Information round to clock

    • Wednesday 12 September
    • Pro-hunting nations block whale sanctuary bid

      - 10h34

      Pro-whaling nations on Tuesday blocked a near two-decade effort to create a South Atlantic haven for the endangered marine mammals, deepening divisions at an already fractious International Whaling Commission meeting in Brazil.

      The South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary was backed by 39 countries with 25 voting against and several countries not casting a ballot, and so failed to get the required two-thirds majority from the 89-member body.

    • Pope to meet US Church leaders after abuse cover-up claim

      - 10h32

      Pope Francis will meet leaders of the US Catholic Church on Thursday, the Vatican announced, after a high profile accusation that the pontiff covered up sexual abuse allegations against an American cardinal.

      Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, will attend the meeting after saying last month he was eager to meet the pope following the scandal.

      Two other conference officials will be at the meeting, as will Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said on Tuesday.

    • US-China trade spat looms over regional WEF meeting

      - 10h31

      Threats by US President Donald Trump to slap more punishing tariffs on Chinese goods are set to dominate a meeting of Asian business bigwigs and leaders that opens Wednesday in Hanoi.

      The escalating trade spat between Washington and Beijing has caused global ripples — and is being closely watched in Southeast Asia where many export-focused economies are set to gain from the fallout.

    • Monday 10 September
    • New UN rights chief decries abuses of minorities, migrants

      - 15h35

      The new UN rights chief decried Monday crackdowns on minorities in countries like Myanmar and China and urged Western countries to respect migrant rights, warning that erecting walls only caused chaos and suffering.

      In her first address, Michelle Bachelet opened the UN Human Rights Council’s 39th session stressing her “commitment to bridging the differences between communities and promoting respect, well-being and freedom.”

      Diplomats and activists from around the world gathered in Geneva to hear her maiden speech, seeking clues as to whether she will mimic the abrasive style of predecessor Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

      Bachelet, a former Chilean president, hailed Zeid but seemed to stake out a softer approach, only briefly mentioning a few concrete rights situations and refraining from full-blown criticism.

    • Gunmen attack headquarters of Libya national oil firm, two dead

      - 14h32

      Armed men on Monday stormed the headquarters of Libya’s National Oil Company in Tripoli killing at least two people, officials said, as witnesses spoke of hearing a blast and gunfire.

      The attack targeted the country’s vital oil sector, repeatedly disrupted by violence since a 2011 uprising against toppled late dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

      Witnesses said the building near the city centre had caught fire and was rapidly surrounded by security services, who evacuated its staff, including the NOC chairman Mustafa Sanallah.

    • New UN rights chief decries abuses of minorities, migrants

      - 14h30

      The new UN rights chief decried Monday crackdowns on minorities in countries like Myanmar and China and urged Western countries to respect migrant rights, warning that erecting walls only caused chaos and suffering.

      In her first address, Michelle Bachelet opened the UN Human Rights Council’s 39th session stressing her “commitment to bridging the differences between communities and promoting respect, well-being and freedom.”

      Diplomats and activists from around the world gathered in Geneva to hear her maiden speech, seeking clues as to whether she will mimic the abrasive style of predecessor Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

      Bachelet, a former Chilean president, hailed Zeid but seemed to stake out a softer approach, only briefly mentioning a few concrete rights situations and refraining from full-blown criticism.

    • Friday 07 September
    • Sierra Leone: Mental Health hospital introduces ‘free chain initiative’

      - 17h14

      Sierra Leone has launched a new initiative aimed at modernizing mental health treatment in the country, reports said on Friday.The Sierra Leone Free Chain Initiative, launched on Thursday by the Minister of Health, is designed to end decades of inhuman practice of chaining mental patients.

      The practice had discouraged people from taking their loved ones to the only mental health facility in the country, the Kissy Mental Hospital.

      Most people would rather let their mentally ill loved ones roam the street in deplorable conditions. This way it has become a common sight in Freetown to see mad people competing for space with the rest of the population.

    • Barnier rejects key elements of UK post-Brexit plan

      - 17h13

      EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned that two key elements of Britain’s post-Brexit trade plan are “not acceptable”, according to remarks to a parliamentary committee published on Friday.

      The transcript of a hearing held earlier this week contradicts a claim made by a pro-EU opposition MP that Barnier said the entire proposal was “dead”.

      However, he made it clear that the EU would not accept London’s proposals for customs arrangements and for a common EU-UK rulebook on goods to ease trade between the sides after Brexit.

    • Trump says Woodward’s White House book a ‘scam’

      - 17h11

      US President Donald Trump on Friday slammed veteran investigative journalist Bob Woodward’s damning portrayal of the inner workings of his administration as a “scam” based on made-up quotes.

      The book, combined with an incendiary unsigned article in The New York Times by a senior member of Trump’s administration, has sparked yet another crisis for the White House and provided fuel for critics who argue that Trump is unfit for office.

    • Russia, Iran, Turkey meet on Syria’s Idlib province

      - 16h45

      The presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey held talks in Tehran on Friday, set to determine the future of Idlib province amid growing fears of a humanitarian disaster in Syria’s last major rebel bastion.

      Shortly after arriving in Iran, Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erodgan sat down for a summit with Iranian President Hassan Rohani, an AFP photographer said.

      They met in a conference centre in the north of the Iranian capital as a Syrian regime offensive against the last opposition stronghold appeared imminent.

      The three countries are guarantors of the Astana process, a track of negotiations launched after Russia’s game-changing 2015 military intervention which has eclipsed the Western-backed Geneva negotiations led by the UN.

    • Mattis makes unannounced visit to Afghanistan

      - 16h30

      US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with top Afghan leaders during an unannounced visit to Kabul on Friday, adding his weight to a flurry of diplomatic efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.

      His trip comes a little more than a year after President Donald Trump unveiled a revamped strategy for Afghanistan that saw him commit thousands of additional US forces to the war-torn country on an open-ended basis.

      Mattis, on his fourth visit to Afghanistan since becoming defence chief in January 2017, has met with President Ashraf Ghani and the new US commander for American and NATO forces, General Scott Miller.

    • Thursday 06 September
    • S/Africa, China pen deal on water resources

      - 15h17

      South Africa and China have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of water resources, according to Water and Sanitation Minister Gugile Nkwinti in Beijing, China’s capital.The MoU seeks to establish and reinforce co-operation between South Africa and China on the efficient utilisation, management and sustainable development of water resources, including establishing a long-term co-operative relationship on the basis of equity and mutual benefit, the minister’s office said on Wednesday.

      In the deal that Nkwiti signed with China’s Water Resources Minister E. Jingping, the two governments have agreed on areas of co-operation. These include enacting and implementation of water policies, laws and regulations; integrated management and utilisation of water resources and comprehensive river basin planning, the minister said.

    • Chinese man arrested after calling Kenya’s president a ‘monkey’

      - 14h59

      Kenya has arrested a Chinese businessman after a video of him making a string of racist remarks was widely shared on social media, the government said Thursday.

      The Chinese national, identified as Liu Jiaqi, has been arrested and is being processed for deportation, said Kenya’s immigration department.

      “His work permit has been canceled and (he) will be deported on racism grounds,” the immigration service said on its Twitter feed.

    • Britain to brief UN council on charges against Russian spies

      - 14h56

      Britain will brief the UN Security Council on Thursday on the arrest warrants it has issued for two Russian spies charged with carrying out a nerve agent attack on British soil.

      British Ambassador Karen Pierce will present the latest findings on the poisoning of Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the city of Salisbury.

      The council will meet in open session at around 11:30 am (1530 GMT), diplomats said.

    • Hundreds flee, fearing assault on Syria’s Idlib: monitor

      - 14h48

      Hundreds of civilians have fled villages near the front line in Syria’s Idlib province fearing an imminent regime assault on the country’s last major rebel bastion, a monitor said Thursday.

      Russia-backed government forces have been massing around the northwestern province for weeks, while on Tuesday Moscow carried out its first air strikes on the rebels in three weeks.

      Late on Wednesday, hundreds of villagers abandoned areas in the southeast of the province that lie close to government-held territory, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

    • Migration truce shatters in Germany after mob violence

      - 14h46

      A tense truce within German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative camp shattered Thursday after her hardline interior minister defended protests marred by neo-Nazi violence and blasted migration as “the mother of all political problems”.

      The latest shots across Merkel’s bow came just two months after the minister, Horst Seehofer, threatened to torpedo her ruling coalition over the explosive border issue.

      An uneasy calm that had taken hold during the holidays imploded in late August when a 35-year-old German man was stabbed to death in the eastern city of Chemnitz.

    • Wednesday 05 September
    • Nigeria’s oil firm to use solar to power retail outlets

      - 15h02

      The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says it will use solar power generation to power all its retail outlets.The Spokesman of NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said in Abuja on Tuesday that the  NNPC also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in China with two consortia for the development of sustainable biofuels.

      The two MoUs on the biofuels project development were signed between the NNPC and the Obax-Complant Consortium on one hand and NNPC and the Capegate-Nanning Consortium on the other hand.

      Obax And Capegate are two Nigerian companies, Complant And Nanning are two reputable companies incorporated in China

    • Jimmie Akesson, the architect of Sweden’s rising far-right

      - 15h01

      Jimmie Akesson, the head of the far-right Sweden Democrats, is a charismatic speaker who has succeeded in attracting mainstream voters with his efforts to cleanse the party of its neo-Nazi roots.

      With his Sweden Democrats tipped to get around 20 percent of the vote in the September 9 election, a record high for the party, Akesson has become a key adversary of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.

      The anti-immigration populist has seen his political star rise after the arrival of more than 160,000 asylum seekers in 2015.

      Despite his relative youth, the 39-year-old will be standing in his fourth legislative elections in 12 years at the helm of SD, which has steadily climbed in popularity to become one of Sweden’s biggest parties.

    • Submarine killer seeks reduced sentence in appeals trial

      - 14h48

      Sentenced to life in prison for the murder of journalist Kim Wall aboard his homemade submarine in August 2017, Danish inventor Peter Madsen is hoping to get his jail term reduced when his appeals case opens on Wednesday.

      The Copenhagen High Court has set aside three days for the hearings on September 5, 12 and 14.

      “The appeals case is only about the sentencing. The trial does not deal with questions of guilt,” High Court spokeswoman Karen Hald told AFP.

      Madsen only appealed his sentence, and not the guilty verdict handed down by a Copenhagen district court on April 25 for murdering 30-year-old Wall, chopping up her corpse and throwing her body parts into the sea last year.

    • Israel closes sole people crossing with Gaza after riot: army

      - 14h45

      “Yesterday, a violent riot was instigated in the area of the Erez crossing, with the participation of hundreds of Palestinian rioters,” the army said in a statement.

      “Subsequently, it was decided to close the Erez crossing until the damage caused by the rioters will be repaired.”

      The Palestinians were protesting against a US announcement on Friday that it would cease all funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) which helps some three million needy refugees.

      Washington, which until last year was by far the biggest contributor to the UNRWA, had already plunged the nearly 70-year-old agency into financial crisis in January with its announcement of a $300 million funding freeze.

      In Gaza, most children attend UNRWA-run schools whose funding beyond the end of this month is now in doubt, along with that of the agency’s network of clinics and food distribution centres.

    • Nigerian army restates degradation of insurgents

      - 14h40

      Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has restated that the Boko Haram terrorists had been “highly degraded” and that there was no resurgence of insurgency in the North-East as being insinuated in some quarters.Buratai spoke in Jaji at the graduation of 55 Special Forces from “Advance Water Markship Training” and said: “in warfare, one must suffer some setbacks”.

      Media had been agog in the last few days of terrorists’ attacks on troops in the North-East in which they claimed a number of soldiers were killed.

      The army, however, denied the attacks and loss of personnel.

      Buratai was in Jaji in company of the visiting South African Army Chief, Lt.-Gen. Lindile Yam.

    • Tuesday 04 September
    • Africa’s first keyboard app launched

      - 16h26

      Mobile virtual network operator Finserve on Monday launched mKey, Africa’s first keyboard app.The innovative app launched by Finserve which is a subsidiary of Equity Group Holdings is the first ever to converge social, and financial services into an integrated lifestyle. In addition to providing these services, mKey rewards users the more they transact.

      According to Finserve, mKey brings a differentiated user experience to the market, by blending the best of social conversations with the full breadth of financial services and “captures that entire world on your keyboard, giving users the opportunity to make more possible.”

    • German far-left politician launches ‘Stand up’ movement

      - 12h26

      A German far-left politician will launch on Tuesday a cross-party movement called “Stand up”, modelled on the populist campaigns of US Senator Bernie Sanders and Britain’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

      Its declared goal is to counter the “neoliberal policies” of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centrist coalition government and fight for secure jobs and pensions, environmental protection, and “a true democracy not ruled by banks, corporations and lobbyists”.

      Its founders hope to energise and unite in a grassroots movement followers of Germany’s three leftist parties, but also win back disenchanted working-class voters who have drifted to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

    • London design biennale offers sensory exploration of the world

      - 12h25

      Filled with sounds, smells and interactive installations, the second London Design Biennale offers visitors a sensory exploration of the world, intended as an antidote to the “island mentality” of Brexit.

      “We obviously live in a very emotionally turbulent and politically polarised time and the choice of theme was intended to reflect and confront that,” said Christopher Turner, artistic director of the exhibition, which this year has the theme “Emotional States”.

      Barely a few months before Britain leaves the European Union in March 2019, the biennale is “intended as a corrective to that island mentality”, Turner said.

    • China visa spat hits Pacific summit in Nauru

      - 12h24

      A visa row between China and host nation Nauru almost derailed the Pacific’s largest annual diplomatic summit, it emerged Tuesday, exposing sensitivities about Beijing’s rising influence in the region.

      As formal discussions began at the 18-nation Pacific Islands Forum, leaked letters revealed some members threatened to boycott the meeting over Nauru’s treatment of Chinese delegates.

      Nauru does not have diplomatic relations with China, instead recognising self-ruled Taiwan, which has paid for much of the infrastructure being used to host the PIF summit.

    • Thorny trade, defense issues await US diplomats in India

      - 12h22

      Two of President Donald Trump’s top officials are finally heading for talks in India this week, after Washington twice pulled the plug on the summit.

      The so-called 2+2 dialogue will see Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis meet with their Indian counterparts on a range of key defense and trade issues.

      Both sides are likely to herald Thursday’s talks — the first of their kind between the two nations — as proof positive of their rapidly growing strategic partnership in the region.

      But between the friendly photo calls and soundbites, the diplomats must smooth a slew of problems, exacerbated by Trump’s testy relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    • China to fund Nigeria’s Ajaokuta pipeline project

      - 11h47

      The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has assured Nigeria of its unflinching
      commitment towards securing funding for the financing and execution of the Ajaokuta-
      Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline project.The spokesman to Nigerian National petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Ndu Ughamadu,

      said in Abuja that that CNPC gave the assurance to the Corporation Group Managing Director

      Dr. Maikanti Baru, during a high-level meeting between the NNPC and CNPC Management

      in Beijing during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit.

    • Monday 03 September
    • Reuters reporter jailed in Myanmar for seven years

      AFP - 14h59

      Two Reuters journalists accused of breaching Myanmar’s state secrets law while reporting on a massacre of Rohingya Muslims were jailed for seven years Monday, fuelling international outrage a week after the army was accused of genocide.

      Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, who have been held in Yangon’s Insein prison since their arrest in December, were charged with violating the Official Secrets Act, a draconian British colonial-era law which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years.

      The case, which sparked an international outcry, was seen as an attempt to muzzle reporting on last year’s crackdown by Myanmar’s security forces on the Muslim Rohingya minority in Rakhine state.

    • Brexit could sway Scottish voters to push for independence from UK

      Reuters - 14h56

      Britain’s exit from the European Union could tip public opinion in Scotland in favor of seeking independence, an opinion poll showed on Sunday.

      Scotland voted against independence in 2014, but a subsequent referendum on leaving the EU has reignited debate over its long-term future as one of Britain’s four constituent parts alongside England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

       In 2016, a majority of Scottish voters backed staying in the EU, while Britain as a whole, voted to leave, meaning that Britain is now due to leave the EU on March 29 2019.

    • Salah nominated alongside Modric, Ronaldo for FIFA best player award

      Africanews - 14h51

      Egypt international and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has been nominated for the 2018 FIFA best player award, football world governing body announced on Monday.

      He was shortlisted along with Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal / Juventus) and Luka Modric (Croatia / Real Madrid).

      The trio last met in Monaco during the UEFA best player award ceremony which was won by the Croatian for his role in Real Madrid’s Champions League triumph and for steering his nation to the runner-up position in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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