Daily Archives: April 14, 2019

Ivanka Trump In Africa For Women’s Economic Summit

Ivanka Trump arrived in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, Sunday for a summit on African women’s economic inclusion and empowerment.

President Donald Trump’s daughter and senior adviser visited a coffee shop and textile company in Addis Ababa. She is there to promote a $50 million initiative enacted by her father in February that is aimed at encouraging women’s employment in developing countries.

The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative says it hopes to “reach 50 million women by 2025, through the work of the the United States Government and its partners.”

“Fundamentally, we believe that investing in women is a smart development policy and it is a smart business,” Ivanka Trump said after sampling coffee at a traditional Ethiopian ceremony. “It’s also in our security interest, because women, when we’re empowered, foster peace and stability.”

It was not immediately clear if the controversy that surrounds the U.S. president will follow his daughter to Africa. The president has not been kind in his remarks about Africa and its migrants.

“I don’t think people will have a good feeling” Ethiopian journalist Sisay Woubshet said about the president’s daughter visit to the continent.

Marakle Tesfaye, an activist, said, however, “I think she’s coming genuinely to empower women and it’s good that she’s coming because she will push forward our agenda.”

Ivanka Trump will also meet with meet with Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed before going on to Ivory Coast, where she will attend a meeting on economic opportunities for women in West Africa.

She is also scheduled to an make an appearance at a World Bank policy summit.

Source: Voice of America

Sudan Protest Group Calls for Civilian Government

CAIRO, EGYPT Sudan’s main protest organizers have called for the immediate handover of power to a civilian government in the wake of the military coup that ousted President Omar al-Bashir last week.

On Sunday, the military council said it would name a civilian prime minister and Cabinet to help run the country but would not name a civilian to the office of the president.

A military spokesman also said the council would not stop the demonstrations that are continuing. It remains to be seen if the announcement will satisfy the protesters who have demanded the council “immediately and unconditionally” transfer power to a civilian government.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which has led calls for a civilian government, has urged more demonstrations until its demands are met.

The demonstrations against longtime leader al-Bashir led to his removal by the military last week.

The protests began December 19, with demonstrators accusing al-Bashir’s government of economic mismanagement that has sparked skyrocketing food prices, and fuel and foreign currency shortages.

Sudan’s defense minister, Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, said a transitional military council will run the government for the next two years.

The leader of that council, Lieutenant General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, said Saturday he is committed to transferring power to a civilian government within two years. He also ordered the release of all prisoners jailed under emergency laws ordered by the ousted president.

Al-Bashir, who came to power in an Islamist coup in 1989, imposed a nationwide state of emergency February 22 in an attempt to suppress the protests after an initial crackdown failed. The government said weeks ago that 31 people had been killed, but the group Physicians for Human Rights estimates the death toll is at least 60.

Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in connection with atrocities in the western region of Darfur.

Source: Voice of America

S. African ANC Confident Of Winning Upcoming Elections

CAPE TOWN, S. Africa, African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General, Ace Magashule voiced confidence that his party would win the upcoming elections.

Magashule was speaking, as he kicked off a two-day campaign in Cape Town, Western Cape Province, which is administered by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).

Of the nine provinces in the country, the Western Cape is the only province that is not run by the ANC.

The ANC, he said, can make inroads into places under the DA administration after the elections.

South Africa will hold the general elections on May 8, to elect a new National Assembly and provincial legislatures in each province. The elections, the sixth since the end of apartheid in 1994, will determine who will become the next president.

Addressing people’s concern over housing and electricity, Magashule said, the ANC is in a better position to solve these problems.

Magashule brushed aside corruption allegations against him, saying he was focusing on the elections.

There were people who were trying to distract the ANC and deviate its attention and focus on the elections, he said.

Allegations against him and other ANC leaders won’t have any impact on the governing party, Magashule said.

Magashule has been embroiled in corruption scandals, exposed by a newly published book, Gangster State, which centres around Magashule’s alleged involvement in years of corruption, while he was Free State premier.

Magashule has denied any wrongdoing during his time as Free State premier and vowed to take legal action against the book author.

Source: NAM News Network

Seychelles President’s Underwater Plea: Protect Our Oceans

DESROCHES ISLAND, SEYCHELLES In a striking speech delivered from deep below the ocean’s surface, the Seychelles president Sunday made a global plea for stronger protection of the beating blue heart of our planet.

President Danny Faure’s call for action, the first-ever live speech from an underwater submersible, came from one of the many island nations threatened by global warming.

He spoke during a visit to an ambitious British-led science expedition exploring the Indian Ocean depths. Oceans cover more than two-thirds of the world’s surface but remain, for the most part, uncharted. We have better maps of Mars than we do of the ocean floor, Faure said.

This issue is bigger than all of us, and we cannot wait for the next generation to solve it. We are running out of excuses to not take action, and running out of time, the president said from a manned submersible 400 feet (121 meters) below the waves, on the seabed off the outer islands of the African nation.

Wearing a Seychelles T-shirt and shorts, the president told The Associated Press after his speech that the experience was so, so cool. What biodiversity. It made him more determined than ever to speak out for marine protection, he said.

We just need to do what needs to be done, he said. The scientists have spoken.

Role of oceans underestimated

The oceans’ role in regulating climate and the threats they face are underestimated by many, even though as Faure pointed out they generate half of the oxygen we breathe. Scientific missions are crucial in taking stock of underwater ecosystems’ health.

Small island nations are among the most vulnerable to sea level rise caused by climate change. Land erosion, dying coral reefs and the increased frequency of extreme weather events threaten their existence.

During the expedition, marine scientists from the University of Oxford have surveyed underwater life, mapped large areas of the sea floor and gone deep with manned submersibles and underwater drones.

Little is known about the watery world below depths of 30 meters, the limit to which a normal scuba diver can go. Operating down to 500 meters, the scientists were the first to explore areas of great diversity where sunlight weakens and the deep ocean begins.

300 sub deployments

By the end of the mission, researchers expect to have conducted over 300 deployments, collected around 1,400 samples and 16 terabytes of data and surveyed about 25,000 square meters (269,100 sq. feet) of seabed using high-resolution multibeam sonar equipment.

The data will be used to help the Seychelles expand its policy of protecting almost a third of its national waters by 2020. The initiative is important for the country’s blue economy, an attempt to balance development needs with those of the environment.

From this depth, I can see the incredible wildlife that needs our protection, and the consequences of damaging this huge ecosystem that has existed for millennia, Faure said in his speech. Over the years, we have created these problems. We can solve them.

5% of oceans protected

Currently, only about 5% of the world’s oceans are protected. Countries have agreed to increase the area to 10% by 2020. But experts and environmental campaigners say between 30% and 50% of the oceans outside nations’ territorial waters should get protected status to ensure marine biodiversity.

Researchers hope their findings also will inform ongoing United Nations talks aimed at forging the first high seas conservation treaty, scheduled to conclude this year.

Environmental groups argue an international treaty is urgently needed because climate change, overfishing and efforts to mine the seabed for precious minerals are putting unsustainable pressure on marine life that could have devastating consequences for creatures on land as well.

Oceans will be one of the seven main themes of this year’s U.N. climate summit in Chile in December.

Scientists’ work just beginning

While scientists are nearing the end of their expedition, much of their work is just beginning.

In the next few months, researchers at Oxford will analyze the samples and video surveys and put them together with environmental data collected.

When we pull them together we can understand not just what we see in the areas that we’ve visited but what we might expect in other regions in the Seychelles, said Lucy Woodall, the mission’s chief scientist.

This is the first of a half-dozen regions the mission plans to explore before the end of 2022, when scientists will present their research at a summit on the state of the Indian Ocean. Billions of people live along the ocean’s shores in Africa and Asia.

Source: Voice of America

Airstrike Kills Deputy Leader of IS in Somalia

The deputy leader of the Islamic State group in Somalia has been killed in an airstrike, a Somali regional minister told VOA.

Abdisamad Mohamed Gallan, security Minister of the Puntland region, told VOA Somali the airstrike that killed Abdihakim Mohamed Ibrahim, known as Dhoqob, took place Sunday between the villages of Hol Anod and Hiriro.

Gallan said the strike hit the vehicle Dhoqob and another passenger were travelling in. He said both men were killed but the other person has not yet been identified.

“The vehicle was burned,” said a witness who didn’t want to be named.

IS Somalia is led by Sheikh Abdulkadir Mumin, a former scholar for al-Shabab. In October 2015 he defected from the group and pledged his allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Dhoqob was Mumin’s right-hand-man and has appeared in videos produced by the group. Mumin himself survived another airstrike in his mountainous hideout in Bari region in November 2017.

“Killing one of their top leaders will speed up their eradication,” Gallan said.

Puntland officials have not commented on who carried out the attack but the U.S. military in Africa has been conducting relentless strikes against militants in Somalia. This year alone, U.S. has carried out more than 30 airstrikes, all of them against al-Shabab.

IS has 200-300 men in Somalia according to experts. Al-Shabab and IS have recently been fighting in the eastern mountainous areas since December last year.

Al-Shabab has vowed to eliminate its rival IS, accusing it of “dividing the jihadists.” Security officials told VOA Somali that IS has lost some of its territory to al-Shabab.

Source: Voice of America