Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias participates in the 3rd International Conference on the reconstruction of Lebanon (04. 08. 2021)

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, representing Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was unable to attend due to the forest fires in Greece, participated earlier today, via video conference, in the 3rd International Conference of Heads of State and Governments in support of the Lebanese people.

The conference was co-chaired by the French President and the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

In his remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs underlined the importance that our country attaches to the stability and development of the wider region, as well as the continuous support to our Lebanese friends.

In this context, Mr. Dendias pointed out that Greece will contribute to supporting the Greek Orthodox hospital of Saint George in Beirut.

He underscored that the Greek side will draw up a plan for the reconstruction of the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which suffered extensive damage in last year’s devastating explosion in the port of Beirut.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs also underlined the importance that our country attaches to the support of the Institute of Theology at the University of Balamand. In this context, he reiterated the feasibility of reinstating the Greek language’s status as a language of instruction at this University, as was the case in the past.

It is reminded that Greece was the first country to respond to Lebanon’s call for aid following the devastating explosion in the port of Beirut.

In this context, a Greek Special Disaster Unit (EMAK) team, accompanied by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kostas Fragogiannis travelled to Beirut the day after the explosion that took place exactly one year ago.

Public Schedule – August 5, 2021

SECRETARY ANTONY J. BLINKEN

7:00 a.m. Secretary Blinken participates in the Virtual Friends of the Mekong Ministerial.

(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

2:30 p.m. Secretary Blinken meets with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, at the Department of State.

(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY AT TOP)

The camera spray will be live streamed on https://www.youtube.com/user/statevideo.

DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE WENDY R. SHERMAN

Deputy Secretary Sherman attends meetings and briefings, from the Department of State.

DEPUTY SECRETARY FOR MANAGEMENT AND RESOURCES BRIAN P. MCKEON

Deputy Secretary McKeon attends meetings and briefings, from the Department of State.

UNDER SECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS VICTORIA J. NULAND

Under Secretary Nuland is on travel to South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, and Niger from August 2-6, 2021.

Source: US State Department

Rwanda Troops in Mozambique Claim Progress Against Jihadists

Rwandan forces in Mozambique, deployed less than a month ago to help battle jihadists, said Thursday they have scored successes in driving out the militants wreaking havoc in the country’s gas-rich north.

The forces last week helped the Mozambique army regain control of Awasse — a small but strategic settlement near the key town of Mocimboa da Praia seized by militants in August last year.

“We are progressing well in Cabo Degaldo province,” Rwanda Defense Force spokesman colonel Ronald Rwivanga told AFP via phone text.

“We have registered successes on two fronts and are closing in Mocimboa da Praia,” he added, referring to the port town that has been occupied by the militants since August 12, 2020.

The town, from where the first Islamist attacks were staged in October 2017, has since last year become the de-facto headquarters of the IS-linked extremists.

Mozambican military forces have been struggling to regain control over the province, which is home to one of Africa’s biggest liquefied natural gas projects.

Rwanda said the insurgents had fled Awasse to other small towns near Mocimboa da Praia “but we are closing in on” them.

Rwanda’s 1,000-strong force deployed on July 9, following an April visit to Kigali by Mozambican leader Filipe Nyusi.

Weeks after Rwanda rolled in, neighboring countries, under the aegis of the 16-member regional bloc Southern African Development Community (SADC) started sending in troops.

Botswana became the first SADC country to send in boots on July 26, deploying 296 soldiers. President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who chairs SADC’s defense and security arm, has been outspoken on the urgent need for regional stability.

Regional powerhouse and immediate neighbor, South Africa announced on July 28 it would deploy 1,495 soldiers.

A day later, Zimbabwe unveiled plans to dispatch 304 non-combatant soldiers to train Mozambique’s infantry battalions.

Angola will deploy, from August 6, 20 specialized military air force personnel while Namibia will contribute N$5.8 million (about $400,000) towards the anti-insurgency offensive.

The European Union on July 12 formally established a military mission for Mozambique to help train its armed forces battling the jihadists.

Former colonial ruler Portugal is already providing training for Mozambican troops, with Lisbon’s military instructors expected to make up half of the new EU mission.

Source: Voice of America

MEC Vusi Mkhatshwa convenes Finance MUNIMEC, 5 Aug

MEC Mkhatshwa convenes Finance MUNIMEC

The MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mr Vusi Mkhatshwa, will today [Thursday, 05 August 2021] convene a virtual Finance MUNIMEC meeting.

The Finance MUNIMEC is attended by the Members of Mayoral Committees for Finance and aims to ensure sound financial and administrative implementation of municipal finance mandate in the Province. The forum will, amongst others, discuss the state of finances and readiness of municipalities for the 2020/21 regulatory and performance information audit.

MEC Mkhatshwa has committed to working with all stakeholders to improve financial performance and governance in all PFMA and MFMA institutions in the Province.

Source: Government of South Africa

App Helps Kenyans with Emergencies

As crime rates in Kenya shot up during the coronavirus pandemic, a Kenyan developer who was a crime victim himself created a mobile application to help people alert police about emergencies. The application has been so successful that Kenya’s police force has adopted it.

At Kenya’s national police command and control center, officers are monitoring the movement of the public. While the technology helps in catching suspected criminals, the increase of crime during the pandemic is overwhelming this technology.

But a mobile application created by a Kenyan developer Vincent Awino is helping to meet this challenge. Called “Upesy,” meaning “quick” in Swahili, Awino’s mobile app enables crime victims to raise alerts to police or security firms.

“It’s on your phone, meaning it’s mobile,” Awino said. “The response comes to you anywhere you are. It’s not fixed because we have a large network of providers. All the user needs to do is go on the phone and trigger an alert or click the phone’s power button at least four times in order to get an emergency.”

Kenyan authorities say some members of the public don’t report suspected criminals, fearing retaliation. But technology such as this can help apprehend criminals.

“We endeavor to use technology to fight crime and any application that can assists in reporting track criminals will be implemented,” said Charles Koskei, deputy police spokesperson of Kenya’s police service. “Technology is key in fighting crime that’s why we are able to track some of the criminals.”

Anthony Murithi, who lives with disabilities, is among the millions of Kenyans who could be targeted by criminals as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt livelihoods.

“As a person with a disability, my security is to a large extent compromised,” he said. “I cannot put up a fight, so I need something that is going to give me … like to be there for me in case of any danger.”

In a 2021 report, the United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice found that the pandemic is putting a strain on authorities’ capacity to detect, prevent and combat crime.

Kenya’s security officials hope that technology will make a difference in crime prevention.

Source: Voice of America