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[l] at 8/9/20 11:47am
Tens of thousands of African students are still stuck in France this summer, long after their studies have concluded - because of COVID 19. In many cases, they're unable to return home to countries where the pandemic is accelerating. Even in cases when countries haven't closed their borders or imposed travel restrictions, the price of airline tickets has often increased enormously. Some of those who've remained have been forced to rely on visits to foodbanks run by UNEF , France's national union of students, to supplement their diet. Madagascan Tsiry Rajemison is one such student, currently in Marseilles: "At the moment I'm in a complicated situation due to confinement. I can't go back to Madagascar, so I'm stuck here. "I've come for the food basket to help me out at the end of the month." For many, working to generate an income while forced to remain is not an option, as Lyes Belhadj, treasurer of the Marseilles branch of UNEF acknowledges: "These students cannot work because they don't all have study visas allowing them to work. "That's the agreement between their countries and France and so we find ourselves with administrative difficulties, social difficulties and financial difficulties." For some, the isolation is just as taxing as the financial issues. Ouiza Slamani an Algerian student in France has found the situation very difficult "It's hard. Not only without work, but at the same time you can't see your family. "It's a bit strange because I'm used to going to Algeria every year, spending a month with my parents, my family, my little brothers and here I find myself stuck alone in an apartment. "I have no scholarship, no job and a friend is lending me money for my rent." For some students who could potentially go home, there's an additional complication: they might end up getting stranded and jeopardise their studies in France. The European Union, for example, recently reinstated travel restrictions for people arriving from Algeria because of increased cases there.

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[l] at 8/9/20 11:47am
Eight people have been killed by armed men on motorbikes near the town of Kouré in Niger. The attack took place around 11:30 am 6 km east of Kouré. Six of them were French tourists and the other two were a Nigerien tour guide and driver. The deaths were confirmed by Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella, governor of Tillabéri. Tillabéri is a relatively unstable area, located in the shared border area between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali. The motorcyclists are believed to have been waiting for the tourists. The area in which the deaths occurred is home to the last remaining herds of West African giraffes.

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[l] at 8/9/20 4:56am
Economists are warning that large scale intervention is needed to rescue the Algerian economy from accruing huge foreign debt, following the double blow of COVID 19 and tumbling oil revenues.   The National Office of Statistics has reported a 3.9 percent fall in Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter of 2020 alone, with unemployment nearing 15%. Finance Minister Aymen Benabderrahmane has estimated the losses of state-owned enterprises at over one and a quarter billion US dollars. These have been described as 'alarming' figures, according to Mansour Kedidir, associate professor at the Higher School of Economics in Oran. He has urged authorities to introduce lower interest rates and tax cuts based on the number of new jobs created. Professor Kedidir also called for major projects such as agro-industrial zones in the country's desert south, with processing infrastructure, extended railways lines and new towns to service them, all built with local manpower. Kedidir predicts that otherwise, a "Pandora's box will be opened" accompanied by "riots, irredentism, religious extremism". Economist Abderahmane Mebtoul also called for drastic action. While acknowledging that hydrocarbons will remain the main revenue source for the next 5-10 years, he insisted that an end to the economic crisis must involve new national and decentralised governance to "bring together all political, economic and social forces... (and) avoid division on secondary issues." Mebtoul appealed for "a state-citizen symbiosis involving elected officials, companies, banks, universities and civil society in order to fight against a paralysing bureaucracy". The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast that Algeria's economy will shrink by 5.2 percent this year. In April, the organisation approved US$3.4 billion worth of emergency financial assistance to Nigeria to support the government's efforts in dealing with the same problems Algeria faces: the double impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the sharp fall in oil prices. But Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has already ruled out seeking loans from the IMF or other international financial bodies, to preserve what he described as "national sovereignty". Algeria has painful memories of its 1994 deal with the IMF, which meant a structural adjustment plan resulting in massive job cuts, shutdowns and privatisations. The government has said that it will launch an economic recovery plan and already decided at the start of May to halve the state's operating budget.  The president has insisted that the economic plan will preserve the social characteristics of the country and protect the purchasing power of citizens, especially the most vulnerable groups. President Tebboune has also said he is confident that Algeria's financial capacity is sufficient to implement the plan. 

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[l] at 8/9/20 2:49am
Residents and preservationists have registered their alarm as demolition continues in the Cairo cemetery complex known as the City Of The Dead. The work's being undertaken as part of a new 17.5 kilometre highway project. The highway, named Al-Ferdaous - or Paradise - is intended to connect major road arteries and ease traffic in the city of 20 million, as well as provide better links to the regions. But preservationists say that the work is destroying many important structures included in UNESCO's World Heritage Site of historic Cairo . The City of the Dead has been developed over many centuries and contains the graves of ordinary people as well as the elaborate mausoleums of historical rulers and celebrated figures. Cairo-based independent journalist Sharif Kouddous  tweeted that his family burial plot was partially demolished to make way for the highway:  "We had to move the bodies of my grandmother, grandfather and great-grandfather."  The complex also contains communities of people living in buildings and walled yards that surround each gravesite. Mother-of-three Menna said she was caught off guard when a bulldozer flattened much of the mausoleum her family use as their home:  "The earth-mover suddenly hit the wall and we found ourselves throwing our things (out) in a panic. They kicked us out on the street. "It was awful. We moved the dead on straw mats."  She and her husband shifted several bodies, including the remains of her father, to a segment of her home that was still intact.  Menna's family has lived in the complex for three generations. For thousands of others unable to afford expensive Cairo rents, the burial chambers have provided homes. Menna's family and many others have built extensions to the original mausoleums to augment their living areas. Menna is now living with neighbours in a part of the cemetery that is not in the demolition area. Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has responded that no registered Islamic monuments have been destroyed during the course of the demolition work. But some antiquities experts say that’s too narrow a view; they say that, among the demolished sites are many that still have significant historical or architectural value.

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[l] at 8/8/20 10:25am
A large crowd demonstrated in the centre of the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Saturday, demanding accountability for Tuesday's huge explosion in the city. More than 150 people died and another 5,000 were injured; another 60 are still missing. The cause of the explosion still isn't completely clear, but it's been claimed that it was the result of a fire igniting a huge deposit of ammonium nitrate, a potentially volatile chemical substance. Some protesters have said they blame the alleged corruption and negligence of the political class. The president of Lebanon's Christian democrat Kataeb Party said that its three MPs will resign in protest against the government, which it holds responsible for the blast. Samy Gemayel made his comments on Saturday during the funeral of a senior official from the Kataeb party, who was killed in the explosion. The Kataeb party is known for its harsh criticism of the government, which is backed by the militant Hezbollah group and its allies. Other members of Lebanon's 128-member legislature have also announced they will resign in protest over widespread corruption. Marwan Hamadeh, of Lebanon's Progressive Socialist Party, resigned earlier this week after the blast occurred.

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[l] at 8/8/20 8:14am
The prime minister of Mauritius has declared a state of environmental emergency after a Japanese-owned ship that ran aground in July began spilling large amounts of fuel into the sea. Pravind Jugnauth tweeted that the MV Wakashio represented a 'great danger' for Mauritius and admitted that the country didn't have the skill or expertise to deal with the issue alone.  Mr Jugnauth asked France for help, prompting French President Emmanuel Macron to respond positively. The MV Wakashio ran aground on a coral reef off the island nation three weeks ago, but the gradual leaking has now significantly worsened due to bad weather, according to a statement from the owners, Nagashiki Shipping Co. Greenpeace Africa has said that "thousands" of animal species are "at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius' economy, food security and health". The MV Wakashio was travelling from China to Brazil when it ran aground. It wasn't carrying any cargo, but it had approximately 4,000 tonnes of fuel onboard. Mauritius relies heavily on tourism and has already been badly affected by COVID 19. 

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[l] at 8/8/20 5:36am
Supporters of Vital Kamerhe gathered in Kinsasha on Friday only to discover the appeal hearing of the former chief of staff to Democratic Republic of Congo President Félix Tshiseked i had been postponed again. It has now been pushed back a further two weeks to August 21st.  Mr Kamerhe was found guility in June of embezzlement, corruption and money laundering. He was sentenced to 20 years of forced labour and 10 years of ineligibility to hold public office. Aimé Boji, Secretary General of the opposition Union for the Congolese Nation party said he has no doubt of Mr Kamerhe's innocence:  "The justice system is unable to prove the guilt of the defendant, which is why, today, there is no doubt that this is a political trial." During the morning, several hundred supporters of Mr. Kamerhe protested outside UNC party headquarters, chanting "Kamerhe innocent" and holding banners, one of which read: "Kamerhe trial, political trial ". Traffic was disrupted for several hours.  Mr Kamerhe had been sentenced ‐ along with Lebanese entrepreneur Jammal Samih ‐ for the embezzlement of around $US 50 million. He has continued to maintain his innocence.  His lawyer Me Jean-Marie Kabengela said that the hearing had been postponed for procedural reasons:  "We are worried about this way of doing things in court; our client was hastily sentenced in the first place, questions of procedure are (being) raised (in the appeal) "Our client is ready to demonstrate from start to finish that he is innocent". On July 31, Mr. Kamerhe's French lawyer, Me Pierre-Olivier Sur, announced that Kinshasa had refused to grant him a visa to visit Senegal and defend his client at the appeal. A former President of the National Assembly, Mr Kamerhe withdrew in favour of the current head of state Tshisekedi during the Presidential election campaign in late 2018. 

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[l] at 8/8/20 1:59am
Senegal has reintroduced restrictive measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, following a pronounced rise in cases.   The Senegalese Minister of the Interior Aly Ngouye Ndiaye told a press conference in Dakar that, since the lifting of the state of emergency, the government had noticed what he called "a certain laxity" amongst members of the public in terms of masks and social distancing. He said figures clearly demonstrated a very large increase in recorded cases during May, from 757 to 2,737. He said the measures would take "immediate effect" and included "a ban on gatherings at beaches, sports grounds, public spaces and theatres" as well as "prohibition of all demonstrations on the public highway, especially in the Dakar region." Mr Ndiaye continued:  "Mandatory wearing of the mask in the services of the administration and the private sector, in shops, in transport (must be observed)."   He also called for "scrupulous respect of the orders of the Minister of Transport concerning the number of authorised spaces in public transport.  "Any violation of these provisions exposes the perpetrator to penal sanctions, which may range from a fine to imprisonment, in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Contraventions." Mr Ndiaye said he hoped the police would strictly enforce these measures. Since the beginning of March, Senegal has declared a total of 10,887 cases of coronavirus, including 225 fatalities. The country lifted the curfew and state of emergency at the end of June and international flights resumed on July 15, despite the increase in the number of cases. Land borders still remain closed.

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[l] at 8/7/20 1:21pm
Football is back in play after a 5-month hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa — the most affected country on the African continent. All 57 cup and league matches will be staged in Gauteng, the hardest-hit province in the country by coronavirus, which has claimed 9,298 lives nationally and is the highest death toll in Africa. Drastic health restrictions will be imposed on the various ABSA Premiership teams as the Minister of Sports pointed out how neighbouring Zambia stopped championships due to a spike in cases. As is the global standard, stadiums will remain empty during matches - which is bizarre for the SA "vuvuzela" culture, where there is a dynamic exchange between fans and players. Which begs the question as to whether their absence will have a significant negative impact on the games. To be discovered this Saturday with the semi-finals of the FA Cup in Soweto. Two-time champions, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates will face off on Tuesday in the League in Soweto as they both hope to beat Kaizer Chiefs, who are currently in the lead with less than eight days left to play.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Kizzi Asala)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 8/7/20 12:22pm
African Countries Stand in Solidarity with Lebanon African countries extended a compassionate hand of solidarity to Lebanon, in light of the devastating explosions in Beirut Tuesday evening. Nations on the Motherland are not indifferent to the situation as Africa houses several Lebanese communities — such as in Nigeria, Senegal, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire, which have developed over generations Many have dual nationality and maintain strong cultural ties to their Lebanese heritage without ignoring the economic hardship the country has faced for years. Hence their presence is inciting many African governments to orchestrate donation campaigns. As is the case in Algeria, with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, deciding to send support in the form of nearly 200 tonnes of food products — to be supervised by the humanitarian aid association, the Algerian Red Crescent. Lebanese sub-communities in Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire, are participating in a different way as they call for financial donations on social media that will go to the Association Offre Joie stationed in Beirut. Even More International Support The UN and humanitarian partners are mobilising international assistance for the ongoing government-led emergency response efforts. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is organising the deployment of experts from the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) and the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSRAG) in order to lend first-response support in Beirut. Additional emergency teams will also arrive to help with the crisis. The UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, Najat Rochdi, is releasing (USD) 9 Million USD from the Lebanese Humanitarian Fund, and the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock will release additional funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to address immediate needs and help strengthen the capacity of existing hospitals. This will include expanding and establishing additional Intensive Care Units (ICUs) where necessary — as well as providing trauma kits, ventilators, medical supplies and medicine.  

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Kizzi Asala)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 8/7/20 9:55am
Dark Waters Oil spills as Mauritius faces what the Solid Waste Management and Climate Change Minister, Kavy Ramano, is calling an environmental crisis after a ship carrying 200 tonnes of diesel and almost 4000 tonnes of bunker fuel was wrecked at Pointe d’Esny in late July. The Minister of Fishing also chimed in on the ordeal, “We are in an environmental crisis situation. This is the first time that we are faced with a catastrophe of this kind and we are insufficiently equipped to handle this problem.” The site of the grounding happened is listed under the Ramsar Convention on wetlands of international importance and near the marine park of Blue Bay. Ecologists fear the bulk carrier could descend into further destruction causing an even greater leak that could potentially inflict catastrophic damage on the island’s coastline. Urgent Reactions The Mauritian government has asked the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion for assistance and Nagashiki Shipping, which owns the shipwrecked vessel Wakashio, is monitoring the situation as all salvage efforts have been futile due to the rough sea conditions. “Nagashiki Shipping takes its environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and with partner agencies and contractors will make every effort to protect the marine environment and prevent further pollution. The cause of the incident will be fully investigated and the owner and manager will continue to work closely with the authorities to determine the cause,” it said in a statement. Shipping websites say the Wakashio was built in 2007 with a gross weight of 101,000 tonnes, able to carry 203,000 tonnes and a length of 299.95 metres (984 feet). Mauritius boasts some of the finest coral reefs in the world and relies heavily on its seas for its food and tourism industries.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Kizzi Asala)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 8/7/20 9:44am
Do drastic times call for drastic measures? Extreme measures to combat Covid-19, in Rwanda, with authorities detaining people who violate the 9 pm curfew and mask-wearing protocols in stadiums for hours - where they are forbidden to move all night. They are then subjected to incessant lectures on virus-prevention and consequently ordered to self-confinement upon their departure at dawn. Jado Fils Nizeyimana, a hardware shop owner who was kept in Amahoro Stadium for six hours, appears flustered, "I was in the shop I work in, my mask was on my chin, then the police found me in my shop and said, "you're not wearing your mask right." Then I got in the car, and they told me that they were taking me to a place to teach me to wear a mask." The Rwandan Police Force is Busy According to official figures, around 70,000 people have passed through detention centres or stadiums since mid-July. The press is regularly invited to film and interview detainees and many have been used as examples in the local media as a cautionary tale to the Rwandan population. Each night, hundreds of people are gathered in stadiums - including the Amahoro National Stadium, which is guarded by armed police officers. It appears that the stadium detainees are actually undergoing a less severe punishment as others in centres have experienced even longer periods of detention and are threatened with prosecution for "rebellion against the authorities." A crime which carries a one-year prison sentence in Rwanda. Nkusi Kabera, kept in the stadium overnight for breaking curfew, shared the predicament in which many Rwandans find themselves in light of these strict regulations, "Most countries in Europe give fines of 135 euros. For Rwandans like me, 135 euros is roughly 150,000 Rwandan francs. I'd rather spend the night in the stadium than spend 150,000 Rwandan francs on a fine." Mixed Feelings on Good Results The police claim these arrests play a crucial role in beating the pandemic - in a country of over 12.5 million people with just over 2000 cases and 5 deaths. There are fewer than 900 working people and 280,000 coronavirus tests have been carried out. Numbers that show Rwanda scoring high in the fight to quell the pandemic - not only on the African continent, but on a global scale. A good number of those arrested are journalists and bloggers investigating various aspects of the epidemic experience and handling in the country.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Kizzi Asala)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 8/7/20 4:04am
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has announced he will run for President again in October, despite having already been president for two terms - the legal maximum.   His declaration follows the death of Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly from a heart attack last month. Coulibaly had been seen as Ouattara's preferred successor in the upcoming contest. Ouattara's opponents are maintaining that the constitution forbids him serving a third term.  In a televised address, Ouattara made reference to Coulibaly's death in his justification for running:  "Faced with this case of force majeure and out of civic duty, I have decided to respond favourably to the call of my fellow citizens asking me to be a candidate in the presidential election of 31 October 2020." The opposition centre left Ivorian Popular Front  (FPI) immediately condemned Ouattara's decision to contest the election. They and other opponents say the two-term limit in the constitution bars him from running again, but Ouattara has said that his first two terms do not count under the new constitution adopted in 2016. A sometimes controversial figure, Ouattara sacked his government in a row over a new marriage law to make wives joint heads of the household in 2012. He was originally elected in 2010, but previous incumbent Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down. Approximately 3,000 died in the ensuing conflict, with Gbagbo eventually arrested. Ouattara had been recognised as the winner by election observers, the African Union and the international community.  Gbagbo was eventually acquitted of four counts of crimes against humanity relating to the 2010-2011 conflict and was freed conditionally by the International Criminal Court. He has applied for a passport so that he can return to Ivory Coast for the election. The poll is also being contested by Gbagbo's former prime minister Pascal Affi N'Guessan,  Ouattara's arch-foe and former president Henri Konan Bedie and former foreign minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh.

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[l] at 8/7/20 12:36am
Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani has replaced his prime minister following the resignation of Ismail Ould Bedda Ould Cheikh Sidiya.  The move comes after prosecutors received a key report investigating the activities of former head of state Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. Mohamed Ould Bilal, a former political adviser and minister in the era before Abdel Aziz, replaces  Sidiya. He has been tasked with forming a new govermment following the resignation of Sidiya's entire administration.  Before his appointment as prime minister in August 2019, Sidiya had served between 2009 and 2014 as minister of housing and employment under Aziz.  Prosecutors in the capital Nouakchott had announced on Wednesday that they had received a report by a nine-member commission, tasked with investigating aspects of Aziz's 2008-19 presidency. Matters discussed in the parliamentary report include the handling of oil revenues, the sales of state-owned property in Nouakchott, the activities of Chinese fishing company Pully Hong Dong, and the liquidation of a state-owned firm that supplied food products.  Aziz, a former army general, ignored a summons from the committee last month to explain the issues at stake, according to a parliamentary official. Mauritanian MPs adopted a law at the end of July establishing a High Court of Justice to try the head of state and ministers in cases of "high treason". The court is due to be set up in the coming months. President Ghazouani succeeded Aziz in August last year. He had previously served under him as Chief of Staff and Defence Minister.  Aziz first came to power in a military coup in 2008, deposing then-president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi. Aziz went on to win elections in 2009 and 2014.

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[l] at 8/6/20 2:41pm
Rally in the Streets Tensions were high Thursday in Cocody, as Ivorian police patrolled the streets of Abidjan after breaking up pro-Gbagbo demonstrations unhappy that the name of their leader had been removed from the electoral list. Earlier that same morning, the access to the Boulevard Latrille leading to the headquarters of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was closed by the police. The same goes for the road to the Abidjan zoo which links the electoral institution. The determined supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, from the hard wing of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) had set up road barricades to disrupt traffic and were dispersed - without major incident, by the security forces. Situational Background Three months before the next presidential election, Gbagbo, who was acquitted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and is conditionally free in Brussels, applied for his passport to return to Cote d’Ivoire The name of the former Ivorian head of state does not appear on the electoral roll as he is still waiting for his passport to be issued due to a 20-year prison sentence by the Ivorian courts. His supporters in Abidjan opposed the removal of his name from the voters' list demonstrated today in Abidjan.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Kizzi Asala)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 8/6/20 1:46pm
Focus on Africa Africa's largest mobile operator, and South African telecom giant MTN, announced Thursday it would pull out of the Middle East the medium term to concentrate on its pan-African strategy resolving to simplify its portfolio and exit its Middle Eastern assets in an orderly fashion. The group will scrap its interim dividend under a blueprint to navigate the coronavirus pandemic - which posed an unprecedented socio and macroeconomic challenge rendering trading conditions difficult. CEO, Rob Shuter, mentioned strong results during the COVID-19 period in his statement, singling out great performances in Nigeria, Ghana and homebase South Africa. The company which was founded in 1994, lists operations in Sudan, Syria, Yemen and - as well as Iran and Afghanistan in its Middle East file. The first step towards its new entrepreneurial direction is to sell its 75% stake in MTN Syria. A key undertaking about which the company is already in advanced talks. Out of the Middle East Among reasons for divesting from the region, he cited losing money on falling regional currencies, the Middle East’s volatile geopolitics, and problems with Western sanctions, though he did not mention Iran specifically.U.S. sanctions have made it harder to repatriate cash from its Iran joint venture. MTN’s entry into the region has been marred by allegations, which it has denied, that it used bribes to win a 15-year operating licence in Iran and also that it aided militant groups in Afghanistan. The company’s Middle East assets contributed less than 4% to group earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization in the first half ended June 30.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Kizzi Asala)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 8/6/20 11:29am
When it Rains it Pours Downpours this past week in the south-eastern state of Blue Nile, Sudan, caused a dam to burst and collapse on July 29th potentially compromising access to water for over 84,000 people. The Sudanese Civil Defense reported on Thursday that this incident caused the consequent damage - and in some cases total destruction, of around 3000 homes. It appears some 1,800 homes were completely destroyed while just over 1,500 were partially ruined. At least 10 people have lost their lives while many displaced Sudanese seek shelter amid the deadly floods. In addition, 21 schools and eight mosques have been washed away and on Wednesday, the UN declared 50,000 people impacted by the situation. An overwhelmed local shared, "Now this flood has come and destroyed this country, and the governor came and said that he would bring sand to cover the water, but until now no truck carrying sand has come, and they brought us tents, which are failing." The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated that the heavy rains have not only caused flooding but also landslides and damages to infrastructure in 14 of the country's 18 states. Annual Rainy Season It is typical for Sudan to experience intense rainfall from June to October and the country faces major floods each year. In 2019, torrential rains had affected 400,000 people throughout the season, according to a spokesman for OCHA in Sudan. 

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Kizzi Asala)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 8/6/20 11:23am
COVID-19 Pandemic rundown on the African continent by way of countries, Gambia, Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa, apparently in a state of crisis. The Gambia Declared a state of emergency, by President Adama Barrow, setting a nationwide curfew starting Thursday to last 21 days in light of the 60% rise in cases to nearly 800 over the last week. Places of worship and schools will close and the nation’s popular tourism industry will be halted only permitting workers and businesses considered essential - persons on official COVID-19 duties, ambulances and public officials, such as to carry on their activities. Schools are also declared closed while grocery stores, markets and banks will remain open. Mozambique Mozambique, also in the thick of a crisis as President Filipe Nyusi announced a 1-month health emergency starting Friday night - the second one since the onset of the pandemic with 2,079 recorded cases and 15 deaths. Gradual reopening post-lockdown is scheduled for the end of August through to October. Phase one starts August 18th with the resumption of classes at higher education institutions, military academies and technical training institutes. Religious gatherings will be allowed but limited to 50 people. The number of people at funerals will be raised to 50 from 20, except if the deceased died of Covid-19, in which case the number of attendants remains at 10. The second phase will start in September with cinemas, casinos and gyms potentially reopening. The third phase should start in October with final-year students in secondary schools resuming classes. Bars will remain indefinitely closed. Botswana Likewise in Botswana, liquor stores will remain closed as all liquor licenses have been suspended and the sale of alcohol prohibited. A sanitary measure taken by the government to contain the spread of the virus in the wake of the nation’s capital, Gaborone, back in a two-week lockdown - for the second time, starting Friday. Health Minister, Dr Lemogang Kwape felt it necessary to reinstate another confinement after virus infections doubled this week. Schools are now closed in the city and movement is restricted, requiring permits by anyone other than essential workers. With 804 confirmed cases and 2 deaths - majority along the border and most of them foreigners, the nation has been relatively unscathed by the virus, compared to its neighbour below. South Africa The worst-hit on the continent, with confirmed cases approaching half a million as it also copes with COVID-related corruption. President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned that officials and businesses who seek to capitalise off the pandemic through deviant schemes in the manufacturing and sale of face masks, distribution of food parcels and siphoning funds fraudulently through supposed health campaigns, will be harshly dealt with. South Africa has the highest number of cases of COVID-19 on the continent and the fifth-highest in the world, having reported over half a million infections and nearly 9,000 deaths. Africa counts almost a million total cases with the majority leading to recoveries and just around 21,000 deaths 

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Kizzi Asala)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 8/6/20 5:59am
The African American Film Critics Association announced the recipients of the second annual event on Wednesday. The virtual ceremony is scheduled to air on Aug. 22. Viola Davis, Sterling K. Brown and LeBron James are among several honorees at the AAFCA TV Honors later this month. Davis will be honored for best actress for her role on ABC's "How To Get Away with Murder." Brown will receive best actor recognition for his character on NBC's "This Is Us." The docuseries chronicling the first year of LeBron James’ launch of the I Promise School in his hometown, will receive the organization’s inaugural award for short film. HBO's "Insecure" will take home the comedy award, while Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's "For Life" was given best drama. Kenya Barris will be presented the TV Icon award for his contributions to television with his creating of ABC's "black-ish" and "#blackAF" on Netflix. Rashida Jones will present him the award. LeBron James’docuseries will receive the organization’s inaugural award for short film.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Afolake Oyinloye)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 8/6/20 4:47am
The price of hydroxychloroquine skyrockets in sub sahara African countries amid COVID 19. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, there have been claims that hydroxychloroquine can help in preventing and treatment the deadly virus, and since it’s been a valuable object that is trafficked. Chloroquine is well known in Africa and was one of the most widely prescribed anti-malaria drugs until the 1980s. But it is no longer authorised on the continent by the WHO. However, attempts are made to produce the drug locally, highlighting the flaws of the drug market in West Africa. In Nigeria, chloroquine in a 250 mg dosage can be sold, and prices have soared in the last four months. A packet of 60 tablets has gone from $8 to $194 in pharmacies. Despite the legal battle on illicit drugs in the sub-region, the traffic is on the increase. In Cameroon, a network of counterfeit chloroquine manufacturers were arrested in Bafoussam in March 2020. Several were recently seized in Niger, Mali and Côte d'Ivoire.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Afolake Oyinloye)] [Link to media]

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[l] at 8/6/20 1:35am
The devastation of Beirut's port area Investigators probing the deadly blast that ripped across the city are focused on possible negligence. Tons of highly explosive fertilizer were stored in a waterfront warehouse for the last six years. Several port officials are now under house arrest. The area close to the centre of the blast remains sealed off - rescuers haven't given up searching the rubble - around 100 people are still missing. The destruction caused by the blast was so extensive that Beirut's governor says 300,000 people have been made homeless . Many are trying to salvage what they can. Volunteers have poured onto the streets of Beirut to help clear up the devastation while others have been visiting the worst affected areas in a state of shock. A number of countries have offered humanitarian assistance. Three French planes with 55 rescuers and supplies have been sent.The EU also plans to send search and rescue equipment. But food is also needed -Lebanon imports everything and with its port gone food security is a worry. Immediately following the explosion there was chaos as Beirut's hospitals - already struggling with the pandemic they were overwhelmed . Three were knocked out and remain closed. The Saint Georges hospital near the site of the explosion was badly damaged and several members of staff were killed. It was forced to transfer patients to other hospitals and clinics. "There is damage all over the five floors. Since last night we have been evacuating the ill to a field downstairs and we are just giving them primary care." says Dr. Kamal Haddad of Saint George Hospital. A two week state of emergency had been declared and funds made available but recovering from the blast will take much more.

[Author: editorial@africanews.com (Afolake Oyinloye)] [Link to media]

As of 8/9/20 1:24pm. Last new 8/9/20 1:24pm.

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