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*****************************************

 
 
Ivory Coast raises awareness
 about leprosy as victims 
suffer in silence
January 29th, 11:42am
(africanews)
 
Dan Izzett has lived with leprosy's effects on his body for 
70 years, and has lost much to what he calls an 
"ancient, fascinating, very unkind disease".
 
The Zimbabwean former civil engineering technician and 
pastor was diagnosed at the age of 25 in 1972, but first
 contracted the disease when he was just five.
 
That long incubation period gave the bacteria that causes
 leprosy, Mycobacterium leprae, lots of time to spread 
through his body.
 
His right leg was amputated in 1980 in Zimbabwe's capital
 Harare. Now 75, Izzett has no feeling above his elbows,
 below his knees or in 70 percent of his face.
 
That lack of feeling poses a "constant danger," Izzett told
 AFP in a 'phone call from his home in southwest England.
 
In October 2020, "I put my hands on a hot plate and hadn't 
noticed it until I could smell my flesh burning," he said,
 leading to the amputation of the middle finger of his
 right hand.
 
The following year, the little toe on his left foot was
 amputated. Last month, he lost another toe.
 
Izzett said he chose to speak out about his experience
 because millions of survivors who were less well off 
were unable to, partly because of the stigma and 
discrimination that still surrounds the disease.
 
- The 'forgotten' patients -
 
Leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease, has been 
haunting humanity for at least 4,000 years, often 
affecting the poorest communities.
 
It is a considered a neglected tropical disease by the 
World Health Organization, and remains under 
researched and little discussed compared 
to many other illnesses.
 
In 2021, more than 140,500 new cases were detected 
worldwide, nearly three quarters of them in Brazil, 
India and Indonesia, according to the WHO.
 
However pandemic-related disruptions have led to 
nearly 40 percent fewer cases being detected a 
year, with fears that tens of thousands have 
gone undiagnosed.
 
Even before the pandemic, the official 
numbers likely did not reflect reality.
 
"We know the number of patients who have been tested, 
but we don't count the forgotten, undetected patients," 
said Bertrand Cauchoix, a leprosy specialist at the 
Raoul Follereau Foundation in France.
 
This is in part because the disease's incubation period can
 last up to 20 years. Testing and diagnosis also takes time, 
during which patients could potentially infect their 
family members.
 
Before he received his diagnosis, said Izzett,
 "my wife got the disease from me".
 
Back in the 1970s, Izzett was given the antibiotic 
Dapsone, which was then a lifetime treatment.
 
In the mid-80s, a combination of drugs including Dapsone
 known as multidrug therapy (MDT) became available. It 
can cure leprosy over a 12-month course -- though 
nerve damage and other remnants of the 
disease remain.
 
Mathias Duck, a former chaplain in Paraguay's capital 
Asuncion, only needed six-months of MDT after
 being diagnosed with leprosy in 2010.
 
"I consider myself the luckiest person affected by leprosy 
because I was diagnosed and treated in time and so I 
have no impairments whatsoever," the 44-year-old 
told AFP.
 
The WHO provides MDT to patients worldwide for free, 
with Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis donating 
doses since 2000.
 
However there has been little 
progress for new treatments.
 
"There is no money for leprosy....  only
 charitable donations," Cauchoix said.
 
- Don't use the 'L word' -
 
Alexandra Aubry, a specialist at the Centre for Immunology
 and Infectious Diseases in France, evaluates whether 
every new antibiotic developed for other illnesses 
could also be used for leprosy.
 
Her laboratory is one of the few in the world able to 
carry out tests on the leprosy bacteria, which
 does not survive in a petri dish.
 
They are trying to find a way to "simplify" treatment 
so it can take less than six months, she said.
 
There are also a couple of vaccines being developed, 
though they remain in early phases of human testing.
 
"It is very complex to get funding for this," Aubry said.
 
"To assess the effectiveness of a vaccine, you have to 
follow the vaccinated population for 10 to 15 years," 
with the timeframe extended further...... by the 
disease's long incubation period, she said.
 
In comparison to how swiftly the world responded to 
Covid, leprosy efforts are "a drop in the bucket," 
Duck said, calling for far more research and 
political action.
 
But he added that there is something everyone 
can do for World Leprosy Day on Sunday -- 
stop using the word "leper".
 
"We call it the 'L word'," Duck said, 
describing it as discriminatory.
 
"It's a little step that most people can do," he added, 
"to give people affected by leprosy "the dignity
 they deserve".
 
Additional sources • AFP
 
 
_____________________________________
 
 
 
Burkina: demonstration for sovereignty 
and in support of the Govt in power
January 29th, 9:46am
(africanews)
 
Several thousand people demonstrated in Ouagadougou for 
the sovereignty of Burkina Faso, in support of the Govt. in 
power, a few days after the confirmation of the departure 
of French forces from the country by the end of January. 
 
"We have decided to take our destiny in hand and it is not 
the international community -- or anyone else -- who will
 stop us," said Pan-Africanist Fatime Nahor N'Gawara.
 
With anti-France feelings running high in many of its former
 colonies in West Africa --- Paris is being forced to retreat 
ever further from the increasingly unstable region and
 re-think its presence, experts say.
 
After the ruling junta in Mali forced French troops out last year,
 the army officers running neighbouring Burkina Faso followed
 suit this week, asking Paris to empty its garrison in the 
next month.
 
Under President Emmanuel Macron, France was already
 drawing down its troops across the Sahel region, who
 just a few years ago, numbered more than 5,000, 
backed up with fighter jets, helicopters and 
infantry fighting vehicles.
 
Around 3,000 remain, but the forced departures from Mali and
 Burkina Faso -- as well as the Central African Republic to the
 south last year -- underline how anti-French winds...... are
 gathering force.
 
"France is paying for its desire to maintain a very significant 
political and military presence in its former dominions," 
said Jean-Herve Jezequel, a region specialist from 
the International Crisis Group (ICG), a conflict-
focused think tank.
 
After the independence movement in the 1950s and 60s, Paris
 still intervened regularly in the domestic affairs of its former
 colonies and for decades retained sway through business 
and political ties under an unofficial policy known 
as "Francafrique".
 
Today, its influence has shrunk, and it faces growing 
competition from Russia, but its permanent military 
presence and the existence of common regional 
currencies underpinned by the French central 
bank, are targets for populist politicians.
 
"The idea that the former colonial power.. can retain such 
a strong military presence is hard to stomach for many 
people," Jezequel told AFP, adding that there 
remained a "post-colonial hangover that 
has not been resolved".
 
Gilles Yabi, founder of the Senegal-based WATHI think-tank, 
told AFP there was a "desire from some sections of 
society to enter a new phase, to grasp a 
'new independence'."
 
- Popular France-bashing -
 
The biggest source of anti-French feeling is Paris's military
 intervention in Mali in 2013, to beat back jihadists who 
were advancing from the north and threatening to 
overrun the government in the capital Bamako.
 
Though the operation was a success and the 
elected government saved, any credit has 
long since disappeared.
 
A heavy French presence afterwards failed to stop the
 insurgency spreading, with the violence spilling over 
into neighbouring countries.. and now threatening 
communities all over the Sahel region beneath 
the Sahara desert.
 
"It is clear that it (France).. has not managed to stop the
 continued worsening of the security crisis, which has 
many, many different causes," said Paul Melly, an 
expert on the Sahel and consulting fellow at the 
Chatham House, a London-based think tank.
 
"People say..... 'if they're here, 
what use are they?'," he said.
 
In Senegal, President Macky Sall is regularly accused
by his 
opponents of taking instructions from his
"master" in Paris ahead of elections next year,
with top rival Ousmane 
Sonko, backing
a reset in relations.
 
 
________________________________________
 
 
 
Italy's Eni signs $8 
billion gas deal as 
Meloni visits Libya
January 29th, 8:52am
 (africanews)
 
Italian energy giant Eni signed an $8 billion gas deal with 
Libya's state-run National Oil Corporation on Saturday 
as Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visited Tripoli.
 
European governments... have been scrambling to find 
alternatives to Russian gas since last year's invasion 
of Ukraine saw deliveries slashed to less than half
their pre-war levels, sending prices soaring to 
record highs and triggering costly state 
subsidies to protect consumers.
 
Eni said it was the first major project in Libya since 
early 2000 and involved the development of two 
offshore gas fields.
 
"The combined gas production from the two structures, will 
start in 2026 and reach a plateau of 750 million of standard 
gas cubic feet per day," Eni said in a statement.
 
"Production will be ensured through two main platforms tied
 in to the existing treatment facilities at the Mellitah 
Complex," 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of the 
capital, it added.
 
"The project also includes the construction of a carbon
 capture and storage (CCS) facility at Mellitah, allowing 
a significant reduction of the overall carbon footprint,"
 the company added.
 
"The overall estimated investment will amount to $8 billion, 
with significant impact on the industry and the associated
 supply chain, allowing a significant contribution to the
 Libyan economy."
 
Eni has an 80 percent slice of
Libya's gas production.
 
The agreement was signed in the presence of Meloni &
 her host, Abdulhamid Dbeibah, who heads the UN-
brokered Government of National Unity which is 
contested by a rival administration in the east.
 
Her visit is the first by a European leader to war-battered 
Libya... since her predecessor Mario Draghi's visit in 
April 2021.
 
Meloni also visited Algeria this week seeking 
supply deals from Africa's top gas exporter.
 
During her trip to Libya, she was expected to discuss the 
issue of migration amid rising numbers of irregular
 migrants from Libya to Italy.
 
Libya is a conduit for thousands of people each year 
fleeing conflict and poverty across Africa, seeking 
refuge across the Mediterranean in Europe.
 
Meloni's far-right government took office in October,
 vowing to stop migrant landings in Italy, which 
reached more than 105,000 in 2022.
 
Additional sources • AFP
 
 
_______________________________________



Cargo vessel carrying 63,000 tons 
of Russian grain arrives at Egypt’s
 Safaga port — portal
January 28th, 1:43pm (TASS)
 
 The PAREA dry cargo ship delivered more than 60,000 
tons of grain to the Egyptian port of Safaga on the 
Red Sea, on Saturday, the Alyaum as-Sabia 
news portal reported.
 
According to the online resource, the Malta-flagged
 PAREA vessel has brought 63,000 tons of wheat 
from Russia to Egypt.
 
The Russian grain delivered to Safaga is reported to
 fall under the authority of the Egyptian Ministry of
 Supply and Internal Trade.
 
Egypt is the world’s biggest importer of wheat, with some 11-
13 million tons being purchased from abroad yearly. Russia 
and Ukraine are the largest grain exporters to that Arab 
country. The Ukraine crisis and the European Union’s
 and the United States’ large-scale anti-Russian 
sanctions have entailed breaks in key grain 
supply chains, so Cairo was forced to 
diversify them.
 
Last autumn, First Deputy Supply and Internal Trade 
Minister Ibrahim Ashmawy said that Egypt had a 
sufficient stock of goods both at the minister’s 
trading facilities and at wholesale companies. 
 
He added that the ministry had established a department 
to monitor the stock of goods, including grain, at the 
level of provinces, in order to ensure their 
constant availability.
 
 
______________________________________



EU ''Concerned'' About 
South Africa, Russia,
 China Naval Drills
January 27th, 5pm 
(teleSUR)
 
South African Foreign Affairs Minister Pandor claimed 
the sovereignty of her country to decide with whom
 it establishes relations.
 
On Friday, the European Union's High Representative for 
Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said the EU respects 
South Africa's decision to carry out naval 
exercises with Russia and China... 
although it would prefer it not 
to participate in such
 joint exercises.
 
The Ukrainian conflict "is not just a European war. It is
 happening on European soil... but it affects the whole 
world. The consequences are felt around the globe," 
Borrell said before hinting at the EU stance on the 
military maneuvers that will take place
 in February.
 
"We have always respected South Africa's traditional non-
alignment stance in foreign policy. The European Union, 
doesn't ask Africa to choose sides. We are just asking 
all countries in the world to stand on the side of the 
United Nations charter," he added.
 
These statements were made, during a press conference 
held in Pretoria together with the South African Foreign
 Affairs Minister, Naledi Pandor.
 
Commenting on the opinions issued by Borrell, she limited
 herself to wondering.. why no one questioned before...
th
e military exercises that South Africa carried out 
with Western countries, such as France, or the 
United States.
 
A week ago, the South African Armed Forces announced that 
they would hold the "MOSI exercises" off the country's east 
coast between February 17 and 27. These drills include
 the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy and the 
Russian Federal Navy.
 
Besides defending the naval maneuvers, Pandor claimed
 the sovereignty of South Africa: to decide with whom it
establishes relations. Her statements occurred amid 
this week's visit to the South African nation of the 
Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergei Lavrov.
 
 
____________________________________




Egypt to allocate land 
to Indian industries
in Suez Canal
by Luis Linares Petrov
January 27th, 10:39am
 (Prensa Latina) 
 
Egypt plans to allocate land to Indian industries in the Suez
Canal special economic zone, according to the joint
statement issued by the two countries, after 
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's visit to 
New Delhi.
 
The proposal comes in the context of India’s offer to
 encourage its companies to carry out investment 
abroad by using the investment opportunities 
available in Egypt.
 
According to the statement, Cairo welcomes the inflow 
of more Indian investments --- and promises to offer 
incentives and facilities.... according to the
applicable regulations and frameworks.
 
Both Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and Egyptian
 President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi welcomed the expansion 
of Indian investment in Egypt, which currently exceeds
 $3.15 billion.
 
Both leaders agreed to encourage companies from 
their respective countries.. to explore new 
economic investment opportunities.
 
Modi and El-Sisi appreciated the bilateral economic 
commitment and welcomed the current level of 
trade between the two nations at a record 
$7.26 billion in 2021-22, despite the
 challenges posed by the
Covid-19 pandemic.
 
The dignitaries also expressed their confidence that
both countries may achieve their bilateral trade 
objectives of 12 billion dollars over the next 
five years, diversifying the trade basket 
and focusing on added values.
 
 
_________________________________




 Lavrov reaffirms Russia’s 
commitment to - food 
exports to Africa
January 26th, 8:50pm (TASS)
 
Sergey Lavrov, the nation’s top diplomat, reaffirmed 
Moscow’s commitments regarding food exports to 
poor countries in Africa in the wake of his visit to 
Eritrea, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a 
statement on Thursday.
 
"Sergey Lavrov reaffirmed Russia’s steadfast commitment 
to fulfilling all its obligations regarding export deliveries 
of critically important foodstuffs to African countries 
that need them, including within the framework of
the package agreements reached with UN 
participation," the ministry said.
 
The ministry said that during his meetings with Eritrean
 President Isaias Afwerki and Foreign Minister Osman 
Saleh, Lavrov discussed key areas of the future 
development of Russian-Eritrean relations, 
"with an emphasis placed on promoting 
promising joint economic projects."
 
"Moreover, the positive dynamics of inter-party contacts
 were noted, along with strengthening of educational,
 cultural & humanitarian ties," the statement reads.
 
Besides, Moscow and Asmara reaffirmed their "determination
 to deepen trust-based political dialogue and to expand
 efficient practices of foreign policy coordination 
regarding the most pressing issues on the 
global and international agenda in the 
United Nations and other 
multilateral formats."
 
Military-technical cooperation
 
Russia ready to cater for Eritrea’s 
defense needs, Lavrov says.
 
"We discussed military and military-technical cooperation on
 the basis of previously signed agreements. We are ready 
to meet Eritrea’s needs in maintaining its defense 
capabilities. Undoubtedly, we will cooperate 
on humanitarian issues as well," he said.
 
Moscow is counting on Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki’s
 participation in the second Russia-Africa summit.
 
"We hope that Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki will 
personally attend this important event," Moscow’s
 top diplomat was quoted as saying, on the 
Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.
 
The second summit and economic forum Russia-Africa 
are scheduled for July 26-29. The event was first held 
on October 22-24, 2019 in Russia’s Black Sea resort 
city of Sochi.
 
Military operation in Ukraine
 
"When exchanging opinions.. about the development of
the current geopolitical environment with respect to 
the situation in and around Ukraine, Sergey Lavrov 
gave a detailed review of the reasons, aims and 
objectives of ---- the Russian special military 
operation in Ukraine for Eritrea's leaders.'' 
 
''An analysis was made of the attempts that Washington 
and its satellites are making to draw African countries 
into the hybrid war of the collective West against 
Russia," the ministry said in a statement.
 
 
____________________________________


Tunisia celebrates ---
126th anniversary
of
Venezuelan cinema
by Ana Luisa Brown
January 26th, 11:51am 
 (Prensa Latina)
 
 Starting on Thursday, the Cinematheque of Tunisia, in
 conjunction with the Venezuelan Embassy here, will 
screen a series of films to celebrate the 126th 
anniversary of Venezuelan cinema.
 
Held at the Tahar Cheriaa Hall, the celebration will be
 attended by Venezuelan filmmaker Atahualpa Lichy, 
who will interact with the public after one of his
 films is screened.
 
Several motion pictures will be exhibited, including 
his documentary “El misterio de las lagunas” 
(The Mystery of the Lagoons), premiered in
 2011, and his first fiction film Rio Negro 
(Black River), from 1989, which will
be 
presented on Friday.
 
All films are closed captioned in French, except
 for Jerico (Jericho), which is in English.
 
This date is usually marked as a tribute to the screening 
of the first films made in Venezuela, an event that took 
place at the Baralt Theater, in Maracaibo, on 
January 28th, 1897.
 
 
_________________________________________
 
 
 
Satisfaction in Ethiopia for African 
Union Summit’s preparations
by Ileana Ferrer Fonte
January 26th, 8:09am
(Prensa Latina) 
 
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia declared that 
all the preparations made until Thursday, to host the 
next Summit of the African Union will guarantee the
 success of the major meeting of the continent.
 
According to the Ministry, during the recent assessment 
of the preparations, Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister 
Demeke Mekonnen praised the efforts made in 
recent weeks and urged for the completion 
of the preliminary program, without 
neglecting any detail.
 
“We must rise to the occasion. The summit will be held 
when we are emerging from a challenging situation,”
 Mekonnen commented... in reference to the
 implementation period of the agreement 
to restore peace in the nation’s 
northern region.
 
The upcoming sessions of the Union will create an
 opportunity: to show the countries of Africa and 
the rest of the world our true reality, he added.
 
Unlike other times, when the summit took place on the 
first week of the second month of the year, Addis 
Ababa will host the 36th Summit and the 42nd 
Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of 
the body, from February the 15th to 19th.
 
 
______________________________________________


France To Withdraw Troops 
From Burkina Faso 
Within a Month
January 25th
(teleSUR)
 
The French government announced Wednesday, 
that it will withdraw its troops from Burkina
 Faso within a month at the request of the 
Burkinabe government. 
 
On Tuesday, the French Foreign Ministry received formal 
notice from Ouagadougou to withdraw French forces.

A
 ministry spokeswoman said, "we have formally 
received notice from the government of 
Burkina Faso to terminate the 2018 
agreement on the status of the 
French armed forces present
 in the country."
 
"Under the terms of the agreement, the termination becomes
 effective one month after receipt of the written notice. We
 will honour the terms of the agreement by honouring this
 request," the spokeswoman said.
 
 
_____________________________________


Russia expects launch of direct
flights
 to South Africa by 2nd 
Russia-Africa summit
 January 25th, 3:51pm (TASS)
 
Russia expects the launch of direct flights to the Republic
 of South Africa by the second Russia-Africa summit, 
Ambassador at Large, Head of the Russia-Africa 
Partnership Forum, Secretariat Oleg Ozerov 
said at the Valdai Discussion Club, when 
speaking about relations between 
Russia and South Africa.
 
"I think there are simple solutions that allow resetting our 
relations very fast, this is, first of all, tourism. This is a 
very attractive area. If we manage - and we hope to 
launch, say, direct flights to South Africa, by the 
summit, tourists will go. This.. will be one of the 
factors that destroys propaganda stereotypes, 
destroys propaganda, people will be provided 
with an opportunity for people-to-people 
communication, which encourages 
Russian language study, we have 
seen all that, as in the case of 
Egypt. As soon... as aircraft 
started flying, the demand 
for the Russian language 
revived in Egypt.'' 
 
''I am confident ------- that the same will happen in our 
relationship with South Africa as well," he explained.
 
Russia is convinced that it has "plenty of areas for 
economic cooperation with South Africa," the 
diplomat added.
 
The second summit and economic forum Russia-Africa 
are scheduled for July 26th-29th. The event was first
 held on October 22nd-24th, 2019 in Sochi.
 
 
_________________________________________________
 
 
 
Russia expects cooperation with South Africa 
to develop --- on basis of national currencies
January 25th, 3:47pm (TASS)
 
Moscow expects cooperation with Pretoria to develop, not on 
the basis of payments in dollars, but on the basis of national 
currencies, Ambassador at Large, Head of the Russia-Africa 
Partnership Forum Secretariat Oleg Ozerov said at the 
Valdai Discussion Club when speaking about the
 relations between Russia and South Africa.
 
"We know for sure that our cooperation will not be through
 dollars. Other prospects are opening, though. This is, 
first of all, cooperation in national currencies. We 
can work in national currencies.. that are not 
under sanctions. Consequently, this means
 using the Russian national currency. We 
should be moving in this direction with 
more confidence --- demonstrating 
opportunities.... for our partners 
to use our national currency,"
 he said.
 
It is possible to use the rand in payments between the
 countries, "since it is the currency of not only South
 Africa, but the whole of Southern Africa and SADC 
(South African Development Community - TASS) 
member states," the diplomat said, adding that 
the yuan... is another option.
 
Moreover, Russia will find solutions.. to prior issues that 
will allow fully restarting cooperation with South Africa, 
he noted. "The creation of a common BRICS currency
 is a long-running process, though we need quick 
solutions, that will already allow us to restart 
trade with South Africa, as well as creating 
and financing joint projects. Those 
solutions are actively being 
searched for now," 
Ozerov said.
 
 
______________________________________________
 
 

Cholera Outbreak In Malawi
 Kills 1,002 People
January 25th, (teleSUR)
 
On Tuesday, Malawi Health Ministry announced that 
1,002 people have died of cholera.... since an 
unprecedented outbreak of the disease 
was declared in March 2022.
 
"Most of the deaths occurred because patients showed up
 late for treatment," the Health Ministry lamented. Since 
the outbreak began, health authorities have registered
 over 30,620 cholera cases, 626 of which, were 
detected this week.
 
The cholera disease, which is spread by ingesting food or 
water contaminated by the vibrio cholera bacteria and 
causes severe diarrhea, is endemic in this African 
country. Most contagions occur during the rainy 
season, which runs from December to March.
 
“During 2022, the disease spread in an unprecedented way
 throughout the country, even during the dry season,” said 
Marion Pechayre, head of the Doctors Without Borders 
(MSF) mission to Malawi.
 
She stressed that this outbreak is mainly due to the 
shortages in drinking water supply after the 2022 
Ana and Gombe cyclons passage and persistent 
problems in medical equipment supply.
 
"In the Mtosa village health centre, we have no intravenous
 drip, and there is very little oral serum left. A cholera 
patient of ours died yesterday," medical assistant 
Emmanuel Chipokodzi regrets, stressing that 
cholera contagions in the hospital have 
risen ------- due to the lack of specific 
latrines for this disease’s patients.
 
The global limitation of vaccines also prompts cholera 
cases to increase in Malawi. In Oct. 2022, the Inter-
national Coordinating Group (ICG) on Vaccine 
Provision announced that it will temporarily 
provide only one out of the two doses of 
the cholera vaccines, due to the lack 
of resources.
 
"With the inoculation of two doses, the patient has immunity
 of about 80 percent between three to five years. With only
 one dose, however, immunity to the disease only lasts for 
6 months up to two years with an effectiveness of about 
50 percent," Pechayre insisted, describing this
situation.... 
as ''desperate''.
 
 
____________________________________


 
DRC, Rwanda Trade Accusations 
Over Attack Against Fighter Jet
January 25th, 3:37pm (teleSUR)
 
On Tuesday, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) 
and Rwanda exchanged accusations after a fighter jet 
from the DRC... was attacked during its landing, the 
latest dispute between the two neighbours whose 
relationship has soured due to a rebel insurgency.
 
DRC government spokesman Patrick Muyaya condemned 
the attack against a Sukhoi-25 fighter jet and rejected 
Rwanda's accusation that the aircraft was in
 Rwandan airspace.
 
"Rwandan fire was directed at a Congolese aircraft flying over
 the Congolese territory. It did not fly over Rwandan airspace
 in any way. The aircraft landed without major material
 damage," he said, adding that the incident occurred 
around 5:00 p.m. local time in Goma, capital of the
 North Kivu Province.
 
Earlier on Tuesday, Rwanda blamed the Congolese fighter jet 
for violating its airspace "for the third time," which prompted 
Kigali to take "defensive measures."
 
Tension between the two countries has escalated since 
fighting resumed between M23 rebels and DRC govern-
ment troops in North Kivu. The DRC accuses Rwanda 
of backing the guerrilla fighters, while Rwanda
 denies the charge.
 
Rwanda has also accused the Congolese army of using 
heavy weaponry to target Rwanda's border zone in 
the renewed fighting.
 
For several weeks, M23 rebels have been trying to advance
 in Masisi, a town in North Kivu. Intense fighting has left 
thousands of civilians homeless in the region.
 
 
________________________________________

 
Angolan President João Lourenço
 receives Russian FM Sergey Lavrov
by Ana Luisa Brown
January 25th, 12:41pm
 (Prensa Latina) 
 
Angolan President João Lourenço on Wednesday received
 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the end of a
 meeting between the two countries' delegations,
 to strengthen cooperation.
 
The talks....  held at the headquarters of the local Foreign 
Ministry, were chaired by the head of Angolan diplomacy,
 Tete Antonio, and Lavrov, who will conclude his 72-hour 
working visit on Thursday.
 
The two sides are interested in strengthening collaboration
 in the field of telecommunications, the military-technical 
sphere, humanitarian assistance, the use of atomic 
energy for peaceful purposes, agriculture, 
manufacturing and diamond industries,
 as well as education and culture.
 
Antonio announced that the analysis of the prospects for
 bilateral relations will include a forthcoming meeting of 
the intergovernmental commission, whose sessions, as
 a matter of principle, will take place in Luanda.
 
Regarding the international situation, the minister assured
 that Angola favours inclusive talks, political commitments
 based on national interests, and the preservation of the
 constitutional order, ‘always respecting the principle 
of non-interference.’
 
It also defends negotiation, mutually accepted, for the
 resolution of disputes in the world, with respect for
 international law, the Angolan foreign minister 
added in direct reference to the Russia-
Ukraine-NATO conflict.
 
According to Lavrov, the Russian Government appreciates
 Angola’s balanced positions within the United Nations, 
specifically those related to the conflict itself.
 
He also appreciated the business opportunities open
in Angola and the role of President Lourenço in the 
pacification of the Great Lakes region and the
Southern African Development 
Community area.
 
Summarizing the day, Antonio considered it a ‘fruitful’ 
meeting, which will allow strengthening bilateral 
and regional cooperation.
 
 
_______________________________________________




Nigeria's First Deep Seaport 
Opens for Operation
January 24th, 1:40pm (teleSUR)
 
On Monday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari 
inaugurated the iconic Lekki deep seaport, in the 
state of Lagos, for operation, noting that the new
 maritime facility opens a new vista of economic 
development for this African country.
 
Constructed by the China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd., 
the Lekki Deep Sea Port is the first deep seaport in Nigeria, 
and one of the biggest in West Africa.
 
At a banquet held by the Lagos state government on Monday
 night, Buhari said the completion of the project was driven 
by his vision to "bequeath a legacy of poverty elimination 
through the provision of job-creating infrastructure."
 
Emphasizing there are now limitless opportunities for the
country's exports, especially agro-allied products in the
international marketplace, a growth of local jobs and an
increase in the foreign exchange inflow, Buhari said, he 
"placed all matters related to the operationalization
of
 Lekki deep seaport, on top priority."
 
With an investment in excess of US$1 billion, the deep
 seaport is a commercial project of cooperation 
between China, France and Nigeria. 
 
The construction of the port commenced in June 2020 and
 was completed in October 2022. It is designed to handle 
1.2 million standard containers annually.
 
Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, such as biometric
 scanners and facial recognition systems, the port is 
expected to also improve security and efficiency, 
and streamline the clearance of cargo.
 
Aside from unlocking the country's economic potential, 
the new port will also create thousands of direct and 
indirect jobs in Nigeria as it begins operation, 
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos 
State, said.
 
 
_________________________________________

 
Russian Foreign Minister 
Sergey Lavrov to visit 
Angola
by Ileana Ferrer Fonte
Luanda, January 24th, 
at 12:42pm
(Prensa Latina) 
 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will arrive
 in this capital on Tuesday, for a working visit to
 Angola, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
 (MIREX) announced.
 
On Wednesday, Lavrov and his Angolan counterpart, 
Téte António, will chair a meeting between the
two
 delegations at the MIREX headquarters
in 
downtown Luanda.
 
According to Lavrov’s agenda, President João Lourenço 
will meet with the head of Russian diplomacy, who will 
also visit the Dr. António Agostinho Neto Memorial, 
where the remains of the former statesman, 
considered the founding father of this 
African nation, are buried.
 
The Russian foreign minister will also lay a wreath at the 
tomb of former President José Eduardo dos Santos in 
Luanda’s Republic Square and will visit the National 
Museum of Military History.
 
Lavrov is expected to leave Angola on 
early Thursday, the MIREX stated.
 
 
___________________________________
 
 
 
UNHCR warns ----- of escalating 
violence in Democratic Congo
by Alina Ramos Martin
January 24th, 11:17am
 (Prensa Latina) 
 
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), expressed
 concerns over the escalation of attacks on civilians by 
various armed groups, in the eastern part of the
Democratic Republic
 of Congo.
 
The situation is particularly serious in the provinces of Ituri 
and North Kivu, and has led to an increase in the number 
of forcible displacements within the country, according
 to spokeswoman Eujin Byun.
 
More than 200 civilians were killed in the first city, in the last
 six weeks, where 2,000 houses were destroyed, while in the 
North Kivu region 12,000 people are settled on the 
outskirts of Goma, the provincial capital, for 
better security, she added.
 
UNHCR asked international donors for 233 million dollars to
 carry out humanitarian work in the Democratic Republic 
of Congo this year and asked all parties involved in
the 
crisis, to respect the reception centres
for 
displaced people.
 
Out of a population of 27 million, the number of internally
 displaced persons is equivalent to one-fifth of that
amount, according to the UNHCR.
 
 
___________________________________
 
 
 
El-Sisi and Sall review AU 
summit preparations
by Ileana Ferrer Fonte
January 24th, 11:08am
(Prensa Latina) 
 
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi reviewed with 
his Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall preparations 
for the upcoming African Union summit to be held in 
February, an official source announced on Tuesday.
 
In a 'phone call, El-Sisi congratulated Sall on his country’s 
successful presidency of the African Union - in 2022 - 
despite many international and regional challenges, 
a communique from the Egyptian presidency's 
office noted.
 
For his part, Sall thanked Cairo’s support during 
his tenure at the helm of the pan-African bloc.
 
The support.. showed Egypt’s position to defend the 
common interests of African countries and search 
for solutions to the problems the continent is
 facing, he added.
 
The two leaders also addressed several issues of 
common interest to both nations, as well as 
regional and international affairs, the 
text underlined.
 
 
___________________________________


Russia commends South Africa’s 
position on Ukraine conflict, 
says Lavrov
January 23rd, 1:25pm (TASS)
 
Moscow appreciates South Africa’s position on the situation
 in Ukraine, which is based on openness and a responsible
 approach, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at
 a press conference following talks with South African
 Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor on Monday.
 
The Russian top diplomat pointed out that in the spring of 
2022, Moscow had supported Ukraine’s proposals for 
talks on resolving the conflict but the Kiev regime 
eventually rejected the possible agreement - on 
orders from the West.
 
"However, I would like to express our deep appreciation, 
for South Africa’s position," Lavrov noted. "I respect the
 openness --- and the responsible approach that you are
 demonstrating, based on your commitment to the key 
national interests of South Africa and its people," 
he added.
 
Pandor said earlier that South Africa did not support 
any party to the conflict in Ukraine despite pressure 
from the West.
 
 
________________________________
 
 
 
Unloading of first batch --- of 
Russian fertilizers for Africa 
begins, say officials
January 23rd, 11:53am (TASS)
 
The unloading of the first batch of Russian fertilizers 
for Africa, which is destined for Malawi, started on 
Monday in the Mozambican port of Beira, 
a representative of the port’s 
administration told TASS.
 
"The MV Greenwich vessel docked at the terminal on 
January 23rd, and the unloading of fertilizers from 
its board has begun," the source said. "The work
 is going to take about a week," the
 interlocutor continued.
 
The cargo weighs almost 20,000 metric tons.
The fertilizers belong to the Russian 
company Uralchem-Uralkali.
 
A representative of the Russian Embassy in Malawi told 
TASS that the first batch would arrive in the country’s 
capital of Lilongwe on February the 5th, 2023. The 
government of the African country plans to hold 
an official ceremony devoted to this event 
on February the 8th.
 
On November 12th, 2022, Uralchem-Uralkali agreed to supply
 humanitarian batches of fertilizers blocked at warehouses
 in Belgium, the Netherlands and Estonia to Africa. The 
first vessel for exports was chartered by the UN’s 
World Food Program.
 
On November 29th, 2022, the MV Greenwich ship under the 
flag of the United Kingdom, owned by a Greek company, 
left the Netherlands carrying the first batch of Russian
 fertilizers to Mozambique. On December 31st, 2022,
 it dropped its anchor in the harbour of the port 
of Beira.
 
 
___________________________________
 
 
 
Moscow expects second Russia-
Africa Summit to take relations
 to new level, Lavrov says
January 23rd, 11:40am (TASS)
 
 Moscow expects the second Russia-Africa Summit to 
take its relations with the continent to a new level, 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said 
on Monday.
 
"We talked about preparations for the second Russia-Africa 
Summit that will take place in St. Petersburg in July. We
 believe that its results will be based on the work that 
has been done since the first summit, held in Sochi 
in the Autumn of 2019, and will help take our ties 
to new levels," Lavrov pointed out at a press
 conference following talks with South 
African Foreign Minister,
 Naledi Pandor.
 
"We have seen great interest on the part of our South 
African friends in making sure that the event results
 in meaningful agreements," the Russian top
 diplomat added.
 
The Roscongress Foundation announced earlier that the 
second Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum 
were scheduled for July 26th-29th. The first event, 
themed "For Peace, Security and Development,"
 took place in Russia’s Black Sea resort of 
Sochi, from October 22nd-24th, 2019.
 
 
 
______________________________________
 
 
 
Payment for Russian grain
 in rubles would help Egypt
 moderate dollar surge 
— experts
January 23rd, 10:40am (TASS)
 
 A possible transition to paying for grain supplies from Russia 
in rubles would help Egypt moderate the surge of the dollar
 rate against its national currency, the Asharq al Awsat 
newspaper citing economists’ comments on such 
a decision.
 
According to Youmna El Hamaki, a professor of economics 
at Ain Shams University in Cairo, such a move "would 
bring the expected economic breakthrough."
 
"The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and Russia
 is estimated at $5 billion, which I consider a poor figure
 compared to the size of the two countries and the
 opportunities --- for economic cooperation. This
 decision will benefit not only the wheat trade, 
despite its special importance for Egypt, but 
other equally important areas of economic 
cooperation as well," she said. According
to the professor, "the import of wheat in 
Russian rubles will resolve the crisis of 
the foreign exchange reserve."
 
"Reducing dependence on the dollar will ensure a stable flow
 of wheat imports and cover Egypt's strategic grain needs
 until the end of the global economic crisis," said 
Mustafa Abu Zaid, director of the Egyptian 
Centre for Economic & Strategic Studies. 
 
According to him, switching to payment for deliveries in rubles
 would serve to "deepen trade exchange" and "encourage
 Russia to increase imports from Egypt," especially in 
light of Western economic sanctions.
 
On January the 11th, the Egyptian pound hit an all-time low,
 depreciating more than 84% against the dollar. The fall of
 the national currency began in March 2022 after the 
Central Bank decided to switch to a more flexible
 currency regime.
 
 
___________________________________
 
 
 
Russia’s latest warship to hold 
joint drills with Chinese, South
 African navies — source
January 23rd, 6:39am (TASS)
 
The Russian Navy’s cutting-edge frigate Admiral Gorshkov
....carrying Tsirkon hypersonic missiles, will replenish 
supplies at the Syrian port of Tartus and participate 
in the joint drills with the Chinese & South African
navies... in its long-
distance deployment, a
military
-diplomatic source told TASS,
 on Monday.
 
"In its long-distance deployment, the Admiral Gorshkov will
 call at the logistics base in the Syrian port of Tartus, 
following which it will participate in the joint drills
 with the Chinese and South African navies,"
the
 source said.
 
TASS has no official confirmation of this information yet.
 
The naval drills involving naval ships from South Africa, 
Russia and China will run on February 17th-27th.
As
 the South African Defense Ministry said in
statement posted on its website, the 
upcoming 10-day drills... will take 
place near the coastal town of 
Durban, and Richards Bay, in 
the Indian Ocean... with the 
aim of "sharing operational 
skills and knowledge." 
 
The exercise aims "to strengthen the already flourishing 
relations between South Africa, Russia and China," the
 statement reads.
 
The first such trilateral naval exercise took place off South
 Africa’s southwestern Atlantic coast -- near Cape Town in 
November 2019. This time, the navies from South Africa, 
Russia and China, will exercise in the waters between 
the town of Durban and Richards Bay, located at a 
distance of 87 nautical miles (161 kilometres). 
 
South African top brass earlier reported that Russia would 
be represented by two warships in the drills, according to
 preliminary data.
 
The frigate Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov
has been deployed in distant waters under the command of
Northern Fleet Missile Ships Division Commander, Captain
1st Rank, Oleg Gladky. The warship’s deployment, aims to 
ensure Russia’s naval presence in strategically important
 areas of the World Ocean.
 
 
__________________________________



African laboratories training rats
 to quickly detect tuberculosis
January 22nd, 1:16pm
 (africanews)
 
In laboratories in Tanzania and Nairobi, rats 
have been trained to sniff out tuberculosis.
 
Already known for finding land mines, the 
rodents could now transform the way 
the disease is detected.
 
The African giant pouched rats work with scientists 
at the APOPO Project, a Belgian non-profit 
organisation in Tanzania, because 
they can detect the smell of 
the deadly disease.
 
A study conducted by APOPO in 2016 compared the accuracy
 of the rats to that of standard methods used in laboratories 
such as smear microscopy, bacteria culture tests and 
Genexpert - a rapid test for tuberculosis.
 
Joseph Soka, programme manager for TB at APOPO, said: 
"The sensitivity of these rats is as high as compared to 
microscopes and as compared to other tests, their 
sensitivity is independent of HIV status. 
 
"That is, they can easily identify tuberculosis in people living 
with HIV, keeping in mind that these people living with HIV,
 it is very difficult to be diagnosed by the standard test, 
including Genexpert in microscopes.”
 
APOPO is already known for training rats to find landmines
 but training them to detect TB was new territory when
 they adopted the programme, back in 2008.
 
Now the animals work in 21 medical centres in the Tanzanian
 capital, Dar es Salaam, as they are thought to be faster at 
detecting the illness, than standard methods.
 
Many developing countries heavily rely on old TB detection
 techniques that entail the use of microscopes to examine 
the sputum of potentially infected patients. Dhaval Shah, 
veterinary pathologist at Pathologists Lancet Kenya, 
said rats can speed up the process. 
 
"So, the conventional laboratory techniques, can take
 anywhere from two hours to even 14 days per sample,
 depending on what technique you use," he said.
 "While the rats will be able to complete testing 
of fifty samples within two hours and this 
would be ideal in far places or remote 
places like Mozambique or places 
in Mozambique which are rural."
 
According to the WHO, TB claimed the lives of 1.6 million
 people in 2021 including 187 000 people with HIV. The
 disease is the 13th leading cause of death globally 
and the second leading infectious killer 
after COVID-19.
 
The WHO estimates that in 2018, 162,000 people (551 cases 
per 100,000 people) contracted tuberculosis in Mozambique. 
The figures highlight the need for a speedy, reliable, and
affordable technique to detect the TB causing bacteria.
 
It is hoped the use of rats might do away with the
 need for time-consuming microscope testing.
 
 
 
____________________________________
 
 
 
US Secretary of State Yellen visits
 notorious 'House of Slaves'
 in Senegal
January 22nd, 9:07am
(africanews)
 
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited the salmon-
coloured house on an island off Senegal on Saturday 
that is one of the most recognised symbols of the
 horrors of the Atlantic slave trade.
 
It is part of a 10-day trip aimed at rebuilding economic
 relationships between the United States and Africa.
 
The building was known as the House of Slaves from
 which tens of millions of Africans were shipped 
across the Atlantic; never to return. 
 
Yellen said: “Gorée and the trans-Atlantic slave trade 
are not just a part of African history. They are a part 
of US history as well. 
 
“We know that the tragedy did not stop with the generation 
of humans.... taken from here. Even after slavery was 
abolished, Black Americans — many of whom can 
trace their descendants through ports like this 
across Africa — were denied the rights and
freedoms promised to them under 
our Constitution.”
 
In the US, African slaves and their children contributed to 
the building of the nation's most storied institutions, 
including the White House and Capitol, according
 to the White House Historical Association.
 
Yellen acknowledged the ongoing ramifications of that
 brutal past and the survival of many of its victims.
 
"In the United States, what's remarkable... is how many
 African-American men & women overcame the odds, 
created better lives... for themselves and their 
descendants --- and became central to our 
economy and democracy, building our 
cities, powering our industries and 
bending the conscience of the 
United States, and the world,
 toward justice ------ and all of 
this in the face of systemic
social -- 
and economic --
injustice,"  she said.
 
Yellen's trip to the island is one that many dignitaries 
have made, including former US presidents Barack 
Obama and Bill Clinton --- and South Africa's 
Nelson Mandela.
 
 
_________________________________________




Burkina Faso government 
demands pullout of 
France’s military
– 
news agency
January 21st, 10:48pm (TASS) 
 
The Government of Burkina Faso has requested France to
 pull out its military from the territory of the country 
within one month, the Agence d’Information du 
Burkina (AIB) news agency said.

The Government of Burkina Faso denounced on Wednesday, 
the agreement dating back to December 17th, 2018, which
 regulated France’s military presence in the country, the 
news agency informed.
 
It was reported earlier that a demonstration against 
the presence of French troops had taken place in
 Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.
 
A similar demonstration, ending with clashes 
with the police --- occurred last November.
 
 
_____________________________________


Burkina Faso: 66 women, children
 freed from extremists - Army
January 21st, 5:43pm
(africanews)
 
Burkina Faso's army has freed 66 women and children who
 were abducted earlier this month by Islamic extremists 
while gathering food in the country's northern Sahel 
region, according to a state television report 
Friday (Jan.20).
 
National broadcaster RTB reported that armed forces had
 located the hostages during a military operation in the
Centre-North region. The group included 39 children, 
with four infants among them.
 
Authorities have said they had been out in the countryside
 gathering wild fruit... near the town of Arbinda in Soum 
province, when Islamic extremists kidnapped them 
on January the 12th and 13th.
 
Security sources said they were found in the Tougouri region,
 200 kilometres (125 miles) further south. Helicopters flew
 them to Ouagadougou, where they were met by senior 
army officers.
 
Extremists have besieged towns around the West African
 country, preventing people and goods from moving freely. 
The town of Arbinda has been under jihadi blockade for 
years, making women more vulnerable to attacks if 
they try to leave, rights groups say.
 
Jihadi violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group
 has overrun Burkina Faso, killing thousands and displacing 
nearly 2 million people in the West African nation. The 
failure of successive governments to stop the fighting 
has caused widespread discontent and triggered two
 military coups in 2022.
 
The military junta that seized power in September, vowing 
to restore security, is still struggling to stem the violence.
 

_______________________________
 
 
Malawi has reportedly run out of 
cholera vaccine amid its worst 
epidemic in decades
January 21st, 2:45pm
(africanews)
 
Malawi’s worst cholera epidemic in decades 
has sparked massive demand for vaccines 
but stocks are reportedly running low.
 
According to local media, citing the spokesperson
 for the Malawi's health ministry - Adrian 
Chikumbe, the country has no more 
cholera vaccines.
 
Malawi secured a tranche of 2.9 million doses from
the Gavi-supported Global Oral Cholera Vaccine 
Stockpile in November.
 
The country’s 29 health districts reported cholera 
cases since the confirmation of the first case in
 March 2022.
 
As of January 20th, Malawi’s health authorities 
reported a total of 631 new cases of cholera; 
17 new deaths.
 
The cumulative confirmed cases and deaths 
reported since the onset of the outbreak 
stood at 28,132 and 916 respectively.
 
In its daily update, the health ministry urged 
all Malawians to adhere to preventive and 
containment measures.
 
Global epidemic
 
Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease spread via
 contaminated water and food which can cause 
severe dehydration. It is a bacterial disease
 that affects both children and adults. 
 
If left untreated, up to 30% of cholera cases can 
be fatal and in extreme cases, the disease can 
kill within hours.
 
If Malawi is the epicentre of the African 
epidemic, cholera is surging globally.
 
In December, the World Health Organization said 
the global stockpile of cholera vaccines it helps 
manage was "empty or extremely low".
 
Additional sources • WHO - GAVI - Reuters
 
 
__________________________________________




8th All Africa Music Awards 
(AFRIMA) Full List of Winners
January 21st, 10:35am
(Pan-African News Wire)
 
Faouzia, Davido, Burna Boy, Ans-T Crazy, Wizkid, Marwan
 Moussa, Makahazi, Didi B, Others Shine At 8th Edition 
 
All the winners across all the remaining 39 categories for
the 8th AFRIMA in Senegal were decided by popular 
votes from music lovers.
 
It was a breathtaking experience, Sunday night, at the 15,000
 capacity Dakar Arena, in Dakar, Senegal, as superstars
 across the continent clinched trophies at the 8th 
edition of the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) 
(www.AFRIMA.org), aka ‘The Teranga Edition’.
 
Broadcast live to over 84 countries around the world, the 8th
 AFRIMA in Senegal saw superstars like the Nigerian maverick 
Davido, clinch 3 awards in one night as he emerged winner of 
the “Best African Collaboration”, “Best Duo or Group in 
African Electro”, and “Best Male Artiste in African 
Inspirational Music” categories, respectively.
 
Other continental champions such as Egyptian rapper Marwan
 Moussa followed closely, clinching two awards for “Best 
African Rapper/Lyricist,” as well as “Best Duo or Group 
in African Hip Hop” categories, respectively.
 
Importantly, in the non-voting category, the International 
Executive Committee bestowed the “Legend Award” for 
the 8th AFRIMA to three iconic Senegalese veterans 
including Youssou N’dour, Baaba Maal, and 
Ismail Lo.
 
All the winners across all the remaining 39 categories for the
 8th AFRIMA in Senegal were decided by popular votes from
 music lovers. The voting period for the 8th AFRIMA began 
on September 25th, 2022 and ended on Friday January 
13th, 2023. The voting procedure and results were 
reviewed and collated by an international auditor 
of great repute, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 
- auditors of the Oscars.
 
African music lovers are encouraged to keep up with updates
 and trends ahead of the 9th AFRIMA, which will be held later
 this year. 
 
Kindly visit the AFRIMA website at www.AFRIMA.org 
and turn on notifications on social media platforms 
(IG/TikTok - (https://bit.ly/3AjSojU; Facebook - 
https://bit.ly/3TH2y4T; Twitter - 
https://bit.ly/3X5UvBG; 
LinkedIn - AFRIMA).
 
In partnership with the African Union Commission, 
AFRIMA is the pinnacle of African music globally.
 
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of
 All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA).
 
To read the full list of winners,
please press the link below:

All Africa music winners



*****************************************
 
 
Somalia, extremists claim over
100 killed in intense battle
January 20th, 4:49pm
(africanews)
 
Somalia's government and al-Qaida-linked fighters both
 claimed more than 100 people were killed Friday in 
their deadliest battle since the government 
launched a major military offensive 
against the extremists in August.
 
The government in a statement asserted that more than 100
 al-Shabab extremists died after they attacked a Somali 
National Army base in the Galgudud region village of 
Galcad that was recently retaken from the 
fighters' control.
 
The government statement said seven soldiers, including 
an officer from the elite, U.S.-trained Danab brigade, were
 killed in the "intense attack" but asserted that the 
military remained in control of the base. The 
government expressed gratitude to 
international allies that assisted
 in the battle.
 
A spokesman for the Al-Shabab extremists, Sheikh Abu
 Musab, asserted that more than 150 Somali soldiers
 and officers were killed.
 
Neither side's claim could be independently verified, 
but Galcad resident Abukar Uluso told The 
Associated Press there was heavy 
gunfire exchanged.
 
"It was during the dawn prayer when I heard the sound of
 explosions followed by an exchange of gunfire," Uluso 
said. "Most fatalities were among the two sides, and 
the civilian casualties are minimal since the attack
 took place inside the army base."
 
Somalia's government last year declared "total war" against
 al-Shabab. The extremist group has thousands of fighters 
and has long held parts of central and southern Somalia, 
and often carries out high-profile attacks in the 
capital, Mogadishu.
 
The government in recent months claimed success in retaking
 many communities during what has been described as the
 most significant offensive in more than a decade. Security
 analysts have warned that holding the territory will be
 a challenge.

 
__________________________________________
 
 
Lacking peacekeepers, MINUSMA 
could withdraw.... from Mali
January 20th, 2:54pm
(africanews)
 
UN peacekeeping mission in Mali is 'not viable' without 
increasing the number of peacekeepers, according to
 a draft UN report obtained by AFP, which mentions
 a possible withdrawal of troops if key conditions
 are not met.
 
MINUSMA was created in 2013 to help stabilize a state
 threatened with collapse under jihadist pressure, 
protect civilians, contribute to the peace effort, 
and defend human rights. .. But the security 
situation has continued to worsen.
 
"MINUSMA is a peacekeeping operation where there is no
 peace to keep", summarizes the UN Secretary-General
 Antonio Guterres in this document given to the 
members of the Security Council and which 
must be published shortly.
 
With the extension of its mandate in 2019 in the centre of the
 country particularly affected by the violence, the mission, 
now deprived of the support of foreign operations, in
 particular from France which withdrew last August, 
"did its best ", but "was pushed beyond its limits,"
 he notes.
 
A situation has placed MINUSMA in a "delicate situation", 
"unable to meet the expectations of the Malian 
population and certain regional actors" and 
thus subject to "persistent criticism".
 
The report requested by the Security Council in June - when
 the mission was renewed for one year - thus considers that
 "the current situation is not viable" and proposes three 
series of options to remedy it.
 
The first would be to give it the means to fully carry out its 
mandate by increasing its military and police personnel 
by 3,680 people, or 2,000 in a more modest version.
 
In mid-December, the mission had 12,388 soldiers (against 
13,289 authorized by the mandate) and 1,598 police 
officers (for 1,920 authorized).
 
But this first option requires "all parameters" to be met. 
Among these conditions, the Secretary-General cites 
progress in the political transition which provides, 
after two military coups, for the return of civilians 
to power in March 2024, as well as the freedom 
of movement of peacekeepers while the UN 
denounces obstacles imposed by the 
Malian authorities.
 
Boosting numbers also raises the issue of finding troops, 
as several contributing countries (with a total of 2,250 
peacekeepers) have announced their withdrawal from
 MINUSMA, which has paid a heavy price with 165 
dead since 2013.
 
Opposite option, "if the key parameters for the mission to be
 able to operate with its current mandate are not met", the
 secretary general evokes the "withdrawal of units in 
uniform" and the transformation into a "special 
political mission", with a presence only 
in Bamako.
 
Between the two extremes, the report proposes maintaining
 the number of blue helmets, but modifying the mandate, 
with the closure of certain camps or a reduction in the
 presence in the centre of the country.
 
If Antonio Guterres does not recommend one or the other 
of the three options submitted to the Security Council, he
 underlines that "the objective of the UN presence in Mali
 remains as relevant as ten years ago". Even more, 
because of "the immense needs for the protection 
of countless civilians, the requirements of the 
ongoing political transition and the central 
place of Mali's trajectory in stabilizing 
the Sahel".
 
"No effort should be spared to prevent the renewal of a cycle 
of political instability and the further deterioration of the 
security, humanitarian and human rights situation", 
pleads the Secretary-General.
 
He also notes that most of the Member States and other 
partners consulted have insisted on the fact that a
 "withdrawal would be detrimental to Mali and 
regional security", underlining the 
"existential risk" posed by 
terrorist groups beyond 
West Africa.
 
But some are worried about the human and financial cost 
of the mission with an annual budget of 1.2 billion dollars.
 
"Mali is one of the most challenging operating environments
 for peacekeeping," the report summarizes, highlighting the
 vast area of operations, the state of infrastructure and the
 "pervasive" threats from various groups operating in
 the region. 
 
 
________________________________________

 
 
CODECO Militia Attack Kills 
7 People in DR Congo
January 20th, 11:20am
 (teleSUR)
 
The attack took place at the Plaine Savo camp 
for displaced people, in Ituri province.
 
On Thursday, the militia group "Congo Economic 
Development Cooperative" (CODECO) killed 
seven people in a displaced persons camp 
in the Democratic Republic of the
 Congo (DRC).
 
The United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the DRC
 (MONUSCO) reported the attack took place at the 
Plaine Savo camp for displaced people, 9 km east 
of Djugu, in Ituri province, said Farhan Haq, 
deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-
General Antonio Guterres.
 
"UN peacekeepers deployed immediately to secure the 
camp and deter further violence," Haq said. This 
attack comes almost a year after the last 
violent attack there, which left close to
 60 people dead in February 2022.
 
The latest attack followed the discovery of mass graves
 containing the bodies of 49 civilians, including women 
and children, in Nyamamba and Mbogi villages, 
after CODECO attacks over the weekend.
 
"These incidents are the latest in a string of violent attacks 
on civilians over the past few weeks, severely impacting
 civilians and humanitarian operations in Djugu and
 neighbouring Mahagi. This adds to an already dire
 humanitarian situation in Ituri Province which 
currently hosts 1.5 million displaced people,"
 Haq said.
 
The latest incidents were separated by a considerable
 distance, with the mass grave discovery about 30 km
 from the provincial capital of Bunia while the one
 overnight took place about 75 km from Bunia.
 
Since early this month, at least 12 humanitarian organizations
 had reduced their presence and operations in these
 territories due to insecurity. MONUSCO is closely 
following developments on the ground and 
advocating for the relevant authorities
 to protect civilians.
 
 
_____________________________________



Bank of Namibia to Check 
Politically Connected 
People's Wealth
January 19th, 5:16pm
(teleSUR)
 
On Thursday, the Bank of Namibia (BoN) said Thursday 
that it will conduct checks on politically connected 
people's wealth and businesses, to avoid conflicts 
of interest.
 
The bank released the revised Determination on the
 Appointment, Duties, and Responsibilities of 
Directors, Principal Officers, and Executive 
Officers of Banking Institutions and 
Controlling Companies. 
 
BoN Governor Johannes Gawaxab said effective banking
 institution governance should be taken seriously, 
because it directly impacts financial and 
macroeconomic stability.
 
Excessive risk-taking, unethical behaviour, fraud, and 
mismanagement are just a few examples of how bad
practices have led to systemic bank failures, world
wide, Gawaxab recalled, adding that the frame-
work is significant because it embeds sound 
corporate governance principles.
 
The revised determination makes it possible for banking
 institutions to attract the best talent Namibia has to 
offer and onboard astute leadership teams who 
will account for the affairs of commercial 
banks, he said.
 
The Bank of Namibia also has limited terms for banks' board 
members to 10 years and sets an age limit of 70 years. 
Prospective board members at a banking institution
 or a controlling company have been barred from 
serving on up to two boards simultaneously.
 
The revised determination will serve as the foundation for
 sound corporate governance in banking institutions and
 controlling corporations to safeguard public deposits,
 protect consumers, and provide access to credit.
 
The new determination is also expected to introduce best 
corporate governance practices, emphasizing effective
 succession planning, skills development, and 
competencies, for those tasked with the 
leadership of financial institutions.
 
The determination that came into effect on December the
 16th, 2022, applies to all banking institutions authorized 
by the BoN to conduct banking business or control 
companies of banking institutions in Namibia.
 
 
________________________________________________



Rwanda accuses DR Congo of 
hiring foreign mercenaries
by Pavel López Lazo
January 19th, 2:37pm
 (Prensa Latina) 
 
Rwanda on Thursday accused authorities of the Democratic
 Republic of Congo (DRC) of hiring foreign mercenaries 
to bring stability to the eastern part of the 
neighbouring country.
 
Rwanda also condemned that the DRC Army continues to
 provide weapons and its forces are fighting alongside
 illegal armed groups in eastern DRC including the 
genocidal militia FDLR (Democratic Forces for 
the Liberation of Rwanda).
 
“This also constitutes a clear violation of the Nairobi Process, 
which is aimed at disarmament and demobilization of these 
armed groups, and a threat to Rwanda’s security,” reads
 the statement issued on Thursday.
 
The statement came a few hours after Congolese President 
Félix Tshisekedi told business leaders at the ongoing World
 Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, that Rwanda
 is “blocking development in the region” and that M23 
rebels have not withdrawn from recently seized 
positions -- despite international pressure.
 
 
____________________________________________
 
 
 
Egypt calls on Israel to negotiate 
and avoid changes in Jerusalem
by Ana Luisa Brown
January 19th, 1:49pm 
 (Prensa Latina) 
 
Egypt today called on Israel to return to the negotiating table 
with the Palestinians to seek a solution to the conflict and
 called to preserve the legal and historical status quo of 
Jerusalem city
 
During a telephone conversation, the Egyptian Foreign
 Minister, Sameh Shoukry, told his Israeli counterpart, 
Eli Cohen, that maintaining the current status of the 
city has a direct impact on easing tensions, the 
Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
 
He also emphasized the need to work to reactivate the 
peace process as soon as possible, given that it is the
 only way to achieve the two-state solution, 
Shoukry said.
 
The return to talks.. will be the path to the establishment 
of the Palestinian state, and the achievement of stability
 and comprehensive peace for the peoples of the region, 
he stressed, according to the text.
 
The head of Egyptian diplomacy assured.. that his 
government will continue its efforts to keep calm 
between Palestinians and Israelis.
 
In 1979, Egypt was the first Arab nation to sign a peace
 agreement with Israel and in recent decades has 
become an essential mediator between
 the parties.
 
Cairo played a key role in halting the Israeli military 
offensive against the Gaza Strip last August, which
 killed 49 Palestinians, 17 of them minors.
 
The nation’s efforts were also instrumental in reaching
 a truce during another aggression on the coastal 
enclave in May 2021, when more than 250 
people were killed.
 
The 'phone call came, two days after a summit in this capital 
between Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Palestinian
 President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II, 
who criticized Israeli colonization and land confiscation,
 home demolitions and the displacement of Arabs in 
the West Bank.
 
They also urged the international community to protect 
these people, who are fighting for their legitimate rights.
 
 
____________________________________________
 
 
 
Prensa Latina and Algerie 
Presse Service sign accord
by Ileana Ferrer Fonte
January 19th, 11:53am
(Prensa Latina) 
 
Prensa Latina and the Algerie Presse Service (APS)
signed 
a cooperation agreement on Thursday,
aimed at 
strengthening the existing links..
and projecting 
new ways to disseminate
the events of their 
respective
countries and regions.
 
Prensa Latina President Luis Enrique González Acosta and
 APS General Director Samir Gaid were pleased with the
 renewal of the agreement.... at a time when the 
challenges of information are more worrying, 
due to the proliferation of the so-called 
fake news in cyberspace.
 
González Acosta praised the long and fruitful relationship
 between both agencies and expressed his conviction
 that in addition to the will of understanding and 
collaboration, the conditions allow advance-
ment, towards ambitious goals...  in the 
exchange of services, consultancy, 
and dissemination.
 
He said that Prensa Latina is working on launching a news
 service in the Arabic language soon, which will result in
 positioning its offices in North Africa and the Middle 
East in general.
 
Samir Gaid announced that APS is also preparing the
 conditions to launch a news service in the Spanish 
language, to be added to the current broadcasts
in 
Arabic, French, and the local language, on
its 
websites, for national and regional use.
 
Gaid and Gonzalez Acosta appreciated Cuban President
 Miguel Diaz Canel’s recent visit to Algeria and the 
spirit of increasing ties.
 
A tour of the APS facilities, which covered its communication