Africanews RSShttp://www.africanews.com/feed/rssReceive free and in real-time all news published by africanews.com, by subscribing to our RSS feeds.Fri, 19 Apr 2019 16:30:39 +0000DRC: Katumbi's conviction has been annulled (lawyer)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/drc-katumbi-s-conviction-has-been-annulled-lawyer/The conviction of Moise Katumbi, an opposition politician in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who is currently living in exile has been annulled, his lawyer said on Friday. “By its ruling on Wednesday, the Court of Cassation overturned the Lubumbashi Peace Court’s decision to sentence Moïse Katumbi to three years in prison with immediate arrest, paving the way for his return,” Joseph Mukendi told AFP. The exiled politician can now return to the country a free man, Mukendi added. ALSO READ: DRC main opposition jabs Kabila, tasks Tshisekedi with Katumbi’s return One of the DRC’s political heavyweights, Katumbi, 54, left the country in 2016 after falling out with the then president, Joseph Kabila. Kabila stood down in January after 18 years in power in which he stayed two years beyond his constitutional maximum term in office. He handed over to opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi in the country’s first peaceful political transition since independence from Belgium in 1960. Katumbi, a wealthy businessman born to a Greek businessman father and a Congolese mother, tried to return last August to file his bid for the December presidential elections. But he was prevented at the Zambian border from crossing into the DRC. Candidates have to be physically in DR Congo to submit their election application. Katumbi and fellow opposition heavyweight Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was also barred from running, backed opposition candidate Martin Fayulu. Fayulu came in a close second to Tshisekedi, according to results that Fayulu lashed as a stitch-up. Katumbi has his power base in the mining province of Katanga, in the southeast of the vast country, where he was previously governor. In June 2016, a court in Katanga’s provincial capital, Lubumbashi, handed him a three-year jail term in absentia for alleged property fraud, with the instruction that he be arrested immediately if he set foot in the country. He was also accused of hiring several foreign mercenaries to act as his private guards. He has denied both charges. In the months before the presidential elections, the authorities also accused him of “usurping” Congolese nationality. They said Katumbi had acquired an Italian passport and thus had forfeited his right to Congolese citizenship. Dual citizenship is illegal under DR Congo law.Fri, 19 Apr 2019 16:30:39 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/drc-katumbi-s-conviction-has-been-annulled-lawyer/Multimedia: Ivanka's incredible Ethiopia, wonderful Ivory Coast tripshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/multimedia-ivanka-s-incredible-ethiopia-wonderful-ivory-coast-trips/A total of four days, two days in each country she visited; the images from Ivanka Trump’s visit to Ethiopia and then Ivory Coast shows she enjoyed her time visiting. The presidential advisor described her packed itinerary in Ethiopia as “incredible” and her engagements in Ivory Coast as “wonderful and productive.” Our collage below shows a pictorial brief of her time in Addis Ababa signing deals, engaging in high-level diplomacy, paying tribute to victims of the March 10 Ethiopian crash etc. Photos from engagements in Ethiopia and Ivory Coast Wonderful and productive visit to Côte d’Ivoire! #WGDP! ?: pic.twitter.com/zzEsYYOyUp— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) April 19, 2019 Thank you for an incredible trip Ethiopia! ???? pic.twitter.com/lqE2XLQ25I— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) April 16, 2019 Au revoir, Côte d’Ivoire! Jacquelyn_M pic.twitter.com/whc2mUH22X— Ivanka Trump (IvankaTrump) 17 avril 2019Fri, 19 Apr 2019 16:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/multimedia-ivanka-s-incredible-ethiopia-wonderful-ivory-coast-trips/Black snakes force Liberia president to abandon officehttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/black-snakes-force-liberia-president-to-abandon-office/President of Liberia, George Weah, is working from his official residence after two black snakes were found in the building where his offices are located in the capital Monrovia. The Associated Press reported quoted deputy press secretary Smith Toby as saying the president was acting on advice to stay away from the building till it had been fumigated. The deputy press secretary says the fumigation has begun to take care of “crawling and creeping things.” The president is, however, expected back in the office on Monday, Toby added. The said snakes were seen this week briefly emerging from a hole in a wall of the building’s reception area. Liberia is home to poisonous snakes and officials are not taking chances. Weah was sworn in as Liberian president in January 2018 having won a vote run-off against former vice president Joseph Boakai. It was his second attempt at the seat having first lost to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2006. He became the 25th president of Liberia which is described as Africa’s oldest republic. Since coming into office he has doubled down on the fight against corruption and announced free tertiary education. His critics accuse him of targeting journalists and seeking to muzzle the press. A missing cash scandal also rocked the administration with a number of former government officials standing trial on corruption charges.Fri, 19 Apr 2019 15:25:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/black-snakes-force-liberia-president-to-abandon-office/How can tech help the arts? Abu Dhabi Culture Summit debates the issuehttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/how-can-tech-help-the-arts-abu-dhabi-culture-summit-debates-the-issue/The third annual Culture Summit was held from 7 to 11 April in Abu Dhabi, gathering industry experts from 90 different counties. The main theme of this year’s event was the discussion of how technology could be a commanding force for the arts. A cultural heavyweight and respected art historian at the summit, Tim Marlow of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, pointed to how the popularity of museums and galleries wasn’t waning in this digital world. “It’s a massively important arena, through which more people can be driven to institutions and museums, and it’s a means to which artists can explore what it is to be human and post-human,” he said. [IME S02E15 WEB 1 – SECONDARY IMAGE 1] Tim Marlow speaks to Euronews at the Culture Summit Marlow also highlighted the importance of technology when it comes to preserving heritage. “It’s a way of documenting the past, archiving the past and our future understanding of the past.” he said, “Its deterioration, and what we might want to preserve, will also be mediated through technology,” he added. Amongst the key players on the ground, the UAE’s Culture Minister Noura Al Kaabi emphasized that culture should to be inclusive and transcend all levels of society. She added that technology would shape the future of the domestic arts scene and invited companies like Google to propose advancements that would help drive – but not control – the sector’s creativity. [IME S02E15 WEB 1 – SECONDARY IMAGE 2] Noura Al Kaabi speaks to Euronews at the Culture Summit VIRTUAL REALITY TECH AIDS MOSUL MOSQUE REBUILD Looking to the wider region, Al Kaabi mentioned that the UAE’s $50 million contribution towards the reconstruction of the al-Nuri mosque in Mosul was being helped with the use of VR technology. The site, which is one of the northern Iraqi city’s holiest monuments, was destroyed in 2017 following its capture by militants three years prior. “We visited the mosque, but in Paris, thanks to Virtual Reality technology,” said the minister. “That is helping us look at the virtual sphere that will help us in the future with reality.” READ MORE: The latest on Guggenheim Abu Dhabi: An interview with Richard Armstrong SEEN ON SOCIAL: PERFORMANCES AT THE SUMMIT Talented Egyptian teen Nejma performed at Abu Dhabi’s Culture Summit, saying her singing is inspired by music from all over the world. View this post on Instagram I wish I was special ? #NejmaAlKoor #culturesummit2019 #نجمة_الكور A post shared by نجمة الكور Nejma AlKoor (@nejma_alkoor) on Apr 7, 2019 at 2:12pm PDTFri, 19 Apr 2019 14:09:11 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/how-can-tech-help-the-arts-abu-dhabi-culture-summit-debates-the-issue/DRC mourns Lake Kivu boat accident victims, flags at half-masthttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/drc-mourns-lake-kivu-boat-accident-victims-flags-at-half-mast/President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, declared Friday a day of mourning across the territory in honour of the scores of people dead and missing after a boat incident. All flags are also flying at half mast for the victims of the accident which happened on the Lake Kivu earlier this week. “In memory of the victims of the sinking #Kalehe, flags set at half-mast throughout the territory to observe the national mourning of 24 hours, decreed by the President of the Republic, Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi, this Friday 19 April 2019,” the presidency announced. The president had on Tuesday tweeted his condolence to the affected families and stressed that he was committed to ensuring that erring officials were brought to justice. “We are going to do everything to make sure that this type of tragedy doesn’t happen again,” President Felix Tshisekedi said. “It’s because of certain economic operators who use rundown boats because of their greed.” As at Thursday, authorities confirmed the death of 13 people, adding that over 140 people remained unaccounted for. Local fishermen were searching for the missing. The boat, a smaller type known as a pirogue, had set out from neighbouring North Kivu province on Monday and foundered on the lake near South Kivu’s Kalehe territory. #RDC En mémoire des victimes du naufrage de #Kalehe, drapeaux mis en berne sur toute l’étendue du territoire pour observer le deuil national de 24 heures, décrété par le Président de la République, Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi, ce vendredi 19 avril 2019. pic.twitter.com/FEaKyJ7CaS— Présidence RDC ?? (@Presidence_RDC) April 19, 2019 South Kivu province’s Minister of Transport, Jacqueline Ngengele told reporters: “On Monday the boat was launched out, but we are not sure exactly how many people were on board. “It was in the evening that we received news that there was a boat wreck via phone, we understand the boat was in a deplorable state, and as part of the collaboration, we ask our colleague, Minister of Transport in North Kivu, to instruct all their technical services to ensure that no boat leaves without proper checks and permissions.” Deadly boat accidents are frequent in the vast mineral nation, where boats are frequently overloaded beyond capacity. In 2011, former President Joseph Kabila fired the country’s transport minister after a series of boat accidents.Fri, 19 Apr 2019 14:00:37 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/drc-mourns-lake-kivu-boat-accident-victims-flags-at-half-mast/Tunisia, the safest country for journalists in the Maghrebhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/tunisia-the-safest-country-for-journalists-in-the-maghreb-region/Tunisia has been ranked the safest country for journalists in north Africa and the middle east by the 2019 World Press Freedom Index report. “Tunisia is the exception and continues its democratic transition process. It has admittedly made a remarkable improvement of 25 places, but still faces innumerable challenges especially in relation to the legislative framework,” said Souhaieb Khayati, RSF head of North Africa office. Tunisia not only ranked first in its region it moved by 15 slots to rank 72 in the world. Meanwhile Syria (174th) continues to be extremely dangerous for media personnel. “Journalists are under tremendous pressure in every Maghreb countries, with the exception of Tunisia. But in Algeria, Morocco and Libya, journalists are the victims of continuous pressure from the authorities,” said Souhaieb Khayati, RSF head of North Africa office. Gambia had the greatest press freedom growth in Africa rising 30 places higher than it was last year. Tanzania fell to 118th place due to unprecedented attacks on the media by President John Magufuli’s oppressive leadership. Norway, Finland and Sweden earned the top three spot in the global report from Reporters Without Borders released on Thursday.Fri, 19 Apr 2019 13:28:57 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/tunisia-the-safest-country-for-journalists-in-the-maghreb-region/South Sudan records higher disease related morbidity than war casualtieshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/south-sudan-records-higher-disease-related-morbidity-than-war-casualties/Nyachoat is two years old. Just two hours ago, he was having a seizure due to malaria. His parents arrived just in time at this clinic in Udier, a landlocked village in northeastern South Sudan. The little boy has been sick for several days. Buk Gader, the mother of Nyachoat recounts her story “When I came to the clinic this morning, there was no one here. I went home. When I got home, he was unconscious. He was shivering and convulsing at the same time.” Nyachoat could be saved. But others have not been so lucky. Horrible accounts of war, rape and displacement have become commonplace in Southern Sudan, but for many, the greatest danger is often the danger of diseases that are not easy to treat. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which runs the clinic, 70% of deaths are due to diseases that could easily be prevented. This region of Upper Nile is one of the most affected. Irene Onyenya, is a nurse and health official for ICRC “Most of the children who die here die mainly from three common diseases: malaria, acute watery diarrhoea and a respiratory tract infection that progresses to long-term pneumonia.” The Upper Nile region, bordering Sudan and Ethiopia, was ravaged by war in 2017. The infant and maternal mortality rate in Southern Sudan is one of the highest in the world. Overburdened with household chores, women are not always able to get their children to the clinic on time. “It started with a stomach pain. All my children sleep together under the same mosquito net. Therefore, if one of them gets sick, they all get sick.” says Buk Gader. The clinic cannot treat more complicated cases such as operations or blood transfusions. The nearest hospital is in Maban, three days’ walk or five hours’ drive away. But in Udier, there is only one car in the entire village.Fri, 19 Apr 2019 09:30:43 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Philemon Mbale NSONGAN)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/south-sudan-records-higher-disease-related-morbidity-than-war-casualties/Sudan protest hub: U.S. wants what protesters want, civilian-led transitionhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/sudan-protest-hub-africanews-updates/Sudan protest updates: December 2018 – February 1, 2019 April 18, 2019: US backs calls for civilian-led transition The United States has reiterated its call for the military to handover power to a civilian-led transition body saying they supported what the Sudanese people wanted. Its latest statement on the post-Bashir crisis was issued by the Department of State on Thursday – the same day that a massive protest rocked the capital, Khartoum. In the course of this week, the African Union has given a stern warning to the Transitional Military Council over possible expulsion from the continental bloc. Ousted president Omar al-Bashir has been transferred to a maximum security prison in Khartoum. Two of his brothers have also been detained according to the military as part of efforts to “uproot symbols of the regime.” Full statement by the United States April 17, 2019: Bashir arrives in Khartoum prison Deposed president Omar al-Bashir has been transferred from detention into a maximum security jail, Kobar, located in the capital, Khartoum. Reuters reports that he is being kept in solitary confinement under heavy security. A family relation confirmed the development to the AFP News agency. It is the most significant news on the former leader since he was ousted last week by the military. The military on Monday dismissed reports that he could be handed over to the International Criminal Court, ICC. Meanwhile, the Transitional Military Council, TMC, continues to engage protest leaders on a way forward in post-Bashir Sudan. The pressure to transfer power to a civilian government meanwhile continues. The African Union after an April 15 expulsion threat by its Peace and Security Council reiterated its position when its head Moussa Faki Mahamat met with a TMC delegation yesterday, April 16. Leader of the TMC, Abdel Fattah Burhan on the same day met with special envoys from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – the two Gulf nations have pledged support for the people of Sudan. “Chairman of the Transitional Military Council, praised the distinguished relations between the Sudan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and the eternal ties that bind their peoples,” state-run SUNA agency said on Twitter. They added that a message of support had also come from Egypt, whose president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, currently chairman of the African Union, AU, has said he was ready to visit Sudan in the coming days. April 14, 2019: Military begs for international support Sudan’s Foreign Ministry is appealing for international support to back the military rulers who took power after ousting long-serving president Omar al-Bashir. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is looking forward to the international community to understand the situation and to support the transitional military council … in order to achieve the Sudanese goal of democratic transition,” its statement said. The military said last week that it was due to operate a two-year- transition after which it would hand over power to elected representatives. Bashir’s last Defense Minister was sworn in as leader of the military transition council but in less that 48-hours Awad ibn Auf resigned his position giving way to a new leader in Abdelfattah Burhan Abdelrahman, a former inspector general of the army. Protesters meanwhile continue to pile pressure for an immediate return to civilian rule. A former intelligence chief also announced his resignation yesterday in what is seen as part of protester demands. The leader of the Rapid Support Forces/Janjaweed, Mohamed Hamdan AKA Hemedti pictured with US Charge d’affaires for Sudan Steven Koutsis. Hemedti is now the Vice-Chair for the High Council for Armed Forces – number 2 in the country. There seems to be amnesia around Darfur… pic.twitter.com/lqdnjyDcFw— Yousra Elbagir (@YousraElbagir) April 14, 2019 April 11, 2019: Bashir arrested, military moves to rein in protesters After three decades in charge, Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir has been forced out of office after months of unrelenting protests. The move was orchestrated by the military. Reports indicate that the former president is currently detained and being held in a safe place. The military have announced a raft of measures to rein in protesters. The protesters despite celebrating the fall of Bashir which was the main plank of their movement which started in December 2019 have rejected what they say is a military takeover. Who took power? The Supreme Military Council. What is the status of Omar al-Bashir? Arrested, being kept in a safe place. The 2005 consitution has been suspended along will all its appointees – president, parliament, cabinet etc. Current law: A three-month state of emergency. Political transition period: Slated to last 2 years. Who made announcements? Defense Minister. Other measures: All border crossings closed and airspace closed for 24-hours. Defence Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf (L), an ex-military intelligence chief is sworn in as first vice president in front of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir during a swearing in ceremony of new officials after Bashir dissolved the central and state governments in Khartoum, Sudan February 24, 2019. Defence Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, an ex-military intelligence chief talks to the media after being sworn in as first vice president during a swearing in ceremony of new officials after Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir dissolved the central and state governments in Khartoum, Sudan February 24, 2019. Photos: Celebrating the end of an era April 10, 2019: Defiant crowds continue sit-in, Bashir meets National Dialogue body Sudan state TV on Wednesday (April 10) aired footage of President Omar al-Bashir chairing a meeting of the country’s Supreme Commission for National Dialogue as anti-government protests calling for his resignation continued. Sudanese TV reported the meeting took place on Tuesday (April 9). The commission thanked Bashir’s government and the national security services for their work in handling the protests in a statement released following the meeting, Sudanese TV reported. Sudan’s opposition party said on Tuesday around 20 people were killed and dozens wounded in dawn attacks on a sit-in outside Sudan’s defence ministry by protesters calling for Bashir to step down. Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service tried twice to disperse the protesters early on Tuesday, breaking into the area using pickup trucks, witnesses said. Since December 19, Sudan has been rocked by persistent protests sparked by the government’s attempt to raise the price of bread, and an economic crisis that has included fuel and cash shortages. Drone shot of sit-in outside o army headquarters, Khartoum, #Sudan, April 10, 2019 pic.twitter.com/tOydBxtESz— Isma’il Kushkush (@ikushkush) April 10, 2019 April 8, 2019: Pressure mounts on Al-Bashir Soldiers came to the rescue of protesters in Khartoum on Monday when a section of the security forces fired tear gas to break up a three-day rolling sit-in by protesters. Starting Saturday (April 6) thousands of protesters have camped outside an area in the capital housing the army headquarters and close to the presidential palace. They are demanding that the army joins their call to force embattled president Omar Al-Bashir out of office. After what was a failed attempt to disperse the crowd, they are currently surrounded at the premises, reports said on late Monday. The interior ministry confirmed that six people died in Khartoum, during protests over the weekend. Over 50 others were injured and almost 2,500 demonstrators were arrested. Thousands of protesters marching through the railway bridge in Khartoum today April 8th to join the massive sit-in around and in front of the Army’s HQ as called for by SPA three days ago#SudanUprising#HQ_sit_in pic.twitter.com/MHK4y1dN0y— Sudanese Translators for Change STC (@SudaneseTc) April 8, 2019 April 2019: Protesters close-in on Bashir’s residence Thousands of protesters held a sit-in outside Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s residence in central Khartoum on Sunday, having camped there overnight following the biggest demonstration in months of protests against his 30-year rule, witnesses said. At least one person died on Saturday during “rioting” in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city, state news agency SUNA said, without giving details on the cause of death. Sudan has seen months of mostly small but sustained protests against Bashir’s rule in which dozens of demonstrators have been killed. Security forces have used tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition to disperse protests, witnesses have said. Sudanese march towards army headquarters Bashir has refused to step down, saying that his opponents need to seek power through the ballot box. Since the sit-in began on Saturday, security forces tried several times to clear the protesters from the compound’s vicinity using tear gas, including on Sunday morning, but thousands remained. Apparently emboldened by the success of similar but much larger protests in Algeria which forced ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down last week, Sudanese activists called for Saturday’s protests to mark the anniversary of the 1985 military coup that overthrew autocratic president Jaafar Nimeiri following mass protests against his rule. The protesters urged the military to side with them once more in their bid to push Bashir out of power. Apart from Bashir’s residence, the compound, the most heavily-guarded in Sudan, also houses the Defence Ministry and the headquarters of the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service. REUTERS March 2019: Summary of Sudan protest issues – details follow March 25: Protesters jailed, journalists march March 21: Bashir bans hoarding of cash March 21: Bashir reduces jail term for violating state of emergency March 17: Activists outline list of media repression March 14: Bashir hints of dialogue? March 13: Civil disobedience observed, Activists outline diaspora rallies in U.S., Europe March 12: Whipping sentence dismissed, March 13 rally gathers steam March 11: State of emergency halved March 9: Activists cleanup, announce March 10 rallies March 8: Detained women on hunger strike – SPA March 7: Women march, court orders release of protesters March 6: SPA calls tribute rally for women March 6: Nationwide strike ‘resounding success’ – Organizers March 5: Nationwide strike called for today March 3: Main opposition chief urges Bashir to quit March 2: Opposition leader tells Bashir to leave March 1: EU tasks govt to arrest excesses under martial law March 25: Journalists march demanding press freedom Six protesters arrested in the city of Omdurman have been sentenced to six-months by a Sudanese court, the AFP news agency reports. The sentence was handed down by an emergency court on Monday. “The six were accused of causing disturbances,” Police Spokesman General Hashim Abdelrahim told AFP. The report added that each of the convicts were also fined 1,500 Sudanese pounds ($31). The country is under a state of emergency aimed at quelling anti-government protests that kicked off late last year. Meanwhile, dozens of journalists marched in Khartoum on Monday to demand an end to a crackdown on press freedom amidst the most sustained challenge to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir since he took power in a 1989 coup. Protesters have been taking to the streets frequently across Sudan since Dec. 19. The protests were initially triggered by price rises and cash shortages but evolved into demonstrations against Bashir and his National Congress Party. Monday’s protesters carried a large banner that read “Free press or no press” as they walked down a main street in the Sudanese capital. They chanted “journalism is the voice of the people” and “the revolution is the choice of the people”. Since the wave of demonstrations began, 90 journalists have been detained, according to the Sudanese Journalists’ Network, an anti-government group of journalists that organised Monday’s protest. Most have since been released, the group said. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says the number of arrests is unprecedented, but that it is impossible to give an exact figure because journalists have been arrested then freed, with this happening to some more than once. The CPJ has also said that Sudanese authorities have tried to censor news coverage of the protests and that they have blocked access to popular social media platforms. Othman Mirghani, editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper al-Tayar, and one of Sudan’s most prominent journalists, was arrested at his Khartoum office on Feb. 22, the same day Bashir declared a state of emergency, his family said. He was detained shortly after a televised interview in which he criticized Bashir’s declaration of a state of emergency, according to relatives. They said Mirghani remains in custody, but has still not been charged. The Sudanese information ministry told Reuters that the state of press freedom in Sudan is good. “Opposition party newspapers are issued in Khartoum and the freedom to demonstrate is guaranteed by the constitution,” said Information Minister Hassan Ismail. “There is no political crisis in Sudan, but there is an economic crisis.” He added that his ministry has requested information about the reasons behind Mirghani’s arrest and that he will be meeting the director of the National Security and Intelligence Service on Tuesday to discuss Mirghani and other issues. Bashir last month also dissolved the central government, replaced state governors with security officials, expanded police powers and banned unlicensed public gatherings. That has not deterred protesters from staging regular rallies. REUTERS March 21: Bashir reduces jail term for violating state of emergency Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir on Thursday reduced the maximum jail term for violating the country’s state of emergency from 10 years to six months even as protesters continued staging rallies against his rule. Bashir had initially announced that any violations to the state of emergency, especially participating in banned rallies, were punishable with a jail term of up to 10 years. But on Thursday he issued an order that the maximum jail term for such violation would now be up to six months. Even as Bashir’s new orders were announced, crowds of protesters staged rallies in the central town of Al-Obeid and in areas of Khartoum and Omdurman, the twin city of the capital across the Nile, witnesses said. March 21: Bashir bans hoarding of cash In a separate order he also appointed the acting chief of his ruling National Congress Party, Ahmed Harun, as a presidential aide. A statement from the presidency on Thursday also banned hoarding of the Sudanese pound and “speculation” on the currency. Under the new rules announced by Bashir’s office, individuals are not allowed to store more than 1 million Sudanese pounds ($21,000) outside the banking system. Entities are banned from storing more than 5 million Sudanese pounds and are not allowed to store amounts “that are not commensurate with the scale of (their) activity”, the statement said. Bashir’s order, made in an emergency decree, also banned the counterfeiting of any currencies, as well as the possession, transportation or storage of counterfeit currencies and any tools used to produce counterfeit currencies. It further banned all providers of goods and services from accepting payments via bank cards or cheques. Any violators of the decree, in addition to punishments in any other breached laws, would face a minimum of six months in prison and a maximum of 10 years, as well as a fine. March 17: Activists unfazed by media reprieve The main protester organizers in Sudan uprising, the Sudanese Professionals Association, SPA? said on Sunday that it had noted a reprieve in media operations after banned newspapers were allowed unto the stands. “In a poorly-directed play, the Sudanese security and intelligence service allowed some newspapers to be released after harsh prevention measures that deprived them from circulation for more than 70 days,” SPA said in a tweet. They listed some of the newspapers as: Al-Maidan, Akhbar al-Watan and Al-Baath. SPA said what was important was for government to release all detained journalists. They claimed that most of the detained journalists were being subjected to abuse by authorities. They slammed the government further for gagging media personnel – local and foreign. State actors banned the publications from circulation in January, most of them over their reportage of the uprising. It was around the same time that government banned foreign journalists who were also reporting on the protests. READ MORE: Bashir’s latest cabinet reshuffle March 14: Bashir hints of dialogue? Bashir, facing the most sustained challenge to his rule since he took power in a military coup three decades ago, promised during a swearing-in ceremony for a new cabinet that he would engage in dialogue with the opposition. “Securing peace and silencing the sound of the rifle is our most important priority for the country and we will communicate with the forces who reject dialogue for the sake of political stability,” these are the words of the president according to a presidency statement issued on March 14. In a cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, Bashir appointed at least 15 new ministers. Last month he declared a state of emergency, dissolved the central government, replaced state governors with security officials, expanded police powers and banned unlicensed public gatherings. That has not stopped the protesters, who have held several demonstrations since the new measures came into effect. As part of the emergency measures, courts have been trying protesters in evening sessions, sparking more rallies outside court buildings. REUTERS March 13: Anti-govt protests in diaspora Even as protests and acts of defiance continue at home, the pressure on government is set to be applied outside the shores of the country according to lead activists. The Sudanese Professionals Association, SPA, disclosed on social media that plans were afoot for protests in the diaspora. Among others across cities in the United States and Europe – Germany and the United Kingdom. The said protests are to kick off on March 14 till 17. Some of the targeted cities include: Thursday, March 14, 2019 Activities of Sudanese expatriates abroad in New York-USA at the United Nations Headquarters: A demonstration condemning the emergency laws and violations against Sudanese women. Saturday, March 16, 2019 Washington, USA: To celebrate International Women’s Day in faith in freedom, change and democracy. Alexandria VA, Philadelphia-USA at Sudanese Community House | Poetry evening, loyalty of the martyrs of freedom and prisoners of conscience. Dusseldorf-Germany, Protest in support of the Sudanese revolution London-England at the Trafalgar Square | Demonstration in support of the Sudanese revolution Sunday, March 17, 2019 Washington, USA in front of the White House | Demonstration in support of the Sudanese Revolution The National Assembly For Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, UK. March 13: Civil disobedience call massively heeded SPA, the organizers posted photos of social shutdown as called for Wednesday, March 13. They are yet to announce the next line of action. Some actions slated under the civil disobedience include the following: Refraining from working in government offices and institutions. Refraining from paying statutory dues such as taxes and utility bills. Working to achieve a shutdown of transport routes – road, port, railways. Refraining from dealing with governmental interests and non-cooperation government agents. Boycott goods and services produced or provided by productive or service enterprises wholly or partially owned by the state. March 12: Flogging sentence overturned, March 13 rally gathers steam Nine women arrested for protesting have been released by a court on Tuesday. The group were arrested last Thursday during protests before they staged a hunger strike on March 8, coinciding with International Women’s Day. The appeals court ordered their release despite being jailed one month and 20 lashes each. The SPA has announced that all is set for a March 13 civil disobedience as part of the wider protest plan demanding the resignation of president Omar al-Bashir. March 11: Parliament splits emergency rule in two Sudan’s parliament voted on Monday to shorten from one year to six months a state of emergency declared by President Omar al-Bashir last month in response to widespread protests. Parliament can, however, renew the measure. Bashir declared the nationwide state of emergency, the first since 1999, on Feb. 22 to try to quell demonstrations that have posed the most serious challenge to his three-decade rule. Parliament’s deputy speaker Ahmed Attijani said some lawmakers objected to the state of emergency because of its implications for freedoms, particularly given Sudan is due to hold a presidential election next year. REUTERS Boushra Cartoonist: The ‘amateur’ contributing to the uprising March 11: Activists announce civil disobedience The main protest organizer in Sudan, SPA, has called a civil disobedience slated for Wednesday March 13. It is the second time such a measure is being implemented. “SPA and allies have called for a one-day civil disobedience on the 13th of March as the #SudanUprising gathers momentum in its 12th week,” they wrote in a Twitter post. The first such was last week on March 5 when a nationwide strike was called and according to SPA, resoundingly adhered to across the country. These measures are still pushed through despite a state of emergency. Security forces continue to violently crackdown on the people amid arrests and jailing of protesters. Some actions slated under the civil disobedience include the following: Refraining from working in government offices and institutions. Refraining from paying statutory dues such as taxes and utility bills. Working to achieve a shutdown of transport routes – road, port, railways. Refraining from dealing with governmental interests and non-cooperation government agents. Boycott goods and services produced or provided by productive or service enterprises wholly or partially owned by the state. Protests meanwhile continue in parts of the country. SPA shared footage of students in a university voicing their support for calls on President Al-Bashir to quit. March 9: Activists execute succesful cleanup campaign Pressure group SPA called for a cleanup campaign today in most parts of the country. Reports indicate that the call was well received and executed. “#SudanUprising nonviolent resistance continues. Wide response to SPA and allies call for a clean-up campaign. People across #Sudan organized and participated in the campaign,” the group said in a Twitter post. It was accompanied by a collage of people engaging in the cleanup. SPA has more often called for protests since December 2018. Significantly this week, March 5, they called for a nationwide sit-down strike which they said was a resounding success. On the 7th, they called for protests in tribute to women. That was also heeded despite the heavy security crackdown that followed. Detained women went on hunger strike on Friday, March 8 which coincided with International Women’s Day. Meanwhile Sunday, March 10, has been officially declared as a protest day by the group in posts on its social media handles – Facebook and Twitter. March 8: Detained women protesters on hunger strike, rallies continue “Women detained during #SudanUprising go on hunger strike today, coinciding with #InternationalWomensDay, in defiance and protest against arbitrary detention,” this is a post on Twitter by the Sudanese Professional Association, SPA. March 7, 24-hours to 2019 International Women’s Day was a day called by the SPA as a protest day in tribute to women. People defied security to protest against the government. It turns out that some of the women were detained in the process. SPA says these women have been beaten and also denied health care. Videos shared by a main opposition party showed female student protesters who had been teargassed being assisted after they were dispersed by the security forces. Meanwhile, protests continued in parts of the capital, Khartoum, most of them started off after Friday prayers. Friday protests have been a sort of “tradition” since the protests broke out in December 2018. March 7: Court orders release of jailed activists An emergency court meanwhile ordered the release of eight persons who had been jailed earlier this week. The eight were asked to be released and to pay fines for breaching the law. Sudan is currently under a state of emergency with military personnel in charge of all provinces around the country. The measure was imposed to quell protests but have so far failed. March 7: March 7 women’s rally underway March 7 protests called by the Sudanese Professional Association, SPA, took place across the country according to reports from an online media group, Sudanese blogs. Sudanese blogs reported that a rally in the capital Khartoum took place amid chanting of anti -government slogans and calls for President Omar Al-Bashir to quit. The information was corroborated by social media content that showed university students protesting. The Sudanese Congress Party, SCP, has also been sharing videos and photos from the protests. Some of the material shows students who were teargassed by security forces whiles a number of students were also reportedly arrested in the capital, Khartoum. March 6: After March 5 strike, SPA calls March 7 women’s rally The Sudanese Professional Association, SPA, have announced the latest protest action it says is in honour of women for their participation in the ongoing ‘uprising.’ The March 7 rallies are a ‘tribute to the women movements’ and are billed to happen at a number of rallying points across the country. READ MORE: Sudan activists call March 7 rally March 6: Professionals Association says March 5 strike successful The Sudanese Professionals Association, SPA, which has spearheaded anti-government protests in the country says the March 5 nationwide strike had been a success. The group posted an update today from the Network of Journalists who participated in the strike stressing that the fight against the regime continued unabated. The strike saw a complete social shutdown across much of the country. Photos shared on social media showed that offices and markets had largely been abandoned in observance of the strike. Market stalls in the famous Sa’ad Gishra market in Bahri, Khartoum North (left) and Omdurman market (right) shut down for business as nationwide strike continues. pic.twitter.com/g73KoKsYLx— Yousra Elbagir (@YousraElbagir) March 5, 2019 March 5: Govt lowers customs exchange rate Sudan has lowered its customs exchange rate to 15 Sudanese pounds to the dollar, from a previous rate of 18, a document seen by Reuters on Tuesday showed. The cabinet also decided to discount 75 percent of storage fees for cargoes and containers stuck in Sudanese ports over the period of Feb. 1-25, according to the document which is dated Feb. 26. Sudanese businessmen had repeatedly called on the government to lower the rate to help them purchase dollars as the country faces its crippling shortage of foreign currency. March 5: SPA calls nationwide strike The Sudanese Professionals Association, SPA, the main group behind anti-government protests in the country has called for a general strike across the country today, March 5. The body announced the measure as the latest leg of activities meant to pile pressure on the embattled president Omar Al-Bashir and his government. SPA has since December 2018 used social media platforms – Twitter and Facebook – to rally thousands for protests that started with hike in bread prices and shortage of fuel. The protesters have since switched gear to making demands for the 30-year-reigning leader to quit and allow for a political transition. Bashir has stepped down as head of the ruling party but declared a state of emergency that dissolved government and put military generals in charge of all provinces in February. March 2: Opposition chief tasks Bashir to quit Sudan’s main opposition party leader Sadiq al-Mahdi on Saturday called on President Omar al-Bashir to step down and sit with the opposition to agree on details of a transitional process to end the nation’s crisis, a statement from his party said. “You can achieve a safe exit for the country which will be appreciated by the Sudanese people and history and will transform the deep polarization into national unity and international isolation into international cooperation,” the statement said. The call comes after a week of successive measures aimed at combating an unprecedented wave of protests threatening Bashir’s three-decade rule, including declaring a nationwide state of emergency and sacking the governors of Sudan’s 18 states and replacing them with military and security officials. The statement also called on Bashir to end the state of emergency, end torture and release all political prisoners. Protests in Sudan, initially over high bread prices, have taken place nearly every day since Dec. 19 and developed into the most sustained challenge that Bashir has faced. March 1: EU calls for truce in Sudan crisis The European Union has reacted to developments in Sudan calling for the regime to do all it takes to arrest excesses that are likely to spiral from the recently declared state of emergency. In a statement issued on February 28, the EU’s High Representative said they were monitoring the situation in Sudan. The statement called on government to release persons detained for political reasons. “The EU expects the Sudanese government to release all journalists, members of the opposition, human rights defenders and other protesters in detention. “Some of those with whom the dialogue is set to take place have been arbitrarily detained for over two months now,” the statement read in part. Bashir steps aside as head of Sudan ruling party The Sudanese Professionals Association, SPA, which is behind the protests wrote in an update on its Twitter page that five people had been killed on Thursday and one casualty as at today March 1. March is the fourth month of continuous protests in the country. Today marks a week since the state of emergency was declared and government dissolved and reconstituted. “Regime’ forces continue to directly fire teargas canisters at peaceful protesters from close proximity. “Five protesters were injured during #SudanUprising rallies, on 28 Feb, and another one today. Many were hospitalized suffering teargas suffocation,” SPA said. Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the situation in Sudan: The EU is closely following the situation in Sudan. Measures being adopted under the newly declared state of emergency, the increased role of the military in governing the country, further curtail fundamental freedoms and undermine the recent offer of a new political dialogue. They create a permissive climate for the security services to act with impunity against peaceful protesters. The latest attacks against unarmed students in the University of Medical Sciences and Technology and against peaceful protesters in Omdurman, are deeply disturbing. Genuine political dialogue requires an environment in which the Sudanese people can exercise their legitimate right to express their views. This will be essential to create the national consensus needed to find sustainable responses to Sudan’s deep political and economic crisis. The EU expects the Sudanese government to release all journalists, members of the opposition, human rights defenders and other protesters in detention. Some of those with whom the dialogue is set to take place have been arbitrarily detained for over two months now. An independent investigation into the deaths and abuses should be undertaken with those responsible held to account. The respect for these fundamental principles are at the core of the EU’s phased engagement with the government of Sudan. We will continue to monitor the situation and review the impact of the Government of Sudan’s actions on its relations with the European Union. Feb 28: Security forces struggling to contain defiant protesters In the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, other parts of the country, anti-government protests continue to roll on even as of today. The protests are in blanket defiance of a nationwide ban imposed by government. The country is currently under a state of emergency imposed specifically to quell the protests which are calling for an end to the three-decades rule of President Omar Al-Bashir. Sudanese Professionals Association, the main bloc behind the protests shared a footage of demonstrations on Zalat street in Khartoum via Facebook. Security deployed around the country are reported to have fired tear gas to disperse the protesters. Aside the association, opposition parties and other civil society groups have given backing to the mass action. Until days ago, social media was cut by the authorities who have routinely blamed it for helping gather protesters but also share gruesome crackdowns by the security forces. Feb 27: Bashir makes more personnel changes Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir on Tuesday reshuffled senior military staff on Tuesday, a day after announcing sweeping new emergency measures to deal with ongoing protests. Several members of Sudan’s eight-strong military staff council switched positions and General Essam al-Din Mubarak, the former deputy head of the council, was given a new position as minister of state in the defence ministry. “These are normal, routine changes that happen from time to time,” the military spokesman said. Last week, Bashir announced a nationwide state of emergency and dissolved government. He has since made the following changes; Appointed Mohamed Tahir Eila, ex- Jazeera governor, as the new prime minister. Sacked long time ally Bakri Hassan Saleh from position of vice president. Appointed defence Minister General Awad Ibnouf as the new first vice president. Appointed Mustafa Youssef as the new finance minister. Replaced all state governors with military officials. Protesters have staged almost daily demonstrations since December, demanding that Bashir, who came to power in a 1989 military coup, step down. The protests were initially inspired by high prices for bread but have turned into a sustained campaign against Bashir and his government. Western powers criticise Bashir Western powers including the United States, Britain and France condemned the latests measures by the government to clamp down on protesters. US Acting Ambassador to the United Nations, Jonathan Cohen urged Khartoum to “respect the rights of all individuals in Sudan” and “bring an immediate end to the violent repression of peaceful protests.” ALSO READ: Amnesty jabs Sudan over ‘break ins’ amid martial law crackdown Feb 25: Bashir bans rallies As Bashir desperately seeks to end protests that have rocked Sudan for over three months now, the embattled president on Monday banned unauthorised rallies. This follows the declaration of a state of emergency last week on Friday. Bashir also gave the country’s security forces sweeping powers to to raid buildings where “suspicious activities were being carried out” and also search people, the presidency said. Other measures include: Blocking roads and stopping traffic was banned Publishing news “that hurts the citizens or the constitutional system” on any platform, including social media, was also outlawed A new court and a special prosecutor were created to investigate violations of the measures, with offenders facing up to 10 years in prison Explainer: Managing the economic crisis Deadly protests began on December 19 after the government tripled the price of bread and quickly evolved into demonstrations against Bashir’s rule. In the face of public anger over Sudan’s economic woes, Bashir on Monday announced measures to tackle the foreign currency shortage. The presidency said no more than $3,000 would be allowed to be carried by any individual travelling outside the country. Bashir also ordered that buying and selling of foreign currency be done only through official channels. Over the past two years, the foreign exchange market has seen high volatility, forcing the country’s central bank to devalue the local pound twice last year. Feb 24: New premier sworn in Following the dissolution of government on Friday, in addition to declaration of state of emergency, president Nashir appointed Mohamed Tahir Eila as the new prime minister. Eila , who is the former governor of the agricultural state of Jazeera was sworn in on Sunday, at a ceremony, according to an AFP photographer. “Today, a new chapter begins in Sudan’s history,” Bashir, dressed in a military uniform, said at the ceremony. Defence Minister General Awad Ibnouf was sworn in as the first vice president after his predecessor Bakri Hassan Saleh was sacked by Bashir. Bashir also swore in 16 army officers and two officers from the National Intelligence and Security Service dressed in military uniforms as new governors for the country’s 18 provinces. “This chapter needs special people like you to lead… in order to guarantee security and stability in the country.” Bashir is expected to announce an entire new cabinet as he pushes on with sweeping top level changes in the face of nationwide protests that have rocked his rule. February 24, 2019: Protesters defy state of emergency Meanwhile, protesters continued to defy the state of emergency, holding demonstrations in Omdurman city, and the Khartoum districts of Burri and Shambat. “We want to give the president a message that the state of emergency will not deter us,” said Sawsan Bashir who participated in the Omdurman rally. “Our aim is to overthrow this regime and we will do it.” Riot police swiftly confronted protesters in Omdurman and Burri with tear gas, witnesses said. Protest organisers have vowed to continue with daily rallies, accusing Bashir and his officials of economic mismanagement that has led to soaring food prices and shortage of foreign currency. February 23, 2019: President names defense minister as first veep Sudan’s Defence Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf was appointed first vice president and will remain the defence minister, the Sudanese presidency said on Saturday. President Omar al-Bashir declared a one-year nationwide state of emergency on Friday and set up a caretaker administration but retained his defence, foreign and justice ministers. The inside story of Bashir’s plan to quell anti-govt protests Protesters frustrated with economic hardship have demonstrated for more than two months calling for an end to Bashir’s 30-year-old rule. Bashir also replaced on Friday the governors of every Sudanese state with military officials. Ibn Auf, who previously served as the head of military intelligence, earlier this month became the second of several top officials to strike a conciliatory tone towards the protests, saying that young people caught up in the recent turmoil had “reasonable ambition”. 1989 – 2019: Highlights of Bashir’s three-decades in charge February 22, 2019: President declares 12-month state of emergency Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir has declared a 12-month state of emergency across the country. The declaration was made in an address to the nation at 8pm local time on Friday (February 22). The move is aimed at quelling spreading anti-government protests calling for him to leave office. Meanwhile, protesters continued their rallies in the capital Khartoum after the close of the Friday congregational prayers, Jum’ah. Bashir has stressed that he will only leave office if polls are held but the relentless protesters have also vowed to continue till he leaves. Security agencies have had a hard time controlling some of the protests. Routine reports of tear gas and discharge of live bullets have led to deaths and injuries amid widespread arrest of political opponents and journalists. #BREAKING Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir declares a year-long state of emergency after anti-government protests pic.twitter.com/Qazr8GHuku— AFP news agency (@AFP) February 22, 2019 February 21, 2019: Telecom giants undertake sit-ins Reports indicate that employees of MTN and Zain have staged sit-in protests at their offices in the country. The action is allied with ongoing protests that have rocked the government with calls for president Al-Bashir to quit after three decades in charge of the country. MTN is one of three telecom outfits operating in the country. Government has since December 2018 ordered a restriction on access to especially social media platforms. But it continues to be one of the main sources of information on the anti-government action. Facebook and Twitter have been crucial in spreading information about ongoings across the country. A peaceful sit-in today by employees at MTN – one of the big three telecom companies in Sudan that have restricted access to social media platforms since the 20th of December. pic.twitter.com/HOPTYHwQWG— Yousra Elbagir (@YousraElbagir) February 21, 2019 February 19, 2019: Students Varsity students in Sudan were shown protesting against the continued stay in office of President Omar Al-Bashir. They join a growing public call for the three-decades old leader to go. Protests have led to the closure of a number of universities across the country as government security apparatus tries to get a grip on the nationwide action. Despite being called by a Sudanese Professional Association, the country’s main opposition and other rights groups locally have joined in encouraging citizens to keep up the protests. News Analysis: Bashir vs. Protesters – What next for Sudan? Students in Sudan protesting today. Many universities remain closed as protests calling for an end to the Al-Bashir regime continue across the Country. pic.twitter.com/sMIVCj70WF— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) February 19, 2019 Journalists – local and international, have been caught in the middle of the protests. Foreign reporters have been deported or ordered out over their coverage whiles local journalists have been arrested and allegedly tortured. Rolls of daily and weekly newspapers have also been confiscated. A number of varsity professors in the capital Khartoum were recently arrested for attempting to stage a protest. The government has routinely come out to report of deaths resulting from clashes. In the recent past, a fruit seller died of tear gas inhalation whiles a police was also stoned to death. Human rights groups have disputed official government figures of deaths, putting the figure at above 40 – twice as much as the government tally. February 17, 2019: Fruit seller dies over tear gas inhalation A Sudanese fruit seller died Sunday in a hospital in Khartoum after inhaling tear gas fired by riot police during protests, according to his relatives and a committee of doctors linked to the anti-government protest movement. “He was taken to the hospital but the doctors could not save him, he died from tear gas inhalation,” said a doctor who requested anonymity for security reasons. A crowd of protesters gathered in Khartoum in the Bahari district (north) chanting “Freedom, Peace and Justice”, the main slogan of the protest, but soon faced riot police who fired tear gas, witnesses have reported. February 15, 2019: Police pelted to death by protesters A Sudanese policeman has died from his wounds after protesters threw stones at a police vehicle passing close to demonstrations in the capital Khartoum, a police spokesman said on Friday. The vehicle was passing the area by chance late on Thursday, the spokesman said, adding that a number of suspects had been arrested. The case brings the official death toll during protests that have spread since Dec. 19 across Sudan to 32, including three security personnel. An opposition-linked doctors’ syndicate said last week that 57 people had been killed in the protests. “The vehicle was pelted with stones, and they were police returning from training and had no link to the dispersal of the unrest,” said police spokesman Hashem Ali. Security forces dispersed protests close to the presidential palace in Khartoum on Thursday, rounding up several dozen of them and driving them away in pick up trucks, witnesses said. On Friday police fired teargas to disperse hundreds of people who protested after leaving a mosque in Omdurman, across the Nile from central Khartoum, witnesses said. REUTERS February 14, 2019: Zero retreat till Bashir is history, arrests in Khartoum Organizers of anti-government demonstrations in Sudan have reiterated their determination to continue mobilizing people until they overthrow the regime, excluding any dialogue with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Driven by a deep economic crisis, Sudan has been shaken since December 19 by almost daily demonstrations triggered by the government’s decision to triple the price of bread and other essential commodities. “The opposition forces are united behind the demands of the people. They are working in harmony to overthrow the regime, and to continue demonstrations or sit-ins,” Sara Najdullah, Secretary General, Association of Sudanese Professionals said. ¨Read our story here: Protest organisers vow to oust president Omar al-Bashir Security forces fired teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters close to the Sudan’s presidential palace on Thursday, before plainclothes officers armed with plastic piping rounded up around 30 people, witnesses said. Police then chased activists through side streets as smaller rallies broke out across downtown Khartoum. Demonstrators chanted “Peaceful, peaceful against the thieves” and “Down, that’s it!” – their central demand for President Omar al-Bashir to step down. The detained protesters, most of them young men and women, were driven away in pickup trucks, witnesses said. A police spokesman could not be reached for comment. Union members, students, opposition activists and others, frustrated with economic hardships, have held near daily protests since Dec. 19, in the most sustained challenge to Bashir’s three decades in power. The president and his ruling National Congress Party have shown no sign of bowing to those demands and have blamed the unrest on unnamed foreign powers. He and senior officials have used more conciliatory language in recent weeks, promising to release detained demonstrators. But activists say hundreds remain in detention. An opposition-linked doctors’ syndicate said last week that 57 people have been killed in the protests. The government puts the death toll at 31, including two security personnel. Security forces have used teargas, stun grenades and live ammunition to break up demonstrations. The unrest has been fuelled by a deepening economic crisis marked by high inflation and shortages of bread, petrol and cash. The Sudanese pound fell to a record low on the black market on Thursday. REUTERS February 13, 2019: Sudan govt using hit-squad against protesters The BBC is reporting about how the Sudanese government is employing special hit-squads to crackdown on anti-government protests that continue to spread across the country. The BBC’s investigative wing, Africa Eye, pooled together videos shared by Sudanese caught in the protest whiles taking testimony of a victim of alleged state torture. The BBC says it analyzed over 200 videos over the past weeks which showed low-level thugs under orders from the feared intelligence outfit, the NISS. “Some of these protesters tell us about a secret and widely feared holding facility – The Fridge – where the cold is used as an instrument of torture,” the BBC report said. President Omar Al-Bashir remains adamant about calls to step down. According to him only polls not protests will lead him out. Sudanese are expected to elect a president in 2020. February 12, 2019: Professors arrested for planned protest Security forces arrested 14 professors who were gathering to protest outside Khartoum University on Tuesday, witnesses said, as anti-government demonstrations neared the end of their eighth week. Doctors also rallied outside state and private hospitals in Sudan’s capital and other cities against the rule of President Omar al-Bashir, witnesses added. Union members, students, opposition activists and others, frustrated with economic hardships, have held near daily protests since Dec. 19, in the most sustained challenge to Bashir’s three decades in power. Photos posted online on Tuesday showed people holding banners marked with “Freedom, justice and peace”, “No to torturing and killing protesters” and other slogans. Rights groups say at least 45 people have been killed in the protests since they began on Dec. 19, while the government puts the death toll at 31. Bashir has blamed the unrest on unnamed foreign powers and showed no signs of bowing to demands to quit. But he and some senior officials have adopted a more conciliatory tone in recent weeks and promised to free detained protesters. REUTERSFri, 19 Apr 2019 09:25:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/sudan-protest-hub-africanews-updates/Pics of the day, April 18, 2019http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/pics-of-the-day-april-18-2019/Africanews samples the pictures of the day’s news.Fri, 19 Apr 2019 08:45:09 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/pics-of-the-day-april-18-2019/South Africa church collapses during Passover: 13 killed, 16 injuredhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/south-africa-church-collapses-during-passover-13-killed-16-injured/Thirteen people were confirmed dead with sixteen others sustaining varying degrees of injury when a church collapsed in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province. The incident which occured late Thursday took place at the Pentecost Church located at the Dlangubo area of eMpangeni in the province. This incident happened after their church building collapsed on them during a Passover service, the state-run South African Broadcasting Corporation, SABC, said in its report. Health officials say the building collapsed due to heavy rainfall in northern parts of the province. A team of government officials are set to visit the scene on Friday, the SABC report added. The KwaZulu Natal provincial government has sent words of commiserations to the affected families with the promise of a full scale probe into the incident. Ahead of a long Easter holiday, authorities are also tasking motorists to be responsible whiles using the roads. The season has often recorded accidents due to speeding and drunk driving hence the awareness creation efforts. #SABCNews #sabckzn Disaster management team has been dispatched to the Dlangubo area of eMpangeni on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal where 13 congregants of the Pentecostal church were killed last night. Pic credit: supplied pic.twitter.com/tnHNAiAXEZ— Nonkululeko Hlophe (@Leko3) April 19, 2019 Photo Credit: @_Arrive Alive on TwitterFri, 19 Apr 2019 08:43:01 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/south-africa-church-collapses-during-passover-13-killed-16-injured/Fire in Ethiopia's 'Roof of Africa' forest successfully dousedhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/fire-in-ethiopia-s-roof-of-africa-forest-successfully-doused/After weeks of burning, a coordinated firefight by Ethiopian and Israeli experts helped doused a raging fire in a forest reserve located in northern Ethiopia, inside the Semien National Park. The Amhara regional government sought federal intervention over the fires. Kenya, South Africa, France and Israel were among the countries that offered varied expertise to assist in the fire fight. An Israeli embassy official who joined the contingent that arrived in Addis Ababa to help in the effort tweeted their success on Wednesday. “Mission accomplished! The application of advanced methods and the joint efforts made by the #Ethiopian authorities and the #Israeli firefighters mission resulted in the extinguishing of the wildfires in the #SimienMountains!” he posted on Twitter. 3rd day of the Israeli firefighting mission in #Ethiopia – combating the #Simien Mountain National Park wildfires. We’re working hand in hand with our Ethiopian counterparts, in order to implement the most efficient firefighting methods to to put down the fire ???? pic.twitter.com/zC8m57v7MH— Israel Foreign Ministry (@IsraelMFA) April 16, 2019 About the Semien National Park It is a 220 sq-km (84 sq-miles) park, in Ethiopia’s highlands, sometimes referred to as the “Roof of Africa” given that it forms the largest continuous area of elevation on the continent. The park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is home to some rare animals such as “the Gelada baboon, the Simien fox and the Walia ibex, a goat found nowhere else in the world.” Its summit, Ras Dashen (4,550 m), is the highest peak in Ethiopia. Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, also lies in the northwestern portion of the Ethiopian Highlands.Fri, 19 Apr 2019 08:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/fire-in-ethiopia-s-roof-of-africa-forest-successfully-doused/2019 for Sadio Mane?http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/2019-for-sadio-mane/In a humiliating 4-1 score at the Dragao stadium, the two most in form Africans each scored a goal to propel Liverpool into the semi finals of the Uefa champions league. Salah provide for Mane 26 minutes on before the Egyptian made it 2 at the 65 th minute. The 6-1 aggregate scoreline leaves Liverpool in fine form as they take on fc Barcelona in the semi finals. With 4 goals in the champions league and 18 in the premiere league Sadio Mane is the club’s most rated ahead of Salah but is this his year to win the African Best Footballer award . That was the question I put to Ghanaian sports journalist Zacharia Ali. A big test for Mane as he looks forward to winning the English league this season as well as the champions league but he his side has to go through one of the favorites. Liverpool boss says he is not very focused yet on that big game. In other news Mo salah featured on Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, along side celebrity actor Dwain “the rock “ Johnson and musician Taylor Swift. Salah came to prominence when he finished as last season’s best premier league player as well as top scorer. He went further to win the accolade of African best footballer. Qualified Egypt to the world cup in Russia in 2018 and gained the title of The king back in Egypt. His remarkable quote “I think we need to change the way we treat women in our culture. It’s not optional.” is revolutionizing thinking towards women in Egypt and the entire Arab world. Another African on the list is Caster Semenya the South African athlete who is raising concerns as to gender bias in the discipline especially in a court case with the IAAF to set aside impending regulations that will force female athletes with high testosterone levels to take medication to lower it before competing in events ranging from the 400m.Fri, 19 Apr 2019 07:54:04 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Philemon Mbale NSONGAN)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/2019-for-sadio-mane/Mali government resigns over March massacre that claimed 160 liveshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/mali-government-resigns-over-march-massacre-that-claimed-160-lives/Mali’s prime minister and his whole government resigned on Thursday, four weeks after a massacre of some 160 Fulani herders by an ethnic vigilante group shocked the nation. “The President accepts the resignation of the prime minister and that of the members of government,” a statement from President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s office said. It gave no reason for the departure of Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, but legislators had discussed on Wednesday a possible motion of no confidence in the government because of the massacre and failure to disarm militias or beat back Islamist militants. The March 23 killings by suspected hunters from the Dogon community on Ogossagou, a village in central Mali populated by rival Fulani herders, were bloody even by the recent standards of Mali’s ever-worsening violence. They followed a deadly assault by jihadists on an army post that killed at least 23 soldiers, also in Mali’s central region, which was claimed by an al Qaeda affiliate that counts many Fulani herders in its ranks. Malian authorities have detained five people suspected of taking part in the massacre. But they have not yet succeeded in disarming the militia that many believe organised it, despite pledges by Maiga and Keita to do so. The largely Saharan nation has been in turmoil since a rebellion by Tuaregs and allied jihadists took over half the country in 2012, prompting the French to intervene to push them back the following year. REUTERSFri, 19 Apr 2019 07:22:10 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/mali-government-resigns-over-march-massacre-that-claimed-160-lives/Softball gaining popularity in South Africa [The Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/softball-gaining-popularity-in-south-africa-the-morning-call/A community sports project is helping young people in a Cape Town neighbourhood with relatively high levels of crime, to deal with the difficulties of their everyday lives.Fri, 19 Apr 2019 07:22:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/softball-gaining-popularity-in-south-africa-the-morning-call/Guinea: Reactions to constitutional reforms [The Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/guinea-reactions-to-constitutional-reforms-the-morning-call/Guinea’s opposition and civil society continue to reject the proposed constitutional amendments that could allow President Alpha Condé to run for a third term in office. According to them, the president is using it as a ploy to stay in power. It should be noted that the current constitution limits the elected president only two terms in office. But what does the Guinean citizen think about the proposed constitutional changes?Fri, 19 Apr 2019 07:19:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/guinea-reactions-to-constitutional-reforms-the-morning-call/Uganda: Presidential age limit removed [The Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/uganda-presidential-age-limit-removed-the-morning-call/Uganda’s Supreme Court upheld the removal of presidential age limits on Thursday by a majority of 4-3. A loss for the opposition, who had filed an appeal to challenge a ruling by the Constitutional Court to remove an age cap of 75 for presidential candidates. A bill removing the limit was signed into law in December 2017. The constitutional court upheld the amendment in a ruling in July 2018. The Supreme Court’s decision means that incumbent President Yoweri Museveni can now seek another term in office. It also gives him the freedom to contest for the presidency indefinitely after the 2021 elections. But the decision has sparked protests and an outcry from the opposition, which accuse the president of seeking to rule for life. so what does this mean for the political actors in the country?Fri, 19 Apr 2019 07:16:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/uganda-presidential-age-limit-removed-the-morning-call/Ethiopia's Oromia gets new president as Megerssa takes federal posthttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/ethiopia-s-oromia-gets-new-president-as-megerssa-takes-federal-post/Ethiopia’s largest and most populous region, Oromia, has a new president in the person of Shimelis Abdissa, a former Chief of Staff of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The position of regional president became vacant in the wake of the appointment of immediate past president Lemma Megerssa as Defense Minister. The regional parliament in an emergency sitting on Thursday approved Abdissa’s appointment hours after the federal parliament had approved Megerssa and two other appointees in Prime Minister Abiy’s cabinet tweak. The privately-owned Addis Standard reports that Abdissa previously held positions within the region before his appointment as Abiy’s Chief of Staff last year. Update: Shimelis Abdissa has just been sworn in as the incoming Pres. of #Oromia regional state. Among previous profiles he held include, Deputy head of Construction Bureau & Head of Urban Housing Development Bureau of Oromia regional state, a position he held before becoming CoS pic.twitter.com/fox6nRu40t— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) April 18, 2019 He is the second Chief of Staff Abiy is losing in a little over a year. His first appointee to the post, Fitsum Aregaa, is currently the Ethiopian ambassador to the United States. Abiy’s cabinet tweak came in the wake of a vacancy at the Foreign Affairs ministry after Workneh Gebeyehu got a United Nations appointment. He has since been replaced by Gedu Andargechew – a former Amhara regional president. Lemma – a loved personality across Oromia, repalced Aisha Mohamed – Ethiopia’s first woman Defense Minister. She reverted to a formerly held portfolio of Urban Development and Planning. #Ethiopia:The #Oromia regional state is currently hosting a farewell ceremony for Lemma Megersa, who was appointed as Minister of Defense today. The ceremony is being attended by PM Dr Abiy Ahmed, Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen and Deputy Chief of Tigray, Dr Debretsion Gebremichael. pic.twitter.com/m2SwBlsnYr— FANA BROADCASTING C (@fanatelevision) April 18, 2019Fri, 19 Apr 2019 07:15:43 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/ethiopia-s-oromia-gets-new-president-as-megerssa-takes-federal-post/Benin's ex-president urges public to demand 'inclusive parliament'http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/benin-s-ex-president-urges-public-to-demand-inclusive-parliament/Benin’s former president, Thomas Boni Yayi, has called for a halt to the ongoing parliamentary election process, citing the inability by opposition parties to participate. Benin votes for a new parliament on April 28 but changes to the electoral code, setting down tougher criteria for fielding candidates, have proven to be a de-facto bar for opposition parties. Yayi’s argument Yayi, who led the country for a decade between 2006 and 2016, held a rare press conference on Thursday demanding his successor, Patrice Talon, halt the polls. “I invite him to take the full measure of the seriousness of the present situation… and stop the electoral process under way,” Yayi told reporters. The new electoral laws mean that only two parties, both allied to Talon, have been able to meet tougher administrative requirements for candidates. Five other parties have been unable to follow suit, meaning that for the first time in nearly three decades, in a country once held up as a model for democracy in Africa, the opposition will not take part in a legislative poll. In the last elections five years ago, voters could chose candidates from 20 parties to fill the posts of 83 members of parliament. “There can be no legislative elections… without the opposition,” Yayi said, urging the public to come together for the sake of the nation and demand “an inclusive parliament to guarantee stability and peace.” Critics say they fear the polls will bolster the president’s ability to change the country’s constitution. Public protests have been broken up by security forces. Talon’s defence Talon, elected in 2016, portrays himself as reformer and modernist. He says the changed electoral code will bring together the scores of political parties, enabling them to form simpler and more effective blocs. “There are more than 250 political parties… each of these new parties includes dozens of political movements,” Talon said this month. He said he wanted to see parties coalesce into a third and fourth coalition to counterbalance the two main parties in parliament that both back him. SUGGESTED READING: Benin, Nigeria debate expensive presidential nomination fees AFPFri, 19 Apr 2019 05:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/benin-s-ex-president-urges-public-to-demand-inclusive-parliament/Ethiopia, Gambia most improved while Ghana falters in 2019 Press Freedom Indexhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/ethiopia-gambia-most-improved-while-ghana-falters-in-2019-press-freedom-index/While media freedoms and the working environment for journalists across the world generally declined, there were glimmers of hope in Sub-Saharan Africa where Ethiopia and The Gambia had marked improvements in the 2019 Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The 2019 World Press Freedom Index categorised the media climate in more than three-fourths of the 180 countries and territories studied as “problematic”, “difficult” or “very serious.” Only 8% have a media climate considered “good”. “Democracy is in great danger,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “Halting this cycle of fear and intimidation is a matter of the utmost urgency of all people.” In Africa, Ethiopia climbed 40 places from near the bottom to 110, reflecting the reforms by the country’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed. Abiy’s government has released thousands of political prisoners including journalists and bloggers, in addition to dropping charges against diaspora-based media outlets. Gambia also moved up in rank to 92, putting it 30 spots higher than last year. RSF attributes the jump to a change in government, under which the human rights climate in the country has greatly improved. ‘‘New media outlets have been created, journalists have returned from self-imposed exile and the criminalization of defamation has been declared unconstitutional,’‘ the RSF report said of Gambia. Top 5 African Countries 1. Namibia (23, global rank) 2. Cape Verde (25) 3. Ghana (27) 4. South Africa (31) Bottom 5 African countries 1. Eritrea (178, global rank) 2. Sudan (175) 3. Djibouti (173) 4. Equatorial Guinea (165) 5. Somalia (164) According to another report published by RSF, 80 journalists were killed worldwide in 2018, up from 65 in 2017. Forty-nine of these were journalists deliberately killed because of their reporting. A total of 348 journalists were detained. “It’s worse every year,” Cédric Alviani, the East-Asia Bureau Director of RSF said. “Democracies seem to be giving up, while increasingly authoritarian governments are silencing the media.” Summary for Sub-Saharan Africa Namibia is Africa’s top country for press freedom Press freedom in 22 of sub-Saharan Africa’s 48 countries is classified as either “bad” or “very bad”. For the first time in more than ten years, no journalist was in prison in Ethiopia, at the end of 2018. Somalia is Africa’s deadliest country for journalists. ( 3 journalists were killed here in 2018) Ghana’s reputation as Africa’s top country for press freedom was hurt by the murder of an investigative journalist in January this year. Democratic Republic of Congo registered the most press freedom violations in 2018. READ MORE: Africa’s Press Freedom IndexFri, 19 Apr 2019 04:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Daniel Mumbere)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/ethiopia-gambia-most-improved-while-ghana-falters-in-2019-press-freedom-index/Win for Nigerian workers as Buhari signs law to increase minimum wagehttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/win-for-nigerian-workers-as-buhari-signs-law-to-increase-minimum-wage/Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday signed into law a bill increasing the country’s minimum wage to 30,000 naira ($98) from 18,000, Ita Enang, a senior special assistant to the president on the National Assembly said. The cost of living has become a key issues for many in Africa’s most populous nation, where most people live on less than $2 a day. Unions went on strike last year over the minimum wage, initially demanding a rise to 50,000 naira a month. Inflation in Nigeria stood at 11.25 percent in March. “President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Minimum Wage Repeal and Enactment Act 2019,” said Enang. The new rate, which Enang said comes into law immediately, is applicable to both the private and public sector, but smaller businesses which employ fewer than 25 people would be exempt. Victory for Nigerians The government had previously argued that many of Nigeria’s 36 states struggle to meet existing salaries. Unions said when launching industrial action last year that a review was needed, however, as none had been carried out in seven years. Nigerian states receive monthly allocations from the federal government coffers, but many states have not paid public sector workers for months, citing the economic downturn. The last increase was in 2011, when wages were more than doubled, from 7,500 to 18,000 naira. AgenciesFri, 19 Apr 2019 03:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/win-for-nigerian-workers-as-buhari-signs-law-to-increase-minimum-wage/Uganda's top court paves way for Museveni to contest 2021 pollshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/uganda-s-top-court-paves-way-for-museveni-to-contest-2021-polls/Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni was on Thursday given a final green light to contest in the 2021 elections, after the country’s highest court backed constitutional changes that remove the age limit for presidential aspirants. A 4-3 majority decision affirming the validity of 2017 constitutional amendments was widely expected in the East African country where critics say judicial independence has been eroded under President Museveni’s 33-year rule. How Museveni’s victory was secured Parliament, which is controlled by the ruling party, voted overwhelmingly in December 2017 to scrap an age limit of 75 years for presidential candidates. The original legislation would have effectively barred 74-year-old Museveni from standing in the next elections due in 2021. Opponents of Museveni, including lawmakers and individual opposition activists, mounted a legal challenge to the amendment first in the constitutional court which rejected their petition. That rejection triggered their appeal to the supreme court. “The decision of the constitutional court is upheld. This appeal therefore fails,” ruled Bart Katurebe, the country’s chief justice and a member of the panel. Resisting the constitutional changes The process to amend the constitution was marred by widespread violence including police dispersing rallies by MPs consulting their constituents on the amendments and beatings and detentions of opposition activists Some opposition MPs were also at one time forcefully removed from the House’s debating chamber by members of military. The petitioners had cited these incidents and other irregularities as sufficient grounds for nullification of the amendment. Eldad Mwangusya, of the three justices who ruled in favour of the petition said widespread violence and security personnel interference in MPs’ public consultations made the removal of the age limit unconstitutional. “Members of parliament… were assaulted, thrown onto public vehicles, detained and released without charge all of which amount to inhuman treatment which is in contravention of the constitution,” he said. 33 years and counting In power since 1986, Museveni has been accused by critics of using security forces to stifle opposition through intimidation. Political activists routinely allege arbitrary arrests and beatings. In February the executive committee of the ruling National Resistance Movement endorsed Museveni as its candidate in the next presidential election due in 2021, potentially extending his rule to 40 years. One of his opponents in the next polls will likely be singer and lawmaker Bobi Wine – real name is Robert Kyagulanyi – who has rattled officials with his fast-growing support base. Kyagulanyi’s following has ballooned since he joined parliament nearly two years ago, drawn by his criticism of Museveni’s long rule and government excesses through his lyrics. SUGGESTED READING: Is Uganda’s Museveni grooming his son to be Commander-in-Chief? REUTERSFri, 19 Apr 2019 02:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/uganda-s-top-court-paves-way-for-museveni-to-contest-2021-polls/Ethiopian crash hub: Boeing 737 MAX planes ready for certification after software fixhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/ethiopian-boeing-crash-hub-rolling-africanews-coverage/The March 10 crash On March 10, the world was hit by the news that a passenger aircraft operated by Africa’s top national carrier had crashed. The reference point for the information was solely the office of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. This article focuses on a rolling coverage of the incident straddling the before, during and aftermath of what is one of the deadliest incidents Ethiopian has faced in recent years. Africanews’ extended coverage of ET302 crash You can read about the following areas in our continued coverage below: Boeing makes final changes to 737 MAX model Kenyan family sues Boeing Branding experts assess damage at Boeing Donald Trump advises Boeing Ivanka Trump pays respects in Addis Ababa US regulator meets commercial operators What has Boeing done to fix MCAS? A month after crash, 10 key incidents DNA samples to be tested in UK Ethiopian reconsidering Boeing 737 MAX orders Indonesia, Singapore join ET302 probe Pilots followed Boeing’s instructions but lost control Report no-show, FAA warns Boeing Preliminary report out today (April 1) Last words of one of the pilots before crash Anti-stall feature active at time of crash Boeing sued in Chicago court by Rwandan kids Boeing makes final changes to 737 MAX planes Boeing has conducted a final test flight of a 737 MAX model with an updated anti-stall system prior to its certification by aviation authorities, the aerospace manufacturer said Wednesday. CEO Dennis Muilenberg tweeted a video where he said the test flight was carried out on Tuesday, adding that test pilots have completed 120 flights totaling more than 203 hours of airtime with the software fix for the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). ‘‘More than 85 percent of the 50-plus MAX operators around the globe also have had the opportunity to see the update in action during simulator sessions,” added Muilenberg. All 737 MAX aircraft have been banned from the world’s skies since days after the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10. The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday said a portion of the proposed modifications were “operationally suitable” but said it would not rush towards approval. Kenyan family sues Boeing A Kenyan family in Chicago is suing American aviation giant Boeing over the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people, lawyers and family members said on Tuesday. Siblings of 29-year-old engineer George Kabau said they wanted to force the company to release documents and emails relating to its 737 MAX 8 model, which was grounded worldwide after two major plane crashed in Ethiopia and Indonesia. A preliminary report released earlier this month indicated Ethiopian Airlines pilots wrestled with a computer system that repeatedly ordered the nose down because of faulty sensor data. The same system was a focus of the preliminary report into the October Lion Air crash in Indonesia, which killed 189 people. Kabua’s sister, Esther Kabau-Wanyoike, choked up as she told a press conference that she wanted to use her brother’s death to improve aviation safety. “He didn’t leave a child. My mum is devastated,” she said. “We can use his demise to ensure safer travel for all.” Dozens of families are already suing Boeing over the Lion Air crash, and three lawsuits have already been lodged over the Ethiopian Airlines crash, by the families of two Americans, including consumer activist Ralph Nader’s great niece, and a Rwandan. U.S. lawyer Nomi Husain, who is also representing one of the American families, said the lawsuit was filed in Chicago late on Monday. The family was seeking to hold Boeing accountable, he said. “We want to let the litigation process play out,” he said. “When you put profits over safety, you will be held accountable and you will pay a price.” Kenya had the largest number of citizens on the flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. At least 32 Kenyans were on board, the airline said at the time, although that number may be larger because some of the travellers were dual nationals and the full manifest has still not been released. Branding experts weigh in Brand Finance, a UK-based consultancy that tracks the value of global brands, rejected the idea that Boeing should abandon the MAX brand but said its corporate reputation was in the firing line. “This has without a doubt damaged Boeing’s reputation and we foresee a dent to the (Boeing) brand’s value at over $12 billion,” Chief Executive David Haigh said by email when asked about Trump’s comments. “This is a temporary blip in the long run for Boeing,” he said, adding Toyota and others had recovered from similar high-profile crises without a drastic rebranding exercise. Brand Finance had previously estimated the damage to the value of Boeing’s reputation at $7.5 billion immediately after the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jetliner, the second fatal accident involving the 737 MAX in five months. Boeing has the world’s most valuable aerospace brand, having seen the value of its overall corporate image rise by 61 percent to $32 billion in 2018, according to the same branding firm. Donald Trump’s advice to Boeing U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday urged Boeing Co to fix and “rebrand” its 737 MAX jetliner following two fatal crashes, as regulators worldwide continue to work with the planemaker to review its grounded best-selling aircraft. “What do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President!), but if I were Boeing, I would FIX the Boeing 737 MAX, add some additional great features, & REBRAND the plane with a new name. No product has suffered like this one. But again, what the hell do I know?” Trump tweeted. The plane’s grounding has also threatened the U.S. summer travel season, with some airlines removing the 737 from their schedules through August. Trump issued the tweet as Boeing tries to restore trust in its fastest-selling jet, the main source of profits and cash at the Chicago-based planemaker which has won some 5,000 orders or around seven years of production for the aircraft. Ivanka Trump honours victims on trip to Ethiopia White House advisor and daughter of U.S. president Donald Trump on Monday visited the Holy Trinity Church in Addis Ababa to pay respects to victims of the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash. Ivanka is on a two-day official visit to Ethiopia to promote women empowerment. She arrived on Sunday and is due to fly out later today to Ivory Coast. In all black attire with a veil, Ivanka lighted candles, laid a wreath at the place where the coffins were kept. Weeks after the incident, the church undertook a mass and burial which was effectively sand in coffins because bodies were not immediately identifiable. Ivanka Trump in Ethiopia for two-day visit Reports say body parts retrieved from the crash site will be sent to the United Kingdom for DNA tests. Donald Trump also spoke to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed weeks ago in connection with the accident which has adversely affected the U.S. plane maker Boeing. Today, USAIDMarkGreen, DBohigian, and I visited Holy Trinity Church in Addis Ababa to pay our respects and honor the memory of the lives lost in the tragic Ethiopian Airlines crash. My heartfelt sympathies to all the victims’ families and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/dbz6kjlza2— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) April 15, 2019 US regulator meets commercial airlines The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will on Friday meet with American commercial airlines that use the Boeing 737 MAX, which has been grounded worldwide since mid-March following two accidents that killed 346 people. “The purpose of this meeting is for the FAA to gather facts, information, and individual views to further understand their views as FAA decides what needs to be done before returning the aircraft to service,” the agency said in a statement. Security representatives from American Airlines, Southwest and United will be at the meeting, as well as representatives from their pilot unions. American and Southwest use the 737 MAX 8, while United has 737 MAX 9 aircraft in its fleet. The FAA recently formed an action committee with NASA and international civil aviation authorities to help certify the fix to the MCAS anti-stall system Boeing developed specifically for the 737 MAX. The MCAS is believed to have been a key factor in both the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people in October. What has Boeing done to fix MCAS? Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg said Thursday that the changes the aircraft manufacturer is working on will make the 737 MAX “even safer by preventing erroneous angle of attack sensor readings” from triggering the MCAS. Speaking in public for the first time since the Ethiopian Airlines crash, Muilenberg told a conference in Dallas, Texas that Boeing has conducted 96 test flights of the modified 737 MAX and the pilots have taken part in more than 159 hours of tests. He added that he had been on board one test flight in Seattle and that the software update “functioned as designed.” “In these challenging times, I am even more confident we will come through this even stronger,” he said in conclusion, adding he “(regrets) the impact the grounding has had on all of our airline customers and their passengers.” Muilenberg is expected to answer questions from the financial community on April 24 as part of the release of Boeing’s first quarter results. 10 key incidents since ET302 crash April 10, 2019 marks exactly a month since the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max crashed in the town of Bishoftu in Ethiopia’s Oromia region. The flight was on its way to the Kenyan capital Nairobi but it made only six minutes out of the over two hours flight before crashing and killing all persons on board. This article looks back at 10 critical moments after the crash as part of our rolling coverage of the incident which was keenly followed by our audience in March. 1 – All 157 aboard killed 2 – Boeing 737 MAX 8s grounded worldwide 3 – Black boxes flown to Paris 4 – First burial ceremony held in Addis Ababa 5 – PM speaks with Trump over incident 6 – Airline, customers fights foreign media misreport on crash 7 – Ethiopian wins award in Kigali 8 – Preliminary report released 9 – Boeing admits errors vows robust response 10 – DNA samples of victims to be flown to UK for tests TECHNICAL ANALYSIS: THE BOEING CRISIS: ONE MONTH LATER. DNA test of victims to be undertaken in London In the wake of the accident, Ethiopian authorities reported that all victims had been burnt beyond recognition. Subsequently, grieving families were given earth for burial ceremonies that took place last month. The Bloomberg news portal is reporting that Ethiopia will send DNA samples from the Boeing 737 MAX 8 crash for identification tests in London. The accident killed all 157 people on board – 149 passengers and eight crew members. Authorities will transport human tissues gathered by a team led by Interpol and the U.K.’s Blake Emergency Services. Paris became a center of attraction after the crash when Ethiopia opted to send black boxes – flight recorders – for information on them to be downloaded. Germany was first mentioned as destination for the exercise but they turned down the request due to the complicated nature of the test. The information was downloaded by the multi-pronged team. It was the basis on which Ethiopian government released a preliminary crash report last week. Boeing via its CEO has admitted errors in a key software and pledged robust responses. The plane maker has suffered huge losses in aftermath of the incident. Ethiopian considers Boeing purchase orders The Bloomberg news portal is reporting that Ethiopian Airlines is reconsidering its orders for Boeing 737 MAX jets following the release of a preliminary report into the ET302 crash. “We may reach the decision: Look, we just had a very tragic accident a few weeks ago, and customers still have the accident in their mind. So it will be a hard sell for us to convince our customers,” Tewolde GebreMariam is quoted to have said. Ethiopian had earlier ordered 30 of the now controversial jets with five delivered at the time of the crash. The airline will not take delivery of the remaining 25 anytime soon – or perhaps at all, Tewolde said. According to him, the decision on the 737 Max purchases will come after Boeing offers a software fix to a system implicated in the crash – and an earlier Lion Air crash. They will also base their decision based on what regulators and other airlines do. “Our situation is quite different from the others, because we are the victim. You can imagine the stigma that will be attached with the airplane,’’ Tewolde added. Ethiopian, Africa’s biggest flier, will need to do a lot of work by way of trying to convince its staff and customers before they resume use of the jet which has been grounded worldwide in the wake of the March 10 crash. Bloomberg: Ethiopian Carrier Rethinks 737 Max Purchase, Citing ‘Stigma’ Indonesia, Singapore join investigations Indonesia will send two investigators to Ethiopia to assist in a probe and exchange data on two fatal crashes of Boeing 737 MAX jets since October, the head of the country’s air safety agency told Reuters on Friday. Indonesian investigators will travel to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on April 15, said Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT). “They will help in assisting Ethiopia. We will study the data to assess whether there are similarities or whether there is any new information from the accident,” Tjahjono said by telephone. A preliminary report on the Ethiopian Airlines’ crash showed on Thursday that the doomed jet travelled at an excessive speed and was forced downwards by a wrongly-triggered automation system as pilots wrestled to regain control. Tjahjono said it was too early to draw any conclusions from the Ethiopian report or determine any links between the crashes because it contained factual data without analysis. “We have already observed some similarities…but we cannot determine them exactly until after our investigators go to Ethiopia when we will conduct a joint investigation,” he said. The two Indonesian investigators would sign an agreement on their role under an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) protocol, he said. A preliminary report into the crash of the Lion Air 737 MAX in Indonesia suggested pilots lost control after grappling with the MCAS software, a new automated anti-stall feature that repeatedly lowered the nose based on a faulty sensor data. Securing safety of MAX planes Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore on Friday said that it would participate in a technical review panel on the Boeing Co 737 MAX jet led by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA said on Wednesday that it is forming an international team to review the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX, which was grounded after two fatal crashes since October. Boeing boss speaks on accidents Following the release of a preliminary report on the ET302 crash, Boeing issued its response on Thursday in a statement that admitted technical errors whiles promising a robust series of steps going forward. The statement posted on its website was signed by its Chairman, president and CEO , Dennis Muilenburg. “The full details of what happened in the two accidents will be issued by the government authorities in the final reports, but, with the release of the preliminary report of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accident investigation, it’s apparent that in both flights the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, known as MCAS, activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information. “The history of our industry shows most accidents are caused by a chain of events. This again is the case here, and we know we can break one of those chain links in these two accidents. “As pilots have told us, erroneous activation of the MCAS function can add to what is already a high workload environment. It’s our responsibility to eliminate this risk. We own it and we know how to do it,” he said in part. Watch video and full transcript of Boeing CEO’s address Details from preliminary report Four main findings: 1. Aircraft passed airworthiness test before takeoff. 2. Crew properly licensed to operate the flight 3. Takeoff was normal 4. Boeing procedures were used but the crew was unable to control the flight Twin safety recommendation to Boeing: 1. A review of flight control system 2. Review should be adequately vetted before planes allowed back in the skies. Main information sources for current report: Black box data a. Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and b. Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) Info gathered from crash site, civial aviation authorities, the airline etc. Parties involved in the probe: a. Ethiopia Civil Aviation Authority – lead b. US National Transport Safety Board c. US Federal Aviation Authority d. European air safety body e. French aviation investigators f. Boeing etc. Other details: Technocrat who led the probe says no missing/damaged sensor as reported The continuing probe could last a year or even more Minister says the overarching aim of the probe is to guarantee air travel safety Confirms Attorney General in charge of legal issues Preliminary report expected today, April 4 Investigators will release on Thursday a keenly awaited report on the deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet, Ethiopia’s Transport Ministry said, giving the first official clues to the second crash of a new Boeing 737 MAX in five months. “The 10:30 a.m. (0730 GMT) press conference is to present the preliminary report,” Ethiopian Transport Ministry spokesman Musie Yehyies said. The report may shed light on how a piece of cockpit software came back to life after pilots initially switched it off as they tried to save the doomed jet, people familiar with the matter said, placing both technology and crew in the spotlight. Some 35 nationalities were among the 157 passengers and crew who died when the nearly full plane crashed six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in clear conditions. The March 10 disaster prompted a worldwide grounding of Boeing’s best-selling plane and scrutiny of its certification process. Ethiopian Ministry of Transport is set to give a press conference tomorrow at 10 : 30 AM, tomorrow inside the Office of the Road Authority, near Mexico Square, in front of Wabi Shebele Hotel on flyethiopian flight #302.— Samuel Getachew (GetachewSS) April 3, 2019 Pilots followed Boeing’s instructions to the latter The Wall Street Journal has reported what it says are crucial information from the flight recorder – black box – analysis of the ill-fated Ethiopian ET302 crash. The latest details said pilots in charge of the Boeing Co. 737 MAX initially followed emergency procedures laid out by the plane maker but still failed to recover control of the jet. Sources close to the probe said after turning off a flight-control system that was automatically pushing down the plane’s nose shortly after takeoff March 10, the crew couldn’t get the aircraft to maintain its balance till it crashed. The disclosure of initial findings have been the subject of a ping-pong with Airline officials denying comments on it last week. Government officials also announced an imminent report release on Monday only to backtrack. SEATTLE/PARIS, April 3 (Reuters) – Boeing anti-stall software on a doomed Ethiopian Airlines jet re-engaged as many as four times after the crew initially turned it off due to suspect data from an airflow sensor, two people familiar with the matter said.— Maggie Fick (MaggieFick) April 3, 2019 Preliminary report no-show, FAA to grill Boeing software Authorities in Ethiopia flip-flopped on an earlier report on Monday that it was due to release a preliminary report on the ET302 crash. “Not today, maybe this week,” the source said, when asked about the report. Incidentally this Reuters source was from the Transport Ministry which is leading the team probing the incident. A Foreign Affairs Ministry official was cited for the initial information that the report was due to be released Monday. Nebiat Getachew was widely quoted with Bloomberg adding that embattled plane maker Boeing said it was reviewing the report. Meanwhile the United States aviation regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA; says it was waiting to receive final package of Boeing’s software enhancement over the coming weeks. FAA said in a statement: “Time is needed for Boeing to as the result of an ongoing review of the 737 MAX flight control system to ensure that Boeing has identified and appropriately addressed all pertinent issues. Upon receipt, the FAA will subject Boeing’s completed submission to a rigorous safety review. The FAA not approve the software for installation until the agency is satisfied with the submission.” The plane maker last week announced a software upgrade and invited its clients to a meeting over the issue. The meeting was however poorly attended with Ethiopian opting out. #FAA statement on the Boeing 737 MAX software update. pic.twitter.com/L66M4LcJEJ— The FAA (FAANews) April 1, 2019 Preliminary report expected today, April 1 Reports from Addis Ababa indicate that a preliminary report from the March 1 crash in Bishoftu is expected today, three weeks after the incident which claimed 157 people. The Bloomberg news portal quoted a Foreign Ministry official, Nebiat Getachew, as confirming the information. Embattled plane maker Boeing said it was reviewing the report. The airline had last week disputed a news item that said its CEO had hinted that a report of the ET302 flight was due last week or earliest this week. Ethiopian said at the time that in keeping with international standards, it was waiting for the result as all concerned parties and cautioned against irresponsible reportage. “We, at Ethiopian strongly refutes recent reports which state that Ethiopian GCEO expected the preliminary release of a report into the March 10 crash of its Boeing 737-8 MAX “maybe this week or next week”. Ethiopian GCEO did not say anything about the time the investigation report will be released,” the said in a statement. Boeing has been under pressure as results are being awaited. Its 737 Max 8 jets have been grounded globally with its shares plumetting on the stock market. Two key findings from the probe indicates that there were similarities between the March 10 crash and an October 2018 incident that involved Indonesian flier Lion Air. Late last week, the Wall Street Journal, WSJ, reported that the plane’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), a new anti-stall mechanism was activated at the time of the crash. The newspaper said the preliminary findings from the “black box” recorders were subject to revisions. The plane crashed on March 10 shortly after take off from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi, Kenya. Investigators into the Lion Air incident have also focused on the new anti-stall system. Boeing last Wednesday said a planned software fix would prevent repeated operation of the system that is at the centre of safety concerns. “Pitch up, pitch up” last words of worried pilot Three weeks after the March 10 crash that claimed the lives of all 157 people on board, leaked details have indicated the final words by one of the pilots on the aircraft. One pilot, according to the Wall Street Journal, said to the other “pitch up, pitch up!” before their radio died. It is believed that these words were contained on the flight recorder – black box. Amid an eagerly awaited preliminary report; an anti-stalling system on the Boeing 737 Max, has been blamed for the disaste. The plane had taken-off – and was only 450ft (137m) above the ground – when its nose began to pitch down. It crashed six minutes into the journey in the town of Bishoftu. Boeing’s anti-stall system activated before crash – WSJ Investigators into a Boeing 737 MAX crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people have reached a preliminary conclusion that an anti-stall system was activated before the plane hit the ground, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people briefed on the matter. The newspaper said the preliminary findings from the “black box” recorders were subject to revisions, adding a preliminary report from Ethiopian investigators was expected within days. The plane crashed on March 10 shortly after take off from Addis Ababa. Investigators into a deadly 737 MAX crash in Indonesia in October have also focused on the new anti-stall system, called MCAS. Boeing on Wednesday said a planned software fix would prevent repeated operation of the system that is at the centre of safety concerns. Boeing’s fastest-selling 737 MAX jet, with orders worth more than $500 billion at list prices, has been grounded globally by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), although airlines are still allowed to fly them without passengers to move planes to other airports. Boeing sued in U.S. by Rwandan kids A lawsuit against Boeing Co was filed in U.S. federal court on Thursday in what appeared to be the first suit over a March 10 Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash that killed 157 people. The lawsuit was filed in Chicago federal court by the family of Jackson Musoni, a citizen of Rwanda, and alleges that Boeing, which manufactures the 737 MAX, had defectively designed the automated flight control system. Wednesday’s complaint was filed by Musoni’s three minor children, who are Dutch citizens residing in Belgium. Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. The 737 MAX planes were grounded worldwide following the Ethiopian Airlines disaster, which came five months after a Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people. Boeing said on Wednesday it had reprogrammed software on its 737 MAX to prevent erroneous data from triggering an anti-stall system that is facing mounting scrutiny in the wake of two deadly nose-down crashes in the past five months. The planemaker said the anti-stall system, which is believed to have repeatedly forced the nose lower in at least one of the accidents, in Indonesia last October, would only do so once per event after sensing a problem, giving pilots more control. The crash of Boeing’s passenger jet in Ethiopia raised the chances that families of the victims, even non-U.S. residents, will be able to sue in U.S. courts, where payouts are much larger than in other countries, some legal experts have said. The lawsuit says Boeing failed to warn the public, airlines and pilots of the airplane’s allegedly erroneous sensors, causing the aircraft to dive automatically and uncontrollably. Boeing unveils software fix to 737 MAX Embattled aviation giant Boeing pledged Wednesday to do all it can to prevent crashes like two that killed nearly 350 people in recent months, as it unveiled a fix to the flight software of its grounded 737 MAX aircraft. Boeing gathered hundreds of pilots and reporters to unveil the changes to the MCAS stall prevention system, which has been implicated in the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia, as part of a charm offensive to restore the company’s reputation. “We are going to do everything to make sure that accidents like this don’t happen again,” Mike Sinnett, Boeing’s vice president of product strategy, told reporters at a factory in Washington state. Sinnett said were developed “after months of testing and hundreds of hours” — at the company’s massive factory in Renton, Washington. The MCAS, which lowers the aircraft’s nose if it detects a stall or loss of airspeed, was developed specifically for the 737 MAX, which has heavier engines than its predecessor. Among the changes, the MCAS will no longer repeatedly make corrections when the pilot tries to regain control, and will automatically disconnect in the event of disagreements between the two “angle of attack” (AOA) sensors, the company said. The initial investigation into the October Lion Air crash in Indonesia, which killed all 189 people on board, found that one of the AOA sensors failed but continued to transmit erroneous information to the MCAS. Boeing also will install a warning feature — at no cost —- called a “disagree light” to indicate to the pilot when the left and right AOA sensors are out of sync. The company also is revising pilot training, including for those already certified on the 737, to provide “enhanced understanding of the 737 MAX” flight system and crew procedures. AFPFri, 19 Apr 2019 01:06:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/19/ethiopian-boeing-crash-hub-rolling-africanews-coverage/Nigeria's modern style ensemble brand [Business Africa]http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/benin-looks-to-cashew-for-growth-business-africa/We head over to Africa’s most populous nation to meet the man behind a contemporary styling brand which is changing the face of fashion for men. Nicole and Giovanni’s unique sets of designs and bright bold colors compliments one’s look for the office, a corporate event or that perfect day out. Segun Abiona joins Business Africa to discuss his successes and challenges facing his business. @IgnatiusAnnorThu, 18 Apr 2019 18:47:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Ignatius Annor)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/benin-looks-to-cashew-for-growth-business-africa/Women travel far in tourism [Business Africa]http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/women-travel-far-in-tourism-business-africa/This year, the World Travel Market Africa wants to see more women take up entrepreneurial roles within the travel and tourism sector in Africa. The industry which generated over $400 million worth of business in 2018, is hoping to ‘‘get products right to tap into the growing markets out of Africa’‘. Our Nyasha Mutizwa covered the recently held World Travel Market in Cape Town, South Africa and files this report. And, Benin is hoping to bank on increased cashew production for growth. Like other cashew producers, the West African nation exports the commodity to India, which dominates the global cashew market. As one of the main producers in Africa, the tiny nation has begun adding value to the commodity to fetch more money for the local economy When processed the value soars from $5,300 per ton to about $9,000, according to the agricultural statistics firm Planetoscope. @IgnatiusAnnorThu, 18 Apr 2019 18:30:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Ignatius Annor)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/women-travel-far-in-tourism-business-africa/Ethiopian cross offered by Haile Selassie survives Notre-Dame firehttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/ethiopian-cross-offered-by-haile-selassie-survives-notre-dame-fire/Ethiopia on Thursday confirmed that a cross offered to the Notre-Dame Cathedral in 1954 was among some of the pieces of history that survived a blaze that ravaged the church. Emmanuel Besnier, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of France in Ethiopia, confirmed on Twitter that the cross offered by His Imperial Highness Haile Selassie had since been moved to the Louvre Museum. “We can now confirm, with great relief, that the #Ethiopian cross offered to #NotreDame cathedral in 1954 by HIH Haile Selassie has been spared from this week’s fire and is now safe at the Le Louvre museum,” he wrote. France continues to count the cost of losses after the Tuesday evening blaze. Over a half dozen African leaders sent words of commiseration shortly after the incident. We can now confirm, with great relief, that the #Ethiopian cross offered to #NotreDame cathedral in 1954 by HIH Haile Selassie has been spared from this week's fire and is now safe at the MuseeLouvre</a> museum. ????<a href="https://twitter.com/AmbEthioFR?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">AmbEthioFR pic.twitter.com/jlYQCJISi5— Emmanuel Besnier (@manubesnier) April 18, 2019 Notre-Dame embodies 850 years of history. The cathedral which is also a tourist attraction for the French capital Paris has many symbolisms for more than eight centuries it has been in existence. Records indicate that 14 million people visit Notre-Dame de Paris every year. The cathedral is one of the most important monuments in the Christian world. Its plan is designed to reflect Paradise. Its construction began at the beginning of the 12th century and lasted more than a hundred years. The 850th anniversary of Notre-Dame was celebrated in 2013. Notre-Dame was spared by the two world wars and barely escaped the flames a first time during the Commune: riots when rioters set fire to several benches, but the fire was contained. Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function©{(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push©};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:‘GIzspmf1RQRL3EJnUP2u3w’,sig:‘RSlpyeDeCaL6KYTyrq7ouG2fCUEuw2rXXqbq6p2ln6M=’,w:‘594px’,h:‘594px’,items:‘107709023’,caption: true ,tld:‘com’,is360: false })});Thu, 18 Apr 2019 14:43:22 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/ethiopian-cross-offered-by-haile-selassie-survives-notre-dame-fire/DR Congo president: 142 missing, 13 dead in Lake Kivu boat accidenthttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/dr-congo-president-142-missing-13-dead-in-lake-kivu-boat-accident/Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – Thirteen people are dead and 142 still missing from a passenger boat that sank this week on Lake Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the president said on Thursday. Deadly boat accidents are common in Congo, which has few tarred roads across its vast, forested interior and where vessels are frequently loaded well beyond their capacity. “We are going to do everything to make sure that this type of tragedy doesn’t happen again,” President Felix Tshisekedi said. “It’s because of certain economic operators who use rundown boats because of their greed.” On his first tour of eastern Congo since taking office in January, Tshisekedi told reporters near the site of the accident in South Kivu province that 37 passengers had been rescued. Local fishermen were searching for the missing. The boat, a smaller type known as a pirogue, had set out from neighbouring North Kivu province on Monday and foundered on the lake near South Kivu’s Kalehe territory. It was unclear who operated the boat and exactly how it sank, though overcrowding is often a cause. “We understand the boat was in a deplorable state,” said local transport official Jacqueline Ngengele. In one of the worst boat disasters, an overloaded vessel capsized in the Congo River in 2010, killing 138 people. REUTERSThu, 18 Apr 2019 13:24:09 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/dr-congo-president-142-missing-13-dead-in-lake-kivu-boat-accident/Digital platform facilitates travel for Africans [Travel TMC]http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/digital-platform-facilitates-travel-for-africans-travel-tmc/When it comes to travelling with an African passport, challenges often experienced range from discrimination, prejudices based on the country of origin to difficulty obtaining a visa. All is not lost since every day initiatives are created to try to find solutions to such problems. Herein comes “Countless Miles”, a digital travel platform created by Moni Baruwa. The digital platform was created to empower Africans to travel as they see fit. After a market study, Moni and her teams are now able to provide solutions to problems encountered on many African journeys. The platform is still under development, and the new website www.countlessmiles.com will soon be up and running! Feel free to stay connected on their social networks on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @countlessmilesThu, 18 Apr 2019 12:45:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/digital-platform-facilitates-travel-for-africans-travel-tmc/Staff at Ghana's 5-star Mövenpick hotel strike over racist treatmenthttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/staff-at-ghana-s-5-star-movenpick-hotel-strike-over-racist-treatment/Staff at one of Ghana’s five-star hotels went on strike on Wednesday protesting what they said was racist mistreatment by management, the state-owned Daily Graphic reports. The report said staff numbering about 100 had laid down their tools and pitched camp at the reception of the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel located in the heart of the capital, Accra. The irate employees were gathered amidst drumming and dancing insisting that the General Manager, one Michael Rathgeb, be dismissed. The accuse him of being the architect of the racist treatment which dates back to 2011. Some customers were also left stranded by the incident. They looked on helplessly as staff waved protest placards demanding the firing of their superiors. Workers who spoke to the Graphic alleged that among other preferential treatments, locals were dismissed over misdemeanours whereas expatriate staff were left off the hook even in instances when they stole from guests. Police officers were called upon to control the situation with management refusing to comment on the development as at the time. Later reports indicated that management said they were going to seek for legal advice. The hotel is one of the upscale facilities in the country. It usually hosts major events involving politicians and top entertainers in the country. The recent development will be seen as a big dent on their reputation.Thu, 18 Apr 2019 10:55:54 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/staff-at-ghana-s-5-star-movenpick-hotel-strike-over-racist-treatment/Sudan military arrests Bashir's brothers, 'tame' militia groupshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/sudan-s-president-bashir-steps-down-govt-sources/April 18: Bashir’s brothers detained The Transitional Military Council in Sudan has arrested two brothers of ousted leader Omar al-Bashir. It is not know over exactly what charges they are being held. A military spokesperson said the move was part of efforts to uproot symbols of the former regime. HE added that militia and armed groups loyal to Bashir had been brought under police or military control. Bashir was arrested after his overthrow last week and transferred to prison custody earlier this week. The military is under pressure from protesters and the diplomatic community to handover power to a civilian transition team. Meanwhile, neighbouring South Sudan on Wednesday (April 17) offered to mediate in the crisis. The government has sent a delegation to Khartoum to meet interested parties. “The president has offered to mediate the ongoing negotiations among various groups in Sudan with the hope that the new transition will usher in a new day in Sudan…,” a statement by President Salva Kiir’s office said. Statement: AUC chair meets military delegation in Addis Ababa The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, today (April 16) received a Sudanese delegation led by Lieutenant-General Jalal Alsheikh Altayeb, member of the Military Transitional Council (MTC), who conveyed a written message to from Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Chairperson of the MTC. Recalling the communiqué adopted by the Peace and Security Council at its meeting held on 15 April and his own earlier communiqué, the Chairperson reiterated the African Union’s commitment to work with all the Sudanese stakeholders towards a consensual and inclusive transition that meets the aspirations of the people and ensures the stability of the country. As part of the continental solidarity and the search for African solutions to African problems, the Commission of the African Union will continue to closely monitor the situation and interact with all the Sudanese stakeholders, with the view to helping them overcome the challenges confronting their country. My statement following discussions earlier today with a Sudanese delegation led by Lieutenant-General Jalal Alsheikh Altayeb, member of the Military Transitional Council. #Sudan. https://t.co/VPIu5QtRb2 pic.twitter.com/4xtccHOBvF— Moussa Faki Mahamat (@AUC_MoussaFaki) April 16, 2019 Standing with Sudan Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the TMC, received phone calls from the Saudi king, UAE president, Qatari emir, Ethiopian prime minister and South Sudanese president, SUNA said on Monday. They expressed support for the TMC in “this delicate and historic stage” and their concern for the security and stability of the country, SUNA said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for “a rapid transfer of power to a civilian transitional government,” in a phone call with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. “This must be followed by a credible, inclusive political process that meets the expectations of the Sudanese people with regard to economic and political reforms,” her office said in a statement. Sisi meanwhile reiterated Egypt’s support for “the brotherly Sudanese people’s will” and said Cairo would “not interfere in its internal affairs”, according to a presidential statement. AU issues ultimatum to Sudan military In a communique on Monday, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council called for Sudan’s military to transfer power to a “transitional civilian-led political authority” within 15 days or face suspension from the AU. Lieutenant General Jalal al-Deen al-Sheikh, a member of the TMC, met Ethiopia’s prime minister in Addis Ababa, where the AU is based, and said, “We are already in the process of choosing a prime minister” for a civilian government, according to the Sudanese state news agency SUNA. “So we are initiating this even before having this session with the African Union. This is our conviction and this is also the way forward to peace, but also, we respect it and we are committed to the decision of the Peace and Security Council.” SPA makes demands The Sudanese group that led protests against deposed President Omar al-Bashir called on Monday for the transitional military council that has taken power to be disbanded and for a new interim civilian ruling council to be formed. Representatives of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA) piled pressure on the military commanders who have taken over, issuing a long list of demands for deeper and faster change to end repression and a ruinous economic crisis. If their demands were not met, the group would press on with protests and not join a future transitional government, Ahmed al-Rabie, an SPA member, told Reuters. The SPA held its first news conference since Bashir, who ruled with an autocratic hand since seizing power in a coup 30 years ago, was ousted by the military on Thursday following months of street demonstrations. A new interim civilian body should be given full executive powers, with the armed forces having representation, and the Transitional Military Council (TMC) that took over last week should be dissolved, the SPA said. “If our demand for the formation of a civilian transitional council with military representation is not met, we will not be part of the executive authority, the cabinet, and we will continue the mass escalation and the sit-ins to fulfil our demands,” Rabie told Reuters. SPA representatives also renewed calls for the head of the judiciary and his deputies and public prosecutor to be removed. They demanded the dissolution of Bashir’s National Congress Party and said they received affirmation from the TMC that the party will not participate in a transitional government. The SPA also called for the seizure of the party’s assets and the arrest of its prominent figures. It demanded the dissolution of paramilitary groups that were loyal to the old government, and of the National Intelligence and Security Service’s (NISS) operations authority, and called for an end to Sudan’s press law and the public order law, which the SPA has said restricts freedoms. April 15, 2019: Protesters assured of security, ex-govt members arrested Some members of the erstwhile government have been arrested by the transitional military council, reports from the country has suggested as at Monday morning. There has been no mention of the reasons why they were picked up and who exactly had been picked. Ousted Omar al-Bashir is currently in detention and is likely to face trial in Sudan. Protesters who are holding an adamant sit-in entering two-weeks have also been assured of security by the military. As of Monday morning, protesters have block efforts by soldiers to remove road blocks according to reports. The sit-in at the army headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, was the last straw that forced the military to oust President Omar al-Bashir last week. Protesters have refused to leave until the military hands over power to a civilian-led transition team. The military high command has offered the protest leaders the opportunity to name a prime minister, Al Jazeera reported on Sunday. The border guard militia, along with some troops from the army, have asked people to help them with clearing the roads blocks, saying “let’s help each other.” People have chanted back to them, “must be us.”— Yousra Elbagir (@YousraElbagir) April 15, 2019 April 14, 2019: Protesters to pick Prime Minister The military council in charge of Sudan has asked activists to nominate an independent candidate for the position of Prime Minister in the transitional government, Al Jazeera reports. The portal’s journalist covering the Sudan uprising confirmed that on day two of military – protester groups talks, the military said it was only interested in two security related portfolios. “He said the military council only wants two positions, the defence and interior ministries. That’s because, in his words, they want to maintain order and security in the country,” Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan reports from Khartoum. Morgan reported further that there were some disagreements among political parties in the duration and the shape that some of the measures expected to he undertaken. “Now the political parties themselves are divided. Some of them want a two year transitional period, others want four. There’s also disagreement over how to deal with the national intelligence and security services. Some want it completely abolished while others want reforms,” she added. Sudan’s new transition leader Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Abdelrahman is a military commander believed to be more ready to talk to the protesters. He was the third most senior general in the Sudanese armed forces and is little known in public life. As head of Sudan’s ground forces he oversaw Sudanese troops fighting in the Saudi-led Yemen war and has close ties to senior Gulf military officials. In his first televised address, Burhan said he was also canceling a night curfew ordered by his predecessor and ordered the release of all prisoners jailed under emergency laws put in place by ousted President Omar al-Bashir. A coalition of groups leading the protests said it had accepted an invitation by the armed forces to meet on Saturday to discuss a new civilian government. The main protest organiser had earlier on Saturday urged people to keep marching to demand a civilian government after the defence minister and the intelligence chief stepped down. Intelligence chief resigns Sudan’s security and intelligence chief quit on Saturday, state media reported, a day after the defence minister stepped down abruptly as interim leader following the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir and protesters kept up demands for change. Salah Abdallah Mohamed Saleh, known as Salah Gosh, who headed the National Intelligence and Security Service and was once the most influential person in the country after Bashir, was held responsible by protesters for the killing of demonstrators demanding an end to military rule. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which has been leading protests to demand a civilian government, called for more demonstrations on Saturday. “Today, we continue the march to finish the victory for our victorious revolution,” the SPA said in a statement. “We assert that our revolution is continuing and will not retreat or deviate from its path until we achieve … our people’s legitimate demands of handing over power to a civilian government,” it said. Defence minister resigns Sudan’s defence minister stepped down abruptly on Friday as head of the country’s transitional ruling military council after only a day in the post, as protesters demanded quicker political change following President Omar al-Bashir’s ouster by the armed forces. Hours after the military council sought to calm public anger by promising a new civilian government, Defence Minister Awad Ibn Auf said in a televised speech he was quitting as head of the council. Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Abdelrahman will be the new head of the council, Ibn Auf said. He also said Chief of Staff Kamal Abdelmarouf al-Mahi was relieved of his position as deputy head of the transitional military council. “In order to ensure the cohesion of the security system, and the armed forces in particular, from cracks and strife, and relying on God, let us begin this path of change,” Ibn Auf said. News of the change sparked joyful celebrations by many thousands in the streets of Khartoum as people chanted, “The second has fallen!” in reference to Bashir, witnesses said. “What happened is a step in the right direction and is a bow to the will of the masses, and we have become closer to victory,” Rashid Saeed, a spokesman for the main protest group, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), told Reuters. “We are committed to our demands that we submitted to the army,” he said. “We call on the masses to stay on the streets until all the demands are met.” 16 killed during protests against military council At least 16 people were killed and 20 injured by stray bullets at protests and sit-ins on Thursday and Friday, a police spokesman said. Government buildings and private property were also attacked, spokesman Hashem Ali added. Worshipers packed the streets around the Defence Ministry for Friday prayers, heeding a call by the SPA to challenge the military council. The numbers swelled in the afternoon and a Reuters witness estimated hundreds of thousands of protesters thronged areas around the ministry, which was guarded by soldiers. Hashem Ali asked citizens to help ensure safety and public order. Military council pledges civilian government Sudan’s ruling military council on Friday promised the country would have a new civilian government, a day after the armed forces overthrew President Omar al-Bashir after 30 years in power. The council, which is now running Sudan under Defence Minister Mohammed Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, said it expects a pre-election transition period it announced on Thursday to last two years at most or much less if chaos can be avoided. The council also announced that it would not extradite Bashir to face allegations of genocide at the international war crimes court. Instead he would go on trial in Sudan. Friday’s announcement of a civilian government by the head of the military council’s political committee, General Omar Zain al-Abideen, appeared aimed at reassuring demonstrators who took to the streets to warn against imposing army rule after Bashir’s overthrow. ‘Protesters, not army have solutions’ Abideen pledged that the military council would not interfere with the civilian government. However he said the defence and interior ministries would be under the council’s control. He said the military council had no solutions to Sudan’s crisis and these would come from the protesters. “We are the protectors of the demands of the people,” he said. “We are not greedy for power.” Earlier on Friday, thousands of Sudanese demonstrators camped outside the defence ministry to push for a civilian government, defying a curfew and calling for mass prayers. Demonstrators who have been holding almost daily anti-Bashir protests have rejected the decision to set up a transitional military council and vowed to continue protests until a civilian government is established. Activists called for mass Friday prayers outside the defence ministry compound, a focal point for protests. At the compound, large tents were put up and people brought in food and handed out water as the crowd swelled, a Reuters witness said. Ahmed al-Sadek, a 39-year-old trader, said he had not slept at his home since the sit-in began on Saturday. Activists wearing yellow vests controlled traffic around the compound on Friday morning and managed foot traffic to and from the sit-in, a Reuters witness said. They also blocked a major bridge in central Khartoum. Bashir, 75, had faced 16 weeks of demonstrations against him. What next for protesters? Thousands of people flocked to an anti-government protest outside the defence ministry on Thursday, while huge crowds took to the streets in central Khartoum, dancing and shouting anti-Bashir slogans. Protesters chanted: “It has fallen, we won.” Demonstrators called for a civilian government and said they would not accept an administration led by military and security figures, or by Bashir’s aides. Omar Saleh Sennar, a senior member of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, one of the main protest groups, said it expected to negotiate with the military over a transfer of power. “We will only accept a transitional civilian government,” Sennar told Reuters. Names of Bashir’s possible successors that have been circulating include the defence Minister, an ex-military intelligence chief, also an Islamist, and former army chief of staff Emad al-Din Adawi. Adawi is said to be favoured by regional neighbours at odds with Bashir over his Islamist leanings. Bashir detained, military council takes over Sudan’s defense minister said on Thursday that President Omar al-Bashir had been detained “in a safe place” and that a military council would run the country for a two-year transitional period, confirming a long anticipated coup by the armed forces. In a statement broadcast on state TV Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf said there would be elections at the end of the transitional period. Seated on a gold-upholstered armchair, Auf announced a three-month state of emergency, a nationwide ceasefire and the suspension of the constitution. He also said Sudan’s air space would be closed for 24 hours and border crossings shut until further notice. Sudanese sources told Reuters that Bashir was at the presidential residence under “heavy guard”. A son of Sadiq al-Mahdi, the head of the country’s main opposition Umma Party, told al-Hadath TV that Bashir was being held with “a number of leaders of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group”. The defence minister made an appeal to the citizens, asking them to tolerate security measures that will be put in place. He also pledged that human rights will be observed throughout the transition period. Photos: Celebrating the end of an era Political prisoners released Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service has announced the release of all political prisoners across the country, state news agency SUNA reported on Thursday. The announcement came after Sudanese sources said President Omar al-Bashir had been forced to step down after three decades in power. Shortly after the announcement, Twitter users circulated photos showing former detainees being welcomed by protesters as they joined demonstrations against Omar al-Bashir. One of those released was Mohammed Naji Elasam, a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the main organiser of protests being held across Sudan since December, witnesses said. Elasam had been detained for more than three months. Protesters vow to protect revolution from Bashir’s allies The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which has been leading protests that have lasted over three months, has urged the armed forces to ‘handover power to the people’, according to what they described as ‘the declaration of freedom and change’. ‘‘We assert that the people of Sudan will not accept anything less than a civil transitional authority composed of a patriotic group of experts who were not involved with the tyrannical regime,’‘ read part of a statement issued on their website on Thursday. Omar Saleh Sennar, a senior member of the SPA said the group was waiting for a statement by the army and expected to negotiate with the military over a transfer of power away from Bashir. Soldiers raid Bashir’s party headquarters A Reuters witness says soldiers raided the headquarters of the Islamic movement led by Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir in the capital Khartoum on Thursday. The Islamic movement is the main component of Sudan’s ruling party. Government sources said Bashir had stepped down and consultations were underway to form a transitional council. Minister says Bashir has stepped down Embattled Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has stepped down and consultations are under way to form a transitional council to run the country, government sources and a provincial minister said on Thursday. The minister of production and economic resources in North Darfur, Adel Mahjoub Hussein, told the Dubai-based al-Hadath TV that “there are consultations to form a military council to take over power after President Bashir stepped down”. Sudanese sources confirmed the report and told Reuters Bashir was at the presidential residence under “heavy guard”. Military to make announcement soon: state media The military will make an announcement soon, state television said as troops were deployed in Khartoum. “The armed forces will present an important statement shortly. Be ready for it,” the announcement on state television read, without giving further details. The army and security services deployed troops around the defence ministry and on major roads and bridges in the capital as thousands of people flocked to an anti-government protest outside the ministry, a Reuters witness said. Tens of thousands of Sudanese took to the streets in the centre of Khartoum in jubilation, dancing and chanting anti-Bashir slogans. Protesters outside the defence ministry chanted: “It has fallen, we won.” State television and radio played patriotic music, reminding older Sudanese of how military takeovers unfolded during previous episodes of civil unrest. REUTERSThu, 18 Apr 2019 10:15:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/sudan-s-president-bashir-steps-down-govt-sources/Senegal to scrap Prime Minister post to better 'police' state machineryhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/senegal-to-scrap-prime-minister-post-to-better-police-state-machinery/Senegal’s government on Wednesday approved a plan to scrap the post of prime minister, the first initiative of President Macky Sall’s second term in office. Sall, who was comfortably re-elected in February, announced the plan earlier this month, telling the prime minister Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, to abolish his own job. That announcement was a surprise, as it had not been part of Sall’s re-election campaign. During the ministers’ meeting on Wednesday, the new government “adopted a draft law on revising the constitution,” an official statement said. The measure will swiftly be sent for approval in the national parliament, where the presidential party enjoys a majority. When Sall originally announced his plan, Dionne said the aim was to reduce administrative bottlenecks and “bring the administration closer to the people to speed up (economic) reforms so they have more impact”. On Wednesday, Sall told his ministers that he wanted to better control the “lifestyle” of the state machinery, including the administration’s telephone, water and energy bills as well as the cost of the fleet of official vehicles. Sall has been in power since 2012, and secured 58 percent of the popular vote in the recent election. A self-proclaimed social liberal — despite a flirtation with Maoism in his youth — Sall has described, in his autobiography published last November, a slow, steady rise from a modest background all the way to the top, despite a stint in the political wilderness. But critics argue that such single-mindedness has made Sall willing to bend the rules to get what he wants. AFPThu, 18 Apr 2019 09:52:31 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/senegal-to-scrap-prime-minister-post-to-better-police-state-machinery/Pics of the day, April 17, 2019http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/pics-of-the-day-april-17-2019/Africanews samples the pictures of the day’s news.Thu, 18 Apr 2019 08:36:30 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/pics-of-the-day-april-17-2019/QUIZ: Africanews is 3 years young, how well do you know us?http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/quiz-africanews-is-3-years-young-how-well-do-you-know-us/Africanews, call us your bright yellow channel, we are three years young this April. Our online proposition kicked off in January 2016 but TV came on stream on April 20, 2019. From quotidian news coverage through to special reports, exclusive interviews, breaking news stories and our many programs, we celebrate with you, our audience on this third anniversary. We know you know us, visiting our site, watching the channel and following us religiously on social media – Facebook, Twitter. But how well do you know us? That’s the purpose of this quiz. Good luck!!! #Africanews is different from others because we hold a pan african perspective than others who have regional and continental _MichaelPeters— africanews (africanews) April 20, 2016 What is the title of our flagship news analysis program?Which African language did Africanews try to pilot in 2017?Who won our first personality of the year poll in 2016?What’s the name of our sister channel?Which African country hosts the Africanews HQ?Aside Twitter and Facebook, on which other platforms is Africanews verified?Which of the following is not a program on Africanews?Our youngest on-air program is ….....Our flagship football show is called…....Aside Inspire Africa, which other program with “inspire” title runs on Africanews?Thu, 18 Apr 2019 08:33:42 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/quiz-africanews-is-3-years-young-how-well-do-you-know-us/The silent disease, in the eyes of a comedianhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/the-silent-disease-in-the-eyes-of-a-comedian/The streets of Pointe Noire, the economic city of the Republic of Congo. This is a normal day just like any other with people going about their daily lives. But at this particular area in the central business district, is a man probably unaware of what’s going on around him. He and others like him are branded all sorts of derogatory names. Simply to mean, mentally unstable. A few blocks away, is this girl. Her name is Mixiana Laba. You might think she is also mentally challenged but she’s not. She disguised herself this way in the hope of drawing attention to the plight mentally unstable people face. Her street show titled “blind reality” is a subject close to her heart. She says these individuals, abandoned on the streets are also human beings who deserve to be well treated and well taken care of. The 22-year-old comedian and budding film director says speaking about the reality of the mentally challenged people seems like taboo that nobody likes to talk about and receives little or no public attention. “I am very touched by the life of the mentally challenged in our city of Pointe Noire. So I decided to do this to try to awaken the Congolese people, for the management, awareness, so that we can find a solution for them. Why not build an asylum, because since 1996 there’s nothing. Seeing these people on the streets, seeing that no one pays attention to them even when they end up going back to the same place. So, as an artist I represent these people, and I hope there will be a change in their case,” she says. By the time she’s almost done with her spectacle, a large number of curious onlookers has already assembled to find out what this is all about. In November 2017, Mixiana produced a short film documentary during a workshop for upcoming film directors in the region. She scooped the award for the best film, which highlighted the societal ignorance of the mentally unstable. Mixiana is just among the few who are concerned about what people with mental illness go through. Many a times they’re abandoned by their families and left to fend for themselves. The society looks down upon them as they are seen as a menace. But why so much ignorance for these individuals? And why is there stigma against them? “It is often said that in a family, everyone is important, even a mental patient. I think mentally ill patients are always and still important. We can always do what is necessary to grant them what is rightfully theirs,” said Harvin Ismael, an actor in the country. “These are people just like us. It’s just that they live in another world but they are like us. As artists, we have a duty to be the voice of the voiceless, to push people to understand this phenomenon, to be there for them, to support them. They are sick like people who have malaria. It’s not witchcraft. We really must support them so that the situation changes,” said Doria Lembe, an actress in the country. In most African societies, mental illness is associated with witchcraft, thus seeking medical attention is not always the first option. Some seek divine intervention in places of worship. But what do health experts think about the situation of the invisible yet devastating condition? “The place where you have to go is the hospital. It is at the hospital where you will be cared for. Not elsewhere. But of course, everyone is free to decide where they want to be assisted and treated. But generally speaking, all those patients who go to see the healers, the church, they always end up coming back to us and give us reason,” said Dr Dauphin Octave Michel Matemolo, the only psychiatrist at the Adolphe Sice Hospital. According to the psychiatrist, the challenge in the treatment of mentally ill patients in the region is the doctor to patient ratio and the inadequate mental health facilities. “The care of the mentally ill is complex. It must not be limited to the taking of drugs. There are many other things. For example in terms of psychotherapy, and to do all this you need to have adequate structures. Because a patient who is suffering from psychosis or depression, as a result of a problem he has must be treated medically and psychologically. And even for the hospitalized patients we do group therapies. But we can’t do that today because the structures don’t allow it.” “We are the only reference hospital in the sub-region. We take into account patients from Pointe Noire, from the department of Kouilou, Niari, Bouenza, Likoumou, some parts of Cabinda in Angola, southern Gabon and even the DRC. Patients come but we can’t hospitalize them,” said Jean Raoul Chocolat, the hospital’s General Director. The hospital officials acknowledge the existing challenges they face, worsened by an economic crisis the country is currently facing. Drugs like tranquilizers are way expensive for some households. They say government funds allocated for mental health of about 100 thousand dollars is helping in the renovation and construction of the hospital mental health wing. The government on the other hand believes mental health asylums should be built. But before doing that, there should be enough personnel to cater for these patients. At the moment, this is not the case. “We really want to solve this problem. The constraint however is, do we have the doctors the psychiatrists who will agree to go work in these centers? We will raise the issue at the level of the ministry, because the decision making competence will be transferred, in the transfer of competence that we will do. There are three areas: education, health and road maintenance; so for health, it is the city, the local community that will build some hospital facilities and therefore within this framework we can build centers for the mentally ill. But primarily we must have specialists, those who are specialized in the care of the mentally ill, we need all these data to make a decision,” said Jean Francois Kando, the Mayor of the city of Pointe Noire. With no help in sight for the mentally challenged patients Mixiana says the journey of raising awareness for mental illness has just began as she is not planning to give up this fight any time soon. She says she will only stop when authorities in the country will stop neglecting the mentally unstable patients by fully taking good care of them. “I don’t want to fail in this. I don’t want to be negative. I don’t need to think otherwise. Where I am now, I say to myself, “yes it will be okay.” W e are going to have a solution for them, people will be treated, there will be an asylum, there will be a follow-up by the doctors. Even if I know it will take time. But I want to keep this faith that I have. It’s hard for me; I will continue, I can’t stop something that is not finished.” As medical experts will tell you, for as long as you have a brain, you too can suffer mental illness. This is because the brain is an organ in our bodies just like the heart or the kidney. And this is information vital to fight stigma against mental illness and instead offer help to the affected individuals.Thu, 18 Apr 2019 08:33:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/the-silent-disease-in-the-eyes-of-a-comedian/Ethiopia PM tweaks cabinet: Oromia, Amhara top shots appointedhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/ethiopia-pm-tweaks-cabinet-oromia-amhara-top-shots-appointed/Two former regional presidents in Ethiopia have taken cabinet posts in a reshuffle by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. In all, lawmakers approved three ministerial appointees on Thursday. Former president of the Amhara regional state, Gedu Andargachew, is the new Foreign Affairs Minister. He replaces Workneh Gebeyehu who was last month named new head of the United Nations Africa office in Nairobi. He had been in the diplomatic role since 2016, he is from the Oromia region. The region’s president has also moved to take a federal post as Defense Minister, taking over from Aisha Mohammed, Ethiopia’s first female holder of the portfolio. She has been appointed minister of Urban Development and Construction, a position she once held. She worked as Minister of Tourism and Culture before taking the historic Defense post in 2018. She replaces Jantirar Abay, who was from the Amhara region. All three appointees have since been sworn into office by Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi in the House of Peoples Representatives. Ashenafi also became first female CJ on her appointment. The current development means Abiy’s gender-par cabinet that won him praise remains balanced with ten men and ten women. New Ethiopia cabinet appointments as PM Abiy Ahmed hands key positions to former administrators of Oromiya and Amhara regions – his closest allies: Minister of Foreign Affairs: Gedu Andargachew Minister of Defence: Lemma Megersa Minister of Urban Development: Aisha Mohammed— Aaron Maasho (@AaronMG) April 18, 2019Thu, 18 Apr 2019 07:16:15 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/ethiopia-pm-tweaks-cabinet-oromia-amhara-top-shots-appointed/Cote d'Ivoire destroys dangerous rice [The Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/cote-d-ivoire-destroys-dangerous-rice-the-morning-call/Authorities in Cote d’Ivoire have destroyed 18,000 tonnes of rice declared to be unfit for human consumption. This follows tests carried out by the country’s consumer association which had demanded the government to do so after the cargo from Myanmar had been refused entry in Togo, Guinea and Ghana over quality issues. The national and international quality control tests revealed the unfit nature of the rice. It should be noted that most African countries depend on imports because local farmers are unable to meet the ever rising demands.Thu, 18 Apr 2019 07:11:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/cote-d-ivoire-destroys-dangerous-rice-the-morning-call/DRC Lake Kivu boat accident [The Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/drc-lake-kivu-boat-accident-the-morning-call/Search and rescue operations are currently ongoing in eastern Democratic of Congo following a boat accident on Monday evening on Lake Kivu. Authorities say 150 people are missing from this tragedy though the official passenger list suggests that only about 50 people were on board the vessel. Reports also indicate about 30 people were rescued and at least four bodies retrieved from the lake. Reacting to the disaster on Twitter, President Felix Tshisekedi expressed his condolences to the families of the affected families vowing to prosecute all those who will be found responsible for the accident. The ill-fated boat carrying cargo and passengers was headed toward the commercial hub of Goma and many of the victims are believed to be traders. Authorities are yet to establish the cause of the accident.Thu, 18 Apr 2019 07:09:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/drc-lake-kivu-boat-accident-the-morning-call/Ramaphosa, Salah, Abiy, three others on 2019 TIME 100 listhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/ramaphosa-semenya-salah-and-abiy-are-most-influential-time/South Africa and Egypt both got two entries to the most influential persons in the world for the year 2019. The TIME magazine released the list on Wednesday. President Cyril Ramaphosa and star athlete Caster Semenya made the list for South Africa whiles Egypt’s football star Mohamed Salah and actor Rami Malek were also named. Globally acclaimed American magazine also named Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Ghanaian entrepreneur Fred Swaniker completed the African line-up. Abiy and Ramaphosa were named in the leaders category, while the four others made different categories. Each personality received a tribute from a chosen TIME author. LEADER: Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister (Ethiopia) LEADER: Cyril Ramaphosa, President (South Africa) ICON: Caster Semenya, Olympic athlete (South Africa) TITAN: Mohamed Salah, Egypt and Liverpool forward (Egypt) PIONEER: Fred Swaniker, leadership development expert (Ghana) ARTIST: Rami Malek, actor (Egypt) What TIME’s Edwin Moses said about Semenya A world and Olympic track-and-field champion several times over, Caster Semenya has taught us that sex isn’t always binary, and caused us to question the justness of distributing societal benefits according to “male” and “female” classifications. Semenya identifies as a woman, but has testosterone levels higher than the typical female. Her success has brought controversy in elite sport, with many arguing that her biological traits give her an unfair advantage in women’s competition. But Semenya is fighting that. Sport eligibility, she and others say, should not be based on hormone levels or other differences of sex development. If successful, Semenya’s effort could open the door for all who identify as women to compete in track events without having to first medically lower their testosterone levels below a proposed limit. Ultimately, this incredibly difficult issue is a political one for sport to resolve. But however it is addressed, Semenya will have already made a singular historical contribution to our understanding of biological sex. What TIME’s John Oliver said about Salah Mo Salah is a better human being than he is a football player. And he’s one of the best football players in the world. You’d be hard-pressed to find a professional athlete in any sport less affected by their success or status than Mo, which is incredible because I can’t imagine the kind of pressure that comes with the intensity of adoration he receives. Mo is an iconic figure for Egyptians, Scousers and Muslims the world over, and yet he always comes across as a humble, thoughtful, funny man who isn’t taking any of this too seriously. As a footballer, he plays with an infectious joy. I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to be able to play as well as him, and watching his face light up after he does something incredible, you get the reassuring sense that it’s exactly as fun as you’d want it to be. I absolutely love him. What Time’s Feyisa Lilesa said about Abiy In 2016, the situation in Ethiopia was very bad. People were being killed and many were in jail, and I wanted the world to know what the government was doing. That’s why, during the 2016 marathon at the Rio Olympics, I crossed my wrists at the finish line—to symbolize that the Ethiopian people want to stop the killing, stop the jailing. We don’t want a dictatorship. After that, I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back. The government was killing dissidents. I missed my country; I missed my mother. She cried to me on the phone every day for two years. Then last March, while I was training in Kenya, I heard that Dr. Abiy Ahmed would be the next Prime Minister. In Ethiopian history, we have never seen a leader like him. He’s an educated person who talks about unity. He has released thousands of people from jail. He brought peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea after 20 years of war. And he made it possible for me to come home. Yes, people are still protesting. But now, when they protest, they aren’t going to jail. To me, that is democracy. That is hope. What Time’s Vivienne Walt said about Ramaphosa South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has perfected the art of patience. Raised in the township of Soweto, he honed his political skills helping his country navigate its way out of apartheid. Then, when he was sidelined for the presidency in the 1990s, he harnessed his cunning and gregariousness to make a vast fortune in business, while his rivals sank the country into dysfunction and cronyism. Now finally, at 66, Ramaphosa, or Cyril, as he’s known to South Africans, has the chance to end corruption and grow the stalled economy. That could be his toughest battle yet. Blackouts, grinding poverty and massive unemployment have left millions desperate for quick results. Vicious infighting in his African National Congress party leaves him vulnerable to a coup, or perhaps an ouster in elections on May 8. For all that, Ramaphosa has kept his characteristic chuckle and his knack for focusing on the bigger picture. “Unity,” he said recently, “was never going to happen overnight.” After a lifetime fighting his enemies, he should know. What Time’s Mo Ibrahim said about Fred Swaniker Africa’s greatest asset is also its defining challenge—its growing population of young people. With 60% of its population under 25, Africa is the world’s youngest continent. By 2100, almost half of the world’s youth are expected to be from Africa. Harnessing that is no small undertaking. But it is one that my friend Fred Swaniker committed to early, to become one of Africa’s foremost leaders. Fred understood that the key to success was not about leading the youth along a preordained path, but about allowing them to become authors of their own stories. That is what has inspired his educational initiatives: the African Leadership Academy, African Leadership Network and African Leadership University. Together, they hope to educate 3 million leaders of tomorrow. Fred has the passion, understanding and ability to take this great continent forward, through its young people. I am filled with hope knowing that he is there to help the next generation of African leaders to blossom. What Time’s Robert Downey Jr. wrote about Rami Malek The wild success of Bohemian Rhapsody was a group effort … literally. Queen entrusted Rami Malek with representing their legacy, the story of their lives, and the memory of their friend and bandmate. Somewhere during said crucible, he earned it. He developed the skill without which his many attributes as an artist might have been squelched — principled leadership. He’s understated and kind, complicated and relatable; he’s downright mercurial. Crucially, he’s a good man evolving alongside his potential. As a fan and friend, that’s what I’m particularly proud of. Cosmic gratitude for Sam Esmail, whose inherent belief in Rami precipitated their groundbreaking partnership in Mr. Robot. Lastly, I contend that his mother Nelly, his father Said, his sister Yasmine and his brother Sami are the foundational pillars to his rise. Mighta just been destiny … more likely it’s yet another testament to hardworking immigrants raising their kids right and pushing our culture toward the light. READ MORE: Time 100’s most influential people in 2019Thu, 18 Apr 2019 05:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/ramaphosa-semenya-salah-and-abiy-are-most-influential-time/Here's why South Sudan's rebels want to postpone formation of unity govthttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/here-s-why-south-sudan-s-rebels-want-to-postpone-formation-of-unity-govt/South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar is not ready to return to Juba until security issues are resolved, an official from his party said Wednesday. Machar, who was meant to return to South Sudan in May and join a power-sharing government as vice president with President Salva Kiir after the signing of a peace deal in September last year, wants to postpone the formation of a unity government. The deal is the latest effort to end almost six years of conflict which erupted due to a fallout between the two men in 2013. Observers, though, have been warning that implementation of the deal has stalled. “We are saying extend the period for more months, say six,” said Stephen Kang Chol, representing Machar’s SPLM-IO rebel group at the National Pre-transitional Committee (NPTC), the body charged with implementing the peace agreement. Machar “will not come to Juba without security arrangements,” he said. Machar fled Juba in a hail of gunfire in 2016 after the collapse of a previous peace agreement saw his troops clash with Kiir’s. The latest deal has largely stopped fighting in the country. What is yet to be done? However, crucial steps such as establishing a unified army and discussing security control of the capital have yet to take place. “We have not done even training of few people, and it is a pre-requisite for forming the government,” said Chol. The independent radio station Eye Radio reported Wednesday that 3,000 opposition and government troops were being trained together, although Chol denied this. The other key issue yet to be addressed is the contentious matter of internal boundaries. “You cannot form a government without knowing the number of states,” said Chol. “Basically what we are saying is extend the time, provide the resources … and we will have the government in place.” Kiir’s govt reassures Machar The government has asked foreign donors to fund much of its $285-million (252-million-euro) budget to implement the deal. But diplomats argue they have yet to take important budgetary steps and improve transparency. Kiir’s spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told Eye Radio that other opposition figures were already in Juba, and this should tell Machar “that his security will be taken care of while the government is formed.” REUTERSThu, 18 Apr 2019 04:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/here-s-why-south-sudan-s-rebels-want-to-postpone-formation-of-unity-govt/Mauritania to hold presidential election on June 22http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/mauritania-to-hold-presidential-election-on-june-22/Mauritanians will go to the polls on June 22 to vote for a successor to President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who is stepping down after his second and final term in office. If there is no outright winner in the first round of elections, a runoff vote will be held on July 6, under a presidential decree seen by AFP. Candidates have until May 8 to file their bid to be next president of the conservative West African desert state. Abdel Aziz, a 62-year-old former general, was a major figure in a successful coup in 2005, and in 2008 led another coup that forced out the then president, Sidi Ould Cheikh Abadallahi. Elections were staged in 2009, which Abdel Aziz won. He was returned to office in elections in 2014, winning in the first round. Several major figures have already declared their intentions to run. They include former defence minister Mohamed Ould Cheikh Mohamed Ahmed, who is a close associate of the current president. Others are the former head of the 2005-2007 transitional government, Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar; anti-slavery activist Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid; and long-standing opposition figure Mohamed Ould Moloud. AFPThu, 18 Apr 2019 03:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/mauritania-to-hold-presidential-election-on-june-22/Global fashion brands accused of exploiting, abusing workers in Ethiopiahttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/global-fashion-brands-accused-of-exploiting-abusing-workers-in-ethiopia/The company behind globally acclaimed fashion brands Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein is to investigate reports that Ethiopian workers who make clothes for their high-street stores are being abused and underpaid. PVH is one of the world’s top clothing companies, generating nearly $9.7 billion in revenues in 2018 with about 1 million garment workers in its supply chain, according to its website. Reports of abuse Workers in PVH supplier factories in Ethiopia are reportedly forced to do unpaid overtime and lose pay for drinking water at their work stations, according to the U.S.-based Workers Rights Consortium (WRC), which monitors labour conditions worldwide. Hiring managers at one factory felt the stomachs of job applicants to see if they were pregnant, a WRC report found. A January study of Ethiopia by the Wage Indicator Foundation – which publishes data on pay around the world – found that the majority of some 1,000 garment factory workers it surveyed earned less than a living wage of 4,130 birr ($143.90) a month. “Unfortunately for the country’s garment workers, there is a yawning gap between the brands’ ethical pretentions and the workplace reality for the people sewing their clothes,” said Penelope Kyritsis, a researcher with the WRC. The WRC report also found labour rights abuses were common in factories in Ethiopia that supply H&M. Investigations HM’s spokesperson, who said that sourcing clothes from Ethiopia supported the local economy and promoted job creation, said they take the allegations seriously. “We take seriously any allegations of violations of labour standards and will continue to follow up with suppliers and implement our programs addressing working conditions and workers’ rights,” an H&M spokeswoman said. “We will conduct an immediate and thorough investigation and take appropriate action if any violations are found,” a PVH spokeswoman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation late on Monday in a statement responding to the WRC’s findings. PVH helped finance the flagship manufacturing hub in the southern Ethiopian town of Hawassa, one of a dozen such parks. “PVH takes the allegations raised in the WRC report very seriously, noting, however, that some of the interviews are two years old and the [Hawassa Industrial] Park and its practices have evolved since then.” As labour, raw material and tax costs rise in Asian factories, Ethiopia is seeking to offer a cheaper alternative, attracting big brands such as U.S. chain Gap and Sweden’s H&M. Ethiopia is pushing to switch its economic focus from agriculture to manufacturing, in the face of increased scrutiny over labour conditions and rates of pay in the supply chains of global fashion brands. Ethiopia does not have a minimum wage but companies sourcing from Ethiopia have a code of conduct prohibiting abuse, WRC said. Officials from Ethiopia’s labour ministry and the prime minister’s office were not immediately available to comment. REUTERSThu, 18 Apr 2019 02:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/global-fashion-brands-accused-of-exploiting-abusing-workers-in-ethiopia/Algeria's Bouteflika: Broker of the Ethiopia-Eritrea deal Abiy actualizedhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/algeria-s-bouteflika-broker-of-the-ethiopia-eritrea-deal-abiy-actualized/In April 1999, Abdelaziz Bouteflika became Algerian president winning the first post-1992 civil war elections which were prompted by the cancellation of polls the Islamic Salvation Front, FIS, was poised to win. The then 62-year-old Bouteflika clearly had enough work on his hands by way of rebuilding and reconciling the nation. The same year, the rotational presidency of then Organization of African Union, OAU, had reached Algiers’ turn. On July 12, 1999 Bouteflika became OAU president. He was quickly called to task in the wake of what became one of Africa’s deadliest and costliest border wars. The Ethiopia – Eritrea standoff. The war footing continued for two decades till current Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed actualized a peace agreement reached 18 years back with the instrumentality of the former Algerian leader. Th European Union, EU, as recently as 2017 had expressed concerns over the situation describing it in an April 2017 statement as a feud that continued to negatively impact regional stability. Ethiopia’s May 2000 offensive and June 2000 ceasefire When Ethiopia launched an offensive in May 2000 on Eritrean positions at a number of points along their disputed fronts, intense fighting broke out forcing mediators to immediately convene in Algiers. Foreign ministers of the two nations entered marathon negotiations, led by Ahmed Ouyahia (Special envoy of Bouteflika) and Anthony Lake (representative of the U.S. president), with both nations trading accusations. Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika made a trip to the two capitals – Asmara and Addis Ababa – moves that helped lay the groundwork for those talks. An envoy of the European Union also contributed. Then OAU head and Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (L) walks with President Isayas Afewerki of Eritrea at Asmara airport May 25, 2000. The July 18, 2000 agreement Those talks culminated in the signing, on 18 July 2000, of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea by the Foreign Ministers of both countries, under the auspices of Bouteflika, in his capacity as the Chairman of OAU. The talks were conducted with the assistance of the Personal Envoy of the Presidency of the European Union, Rino Serri, and the representative of the President of the United States, Anthony Lake. The Agreement committed the parties to an immediate cessation of hostilities promising to work within the OAU Framework Agreement and its Modalities. They also called upon the U.N. in cooperation with OAU, to establish a peacekeeping operation to police the deal implementation. Then Foreign Minister of Ethiopia Seyoum Mesfin (L) and Eritrea Haile Waldensaye ® join in a three-way handshake with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika © after signing a ceasefire accord in the Algerian capital June 18, 2000. But before the signing of the July agreement the United Nations Security Council undertook a series of actions to maintain the peace between both countries. A key component was the establishment of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, UNMEE, under resolution 1312 on June 31, 2000. The December 2000 deal of Algiers Bouteflika was again in the mix when it came to the final comprehensive peace settlement in December 2000. And for good reason, it was being signed in Algiers with all those who matter present. A U.N. peacekeeping website record said of his involvement: “The talks, facilitated by President Bouteflika of Algeria, resulted in the signing on 12 December 2000 in Algiers of a comprehensive Peace Agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea.” The Algiers peace agreement overseen by President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika was signed by the leaders of Eritrea, President Isaias Afwerki, and Ethiopia’s late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, in Algeria on 12 December 2000. The EU signed as a witness alongside the host country, the United States of America, the United Nations and the African Union (then known as the Organisation of African Unity.) Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (L) and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi smile as they pose for a photograph at the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) summit in Algiers March 21, 2007. It continued: “Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Secretary-General welcomed the Agreement as a “victory for the voice of reason, for the power of diplomacy and for the recognition that neither one of those countries — nor the continent as a whole — can afford another decade, another year, another day of conflict. “The United Nations and the international community are determined to work closely with the parties to ensure the implementation of both the 18 July Agreement and the one signed today, so that lasting peace can be achieved and that reconstruction can begin,” the Secretary-General said.” Under the agreement, either side were to “permanently terminate military hostilities between themselves” and to refrain from the threat or use of force against each other. It also called for the establishment of a neutral Boundary Commission to “delimit and demarcate the colonial treaty border.” Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika ® applauds as Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi © shakes hands with United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (L) after the signing of peace agreements with Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki (not shown) December 12, 2000 in Algiers. Boundary Commission decision and Ethiopia’s refusal to abide till Abiy The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) was subsequently formed and on April 13, 2002, communicated its decision to officially demarcate the border between the State of Eritrea and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Ethiopia-Eritrea peace: PM Abiy actualized rhetoric of Meles, Desalegn Despite the signing of the deal, very little was done by way of implementation. Ethiopia stressed that it had reservations over the EEBC decision whiles Eritrea said it won’t settle for anything less than full implementation. Under PM Meles Zenawi and his immediate predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, there was only talk of accepting the ruling and making peace with Eritrea but the talks never translated to reality. 18 years on, peace was realized when PM Abiy Ahmed eventually flew to Asmara and signed a peace deal with President Afwerki. The deal normalized all diplomatic and people-to-people ties between the two neighbours. Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed shares a light moment with Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki on one of his trips to Asmara in 2018. Borders have been reopened, roads linking the two nations are being rehabilitated, flights has resumed between the respective capitals, telephone lines restored. The borders have also been demilitarized with the final plank being the handing back of the town of Badme to Eritrea, according to most analysts. Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa Digital journalist alfa.shaban@africanews.com @alfaafricanThu, 18 Apr 2019 01:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/algeria-s-bouteflika-broker-of-the-ethiopia-eritrea-deal-abiy-actualized/South Sudan's Kiir offers to mediate in Sudanhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/south-sudan-s-kiir-offers-to-mediate-in-sudan/South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir has offered to mediate in the ongoing political transition in Sudan after last week’s fall of president Omar al-Bashir. Kiir’s office said he was ready to support the “democratic aspirations” of his former adversary in Khartoum and help bring about a peaceful transition. “The president has offered to mediate the ongoing negotiations among various groups in Sudan with the hope that the new transition will usher in a new day in Sudan…,” a statement by Kiir’s office said. South Sudan’s petroleum minister told Reuters he had travelled to Khartoum to meet the new leadership, alongside a high-level delegation that included Juba’s security service chief and a presidential adviser on security. Returning the favour Kiir’s move comes seven months after Bashir helped mediate a shaky peace deal between Kiir and the main opposition rebel group in South Sudan, which won independence from Sudan in 2011 after decades of conflict. Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 coup, was himself toppled last week by the military, which has vowed free elections within two years, though protesters remain in the streets, demanding an immediate handover to an interim civilian authority. Long history Sudan’s south won statehood after almost half a century of civil war, marked by the mass abduction and enslavement of children, scorched earth tactics, ethnic cleansing and famines. The loss of South Sudan cost Sudan much of its oil reserves, a heavy economic blow to the widely impoverished country. While the divorce was acrimonious, the two countries remain closely tied. “Juba is clearly concerned about its vested interests in Sudan. Despite being old foes, the two regimes have grown tightly enmeshed,” said Alan Boswell, a senior analyst with Brussels-based think tank International Crisis Group. “Sudan needs South Sudan’s oil flows, and South Sudan’s political deals often run through Khartoum.” ALSO READ: Bashir sent to jail in latest victory for Sudan’s protesters AgenciesThu, 18 Apr 2019 01:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/18/south-sudan-s-kiir-offers-to-mediate-in-sudan/AU gives Sudan's military 15-day ultimatum [The Morning Call]http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/au-gives-sudan-s-military-15-day-ultimatum-the-morning-call/The African Union has given Sudan’s military a 15-day ultimatum to step aside and hand over power to a transitional civilian-led government or risk getting the country kicked out of the bloc. This follows last week’s military coup that saw the ouster of President Omar al Bashir. In a statement issued on Tuesday by the commission’s Peace and Security Council, any breach of the 15-day ultimatum will mean automatic expulsion of Sudan from all AU activities. It should be noted that, the union has strongly condemned the military takeover in the country saying a military-led transition would be completely contrary to the aspirations of the people of Sudan. It now calls for the country to hold free, fair and transparent elections, as soon as possible. The AU statement came a day after the military rulers met with European diplomats. Though details of the meeting are yet to be disclosed.Wed, 17 Apr 2019 15:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/au-gives-sudan-s-military-15-day-ultimatum-the-morning-call/Thousands rejoice as Color Run reaches Egypt [No Comment]http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/thousands-rejoice-as-color-run-reaches-egypt-no-comment/The Color Run, the world’s famous festive marathon, comes to Cairo, dazzling runners and viewers with a 5-kilometre run and after-party drenched in a million, wild colour combinations.Wed, 17 Apr 2019 15:00:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/thousands-rejoice-as-color-run-reaches-egypt-no-comment/German giants FC Bayern opens football academy in Ethiopia - first in Africahttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/german-giants-fc-bayern-opens-football-academy-in-ethiopia-first-in-africa/German and European football giants, FC Bayern have announced the opening of a new FC Bayern Football School at a media conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The partnership with the national football body, the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) includes an ongoing exchange of experience plus the regular presence of youth coaches from FC Bayern to train local players and coaches in Addis Ababa. Jörg Wacker, FC Bayern executive board member for Internationalisation and Strategy, and FCB Brand ambassador Giovane Elber accompanied the official delegation of the Bavarian Minister President Dr. Markus Söder, who is currently visiting Ethiopia. His duties include opening an Africa Office in the city of Addis Ababa with its population of 4.4 million. As part of an FC Bayern under 17 tournament, Wacker signed an agreement at the Yidnekachew Tessema Stadium Addis Ababa. That was followed by a symbolic kick-off of the “FC BAYERN FOOTBALL SCHOOL ADDIS ABABA” in the presence of the Bavarian Minister President plus representatives of the national football federation and the Ministry of Sport. Minister President Dr. Markus Söder said: “FC Bayern is one of Bavaria’s biggest attractions. Now, the FC Bayern Football School in Addis Ababa brings together Bavarian expertise in football with a sports-mad nation. That is a good basis for a promising partnership.” “With the FC Bayern Football School in Addis Ababa we are opening our first football school of this type in Africa,” said Jörg Wacker. “This gives us the opportunity to bring our fans in Africa even closer to FC Bayern and, with the help of our expertise, make an important contribution to the development of football in Ethiopia.” Following on from USA, China, Thailand, Japan and Singapore, Ethiopia is the sixth country where FC Bayern has established a Football School.Wed, 17 Apr 2019 14:50:00 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/german-giants-fc-bayern-opens-football-academy-in-ethiopia-first-in-africa/Ivanka Trump in Ivory Coast: Meets VP, visits cocoa farmhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/ivanka-trump-in-ivory-coast-meets-vp-visits-cocoa-farm/Advisor of the United States president, Ivanka Trump, is in Ivory Coast on the second-leg of her two-nation trip to Africa. As part of her immediate engagements on arrival (April 16), she met with Ivorian Vice-President Duncan and top government officials. During the meeting, the Ivorian Education Minister signed an order operationalizing a unit prioritizing women access to empowerment training and girl’s access to education. The thrust of Ivanka’s trip has been around women empowerment efforts, a plank of the current White House’s Africa policy in sub-Saharan Africa which she is leading. She is accompanied by USAID administrator and other top government officials. After a productive meeting w/ VP Duncan, I joined him as the Minister of Education signed an arrêté operationalizing a Gender Unit prioritizing women & girls’ access to quality education & training. President Ouatarra has committed to passing ALL U.S. MCC indicators by 2020.#WGDP pic.twitter.com/DGtAZk1AHW— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) April 17, 2019 On her final day of work, she visited a cocoa farm in Adzope, a town located in south-eastern Ivory Coast. In a tweet about her trip, she spelt out the impact – positive and negative – that women make yet suffer in the cocoa sector. Accompanied by a government official, a visibly excited Ivanka is seen interacting with women on a cocoa farm. She is gifted a local garment and she takes a bite of raw cocoa. She arrived in the Ivorian capital on Tuesday after completing two-day engagement in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Whiles in Ethiopia she tasted coffee and met with Ethiopian president and Prime Minister as well as signing a U.S.-African Union cooperation agreement. Today, USAID</a> & I will visit a cocoa farm in Adzope!<br>▪️Women in Cote d’Ivoire own 25% of cocoa farms + form 68% of the cocoa labor force<br>▪️Women earn only 21% of income generated from cocoa production <br>▪️Women own less than 15% of continent’s land<br>We’re fighting for change. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WGDP?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WGDP</a></p>&mdash; Ivanka Trump (IvankaTrump) April 17, 2019Wed, 17 Apr 2019 13:15:38 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/ivanka-trump-in-ivory-coast-meets-vp-visits-cocoa-farm/Photography master class in Kinshasahttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/photography-master-class-in-kinshasa/The Kinshasa Academy of Fine Arts honours the work of its students in the Master class photography. On the program, several days of exhibition of the photographic works of eleven students. From digital work flow to pictorial design, from lighting to reporting and from narrative editing to exhibition, the masterpieces of this intensive photography course are now been assembled in this gallery. The exhibition is organized under the unifying title of “connected”. It is a successful outcome of a project initiated in 2017. For some of the students, it is a connection between art and family ties. Godelive Kasangatu is a photographer at the exhibition, “ For me, this “connected” exhibition is a way of bringing our work together because we exhibited as a friend and also as a family. The fact that we’re together creating a kind of familiarity between us. And it’s a way to connect personally with our stories because most of us have worked on stories that are of our families or our own. Also a connection with people who may be connected to our work. “ Refering to one of his work displayed on the wall, Ndoko Swana explains the picture, “ My grandmother’s hands in her head simply express the coronation of her four generations. These hands are marks of love, consideration and family connection. To get to this “connected” exhibition, international and local expert photographers delivered 8 modules during the training. And there is no shortage of ambitions after success. Christophe Bwetusa is an optimistic supervisor of the master class at the academy of fine arts, “ Let me tell you that we can hope that these students, tomorrow, they will be great. They started somewhere before now so once somewhere they will grow with time and will fulfill the essence of photography which is. “the photo freezes the past, the photo reads the present and the photo makes the future.” This exhibition is the beginning of an important step on the road to the upcoming opening of a photography course in visual communication and a permanent learning centre at the Academy of Fine Arts.Wed, 17 Apr 2019 12:32:01 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Philemon Mbale NSONGAN)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/photography-master-class-in-kinshasa/Ethiopia PM makes 2019 TIME 100 list, Feyisa Lilesa authors tributehttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/ethiopia-pm-makes-2019-time-100-list-feyisa-lilesa-authors-tribute/United States’ famed Time magazine on Wednesday released its 2019 TIME 100 list with a number of Africans making the list across the different categories. Most notable is Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who was listed in the category of leaders for his speedy reforms since taking office a little over a year ago. He is listed in a category that includes Speaker of the U.S. Congress, Nancy Pelosi; President Donald Trump, Pope Francis, fellow Prime Minister Jacinda Arden of New Zealand. Others in the same category were South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Emirati Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. The tribute message for Abiy was written by Feyisa Lilesa, an Ethiopian runner who made waves at Rio 2016 Games for using the Oromo protest sign as he crossed the line after his race. He returned to Ethiopia after exile in the U.S. and was recently awarded by the government. Photos: Ethiopia govt awards 'Oromo protest' athlete – three years on https://t.co/OTVRlvhMKf— africanews (@africanews) April 10, 2019 Tribute by Feyisa Lilesa, an Olympic-silver-medalist marathoner In 2016, the situation in Ethiopia was very bad. People were being killed and many were in jail, and I wanted the world to know what the government was doing. That’s why, during the 2016 marathon at the Rio Olympics, I crossed my wrists at the finish line—to symbolize that the Ethiopian people want to stop the killing, stop the jailing. We don’t want a dictatorship. After that, I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back. The government was killing dissidents. I missed my country; I missed my mother. She cried to me on the phone every day for two years. Then last March, while I was training in Kenya, I heard that Dr. Abiy Ahmed would be the next Prime Minister. In Ethiopian history, we have never seen a leader like him. He’s an educated person who talks about unity. He has released thousands of people from jail. He brought peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea after 20 years of war. And he made it possible for me to come home. Yes, people are still protesting. But now, when they protest, they aren’t going to jail. To me, that is democracy. That is hope. FULL LIST: TIME100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE 2019Wed, 17 Apr 2019 11:50:29 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/ethiopia-pm-makes-2019-time-100-list-feyisa-lilesa-authors-tribute/Libya crisis: Tripoli offensive continueshttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/libya-crisis-tripoli-offensive-continues/Libya’s self-proclaimed National Army says offensive will not stop until terrorists are cleared from Libya. Its spokesman Ahmed Al-Mesmari claims that the current unrest in the country is interference from the outside world. “ We know that the battle is very large and we also know that the battle is decisive and therefore we take all the measures to accomplish this task successfully, Second, we have taken all the measures through which we protect lives and civilians as well as public and private property “, he said. On Tuesday, the World Health Organization said a total of 174 people were killed and 756 others wounded in fighting between the UN-backed government and the eastern army in and around Tripoli. Libya has been struggling to undertake a democratic transition amid insecurity and chaos since the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011. ReutersWed, 17 Apr 2019 11:15:31 +0000editorial@africanews.comhttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/libya-crisis-tripoli-offensive-continues/Tshisekedi calls on locals to trust health workers during crisishttp://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/tshisekedi-calls-on-locals-to-trust-health-workers-during-crisis/President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday calls for the population to trust and cooperate with health workers as they try to contain the nation’s worst-ever Ebola outbreak in the East. Misinformation by some local community leaders has led to locals refusing the vaccines while turning to traditional healers instead. “I ask you my countrymen, my fathers, my little brothers, listen and cooperate with the medical response teams that are working tirelessly here to eradicate this disease. If you do so, this disease will not spread everywhere anymore and we will contain it and get rid of it completely here.” The president told the crowd that gathered to welcome him. Several Ebola treatment centers have been attacked in February and March by unidentified assailants,burning down parts of the facilities. An action which is causing the current outbreak to spread at its fastest rate yet.Wed, 17 Apr 2019 10:26:56 +0000editorial@africanews.com (Philemon Mbale NSONGAN)http://www.africanews.com/2019/04/17/tshisekedi-calls-on-locals-to-trust-health-workers-during-crisis/