International Red Cross Issues Emergency Appeal to Halt New Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is appealing for $9.4 million to fund efforts to prevent a new Ebola outbreak from spreading across West Africa. The IFRC said Monday the money will be used to step up “surveillance and community sensitization efforts” in Guinea, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone. “Ebola does not care about borders,” said Mohammed Mukhier, the IFRC’s Regional Director for Africa. “Close social, cultural and economic ties between communities in Guinea and neighboring countries create a very serious risk of…

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Africa’s Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 100,000

The coronavirus death toll on the African continent surpassed 100,000 on Friday, as African countries struggled to obtain vaccines to counteract the pandemic. South Africa alone accounts for nearly half of the confirmed deaths in Africa with 48,859, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The country, which is facing its own variant of the virus, also accounts for nearly half the confirmed cases in the region, with more than 1.5 million. Total cases across the African continent are more than 3.8 million. The 54-nation continent of…

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First Woman and First African Chosen to Head World Trade Organization

GENEVA – In a historic move, the World Trade Organization has chosen the first woman and first African to lead the organization. Nigerian economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, 66, was named director-general of the WTO Monday by representatives of the 164 countries that make up the organization. Okonjo-Iweala said during an online news conference Monday that she was eager to begin the work of reforming the organization and modernizing the rules to bring them up to 21st century issues. “I am grateful for the trust you have in me not just as…

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Conflict-ridden Central African Republic to hold runoff parliamentary elections in March

BANGUI, Feb 14 (NNN-AGENCIES) — The Central African Republic (CAR) will hold next month the second round of voting for legislative elections in some constituencies, as well as a first-round where a December ballot was disrupted amid a fresh wave of unrest in the violence-hit country. President Faustin Archange Touadera said in a decree on Saturday the second round will take place on March 14. The regions where the first round was disrupted by rebel violence and other factors will also vote on the same date. The campaign for the…

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Biden Signals New Tone on US-Africa Relations

President Joe Biden delivered a message to African leaders meeting virtually this weekend at the African Union Summit 2021, hosted from Addis Ababa. “The United States stands ready now to be your partner in solidarity, support and mutual respect,” Biden said in a video address, his first speech to an international forum as U.S. president. In his remarks, Biden outlined what he called a shared vision of a better future with growing trade and investment that advances peace and security. “A future committed to investing in our democratic institutions and…

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Armed Group in DR Congo Blamed for Spike in Deaths, Rights Violations

GENEVA – A U.N. report finds an alarming surge in human rights violations and civilian deaths in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri and North Kivu provinces. It blames the surge on increased attacks by an armed group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The ADF originated as a Ugandan rebel group in the 1990s but has been active mainly in eastern Congo in recent years. The new report accuses ADF members of deliberately targeting civilian populations, of sexual abuse and of abducting hundreds of civilians to perform forced labor. The…

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Election-Related Displacement Tops 200,000 in Central African Republic

GENEVA – Violence which erupted ahead of the Central African Republic’s general election at the end of December has forced more than 200,000 people to flee their homes in search of safety, the U.N. refugee agency says. The agency reports around 100,000 people are displaced inside C.A.R., with another 92,000 refugees crossing into the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the rest going to Cameroon, Chad and the Republic of Congo. UNHCR spokesman Boris Cheshirkov says conditions are particularly dire for the tens of thousands of refugees in the DRC, who…

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UN Appeals for Protection, Support for African Refugees Fleeing Toward Mediterranean

GENEVA – The U.N. refugee agency is appealing for $100 million to provide protection and support for thousands of African refugees risking their lives trying to reach and cross the Mediterranean Sea. Escalating conflicts and violence in Africa’s Sahel region and new displacement in the east and Horn of Africa are causing increasing numbers of people to flee across the Sahara Desert. Many subsequently embark on dangerous sea journeys across the Mediterranean to Italy in search of asylum. The U.N. refugee agency reports at least 1,064 people died or disappeared…

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