– NEWS –
South Africa begins cleanup after riots: More than a week ago, nationwide protests began with the arrest of former President Jacob Zuma on July 7. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court after failing to appear before an inquiry investigating corruption and state capture during his administration. What began as a political demonstration devolved into destruction, tires were set afire in the streets and shopping malls were gutted. At least 212 people were killed across the country, over 2,550 were arrested and more suspects were under surveillance, President Cyril Ramaphosa said Friday in a televised address to the country. The cleanup in the country is now underway.
Refugees in Libya subjected to torture and sexual violence, according to Amnesty International report: Fresh evidence of harrowing violations, including sexual violence, against men, women and children intercepted while crossing the Mediterranean Sea and forcibly returned to detention centers in Libya, highlights the horrifying consequences of Europe’s ongoing cooperation with Libya on migration and border control, said Amnesty International in a recent report. Between January and June 2021, the EU-backed Libyan coastguards intercepted around 15,000 people at sea and returned them to Libya – more than in all of 2020 – during what they describe as “rescue” missions. In the first half of 2021, more than 7,000 people intercepted at sea were forcibly returned to Al-Mabani. Detainees held there told Amnesty International they faced torture and other ill-treatment, cruel and inhuman detention conditions, extortion and forced labor. Some also reported being subjected to invasive, humiliating and violent strip-searches.
United Nations criticizes human rights violations in Tigray: The United Nation’s rights council has called for an end to the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and urged Eritrean troops to pull out of the area. Officials at the Geneva-based Human Rights Council signed off on an EU-backed resolution that demanded „an immediate halt to all human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law“ in the war-torn area. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent the military into Tigray in November to oust the Tigray’s People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after they rejected political reforms and captured army bases. His move was backed by Eritrean troops.They are accused of taking part in rights abuses, including killing civilians and forcing Eritrean refugees back across the border. Ethiopia rejected the UN resolution, but has agreed to cooperate with a probe carried out by the office of UN rights chief Michele Bachelet. A spokesman for the Tigrayan rebel forces told the AFP news agency that they had seized Alamata, the main town in southern Tigray. But the claims could not be independently verified and the Ethiopian military is yet to comment on them.
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African leaders seek billions from World Bank fund: African leaders gathered in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Thursday to plead with the World Bank for new aid plans to finance their economic recovery and better access to vaccines against COVID-19. The leaders are seeking $100 billion for a pivotal World Bank fund that provides assistance to the lowest-income nations, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pile up financing pressures on economies. 23 African leaders set the goal in a joint declaration after the summit according to the World Bank.
Germany calls for withdrawal of foreign mercenaries from Libya: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expects foreign fighters to begin withdrawing from Libya in the coming weeks. Syrian mercenaries, who are used by both parties in the conflict, should be the first to go, Maas said in New York on Thursday. Germany has taken on a mediating role in the Libya conflict, which has been going on for a decade. Three weeks ago, high-ranking representatives from 16 countries agreed at a conference in Berlin that foreign fighters should be withdrawn from Libya.
„Vampire“ of Nairobi confesses to murders: A Kenyan man described by authorities as a “vampire” has confessed to the grisly slayings of 10 children — in some cases, sucking their blood before killing them, police said. Authorities said he was a “bloodthirsty vampire” who targeted children between the ages of 12 and 13. He allegedly drugged his victims with a white substance in powder or liquid form, then drained some of the children’s blood before killing them, police said. The killing spree allegedly began five years ago with a 12-year-old girl he kidnapped in Machakos county east of Nairobi, police said.
UN wants more troops for Mali mission following attack derstandard.at
EU to send soldiers on training mission to Mozambique reuters.com
Pasteur Institute in Dakar to produce vaccines from 2022 tagesschau.de
African fintech firms increasingly attract investors handelsblatt.com
– BACKGROUND –
Morocco to legalize cannabis cultivation: A bill passed by parliament, but yet to be approved by the king, would legalise the cultivation, use and export of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes (such as for hemp in textiles). The proposed law, though, would not legalise cannabis for recreational use. And it would allow cannabis farming only in certain regions of the country. But many fear that the business will once again pass them by – one of them is Mohamed Aabout. He is a journalist and president of the Alliance of the Rif Mountains, an organization that addresses the region’s concerns. Aabout says the wealth is first made in Europe in the form of hundreds of tons of smuggled hashish. The majority among them operate between Spain, Holland and even Germany and France. Mohamed Aabout estimates that about half a million people in Morocco live off cannabis cultivation. He says the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the already difficult situation of people in the historic cannabis-growing areas. The farmers are hopeful about the new law, but also worried. They demand that only the historic cultivation areas be allowed to produce cannabis. Some are also concerned about amnesty: Tens of thousands of people are supposed to have been charged with cannabis-related crimes or are already behind bars.
Number of Covid deaths in Africa rise rapidly: COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising fast in Africa as the continent battles a third wave of infections. The number of deaths recorded for the past week has risen by more than 40% compared with the previous week, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). New and faster spreading variants such as the highly transmissible Delta variant are appearing in more and more countries. Less than 2% of the continent has been fully vaccinated. The countries reporting the highest number of deaths over the week include Namibia, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. Hospital admissions in around 10 countries have increased rapidly and at least six countries are facing shortages of intensive care unit beds.
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Around 74,000 people are at direct risk of severe malnutrition in Madagascar, according to the World Food Report.
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„But that won’t do any good in the short term if the market for vaccines is bought up by rich countries and COVAX has to wait months for supplies.“
German Development Minister Gerd Müller on the amount of money provided by rich countries for Covid vaccines.
– AT LAST –
Nigerian table tennis star with hopes for Tokyo: Nigerian table tennis player Quadri Aruna is looking to win a medal at the Olympics in a field dominated by Chinese players. He is his continent’s biggest hope, a job for which he seems well prepared. After his debut season in Germany’s Table Tennis Bundesliga in which he won 15 of his 25 matches, he is the highest-ranked African (22) in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).