• Omicron COVID variant threat: South Korea to restrict visa issuance, arrivals from 8 African countries
    Seoul [South Korea]: South Korea’s government restricted on Sunday the issuance of visas and travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe amid the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, Yonhap news agency reported. Travellers from these countries will have to undergo a 10-day compulsory quarantine at a special facility and will have to conduct three PCR tests. Multiple countries worldwide have suspended travel from southern Africa amid the spread of the new coronavirus variant. The variant was identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday as one of concern, as it is reported to carry a high number of mutations — 32 — which possibly makes it more transmissible and dangerous. The WHO has dubbed it Omicron, the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.
  • Sudanese army repels attack by Ethiopian troops with casualties on both sides
    Khartoum [Sudan]: The Sudanese Armed Forces say an attack by Ethiopian soldiers and armed groups was repelled on Saturday in the border area between the two countries.According to a statement from the Sudanese military, obtained by Sputnik, the attempted incursion by Ethiopian forces and allied militia led to casualties on both sides. The Sudan Tribune reported on Saturday that the Sudanese army had repelled an attempt by the Ethiopian troops and the Amhara militia to push deep into Sudan, as part of an operation against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).Earlier this month, the Ethiopian parliament declared a six-month state of emergency throughout the country to protect the population from the TPLF rebels who are advancing toward the country’s capital Addis Ababa despite a ceasefire agreement signed this spring.A number of Western publications have reported that nine Ethiopian opposition factions formed a new alliance at the beginning of the month with the aim of replacing the current government and establishing a transitional governing body. The alliance allegedly includes large anti-government forces, including the TPLF and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which Addis Ababa considers terrorist groups. An agreement to form the alliance was reportedly signed in Washington.The Russian Foreign Ministry said this week that Russia and the African Union (AU) were calling for an urgent ceasefire on both sides of the intra-Ethiopian conflict and the restoration of humanitarian access to the regions affected by […]
  • New Variant: South African medical association says Omicron variant causes ‘mild disease’
    Johannesburg [South Africa): The new Omicron variant of the coronavirus results in mild disease, without prominent syndromes, Angelique Coetzee, the chairwoman of the South African Medical Association, told Sputnik on Saturday. The World Health Organization (WHO) identified on Friday the new South African strain as one of concern, as it is reported to carry a high number of mutations — 32 — which possibly makes it more transmissible and dangerous. The WHO has dubbed it Omicron, the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.“It presents mild disease with symptoms being sore muscles and tiredness for a day or two not feeling well. So far, we have detected that those infected do not suffer loss of taste or smell. They might have a slight cough. There are no prominent symptoms. Of those infected some are currently being treated at home,” Coetzee said The official noted that hospitals have not been overburdened by Omicron patients and that the new strain is not been detected in vaccinated persons. At the same time, the situation might be different for the unvaccinated. “We will only know this after two weeks. Yes, it is transmissible, but for now, as medical practitioners, we do not know why so much hype is being driven as we are still looking into it. We will only know after two to three weeks as there are some patients admitted and these are young people aged 40 […]
  • South African Minister calls travel bans by countries over variant ‘Omicron’ as unjustified
    Cape Town [South Africa]: South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla on Friday termed the countries’ decision of imposing restrictions on travellers from the country amid concerns over the detection of ‘Omicron’ COVID-19 variant as ‘unjustified’ and said there is no proof that the new COVID variant is more dangerous or resistant to vaccines.The reaction came after the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as ‘Omicron’ and alarmed the siren among countries of the new variant. As reported by Sputnik, Joe Phaahla said that the reaction of countries in Europe and other regions to the emergence of a new coronavirus strain is “unjustified,” as currently there is no proof that it is more dangerous or resistant to vaccines.“We want to assure South Africans and other people elsewhere in the world that we believe some of the reactions has actually been unjustified, referring here specifically to the reaction of countries in Europe, the UK, a number of other countries,” Joe Phaahla said.“The reaction of some countries in terms of imposing travel bans and such measures are completely against the norms and standards as guided by the World Health Organization,” the Health Minister added.As reported by Sputnik, the minister said that while the new strain has been detected and is proven to be highly mutated, there is still no proof that it is more […]
  • At least 43 people killed, 46 villages burned, looted in Sudan’s Darfur region
    Khartoum [Sudan], November 25 (ANI/Xinhua): At least 43 people were killed and 46 villages were burned and looted in Sudan’s West Darfur State, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan (OCHA) said on Thursday. “On Nov. 17, conflict broke out between Arab nomads and farmers from the Misseriya Jebel tribe in West Darfur’s Jebel Moon locality,” the OCHA said in a statement.“Initial reports indicate that at least 43 people have been killed, 46 villages have been burned and looted, and an unknown number of people were injured due to the ongoing fighting,” it added. (ANI/Xinhua)
  • Top UN envoy for Libya resigns
    New York [US]: The top UN envoy for Libya, Jan Kubis, has resigned, one month before crucial elections in the war-torn country, a UN spokesman confirmed Tuesday.“I can tell you that Mr Kubis has tendered his resignation and the secretary-general has accepted it with regret,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “The secretary-general is working on an appropriate replacement. We are all fully aware of the electoral calendar and are working as quickly as possible to ensure continuity of leadership,” Dujarric told a daily press briefing.Kubis is not leaving his post immediately and is expected to brief the Security Council on the situation in Libya on Wednesday, said the spokesman, who refused to say how long Kubis will stay.
  • Two out of 17 missionaries kidnapped in Haiti released
    Washington [US]: Two of the 17 US and Canadian citizens, members of the religious organization Christian Aid Ministries, abducted in Haiti in October, have been released, the charity says.“We have learned that two of the hostages in Haiti were released. We praise God for this! Only limited information can be provided, but we are able to report that the two hostages who were released are safe, in good spirits, and being cared for,” Christian Aid Ministries said in a Sunday statement. At the end of October, a police source confirmed to the Nouvelliste newspaper that the kidnapped missionaries were alive and that FBI agents were helping with efforts to free the hostages.“We encourage you to continue to pray for the full resolution of this situation. While we rejoice at this release, our hearts are with the fifteen people who are still being held,” Christian Aid Ministries said on Sunday.A group of 16 US citizens and one Canadian national was en route to an orphanage when a gang abducted them not far from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince last month. Christian Aid Ministries said the abducted included five men, seven women and five children.According to media reports, the kidnappers are presumably members of a local armed group called 400 Mawozo, notorious for extorting businesses and demanding ransoms from kidnapped victims.On October 19, the Wall Street Journal reported that the abductors set a $17 million ransom […]
  • Over 1.8 mln square metres of land cleared of landmine in Angola’s Lunda Sul
    Luanda [Angola]: More than 1.8 million square metres of land was cleared from landmines in 2021 in Lunda Sul province, Angola, the National Institute for Demining announced on Wednesday.According to the head of the department of the Institution Jose Dumba, the demining actions were done in agricultural areas and in the construction site of new infrastructures in Saurimo, the capital of Lunda Sul province. The official explained that during the process, 1,524 unexploded ordnance devices were removed, with emphasis on anti-tank mines, anti-personnel, grenades, PRG, unexploded ordnance, 60 and 80 MM projectiles, cannon, large and small ammunition cartridges, fuses, and various metals.He underlined that the institution is doing demining work throughout the entire length of Lunda Sul province.Dumba added that the clearing of the areas will allow the increase of cultivation areas and free movement of people and goods with greater security.On the occasion, he appealed to the citizens to continue to alert the authorities about the suspicious areas, to prevent accidents caused by the handling of unexploded ordnance.
  • African Presidents commend intra-African trade fair
    Durban [South Africa] : Addressing delegates at the Intra-African Trade Fair hosted in Durban, South Africa, the President of the Republic, Cyril Ramaphosa, said the event was more about building bridges, with its sole purpose being to bring governments closer together.Ramaphosa said the African Continental Free Trade Agreement was bringing together all countries in the region under one banner. He said the idea behind partnerships such as IAFTF and the ACFTA was to advance trade. “Our mission as Africans is to advance trade in our continent. Goods, products and services exhibited at this event represent all the African countries. Its success rests on its participants. The ACFTA must try to connect all the regions and deepen economic integration. This trade fair is about building bridges. It’s about connecting countries. It brings together governments, investors, buyers and manufacturers from more than 55 African countries,” Ramaphosa told the trade fair.Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the continent valuable lessons. He said it was imperative for Africa to unite and foster trade among itself.“This has had an adverse impact on health, food, water security as well as socio-economic problems in the respective countries. This African trade fair provides good packaged utilities across the continent. It stimulates industrial investment and economic reciprocation. This allows Africans to showcase their vast investment utilities as national states, investors and participants let us use this,” Mnangagwa said.Zambian President […]
  • Son of slain Libyan dictator Gaddafi to run for president
    Tripoli [Libya] : Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, son of Libya’s former dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi will be running for the post of president, according to officials.He registered as a presidential candidate for the December 24 election, an official from the electoral commission said, reported The Jerusalem Post. Earlier in an interview with the New York Times in July 2021, Saif al-Gaddafi had said that he wanted to “restore the lost unity” of Libya.The 49-year-old, who before 2011 had been seen as his father’s presumed successor, said politicians in the decade since have brought Libyans “nothing but misery”.In 2011, after four decades in power, Muammar Gaddafi and his relatives were targeted in a popular uprising. Three of the dictator’s seven sons were killed in the uprising.Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi was captured by a Libyan militia in November 2011, days after his father was killed.Four years later, a Tripoli court sentenced him in absentia to death for crimes committed during the revolt. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has repeatedly asked for him to be handed over for trial.For years, the mystery had surrounded the precise whereabouts of a man wanted for war crimes by the ICC, reported France24.Until the interview, Saif had not been seen or heard from since June 2014, when he appeared via video link from Zintan in the west of the North African country during his trial by the Tripoli court, reported France24.
  • Cuba threatens to sue Facebook over political manipulation
    Havana [Cuba]: The Cuban foreign minister threatened on Wednesday to take legal action against Facebook, alleging that the social media network ignored groups trying to manipulate public opinion on the island.Bruno Rodriguez said that the digital platform hosted groups of people residing outside Cuba, specifically in the US, who altered algorithms and geotags to simulate their large presence in Cuba to influence opinions and destabilize the Cuban society. “As has already happened in other parts of the world, Facebook can be sued for these practices against Cuba in strict adherence to the law,” Rodriguez told foreign diplomats accredited to Havana.The minister accused the US-based social media company of fostering an atmosphere of hatred, discrimination and racial intolerance that undermined the Caribbean island’s right for self-determination.
  • Sudan’s military chief says will not partake in government after transition period
    Khartoum [Sudan] : Sudanese Commander of the Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said in an interview with Al Jazeera that he would not partake in any government following the transition period.The remark came as demonstrations against c continue in the capital of Khartoum and several other cities, adding to the political crisis in the country. “We are committed to handing over power to a civilian government of national competency and we pledge to preserve the transition from any interference that can hinder it,” al-Burhan said on Sunday, reiterating commitment to completing the democratic transition and holding elections on time.The military chief also said that talks were currently underway with political parties and other figures on reaching a consensus to form a new government.Commenting on violence during protests, al-Burhan said that Sudanese soldiers did not kill demonstrators, noting that investigations were already launched into the deaths reported at the anti-coup rallies.“[We are] committed to not stopping any political activity as long as it is peaceful, and within the bounds of the constitutional declaration and the parts that have not been suspended,” al-Burhan said, adding that people have the right to protest peacefully.On October 25, Sudanese military detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and several other cabinet ministers, prompting hundreds of people to take to the streets to protest the military takeover. The head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, al-Burhan, declared a state of emergency and […]
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