• Foreign tourists wounded in attack in Egyptian resort

    08/Jan/2016 // 255 Viewers

     

    (AFP)Two suspected militants on Friday stabbed and wounded three foreign tourists - two Austrians and a Swede - at a hotel in the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Hurghada, the Interior Ministry said.

    Security forces opened fire at the two assailants, killing one and seriously wounding the other, according to the ministry. It said two men armed with knives had entered the hotel's outdoor restaurant at the front of the building and attacked the tourists.

    All three wounded tourists were taken to hospital, where one was treated and discharged, the statement said. There was no word on the condition of the other two.

    Security officials had initially said the attackers wounded two tourists, a Dane and a German, but such discrepancies are common in the immediate aftermath of terror attacks.

    The attack came just hours after the local affiliate of the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack a day earlier on a hotel in Cairo near the Giza Pyramids. No one was hurt in the Thursday attack.

    Egypt has been battling an insurgency by Islamic militants led by the Islamic State's affiliate. The insurgency has been focused in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula but has frequently spilled over into the mainland since the ouster in 2013 of the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

    The Hurghada attack is a dangerous precedent since Egypt's Red Sea resorts have done better than elsewhere in the country in withering the slump suffered by the vital tourism sector in the five years of turmoil since a popular uprising topped longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

    Thursday's attack was also significant in that it targeted a hotel in Cairo, a heavily policed city of some 18 million tourists, at a time when security appeared to improve in recent months after a series of disruptive bomb attacks.

    Egypt's tourist industry was decimated after the downing of a Russian passenger plane over Sinai in October. The local Islamic State affiliate has claimed it downed the aircraft with a bomb. All 224 people on board were killed in the crash, mostly Russian tourists.

    (AP)


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  • Climate change threatens African crops

    08/Mar/2016 // 197 Viewers

     

    Paris (AFP) - Climate change will claim vast swathes of land needed to grow staple food crops in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly maize, bananas and beans, researchers warned Monday.

    Up to 30 percent of areas growing maize and bananas may become unsuitable for the purpose this century, said the authors of a study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

    For beans, "this number rises up to 60 percent," said a statement from the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture.

    This was based on worst case-scenario climate change projections in which greenhouse gas emissions continue rising unabated and temperatures warm as much as 4.8 degrees Celsius (8.65 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial levels this century.

    Crops should be replaced with heat- and drought-resistant sorghum or millet to prevent food shortages, said the team.

    "Given that solutions such as breeding improved crops can take a minimum of 15 years to complete, the report authors stress the urgency for action," said the statement.

    Banana-growing regions in West Africa will have to change their land use in the next ten years, as will bean-growing regions in Angola, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe by 2050.

    "All maize-growing regions in Niger will need to undergo transformation by 2100," said the statement.

    "Around 30 percent of Benin's yam growing areas will be unsuitable by the end of the century, as well as 35 percent of Senegal's groundnut-growing regions."


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  • Benin presidential election set for second round

    08/Mar/2016 // 797 Viewers

     

    Cotonou (AFP) - Benin's presidential election looks set to be a second round run-off between Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou and businessman Patrice Talon, the country's electoral commission indicated on Tuesday.

     

    Zinsou won 28.4 percent of votes in Sunday's first round, with Talon on 24.8 percent of ballots and business leader Sebastien Ajavon third with 23.03 percent in a record field of 33 candidates.

    Electoral commission president Emmanuel Tiando announced the polling in the early hours of Tuesday. Confirmed results from the first round will come from the Constitutional Court.

    President Thomas Boni Yayi is bowing out after serving a maximum two five-year terms, marking him out among some African leaders who have tried to change constitutions to ensure third terms.

    A second-round ballot appears likely within a fortnight of official confirmation of the first-round result because no candidate managed a majority.

    Boni Yayi's mandate expires on April 6.

    Talon's spokesman Oswald Homeky told AFP he was "happy the Beninese understood the new departure we're proposing".

    They were "ready to talk to everyone and especially Ajavon" before the second round, he added.

    Zinsou's spokesman Eric Houndete, the deputy head of the national assembly, said they were "satisfied" with the prime minister's polling, even though they would have liked to have had more votes.

    Turn-out was poor in some areas, he added. The electoral commission said 64 percent of the 4.7 registered voters cast their ballot.

    The election was postponed from February 28 because of problems distributing new voters' cards. But international observers said there were no major incidents.

    The West African bloc ECOWAS, which has 120 monitors on the ground, said on Monday evening said it was a "free and transparent" vote.

    Zinsou, 61, was appointed prime minister last year after a successful career as head of France's biggest investment bank.

    But despite having French-Beninese citizenship, he has had to face criticisms of being an outsider, "parachuted" in by Paris, the former colonial power.

    Talon, 57, has long been a key player in Benin's economy, in particular in the cotton sector and the port in the commercial hub of Cotonou.

    He gave financial backing to both Boni Yayi's presidential election victories in 2006 and 2011 but fell out with the head of state after being implicated in a bizarre poisoning plot in 2012.

    Talon fled into exile in France but Boni Yayi pardoned him in May 2014.

    Benin Prime Minister and presidential candidate Lionel Zinsou casts his ballot at a polling station in Benin's capital Cotonou on March 6, 2016

    Key issues in the election include urgent job creation, tackling corruption, improving access to health and education and the economy in the country, which is a major cotton producer.

    Despite its problems, largely agricultural Benin, which is dwarfed by Nigeria to the east, has been seen as a relatively stable country in often turbulent west Africa.

    The major centre of the voodoo religion is now promoting itself as a major regional shipping hub. It introduced multi-party democracy in 1990 after nearly two decades of military rule.


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  • South Africa's anti-graft tzar vows to overcome setbacks

    08/Nov/2015 // 313 Viewers

     AFP/File / by Sibongile Khumalo | South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela speaks during an interview with AFP about her fight against corruption

     

    PRETORIA (AFP) - 

    South Africa's anti-corruption ombudsman is an optimist, and perhaps she needs to be.

    Thuli Madonsela hopes that President Jacob Zuma will pay back public funds used to upgrade his private residence, in a scandal that has become a damaging symbol of the country's post-apartheid era.

    More than $20 million (19 million euros) was spent on Nkandla, the president's rural homestead, triggering criticism of hugely-inflated costs for "security improvements" that included a swimming pool and chicken coop.

    Zuma's refusal to admit any wrongdoing embodies allegations of corruption, greed and unaccountability surrounding the African National Congress (ANC) party that led the struggle to overturn white-minority rule.

    Public Protector Madonsela told AFP that she had not given up in her battle over Nkandla -- which has brought her international renown, as well as bitter criticism from Zuma loyalists.

    "He could still change and decide that, despite the advice he got, he wants to do the right thing. That door is not closed yet," she said, in an interview in her Pretoria offices that are decorated with awards and certificates.

    Madonsela's highly-critical Nkandla report, released in March 2014, was met with counter-investigations by the police minister and others exonerating Zuma.

    "Of course the reaction to it is a setback," she said.

    "You've got to deal with (my report) rationally, reasonably and fairly. The response we got ... was irrational."

    The dispute over Zuma's property thrust Madonsela into the spotlight, earning her a spot in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world last year.

    But since she was appointed -- by Zuma -- in 2009, she has tackled a formidable array of much bigger corruption issues, including land reform, transport infrastructure tenders, police misconduct and arms deals.

    - Humble beginnings -

    Some of the cases date back to the pre-1994 apartheid years, a period that she said still haunts the country as a whole culture of government corruption went undetected for decades.

    "If we are investigating conduct failure, it is often difficult because some state agencies give you the wrong information, but we have our own sources who make it easier," she said.

    "Key to any investigation is whistleblowers. We do have a big problem of corruption."

    Softly-spoken Madonsela, 53, rose from humble beginnings in the township of Soweto to become a constitutional lawyer, working as a technical adviser on drafting South Africa's democratic constitution after the end of apartheid.

    As dismal economic growth, crime, rumbling social tensions and high unemployment fuel pessimism about South Africa's future, she says her office is a sign of the country's ability to protect its institutions.

    "In other countries, it is taboo that you could ask how much was spent on the president's home. But we have an environment that allows us to do that," she said.

    Despite the lack of government response, the Nkandla probe shows South Africa has a "strong constitution where the rule of law is applied to everyone, regardless of whether you are a cleaner or a president," she added.

    "We have a strong democracy that has multi-agency oversight."

    - 'Do something' -

    Madonsela, who was accused at the height of the Nkandla controversy of being a CIA spy by one deputy minister, calmly dismisses suggestions of political pressure in her work, saying none of her staff have faced intimidation.

    She is due to stand down when her seven-year term ends in October 2017, and has recently launched perhaps her most risky strategy yet.

    She has allied with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a radical left-wing opposition party, in a Constitutional Court bid to compel Zuma to pay back the Nkandla money.

    The case will be heard next year.

    "The first step towards a solution is admitting you have a problem, the second step is to do something," she said.

    by Sibongile Khumalo


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  • Presidential campaign kicks off in coup-riddled Burkina Fasso

    08/Nov/2015 // 288 Viewers

    A presidential campaign starts Sunday in Burkina Faso, with the winner poised to re-establish democracy after the long rule of former soldier Blaise Compaore in a nation prone to coups.

    An attempted coup in September led by Campaore's onetime presidential guard chief, General Gilbert Diendere, caused authorities to postpone presidential and legislative polls from October 11 until November 29.

    The coup was foiled by a popular uprising -- much as street protests toppled Compaore himself at the end of October 2014, angry at his bid to change the constitution in order to extend his 27-year rule.

    Diendere has been charged by a military court on 11 counts, including a "crime against humanity", after clashes that claimed 14 lives and left 251 wounded, according to transitional government figures.

    In the most controversial decision ahead of the vote, the interim authorities headed by Michel Kafando have ruled that nobody who backed Compaore's bid to keep power can stand for elected office.

    The powerful Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP), which long functioned like a state-run party that won every election, is unable to field candidates in the deeply poor west African country, which has a population of nearly 20 million.

    The CDP choice, Eddie Constance Konboigo, has been barred from standing and so have all members of Kafando's interim regime, but Compaore will cast a long shadow over the polls from his exile in Ivory Coast.

    Seven of the 14 candidates played important roles in the fallen regime, without backing Compaore to the end.

    Roch Marc Christian Kabore and Zephirin Diabre, considered the frontrunners, are both former government ministers.

    Kabore worked with Compaore for 26 years, serving as prime minister and then speaker of the National Assembly. He also ran the CDP for more than a decade, but quit the party in disgrace 10 months before Compaore was ousted.

    Diabre, an economist, long opted for an international career, but also served at home as minister of the economy and finance. He also joined the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from Compaore.

    AFP,DGW


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  • Beatrice Stockly, Swiss, kidnapped for the second time in Timbuktu, Mali

    09/Jan/2016 // 894 Viewers

     

    PARIS, JANUARY 9, 2016: (DGW) Reports reaching us say a Swiss woman, a missionary named Beatrice Stockly  was overnight Thursday to  Friday abducted by gunmen in Timbuktu, Mali. She had also previously fallen prey to abductors sometimes in 2012, DailyGlobeWatch was reliably told in Bamako, the Malian capital.

    No group has claimed responsibility for this abduction as of the time of filing this report. The victim a Swiss national has been living in Timbuktu for years, our reporter was reliably informed.

    Cases of abductions of foreigners  are rampant in this desert region by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb who of  demand for cutthroat ransoms. Ironically, she was said to have been kidnapped about four years ago and was released later the same month.

    However, the Swiss foreign ministry gravely concerned about the woman's safety has commenced working doggedly for the woman's release but no agreement has been brokered yet as no group has claimed responsibility, DailyGlobeWatch understands.Meanwhile, the Swiss foreign ministry had before now issued a statement advising its citizens against travelling to Mali because of the high risk of abductions from which they raise money for terrorist's operations.

    France has intensified its  military campaign in the region with a counter-terrorism force of no fewer than 3,500 troops in conjunction with about 10,000 United Nations peace-keeping force in the country.

     

     

     

     

     


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  • Why Gani Adams, Asari Dokubo must return Libya’s looted fund

    09/Jan/2016 // 872 Viewers

     

    PARIS, JANUARY 9, 2016: (DGW) It is unfortunate that the good people of Libya today suffer from insecurity and deprivation while elements that conspired with our people’s number one enemy, Muammar Ghadafi to loot and bring hardship on the people of Libya enjoy their loot.

    As representatives of the Libyan people, we are committed to seeking retribution on all the infidels that conspired with Ghadafi to loot and bring our people to this sorry pass.

    Among the worst of the enemies of the Libyan people are the external collaborators who in the guise of furthering the ‘Pan-Africanist’ agenda of the late dictator, helped in one way or more to entrench Ghadafi’s rule and therefore prolong the suffering of our people.

    Monies belonging to the Libyan people were filtered away in the name of currying favours, supplying mercenary fighters and arms procurement among other excuses.

    Some prominent ‘freedom fighters’, among them Asari Dokubo and Gani Adams of Nigeria are among those who recently discovered documents were shown to have been used in this diabolical theme to defraud Libya.

    The duo of Asari Dokubo and Gani Adams have both between themselves collected nothing less than $70 million (seventy million US dollars). Records show that Asari collected about $48 million, and Adams about $23 million, although both may have collected more than has already been discovered.

    We are still looking for more evidence of such looted funds but demand the immediate repatriation of such funds back to the rightful owners, the people of Libya.

    The people of Libya may be willing to forget this crime against them if the money stolen is returned; however it would be difficult to forget.

    Our plea is for the concerned persons to repatriate our money without any further delay to avert consequences; the type which would be difficult to imagine or comprehend.

    Signed: Abass Ibn Idris
    Global Civilians for Peace in Libya

     


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  • Again, JAMMEH blows hot, shuts down another radio station in The Gambia

    09/Jan/2017 // 1322 Viewers

    Yahya Jammeh of Gambia has rejected the poll results and as proceeded to the Supreme Court

    Another private radio station has been shutdown by Gambian authorities, deepening the ongoing political crisis in the country, the AFP news agency reports
    Paradise FM is the fourth radio station to be ordered off air this month.

    Plain clothes policemen claiming to be acting on information ministry orders told the station to stop broadcasting late Sunday, sources told AFP.

    The station had hosted an opposition spokesman, Halifa Sallah, as well as to a ruling party spokesman, Yankuba Colley, to discuss the political crisis, the report says.

    Three other radio stations have been ordered off air in similar circumstances so far in January, with only one of them – Afri Radio – later allowed to continue broadcasting on the condition it plays only music, the report adds.

    President Yayha Jammen is disputing the victory of opposition candidate Adama Barrow despite earlier conceding.

    Mr Jammeh’s party has filed a petition at the supreme court which will be heard on 10 January.


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  • Finally, UN issues statement on Mediterranean sea-crossing to Europe, sends powerful message to African governments

    09/May/2017 // 1025 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MAY 9, 2017: (DGW) "Since Friday, we have seen more than 6,000 people cross the Mediterranean to join Italy, bringing the total to over 43,000 for this year. These massive influxes and the fact that more than 1,150 people have disappeared or lost their lives by trying to travel to Europe since the beginning of the year, show how much more than ever before sea rescue is taking place.

    The itinerary of the Central Mediterranean between North Africa and Italy, which is by far the most frequented by asylum seekers and migrants en route to Europe, has proved particularly lethal. Since the beginning of 2017, one person out of 35 has died trying to cross the border between Libya and Italy. In the past four days alone, 75 people have died.

    Saving lives must be the top priority for all and, given the recent rise in arrivals, I call for more efforts to save people on this dangerous route. It is a matter of life or death that appeals to our most fundamental sense of humanity and should not be called into question.

    The unremitting efforts of the Italian Coast Guard, in cooperation with Frontex, the European Border Guard and Coast Guard Agency, and NGOs are absolutely remarkable. Together they saved tens of thousands of lives. By 2016, NGOs saved more than 46,000 people in the Central Mediterranean, accounting for more than 26 per cent of all relief interventions. This trend is continuing and, since early 2017, this figure has reached 33 per cent.

    I am deeply shocked by the violence of some smugglers, including the merciless murder of a young man a few days ago, which was reported to my teams by the survivors.

    The increase in the number of passengers on board vessels used by smugglers, with an average of 100 to 150 people, is equally alarming and is the main cause of shipwrecks; These risks being amplified by the deterioration in the quality of boats and the increasing use of inflatable boats rather than wooden boats.

    We are also seeing more and more often that these boats do not have satellite telephones, which makes it even more difficult to get help because migrants and asylum seekers can not call for help and it is more difficult to locate them .

    This situation can not continue. There is an urgent need to respond to the root causes that push people to leave and to offer people in need of international protection realistic alternatives to these dangerous crossings, including accessible and safe means to reach Europe, Such as family reunification, relocation or relocation.

    It is necessary to act before people fall into the hands of smugglers in Libya or other transit countries where they risk appalling abuses and before they embark on boats unsuitable for navigation to cross the Mediterranean. It also means redoubling efforts to resolve conflicts, especially in Africa, and using resources for development in a more strategic way to reduce poverty, mitigate the impacts of climate change and support countries Which accommodate a large number of refugees, as well as transit countries. All this requires coordinated policies and measures on the part of European countries and other donor countries. "

    In Rome, Carlotta Sami, sami@unhcr.org , +39 335 679 47 46 
    In Geneva, Cecile Pouilly, pouilly@unhcr.org , +41 79 108 26 25


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  • Hossam Bahgat arrested in Egypt for publishing 'false report'

    09/Nov/2015 // 530 Viewers

    Hossam Bahgat has been arrested yesterday by Egypt's security operatives over a report he published about the kangaroo trial of former army officers, sources disclosed to DailyGlobeWatch in Cairo.

    The detained journalist and human rights advocate was summoned and questioned by the country's military intelligence over a false publication in his October report: Hossam, sources told our reporter, said in a report that 26 military officers had been charged with treason and convicted for plotting a botched coup.


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