-australia/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 08:24:13 +0000 Australian police say they have charged the pope’s chief financial adviser and Australia’s most senior Catholic with multiple sexual assault charges. Cardinal George Pell is the highest-ranking Vatican official to be charged in the Catholic Church’s long-running sexual abuse scandal. “Cardinal Pell like any other defendant has a right to due process…it’s important it’s allowed to go through unhindered and allowed to see natural justice is afforded to all the parties involved including Cardinal Pell and the complainants in this matter.” Cardinal George Pell, third-ranking official in Vatican, charged with multiple sexual offences in Australia https://t.co/XOZYO5ghHQ pic.twitter.com/Wi7yaJhnvl— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) June 29, 2017 The swimming pool allegations No specific details were given at the news conference, but two men, now in their 40s have alleged that Cardinal Pell touched them inappropriately at a swimming poll in the late 1970s when Pell was a senior priest in Melbourne. Pell has issued a statement in which he denies the charges. He has been ordered to appear in Melbourne’s Magistrates Court on July 18. Cardinal George Pell has released a statement following announcement of charges by Victoria Police pic.twitter.com/WW0FCwBClp— ABC News (@abcnews) June 29, 2017 Child sexual assault survivor advocate Chrissie Foster said it was right that the allegations would now be heard in the courts, reports Australia’s ABC news. “I’ve been waiting to see what happens with this investigation for a long time,” she told ABC. Ms Foster’s daughters Emma and Katie were raped by Melbourne paedophile priest Father Kevin O’Donnell when they were in primary school in the 1980s, ABC reports. Somalia hit by internet outage after fibre optic cables are cut by ship http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/somalia-hit-by-internet-outage-after-fibre-optic-cables-are-cut-by-ship/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/somalia-hit-by-internet-outage-after-fibre-optic-cables-are-cut-by-ship/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:40:07 +0000 A major internet outage has hit Somalia with people in the capital Mogadishu not having access for five straight days as at Wednesday June 28, 2017. A Voice of America (VOA) journalist, Harun Maruf, said according to sources the cause of the outage was because undersea cables had been cut by a large ship. Among the worse affected are the media, businesses and government offices. A Somali news portal quoted a senior director of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications Ahmed Haji Ali, as confirming the outage which he said started shortly on Monday after suspected commercial ship hit the fibre optic internet cable in the Indian Ocean. Reports indicate that many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country rely on the affected cable line resulting in internet and fixed voice service providers to go down. The journalist reported that engineers had been dispatched from Oman to repair the cables but did not state when connection will be restored. It is also said to have affected money transfer transactions especially coming during the end of Ramadan period. 5th consecutive day without internet in #Mogadishu and other areas as ship carrying engineers leaves #Oman to repair underwater cables.— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) June 28, 2017 Internet blackout in #Mogadishu has been a blessing in disguise: opening those books gathering dust on the shelf and reading again. #peace— Fatuma (@Fatumaabdulahi) June 27, 2017 Congo – Brazzaville suffers similar damage The most recent African country to suffer a similar challenge was Congo-Brazzaville, who hade their internet disrupted for over two weeks owing to a fibre optic cable cut. Connection was restored on Saturday (June 24) after 15 days of nationwide disruptions and slowdowns that started since June 9, 2017, after a damage to the country’s main submarine cables. The restoration was ahead of the five-week projected period given by the technical team working on the cut cable. Network providers confirmed days after the outage that the problem was caused by a submarine cable cut off in the Atlantic Ocean near the economic capital Pointe-Noire. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Venezuela: Attack helicopter found http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/venezuela-attack-helicopter-found/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/29/venezuela-attack-helicopter-found/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 03:19:38 +0000 Venezuela’s military has found the helicopter used a by a rogue elite police officer suspected of carrying out Tuesday’s attack on the country’s Supreme Court. The stolen aircraft was captured on amateur video swooping down and firing shots. The court is viewed by Venezuela’s opposition as a bastion of support for a dictator. Oscar Perez posted a statement on social media admitting the attack and calling on Venezuela’s to rise up against President Nicolas Maduro. A full scale man hunt is on for the 36-year-old who once stared and directed an action film called “Suspended Death” which includes scenes of him firing a rile from a helicopter. A one-time movie star has stolen a helicopter and attacked Venezuelan government buildings with bullets and grenades https://t.co/RUnx715To7— Financial Times (@FT) June 28, 2017 The president has called the incident a terrorist attack an described Perez as a psychopath while opposition supporters believe it was a government set-up. Some Venezuelans are just confused “I really don’t know what to believe,” said ne Caracas resident. “I think the opposition leaders and the governmental leaders are telling a lot of lies and we, the people, are stuck in the middle.” Conspiracies abound after bizarre helicopter incident in Venezuela https://t.co/bfraZ2HvJi pic.twitter.com/4JS1bsp3By— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) June 29, 2017 The attack has exacerbated an already full-blown political crisis after three months of opposition protests demanding general elections and for the president to quit. Kenyans are first in Africa to get generic of latest AIDS drug http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/kenyans-are-first-in-africa-to-get-generic-of-latest-aids-drug/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/kenyans-are-first-in-africa-to-get-generic-of-latest-aids-drug/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 07:37:06 +0000 Kenya is the first African country to start using a modern generic version of the latest HIV drug that can improve and prolong the lives of tens of thousands of people who suffer severe side effects and resistance to treatments. A generic version of Dolutegravir (DTG), first approved in the United States in 2013, is being given to 20,000 patients in Kenya before being rolled out in Nigeria and Uganda later this year, with the backing of the health agency UNITAID. DTG which was officially launched in the capital, Nairobi on Wednesday (June 28) is the drug of choice for people with HIV in high-income countries who have never taken antiretroviral therapy before and for those who have developed resistance to other treatment. “This option can come with several advantages, more effective drugs, more effective regimen, fewer side effects and name them. So to us I think in HIV care and TB care there is a reason to celebrate,” said Peter Kimuu, head of policy, planning and healthcare financing at the country’s Ministry of Health. Doughtiest Ogutu who has been living with HIV for 15 years started taking the drug this year. She said her viral load – the amount of HIV in her blood – has fallen from 450,000 to 40,000 since she started on DTG and she has not experienced side effects compared to her previous treatment regimen, which included the efavirenz drug. “Nightmares, you have constant nightmares where you take the drugs and then you go to bed, you are just dreaming of weird things, you are either in a cemetery, or you are dreaming about snakes, or you are dreaming about dead people, funny things, things out of this world. Some people think it’s a myth but it’s a reality. That you actually get to get nightmares, and then with efavirenz, I developed a condition of anaemia, because it would wear me out and drain me and my body cells would not reproduce themselves. So unlike now that you can see me and my flesh looks full of life, you cannot tell whether I’m sick not unless I tell you,” said Ogutu. The brand name version of DTG is Tivicay, produced by ViiV Healthcare, majority-owned by GlaxoSmithKline. Sub-Saharan Africa has been at the epicentre of the HIV epidemic for decades and home to nearly three quarters of all people with HIV/AIDS. UNAIDS aims reach 90 percent of people diagnosed with HIV with antiretroviral treatment by 2020. In Kenya, about 1 million people are currently on antiretroviral treatment (ART). DTG will first target about 27,000 people before being rolled out countrywide. Some HIV patients develop a resistance to ARV drugs, which means the medicines do not work on them. Professor Sylvia Ojoo is the Kenya country director for the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is monitoring the introduction of DTG. “Eighty five percent suggests that the majority of patients are tolerating their treatment, now the 15 percent could be people who are non-adherent for various reasons, it could be people who are experiencing toxicity, you know or it could be people who failed one way or the other for reasons that may not be clear. So I’d say that the majority of patients right now tolerate the drugs that they are on, that we currently use and the reason that dolutegravir is exciting is that even more people will be able to tolerate it, and you know so therefore it would work even better for the majority. There are other aspects of dolutegravir that is different from our current regimen and that is that the drug itself is less likely to allow for viral resistance to develop,” said Ojoo. Kenya, with one of the world’s largest HIV positive populations, has made great strides in dealing with HIV. The country is working with UNITAID to make medicines more readily available and fast, to reduce manufacturing costs by allowing generic companies to access patents for a small royalty and produce them cheaply for the developing world. Martin Sirengo the head of Kenya’s National AIDS and STI Control Program, says more than two-thirds of those who need treatment are currently accessing ART drugs. “All the 1.5 million people living with HIV need to be on treatment, as I mentioned about a million and above are already on treatment, so we are looking for about 400,000 because some are already in the system and we are working them out. So it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the last 400,000 people because some people living with HIV don’t know that they have HIV. So in the same breath we have therefore introduced self-testing, so that Kenyans can get to know their HIV status. So with that in place then the next frontier for HIV really is to move to quality of the services that we provide,” said Sirengo. The number of new infections in Kenya has almost halved over the last decade to 80,000 a year, he added, thanks to increased testing, treatment and awareness. South African court rules against religious bias in state schools http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/south-african-court-rules-against-religious-bias-in-state-schools/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/south-african-court-rules-against-religious-bias-in-state-schools/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:35:29 +0000 A South African court on Wednesday ruled that public education institutions cannot promote any one religion to the exclusion of others, saying to do so was a violation of the Schools Act, local media reported. The Organisation for Religious Education and Democracy (OGOD) had argued that it was in the interest of South Africa’s democracy that public schools not be allowed to favour a specific religion. OGOD asked the court to declare unconstitutional the religion policy of six public schools, accusing them of favouring Christianity over other religions. The six schools, the ministers of basic education and justice, and the National Society for School Governing Bodies were respondents, local media reported. Judge Willem van der Linde said in his ruling that religious observances may be conducted at state or state-aided institutions, as long as they are held on an equitable basis and attendance was voluntary. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga had supported the application, saying schools were not permitted to focus on just one religion. Reuters Passengers from Sudan screened for cholera at Cairo airport http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/passengers-from-sudan-screened-for-cholera-at-cairo-airport/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/passengers-from-sudan-screened-for-cholera-at-cairo-airport/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:36:33 +0000 Egypt’s Cairo airport has started screening passengers arriving from Sudan for signs of cholera because of a reported outbreak there, the head of airport quarantine said on Wednesday. Similar measures are already carried out in Cairo airport for people arriving from Yemen due to an epidemic there. “The number of doctors and health monitors in arrival halls has increased to monitor the flights and examine passengers coming from infected areas,” Head of Airport Quarantine Medhat Qandil said. Qandil said any suspected cholera cases would be isolated and sent to hospital. Even if passengers do not show symptoms their details will be recorded so they can be monitored by Egyptian health authorities, he said. Sudan’s government has not officially declared a cholera outbreak, reporting instead on cases of “Acute Watery Diarrhoea”, the World Health Organization (WHO) told Reuters. On June 1 the United States embassy in Sudan’s capital Khartoum said there were confirmed reports of cholera in some areas of Sudan, including the greater Khartoum area, that have resulted in fatalities. Between August 2016 and June 23, 2017 a total of 19,666 suspected cases of Acute Watery Diarrhoea were reported in Sudan, including 355 deaths, the WHO said. The outbreak affects 12 out of 18 of Sudan’s states. “The rainy season usually lasts from in June-August and may exacerbate the situation if no adequate preventative interventions can be implemented in time,” a WHO spokesman said. Neighbouring South Sudan has been experiencing a cholera outbreak since mid-2016, according to WHO information. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday a major cholera outbreak in Yemen may have reached its halfway mark as a massive emergency response has begun to curb its spread two months into the epidemic. The WHO is responding to Sudan’s cholera outbreak by supporting health workers, running education campaigns and distribution medical supplies. Reuters Zimbabwean protest pastor freed on bail after two days in jail http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/zimbabwean-protest-pastor-freed-on-bail-after-two-days-in-jail/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/zimbabwean-protest-pastor-freed-on-bail-after-two-days-in-jail/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 21:58:31 +0000 A Zimbabwean pastor at the heart of a protest movement against President Robert Mugabe was freed on bail on Wednesday, two days after he was arrested at a student rally and charged with promoting violence. Evan Mawarire, whose #ThisFlag movement last year led to the biggest anti-government demonstrations in a decade, walked into the magistrates court carrying a Bible and stood as the charges, also including disorderly conduct, were read. The 40-year-old preacher is also due to stand trial in September on separate charges of plotting to overthrow the government and insulting the national flag. He did not speak on Wednesday, but his lawyer told reporters after his arrest that he denied the new charges. He left the room as officials prepared his release papers. His next court appearance was set for July 19. Police arrested Mawarire on Monday at the University of Zimbabwe where he addressed medical students demonstrating against an increase in fees. The students were expelled from campus hostels on Tuesday. Mawarire has used social media to speak out against corruption, injustice and poverty. Amnesty International called him a “prisoner of conscience” after his detention. “His arrest unfortunately shows that he continues to be targeted by a government hell-bent on criminalizing him for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” the rights group said. Reuters 55 Ambassadors discuss regional security at the opening of AU Summit http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/55-ambassadors-discuss-regional-security-at-the-opening-of-au-summit/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/55-ambassadors-discuss-regional-security-at-the-opening-of-au-summit/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:44:37 +0000 The African Union Summit opened on Tuesday with the 34th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representative Committees in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. In attendance was the AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat who called for a more political solution to Africa’s security problems. He opened the session which will prepare the agenda of the AU Summit with appropriate recommendations for consideration by the Executive Council. The meeting, which included the 55 African Union member states based in Addis Ababa and other key AU officials, ends Wednesday. It is followed by the 31st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council from June 30 to July 1; and then the 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government from July 3 to 4. The heads of state and government will focus on the renewed conflict in South Sudan, Somalia’s al-Shabaab insurgency and the implementation of Agenda 2063 as well as the establishment of continental free trade area (CFTA). Ismail Akwei South Sudan deports 3 undocumented Americans http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/south-sudan-deports-3-undocumented-americans/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/south-sudan-deports-3-undocumented-americans/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:48:19 +0000 The South Sudanese government has deported three American nationals over lack of possession of valid visas. According to local media Sudan Tribune which spoke with police authorities, the three entered the country on June 20 through Kenya, and were returned on June 22. “Their visas had not been approved, they were not tourists nor investment agents. They stayed for three days in Narus until they were returned to Kenya … Kenya was their point of entry, so they were asked to return to Kenya and they went. If they come back with legal documents, they would be welcomed,” said police spokesperson Daniel Justin. The three, identified as Alex Jared Zweifelholfer, Craig Austin Lang and William Wright-Martinovich, are reported to have been detained in Kenya. They have been confirmed to be former United States military officials. Lieutenant Colonel Joe Buccino from America’s 82nd Airborne Unit told Reuters that Private First Class Zwiefelhofer was absent from the 82nd without leave. “We are working with U.S. authorities in the area to return Private First Class Alex Zwiefelhofer to U.S. military control. They are in Kenya,” he said in an email. They were deported to Kenya, he added. Ismail Akwei Ethiopia requests extension as it fails to meet Saudi deadline for stuck migrants http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/ethiopia-requests-extension-as-it-fails-to-meet-saudi-deadline-for-stuck/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/ethiopia-requests-extension-as-it-fails-to-meet-saudi-deadline-for-stuck/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:52:01 +0000 The Ethiopian government has requested for an extension of the 90-day amnesty for undocumented migrants to leave Saudi Arabia as the deadline expires on Wednesday. Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that out of the over 400,000 citizens in the Gulf country, only 45,000 have returned home. The ministry’s spokesperson, Meles Alem told local media that the number that returned is a small percentage of the 110,000 nationals who were helped to secure exit visas. He added that the Ministry has requested for an extension from the Saudi authorities as it awaits a positive response. Ethiopia has one of the largest undocumented migrants in Saudi Arabia working as construction and domestic workers. Local media reports that a number of them have complained of inability to afford tickets to leave the country. The government sent envoys to help facilitate the repatriation via the national airline Ethiopian Airlines. Saudi Arabia announced in March the 90-day grace period for undocumented migrants to leave the country or face a prison sentence, fines and then deportation after serving the prison sentence. This follows a similar campaign launched in 2013 that saw more than 2.5 million undocumented migrants leave the country. The move is part of Saudi’s national campaign to rid the country of the huge number of illegal migrants. Ismail Akwei DR Congo league club sanctioned, relegated for fan violence http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/dr-congo-league-club-sanctioned-relegated-for-fan-violence/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/dr-congo-league-club-sanctioned-relegated-for-fan-violence/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 08:43:01 +0000 Democratic Republic of Congo premier league club FC Renaissance has been relegated to the second division as part of sanctions after violence by its supporters. The decision was taken by the Congolese Football League (Linafoot) after it met on Monday following the violence on Saturday, AFP reports. FC Renaissance was found guilty of the Saturday incident during a championship match between the team and Vita Club at the Martyrs stadium in Kinshasa. FC Renaissance lost to Vita Club, sparking an attack by their supporters who “threw projectiles while their management invaded the pitch.” They were also fined $20,000 and tasked to pay for all damages at the stadium. Prior to the sanction, FC Renaissance – which has a history of fan violence – placed fourth in the top 8 of the final leg of the championship. Ismail Akwei 26 political parties certified to vie for a slot in Liberia's October elections http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/26-political-parties-certified-to-vie-for-a-slot-in-liberia-s-october-elections/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/26-political-parties-certified-to-vie-for-a-slot-in-liberia-s-october-elections/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 10:39:47 +0000 Liberia’s electoral commission has certified four more political parties to the active 22 ahead of the October 10 general elections. This brings the total number of registered parties to 26 who are expected to file their nominations for the legislative and presidential elections in two weeks. Head of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome Korkoya issued the certificates on Monday to the Redemption Democratic Congress (RDC), Liberia Restoration Party (LRP), the Liberia for Prosperity Party (LPP), and the Democratic Justice Party (DJP). “It is no problem in receiving the certificates, but there are lots of requirements that you will have to meet up with,” said Korkoya who linked the high number of parties to Liberia’s democratic growth. On Tuesday, the head of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Farid Zarif, told the UN Security Council that the country’s democracy is tied to the success of the upcoming elections. “Liberia’s future as stable democracy will hinge on successful conduct of elections, acceptance they were free & fair, smooth transfer of power. Despite important gains, Liberia faces challenges which weigh heavily on efforts to sustain peace & advance national reconciliation,” Zarif said. After devastating back-to-back civil wars in Liberia, the UN launched the peacekeeping mission in September 2003 to ensure security, rebuild police and military forces from scratch and disarm rebels. It announced its gradual withdrawal from the country last year leaving the country’s security to ensured by Liberian forces who are undergoing training in corporation with the UN troops. Ismail Akwei Kagame's female challenger faces exclusion from Rwanda's presidential race http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/kagame-s-female-challenger-faces-exclusion-from-presidential-race/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/kagame-s-female-challenger-faces-exclusion-from-presidential-race/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:35:24 +0000 Rwanda’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) has rejected the candidacy of 35-year-old Diane Shima Rwigara for not meeting filing requirements. She and four other candidates fell short of required number of signatures, NEC Chairman, Kalisa Mbanda told journalists on Tuesday. The independent presidential aspirants, who are required to present 600 signatures each from all the 30 districts, have until Sunday to provide the remainder. “We verified the signatures and the independent candidates fell short of the required number in all districts. They have five days to bring the missing elements in their files. They are both missing signatures from all districts,” said Kalisa Mbanda. Incumbent President Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and main opposition leader Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda were confirmed by the NEC. Diane Shima Rwigara submitted her nomination to the NEC last Tuesday amid complaints of intimidation against her supporters. She is required to provide at least 12 signatures from each of the 30 districts in Rwanda. Diane Shima Rwigara is the daughter of businessman Assinapol Rwigara, who was pivotal in the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front. She distanced herself from the party after her father’s death in 2015 in a road accident which she claims was an assassination. President Kagame filed his nomination last week to contest for a third term as president. He was unanimously nominated by his party in June. Electoral campaigns will start on July 7, followed by the elections on August 3 in the diaspora and August 4 in Rwanda. Ismail Akwei Police briefly detain ex-Tanzanian PM over 'seditious' speech to Muslims http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/police-briefly-detain-ex-tanzanian-pm-over-seditious-speech-to-muslims/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/police-briefly-detain-ex-tanzanian-pm-over-seditious-speech-to-muslims/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:22:57 +0000 Former Tanzanian Prime Minister and opposition figure Edward Lowassa was briefly detained and questioned by the police on Tuesday over a speech he made to Muslim clerics last week. Lowassa was summoned on Monday to the police headquarters where he spent four hours on Tuesday under interrogation before he was released on bail. His lawyer, Peter Kibatala, said he was questioned over the speech which was deemed by the police as inflammatory. “Mr Lowassa has been questioned on what police describe as inflammatory statement. He has lodged cautionary statement and he will be required to report at the police headquarters next Thursday,” said Kibatala who was quoted by local media The Citizen. Edward Lowassa addressed the media after his release saying: “police have the right to establish the truth about anything they are suspicious of. I used the platform to give my views, and the media should evaluate what I said and judge whether the remarks were seditious.” On what he actually said at the iftar event organised by a member of parliament for Muslims at the end of the daily fast last weekend, Lowassa’s Chadema party Secretary-General Vincent Mashinji said: “he was speaking about good governance and human rights. Saying that there are people who have been detained for four years without trial is not sedition, it’s a fact.” Lowassa’s summon follows arrest of Chadema party leaders in four regions over alleged illegal assembly, local media report. Edward Lowassa defected from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party to the opposition in 2015 and lost the presidential election as a candidate same year against John Magufuli. In January this year, Edward Lowassa was arrested and briefly detained by police for allegedly holding an illegal meeting in Geita, a gold mining town in the northwest of the country. He and party officials were campaigning for their member for an impending civic by-election. Last year, the police banned all political rallies calling them unlawful and likely to breach the peace. The president later relaxed the ban and allowed only elected officials to conduct rallies within their constituencies. The Magufuli-led government has assumed a no-nonsense approach towards opposition forces. In late March, popular Tanzanian rapper Emmanuel Elibariki also known as “ Nay wa Mitego” was arrested for releasing a song which is critical of the government. He was later released on the orders of the president. Days before his arrest, President John Magufuli sacked his Information Minister Nape Nnauye without notice. Nape Nnauye’s sack was effected a day after a report was released by an inquiry he set up to investigate Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda who was accused of storming the studios of a private radio and television station with armed policemen to threatened workers over a television programme. President Magufuli had earlier rejected calls by the public to dismiss the regional commissioner for his action. Ismail Akwei Tanzania threatens crackdown on LGBT campaigners [The Morning Call] http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/tanzania-threatens-crackdown-on-lgbt-campaigners-the-morning-call/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/tanzania-threatens-crackdown-on-lgbt-campaigners-the-morning-call/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 13:15:42 +0000 (Reuters) – Tanzania has threatened to arrest and expel activists, as well as deregister all non-governmental organisations that campaign for gay rights. At a rally late on Sunday, Tanzania’s Home Affairs Minister Mwigulu Nchemba said both domestic and foreign campaigners for gay rights would now face punitive measures in the country. Riek Machar refuses national dialogue [The Morning Call] http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/riek-machar-refuses-national-dialogue-the-morning-call/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/riek-machar-refuses-national-dialogue-the-morning-call/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 13:15:37 +0000 After contacting former First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, and other armed opposition groups for their participation in a national dialogue, by a committee formed within the national dialogue steering committee the rebel leader declined. People in the dialogue had earlier said it is practically not possible for him to come when he is still leading a rebellion against the government. Pics of the day: June 27th, 2017 http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/pics-of-the-day-june-27th-2017/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/pics-of-the-day-june-27th-2017/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 11:06:32 +0000 Africanews samples the best pictures of the day’s news. New major cyberattack hits international firms http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/new-major-cyberattack-hits-international-firms/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/new-major-cyberattack-hits-international-firms/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:29:52 +0000 A major cyberattack has unfolded, striking banks, corporations and infrastructure in Ukraine and Russia before spreading to western Europe and then the United States. Experts say the virus is a modified version of the so-called Petya ransomware, which hit last year and demanded money from victims in exchange for their data. A similar virus called WannaCry infected more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries last month. Following is a list of companies and organisations which say they have been a victim of the latest attack: Ukraine’s central bank, the National Bank of Ukraine Ukrainian bank Oschadbank Ukrainian delivery service company Nova Poshta Russian state oil giant Rosneft Kyivenergo, Kiev power company Radiation monitoring system at Chernobyl Website of Kiev’s Boryspil international airport Danish sea transport company Maersk British advertising giant WPP French industrial group Saint-Gobain US pharmaceutical giant Merck AFP Facebook to start livestream of Champions League games in U.S. http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/facebook-to-start-livestream-of-champions-league-games-in-us/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/facebook-to-start-livestream-of-champions-league-games-in-us/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:47:23 +0000 Facebook will broadcast Champions League matches for American internet users under a deal with Fox Sports, which will host the livestreams on its pages, the channel said Tuesday. The partnership will involve two group matches per day, four round of sixteen games and the four quarter-finals of the 2017-18 season, in the social media giant’s latest foray into sportscasting. Facebook will act only as a host for the streams, with the images and content produced by Fox Sports. A Fox Sports spokesman confirmed that the content would only be available to Facebook users in the United States. Facebook has already signed partnership with the North American football league Major League Soccer, which will see around 20 matches broadcast in 2017, as well as an agreement with Liga MX, the Mexican championship, for some 40 games last season. The social media giant, which announced Tuesday it had crossed two billion active monthly users, also signed a deal with Major League Baseball in May for 20 regular season games. It also enjoys a relationship with the NBA which resulted in January in the broadcast of a game between Sacramento and Golden State, only available in India — a prized market for the North American basketball league. AFP Kenya is first in Africa to get latest generic AIDS drug http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/kenya-is-first-in-africa-to-get-latest-generic-aids-drug/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/kenya-is-first-in-africa-to-get-latest-generic-aids-drug/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:15:16 +0000 Kenya is the first African country to start using a generic version of the latest AIDS drug that can improve and prolong the lives of tens of thousands of people who suffer severe side effects and resistance to other treatments. A generic of Dolutegravir (DTG), first approved in the United States in 2013, is being given to 20,000 patients in Kenya before being rolled out in Nigeria and Uganda later this year, with the backing of the health agency UNITAID. DTG is the drug of choice for people with HIV in high-income countries who have never taken antiretroviral therapy before and for those who have developed resistance to other treatment. “I had constant nightmares and no appetite,” said Nairobi resident Doughtiest Ogutu, who started taking the drug this year because of her resistance to other treatments. “My appetite has come back… My body is working well with it.” Ogutu, who has been living with HIV for 15 years, said her viral load – the amount of HIV in her blood – has fallen tenfold from 450,000 to 40,000 since she started on DTG. Sub-Saharan Africa has been at the epicenter of the HIV epidemic for decades and home to nearly three quarters of all people with HIV/AIDS. UNAIDS aims for 90 percent of people diagnosed with HIV to receive antiretroviral treatment by 2020. The brand name version of DTG is Tivicay, produced by ViiV Healthcare, which is majority-owned by GlaxoSmithKline. About 15 percent of HIV patients are resistant, which means the medicines do not work on them, said Sylvia Ojoo, Kenya country director for the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who is monitoring the introduction of DTG. UNITAID works to bring medicines to market quickly and to reduce manufacturing costs by allowing generic companies to access patents for a small royalty and produce them cheaply for the developing world. Kenya, with one of the world’s largest HIV positive populations, has made great strides in addressing HIV in its public medical facilities. “The health systems we have in place allow for rapid deployment,” said Ojoo. “It makes it relatively easy to introduce new interventions.” About 1.5 million Kenyans are HIV positive, with more than two-thirds on treatment, said Martin Sirengo, head of Kenya’s National AIDS and STI Control Program. The number of new infections in Kenya has almost halved over the last decade to 80,000 a year, he said, thanks to increased testing, treatment and awareness. Reuters Over 50 abandoned migrants feared dead in Niger's Sahara desert http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/over-50-abandoned-migrants-feared-dead-in-niger-s-sahara-desert/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/over-50-abandoned-migrants-feared-dead-in-niger-s-sahara-desert/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:15:09 +0000 Over 50 African migrants are feared dead in the Sahara desert of northern Niger on Tuesday after being abandoned by their drivers, aid workers and local officials said on Tuesday. A convoy of three pick-up trucks were transporting over 70 migrants north through the Sahara Desert towards Libya — a typical route for West Africans seeking to reach Europe — when the drivers abandoned them. Twenty-three of the migrants survived after walking to a nearby town for help, the International Organization for Migration said in a press release on Tuesday, which said the survivors came from Nigeria, Gambia, Ivory Coast and Senegal. A local official told Reuters that of the remaining 52, at least 15 were known to have died from thirst while attempts on Monday to find the rest were unsuccessful. There was no immediate word on their nationalities. “The migrants were abandoned about 50 miles from Siguidine,” Fatoumi Goudou, a prefect in the Bilma department of Niger, told Reuters. It is not clear why the drivers abandoned their passengers, but rival militias and militants seeking money often stop migrant convoys and are a constant hazard for smugglers. Hundreds of thousands of impoverished West Africans risk their lives crossing the Sahara each year to try to reach Europe, crammed on the back of pick-up trucks and with few provisions to survive if something goes wrong. It is one of the most dangerous parts of the journey, though the number of deaths in the vast and unpopulated region is hard to track. Some estimate that thousands die each year — more than in the Mediterranean sea between Africa and Europe. Over 40 West African migrants died of thirst last month in northern Niger after their truck broke down. Reuters Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana ban South African poultry imports http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/zimbabwe-namibia-and-botswana-ban-south-african-poultry-imports/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/zimbabwe-namibia-and-botswana-ban-south-african-poultry-imports/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:22:39 +0000 Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana on Tuesday suspended poultry imports from South Africa with immediate effect following outbreaks of highly contagious H5N8 bird flu. South Africa has confirmed outbreaks of avian flu, which is often transmitted by wild birds, on at least two farms. South Africa and Mozambique banned poultry imports from Zimbabwe this month after a bird flu outbreak there. Botswana, which only imports 5 percent of its poultry needs, said it would no longer buy poultry meat, processed products and feeds from South Africa. “The restriction is a precautionary measure to avoid equal infection here as well as protect our people,” agriculture minister Patrick Ralotsia told Reuters. Zimbabwe imposed a similar ban while Namibia also halted imports from Belgium which has experience an outbreak of bird flu earlier this year. South Africa on Monday ended the sale of live hens throughout the country in a bid to control the outbreak that was detected on the farm of a commercial broiler breeder last week. Poultry producer Astral, which had previously confirmed that H5N8 had been detected at its breeding facilities on the outskirts of the Free State, said on Tuesday it had quarantined the affected site and culled 150,000 birds, around six percent of its breeding stock. Reuters Will Germany vote on gay marriage this week? http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/will-germany-vote-on-gay-marriage-this-week/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/will-germany-vote-on-gay-marriage-this-week/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 07:13:21 +0000 Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) are pushing for a vote this week to legalise gay marriage. SPD leader Martin Schulz says his party will push for a vote in parliament this week, before the start of the summer recess. “I hope our colleagues in the conservatives will cooperate,” he said, raising the pressure on his conservative partners who want a vote after the election. After Merkel hints at gay marriage, rival Schulz calls for speedy vote – https://t.co/k3F0GNwnVT pic.twitter.com/rTEWfxOmJZ— GermanyEnglishNews (@germanyenglish1) 27 juin 2017 Why are they doing this? Analysts say the SPD is hoping to capitalise on a surprise shift from conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel, three months before the country’s national election. Polls have put Merkel’s conservatives 10-15 points ahead of the SPD, but short of a parliamentary majority. The issue of gay marriage became a hot election topic after Merkel’s three potential coalition partners, including her current SPD partners, made it a condition for sharing power. The SPD, pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens have made gay marriage – a step-up from same-sex civil partnerships which have been allowed since 2001, a condition for a tie-up. This effectively forced her hand. Schulz needs to make up ground for his centre-left party in the election race and has sharpened his attacks on Merkel. However, he has made it clear he will not end the coalition. What did Merkel say? Speaking at an event on Monday evening, the chancellor said she had taken note of other German parties favouring same-sex marriage and would allow a free vote. “I would like to lead the discussion more into a situation where it is a question of conscience rather than something I push through with a majority vote,” Merkel said. Merkel has previously argued against same-sex marriage. Merkel paves way for gay marriage vote in Germany https://t.co/vtV7zbZWMR pic.twitter.com/EyTDbsSjOX— euronews (@euronews) 27 juin 2017 How will the vote play out? With broad support among Germans for gay marriage, the law is likely to get easy approval in the lower house of parliament if conservatives can vote according to their conscience and not face a party whip. Is there likely to be opposition? Yes. The move could antagonise some in Merkel’s traditionally Catholic conservative bloc. Her conservatives have already accused Schulz of acting irresponsibly. “That is a breach of trust,” said Volker Kauder, the head of Merkel’s conservative bloc in parliament. The SPD’s behaviour on such a sensitive topic shows it is “not suited to government”, he added. What are campaigners saying? They have welcomed Merkel’s change of attitude but also describe it as “a face-saving measure”. “After 15 years of an ideological blockade, social pressure and the commitments of other parties have made an impact,” said LSVD spokesman Axel Hochrein. “Equal rights for all people is part of our constitution.” German gay marriage vote given green light by Angela Merkel pic.twitter.com/xQ1fjifJBw— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) 27 juin 2017 Catherine Hardy Liberia's democracy tied to successful conduct of upcoming polls – UN envoy http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/liberia-s-democracy-tied-to-successful-conduct-of-upcoming-polls-un-envoy/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/liberia-s-democracy-tied-to-successful-conduct-of-upcoming-polls-un-envoy/ Tue, 27 Jun 2017 22:54:32 +0000 Farid Zarif, head of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) says the country’s democracy is tied to the success of upcoming elections in October this year. ‘‘Liberia’s future as stable democracy will hinge on successful conduct of elections, acceptance they were free & fair, smooth transfer of power. Despite important gains, Liberia faces challenges which weigh heavily on efforts to sustain peace & advance national reconciliation,’‘ Zarif said. He was addressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the situation in the west African country and plans by UNMIL to help consolidate the democratic gains chalked over the last decade. Zarif on Liberia: Critical legislative reforms, minimum requirements to address the underlying causes of conflict, are yet to be enacted.— UN Peacekeeping (@UNPeacekeeping) June 27, 2017 Zarif: Encouraged by gradual strengthening of Liberia’s human rights capacity, following years of UNMIL’s support— UN Peacekeeping (@UNPeacekeeping) June 27, 2017 Zarif: UNMIL ready to respond to any situation that risks reversal of peace. Yet our response will be restricted to our reduced capacity— UN Peacekeeping (@UNPeacekeeping) June 27, 2017 He said even as the mission wraps up its work in the country, ‘‘Liberia has remained stable. No major threats are envisaged,’‘ he said adding that UNMIL and the Liberia National Police had mapped out plans ‘‘to ensure effective utilization of resources to protect civilians.’‘ He said despite efforts by the mission to play its role in ensuring a smooth electoral process, there was the need for increase and consolidate investment to help the country through this delicate phase of its democratic experiment. On October 10 this year, Liberians will go to the polls for the third time after the last civil war to elect a successor to incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and also elect members for the House of Representatives. UNMIL – a brief of events since 2003 The UNMIL is primarily a peacekeeping mission that was sent to Liberia in 2003 to restore order after two brutal civil wars. Liberia has relied heavily on the mission of 15,000 U.N. troops, which had been winding down for several months since the beginning of last year. They eventually handed over control of the country’s security to domestic forces in late June 2016, beginning a new phase of self-reliance for the impoverished West African country. After the mass winding down, however, 1,240 U.N. military and 606 police personnel remained on the ground, expected to be there only in case of emergency. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the time told Reuters that much had been done to prepare for the transition, but that more was still needed. “The constraints of resources have not enabled us to go as far as we would have wanted in terms of security training, logistics, and support for our security forces,” Sirleaf said. The government has said that new barracks have been built across the country to increase security outside the capital. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Tanzania to sacrifice key game reserve for hydroelectric project http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/tanzania-to-sacrifice-key-game-reserve-for-hydroelectric-project/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/tanzania-to-sacrifice-key-game-reserve-for-hydroelectric-project/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:47:01 +0000 Tanzania said on Tuesday it plans to build a long-delayed 2,100-megawatt hydroelectric plant in a World Heritage site renowned for its animal populations and variety of wildlife habitats despite opposition from environmentalists. The East African nation considers the project at Stiegler’s Gorge in the UNESCO-designated Selous Game Reserve as vital in its bid to diversify its energy mix as part of plans to end chronic energy shortages. Covering 50,000 sq km, the reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Africa, according to UNESCO. It is know for its elephants, black rhinoceroses and giraffes, among many other species. President John Magufuli “wants construction of this project to start as quickly as possible and produce an abundant supply of electricity to speed up the development of the country”, his office said in a statement. It did not give the cost of the project. The statement said a team of experts from Ethiopia would arrive in the country this week to provide advice on its implementation. Ethiopia has an array of hydropower projects under construction, including the $4.1 billion Grand Renaissance Dam along the Nile River that will churn out 6,000 MW upon completion. Authorities say hydropower projects will ease shortage in a country where demand for power currently outpaces supply. Tanzania also aims to add about 2,000 MW in gas-fired generation by 2018. However, critics say construction of a hydropower dam in a major river that runs through the Selous Game Reserve could affect wildlife and their habitats downstream. The government has previously come under criticism for granting Australia-based miner Mantra Resources to build a $400 million uranium mine in the same sanctuary despite pressure from environmental groups who opposed to the project. REUTERS Djibouti @ 40: Foreign forces join Independence parade http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/djibouti-40-foreign-forces-join-independence-parade/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/djibouti-40-foreign-forces-join-independence-parade/ Tue, 27 Jun 2017 20:53:16 +0000 The Red Sea state of Djibouti celebrated their 40th independence anniversary on Tuesday June 27, 2017. The country located in the Horn of Africa region close to the Somali peninsula was under French control till it gained independence in 1997. The 40th independence parade was attended by President Omar Guelleh, high ranking officials from neighbouring countries among others. Marching along with the Djibouti forces were Chinese security personnel who graced the colourful event in the capital, Djibouti. U.S. and Indian forces also joined in the parade. The country is currently seen as a strategic security location with the United States, France and Japan all operating military bases from there. Djibouti celebrates 40 years of independence today. #Djibouti #40thAnniversary pic.twitter.com/7ylEIs8mJO— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) June 27, 2017 40ème anniversaire de l’indépendance de #Djibouti. Le 5ème RIAOM et les FFDj défilent avec les Forces armées djiboutiennes. Bravo à tous. pic.twitter.com/tA9WhcqC0L— Christophe Guilhou (@ChrisGuilhou) June 27, 2017 It has also recently become an economic hub with massive Chinese investments especially in the area of building ports. The latest being a China-funded salt export hub valued at $64m. Despite being just about the size of Wales, the country is strategically positioned on the route to the Suez Canal. The tiny, barren nation, is sandwiched between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. It enjoys cordial relations with all its neighbours except Eritrea – with whom they have fought a deadly border war in 1998. The withdrawal of Qatar as a mediator in the border tension reignited fears of an escalation of clashes between the two. Happy 40th Independence Day to my beloved #Djibouti & all Djiboutians around the world! Elelelelele🇩🇯🇩🇯🇩🇯 pic.twitter.com/KkE5FLAYSz— 𐒓𐒘𐒇𐒈 (@diasporicblues) June 26, 2017 Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Venezuela: Helicopter attacks Supreme Court http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/venezuela-helicopter-attacks-supreme-court/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/venezuela-helicopter-attacks-supreme-court/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 06:26:07 +0000 A helicopter has tried to bomb Venezuela’s Supreme Court, according to President Nicolas Maduro, in a dramatic ratcheting up of the country’s political crisis. Speaking on state television the president said a grenade had also been thrown which did not explode. There are no reports of casualties. “I am sure that sooner or later we will capture the helicopter and those who have made this armed terrorist attack against the institutions of the country, I condemn this terrorist attack and I demand that the opposition condemn this act of violence that resembles a coup.” According to the government, an army officer took a police helicopter and flew it over the capital, Caracas. Footage on social media shows a helicopter swooping over the city followed by a loud bang. The officer believed to have seized the aircraft has issued a video statement condemning the government. #Socialism is on the run! #RWDS FTW. Check in the replies for the translation. ComradeStump1 #Venezuela pic.twitter.com/ct41fCI5OQ— TheTrumpenreich (TheTrumpenreich) June 28, 2017 Earlier there were more violent clashes between the National Guard and opposition protesters. For more than two months there have been almost daily demonstrations against Maduro’s leftist government. Maduro has warned that he and his supporters will take up arms if his socialist government is violently overthrown. Protests in #Venezuela face awful repression and this is getting worse. Tanks are on the streets, journalists detained and MPs hostaged. pic.twitter.com/ZKTyE5owGU— Americas News (@theamericasnews) June 28, 2017 Eritrea and its border spats with neighbouring Djibouti and Ethiopia http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/eritrea-the-african-north-korea-s-border-spats-with-djibouti-and-ethiopia/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/eritrea-the-african-north-korea-s-border-spats-with-djibouti-and-ethiopia/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:55:32 +0000 Eritrea is not a typically newsy African country – at least gauging by how much comes from other countries, the Horn of Africa nation is very low on news and more so, compared to its closest neighbours in the region – Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan. The phenomenon has been put down to the kind of governance structure the country operates. With little space for civil society and even democratic structures, it is seen as a closed nation that is barely heard especially – more often than not – when border tensions arise. The country which is nestled in the Red Sea enclave is described as a ‘secretive’ nation with watchers often drawing parallels between it and North Korea with special emphasis on especially their rankings in media openness surveys. Despite their low news mode, recent events in the Gulf region have thrust them into the spotlight for the very reason they are often heard – border tensions. Sudan remains the only neighbour Asmara is not having issues with on that front. The persistent Ethiopia – Eritrea border tensions The Ethiopian tension is well documented with the two countries yet to fully implement a demarcation agreement brokered by President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika in 2000 under the Algiers Agreement initiative. Earlier this year, the European Union (EU) said on the seventeenth anniversary of the agreement that, the persistence of the tensions was a risk for the Horn of Africa region and called for Addis and Asmara to work to ensure its full implementation. Before that, the African Union (AU) which is headquartered in Ethiopia had expressed concerns over the tensions in 2016. But the Eritrean leader has recently blamed the United States – an ally of Ethiopia – as being responsible for the tensions due to meddling. Timeline of the tensions – Algiers agreement, UNSC sanctions, diplomatic tirades 1993: Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia after a war that lasted three decades. 1998 – 2000: Forces of both countries engaged in a deadly war 2000, December 12: The Algiers agreement was signed. Late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and President Afwerki the signatories. The AU, EU, United Nations and U.S. signed as witnesses. 2002, April 13: The Eritrea – Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) said it was ready to oversee the demarcation process. 2009: A U.S.-led motion led to imposition of Council arms sanctions on Eritrea with the reason that they supported Somalia’s insurgent group, al-Shabaab. 2015 – 2016: Ethiopia accuses Eritrea of supporting anti-peace elements in the wake of spreading anti-government protests. Asmara rubbishes the claims. 2016 June: AU expresses worry after two countries engage in renewed hostilities. Eritrea – Djibouti tensions sparked by Gulf crisis When Qatar was diplomatically ‘blacked out’ by its Gulf neighbours – the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), little did anyone think it was going to play out the way it has in the Horn of Africa region. The Gulf crisis as it has come to be known sparked another diplomatic and security rift between Eritrea and Djibouti. At a time when Ethiopia and Somalia chose to stay on the fence in the crisis, Eritrea and Djibouti opted to side with GCC – Saudi Arabia and its allies. Then Qatar also decided to pull out its troops from a disputed region which has been at the heart of hostilities between Asmara and Djibouti. A brief timeline of the almost 10-year-old spat is as follows: 2008 – Eritrea and Djibouti forces clashed for four days each claiming a common border territory. The area in question is the Dumeira Island and mountains. The small island lies off the coast of both countries, specifically at the southern end of the Red Sea. It is close to a vital shipping route for global trade, the Baba-el-Mandeb strait. 2010 – After accepting Qatari mediation, the Gulf State deployed peacekeepers to the disputed areas. June 2017 – The GCC isolate Qatar – accusing Doha of supporting terrorists, a claim strongly rejected. Eritrea and Djibouti join about dozen African countries backing the GCC. Qatar pull out its troops from the disputed Eritrea-Djibouti border area. Djibouti chides Eritrea for deploying troops to the area after Qatari contingent quit. Asmara issued a statement on June 17 which read in parts: ‘The government of Eritrea has so far refrained from issuing any statement, primarily because it is not privy to and has not, to date, obtained any information on the withdrawal from the party concerned: that is the State of Qatar.’   Credit: The Addis Standard news portal U.N., Ethiopia, A.U., the Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD) all called for peaceful solution to the crisis with the A.U. sending a fact-finding mission to the area. Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa Digital journalist Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo alfa.shaban@africanews.com Ethiopia's growing international authority due to solid foreign policy – Russia http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/ethiopia-s-growing-international-authority-due-to-solid-foreign-policy-russia/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/ethiopia-s-growing-international-authority-due-to-solid-foreign-policy-russia/ Tue, 27 Jun 2017 21:11:43 +0000 Russia has underlined the importance of Ethiopia as a valued development partner in different kinds of areas, stressing how strong the country’s international profile continues to soar. According to the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, his country valued ‘‘Ethiopia’s responsible and balanced policy in world affairs and its active involvement in the African Union, sub-regional bodies on the African continent. ‘‘Ethiopia’s independent foreign policy course contributes to its growing international authority. This is reflected in your country’s election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2017-2018,’‘ he added. He was speaking during an official visit to Moscow by his counterpart, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu. For his part, Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs chief underlined the relationship between Addis Ababa and Moscow and said they were committed to taking the ties even further. Ties between the two countries dates back to over a century ago. They cooperate in areas of bilateral relations bordering on trade, economic and humanitarian contacts and on regional and international issues. The latest area of cooperation was when they signed a deal to advance the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Lavrov was one of the first Foreign Affairs ministers to extend congratulations to Gebeyehu after he was appointed Minister in November last year following a cabinet reschuffle by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. The Russian Embassy in Ethiopia through its official twitter handle stated that Lavrov had congratulated Gebeyehu on his latest appointment. He replaced Tedros Adhanom, who is at the time was gunning to become World Health Organization (WHO) boss – he eventually won the post in May this year. Russian Foreign Minister #Lavrov congratulated Workneh Gebeyehu on his appointment as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia pic.twitter.com/isWxr8A10G— Russian Emb Ethiopia (@RusEmbEthiopia) November 7, 2016 Ethiopia is a strong player in the Horn of Africa region, economically and on the security front. The country hosts the African Union headquarters and is a member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Global cyber attack hits Australian chocolate factory http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/global-eternal-blue-cyber-attack-hits-australian-chocolate-factory-wanna-cry/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/global-eternal-blue-cyber-attack-hits-australian-chocolate-factory-wanna-cry/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 06:31:45 +0000 A Cadbury chocolate factory has become the first Australian business to be hit by a global cyber attack. The latest ransomware extortion campaign has crippled computers running Microsoft Windows by encrypting hard drives and overwriting files, then demanding $300 in bitcoin to restore access “The most probable cause is that the operating system, the software of the companies that are targeted were not up to date and then there were some security vulnerabilities into this software,” said Gerome Billois, cybersecurity expert. The ransomware extortion campaign has already disrupted computers at Russia’s biggest oil company, Ukrainian banks and multinational firms with a virus similar to the ransomware that infected more than 300,000 computers last month. Last month’s fast-spreading attack was crippled after a British security researcher created a so-called kill switch which slowed the attack. However, security experts believe the new ransomware will be more difficult to stop. My Cyber Attack Survival Pack has arrived Pizza guy recognized me off the news and asked if I was investingating the new attack :’) pic.twitter.com/wwrjZOXtqQ— MalwareTech (@MalwareTechBlog) June 27, 2017 Facebook hits 2 billion monthly users; Youtube, Whatsapp et al. trailing http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/facebook-hits-2-billion-monthly-users-youtube-whatsapp-et-al-trailing/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/facebook-hits-2-billion-monthly-users-youtube-whatsapp-et-al-trailing/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:56:59 +0000 Facebook as at Tuesday June 27, 2017; had officially registered two billion monthly users, its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg, confirmed. Zuckerberg broke the news on his Facebook wall stressing that the network was making progress in connecting the world. The company reached the billion mark in October 2012, he further confirmed in response to a comment. Facebook was founded thirteen years ago (February 2004) and is currently headquartered in Menlo Park, California, United States. On the issue of the number of users catching up with the world’s population of seven billion people, Marck said, ‘‘We still have a long way to go to connect everyone. But we must do more than just connect — we must bring people closer together.’‘ The company says more than 175 million people declare they “love” something on the site daily and an average of more than 800 million people hit Facebook’s like button. Facebook users will likely see a personalized video celebrating the milestone in the next few days. With soaring profits reported last year, one of its biggest challenge is the fake news phenomenon which it is working to cure. How does Facebook compare with other social media networks Tech Crunch reports that the new milestone (Two billion users) makes Facebook the largest social app in terms of logged-in users. It beats YouTube’s 1.5 billion, WeChat’s 889 million, Twitter’s 328 million and Snapchat’s estimated 255 million. ‘‘Beyond YouTube, only Facebook’s other apps have more than 1 billion, including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, with 1.2 billion each. Instagram might soon join that club as it recently rocketed past 700 million,’‘ they added. Interestingly, it is the developing world that has boosted Facebook’s growth the last 10 years. The company has met that market halfway with optimized applications for cheap Android smartphones and low-bandwidth connections. ‘‘It’s added 746 million users in Asia and the rest of World region since hitting 1 billion users total. Meanwhile, it only added 41 million in the U.S. and Canada,’‘ they added. 1917: 1.7 billion total people on earth 2017: 2 billion people use facebook</a> <a href="https://t.co/yTeqZBeOKD">pic.twitter.com/yTeqZBeOKD</a></p>&mdash; Vala Afshar (ValaAfshar) June 27, 2017 Go and champion gay rights elsewhere, not in Tanzania - government warns http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/go-and-champion-gay-rights-elsewhere-not-in-tanzania-government-warns/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/go-and-champion-gay-rights-elsewhere-not-in-tanzania-government-warns/ Tue, 27 Jun 2017 22:51:59 +0000 Tanzania has threatened to arrest and expel activists, as well as deregister all non-governmental organisations that campaign for gay rights. Homosexuality is a criminal offence in the East African nation, where the law states that suspects convicted of having “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” could face up to 30 years in jail. At a rally late on Sunday, Tanzania’s Home Affairs Minister Mwigulu Nchemba said both domestic and foreign campaigners for gay rights would now face punitive measures in the country. “Those who want to campaign for gay rights should find another country that allows those things,” Nchemba said in the capital Dodoma. “If we establish that any organisation registered in our country is campaigning for gay rights … I will deregister that organisation. If a Tanzanian national is doing that campaign, we will arrest him and take him to court … and if it is a foreigner, we will immediately order him to leave the country.” The planned crackdown comes amid repeated warnings against “immoral behaviours” by President John Magufuli, who is nicknamed “the Bulldozer” for pushing through his policies. Last week, he rejected calls to lift the decades-long ban on pregnant students from attending state schools, drawing criticism from rights groups. Nchemba said Magufuli’s decisions were final and non-negotiable. Since his ascent to power in 2015, Magufuli has been praised by some Western donors for his bid to stamp out corruption and cut wasteful government spending. Opponents, however, accuse him of becoming increasingly authoritarian by curbing political activity and cracking down on dissent. REUTERS 8 killed in northeast Kenya landmine blast http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/8-killed-in-northeast-kenya-landmine-blast/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/28/8-killed-in-northeast-kenya-landmine-blast/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:07:56 +0000 Four police officers and four civilians were killed on Tuesday after their truck hit a landmine on a road near Kenya’s border with Somalia, police officials said, in the second such attack this month. Another four police officers and one civilian died in a blast in northeast Kenya on June 16, while at least eight police officers were killed in two roadside bombings a month earlier. Somalia’s militant Islamist al Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the May attacks. “Four police officers and four children have been killed in an IED explosion in Lamu (county),” police spokesman Charles Owino said of Tuesday’s blast, without giving further details. Another security official in the area told Reuters the truck they were travelling in had run over a landmine in Kiunga, a town close to the border. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Al Shabaab, which is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s government and impose its own harsh interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, has said it will continue to attack Kenya unless it withdraws its troops from an African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia. Reuters Sudan hopeful U.S. will lift economic sanctions despite travel ban ruling http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/27/sudan-hopeful-us-will-lift-economic-sanctions-despite-travel-ban-ruling/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/27/sudan-hopeful-us-will-lift-economic-sanctions-despite-travel-ban-ruling/ Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:11:43 +0000 Sudan hopes the revival of President Donald Trump’s travel ban on its citizens and those of five other Muslim-majority states will not affect the planned lifting of U.S. economic sanctions next month, a Foreign Ministry official said on Tuesday. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday revived parts of a temporary travel ban on nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who lack strong ties with the United States but want to enter the country. “We hope that this ban decision will not affect next month’s decision to lift U.S. economic sanctions, especially because Sudan has completed all the roadmap requirements that were asked of it,” Foreign Ministry official Abdelghany Naeem told Reuters. The roadmap’s conditions included cooperating with Washington in fighting terrorism, halting interference in South Sudan’s affairs and allowing humanitarian aid to safely reach to conflict zones in the region. In January, the outgoing Obama administration gave Sudan 180 days to improve its human rights record and resolve its political and military conflicts before Washington lifts some major economic sanctions stepped up in 2006 for what it said was complicity in violence in Sudan’s Darfur region. “We support the United States’ right to protect its national security, but we insist that Sudanese citizens do not pose any dangers to American security,” Naeem said. REUTERS Combating child marriages is economically smart for developing nations - World Bank http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/27/combating-child-marriages-is-economically-smart-for-developing-nations-world/ http://www.africanews.com/2017/06/27/combating-child-marriages-is-economically-smart-for-developing-nations-world/ Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:25:53 +0000 Child marriage will cost developing countries trillions of dollars in the next decade, seriously hampering global efforts to eradicate poverty, the World Bank said on Tuesday. An estimated one in three girls in the developing world is married before the age of 18, with one girl married off every two seconds, according to experts. The World Bank said ending child marriage would reduce population growth, boost girls’ educational achievements and increase their earnings. It would also lead to women having healthier and better educated children, further boosting prosperity. “Child marriage not only puts a stop to girls’ hopes and dreams, it also hampers efforts to end poverty and achieve economic growth and equity,” World Bank economist Quentin Wodon said in a statement. “Ending this practice is not only the morally right thing to do but also the economically smart thing to do,” added Wodon, who co-authored the report – the first to look at the economic impact of child marriage. One of the biggest economic benefits of ending child marriage would derive from a reduction in population growth, according to the study co-authored by the International Center for Research on Women. Girls who marry young have more children on average than those who delay marriage. Ending child marriage would reduce fertility rates by 11 percent on average in 15 of the worst affected countries analysed in the study. Global gains from lower population growth could exceed $500 billion annually by 2030, with cumulative gains topping $4 trillion, the study said. Although world leaders have pledged to end child marriage by 2030 under the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals agreed in 2015, investments to end the practice remain limited. The authors said this was likely partly due to the fact child marriage was seen as a social issue and the economic case had not been made forcefully enough. Each year of secondary education reduces the risk of child marriage by five percentage points or more, the report said. Child brides are more likely to drop out of school than their peers who marry later, which in turn impacts their ability to earn a living. Early marriage reduces women’s earnings in adulthood by 9 percent, the study said, while the children of child mothers tend to suffer poorer development and health. The economic benefits of lower rates of under-five mortality and stunting – that can lead to irreversible damage to health – which would result from ending child marriage could reach more than $90 billion annually by 2030, the bank estimated. REUTERS