Africa

Italy’s Matteo Salvini shuts ports to migrant rescue ship

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A rescue ship carrying 629 migrants is stranded in the Mediterranean after Italy’s new interior minister refused permission for it to dock. BBC Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing League party, promised during Italy’s recent general election to take a tough stance against migration. He says Malta should accept the Aquarius, but it refused, arguing that it falls under Italy’s jurisdiction. Italy is the main entry for migrants crossing from North Africa to Europe. German charity SOS Méditerranée says the ... Read More »

Mediterranean could become a sea of plastic, WWF warns

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The Mediterranean could become a “sea of plastic,” the WWF warned on June 8 in a report calling for measures to clean up one of the world’s worst affected bodies of water. MARSEILLE Hurriyet The WWF said the Mediterranean had record levels of “micro-plastics,” the tiny pieces of plastic less than five millimeters in size which can be found increasingly in the food chain posing a threat to human health. “The concentration of micro-plastics is nearly four times higher” in the Mediterranean compared with ... Read More »

Increasing the Stakes in DR Congo’s Electoral Poker

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A moment of waning international attention has led some in President Kabila’s camp to revisit the idea of an internationally-opposed third presidential term. Nairobi/Brussels ICG African and Western leaders must maintain unity, redouble efforts to dissuade Kabila from pursuing this course and ensure preparations for elections in 2018 continue apace. What’s new? Allies of President Joseph Kabila suggest increasingly overtly that he could seek a third term in office; international actors, led by Angola, firmly reject that idea. Meanwhile, preparations ... Read More »

Israel’s Navy Trains to Defend Mediterranean Gas Rigs from Hezbollah Attack

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The Israeli Navy has successfully completed a military drill that simulated two possible ways Hezbollah might attack gas exploration and extraction systems in Israel’s Exclusive Economic… Sputnik The Israeli Navy’s first scenario included a drone simulating a cruise missile fired by the enemy at a gas rig. According to the Jerusalem Post, the airborne target was successfully discovered and destroyed by the… The ship has reportedly been upgraded with new detection, observation and electronic warfare systems, including a new radar which is said to greatly improve ... Read More »

Zimbabwe: Lack of Reform Risks Credible Elections

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President Mnangagwa Should Act on Pledge for Free, Fair Vote (Harare) – The Zimbabwe government’s failure to carry out legal and electoral reforms threatens the credibility of national elections scheduled for July 30, 2018. HRW Despite President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s repeated promises that elections will be free and fair, the ability of voters to freely choose their leaders is in serious doubt. Human Rights Watch research in May, including interviews across the country, found that security force involvement in the electoral ... Read More »

Somalia and the Gulf Crisis

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The quarrel between Gulf monarchies has spilled into Somalia, with the fragile state now caught between the rival interests of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. ICG The competition has already aggravated intra-Somali disputes. All sides should take a step back before these tensions mount further. What’s new? The rivalries underpinning the June 2017 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) crisis – particularly between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the one hand and Qatar and, by extension, Turkey on the other ... Read More »

Africa’s whistleblowers

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‘All I did was tell the truth’ Those who denounce corruption face hardship and physical danger even when there’s a legal framework that should protect and guarantee them a fair hearing. by Olivier Piot Le Monde diplomatique South African president Jacob Zuma resigned in February over the biggest corruption scandal since the end of apartheid, which involved both the president and his son. Zuma’s exit became inevitable last June, after the publication of thousands of confidential documents revealing that the ... Read More »

Making the Best of France’s Libya Summit

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Four main Libyan leaders meet in Paris on 29 May to sign a roadmap to peace, including 2018 elections with united international backing. ICG But with Libya’s UN-backed peace process at risk from the meeting’s format and the accord that France has brokered, the sides should instead commit to a broader declaration of principles. What’s new? On 29 May France will host a summit on Libya bringing together the country’s four principal competing leaders to sign an agreement on a ... Read More »

Do you even know what apartheid means?

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Op-ed: A state with complete academic freedom, with Arab ministers and MKs, a state that fosters Arab professors, doctors, pharmacists and teachers, can’t be called an ‘apartheid state,’ unless it’s by ignorant or evil people. Noah Klieger y net news And the last person who can throw this accusation at Israel is a dictator like Erdoğan who has been cracking down on freedom of speech and the free press in his own country. In the late 1950s, on a flight ... Read More »

Andargachew Tsige pardoned by Ethiopia

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Attorney general says decision for Andargachew Tsige’s pardon was part of moves intended to ‘widen political space’. Al Jazeera and News Agencies Ethiopia has pardoned an opposition leader with British citizenship who had been sentenced to death. Andargachew Tsige was found guilty of “terrorism” and sentenced in absentia in 2009 over his role in the opposition group Ginbot 7. He was the organisation’s secretary-general. The father of three was arrested during a stopover at a… Berhanu Tsegaye, Ethiopia’s… Andargachew Tsige pardoned… Read More »

How the wealth from Sierra Leone’s diamonds fails to enrich local communities

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Ever since diamonds were discovered in Sierra Leone in the 1930s, they have had a significant impact on the country – socially, politically and economically. Roy Maconachie The Conversation This is partly to do with how they are extracted from the ground. In countries in southern Africa, diamond mining is mostly undertaken by large-scale, mechanised companies, which monitor and control deep reserves. But in Sierra Leone, diamonds are more commonly dispersed close to the surface of river beds. They can ... Read More »

Uncertainty Strains Ethiopian Refugees in a Kenya Camp

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NAIROBI, KENYA — Two months ago, Kote Adi fled Moyale, Ethiopia, after government soldiers there opened fire on civilians, killing at least nine. Kote and his pregnant wife found shelter in a tent in northeastern Kenya’s Dambala Fachana refugee camp, but weeks of heavy rain have displaced… Sora Halake VoA “Our plastic shelters were flooded with water,” said Kote Adi, who is settling into a new tent site on higher ground. Hardship and uncertainty haunt him and thousands of others who’ve left Moyale, ... Read More »

Burundi: Killings, Abuse Ahead of Referendum

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UN, EU, US Should Expand Targeted Sanctions HRW (Nairobi) – Burundi’s security services and ruling party youth league members killed, raped, abducted, beat, and intimidated suspected opponents in the months leading up to a constitutional referendum on May 17, 2018, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The country has faced a political, human rights, and humanitarian crisis since April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a disputed third term. The 32-page report, “‘We Will ... Read More »

‘More than 19’ Cameroon athletes seeking refuge after going missing at Commonwealth Games

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More than 19 Commonwealth Games athletes and team staff who went missing during the Gold Coast event are now seeking asylum in Australia, refugee advocates have said. 9news Sydney’s Refugee Advice and Casework Service principal solicitor Sarah Dale said the organisation had helped a number of people lodge applications for protection, before their federally approved games visas expired on Tuesday night. Initially, it was believed 11 participants had not returned home, including five boxers and three wrestlers from Cameroon, two ... Read More »

Are dictators on the way out – or on the way up?

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All around the world, democracy is looking shaky. While consolidated democracies are struggling to stay healthy, many flawed ones have turned into outright authoritarian regimes – most notably Russia under Vladimir Putin and Turkey under… Natasha Ezrow The Conversation But the news isn’t all bad: on several continents over the last decade, longstanding dictators have resigned, lost elections, or been deposed. As the table below indicates, the number of dictators who’ve fallen in recent years for all sorts of reasons ... Read More »

Erdogan: Cyprus Oil Drilling Is A Security Threat To East Mediterranean

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The Eastern Mediterranean will face a security threat should Cyprus continue its unilateral operations of offshore oil and gas exploration in the region, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said in a speech at think tank Chatham… Tsvetana Paraskova OilPrice Turkey, which recognizes the northern Turkish Cypriot government and doesn’t have diplomatic relations with the internationally recognized government of Cyprus, claims that part of the Cyprus offshore area is under the jurisdiction of Turkish… Tensions in the area flared up earlier ... Read More »