KW 48: African continent hits 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases, Ethiopian prime minister gives Tigray forces 72 hours to surrender, Climate change threatens coffee cultivation in Africa

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African continent hits 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases: Africa has surpassed 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases as the continent’s top public health official warned Thursday that the continent was inevitably edging toward a second wave of infections. The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the 54-nation continent has seen more than 48,000 deaths from Covid-19. Its infections and deaths make up less than 4% of the global total. The African continent of 1.3 billion people is being warned against “prevention fatigue” as countries loosen pandemic restrictions to ease their economies’ suffering and more people travel. While the world takes hope from promising Covid-19 vaccines, African health officials also worry the continent will suffer as richer countries buy up supplies.

Several people killed during protests in Uganda: At least 45 people were killed in protests that rocked Kampala and other parts of Uganda last week, a police spokesperson said Monday. The protests were sparked by the arrest of popular music star turned presidential candidate Bobi Wine for contravening Covid-19 regulations at a campaign rally last Wednesday. As the news of Wine’s arrest broke, protesters took to the streets of Kampala, clashing with police and military who responded with tear gas. While authorities have said the restrictions are necessary to curb the spread of Covid-19, opposition members and their supporters say that they are an excuse to curb campaigning before the upcoming January election.

Ethiopian prime minister gives Tigray forces 72 hours to surrender: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gave Tigrayan regional forces 72 hours to surrender before the military begins an offensive on the regional capital of Mekelle. A military spokesman said earlier that advancing Ethiopian troops plan to surround Mekelle with tanks and may shell the city to force surrender. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which is refusing to surrender its rule of the northern region, said its forces were digging trenches and standing firm.

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Terror and natural disasters in Mozambique: For some time now, Mozambique has been suffering under the presence of armed gangs on the one hand and natural disasters on the other hand. According to Care Country Director Marc Nosbach, around 350,000 people are currently on the run because of the security situation in the north of the country, with the majority of people seeking refuge with other families. Around 2,200 people have already been killed by Islamist rebels in the Cabo Delgado province. Not only the rebels, but also the state security forces are accused of being brutal. In addition to the escalation of violence, the upcoming rainy season threatens to cause additional suffering.

More migrants arrive on Canary Islands: EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson has expressed concern about the growing number of migrants arriving on the Spain’s Canary Islands. She said the fact that so many people set out on the deadliest refugee route showed the need for reform of asylum and migration policy. The office of the European Union’s ombudsman has opened an investigation into the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, after repeated accusations of border agents committing human rights violations at the Turkey-Greece border.

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Climate change threatens coffee cultivation in Africa: Coffee could soon become an expensive and popular good. Around 60 percent of coffee types are threatened with extinction, according to a study by the US journal Science Advances. The plant is particularly affected by climate change and the natural disasters and periods of drought that accompany it. Coffee farmers in Kenya have felt this development for years. “What we are harvesting today is nothing compared to 10 or 20 years ago,” says a Kenyan coffee farmer. Across Africa, coffee is grown by around ten million people on a total area of ​​two million square meters. Ethiopia and Uganda alone are responsible for 70 percent of African coffee cultivation. Experts at the World Resources Institute (WRI) assume that the areas suitable for growing coffee will decrease by 50 percent worldwide as a result of climate change by 2050. In order for coffee to survive, it needs climate-resistant varieties and investment by governments and companies.

European companies are taking part in controversial projects in Western Sahara: Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco in violation of international law for decades. Sections of the population defend themselves against the occupation with road blockades and other forms of resistance. The region plays an important economic role for Morocco. A wind farm project is currently being built there, in which the Spanish company Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is also involved. The subsidiary of the German company Siemens Energy is to supply 87 turbines for wind power plants and wait for them for five years to generate 300 megawatts of electricity. In addition to Siemens, the Italian company ENEL Green Power and the Moroccan NAREVA, which is a subsidiary of the royal holding SNI, are also involved in the huge green electricity project. The Sahrawi journalist Lahcen Dalil criticizes the participation of foreign companies in the projects: „Every foreign company legitimizes and perpetuates the Moroccan occupation“. The organization “Western Sahara Resource Watch” has also criticized European companies that are working with Morocco in the occupied territory and accuses them of having “shared responsibility for the now escalating situation”.

Research project examines African figurines in Lübeck: The ethnological collection in Lübeck contains 150 objects belonging to the Pangwe, a population group from today’s Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The objects, including figures up to 30 centimeters in size, were brought to Lübeck by the explorer Günter Tessmann. As part of a project, researchers, including Drossilia Igouwe, who herself comes from Gabon, want to trace the exact path of the objects. In 1907, the Völkerkundemuseum Lübeck sent Tessmann on a trip to the Pangwe. At that time Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea were partly under German colonial rule. In addition to around 11,000 insects, the researcher also brought 1,200 ethnological objects to Germany. There is much to suggest that Tessmann deceived the Pangwe in order to get to the objects. Drossilia Igouwe wrote her master’s thesis at the University of Libreville in Gabon on the German researcher. For her, her work is also a mediation between cultures: “My job is the African voice. As an ethnologist from Africa, I want to give urban Central Africa and the villages a voice”. The head of the Lübeck Ethnographic Collection, Lars Frühsorge, is also in favor of a new approach to cultural heritage. This could be done through return or through the exchange with the international research community.

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Fugitive Malawi pastor surrenders to police: A controversial millionaire pastor has turned himself in to police after South Africa issued a warrant of arrest against him for skipping bail and fleeing home to Malawi. Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, are facing charges of money laundering and fraud in South Africa. On Saturday he told his social media followers that he had left the country because he had received death threats. Police in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe say the couple surrendered on Wednesday as officers were looking for them following an arrest warrant they received from Interpol.

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