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SADC urges US, EU to lift Zimbabwe sanctions (Sun, 18 Aug 2019)
New SADC Chairman, President John Magufuli, has appealed to the international community to scrap sanctions against Zimbabwe, saying the country has already opened a new page and is ready to move forward. Speaking during his maiden acceptance speech after assuming the SADC chairmanship, the Tanzanian Head of State said when you chop a hand from the body, the whole body gets affected. He said the problems that face Zimbabwe, literally face all countries in the region. “Zimbabwe has been under sanctions for years, but we need the world to understand that when you chop a hand, the whole body gets affected,” he said. He appealed to the international community to lift sanctions it imposed on Zimbabwe, and called for other SADC member states to stand together to make sure that sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West are lifted. President Magufuli said the sanction have not only been hurting Zimbabweans, but people from the entire bloc. “We should unite to support Zimbabwe against sanctions imposed by western countries, because they (sanctions), are hurting Zimbabweans and people from across member states,” he said. European Union (EU), sanctions on Zimbabwe were first imposed in 2002, by Common Position 2002/145/CFSP. The sanctions comprised of arms embargo, as well as an asset freeze and travel ban on targeted people and entities. The current EU sanctions on Zimbabwe is imposed pursuant to Council Regulation (EC), No 314/2004 (as amended) and Council Decision 2011/101/CFSP (as amended), and likewise consists of an arms embargo and targeted asset freezes and travel bans.
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Chad declares state of emergency in two eastern provinces after intercommunal clashes (Sun, 18 Aug 2019)
Chad President Idriss Deby declared a state of emergency in two eastern provinces on Sunday after violent intercommunal clashes left dozens dead earlier this month. The state of emergency will run for three months in Sila and Ouaddai regions where 50 people have died since August 9 in fighting between cattle herders and settled farmers, the president’s office said. “From now, we will deploy military forces who are going to ensure the security of the population in the region,“ Deby said while on a trip to Sila. “We must disarm all the civilians who have weapons in their hands,“ he said. Eastern Chad is in the grip of a cycle of violence between nomadic camel herders — many from the Zaghawa ethnic group from which Deby hails — and sedentary farmers from the Ouaddian community. Drought and population growth have aggravated the conflict.
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Over 330 migrants rescued off Libyan coast (Sun, 18 Aug 2019)
The Libyan navy announced on Sunday that it had rescued 335 migrants and rescued the body of a person in separate operations north of the capital Tripoli as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean. “A coast guard patrol rescued 57 illegal migrants on Saturday on a wooden boat 40 nautical miles north of Zouara, including 17 women and nine children,” General Ayoub Kacem, the Navy’s spokesman, told AFP. They come from Ethiopia and Egypt, he said. On Tuesday, Libyan Navy patrols “rescued 278 migrants in four inflatable boats northwest and northeast of Tripoli,” General Kacem added. According to the Libyan navy, they included 128 Sudanese, Chadians, Egyptians, Nigerians, Beninese and Eritreans, including 35 women and 11 children. Only one body was recovered by the Coast Guard. Since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been plunged into chaos, with a multitude of armed groups and rival political forces. Migrants rescued at sea by the navy are first welcomed by local NGOs, which provide them with care and food, before being taken care of by agents of the anti-immigration body of the Ministry of the Interior of the Government of National Unity (GNA), recognized by the United Nations. The Libyan navy accused the authorities on 9 August of failure and slowness in taking care of migrants rescued at sea, claiming that it could be forced to let them go free once they were brought back to land. Despite the risks that a crossing represents for Europe, migrants take to the sea, preferring to try their luck rather than stay in Libya, where they are subjected to abuse, extortion and torture, conditions frequently denounced by NGOs.
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U.S.-China trade war, Brexit uncertainty pose risks to Africa’s economic prospects-AfDB boss (Sun, 18 Aug 2019)
The U.S.-China trade war and uncertainty over Brexit pose risks to Africa’s economic prospects that are “increasing by the day,” the head of the African Development Bank (AfDB) told Reuters. The trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies has roiled global markets and unnerved investors as it stretches into its second year with no end in sight. Britain, meanwhile, appears to be on course to leave the European Union on October 31 without a transition deal, which economists fear could severely disrupt trade flows. Akinwumi Adesina, president of the AfDB, said the bank could review its economic growth projection for Africa of 4% in 2019 and 4.1% in 2020 – if global external shocks accelerate. “We normally revise this depending on global external shocks that could slowdown global growth and these issues are increasing by the day,” Adesina told Reuters late on Saturday on the sidelines of the Southern African Development Community meeting in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam. “You have Brexit, you also have the recent challenges between Pakistan and India that have flared off there, plus you have the trade war between the United States and China. All these things can combine to slow global growth, with implications for African countries.” The bank chief said African nations need to boost trade with each other and add value to agricultural produce to cushion the impact of external shocks. “I think the trade war has significantly impacted economic growth prospects in China and therefore import demand from China has fallen significantly and so demand for products and raw materials from Africa will only fall even further,” he said. “It will also have another effect with regard to China’s own outward-bound investments on the continent,” he added, saying these could also affect official development assistance. Adesina said a continental free-trade zone launched last month, the African Continental Free Trade Area, could help speed up economic growth and development, but African nations needed to remove non-tariff barriers to boost trade. “The countries that have always been facing lower volatilities have always been the ones that do a lot more in terms of regional trade and do not rely on exports of raw materials,” Adesina said. “The challenges cannot be solved unless all the barriers come down. Free mobility of labour, free mobility of capital and free mobility of people.”
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Mozambique's Renamo alleges member attacked days after peace deal (Sun, 18 Aug 2019)
Mozambique’s former rebel group-turned-opposition party Renamo on Friday said its members came under attack just days after the signing of a historic peace deal aimed at ending years of conflict. Renamo spokesperson Jose Manteigas said dozens of party members have been assaulted by police and members of the ruling Frelimo party across the country, adding that the attacks could threaten the landmark peace agreement. He said Renamo members have been beaten and their houses and other properties torched in the provinces of Tete, Zambezia, Inhambane and Gaza, mainly in night-time attacks since August 8. That was just two days after the much-hailed and long-awaited peace deal was signed by President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade on August 6. “Unfortunately, contrary to the common desire for peace, national reconciliation, acceptance of different thinking and peaceful political cohabitation, two days after the signing of the Maputo Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, acts of violence and political intolerance were perpetrated by members of the Frelimo party, (and) police… in various parts of the country,” Manteigas said. “These macabre acts are politically motivated” and bring into “question the effectiveness of the agreement,” he told reporters at the party headquarters in the capital Maputo. He added that said senior Frelimo officials, particularly in the northwest of the country, have consistently prevented Renamo from carrying out political activities. The allegations come just two weeks before campaigning begins for general elections on October 15 that Frelimo, the East African country’s dominant political force for more than four decades, is expected to win. After the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975, Renamo fought a brutal civil war against the Frelimo government that left one million people dead before fighting stopped in 1992. Despite the end of the civil war – and the group transforming into a political party – Renamo retained an armed wing. Fresh clashes then erupted again between government forces and Renamo fighters between 2013 and 2016. However Renamo started disarming its armed wing late last month as part of the peace deal.
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Ghana to offer automakers tax breaks to set up manufacturing plants (Sun, 18 Aug 2019)
Ghana will offer tax breaks of up to 10 years to automakers that set up local manufacturing plants, as the government seeks to attract international companies such as Volkswagen AG and Nissan Motor Co. Volkswagen and Nissan both agreed last year to set up auto-assembly plants if Ghana signed off on an official incentive plan, while Renault SA said in January it would consider a similar move. In March, Toyota Motor Corp. and Suzuki Motor Corp. announced a joint venture to produce vehicles in the nation. Ghana’s move to lure carmakers follows South Africa, which has attracted seven manufacturers including Renault, Nissan and Toyota with tax incentives. That’s produced one of the bright spots of an otherwise moribund economy, accounting for about 7% of GDP. The full 10-year tax break will only apply to companies building whole vehicles in Ghana, though a five year holiday will be available for partial manufacturing, Trade Minister Alan Kyerematen said in a presentation. Import duties on new and used vehicles will be increased to 35% from 5%-20% to encourage the purchase of locally built units, while bringing in cars, which are older than 10 years, will be banned, he said.
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Former F.A.O. Director-General Jacques Diouf passes away (Sun, 18 Aug 2019)
Senegalese politician and diplomat Jacques Diouf, who was Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) from 1994 to the end of 2011, died at the age of 81. announced Senegalese President Macky Sall. “Senegal has lost one of its most valuable sons with the death of our countryman Jacques Diouf. He was an effective collaborator for me at the beginning of my first term, “the Senegalese president said on Twitter, offering his condolences. Senegal has lost one of its most valuable sons with the death of our compatriot Jacques Diouf. He was an effective collaborator at the beginning of my first term. I salute his memory and offer my heartfelt condolences to his grieving family. Born August 1, 1938 in Saint-Louis in northern Senegal, diplomat known for his pragmatism, Jacques Diouf died in France after a long illness, said his family, quoted by Senegalese media.Married with five children, he had a post-graduate education in France (agronomist degree, master’s degree in tropical agronomy, doctorate in social sciences) and a higher management diploma in New York. 16 years at the head of FAO Appointed Secretary of State for Scientific Research of Senegal by President Léopold Sédar Senghor in 1978, he was deputy for Saint-Louis from 1983 to 1984. He then left Senegal to work at the Research Center for International Development in Senegal. Ottawa, at the Central Bank of West Africa, before becoming, in 1991, ambassador of his country to the United Nations headquarters in New York. Elected to head FAO in 1993, he was to serve three six-year terms. Under his leadership, the UN organization sought the collaboration of the private sector and stars by launching spectacular operations to raise funds for World Food Day. We need to ” let humanity know that it is no longer possible to treat these vital resources as if they were infinite, ” he said about the degradation of land and water in one his most recent interventions as Director General of FAO in November 2011. That same year, while the famine raged in the Horn of Africa due to an exceptional drought, Jacques Diouf said he could not bear to ” see the image of a child who is at risk of starving “, adding: ” We would not wish that for our children, I do not see why we would accept it for the children of others “.
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South Africa beat Argentina in friendly at Pretoria (Sun, 18 Aug 2019)
Sibusiso Nkosi scored two brilliant tries as South Africa beat Argentina 24-18 on Saturday in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match in Pretoria. The winger struck in each half for the Springboks, who found the going much tougher than last weekend when they hammered the Pumas by 33 points in Salta to win the Rugby Championship. South Africa have an embarrassment of riches on the right wing with Nkosi and Cheslin Kolbe, who was rested for this match, bidding to start against New Zealand in Japan on September 21 in their World Cup opener. All the other South African points at Loftus Versfeld came from fly-half Elton Jantjies, who kicked a conversion and four penalties. Forwards Guido Petti and skipper Pablo Matera each scored a try for Argentina. Joaquin Diaz Bonilla kicked a conversion and a penalty and Benjamin Urdapilleta a penalty. South Africa skipper and flanker Siya Kolisi showed no ill effects from a knee injury sustained last May before coming off after 53 minutes of his first international appearance this season. Coach Rassie Erasmus wanted Kolisi to concentrate on his personal performance so he did not restore the captaincy. Instead veteran hooker Schalk Brits became, at 38 the second oldest Springbok to lead the team. Although Argentina suffered a ninth consecutive loss, there was encouragement for coach Mario Ledesma from a much improved scrummaging performance, that won several penalties. The Pumas thought they had taken the lead with three minutes left when debutant Lucas Mensa touched down, but the try was disallowed for obstruction by fellow centre Jeronimo de la Fuente. South Africa started with an entirely different team from the one that crushed Argentina 46-13 last weekend in Salta to win the Rugby Championship for the first time. Argentina made 10 changes after being humiliated at home. Springboks flanker Marcell Coetzee was off on 17 minutes and could not return after failing a head injury assessment test. South Africa dominated territory and possession, but had to wait 20 minutes before being rewarded when Jantjies kicked a 22-metre penalty from in front of the posts. Argentina had their first scoring chance seven minutes later. Diaz Bonilla succeeded with a more difficult penalty kick than that of Jantjies. A stop-start half was crying out for a try. It finally arrived on 32 minutes when slick handling allowed Nkosi to step inside one opponent before holding off two others to score. Jantjies struck a post with his conversion attempt leaving South Africa with an 8-3 advantage that did not adequately reflect their superiority. That lead evaporated in additional time at the end of the half when Petti intercepted a pass from scrum-half Cobus Reinach and, showing amazing pace for a lock, scored between the posts. Bonilla converted and the Pumas led 10-8 at the break despite being on the back foot for much of the opening 40 minutes. The highlight of the second half was the second Nkosi try on 48 minutes, which gave the Springboks a lead they never surrendered. Seemingly hemmed in, he beat three Pumas and then dived over Sebastian Cancelliere to raise his Test try tally to seven since debuting last season.
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leading Kenyan drug trafficker jailed 25 years in the US (Sun, 18 Aug 2019)
A U.S. judge sentenced a leading Kenyan drug trafficker, Baktash Akasha, to 25 years in prison on Friday after he pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to import heroin and methamphetamine and other crimes. U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan sentenced Akasha, 42. Prosecutors described Akasha as the leader of a crime family called the Akasha organization, a major smuggling operation connecting the poppy fields of Afghanistan to European and U.S. cities. In his guilty plea, Akasha also admitted to bribing officials in Kenya. His brother, Ibrahim Akasha, has also pleaded guilty in the case and is scheduled to be sentenced by the same judge in November. Baktash Akasha took control of the organization after his father, Ibrahim Akasha, was killed in a shooting, according to authorities. Prosecutors had sought a life sentence for Baktash Akasha. His lawyer, George Goltzer, asked for a sentence close to the legal minimum of 10 years. Goltzer argued the lighter sentence was warranted because Akasha was caught in a sting operation and never actually brought any drugs into the United States. “They want a life sentence without an American victim, without drugs in the United States,” he said during the hearing. Just before he was sentenced, Akasha apologized to his friends and family as he asked the judge to show “mercy.” Goltzer said after the sentence that the judge had been “very thoughtful,” but declined to comment further. The case stemmed from a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration probe into the Akasha organization, leading to the extradition of the brothers to the United States from Kenya in January 2017 along with Gulam Hussein, a Pakistani national charged with heading a drug transportation network, and Vijaygiri Goswami, an Indian businessman accused of managing the organization’s drug business. The four defendants were arrested in Mombasa, Kenya, in November 2014 in a U.S.-led sting operation, in which authorities said the Akasha organization provided 99 kilograms (218 lb) of heroin and two kilograms of methamphetamine to DEA informants posing as drug traffickers. A fifth defendant accused of working with the Akasha organization, Muhammad Asif Hafeez, was arrested in London in August 2017. The United States has requested his extradition. The Akasha family has been involved in the drug trade for years, according to U.S. diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks. The Satao Project, a private company focused on fighting poaching, has said the Akasha network was also linked to around 30 tons of ivory seizures.
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Measles claims over 2500 lives in the DRC (Sun, 18 Aug 2019)
A measles epidemic has caused more than 2,700 deaths between January and early August in the DRC, killing more people in seven months than Ebola in one year, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported in a tweet read on Saturday. “The measles epidemic declared on June 10 is the deadliest that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has known since 2011-2012 Between January and early August 2019, it infected more than 145,000 people and resulted in 2,758 deaths” , according to the MSF-DRC tweet dated Friday. “Despite the magnitude of the measles epidemic in the DRC, there is an alarming lack of actors and funds.With $ 2.5 million mobilized out of the $ 8.9 million required for the response plan, the contrast with the urgency #Ebola, which attracts hundreds of millions of dollars, is striking, “adds the humanitarian medical organization. MSF says it is fighting the measles epidemic in 13 DRC provinces alongside local teams from the Congolese Ministry of Health. The measles epidemic is reported in 23 out of 26 provinces in the country, health authorities said in June. “Since the beginning of the year, MSF has vaccinated 474,863 children and supported 27,439 patients,” reads again. Measles affects mainly children from the age of 5-6 months and young adults. The Ebola virus disease has totaled 1,905 deaths since its declaration on August 1, 2018, according to the latest assessment of the Congolese health authorities on Wednesday. In mid-July, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the measles epidemic was killing nearly as much as the other two epidemics combined: Ebola and cholera. The measles epidemic has claimed 1,981 lives, against 1,676 for Ebola and 279 for cholera.
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