Thank you. Thank you so much. Just think about it. There were 109 mayors, and the Juneteenth flag was never raised here at Bowling Green.  In 2022, when I became the mayor of the City of New York, this location where slaves were traded and families were ripped apart, and I traveled to the continent of Africa and stood on the shores of Senegal and looked out from Gorée Island, realizing that my ancestors left Africa in slavery, I returned with the mayoralty.  That's the greatness of our resiliency as African Americans and what we represent, and why it's so significant to raise this flag. It's also significant not only to raise the flag, but to do an acknowledgement of our ancestors on how we got here. Look at where we are, people of African ancestry.  Right now, you have a mayor of the most important city on the... Read more

Community Op-Ed: The State of Our City: You Can Make It Here

Last week, in the Bronx, the borough where hip hop was born, I reported to New Yorkers on the state of our city. When our administration came into office 24 months ago, we had a clear mission: protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make this city more livable for New Yorkers. Two years in, we are seeing real results. Crime is down, jobs are up, and every day we are delivering for the hard-working people of New York. We took 14,000 illegal guns off our streets and drove down shootings and homicides by double digits, while getting millions of people back on our subways. We created 270,000 private-sector jobs and set a first-of-its-kind minimum wage for deliveristas, as we worked with our brothers and sisters in labor to get them the pay and the benefits they deserve. We unlocked billions of dollars for public housing through the NYCHA Preservation... Read more

Nigeria: Africa’s biggest oil refinery begins production in Nigeria with the aim of reducing need for imports

Africa's biggest oil refinery has begun production in Nigeria, the company has said, ending a yearslong wait for a plant that analysts said Monday could boost refining capacity in a region heavily reliant on imported petroleum products. The $19 billion facility, which can produce 650,000 barrels per day, has started to produce diesel and aviation fuel, the Dangote Petroleum Refinery company reported Saturday. As Nigeria's first privately owned oil refinery, the project "is a game-changer for our country," it added. Nigeria is one of Africa's top oil producers but imports refined petroleum products for its use. The nation's oil and natural gas sector has struggled for many years, and most of its state-run refineries operate far below capacity because of poor maintenance. The Dangote refinery is "not a silver bullet" for Nigeria's energy crisis, according to Olufola Wusu, an oil and gas expert who was part of a team that... Read more

UN official: Humanitarian situation dire in Burkina Faso

The humanitarian situation in Burkina Faso has become so dire that some women and children have only eaten leaves and salt for weeks, a top U.N. official said after a one-day visit to the country. U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said his Thursday visit to the West African nation “left a deep impression.” “Growing insecurity and blockades in many areas have left communities cut off from the rest of the country and facing growing hunger. Aid workers are struggling to reach these people who need assistance,” he said in a statement. A quarter of Burkina Faso’s population - nearly 5 million people - is in need of emergency assistance. That’s 40% more than at the beginning of the year, Griffiths said, yet less than a third of the needed $805 million for the country’s response plan is funded. Burkina Faso has for years battled... Read more

Burkina Faso marks official end of French military operations on its soil

France and Burkina Faso have officially marked the end of French military operations in the West African nation, the Burkinabe armed forces said on Sunday, after a flag-lowering ceremony at the French special forces' camp a day earlier. In January, Burkina Faso gave France one month to withdraw its troops as it ended a military accord that allowed French troops to fight insurgents on its territory, citing a wish for the country to defend itself. Their departure marks a new chapter in Burkina's battle with Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, which have taken over large swathes of land and displaced millions of people in the wider Sahel region, just south of the Sahara. In a statement, the General Staff of the Burkinabe Armed Forces said it had participated with the leadership of France's Sabre special forces in "a solemn flag-lowering ceremony marking the official end of the Task... Read more

Pope says homosexuality not a crime, but a sin

Pope Francis criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are and called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church. “Being homosexual isn’t a crime,” Francis said during an exclusive interview Tuesday with The Associated Press. Francis acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalize homosexuality or discriminate against LGBTQ people, and he himself referred to the issue in terms of “sin.” But he attributed such attitudes to cultural backgrounds, and said bishops in particular need to undergo a process of change to recognize the dignity of everyone. “These bishops have to have a process of conversion,” he said, adding that they should apply “tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us.” Francis’ comments, which were hailed by gay rights advocates as a milestone, are the first uttered... Read more

2nd Oath Keepers Jan. 6 sedition trial to get underway

 After securing seditious conspiracy convictions against two leaders of the Oath Keepers, the Justice Department will begin Monday to try to make its Capitol riot case against four others affiliated with the far-right extremist group. Openings statements are expected in Washington’s federal court less than two weeks after Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, and Kelly Meggs, who led its Florida chapter, were convicted of seditious conspiracy for what prosecutors described as a violent plot to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory. The defendants facing jurors in the latest trial are Joseph Hackett, of Sarasota, Florida; Roberto Minuta of Prosper, Texas; David Moerschel of Punta Gorda, Florida; and Edward Vallejo of Phoenix. They are charged with several other felonies in addition to seditious conspiracy. While the Rhodes’ and Meggs’ verdicts were a major victory for the Justice Department, three of their co-defendants were acquitted of seditious conspiracy. The major question in... Read more

 77th Summit of the United Nations: West African leaders Advocated for Peace in the Sahel

 The 77th UN’s summit was held from September 20 to September 25, 2022, in New York City.  The big annual rendezvous was an opportunity for the world leaders to take a look at what is going on a tumultuous world and gave some “remedies” for world peace. As an example, the war in Ukraine has created an unprecedented division between great powers since the end of the cold war. And the terrorism in Africa becomes a difficult plague to deal with.  West African leaders has indeed pleaded for help to fight against terrorism in the continent. “Terrorism, which is giving ground in the continent is not only African matter. It is a global threat that falls under the primary responsibility of the council which is the guarantor of the collective security mechanism under the charter of our organization” has reminded Macky Sall, President of Senegal and African Union’s current president.  Therefore, he... Read more

Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a symbol of stability in a turbulent era that saw the decline of the British empire and disarray in her own family, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96. The palace announced she died at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland, where members of the royal family had rushed to her side after her health took a turn for the worse. A link to the almost-vanished generation that fought World War II, she was the only monarch most Britons have ever known. Her 73-year-old son Prince Charles automatically became king and will be known as King Charles III, it was announced. British monarchs in the past have selected new names upon taking the throne. Charles’ second wife, Camilla, will be known as the Queen Consort. A funeral was to be held after 10 days of official mourning. The BBC played the national anthem,... Read more

Leave it to Serena Williams to not want to go quietly, to not want this match, this trip to the U.S. Open, this transcendent career of hers, to really, truly end. Right down to what were, barring a change of heart, the final minutes of her quarter-century of excellence on the tennis court, and an unbending unwillingness to be told what wasn’t possible, Williams tried to mount one last classic comeback, earn one last vintage victory, with fans on their feet in a full Arthur Ashe Stadium, cellphone cameras at the ready. The 23-time Grand Slam champion staved off five match points to prolong the three-hours-plus proceedings, but could not do more, and was eliminated from the U.S. Open in the third round by Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1 on Friday night in what is expected to be her final contest. “I’ve been down before. ... I don’t really give up,” Williams said. “In my career,... Read more

Trump search: What may come next in inquiry with legal peril

A newly released FBI document helps flesh out the contours of an investigation into classified material at former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate. But plenty of questions remain, especially because half the affidavit, which spelled out the FBI’s rationale for searching the property, was blacked out. That document, which the FBI submitted so it could get a warrant to search Trump’s winter home, provides new details about the volume and top secret nature of what was retrieved from Mar-a-Lago in January. It shows how Justice Department officials had raised concerns months before the search that closely held government secrets were being illegally stored — and then returned in August with a court-approved warrant and located even more classified records at the property. It all raises questions whether a crime was committed and, if so, by whom. Answers may not come quickly. Trump search: What may come next in inquiry with legal peril By ERIC TUCKERyesterday     1... Read more

Russia’s war at 6 months: A global economy in growing danger

Martin Kopf needs natural gas to run his family’s company, Zinkpower GmbH, which rustproofs steel components in western Germany. Zinkpower’s facility outside Bonn uses gas to keep 600 tons of zinc worth 2.5 million euros ($2.5 million) in a molten state every day. The metal will harden otherwise, wrecking the tank where steel parts are dipped before they end up in car suspensions, buildings, solar panels and wind turbines. Six months after Russia invaded Ukraine, the consequences are posing a devastating threat to the global economy, including companies like Zinkpower, which employs 2,800 people. Gas is not only much more costly, it might not be available at all if Russia completely cuts off supplies to Europe to avenge Western sanctions, or if utilities can’t store enough for winter. Germany may have to impose gas rationing that could cripple industries from steelmaking to pharmaceuticals to commercial laundries. “If they say, we’re cutting you off,... Read more

Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade; states can ban abortion

 The Supreme Court on Friday stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion, a fundamental and deeply personal change for Americans’ lives after nearly a half-century under Roe v. Wade. The court’s overturning of the landmark court ruling is likely to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. The ruling, unthinkable just a few years ago, was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by an emboldened right side of the court fortified by three appointees of former President Donald Trump. Both sides predicted the fight over abortion would continue, in state capitals, in Washington and at the ballot box. Justice Clarence Thomas, part of Friday’s majority, urged colleagues to overturn other high court rulings protecting same-sex marriage, gay sex and the use of contraceptives. Pregnant women considering abortions already had been dealing with a near-complete ban in Oklahoma and a prohibition after roughly six weeks in Texas. Clinics... Read more

Shootings expose divisions on gun issue in faith communities

After a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, several pastors around the country challenged their conservative counterparts with this question: Are you pro-life if you are pro-gun? One of those faith leaders is the Rev. Steven Marsh, senior pastor of Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California. That’s where a gunman, who officials say was fueled by hate against Taiwan, opened fire on May 15 at a luncheon organized by members of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, killing one and injuring five others. “I’ve heard people tell me I’m not Christian because I’m pro-choice,” Marsh said. “I ask those people: How can you be pro-life and not support getting rid of assault rifles? You can’t pick and choose where you want to be pro-life.” Marsh’s emotional statement is a vignette in the larger narrative of a nation divided on how – or... Read more

Uvalde tells Biden to ‘do something’; he pledges ‘we will’

President Joe Biden grieved with the shattered community of Uvalde on Sunday, mourning privately for three hours with anguished families of the 19 schoolchildren and two teachers killed by a gunman. Faced with chants of “do something” as he departed a church service, Biden pledged: “We will.” At Robb Elementary School, Biden visited a memorial of 21 white crosses — one for each of those killed — and first lady Jill Biden added a bouquet of white flowers to those already placed in front of the school sign. The couple then viewed individual altars erected in memory of each student, the first lady touching the children’s photos as they moved along the row. After visiting the memorial, Biden attended Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where several victims’ families are members, and one of the families was in attendance. Speaking directly to the children in the congregation, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller tried to... Read more

Burkina Faso attempts uncertain dialogue with armed groups

In early April, the junta that overthrew elected president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré on 24 January announced the creation of “local dialogue committees” with Burkinabe groups with no links to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS), which have been destabilising Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso through violence for several years. In Burkina Faso alone, jihadist violence has killed more than 2,000 people in seven years and forced at least 1.8 million people to flee their homes. When the jihadist attacks began, the enemy “was essentially crossing borders,” notes François Zoungrana, commander of the Special Intervention Unit of the National Gendarmerie (USIGN), which is spearheading the fight against jihadism. “Currently, the enemy is essentially composed of Burkinabe citizens” and “is very often invisible and confused with the population”, he says, which “forces us to rethink the war, the way we wage war”. Dialogue committees These groups are “a kind of metastasis... Read more

In victory for Sankara’s legacy, court finds killers accountable

Thirty-five years after a counterrevolutionary coup in 1987, a court in Burkina Faso, West Africa, rendered guilty verdicts April 6 after a six-month trial for the assassination of President Thomas Sankara, and 12 of his comrades and guards. Blaise Compaore, along with his right-hand man Gen. Gilbert Diendere, and Hyacinthe Kafando, the soldier charged with leading the hit squad, were found guilty and sentenced to life in jail. Eight others were also found guilty and sentenced from three to 20 years in jail. Two had their sentences suspended. Three were acquitted. Compaore, who lives in exile in neighboring Ivory Coast, and Kafando, who is on the run, were tried in absentia. Diendere is already serving jail time for a 2015 coup attempt. He and others charged in the assassination were present at the trial. Sankara was 33 years old when he led a popular democratic revolution in 1983, one of... Read more

Russia’s Chernobyl seizure seen as nuclear risk ‘nightmare’

Here in the dirt of one of the world’s most radioactive places, Russian soldiers dug trenches. Ukrainian officials worry they were, in effect, digging their own graves. Thousands of tanks and troops rumbled into the forested Chernobyl exclusion zone in the earliest hours of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, churning up highly contaminated soil from the site of the 1986 accident that was the world’s worst nuclear disaster. For more than a month, some Russian soldiers bunked in the earth within sight of the massive structure built to contain radiation from the damaged Chernobyl nuclear reactor. A close inspection of their trenches was impossible because even walking on the dirt is discouraged. As the 36th anniversary of the April 26, 1986, disaster approaches and Russia’s invasion continues, it’s clear that Chernobyl — a relic of the Cold War — was never prepared for this. With scientists and others watching in... Read more

Ukraine hospital attack killed 3, wounded 17, officials say

An airstrike on a hospital in the port city of Mariupol killed three people, including a child, the city council said Thursday, as Russian forces intensified their siege of Ukrainian cities. The attack in the southern port city wounded women waiting to give birth and doctors and buried children in the rubble. Bombs also fell on two hospitals in another city west of the capital. The World Health Organization said it has confirmed 18 attacks on medical facilities since the Russian invasion began two weeks ago. Turkey, meanwhile, was hosting the highest-level talks so far between the two sides on Thursday. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he hoped the meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba “will open the door to a permanent cease-fire.” But Kuleba said he did not have high expectations. Ahead of those talks, artillery fire was heard on the western edge of... Read more

Russia-Ukraine War: What to know about the war in Ukraine

Minor progress has been made on establishing safe corridors to allow civilians to escape the fighting. A top Ukranian official says both sides agreed to a 12-hour-long cease-fire Tuesday for the evacuation of civilians from a key eastern city. Meanwhile, Russian aircraft continued to bomb cities in eastern and central Ukraine overnight, Ukrainian officials said. Shelling pounded suburbs of the capital, Kyiv. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is urging his people to keep resisting the assault, which United Nations officials say has forced more than 1.7 million to flee the country. Ukraine’s foreign minister says more than 20,000 people from 52 countries have volunteered to fight in Ukraine. The Russian coordination center for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine said Russia will begin a cease-fire at 10 a.m. Moscow time (0700 GMT) Tuesday to allow civilians to flee through special corridors that the Russians say was agreed upon with Ukrainian authorities, according to Russian media. Most of those corridors... Read more

Africans trying to flee Ukraine complain of being blocked and of racist treatment

African students trapped in Ukraine say they face extra challenges as they try to escape the war, including being blocked from getting off trains or barred from crossing borders to neighbouring countries. “My boyfriend is stuck in Ukraine and his phone is not reachable for the past two days. The last time we spoke he said he’s waiting for the train from Lviv to Poland, ” said a Nigerian woman who asked to go just by her first name, Precious. “He said they didn’t allow them to board the train. Only white people [could] and his phone had low battery so he had to go offline.” Roughly 20 per cent of Ukraine’s foreign students are African, including 4,000 Nigerians. African activists and students have been raising awareness of their plight through the Twitter hashtag #AfricansInUkraine, as well as creating group chats on WhatsApp and Telegram to organise assistance. At least one Telegram group... Read more

40-mile Russian convoy threatens Kyiv; shelling intensifies

 A 40-mile convoy of Russian tanks and other vehicles threatened Ukraine’s capital Tuesday, the sixth day of the war. But even as Russia intensified shelling of the country’s second-largest city, the Kremlin has found itself increasingly isolated by tough economic sanctions that have sent its currency plummeting. After a first, five-hour session of talks between Ukraine and Russia yielded no stop in the fighting, both sides agreed to another meeting in coming days. Ukraine’s embattled president, however, said he believed the stepped-up shelling was designed to force him into concessions. “I believe Russia is trying to put pressure (on Ukraine) with this simple method,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Monday in a video address. He did not offer details of the talks that took place Monday, but he said Kyiv was not prepared to make concessions “when one side is hitting another with rocket artillery.” Six days into the invasion, the... Read more

EU officials meet for emergency refugee talks

European Union foreign ministers are holding emergency talks later Sunday to discuss ways to help Ukraine’s armed forces fight back against the Russian invasion. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will chair the videoconference, starting at 1700 GMT. Borrell says he will urge the ministers to endorse “a package of emergency assistance for the Ukrainian armed forces, to support them in their heroic fight.” The 27-nation bloc has set up a European Peace Facility, a fund with a ceiling of around 5.7 billion euros ($6.4 billion), to bolster its military training and support missions around the world. Some of the money can be used to train and equip partner countries, including with lethal weapons. The meeting comes a day after Germany announced a major shift in policy to send weapons and other supplies directly to Ukraine. Read more

Russians advance on Ukraine’s ports, meet resistance in city

Street fighting broke out in Ukraine’s second-largest city and Russian troops squeezed strategic ports in the country’s south Sunday, advances that appeared to mark a new phase of Russia’s invasion following a wave of attacks on airfields and fuel facilities elsewhere in the country. The capital, Kyiv, was eerily quiet after huge explosions lit up the morning sky and authorities reported blasts at one of the airports. Only an occasional car appeared on a deserted main boulevard as a strict 39-hour curfew kept people off the streets. Terrified residents instead hunkered down in homes, underground garages and subway stations in anticipation of a full-scale Russian assault. “The past night was tough – more shelling, more bombing of residential areas and civilian infrastructure,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. “There is not a single facility in the country that the occupiers wouldn’t consider as admissible targets.” Following its gains to the east... Read more

Ukraine’s capital under threat as Russia presses invasion

Russia pressed its invasion of Ukraine to the outskirts of the capital Friday after unleashing airstrikes on cities and military bases and sending in troops and tanks from three sides in an attack that could rewrite the global post-Cold War security order. Explosions sounded before dawn in Kyiv and gunfire was reported in several areas, as Western leaders scheduled an emergency meeting and Ukraine’s president pleaded for international help to fend off an attack that could topple his democratically elected government, cause massive casualties and ripple out damage to the global economy. Among the signs that the Ukrainian capital was increasingly threatened, the military said Friday that a group of Russian spies and saboteurs was seen in a district on the outskirts of Kyiv, and police told people not to exit a subway station in the city center because there was gunfire in the area. Elsewhere in the capital, soldiers established defensive positions at... Read more

Russia attacks Ukraine as defiant Putin warns US, NATO

Russian troops launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday, as President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “consequences you have never seen.” Ukrainian border guards released footage of what they said were Russian military vehicles moving in, and big explosions were heard in the capital Kyiv, Kharkiv in the east and Odesa in the west. As the Russian military claimed to have wiped out Ukraine’s entire air defenses in a matter of hours, Ukrainians fled some cities and European authorities declared Ukrainian air space an active conflict zone. World leaders decried the start of a long-anticipated invasion with far-reaching consequences, as global financial markets plunged and oil prices soared. Russia’s actions could cause massive casualties, topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government and upend geopolitics and Europe’s post-Cold War security balance. Governments from the U.S. to Asia and Europe readied new sanctions after... Read more

Russia flexes military for Ukraine move; West to respond

 Russia set the stage for a quick move to secure its hold on Ukraine’s rebel regions on Tuesday with new legislation that would allow the deployment of troops there as the West prepares to announce sanctions against Moscow amid fears of a full-scale invasion. The new Russia bills, which are likely to be quickly rubber-stamped by the Kremlin-controlled parliament, came a day after President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of the regions in eastern Ukraine. The legislation could be a pretext for a deeper move into Ukrainian territory as the U.S. and its allies have feared. Quickly after Putin signed the decree late Monday, convoys of armored vehicles were seen rolling across the separatist-controlled territories. It wasn’t immediately clear if they were Russian. Russian officials haven’t yet acknowledged any troop deployments to the rebel east, but Vladislav Brig, a member of the separatist local council in Donetsk, told reporters that the Russian... Read more

Burkina Faso facing ‘multitude of challenges’ – human rights chief Bachelet

She noted the landlocked West African nation faced the on-going threat of violent extremism, climate change and humanitarian crises, but Michelle Bachelet also stressed that her fact-finding mission was “a testament” to the State’s openness the promotion and protection of human rights, in collaboration with the UN. Armed Islamist groups have killed hundreds of civilians there, as well as in Mali and Niger, while Government security forces and pro-Government militias have also killed terrorism suspects and civilians. Meanwhile, climate change is robbing farmers and herders of their livelihoods – sparking more conflicts and hindering access to water, food, healthcare and education. “An already difficult humanitarian situation has become much more dire, with more than 3.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance – a 60 per cent increase since January last year. Of these, nearly three million are food insecure”, she explained. ‘Incredible resilience’ Ms. Bachelet discussed the country’s complex challenges with President... Read more

Hundreds go missing in Burkina Faso amid extremist violence

The last time Polenli Combary spoke to her son on the phone she prayed for God to bless him. Shortly after, she called back but the line was dead. Her 34-year-old son was returning a truck used to move the family’s belongings from their village in eastern Burkina Faso after jihadis forced everyone to leave. He disappeared in March. “We will keep searching ... I’m just praying to God to have him back,” said Combary, 53, sitting despondently in the eastern city of Fada N’Gourma where she now lives. Islamic extremist violence is ravaging Burkina Faso, killing thousands and displacing more than 1 million people. And people are going missing. Reports of missing relatives quadrupled from 104 to 407 between 2019 and 2020, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which defines a missing person as someone whose whereabouts cannot be accounted for and requires state intervention. “With... Read more

African agriculture without African farmers

With the passing of the United Nations’ highly contested Food Systems Summit last month, the task of “feeding the world” has taken on a newfound urgency. But one point apparently lost on the summit’s attendees is that the project of “agricultural modernisation” which many of them have supported for decades is only making food insecurity worse in recent years, especially in Africa. Since the 2007-08 world food price crisis, Western governments and philanthropies, led by the United States and the Gates Foundation, have backed a multitude of programmes across the continent to raise farmers’ productivity and connect them to commercial supply chains. Together, these efforts carry the banner of an “African Green Revolution” – an approach not unlike the primarily Asian and Latin American Green Revolution before it. But at the heart of this massive philanthropic and governmental undertaking lies an essential contradiction: agricultural “modernisation”, we are told, will benefit... Read more

Burkina parties agree strategy to tackle security crisis

Government and opposition parties in Burkina Faso say they have agreed on a strategy to tackle the country's security crisis after jihadist killings that have claimed hundreds of lives and stoked political turbulence. A forum seeking national consensus on the country's six-year-old insurgency wrapped up late Wednesday, more than three months after it was launched. The dialogue, opened by President Roch Marc Kabore on June 17, had hit rocky waters after just three days. Opposition leaders walked out, demanding the resignation of the defence and security ministers after scores of villagers were killed in a fresh jihadist onslaught. After mass protests forced the ministers out and the president himself took over the defence portfolio, the talks resumed on Monday. Kabore, summing up the talks, said security and national reconciliation issues needed to be addressed. "We cannot provide relevant responses to the key concerns of our nation about security and national... Read more

The murder of Thomas Sankara: a popular revolution overturned

Blaise Compaore, the iron-fisted ruler of Burkina Faso for almost three decades, will stand trial along with 13 others before a military tribunal Oct. 11 for the 1987 assassination of former President Thomas Sankara. Sankara was the central leader of the 1983-87 Burkina Faso Revolution. His murder was the beginning of a bloody counterrevolution led by Compaore, a member of the National Council of the Revolution. In 1983 Sankara led a mass uprising that established a popular and democratic revolutionary government. The 33-year-old leader became president of Upper Volta, the West African country’s name under the former French colonial rulers. At his initiative the people adopted a new name, Burkina Faso, which means Land of Upright Men. With a population that remains among the poorest in the world, Sankara’s political course opened the road to economic and social development. He led millions of working people in carrying out deep-going economic... Read more

Guinea’s new junta leaders seek to tighten grip on power

Guinea’s new military leaders sought to tighten their grip on power Monday after overthrowing President Alpha Conde, ordering the soldiers from his presidential guard to join the junta forces now in charge of the West African nation. After putting the country back under military rule for the first time in over a decade, the junta also said Guinea’s provincial governors would be replaced by regional commanders. A nightly curfew was put in place, and the country’s constitution and National Assembly were both dissolved. The military junta has refused to issue a timeline for releasing Conde, saying the 83-year-old deposed leader still had access to medical care and his doctors. The West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS, though, called for his immediate release and threatened to impose sanctions if the demand was not met. Conde’s removal by force Sunday came after the president sought a controversial third term in office last... Read more

Air Senegal has launched service between Dakar, New York, and Baltimore

Air Senegal has launched service between its country's capital of Dakar to Baltimore in the US. The route will run with a layover in New York, but most Americans can't fly on the domestic leg. One of Airbus' newest wide-body jets, the A330-900neo, will operate the route. The African airline Air Senegal launched flights from its capital of Dakar to Baltimore on Thursday. The unique route includes a layover in New York before continuing on to Baltimore, but most Americans cannot fly the domestic leg. As of September 2, Air Senegal will fly twice weekly between its country's capital of Dakar to Baltimore in the US. The route will operate on Thursdays and Sundays and include a short layover at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport in both directions, according to the airline. Here's the schedule (all times are local): Depart Dakar at 1:30 a.m. and arrive in New York-JFK at 6:00... Read more

US says drone kills IS bombers targeting Kabul airport

A U.S. drone strike blew up a vehicle carrying “multiple suicide bombers” from Afghanistan’s Islamic State affiliate on Sunday before they could attack the ongoing military evacuation at Kabul’s international airport, American officials said. The strike came just two days before the U.S. is set to conclude a massive airlift of tens of thousands of Afghan and foreign civilians and withdraw the last of its troops, ending America’s longest war with the Taliban back in power. The U.S. State Department released a statement signed by around 100 countries, as well as NATO and the European Union, saying they had received “assurances” from the Taliban that people with travel documents would still be able to leave the country freely. The Taliban have said they will allow normal travel after the U.S. withdrawal is completed on Tuesday and they assume control of the airport. At around the same time as the drone... Read more

Census shows US is diversifying, white population shrinking

The U.S. became more diverse and more urban over the past decade, and the non-Hispanic white population dropped for the first time on record, the Census Bureau reported Thursday as it released a trove of demographic data that will be used to redraw the nation’s political maps. The new figures offered the most detailed portrait yet of how the country has changed since 2010, and they are sure to set off an intense partisan battle over representation at a time of deep national division and fights over voting rights. The numbers could help determine control of the House in the 2022 elections and provide an electoral edge for years to come. The data will also shape how $1.5 trillion in annual federal spending is distributed. Americans continued to migrate to the South and West at the expense of the Midwest and Northeast, the figures showed. The share of the white... Read more

Angelina Jolie visits Burkina Faso as UN special envoy

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie has visited war-weakened Burkina Faso to show solidarity with people who continue to welcome the displaced, despite grappling with their own insecurity, and said the world isn’t doing enough to help. "The humanitarian crisis in the Sahel seems to me to be totally neglected. It is treated as being of little geopolitical importance," Jolie told the Associated Press. "There’s a bias in the way we think about which countries and which people matter." While Burkina Faso has been battling a five-year Islamic insurgency linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State that’s killed thousands and displaced more than one million people, it is also hosting more than 22,000 refugees, the majority Malian. As Special Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Jolie marked World Refugee Day on Sunday in Burkina Faso’s Goudoubo refugee camp in the Sahel, where she finished a two-day visit. She spoke with the camp’s Malian... Read more

Big US job gain expected, if employers found enough workers

With viral cases declining, consumers spending again and more businesses easing restrictions, America’s employers likely delivered another month of robust hiring in April, reinforcing the economy’s steady rebound from the pandemic recession. Economists have forecast that the nation added 975,000 jobs last month, according to a survey by FactSet, after adding 916,000 in March, and that the unemployment rate slipped from 6% to 5.8%. The size of such job gains was essentially unheard-of before the pandemic. The government will issue the April jobs report at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time Friday. Yet most of the hiring represents a bounce-back after tens of millions of jobs were lost when the pandemic flattened the economy 14 months ago. Even if economists’ estimate for April hiring proves accurate, the economy would remain about 7 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level. At the same time, optimism about a sustained recovery is rising. Americans are,... Read more

Biden’s declaration: America’s democracy ‘is rising anew’

President Joe Biden declared that “America is rising anew” as he called for an expansion of federal programs to drive the economy past the coronavirus pandemic and broadly extend the social safety net on a scale not seen in decades. Biden’s nationally televised address to Congress, his first, raised the stakes for his ability to sell his plans to voters of both parties, even if Republican lawmakers prove resistant. The Democratic president is following Wednesday night’s speech by pushing his plans in person, beginning in Georgia on Thursday and then on to Pennsylvania and Virginia in the days ahead. In the address, Biden pointed optimistically to the nation’s emergence from the coronavirus scourge as a moment for America to prove that its democracy can still work and maintain primacy in the world. Speaking in highly personal terms while demanding massive structural changes, the president marked his first 100 days in office by... Read more

‘Sliver of hope.’ Relief, caution as America absorbs verdict

When the verdicts came in — guilty, guilty and guilty — Lucia Edmonds let out the breath she hadn’t even realized she’d been holding. The relief that the 91-year-old Black woman felt flooding over her when white former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted for killing George Floyd was hard-earned, coming after a lifetime of seeing other cases end differently. “I was prepared for the fact that it might not be a guilty verdict because it’s happened so many times before,” the Washington, D.C., resident said. She recalled the shock of the Rodney King case nearly three decades ago when four Los Angeles officers were acquitted of beating King, a Black motorist. “I don’t know how they watched the video of Rodney King being beaten and not hold those officers to account,” Edmonds said. About the Chauvin verdict, she said, “I hope this means there is a shift in this county, but it’s too early... Read more

Protest after chief says officer meant to use Taser, not gun

 BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (AP) — Police clashed with protesters for a second night in the Minneapolis suburb where an officer who authorities say apparently intended to fire a Taser, not a handgun, fatally shot a Black man during a traffic stop. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon described Sunday’s shooting death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright as “an accidental discharge.” The shooting sparked protests and unrest in an area already on edge because of the trial of the first of four police officers charged in George Floyd’s death. Hundreds of protesters faced off against police in Brooklyn Center after nightfall Monday, and hours after a dusk-to-dawn curfew was announced by the governor. When the protesters wouldn’t disperse, police began firing gas canisters and flash-bang grenades, sending clouds wafting over the crowd and chasing some protesters away. A long line of police in riot gear, rhythmically pushing their clubs in front of them, began slowly... Read more

Biden aims for bipartisanship but applies sly pressure

President Joe Biden has begun publicly courting Republicans to back his sweeping infrastructure plan, but his reach across the aisle is intended just as much to keep Democrats in line as it is a first step in an uphill climb to any bipartisan deal. Biden’s high-profile Oval Office meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Monday was just one piece of a fulsome attempt to win over GOP lawmakers, White House aides said. But even if it doesn’t succeed, it could prove useful — boxing in Republicans while helping keep the widely disparate Democrats in line. Some moderate Democrats, notably Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have urged an effort at bipartisanship to pass the $2.3 trillion bill. And while Biden has made clear, publicly and privately, that he wants Republican support, the White House is also preparing to go it alone, if necessary, to get the bill passed. That would leave... Read more

 Brazil’s virus outlook darkens amid vaccine supply snags

 RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — April is shaping up to be Brazil’s darkest month yet in the pandemic, with hospitals struggling with a crush of patients, deaths on track for record highs and few signs of a reprieve from a troubled vaccination program in Latin America’s largest nation. The Health Ministry has cut its outlook for vaccine supplies in April three times already, to half their initial level, and the country’s two biggest laboratories are facing supply constraints. The delays also mean tens of thousands more deaths as the particularly contagious P.1 variant of COVID-19 sweeps Brazil. It has recorded about 350,000 of the 2.9 million virus deaths worldwide, behind only the U.S. toll of over 560,000. Brazil’s seven-day rolling average has increased to 2,820 deaths per day, compared with the global average of 10,608 per day, according to data through April 8 from Johns Hopkins University. The death toll... Read more

Anatomy of a conspiracy: With COVID, China took leading role

The rumors began almost as soon as the disease itself. Claims that a foreign adversary had unleashed a bioweapon emerged at the fringes of Chinese social media the same day China first reported the outbreak of a mysterious virus. “Watch out for Americans!” a Weibo user wrote on Dec. 31, 2019. Today, a year after the World Health Organization warned of an epidemic of COVID-19 misinformation, that conspiracy theory lives on, pushed by Chinese officials eager to cast doubt on the origins of a pandemic that has claimed more than 2 million lives globally. From Beijing and Washington to Moscow and Tehran, political leaders and allied media effectively functioned as super spreaders, using their stature to amplify politically expedient conspiracies already in circulation. But it was China -- not Russia – that took the lead in spreading foreign disinformation about COVID-19’s origins, as it came under attack for its early... Read more

When Michelle Obama and Amanda Gorman Discuss Art, Identity and Optimism

Amanda Gorman captivated the world when she read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ Jan. 20 Inauguration ceremony. Sitting just feet away from the 22-year-old that day was former First Lady Michelle Obama, who had met Gorman twice before—in 2016 at a White House event for the National Student Poets program and again at a 2018 event for Black Girls Rock, an organization that seeks to empower women and girls. Gorman, who was named the first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017, emerged in an instant as the latest inspiring young artist of the renaissance. Her three upcoming books shot to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list and the NFL soon announced plans for her to recite an original poem at Super Bowl LV. In a remote interview, Gorman and Obama covered topics ranging from the role of art in activism to the pressures Black women face in the... Read more

Records: Trump allies behind rally that ignited Capitol riot

 Members of President Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president’s grassroots supporters. A pro-Trump nonprofit group called Women for America First hosted the “Save America Rally” on Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, an oval-shaped, federally owned patch of land near the White House. But an attachment to the National Park Service public gathering permit granted to the group lists more than half a dozen people in staff positions for the event who just weeks earlier had been paid thousands of dollars by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Other staff scheduled to be “on site” during the demonstration have close ties to the White House.  Since the siege, several of them have scrambled to distance themselves from the rally. The riot... Read more

Trump just signs massive measure funding government, COVID relief

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed a $900 billion pandemic relief package that will deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals. It also averts a government shutdown. Trump announced the signing in a statement Sunday night. The massive bill includes $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies through September and contains other end-of-session priorities such as money for cash-starved transit systems and an increase in food stamp benefits. Democrats are promising more aid to come once President-elect Joe Biden takes office, but Republicans are signaling a wait-and-see approach. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below. The fate of an end-of-year COVID-19 relief and spending bill remained in doubt Sunday as millions lost unemployment aid, the government barreled toward a mid-pandemic shutdown and lawmakers implored President Donald Trump to act. Trump blindsided members of both parties and upended months of negotiations when he... Read more

Lawmakers press Trump on relief bill as jobless aid expires

 WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The fate of an end-of-year COVID-19 relief and spending bill remained in doubt Sunday as millions lost unemployment aid, the government barreled toward a mid-pandemic shutdown and lawmakers implored President Donald Trump to act. Trump blindsided members of both parties and upended months of negotiations when he demanded last week that the package — already passed the House and Senate by large margins and believed to have Trump’s support — be revised to include larger relief checks and scaled-back spending. If he continues his opposition, the federal government will run out of money at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday while he spends the holidays golfing in Florida. Days ago, Democrats said they would call House lawmakers back to Washington for a vote Monday on Trump’s proposal to send out $2,000 relief checks, instead of the $600 approved by Congress. But the idea is likely to die... Read more

GOP blocks $2,000 checks as Trump leaves COVID aid in chaos

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s sudden demand for $2,000 checks for most Americans was swiftly rejected by House Republicans as his haphazard actions have thrown a massive COVID relief and government funding bill into chaos. The rare Christmas Eve session of the House lasted just minutes, with help for millions of Americans awaiting Trump’s signature on the bill. Unemployment benefits, eviction protections and other emergency aid, including smaller $600 checks, are at risk. Trump’s refusal of the $900 billion package, which is linked to $1.4 trillion government funds bill, could spark a federal shutdown at midnight Monday.  “We’re not going to let the government shut down, nor are we going to let the American people down,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the majority leader. With its fate still up in the air, the bill arrived Thursday night in Florida, where the president has been spending the holiday s golfing and tweeting, a person... Read more

COVID-19 vaccine shipments begin in historic US effort

PORTAGE, Michigan (AP) — The first of many freezer-packed COVID-19 vaccine vials made their way to distribution sites across the United States on Sunday, as the nation’s pandemic deaths approached the horrifying new milestone of 300,000. The rollout of the Pfizer vaccine, the first to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, ushers in the biggest vaccination effort in U.S. history — one that health officials hope the American public will embrace, even as some have voiced initial skepticism or worry. The first of two shots are expected to be given in the coming week to health care workers and nursing home residents.  Quick transport is key for the vaccine, especially since this one must be stored at extremely low temperatures — about 94 degrees below zero. Early Sunday, workers at Pfizer — dressed in fluorescent yellow clothing, hard hats and gloves — wasted no time as they packed... Read more

Election in Ghana: Longtime Presidential Candidacy Rivals Sign Peace Pact

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo — who is seeking a second presidential term, and longtime political opposition rival, John Mahama, who also happens to be a former president and Akufo-Addo’s predecessor, have signed a peace pact before facing off at the polls in the upcoming election on Monday.  The two have already gone head to head for the presidency twice before — with Mahama emerging victorious in 2012 and Akufo-Addo catching up to lead in 2016. This year’s election will be the tiebreaker in the ongoing tug for power in Ghana between the two — in addition to the ten other candidates in the running.  As such, although Ghana has traditionally managed to contain post-electoral violence, many of the over 17 million Ghanaians registered to vote — who hope for a peaceful election, are worried that "vigilantes" hired by parties and the over 62,000 personnel deployed to provide security for politicians... Read more

Biden seeks to move quickly and build out his administration

It’s unclear for now whether President Donald Trump and his administration will cooperate. He has yet to acknowledge Biden’s victory and has pledged to mount legal challenges in several closely contested states that decided the race. Biden adviser Jen Psaki pressed for the Trump-appointed head of the General Services Administration to quickly recognize Biden as the president-elect, which would free up money for the transition and clear the way for Biden’s team to begin putting in place the transition process at agencies. “America’s national security and economic interests depend on the federal government signaling clearly and swiftly that the United States government will respect the will of the American people and engage in a smooth and peaceful transfer of power,” Psaki said in a Twitter posting. A GSA official said Sunday that step had not been taken yet. A bipartisan group of administration officials from the Barack Obama, George W.... Read more

Guineans vote in high-stakes presidential election as Conde seeks third term

Guineans started voting on Sunday in a tense presidential election which sees the 82-year-old incumbent Alpha Conde running for a controversial third term. The leader bypassed a two-term limit in March by reforming the constitution. The move sparked mass protests, which resulted in dozens being killed in security crackdowns. Campaigning for the first round of the vote was marked by insults traded between Conde and his leading rival Cellou Dalein Diallo. Sporadic clashes between rival supporters have broken out across Guinea in recent days, sparking fears of further violence on polling day. Diallo, 68, now Guinea's leading opposition politician, was formerly a prime minister under authoritarian leader Lansana Conte. Guinea's election is the first in a string across West Africa, which will be followed by Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Niger. Activists are concerned if Conde wins, it could bode ill for democratic norms in the region. Conde promised... Read more

UN General Assembly: World leaders to stay at home, in first ‘virtual’ UN General Assembly

The General Debate of the General Assembly, traditionally the most high-profile UN event of the year, will be a slimmed-down affair this September, with world leaders staying away from New York, and contributing set-piece speeches via video link, a UN spokesperson confirmed on Thursday. The new virtual format is largely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with many countries continuing to grapple with the health, social and economic fallout from the crisis. While the number of new cases of COVID-19 in New York has dramatically fallen, since the city was for a while the global epicentre of the pandemic in April, the US as a whole has almost four million reported cases, higher than any other country. Pre-recorded speeches In a press briefing on Thursday, Reem Abaza, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, said that each Member State, Observer State, and the European Union, was invited to submit a pre-recorded... Read more

Mali’s coup leaders meet mediators seeking return to civilian rule

 A key meeting on Saturday between Mali's coup leaders and mediators from West Africa's regional bloc seeking a return to civilian rule ended after just 20 minutes. Tuesday's overthrow of Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has been condemned abroad but celebrated by many in a country battling an Islamist insurgency and months of political unrest. A delegation from the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) earlier arrived in the capital, Bamako, for talks aimed at reversing the overthrow of Keita. The bloc has taken a hard line on the coup, shutting borders and halting financial flows - a move diplomats said was as much about warning opponents at home as stabilizing Mali. Ahead of a series of meetings with the mutineers and other groups, the head of the delegation, Nigeria's former President Goodluck Jonathan, sounded optimistic. "I believe at the end of the day we will come up... Read more

 Boko Haram Terrifies Refugees in Cameroon

Just under 2000 people poured into Mozongo, panic-stricken and desperately fleeing for their lives from a refugee camp housing 800 internally displaced people in the village of Nguetchewe in Cameroon's far north region. The area, already one of the poorest in the world, has seen a significant increase in violent incidents in recent months with around 87 terrorist attacks by the Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday condemned an attack this weekend the camp for in which 17 civilians were killed and 16 others wounded, according to an official army report. In the very early hours on Sunday, “a "terrorist attack coupled with suicide bombings left 19 civilians dead — including two suicide bombers and "16 injured", the Cameroonian defence ministry had previously announced in a statement.  Camp residents are extremely afraid and feel very unsafe, "There is a lot of... Read more

Americans stuck in Ghana: They are going through two realities and have two stories

 Hundreds of  U.S. citizens  got stuck in Ghana ( West Africa) due to coronavirus after the  President Nana Akufo-Addo  has closed on Mars 13, 2020  Ghana’s  borders,  and are asking  Trump’s administration to bring them back home.  Nova Felder from New York and others stranded in Ghana  cannot fly back to U.S. as airports have closed their doors for international travelers. As the majority of them  say they are forgotten and neglected ones, Rashad McCrorey thinks Ghana looks good. “ A majority of people are Black,” said Mr. Felder a  former teacher from Queens. “We deserve the same treatment,” said  Mr. Felder who is a social entrepreneur and owner of "The Afrika Is The Future Investment Group," which is focused on communities and their collective future.  According to the United States Department of State’s website  and as  of June 10, 2020  the U.S. embassy in Ghana  has organized  7 Government-chartered... Read more

Louise Ouimet, Former Ambassador of Canada to Mali: Some personal reflections on the situation in Mali

 After having worked in Mali for 8 years, during the period 1989-1993 and 2001-2005 and continued to follow the development of the country, I can only see today how much democracy, which was nevertheless a bearer of hope in the first pluralist elections in 1992, proved to be a sinkhole for this country. At independence, Malians modeled French institutions instead of taking the time to develop governance mechanisms and institutions of their own. At the start of the so-called democratization, we are once again copying the West and opening the floodgates to multiparty politics. What happens? More than 200 political parties are created - in fact agglomerations of people around valued personalities, with whom one has family, friendships, or other ties. Fortunately, And what happens? The exercise of political power being essentially an exercise of personal enrichment for his family and for his clan, knowing that its duration is a maximum... Read more

USA: « Mouvement du 5 Juin, Rassemblement des Forces Démocratiques aux Etats – Unis d’Amérique Wants the United States Ambassador to Mali to remain neutral

We have received that press release from «  Mouvement du 5 Juin, Rassemblement des Forces Démocratiques aux Etats – Unis d’Amérique » in which the Movement “ appeals to the United States government to urge the Malian authorities to immediately stop brutalities against innocent and peaceful populations.” It also “ appeals to the United States government to invite the United States Ambassador to Mali to advise him to remain neutral.”  On Friday July 10, 2020, more than a million of Malians took to the streets of Bamako, the capital of Mali, and all major cities, to demand the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Under the order of his administration, Malian security forces shot real bullets on nonviolent protesters. During this peaceful rally, many people were arbitrarily arrested and other kidnapped, including members of the civil society and key opposition leaders. As of Saturday July 11, over a dozen peaceful demonstrators... Read more

The Forum for World Education will tackle issues related to global education system through debate

The Forum for World Education ( FWE ) is holding on June 30, 2020 a global webinar discussion on education at 2: 00 PM Eastern Daylight Time ( GMT – 4)  under the topic: “Education Disrupted, Education Rebuilt – How does the pandemic shape the future of education.” The discussion will  not only focus on   issues related to education globally,  but also  on the impact of the covid – 19  pandemic on education systems worldwide as several panelists including  national leaders,  policymakers, leading education experts, scholars, private sector,  and foundation leaders are inviting. The education system is said to be  at a crossroad. According to education experts, “Globally, education systems fail to prepare students with the skill sets that business leaders and their employees need.” Here are some statistics: In 2020, 54% of employers across 43 countries reported not being able to find the talent they need, a figure that... Read more

Terrorism and ethnicity in Burkina Faso: Ismael Diallo a former UN expert is talking about with RFI

 The problems in West Africa, specifically the Sahel, where internationally supported military operations continue to battle a jihadist insurgency, could be better understood if political leaders concentrated on the bigger picture of identity and nationhood, according to a renowned Burkinabé governance and rights specialist. Ismael Diallo, a former UN expert and MP, sees a number of challenges created by the ongoing security situation in the Sahel, and not just crimes committed by armed jihadist groups or alleged rights abuses by various military forces. "First of all, it's a cultural bias, also it is bad training, and thirdly, we can add that the governance itself is very weak," he tells RFI. "When you have personnel not well paid and not well managed by the hierarchy, you can expect all kinds of mismanagement," adds the former UN representative in Burundi for the High Commissioner for Human Rights French Defense Minister Florence Partly... Read more

Mali’s president agrees to hold dialogue aimed at forming unity government

Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced on Tuesday that he would hold talks on establishing a new unity government, after weeks of escalating criticism from the country’s political opposition. In a speech in the capital Bamako, the president also suggested first steps towards reforming the constitutional court and the national parliament. The series of announcements came as Keita has been struggling to maintain political support in the volatile West African state over a jihadist revolt that first broke out in the north in 2012. The violence has since spread to the center of the country, inflaming ethnic tensions, as well as to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. Thousands of soldiers and civilians have died in the conflict, while hundreds of thousands more have had to flee their homes. But Mali’s economic stagnation, faltering public services, and a widespread perception of corrupt governance has also fed opposition to Keita. On June... Read more

Ex-Chadian dictator Hissene Habre returns to prison

Chad’s former dictator Hissene Habre will return to prison in Senegal on Sunday after a two-month release aimed at protecting him from the coronavirus. Habre seized power in Chad in 1982, fleeing to Senegal in 1990 after he was overthrown. The former leader — who is now in his late 70s — was jailed in Senegal in 2016 over abuses committed during years of iron-fisted rule in Chad. Some 40,000 people are estimated to have been killed under Habre’s leadership of the semi-desert country. But on April 6, a judge granted Habre a 60-day release from prison after his lawyer argued that his age left him particularly vulnerable to coronavirus. Habre’s supporters are ramping up efforts to have him freed, which has fueled fear among his victims that the authorities might be gearing up to release him permanently. However, Babacar Dione of Senegal’s justice ministry told AFP that Habre would return to... Read more

Covid – 19 and  African youth: Hear voices from Africa

Covid – 19 has become a talking point  for African leaders as a  grassroot organization called “Today’s Youth” organized on May 16,2020  in Ghana a teleconference meeting to discuss the aftermaths of covid – 19 on African youth and found out ways to solve some possible problems. Many people from the United States of America, Ghana, Kenya, Cameroun, and Nigeria attended the event moderated by Dr. Phanuel Seli Gakpetor and  gave  their inputs. They all agree that coronavirus has a negative  impact on African youth  and that will last for several years.” Covid – 19 scares us, economies are thinning,  and some  are  collapsing, jobs are scarce,” Dr. Al - Hadjj Abubakari Sidick Ahmed  from Ghana said.    One of the issues they pointed out was unemployment. “ Covid – 19 has direct and indirect consequences for African youth,” Emmanuel Abu Apenteng said. “ Youths will look for job for... Read more

Covid – 19 in the USA: Some African leaders are talking about it

 Coronavirus keeps hitting  hard in the United States of America specifically  in New York the  epicenter  of the virus. The entire  African community is  also affected  like all other community groups in the USA. We have interviewed some  African leaders to understand how the  pandemic of the century has impacted the African community. They are all unanimous  how  difficult it is  to give precise statistics regarding  the number of people  who have been infected or who have died. This article was published in French few days ago and since people are asking for the English version, we have decided to do so. Many things have been evolved since then such as deaths toll and people who have been infected with the virus. [caption id="attachment_4592" align="alignleft" width="320"] Sadio Yaya Barry: Senegalese Association in the United States of America president of Senegalese Association in the United States of America[/caption] Sadio Yaya Barry president of... Read more

Former  Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao of the African Union Mission to the United States condemns in an open letter  the inhumane treatment against Africans in China

 OPEN LETTER  TO:  EXCELLENCY MR. XI JINPING, PRESIDENT OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, ZHONGNANHAI, XICHENGQU, BEIJING.  FROM:     THE AFRICAN DIASPORA AROUND THE GLOBE SUBJECT: HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND INHUMANE TREATMENT OF BLACK PEOPLE LIVING IN CHINA. Your Excellency,   The Africa Diaspora Development Institute (ADDI) is the umbrella organization of over 210 million people living in the diaspora.  For centuries, Africa has warmly and wholeheartedly welcomed Chinese nationals onto her shores, allowing them to settle, marry and prosper without a hint of racial discrimination, bigotry, harassment or intimidation. The former Chairperson of the African Union (between 2008 – 2012) Mr. Jean Ping was the child of a Chinese diaspora from Wenzhou, Zhejiang who came to Gabon as a timber harvester.   Currently there are over 10 million Chinese nationals living in Africa and are being treated with the dignity and respect that any human being deserves. It is against this backdrop... Read more

Covid – 19 : 2 top French doctors said on live TV that coronavirus vaccines should be tested on poor Africans, leaving viewers horrified

Two highly respected French doctors discussed on live television how a new COVID-19vaccine under development should be first tested in Africa, "where there are no masks, no treatment, nor intensive care." One of them, Jean-Paul Mira, even compared Africans to prostitutes who were the focus of past AIDS studies. "We tried things on prostitutes because they are highly exposed and do not protect themselves," he said. Several African soccer stars who played in Europe, including the former Chelsea star Didier Drogba and the former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o, tweeted their outrage at the two medics' remarks A discussion between two top French doctors on live TV left viewers horrified when they proposed that Africa should become a giant laboratory for coronavirus vaccine testing because the continent lacked the resources to defend against COVID-19. In the segment broadcast on the French TV channel LCI, Jean-Paul Mira and Camille Locht raised the idea of testing... Read more

Tik Tok is quietly snapping up creatives from Youtube and Instagram for a full Africa roll – out

Early this year, the short video app TikTok joined Nairobi Garage, a leading coworking space in Nairobi’s Kilimani district. The Chinese company behind the world’s fastest-growing social media app had already been holding “creator sessions” and meetups around the city in 2019, urging creative young Kenyans to learn about the benefits of joining the “fun, cool short video platform”. Last October it partnered with Chinese phone maker Transsion’s Infinix brand in Kenya with a hashtag campaign called #WeAreHot to boost a new phone model but also raise awareness of the app. TikTok has been investing quietly, but significantly, to usher in a new age of influencers in Africa. It’s part of a concerted strategy for the youth-friendly app to get a major foothold in the world’s youngest continent and home to some of the leading global pop culture movers across music and film especially with the recent rise of Afrobeats and... Read more

Africa: Let’s Celebrate Quality, Not Just Quantity of Women-Owned Businesses

On the face of it, the progress is impressive: four out of the top 10 countries with high women business owner percentages are in Africa. Indeed, since the recent release of the 2019 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, Ugandans have been proudly sharing the report on social media. The Mastercard Index profiles the progress and achievements of women-owned enterprises in 58 countries around the world. It also measures changes in the environments within which these businesses operate. In this 3rd edition of the report, Uganda, Ghana, Botswana and Malawi are among the top ten countries with high women business owner percentages. In Uganda and Ghana, nearly 4 of every 10 businesses are woman-owned. This is a commendable achievement, especially in light of the high hurdles that women business owners in Africa must overcome in order to successfully pursue their business dreams. As we celebrate these numbers, I am reminded of Africa's drive for Universal... Read more

Africa: Facebook Removes Misleading HIV Drug Ads After Outcry

New York — HIV prevention medication has been deemed "highly effective" by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading national public health institute in the United States Facebook said on Monday it had removed some ads that contained misleading information about HIV prevention drugs following an outcry from activists, health experts and U.S. lawmakers. The ads linked the drugs, which are known as PrEP and designed to prevent HIV, to severe bone and kidney damage and were placed by personal-injury attorneys. LGBT+ advocacy groups have for months been pressuring the U.S. company to remove the ads, pointing to a multitude of research showing that the medication is safe. Facebook initially declined, before doing so this weekend. "After a review, our independent fact-checking partners have determined some of these ads in question mislead people about the effects of Truvada," spokeswoman Devon Kearns told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, referring to... Read more

At a Glance: Burkina Faso’s deepening crisis

560,000 people displaced, and numbers still rising. More than 1.2 million people short of food. Insecurity is cutting off swathes of the country to aid workers. Negotiating access with armed groups is proving difficult. Lack of funding is undermining the humanitarian response. A surge in violence by jihadists, local militias, and militants - along with spiralling inter-communal attacks - has created in Burkina Faso one of the fastest-growing displacement crises in Africa, according to the United Nations. The rapid escalation this year, in a West African nation not long ago held up as an example of peaceful religious and ethnic coexistence, has caught aid groups and the government by surprise. The slow shift by donors and the government away from a focus on development projects to addressing emergency needs has held back the response, aid workers and officials told The New Humanitarian earlier this month, during visits to the north... Read more

 Guinea opposition rejects Conde’s ‘constitutional coup d’etat’ plans

 Guinean opposition coalition have denounced what it calls a constitutional coup d’etat, after President Alpha Condé announced plans for a constitutional amendment, on Thursday (December 19). His opponents insist the move is part of a ploy for Condé to seek a third term in 2020, which the current constitution prohibits. The proposed draft sets the terms at six years instead of five renewable once, and does not state whether he would be allowed to run. Thursday’s announcement by 81-year-old Conde has further provoked Guineans who have recently staged weekly protests against a possible third term. The demonstrations have left at least 20 civilians dead and dozens arrested. Initially hailed for ushering in change when he came to power in 2010, Alpha Conde has cracked down on the opposition in recent years.   Read more

Terrorism in Burkina Faso: A panoramic view by a Sankarist

                                                                                                              French ground troops are being deployed to Burkina Faso. This is the first major dispatch of imperialist troops to that West African country, an attempt to shore up a weakening (…) regime in a region racked by instability. The deployment was announced Nov. 4. Two days later, gunmen slaughtered at least 38 gold miners and wounded 60 more in an attack on a five-bus convoy transporting workers to a mine in eastern Burkina Faso. Miners told the press that demands they made for greater protection five months earlier had been disregarded by Semafo, the Canadian-based owner. Burkina Faso is in the midst of a gold rush driven by imperialist interests, making it the fourth largest gold-producing country in Africa. Only a decade ago, Burkina Faso's primary export was cotton. But the discovery of gold has done little to better the lives of the vast majority of working people in... Read more

Discussion about the legacy of Thomas Sankara

Hello everyone! You are invited to a special event December 8. Hear speakers and join in a discussion about the legacy of Thomas Sankara. Sankara's legacy is even more important today with developments in Burkina Faso, West Africa, and even in the US. Mark your calendar. Join in the discussion. See you there! Best regards, Peter Thierjung Read more

Wiping out the daughters: Burkina Faso’s controversial mosquito experiment

A radical experiment to genetically modify a strain of mosquito in order to stop them breeding malaria-carrying daughters is one of the latest efforts to tackle the deadly scourge of malaria At 6.30am five-year-old Osman Balama and his mother reach the state hospital of Bobo-Dioulasso, the second-largest city in Burkina Faso. He hasn’t been feeling well for a few days and his mother is worried that he has contracted malaria. The waiting room is already full of mothers and grandmothers with young children on their laps, all with the same tired look as Osman. “The rainy season has started,” says Sami Palm, head of the clinic. “That means more mosquitos. I’m certain that almost everyone here has malaria.” Two red lines on the detection strip confirm malaria. “He doesn’t need to stay in the hospital, because he isn’t vomiting and isn’t extremely sick,” Palm says. Osman is sent home with medication... Read more

How the Jihadists Are Advancing in Western Africa ( Burkina – Mali)

 Islamist militant attacks are wreaking havoc in West Africa. An insurgency that began in northern Mali in 2012 has spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and is threatening coastal states including Benin, Ghana and Ivory Coast. Hundreds have died in recent months. Increased defense spending weighs heavily on the budgets of some of the world’s poorest countries. Gold mining, a crucial source of income for Mali and Burkina Faso, is also being affected. 1. What’s the source of the trouble? Mainly continuing instability in Mali and, further afield, in Libya, where turmoil has opened up smuggling routes and access to weapons. A French military intervention in 2013 dealt a heavy blow to jihadist groups that partnered with ethnic Tuareg rebels to seize control of northern Mali a year earlier. Deprived of their urban bases, the jihadists resorted to bombings and hit-and-run attacks, targeting army posts and the 15,000-person United Nations peacekeeping mission. They extended their operations... Read more

Attack on Canadian miner in Burkina Faso threatens gold’s final frontier

As jihadists wreaked ever more havoc in the last two years, mining firms in Burkina Faso rolled out extra security measures, from barracks for government troops protecting them to safe rooms for workers behind barbed wire and mounds. Expatriates generally fly in and out, while local staff still drive but in guarded convoys. That has added millions of dollars to security costs for foreign companies, mainly from Canada and Australia, operating in the West African nation where industrial miners are forecast to produce 60 tonnes of gold this year. Yet this week’s attack on a convoy ferrying hundreds of local employees and contractors from a mine owned by Canada’s Semafo (SMF.TO) has exposed how vulnerable firms still are. At least 37 civilians died, with another 60 injured and dozens more feared missing. “This is the deadliest incident targeting the mining industry, or any private businesses, in the Sahel since the... Read more

African countries with controlled foreign exchange rates

Several African countries have come under scrutiny over their foreign exchange regimes, that are often strictly managed by states in the face of thin reserves and dollar shortages. While some like Egypt and Angola have recently loosened the grip on their currencies, allowing for economic adjustments through their exchange rates, there are still quite a number who still control their foreign exchange rates. Nigeria Africa’s biggest oil exporter operates a multiple exchange rate regime, which it has used to manage pressure on the currency. The official rate NGN= of 306.90 is supported by the central bank but the NAFEX rate (Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate Fixing) of 362 is widely quoted by foreign investors and exporters. Central and West Africa (CFA Franc) Countries in the eight-nation West African CFA franc zone (Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) and the six-nation Central African CFA franc zone (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the... Read more

Ebola now curable, thanks to Congolese doctor behind treatment that “cures symptoms in just an hour”

“I spent four decades of my life thinking how to treat patients with the Ebola virus. So, this is the achievement of my life,” Dr Jean-Jacques Muyembe, who with his team of researchers, has discovered a new Ebola treatment that can cure symptoms in just an hour told the BBC. Four drugs were recently trialed on patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Ebola has killed nearly 1,900 people over the past year. It was discovered that more than 90% of infected people can survive if treated early with the latest experimental drugs. On Tuesday, two people cured of Ebola using the experimental drugs were released from a treatment center in Goma, DR Congo, and reunited with their families. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), two other treatments, called ZMapp and Remdesivir, which were used during the massive Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, have been dropped... Read more

When  a woman marries her dog.

Elizabeth Hoad and her dog, Logan, tied the knot live on This Morning earlier this week – and they’re not the first to do so. A woman married her dog. Eamonn Holmes gave the bride away. The groom, a golden retriever, wore a top hat. Love Island’s Kem Cetinay acted as a ring-bearer. It played out live and like a David Lynch fever dream on ITV’s This Morning on Tuesday. One viewer called it “deeply uncomfortable viewing”. “There has to be law against marrying your bloody dog,” tweeted another. There is, actually – the only legal marriage is between two human beings – but there were a few giveaways that this was not a solemn occasion. Alison Hammond, officiating, struggled to keep it together as she called for those present to voice any “bones of contention” as to why Elizabeth Mary Francis Hoad and six-year-old Logan Humphrey the Second should not be... Read more

Is Boris Johnson the new prime minister of the United Kingdom a racist ?

Just three years after Theresa May took over as prime minister of the United Kingdom to clear the Brexit mess left by David Cameron, the country has a new prime minister again. Boris Johnson has emerged as the new prime minister of the United Kingdom after a leadership contest but, already, there is controversy surrounding his premiership due to some racist, homophobic and sexist statements he has made in the past.  Some social media users have even adopted the hashtag #NotMyPM to express their dislike for the former journalist and columnist who is now Britain’s leader. Touted by some as ‘the British Trump’, the loud and controversial former London Mayor and UK foreign secretary has been compared with U.S. President Donald Trump as both of them have been noted for making offensive and outrageous remarks. Here are seven times the newly-elected Prime Minister Johnson made infamous comments about Africa that... Read more

Kenyans fume as white missionary reportedly undergoes female circumcision to be “part of the culture”

The desire to be a part of the Pokot culture in Kenya has brought a lot of anger towards American missionary Trizah Estes and her husband Tony Estes who decided to go through all the traditional Pokot wedding rites including the banned female genital mutilation (FGM). The traditionally wedded couple who has lived in Paka Hills in Tiati, Baringo County, for 10 years is being criticized for contravening Kenya’s Act (2011) which criminalizes the execution, procurement, and providing a space for FGM. Trizah Estes was alleged to have undergone the FGM in a video report filed by local TV channel K24 and reported by several online news sites even though other TV channels that covered the ceremony did not state that piece of information. Her husband, Tony Estes, paid dowry of camel and presented food, drinks and money as part of Pokot culture before they took their vows after a long... Read more

Exiled Gambian president accused of rape by beauty pageant

A beauty pageant winner is accusing Gambia’s former dictator of raping her four years ago.The young woman is one of several now coming forward and accusing Yahya Jammeh of sexual violence while he was in power. Jammeh fled into exile in the reclusive nation of Equatorial Guinea in 2017 after losing the presidential election and initially refusing to step down. The young woman, Fatou Jallow, plans to testify before Gambia’s truth and reconciliation commission that is investigating crimes committed during Jammeh’s rule. Human Rights Watch described Jammeh as a sexual predator who lavished gifts on young women and their families before violently attacking them. The human rights organization says it will take international pressure for Jammeh to be extradited from Equatorial Guinea. AP   Read more

Terrorism: The reason why France and other western countries are slow to support the war against terrorists in Burkina and Mali

As global terrorism shifts away from battlefields in the Middle East, jihadists and other militants — including those affiliated with al Qaeda and the Islamic State — have begun seeking out unstable regions in sub-Saharan Africa as their next home. The Sahel, a vast space stretching from Mauritania's Atlantic coast to Eritrea, has been particularly vulnerable to this shift due to its perennial tumult and poverty. But now, there are signs that the region's militant spell has begun seeping into the West African countries to its south as well, which could have drastic consequences for some of the continent's most prosperous economies, such as Ivory Coast and Ghana, and their chief military partner, France.  Hanging by a Thread Despite years of French military support across the region through Paris' Operation Barkhane strategy, an effective mechanism to improve the increasingly dire situation in the Sahel has yet to emerge. France's Group of Five... Read more

Mali president appoints new Prime Minister, Boubou Cisse

Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita appointed finance minister Boubou Cisse as prime minister on Monday, days after the government resigned following pressure to respond to the vigilante massacre of about 160 Fulani herders which shocked the nation. Mali’s former prime minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga and his government resigned last week after they came under fire for failing to disarm militias and beat back Islamist militants stoking the violence that led to the Fulani massacre. “The President of the Republic has decided to name Doctor Boubou Cisse to the function of prime minister,” Keita’s office said in a statement on Monday. Both Mali and neighboring Burkina Faso have been hit by the spike in hostilities fueled by Islamist militants seeking to extend their influence over the Sahel, an arid region between Africa’s northern Sahara desert and its southern savannas. The militants have built on long-standing rivalries between communities to side with... Read more

Gunmen raid Mali military camp, 16 soldiers kille

Gunmen have seized an army base in Central Mali, Reuters reported on Sunday citing a local mayor. The attack in the Mopti region also led to the death of 16 Malian soldiers. the base was burned with reports indicating that arms had also been taken. Mali’s central government continues to battle with insurgent groups largely located in the country’s vast north.  Security watchers believe the attack was orchestrated by Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, JNIM. Nusrat al-Islam, officially known as Jama’at Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin’ is a militant organization that operates in the Maghreb and West Africa. It was formed by the merger of more popularly Ansar Dine, the Macina Liberation Front, Al-Mourabitoun and the Saharan branch of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, AQIM.   Read more

New Zealand: Christians in Christchurch offer prayers for victims ‘ families

In New Zealand, a local Christian community in Christchurch offered prayers for the mosque attack victims and their families on Sunday. Dean of Christchurch, Lawrence Kimberley asked for strength to heal the community. “ There aren’t any words, it’s just a terrible, shocking thing. Again, within our faith, we teach that violence doesn’t get anyone anywhere, it breaks community, and that’s what Jesus came to stop. So I haven’t got anything specific at the moment, but we will be praying hard and thinking about ways that we can send that message and help people to grow and trust and love for each other”, Kimberley said. Worshipers express shock at the incident and are confident about the country remaining an open society. “ I feel for them. They didn’t bring it upon themselves, just one person (the shooter), presumably it’s only one person. And he’s not gonna destroy us, we’re tougher... Read more

French President Macron from Africa calls for action on climate change

French president Emmanuel Macron challenged delegates attending the One Planet Summit in Kenya, to take action beyond words, as far as tackling climate change is concerned. Macron, who is on a two-day state visit in Kenya, attended the summit he launched in 2017, with his host, president Uhuru Kenyatta. “We need to put biodiversity at the heart of each of our actions. We make new commitments and invent a new model together. Thank you for this One Planet Summit in Africa,” Macron said on Thursday.  “We all must act. Governments must act. Major enterprises must act. Investors must act. Citizens must act. All together.” The summit, which brought together over 4,000 delegates to Nairobi, focuses on ensuring the preservation and sustainability of forests. Commitments from Kenya, World Bank and AfDB Kenya’s president on his part pledged to aim for an estimate of 10 percent forest cover, as a target for... Read more

Kenya’s main airport resumes operations after strike disruption

 A mini-strike action that disrupted operations of Kenya’s main airport, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, JKIA, in the capital Nairobi was resolved by authorities allowing normal operations of the airport to resume. Transport Minister James Macharia, who was at the airport in the morning disclosed in a tweet that the issue had been resolved and paved way for resumption of operations and all flights. The national carrier, Kenya Airways, also tweeted that delayed flights had been resumed.  I am pleased to announce that the issues that we had at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport that resulted in the disruption of operations this morning have been resolved and we expect that the first flight to take off in the next hour or so. Strike grounds operations at JKIA A strike prompted by a labour dispute grounded flights at Kenya’s main international airport in Nairobi early on Wednesday, domestic media said, with flag carrier... Read more

Five things you need to know about ongoing Uganda-Rwanda impasse

The foreign ministers of Uganda and Rwanda addressed the media in their respective countries on Tuesday, to provide clarification on the border standoff that has dominated news headlines since Wednesday last week. Rwanda’s foreign minister, Richard Sezibera accused Uganda of sabotaging trade to its southern neighbor, in addition to mistreating Rwandans in Uganda and supporting rebel groups opposed to president Paul Kagame’s government. Uganda’s foreign minister Sam Kutesa also issued a statement the same day flatly denying the charges laid out by his counterpart. ‘‘Uganda does not and cannot allow anyone to operate from its territory that threatens a neighbor as alleged,’ ‘read part of the statement.  In this article, we answer five key questions about the ongoing standoff between these two East African nations. Why is Rwanda unhappy with Uganda? Sezibera on Tuesday formally laid out the charges against Uganda, which include; Abducting and illegally detaining Rwandans in Uganda.... Read more

South Africa ‘resurrection’ pastor challenged to raise Mandela

 A South African preacher has tried to confront another pastor for "bringing Christianity into disrepute" by staging a bogus resurrection. Self-styled prophet Paseka "Mboro" Motsoeneng stood outside the locked gates of Pastor Alph Lukau's church and shouted, "I'm here to get answers". He said if the pastor really had the power to resurrect, they should head over to Nelson Mandela's grave. A viral video showing the supposed resurrection was widely mocked. It shows Mr Lukau shouting "rise up" to a man lying in a coffin who then jerks upright to cheers from worshippers. Funeral companies say they were manipulated into being involved. "I'm not here to fight anyone, I'm here to get answers from my fellow brother in the Lord," Mr Motsoeneng, of the Church of Incredible Happenings, shouts outside Mr Lukau's church near Johannesburg. "I'm not here to fight anyone, I'm here to get answers from my fellow brother... Read more

Ivory Coast : From bean to bar in Ivory Coast, a country built on cocoa

On the eve of Fairtrade Fortnight, we meet the female farmers fighting for trade justice who face an uncertain future Cocoa producers in Ivory Coast only see about 6% of the value of the final product. Photograph: Chris Terry/Fairtrade Asking about the importance of cocoa in Ivory Coast feels a little like making enquiries about the value of grapes in Burgundy. When I put the question to N’Zi Kanga Rémi, who has for the last 18 years been governor of the rural department of Adzopé, north-east of the sprawling port city of Abidjan, he leaned forward in his chair and fixed me with an amused stare. His booming voice went up a decibel to fill the administrative offices on whose walls his own portrait alternated with that of his nation’s president. “It doesn’t make sense to ask an Ivorian what cocoa means to him!” he said. “It means everything! It’s his first... Read more

African giants, Senegal and Nigeria, elect presidents

 In the looming weekend (February 23 – 24,) the eyes of the world will be on West Africa as two ‘big boys’ in democracy march to the polls to elect presidents. Elections have become routine across much of Africa where leaders have often subjected themselves to the electoral process. Specifically in West Africa, the last few years have seen commendable strides in The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Benin, where power has successfully changed hands. The case of Africa’s most populous nation Nigerians will have the option of reelecting incumbent Muhammadu Buahri for a second and final term or finally give a a former vice-president Atiku Abubakar the opportunity to become president after a number of attempts. This is the sixth vote since a return to civilian rule in 1999. As Africa’s most populous nation, over 84 million people registered to vote according to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. A... Read more

The African Union has a brilliant plan for Africa, if it could get it right

 Traffic in Addis Ababa has returned to normal, presidential motorcades no longer clog the routes between the Ethiopian capital’s many hotels and the African Union headquarters. The 32nd AU summit has ended, and now the work begins as delegates return home. The AU was founded as the Organization of African Unity, more than five decades ago by post-colonial states who wanted to protect their sovereignty, while building a unified Africa. Now, those very founding principles prevent it from pushing the continent into the 21st century. In the Nelson Mandela hall at the AU’s dome-shaped headquarters, Paul Kagame clanged a ceremonial bell to halt the high-level networking on the assembly floor and proceed with the open meeting. Kagame served as chair of the AU for 2018 and handed over to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Like the bell, this role has always been rather ceremonial, but Kagame managed to inject his... Read more

US imposes visa restriction on Ghana over deportees

 The United States said on Thursday it was imposing visa restrictions on Ghana, accusing the African country of not cooperating in accepting its citizens ordered removed from the United States. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “has ordered consular officers in Ghana to implement visa restrictions on certain categories of visa applicants,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement. “Without an appropriate response from Ghana, the scope of these sanctions may be expanded to a wider population,” the statement said. “Ghana has failed to live up to its obligations under international law to accept the return of its nationals ordered removed from the United States,” said DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said. “We hope the Ghanaian government will work with us to reconcile these deficiencies quickly,” she said.  Reuters Read more

West Africa’s Sahel Islamist groups’ networking growing- Security report

 An increase in violent attacks linked to Islamist groups in West Africa’s Sahel region shows the growing capabilities and networking skills, according to an international security conference report. According to extracts of the report cited by Reuters on Friday, three-quarters of battles with state security forces during 2018 were initiated by the group. It cited Africa center for Strategic Studies data showing fatalities linked to Islamist militant activity more than doubled from 2017 to 1,082. There was also a growing “security traffic jam” of military forces in the area including a United Nations mission, France’s Operation Barkhane, four European Union military and police training missions, and the G5 regional partnership established in 2015. The report is due to be published on Monday at the annual Munich security conference from Feb. 15-17. The Conference will bring together more than 600 government leaders and other decision makers. Reuters   Read more

Jihadist Terrorism Threatens to Destabilize Burkina Faso and Its Neighbors

  Since 2016, there have been more than 230 terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso, which threatens to destabilize the landlocked West African nation. In the north of the country, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Islamic State in Greater Sahara both pose growing security threats. There is concern about Burkina Faso serving as a hub for terrorism which could spread throughout the region, affecting Togo, Benin and Ghana. Counter-terrorism campaigns by both the French and G5 Sahel have not yielded success and more help is required to stem the spread of terrorism. A series of actions undertaken by terrorists to target the international community have occurred in Burkina Faso over recent weeks, including the kidnapping of two international aid workers in December and a Canadian mining worker who was later found dead. These attacks are part of a broader trend and long-term problem in Burkina Faso. Since January 2016,... Read more

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff, and West African Economic and Monetary Union found common ground

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff Concludes 2019 Discussions with the West African Economic and Monetary Union on Common Policies for Member Countries Inflation has remained low reflecting the peg to the Euro, but also continued solid agricultural production and the limited passthrough of higher world oil prices; fiscal consolidation efforts are estimated to have led to a reduction of the aggregate fiscal deficit to 3.9 percent of GDP in 2018 from 4.3 percent of GDP in 2017; however, growth remains subject to downside risks, including delays in implementing national reform programs, further security concerns as well as uncertainties on global growth and international financial market conditions. A staff team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), headed by Ms. Céline Allard visited Ouagadougou, Abidjan, Dakar and Cotonou from January 10 to 24, 2019 for discussions with the institutions of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) on Common Policies for... Read more

Saudi Arabia to build refinery, petrochemical plants in South Africa

Saudi Arabia plans to build an oil refinery and a petrochemicals plant in South Africa as part of $10 billion of investments in the country, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Friday. Saudi oil would be used in the planned refinery whose construction would be led by state energy company Saudi Aramco, Al-Falih said in comments following a meeting with South African Energy Minister Jeff Radebe in Pretoria. “There have been exchanges of talks by Saudi Aramco teams and they have been supported by the South African energy ministry,” Al-Falih said. The exact location of the refinery and petrochemicals plant will be finalized in the coming weeks, Radebe said. Saudi Arabia was also interested in using South Africa’s major oil storage facilities, Al-Falih said, adding that Saudi utility developer Acwa Power was looking at investing in South Africa’s revamped renewable energy program. He also confirmed that there were discussions... Read more

Second Canadian national feared kidnapped in Burkina Faso

  A Canadian national has been abducted in northern Burkina Faso, according to media reports. The man was kidnapped on Tuesday night from a mine near the border with Niger, Security Minister Clement Sawadogo told reporters. This is the second case of a Canadian going missing in the West African country in recent weeks. Canadian officials said they are in touch with Burkina Faso authorities regarding the incident. "The relevant Canadian agencies are very much engaged in this difficult situation," Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Wednesday in Quebec. Reuters reported that the man was kidnapped by gunmen from a gold mining site owned by Vancouver-based Progress Minerals near the border with Niger. A pair of aid workers also went missing in Burkina Faso last month. Canadian officials have told media they are treating the disappearance of Canadian Edith Blais, 34, and Italian Luca Tacchetto, 30, as a kidnapping. The two... Read more

Ghana’s anti-corruption buster murdered, bigmouth MP under fire

Ghana’s president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has joined the long list of persons and institutions – home and abroad – mourning the death of an anti-corruption buster in a suburb of the capital, Accra. Ahmed Hussein-Suale was shot at thrice and killed by unknown assailants riding a motorbike, local media reports said. He was a key member of the team of Ghana’s investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas. “I have learnt with sadness the killing of Ahmed Hussein-Suale, an associate of investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas. “I condemn the act unreservedly, and extent my condolences to his family. I expect the police to bring to book, as soon as possible, the perpetrators of this heinous crime. Once again, my heartfelt condolences,” the president said in a tweet. Anas, a journalist known to always wearing a face mask to hide his identity because of his high-risk investigations broke the news of Ahmed’s... Read more

Letter from Africa: Beyoncé, Bashir and Big Brother to dominate 2019

After consistently losing out in football bets last year, I have little confidence in predicting anything for 2019 beyond the fact that the sun will rise and set in Africa. But this much I know without a shadow of doubt: Africa in the coming year will be focused on the beast, the ballot and Big Brother. The African version of the famous reality TV show, which started 16 years ago in South Africa, will be launched in Sierra Leone in 2019. And it is promising to be big. Already 2,000 application forms for Big Brother Sierra Leone have been sold. With a top prize of about $12,000 (£9,400) and the chance to be really famous, it is already the talk of the town, following the success of Big Sister last year, the country's first-ever reality TV show. Africa Cup of Nations For six weeks starting in February, Sierra Leonean TV... Read more

DRC Catholic Church declares knowing winner of Dec. 30 polls

 The Roman Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, says it already knows the winner of the December 30 presidential elections, according to its independent tallying. National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) bishops have thus tasked the elections body, CENI, to reveal the winner in keeping with truth and justice. Their declaration comes less than 24-hours since CENI told main aspirants at a meeting in Kinshasa that its January 6, 2018 date for initial release of results will most likely be delayed. We must do everything to avoid a parody of an election whose results would not be accepted, and which would, moreover, plunge our country into violence. CENI boss Corneille Nangaa reportedly told the aspirants that the slow transmission of result sheets from around the country meant that it had just about 17% of figures as at January 2. CENCO has yet to mention who “their winner” is or to publish a breakdown... Read more

Burkina Faso: Protest against fuel price increase

Thousands of people demonstrated in Burkina Faso on Thursday against the hike in fuel prices. The general strike in the capital Ouagadougou, with the slogan "No to the rise of hydrocarbons" was organized by the National Coalition against the Cost of Living. The first vice-president of the National Coalition to fight Against the High Cost of Living, Chrysogone Zougmoré, said that they had had enough. "Comrades, enough is enough! We say no to this increase in hydrocarbon prices which, inevitably, will have terribly damaging consequences on the populations and especially on the most vulnerable people." Since November 9, the price of gasoline and diesel in Burkina Faso has risen by 75 CFA francs per litre, an increase of 12%. The demonstrators submitted a list of demands to the Minister of Trade Harouna Kaboré. Chrysogone Zougmoré, expects the government to reduce the salaries and benefits of government officials. "We expect the government to... Read more

U.S to withdraw 10% of troops in Africa to counter Russia, China

The U.S. military will withdraw hundreds of troops focused on counterterrorism operations in Africa over the next several years to support the Pentagon’s increased focus on countering threats from China and Russia, officials said on Thursday. Earlier this year, the U.S. military put countering China and Russia at the center of a new national defense strategy, the latest sign of shifting priorities after more than a decade and a half of focusing on the fight against Islamist militants. “This realignment specifically projects to reduce forces by about 10 percent over the next several years – representing a fraction of the overall 7,200 DoD personnel operating in Africa,” Commander Candice Tresch, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told Reuters. Tresch said the cuts would leave “counter-violent extremist organization” activities largely untouched in several countries, including Somalia, Djibouti and Libya. In other parts of the region, including West Africa, the emphasis would shift from “tactical... Read more

Cameroonian journalist imprisoned for publishing what is considered “fake” news

At about 9pm on wednesday English desk editor and journalist of Equinoxe Television Mimi Mefo was jailed in New Bell central prison in Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon.  She was summoned to the regional gendarmerie legion early afternoon of November 7 was interviewed and subsequently placed under a warrant of arrest. A baseless act, as Denis Nkwebo the president of the National Syndicate of Cameroonian Journalists puts it.  Instead of the charges being served, she was simply handcuffed and transferred to New Bell Prison. But the National syndicate of Journalists of Cameroon considers this to be sufficiently a serious act of provocation, and we have therefore decided to convene a meeting of the national executive board as a matter of urgency. And at the end of that meeting, we will get the union’s reaction, especially since this is not the first case. In recent days we have been the... Read more

South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu was hospitalized in Cape Town on Thursday for “a series of tests”, his office said.

By : AFP

 “The Archbishop was in good spirits after settling into his ward. He hopes to be back home in a few days,” said a statement released by his office. The Nobel Peace laureate who turns 87 in ten days, was last admitted to hospital in September 2016 when he underwent minor surgery. The Archbishop was in good spirits after settling into his ward. He hopes to be back home in a few days. During that year, he was hospitalized four times for a persistent infection that his foundation said was a consequence of the prostate cancer treatment Tutu has been receiving for nearly two decades. The retired archbishop was also hospitalized in 2015 over an infection, which was also a result of the prostate cancer treatment. The much-loved former archbishop of Cape Town gained worldwide prominence for his strong opposition to white-minority rule in South Africa. He won the Nobel Peace... Read more

Liberia court orders arrest of ex-president Sirleaf’s son, bank officials


A Liberian court has issued arrest warrants for the son of ex-president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and more than 30 former central bank officials in connection with $104 million that went missing on the way to the bank, according to a court document released on Friday. Former bank governor Milton Weeks and Charles Sirleaf, were among those ordered arrested. Weeks has said he had nothing to do with the missing cash and was cooperating with investigators. There was no immediate comment on Friday from Weeks, Charles Sirleaf or any of the other people named on the list or their lawyers. The court said it had information that the named individuals planned to leave Liberia and ordered that they “be brought before this Honourable Court to answer to criminal charges levied against them by the Republic of Liberia”. The document did not say what charges they would face. Political crisis for George Weah Last... Read more

Obama criticizes ‘strongman politics’ in coded attack on Trump

Barack Obama has delivered a stinging rebuke to his successor as US president, condemning politicians who trade in the politics of fear and deny objective reality and, when caught in a lie, double down. In what has been described as his most important speech since leaving office, Obama used the Nelson Mandela annual lecture in front of an ecstatic 15,000-strong crowd in Johannesburg to warn that “the politics of fear, resentment, retrenchment” are on the move “at a pace unimaginable just a few years ago.” Without once mentioning Donald Trump by name, Obama took aim at the “utter loss of shame among political leaders when they’re caught in a lie and they just double down and lie some more”. These days “people just make stuff up” in politics and no longer show embarrassment when being caught out. In what was Obama’s first visit to Africa since leaving office in 2017, he warned that the denial of facts... Read more


Uganda Martin Luther King JR’s work still resonates across Africa KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Streets. Schools. A bridge in Burkina Faso. The name of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. can be found across Africa, a measure of the global influence of the American civil rights leader who was shot dead 50 years ago after speaking out against injustices at home and abroad. A school for poor children that is named after King in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, took as its motto, “Have a Dream,” borrowing a line from one of King’s most famous speeches. “Martin Luther King stood for human rights and equality, so we wanted a way of inspiring and motivating our students,” said Robert Mpala, the school’s founder. n rural Liberia, a West African nation founded by freed American slaves, one official spoke proudly of a privately owned Martin Luther King School. “Martin Luther King was a great... Read more