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Brazil's mud carnival party (Mon, 24 Feb 2020)
As one of the world’s biggest celebrations draws nearer, Brazil is showcasing all its carnival forms. In the city of Paraty, near Rio, revelers apply mud to their bodies and dance in a cloud of smoke. It’s the mud carnival, the “Bloco da Lama”. “This represents the culture, traditions and joy of our people. And in the face of the water crisis we are facing in Rio de Janeiro, it is a protest today to participate in the Bloco da Lama”, Nurse Adriana Rafael said. It all began in 1986 when teenagers playing with mud inspired pioneers of the carnival to the point where the practice became a traditional event in the historic city. “I think twenty years ago, three guys without fantasy decided to dive and go out in the historic center and it was quite successful and then the next year there were more people after more, more and it became this block. Its size is gigantic”, Metal structure designer, Thiago Viana said. The tradition attracts more and more tourists as over 30,000 revelers have come to Paraty to take a mud bath. “In addition to cleaning the skin, which is very good, it also brings happiness to the soul. You come with your family, everyone laughs, everyone has fun, everyone gets a little dirty and we share things, we go out on the parade and everyone knows each other and becomes friends. Like a family, it’s the day of the year when we all become one family”, Businessman, said. For several days now, Rio has been plunged into carnival fever. No less than 2 million revelers have taken part in processions with parties rocking the streets throughout the weekend, including fairy-tale and life-size performances to the delight of onlookers. AFP
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Ebola: hopes rise over vaccine license [The Morning Call] (Mon, 24 Feb 2020)
Registration of an Ebola vaccine is expected in additional countries in the coming weeks as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, Ghana and Zambia give license just 90 days after World Health Organization (WHO) prequalification. So what does this news mean in the global fight against the haemorrhagic disease? Well, first, the licensing of the vaccine means that the manufacturer can stockpile and widely distribute this vaccine to African countries at risk of Ebola virus disease outbreaks. Once licensed doses are available, use of the vaccine will not require clinical trial or other research protocols.
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Togo's Gnassingbe wins 4th term [The Morning Call] (Mon, 24 Feb 2020)
We begin in Togo where the National Independent Electoral Commission announced on Sunday night that Head of State Faure Gnassingbé has been largely re-elected in the first round of the presidential election held on Saturday. According to the electoral commision, official preliminary results show the Togolese leader to have garnered 72.36% of the votes, far ahead of the opposition candidate Agbéyomé Kodjo, who received only 18.37% of the votes. Gnassingbe has led the country of eight million people since taking over in 2005 following the death of his father Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled for 38 years. Let’s take a listen to the president of the national electoral commision, Kodjona Kandaga as he made that announcement last night
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Gnassingbé re-elected with 72% of votes- EC (Mon, 24 Feb 2020)
Togolese president Faure Gnassingbé has won a fourth term in office, according to provisional results declared by the national election commission. On Monday, the commission said he won 72 percent of the vote in the first round of presidential election. “Based on all the data obtained from the local independent electoral commission and the independent embassy electoral commissions, the candidate of the Union for the Republic (UNIR) party, Mr. Gnassingbé Essozimna Faure is provisionally proclaimed elected president of the Togolese Republic”, Kodjona Kandaga, President of the National Electoral Commission said According to the Togolese electoral commission, former Prime Minister, Agbeyome Kodjo, who served under the regime of Gnassingbé Eyadema, came in second with just 18 percent of votes on Saturday. This widely anticipated win for the 53 year old extends the dynasty of the Gnassingbé‘s of the former French colony for more than a century. Gnassingbé has led the country of 8 million people since he took over in 2005. This follows the death of his father, Gnassingbé Eyadema, who ruled the West African nation for 38 years. The main opponent, Agbeyome Kodjo, who claimed victory after Saturday votes denounced vote irregularities in the capital, Lome. AFP
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Vote counts underway in Togo (Sun, 23 Feb 2020)
In Togo, counting of votes began Saturday just after the first round of the presidential election. More than 3.6 million people registered for a population of nearly 8 million to decide between the six candidates. The failed opposition has found a single candidate, hoping that a leader will emerge to unite the opposition in the second round. But in the camp of President Faure Gnassingbe, it is hoped that he will win a fourth term. President Faure Gnassingbé became president in 2005 after the death of his father, who took power in 1967. Under the country’s current law, Gnassingbé could remain in office until 2030, if re-elected. This week, the Togolese government expelled a U.S.-based organization that promotes democratic principles and observes elections. The U.S. government has criticized the expulsion of the National Democratic Institute. AFP
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South Sudan forms coalition gov't (Sun, 23 Feb 2020)
It’s a new dawn in South Sudan as leaders form a coalition government. Riek Machar was sworn in as first vice president on Saturday, a day after President Salva Kiir dissolved the previous government. “You have just witnessed the swearing in of the First Vice President, and the vice presidents. An event, which many of you had thought, was impossible. This action signifies the official end of the war, and we can now proclaim a new dawn in South Sudan”, President Kiir said. Machar said they will all work together to end their long suffering. “First I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the people of the Republic of South Sudan for attaining peace. I want to assure you, we will work collectively to end your long suffering”, the South Sudanese First Vice President said. Kiir asked for forgiveness and said he had forgiven his brother Machar, while calling on the people of South Sudan to forgive each other. This arrangement has fallen apart twice, leading to a conflict that killed nearly 400,000 people. The world’s youngest nation slid into civil war in 2013. Two years after winning long-fought independence from Sudan, as supporters of Kiir and Machar clashed. Several attempts at peace failed, including a deal that saw Machar return as vice president in 2016. He fled the country on foot months later amid fresh gunfire. AP
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Togolese opposition denounces vote irregularities (Sun, 23 Feb 2020)
Togolese main opposition candidate Agbéyomé Kodjo has denounced electoral irregularities on the evening of the first round of presidential elections. The former Prime Minister under Ngnassigbé Eyadema, whose house, according to AFP, was briefly surrounded by security forces, made the claim at a press conference. “I think that if the CENI (Independent National Electoral Commission) rectifies the irregularities we denounce, there is no reason why we should not pass the first round”, Kodjo said. Along with the Opposition candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre of the National Alliance for Change, Kodjo said he was optimistic. “Somehow, the current president himself and his government are aware that they have been defeated. I am convinced that in the coming weeks I will be running this country”, he added. Nevertheless, the vote was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere, but internet access was sporadically interrupted in the capital. In Sokodé, the second largest city and in the north, the internet was cut off at around 6 p.m. according to AFP. AFP
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CONVID-19: Africa is ill-equipped- WHO (Sun, 23 Feb 2020)
Africa is ill-equipped to respond to the deadly corona virus outbreak, the World Health Organization said Saturday. The global health body is concerned about the spread of the virus in countries with weak health systems on the continent. Director General of the WHO Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus said this at a meeting of 36 African health ministers at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa via video link from Geneva, Switzerland. “If truly we have a virus introduced on the continent and it becomes a larger issue the ability to procure diagnostics in a timely fashion to support that testing will still be limited”, Director of the AU Centres for Disease Control, Dr. John Nkengasong said. Commissioner of Social Affairs at the AU Amira El Fadil says they are managing to fill in the gaps. “In some member states we have weak public health institutions, weak systems, health systems, we have gaps in the diagnostics, we have gaps also for the treatments and the measures we need to take quickly, but I think by joining our collective efforts as African member states by the leadership of WHO and joined effort of the African CDC we managed very quickly to fill in the gaps of the diagnostic capabilities on the continent”, El Fadil said. Egypt was the only the nation on the continent to confirm CONVID-19 mid February. The virus has claimed the lives of 2,462 people and there have been 78,773 of cases reported in China and other nations. Some 23,256 people have recovered from the virus. The WHO declared the outbreak a public health emergency late last month.
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Reports of wave of arrests in Bujumbura region Burundi (Sat, 22 Feb 2020)
The National Council for Liberty (CNL), the main opposition party in Burundi, condemned Saturday “a wave of arrests” of its local leaders in the province of Bujumbura since Thursday. “After a mock attack (...) on Wednesday, there has been a wave of arrests of local leaders of the CNL party,” Therence Manirambona, a spokesman for the party, told AFP. He said that “23 people had already been arrested by the police and Imbonerakure (youth of the ruling party) and are being held in police dungeons”. These arrests were confirmed to AFP by a police official who spoke of “arrests for investigative reasons. According to the CNL, “some of our party’s leaders have been ill-treated and unfortunately one of them, Felix Ndikuriyo (...) was beaten to death on Thursday evening. “No one is imprisoned for political reasons, they were arrested for breaking the law,” said Leonidas Ntirandekura, a local government official. According to him, Mr. Ndikuriyo “died of illness”. Civil society and media confirm The CNL spokesman condemned a “harassment enterprise orchestrated by the government in the run-up to the May 2020 elections”. “Today, at least six activists have been murdered, others have been reported missing or have been tortured, more than 200 are languishing in prison and more than 100 offices have been destroyed or damaged,” he said. These figures have been confirmed by civil society and the media. The CNL chairman, Agathon Rwasa, is considered to be the main candidate of the ruling Cndd-FDD party, General Evariste Ndayishimiye, in the presidential election of 20 May. The current president, Pierre Nkurunziza, who has been in power since 2005, had surprised people by announcing in June 2018 that he would not stand for succession in 2020, although the new Constitution amended by referendum allowed him to do so. The announcement in April 2015 of his candidacy for a third term had plunged Burundi into a cycle of violence and massive human rights violations that left 1,200 people dead and displaced more than 400,000, according to estimates by the International Criminal Court, which opened an investigation.
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Keeping up with Africa's First Ladies: Sierra Leone's president, First Lady wed (Sat, 22 Feb 2020)
Across the African continent, First Ladies are generally considered the ‘Mother of the Nation’, and are often expected to be unifying figures, serving the president of the nation and the voters who entrusted him the mandate to lead. While the position of first lady is not legally or constitutionally provided for in many countries, many presidencies cater for the Office of the First Lady, through which the holder is facilitated to champion social causes. The Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), created in 2002, brings together First Ladies of Africa ‘to advocate for policies that make health services accessible and laws that boost women and youth empowerment’. OAFLAD is currently led by First Lady of Burkina Faso, Adjoavi Sika Kabore, who is deputised by her Kenyan counterpart Margaret Kenyatta. A first lady by definition is the wife of the head of state, and it therefore follows that most African nations led by a male president, have a first lady. SUGGESTED READING: Celebrating African First Ladies In this article, we will share updates from the continent’s First Ladies as they take on different roles to complement their government’s policies. Sierra Leone’s First Lady says ‘I Do’ Sierra Leone’s president Julius Maada Bio and his Muslim wife Fatima Bio on Friday exchanged their vows in a Catholic Church in the capital Freetown. The couple were married in a civil ceremony in the United Kingdom seven years ago, before they became Sierra Leone’s First family. Friday’s wedding was widely discussed in Sierra Leone especially following allegations by the president’s ex-wife that she wedded him before a Catholic priest in the east of the country. Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio and 1st Lady Fatima Bio exchange wedding vows once again today seven years after a traditional ceremony in the UK. It is going to be a low key ceremony with less fanfare . Reception to climax the event will be hosted at State Lodge— Jonathan Leigh (@Jonatha04140703) February 21, 2020 The solemnization of marriage between PresidentBio and FirstLadyBio Maada Bio. Live on AYV Television Channel 33, https://t.co/zypqEeE9ua, live Facebook and YouTube streaming: https://t.co/nCG7Z17uSX#AYVNews pic.twitter.com/0bhtmKpurj— AYV Media Empire (@AYVSierraLeone) February 21, 2020 It is a nightmare in sierra Leone, our president H.E Maada Bio is getting married while our economy is getting divorce!!!!— kadi Karlmax (@CoConteh) February 19, 2020 #SierraLeone president #MaadaBio is getting married on Friday, 21st Feb…started as a rumor about two days ago. A wedding that sends strange, given the other things that surround it…and it’s said he wants to marry his wife for the second time, this time in the catholic church— Mikail Abd-Allah “Israel” ibn Adama (@SeekingJustPath) February 20, 2020 Education curriculum in Uganda Uganda’s First Lady, who also serves as the education minister on Thursday appeared before the country’s parliament to defend the roll out of a new curriculum for secondary schools. Members of parliament had raised several issues including scarcity of textbooks and insufficient training of teachers on the new curriculum that was to come into effect at the beginning of the school term this month. While parliament had directed that implementation of the curriculum is suspended, the education ministry insisted on its roll out and started orienting teachers. Appeal to criminals in Zambia Zambia’s First Lady Esther Lungu on Tuesday broke down in tears as she appealed to perpetrators of gas attacks that have spread across the country, to stop. “I’m making an earnest appeal to the people that are behind this gassing – to an extent of gassing innocent schoolchildren, innocent families….I am appealing, as the mother of the nation, I am appealing…,’‘ the First Lady told a group of women, before falling to her knees as she cried. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Police are struggling to arrest unidentified people that have been targeting homes and schools, spraying victims with a gas that leaves them unconscious. Panicked citizens have resorted to protests, mob justice and mounting unauthorised patrols and searches of vehicles and persons they suspect to be behind the attacks. READ MORE: More mass hysteria over allegations of gassing Lesotho’s murder scandal Lesotho’s First lady is currently on trial for the murder of her rival, the ex-wife of the country’s prime minister Thomas Thabane. Maesaiah Thabane appeared in court in Maseru on Tuesday, while police announced on Thursday that the premiere himself would also be charged in connection with the murder. “Your case is still under investigation and is still awaiting direction from the Attorney General with regard to your co-accused being charged. Your case will be heard next on 17 March 2020”, said magistrate, Thamae Thamae. Thabane married 43-year old Maesaiah two months after his ex-wife Lipolelo Thabane, 58, was gunned down near her home. The killing happened just two days before the Prime Minister was sworn into office.
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