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NEWS & INTERNATIONAL

Why I see Africa as a continent of hope, by UN Secretary-General António Guterres

The new Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, has expressed his hopeful optimism for Africa. He spoke of the continent’s promise and vast potential at a press conference on 31 January in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after attending the 28th African Union Summit.For the record, below is the full text of his remarkable statement:Far too often, the world views Africa …

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EU leaders back Italian-Libyan deal to stem immigration from Africa

EU leaders have endorsed on Friday (3 February) an Italian agreement signed the day before with Libya, aimed at stopping the flow of migrants into Europe through the Mediterranean Sea.Italy already on Thursday pledged money, training and equipment to help the UN-backed Libyan government curb migration in a memorandum of understanding that Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Seraj signed in Rome …

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US court halts implementation of Trump’s order banning Muslim travellers

A federal judge has blocked part of President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, ruling that citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries who have already arrived in the US and those who are in transit and who hold valid visas, cannot be deported from the US.“There is imminent danger that, absent the stay of removal, there will be substantial and irreparable …

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UK court rejects Niger Delta oil spill claims by Nigerians against Shell

A British court has rejected the pollution claims against Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell by residents of Nigeria’s Niger Delta region demanding compensation for decades of oil spills there.Members of the Ogale and Bille communities, who say thousands of lives have been devastated by environmental disasters from the global company, had applied for the case to be heard in Britain, arguing …

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Trump bans visitors from three African countries and four others to the US

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday, 27 January suspending refugee arrivals and imposing tough new controls on travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries.The order imposed a 120-day suspension of the entire US Refugee Admissions Program and a 90-day ban on all entry to the United States from countries with “terrorism concerns”.The State Department said the three-month ban …

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Obama’s Africa Legacy: More Trade than Democracy

There was much excitement in Africa when Barack Obama was elected US president in 2008. But he didn’t live up to many expectations. Daniel Pelz recounts the legacy of the first US president with African roots. Jubilant crowds flooded the streets of Ghana’s capital Accra during Obama’s first visit to Africa as US president. Even members of Ghana’s parliament rose to chants …

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Paris promises continued support for Mali at France-Africa summit

French President François Hollande has reaffirmed his commitment to peace in Mali in an address to more than 30 African leaders gathered at the 27th Africa-France Summit in Bamako on Saturday, 14 January.  The annual conference, which took place in the Malian capital this year, discussed cross-border jihad, governance challenges and Africa’s role in the European migrant crisis.Malian President Ibrahim …

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Italy reopens embassy in Libya in desperate attempt to stop African migrants

Italy announced on Monday (9 January) that it would re-open its embassy in Libya’s capital as part of a broader effort to curb migration departures from the North African country.“The Italian ambassador is returning to Tripoli after two years. A great gesture of friendship to the Libyan people. Now more controls on migrant departures,” Italy’s foreign minister Angelino Alfano wrote …

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Germany threatens to cut aid to countries that refuse to accept asylum seeker returnees

Germany has threatened to end development aid to countries that refuse to take back rejected asylum seekers, a response to failings which kept the suspected Berlin attacker from being deported.“Those who do not cooperate sufficiently cannot hope to benefit from our development aid,” Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Der Spiegel in an interview published at the weekend.German Interior Minister Thomas …

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Ovaherero and Nama people sue Germany for genocide in US court

Representatives of two indigenous groups have filed a class action suit in New York against Germany seeking reparations for an alleged genocide of their peoples by German colonial rulers over a century ago in what is now Namibia.The suit filed by the Ovaherero and Nama people on Thursday in New York also demands that their representatives be included in negotiations …

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Equatorial Guinea’s vice president seeks postponement of trial

The trial has begun in Paris of the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who is accused of using money plundered from his native country to buy lavish properties, cars and other goods in France.It’s the first case to come to court, of several being investigated by French authorities into allegedly illegal acquisitions by African leaders and …

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New UN Secretary-General pledges to help resolve conflicts in Burundi and South Sudan

Antonio Guterres replaced Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary-General on New Year day. In his first address to the international community, Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal, pledged to make 2017 a year to “put peace first.”The ninth UN chief, 67, said in a message that he would be working to resolve wars and other violent conflicts in countries such …

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Son of Equatorial Guinea’s president goes on trial for corruption in Paris

The corruption trial of Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the eldest son of Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, opened Monday, 2 January in Paris. Obiang, who is his country’s vice president, is accused of amassing millions of dollars through “bribes and kickbacks”.As the US authorities forced him to hand over property worth millions of dollars in a settlement in …

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Refugees rescued at sea should be sent back to Africa, says Germany’s governing coalition party

Refugees arriving in Europe via the Mediterranean should be sent back to Africa, and the current migrant policy must end, Bavaria’s Christian Social Union (CSU), a junior partner in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, demanded in a leaked policy paper.“The existing policy of automatically bringing to Europe all people rescued in the Mediterranean must be broken,” urged in an internal …

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5,000 migrants drown in Mediterranean in 2016

More than 5,000 migrants are thought to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in 2016, a record figure described as “a devastating milestone” by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).On Thursday, 23 December alone, some 100 mainly West Africans were feared to have perished making the treacherous crossing to Europe.To save lives, the UNHCR says legal entry for those seeking safety …

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