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BUJUMBURA, (Xinhua) -- Burundian Second Vice President Joseph Butore (front, R) cuts the ribbon at the launching ceremony of the country’s first-ever doctoral school, in Bujumbura, capital city of Burundi, July 20, 2017. Burundian Second Vice President Joseph Butore launched on Thursday the country’s first doctoral school at the University of Burundi, which is the only public university in the east African country.  XINHUA PHOTO: EVRARD NGENDAKUMANA

Four Kenyan police officers nabbed for robbery

NAIVASHA, Kenya, (Xinhua) -- Kenyan authorities on Sunday arrested four police officers behind a robbery along Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

Police investigators said the suspects allegedly attacked and robbed a Chinese national as he drove from Nairobi to Bomet.

The driver of the Chinese national was also arrested after he was linked to the incident as investigators said he leaked information to the attackers before they struck on Saturday morning.

Nairobi County police commander Japheth Koome confirmed the arrests and said the suspects would be arraigned in court on Monday. 


Gunmen ambush passenger minibus in western Burundi

BUJUMBURA, (Xinhua) -- Gunmen killed a minibus driver in an ambush in western Burundi on Saturday nigh, police said Sunday.

“Four criminals armed with Kalashnikov guns ambushed the passenger minibus at Kagunuzi in Buganda district in Cibitoke province around 21:30 (19:30 GMT),” Burundian Police Spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said.

“They shot dead the driver and seriously injured another passenger who was evacuated to one of the hospitals in the capital Bujumbura,” said the spokesman.

The minibus had only the two persons on board, said Nkurikiye, adding that security forces intervened and exchanged gunshots with the gunmen and those “gunshots burned” the passenger minibus.

He said before ambushing the passenger minibus, those gunmen had ambushed a motorcycle, but the motorcyclist was unhurt.

Security has been occasionally disrupted with thefts and ambushes on the road linking Bujumbura to Cibitoke and in villages located near Burundi’s Rukoko forest reserve in Gihanga on the same road.

Thefts and ambushes are often mounted by gunmen who then retreat to the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 


2 killed as commuter bus collides with train in Tanzania’s commercial capital

DAR ES SALAAM, (Xinhua) -- At least 2 people were killed and 38 others injured on Saturday after a commuter bus collided with a locomotive engine in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Gilles Muroto, Temeke regional police commander in Dar es Salaam, identified the victims as the conductor of the commuter bus and a female passenger.

Muroto said four of the injured passengers were in critical condition, adding that the number of killed people could rise. 

Muroto said the accident occurred at 9:30am at Buza-Gerezani on the outskirts of the commercial capital after the commuter bus collided with a locomotive engine of a train plying in the city. 

Magoiga Mwita, a surgeon at Temeke district hospital where the injured persons were rushed to, said two of them were in serious condition and they were referred to the Muhimbili National Hospital for specialized treatment. 

He said of the 38 injured passengers, 13 were men and 25 were women.

Eyewitnesses said reckless driving might have caused the accident.

“The driver of the commuter bus saw an oncoming train but he proceeded thinking that he could have passed through the rail tracks before the train arrived,” said Fakiri Kassim, a resident of Temeke.

“But his calculations were wrong and he ended up hitting the locomotive engine,” added Kassim.


Zimbabwe’s Mugabe urges massive youth voter registration ahead of polls

HARARE, (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Friday appealed for youths to register in their numbers ahead of national elections next year.

Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, which has relied more on the women’s vote, is targeting the youth vote to win next year’s polls.

“We are going towards the election date. Are our people registered as voters, all of them even those young ones who yesterday were 16, 17 years old and have become 18 and therefore now able to vote?” Mugabe said while addressing his fourth provincial youth interface rally in Lupane, Matabeleland Province.

He tasked the party’s youth wing to ensure that all party youths were registered, including those in colleges and universities, local media reported Saturday.

“Our universities have lots of young people, we should not ignore them, approach them,” he said.

Mugabe has been endorsed by his party as its presidential candidate for next year’s polls, when he will be 94.

His party, however, is riddled with intense factionalism as senior members vie to succeed him.

He praised the youths for shunning factionalism, saying they, together with the women’s wing, remained in support of his presidency.

“There is no back biting (among the party youths), no factions and they have no desire at the moment to be successors when the president is still there,” Mugabe said.

Mugabe berated the opposition MDC-T as a “zero” party that was bankrupt of policy programs to develop the country.

“People should look at what these so-called opposition parties really are. What are their proposals and programs for the nation?” he said.

Mugabe is likely to square off with his perennial rival, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in next year’s presidential polls.

Meanwhile, Mugabe condemned violence by his party supporters ahead of the election.

He said the party must not tolerate perpetrators of violence, warning that members should decisively deal and stop “those small groups in the name of ZANU-PF that were beating up people.”

“That is not our mode of operation. We should not allow those small groups to spoil our name. If you see them, hold them, kick them and give them the punishment they deserve and then call police afterwards,” Mugabe said. 


Straying leopard raids Tanzanian village, attacks 3 people

DAR ES SALAAM, (Xinhua) -- A leopard strayed into a village on Friday night in Tanzania’s eastern district of Handeni in Tanga region and inflicted injuries on 3 people, police said on Saturday.

Benedict Wakulyamba, Tanga regional police commander, confirmed the attack of the leopard on the three villagers saying the animal disappeared after the night raid.

“The animal raided Gole village on Friday at night and attacked the villagers,” said Wakulyamba.

Twahibu Hassan, one of the victims, said the leopard found its way in Gole village on Friday at night and started attacking residents it came across.

“I screamed to alert people that I was in trouble but help seemed to be very far away since most of the people were asleep at that time,” said Hassan.

Hamisi Rashidi, another victim, said when he heard the noise from Hassan he came out of his house on a rescue mission only to end up being attacked by the leopard.

“I started to fight the animal until other villagers came and attacked the animal using every arsenal they had,” said Rashidi.

“But before it disappeared, the leopard attacked another villager,” said Rashidi.

Hudi Shehedadi, the Handeni district hospital medical officer, said all the three victims were treated at the health facility and he described their conditions as satisfactory.

The Handeni district wildlife officer, Mussa Rajabu, said they suspected the leopard sneaked from the nearby Saadan National Park in Bagamoyo district in Coast region.

“We are doing all we can to trace the animal and take necessary steps,” said Rajabu.


Nigeria orders arrest of Boko Haram leader “dead or alive”

LAGOS, (Xinhua) -- Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai has directed troops to capture Abubakar Shekau, self-styled leader of the Boko Haram sect, “dead or alive.”

In a statement made available to Xinhua in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub on Saturday, Buratai directed Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, the Theater Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maiduguri, to do so within 40 days.

He said the Commander should employ all arsenal at the disposal of the Theater Command to smoke out Shekau wherever he is hiding in Nigeria.

He appealed to members of the public to assist in providing information that would rid the society of these insurgents.

In November, 2016, the Nigerian army declared leader of the Boko Haram sect, and 54 insurgents, wanted for various “terror acts.”

The development comes two months after Sani Usman, an army spokesman, claimed Shekau was fatally wounded during a raid on Sambisa forest.

Shekau has always debunked the claims of the military that he had been killed.

In September, 2014, security forces announced that one Mohammed Bashir, who had been posing as the “eccentric character” Shekau, had been taken down. It maintained that the sect leader was killed during a military raid on Sambisa forest.

But Shekau debunked the report of his death in videos that emerged days after. 


Somalia warns money transfer firms of funding terror

MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) -- Somalia has warned telecommunication and money remittance companies against facilitating transfer of money to fund terror activities in the Horn of Africa nation.

The country’s internal security Minister Mohamed Abukar Islow said in a decree issued on Saturday that the money transfer companies have been aiding the militant group Al-Shabaab by sending meant for the group.

“The cabinet passed a resolution which outlaws telecommunication and money transfer companies from facilitating money transfer to Al-Shabaab. Banks and remittance companies are included in this category and are therefore warned against violating the resolution,” said Islow.

The announcement follows reports that Al-Shabaab has been imposing fines on traders in the country which are then transmitted through telecommunication and remittance companies.

The government also warned traders against paying levies to Al-Shabaab, failure to which they will be prosecuted.

“Anyone who gives money to Al-Shabaab in form of fines will be prosecuted and the government will not consider any excuse,” the resolution read.

The National Intelligence Services Agency (NISA) chief Abdullahi Mohamed Ali Sanbaloolshe said the government would monitor transactions by telecommunication and remittance companies.

Ali said they want the telecommunication sector, banks, money transfer agency not to provide service to them like savings, investments or funds transfer.

“From now on there will be plans that will have close ties in regard to banking services like opening an account, withdrawal and no economic activity executed without government’s knowledge,” said Sanbalolshe.


47,000 Sudanese expats to return from Saudi Arabia

KHARTOUM, (Xinhua) -- Around 47,000 Sudanese expatriates are expected to return home from Saudi Arabia within coming days, Sudanese Expatriates Organ announced Saturday.

“Around 33,000 Sudanese will return from Riyadh and 14,000 from Jeddah, 60 percent of them workers and craftsmen, maximally by Monday,” said Karar Al-Tuhami, Secretary General of the Sudanese Expatriates Organ, at a press conference.

Al-Tuhami added that the returnees would hold right to go back to Saudi Arabia in case they adjusted their status.

“We are working to avoid any economic impact for the return of this great number, where all the state’s bodies and institutions are working harmoniously to reintegrate the returnees in the society,” he said.

He further noted that Sudan’s Embassy in Saudi Arabia has completed all procedures for the Sudanese returnees, saying that some of them will leave Khartoum for other states of Sudan.

Last March the Saudi authorities launched a “Nation without Violator” campaign, availing illegal expatriates three months to adjust their status or leave the country if they fail to pay penalties.

The illegal expatriates who don’t leave within the time frame will be forcibly deported or face punishment.


S. African ruling party calls for regulation of political funding

CAPE TOWN, (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Sunday called for the regulation of private financing of political parties amid growing reliance by these parties on private donations.

In a submission to Parliament on matters relating to the review and strengthening of political funding, the ANC said political financing must be transparent in a way that will promote and support democracy.

This came after the current over-reliance by political parties on private donations as well as the secrecy that clouds political party financing has fueled perceptions that anonymous donations from masked sources subvert democratic processes, lead to a manipulation of public policy positions in favor of those private interests and dilute the voice of citizens.

“Transparency therefore is necessary to increase public confidence in the democratic system and to allow parties to remain financially sustainable in an ethical, lawful and predictable manner,” ANC Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize said.

Party finances, Mkhize said, must be open to public scrutiny and discussions engaged on the desirability of donations from, amongst other categories, foreign interests or from companies that conduct substantial business with the state.

The ANC appreciates the current fiscal constraints and thus the need to revise current allocations to political party funding without sacrificing other important public priorities, said Mkhize.

The ANC therefore calls on Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee to consider these proposed reforms to strengthen democracy, combat corruption and build transparency and accountability in the funding of political parties in line with the party’s stated commitments to prudent financial management.

The multiparty special parliamentary committee, set up earlier this month, is responsible for enquiring into and making recommendations on funding of political parties represented in national and provincial legislatures.

At its first meeting on Friday, the committee unanimously decided that the public will be invited to submit views on the proposed model to adequately fund political parties, regulate private funding and to ensure transparency and accountability.

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, political parties in the country have been united in refusing to open their books.

Currently political parties are not required to declare sources of their funds or how they use their money. 


S. Africa decision to withdraw from the ICC remains, ruling party says

JOHANNESBURG, (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) remains, ruling party African National Congress (ANC) chairperson for International Relations Subcommittee, Edna Molewa has said.

The hard stance position is in tandem with the party’s multiple resolutions reaffirmed during the party’s 5th National Policy Conference held in Johannesburg last month, Molewa said.

The senior politician said this in a newsletter which was released on Friday. The newsletter focuses primarily on local and foreign hot current affairs topics.

The ICC wanted South Africa to arrest Sudanese President Al-Bashir when he entered the country in June 2015 for an African Union summit. By the time he arrived in the country the South African Litigation Centre (SALC) approached the high court for an order that government enforce an ICC arrest warrant on him.

Molewa,who is currently South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, said the court was in essence forcing South Africa to choose between carrying out its obligations in terms of the Rome Statute and arresting a sitting head of state whilst he was attending a summit as a guest of the African Union. A decision which she said had “far-reaching and potentially disastrous foreign policy implications.

“Far from being praised for our efforts to promote peace and stability in the region, South Africa would have been regarded as having been a player in the conflict, with consequences for our peacekeepers in Sudan, and for the country as a whole,” Molewa said.  Enditem


Algeria slams Israeli violations against Palestinians in Jerusalem

ALGIERS, (Xinhua) -- Algeria condemned on Saturday the “violations and overruns” by the Israeli authorities on Friday against Palestinians in Jerusalem.

“Algeria condemns the serious violations and overruns, including killings and arrests of Palestinian worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abdelaziz Benali Cherif was quoted as saying by APS news agency.

The spokesman also called upon the international community to “act immediately to ensure the protection of the Palestinian people and their sacred sites.”

Cherif expressed Algeria’s solidarity with the Palestinian people, saying his country supports the Palestinians’ “just cause for regaining their legitimate rights, including the right to establish an independent state with Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital.”

Three Palestinians were killed on Friday in Jerusalem’s Old City during violent clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces, after Israel barred Palestinian men under 50 from access to the the holy site of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known as the Haram al-Sharif compound by Muslims and the Temple Mount for the Jews.

The measures were taken after last Friday’s shooting, in which three Israeli Arab gunmen killed two Israeli police officers near the compound before being shot dead by Israeli police in a chase. 


Algeria, Jordan discuss latest developments in Jerusalem

ALGIERS, (Xinhua) -- The latest developments in the occupied Palestinian territories were at the heart of the phone talks between Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel and his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi, a Foreign Ministry statement said Sunday.

The two officials discussed “mainly the developments in the occupied territories and the tension resulting from the recent measures taken against the Palestinians.

The two parties agreed to “exert necessary efforts in consultation with the international community, including Arab and Muslim countries, as well as international organizations, to ensure the protection of Palestinian people and their holy sites, while pressing the occupier to put an end to escalation and blackmail.”

The surroundings of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in eastern Jerusalem are the scene of daily confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli police, leaving so far three Palestinians dead and 400 others injured.

The clashes erupted last Sunday following the installation of electronic gates by Israeli forces, in response to the killing of two Israeli policemen by three Palestinian gunmen, who were also shot dead.


Ethiopian minister calls for further strengthening ties with China

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian Minister of Transport Ahmed Shide, who hailed his country’s overall relations with China, has called for further strengthening the existing inclusive partnership between the two friendly countries.

Shide, in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Saturday, hailed Chinese engagement with the east African country both in business and people-to-people relations.

“We have broadened the partnership in so many areas with infrastructure cooperation being one area, industrial development cooperation another area, agricultural development cooperation is another one together with cooperation in capacity building,” he said.

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Transport supervises the country’s overall infrastructure development endeavor that includes airport construction and expansion activities, railway construction projects and road infrastructure developments.

“In the last 20 years the level of economic cooperation has grown very fast. It will facilitate industrial manufacturing development, boost Ethiopia’s competitiveness,” Shide stressed.

“Chinese engagement in Ethiopia is harmoniously contributing to the development of Ethiopia,” he said, adding that “Chinese personnel, be it workers or business people, are contributing to the development of Ethiopia.”

Referring to Chinese-funded and built infrastructure development projects in Ethiopia, Shide further noted that the current partnership between Ethiopia and China needs to be strengthened.

“Interaction of Chinese with Ethiopians is very positive and it’s growing. The integration process will continue. Business to business, people to people engagement, cultural exchanges have to be strengthened,” he said.

He also commended the people to people relations between the two countries, saying that “Chinese people have become well known in Ethiopia as they engaged in industrial development, infrastructure, roads, rails along with Ethiopians. Some Ethiopians have even started speaking Chinese,” he said.

The Minister, who was previously Ethiopia’s Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation, also lauded Chinese support to Ethiopia’s ambition to be a manufacturing hub of the African continent. 


Egypt launches largest military base in Middle East

CAIRO, (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated on Saturday the largest military base of the Middle East in the coastal city of Alexandria.

The president raised the Armed Forces flag on the new base in el Hammam city, west of Alexandria.

The military base was named after late president Mohamed Naguib, who orchestrated 1952 revolution which ended the royal regime in Egypt.

The new military base is the biggest in the Middle East and Africa regions, according to official news agency MENA.

The base, which is built on what used to be a military city, constructed in 1993, consists of 1,155 buildings established and renovated over the past two years, the spokesperson of the armed forces Tamer el-Refai said in a statement.

The military base will also serve as a headquarters to some forces of the Northern Military Unit, which expected to increase its efficiency in protecting west of Alexandria, the North Coast, the currently under construction Al-Dabaa nuclear power plant, and oil fields, the statement added.

The 72-km long road base will also be used in military exercises with the armies of other countries.

The statement added the new base has 72 integral battlefields for training, along with complexes for electronic shooting platforms.

It also accommodates 27 rest houses for top officials, and 29 buildings for officers, as well as a large camp for housing 1,000 soldiers, and 50-bed hospital, as well as a conferences center, museum and mosque.

“In light of what the Middle East witnesses of direct threats to the national security, especially coming from the western strategic part, the armed forces was keen to promote its capabilities at the western part to prevent the infiltration of terrorists and smuggling of weapons,” the statement added.

The armed forces continue to modernize its battling system, developing the performance of its fighters and protecting its national security, it reiterated.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Egypt’s top officials as well as Arab princes and ambassadors.

The Arab delegation included Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nuhayyan, Saudi King’s adviser Prince Khaled al Faysal and Crown Prince of Bahrain Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

In his speech Sisi stressed the importance of constructive cooperation to confront the challenges besetting the Arab nation.

The nature of wars has changes and the enemies have adopted indirect confrontation to terrorize civilians and incite frustration, the president said.

“Terrorism is a complicated phenomenon with diversified faces. No one could tolerate terrorism of those financing or sheltering terrorists,” Sisi added.

Since Sisi stepped into office in 2014, he worked on rebuilding the armed forces, concluded many arm deals with the United States, France, Russia and other countries.

Egypt faces security threats which require diversifying the army resources and improving the army preparations, Samir Ghatas, chairman of the Middle East Forum for Strategic and Security Studies told Xinhua.

Ghatas also said that there are challenges on the borders with Libya, Sinai and Sudan. Also preserving the security of Bab al-Mandab strait threatened by the tensions in Yemen is essential for the security of the new and the old Suez Canal, in addition to the necessity to secure the new gas discoveries on the Mediterranean Sea.

Egypt should be ready also for entering any war in support of its “Gulf allies, which constitute the defense line for Egypt,” the strategic expert added.


CAIRO, (Xinhua) -- Defendants are seen in a cage during their trial in Cairo, Egypt on July 22, 2017. An Egyptian court on Saturday has confirmed death sentences against 28 people over the murder of a former public prosecutor in 2015, the Egyptian state TV reported.  XINHUA PHOTO: AHMED GOMAA

Egyptian police kill 8 pro-Muslim Brotherhood militants in Fayoum

CAIRO, (Xinhua) -- Egyptian police killed on Sunday eight militants loyal to the outlawed group Muslim Brotherhood during clashes in Fayoum province, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said.

Police forces raided a training camp in Fayoum, 100 km southwest of Cairo, used by the Brotherhood-linked Hasm militant group, the ministry said in a statement.

The police raid came after receiving authentic information that the group was plotting to carry out a number of terror attacks in the country.

The terrorists were killed in a shootout after they opened fire at police forces attacking them, according to the statement. 

Egyptian police have recently also killed about 22 militants in Giza province near Cairo and in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia. They were believed to belong to the Cairo-based Hasm group, regarded as the armed wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, and a militant group loyal to Islamic State (IS) that is based in the restive Sinai peninsula.

Egypt has been battling growing terror activities following the military’s removal of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule and his currently-blacklisted Msulim Brotherhood.

Terror attacks in Egypt have been centered in restive North Sinai before they spread nationwide, killing hundreds of policemen and soldiers over the past few years.

Most of the anti-government terror operations were claimed by a Sinai-based group loyal to IS.

The Egyptian military, in cooperation with the police, have killed hundreds of militants and arrested a similar number of suspects as part of the country’s anti-terror war declared in 2013 by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, then army chief, following Morsi’s removal.    


Kenyan leader pledges millions of jobs within five years

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who is seeking his reelection pledged on Sunday to create about 6.5 million extra quality jobs, especially for the youth, over the next five years.

Kenyatta, who held a live chat on his official Facebook page where he answered questions from Kenyans about his administration’s action plan, said that he has put in place an Action Plan for more jobs and lower prices that will build on the progress from the last four years into real benefits for all Kenyans.

“My Action Plan will transform the progress we have made over the last four years, into real benefits for all Kenyans. Over the next 5 years, my government will create 6.5 million extra quality jobs, especially for the youth,” Kenyatta told his three million Facebook followers.

The live chat which lasted about 45 minutes, saw Kenyatta who is seeking another five-year term, discuss a variety of topics including corruption, security and the Aug. 8 polls.

“We all have to play a role in the fight against corruption and I am committed as an individual and a President to fighting corruption,” he said.

Kenyatta underlined his commitment to fight the vice and urged the judiciary to play its part in ensuring that justice is served to the culprits.

He also urged Kenyans to be alert and play an active role in fighting graft, saying the war against corruption will succeed if all citizens are involved.

“My government is the first to set up a multi-agency team to curb corruption, which has always been present over the years,” he added.

Kenyatta pledged to beef up security before, during and after the August elections, calling on all Kenyans to uphold peace and live together in harmony.

“All Kenyans must adhere to the principles of unity, democracy and peaceful coexistence especially as we prepare for this general election,” he said.

We roundly and loudly reject the politics of division and incitement. No matter the results of the election, we must love one another as we love ourselves,” Kenyatta added.

The live online conversation, the first of its kind, presented Kenyans the opportunity to hear the president talk directly about his Action Plan.

“I want to have a candid conversation with all Kenyans, a conversation about the progress we have made and the policies for the future, not politics and power-games,” Kenyatta said.

He pointed out that over the last four years his administration has built the foundations for prosperity and created over 2.5 million new jobs by investing in infrastructure, roads, rail and electricity to support job-creating businesses and help farmers deliver their produce to market.

“We have ensured more Kenyans have access to quality education and health care. And we have taken the fight to Al-Shabaab to make this country safer for every Kenyan family,” the president said.

He noted that many Kenyans were still struggling, saying that he will deliver his transformational plan because he has already built the foundations for prosperity and only needs the next five years to finish the job.

“Many of our youth who study and work hard can’t find jobs, high food prices still leave many families hungry, and our manufacturing sector has not yet delivered enough new jobs and higher wages,” the president said.

He assured that in the next five years his administration will continue to invest in infrastructure, education and training, small enterprises and a 21st Century high-tech economy that will drive prosperity and job creation for all.

“With my Action Plan, I will take immediate action to ensure that this progress means a lower cost of living for you and your family, Kenyatta assured Kenyans.

He reiterated his directive to foreign contractors that they must to employ locals in their projects.

President Kenyatta said by investing in farming and markets, transport and trade, his administration has been able to build the foundations for food security, protection against drought and better transport links for food delivery.

He vowed to connect the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), roads, electricity to what he said will be massive creation of jobs.

“We have a plan to build a light rail network in Nairobi, extend the SGR to Naivasha to Narok, then through to Kisumu,” he said. 


Ethiopian plans development belt along Ethiopia-Djibouti railway: minister

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia aims to build along the Ethio-Djibouti electrified railway a development belt attracting investment, particularly in the manufacturing sector, said Ethiopia’s transport minister on Saturday.

Speaking to Xinhua, Ahmed Shide, Minister of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Transport, said the under-construction Dire Dawa and Adama Industrial parks, as well as the planned Ayisha Industrial Park, which lie on the path of the rail line in particular, are the focus of the development belt.

Dire Dawa and Adama Industrial Parks, 446 km and 99 km East of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, are both being built by China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC).

Dire Dawa Industrial Park is being built at a cost 190 million U.S. dollars while Adama Industrial Park is being built at a cost 125 million dollars.

“The Industrial parks lying on the path of Ethio-Djibouti railway line will be a game changer for both countries and in general for the region, enhancing economic transformation in the region and helping in ease of transportation of goods,” said Shide.

“The railway will not only be a transportation line but also be a development corridor facilitating investment particularly in manufacturing sector,” he added.

The Ethio-Djibouti rail line spanning 756 km connecting landlocked Ethiopia to Djibouti is expected to start commercial operations in October, according to Shide.

The electrified rail line is expected to cut transportation time needed for goods to reach Djibouti port from the Ethiopian hinterland from at least two days to 10 hours.

The rail line will also provide a passenger service, with an average speed of 120 km per hour and a single coach holding 118 passengers at a time.

“The Ethio-Djibouti rail line in the future is envisioned to be part of a larger rail network connecting other parts of Africa through neighboring South Sudan and Sudan,” said Shide.


Ethiopia to establish aviation holding group to promote quality global service

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government has decided to establish a new Aviation Holding Group with various diversified aviation strategic business units, Ethiopian Airlines announced on Saturday.

“The Ethiopian Government has decided to establish a new Aviation Holding Group with various diversified aviation strategic business units: Ethiopian Airports Enterprises, Passenger Airline, Cargo Airline and Logistics Company, Ethiopian Aviation Academy, Ethiopian In-flight Catering Services, Ethiopian MRO Services, Ethiopian Hotel and Tourism Services,” state news agency ENA quoted Ethiopian Airlines as saying.

The new Group Structure will allow all the fully owned companies to pursue shared long-term vision and common planning platform while they provide high quality global standard services to their mutual customers, it was indicated.

Ethiopian Airports Enterprise has joined the new Aviation Group in a bid to leverage the strong synergy among the group member companies, it was noted.

The report, however, indicated that the Ethiopian Airports Company will maintain its internal autonomy, its own brand, and its functions playing an important and central role to integrate the services of all stakeholders such as airlines, immigration services, customs, security services, ground handlers and others.

According to the report, passenger satisfaction is the main focus of all service providers, noting that “the ultimate aim is to upgrade the customer experience at the airport to meet global standard and thereby making Addis Ababa airport the best connecting hub in Africa.”

Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, also lauded the move saying that it is “an important decision in paving the way for the formation of the Ethiopian Aviation Group as a holding company in line with international best practices which will enable to transform all airports in Ethiopia.”

Ethiopian airline flies to more than 100 international passenger and cargo destinations across five continents.


Morocco tops Maghreb countries in attracting foreign investment: report

RABAT, (Xinhua) -- Morocco has topped Maghreb countries in terms of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), local media reported on Sunday.

Citing a report by the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation, the Moroccan financial daily L’Economiste said the North African kingdom attracted 2.3 billion U.S. dollars worth of FDI in 2016.

According to the report, Morocco overtook its neighboring Maghreb nations such as Algeria with 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, Tunisia with 958 million U.S. dollars and Libya with 493 million U.S. dollars worth of FDI in 2016.

Among Arab countries, Morocco came at fifth after the Unite Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

It noted that Arab countries drained some 30.8 billion U.S. dollars worth of FDI in 2016, a 25 percent increase compared to a year earlier.


Tanzania’s plan to ban use of plastic bags sparks debate

DAR ES SALAAM, (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s imminent plan to ban use of plastic bags sparked a heated public debate on Saturday with some people supporting the ban and others rejecting it.

The discussion hosted in Dar es Salaam by the Vice-President’s Office that oversees the environment docket was aimed at collecting views from the public on the impending ban on the use of plastic bans according to environmental laws.

Shortly after the discussions were opened by January Makamba, Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office responsible for Union and Environment Affairs, Tanzania Plastic Manufacturers Association (PMAT) said instead of banning the use of plastic bags the government should control the use of the bags.

PMAT chairman Joseph Wasonga said the association has submitted eight recommendations to the government requesting it to allow them to continue producing plastic bags with strong environmental protection controls, including recycling them after use.

Wasonga said the government should control imports of plastic bags which accounted for 70 percent of the market, hugely contributing to environmental pollution because they were substandard.

“The solution to this environmental problem is to produce bio-degradable plastic bags which are environmentally friendly,” he suggested.

He said many countries in the word such as the United Arab Emirates have begun to enact laws that forced industrialists to start using raw materials that make bio-degradable plastic bags.

“We ask our government to imitate this example by asking every factory to use the same raw materials,” said Wasonga.

He said if the ban on plastic bags was enforced the government will lose revenues because the association paid more than 23 million U.S. dollars in terms of annual taxes.

Wasonga added that PMAT employed about 6,000 Tanzanians, who were likely to lose jobs if business was shut down.

He said if the government went ahead with its resolve to ban the plastic bags manufacturers were likely to lose about 50 million dollars invested in a number of factories as most of the money was secured from bank loans.

On the other hand, Jumanne Mgoga, Chairman of the Union for Production of Alternative Bags, supported the government’s decision saying plastic bags were hazardous to the environment and human health.

Mgoga appealed for stronger cooperation with the government to eliminate the risks posed by plastic bags.

“There is a need to change direction in order to save people’s lives and to protect the environment,” said Mgoga.

Said Mgoye, Secretary of the Association of Alternative Bags, said the use of plastic bags must be banned to protect both the environment and people’s health.

Mgoye said available data showed that in 2050 there will be more plastic bags in the sea than fish, calling for serious actions to address the problem.

In August last year the government issued a notice of intention to impose a total ban on plastic bags by January 1 this year.

The notice said the government provided a four-month grace period to owners of plastic bags manufacturing factories to take specific steps by investing in an alternative bags and plastic waste recycling facilities.

In April, this year, Makamba told the National Assembly that the government would impose a total ban on plastic bags business by January, next year.

Plastic bags and sachets have for years been used for packing water, alcohol and other products.

The notice said inability of plastic bags to decompose affects soil quality, litters various parts of the country and contribute to the blockage of sewerage and drainage infrastructure.


Zuma reiterates call for radical economic transformation

CAPE TOWN, (Xinhua) -- President Jacob Zuma on Saturday reiterated his call for radical socio-economic transformation to correct the wrongs of apartheid.

South Africa has high rates of unemployment (which hovers around 27 percent) because of the structure of the economy and labour market --  another direct effect of apartheid, Zuma said at the launch of the Truman Magubane Family Foundation in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal Province.

The foundation is aimed at supporting underprivileged children in various fields. Magubane, 74, is an anti-apartheid hero and spent 15 years imprisoned on Robben Island off Cape Town.

South Africa, Zuma said, continues to suffer the consequences of apartheid policies today even as the government led by the African National Congress (ANC) has expanded access to education for all.

“That is why we speak of radical socio-economic transformation: the fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership and control of the economy,” Zuma noted.

Citing several reasons for changing the structure of the economy, Zuma said South Africa’s economy was built around commodities for export to Europe and later the Americas and other regions.

Even roads and rail were constructed so that they led from the mine shafts and the farms straight to the harbours like Durban, according to Zuma.

“Commodity prices are set in the international market. In other words the minerals come from our land but we do not determine their price,” said Zuma.

The large economies buy minerals from South Africa as raw materials and manufacture goods which they sell back to the country at exorbitant prices, he said.

Capitalism works in such a manner that at times more is produced than what can be sold, resulting in the prices being reduced and commodity-based economies suffer, he explained.

It is in the nature of capitalism to concentrate capital in fewer and fewer enterprises, Zuma said.

Historically all the capital is controlled largely by white men, he added.

“Those who hold capital here and abroad instinctively become suspicious when we talk about changing the structure of the economy because they are making a lot of money from the economy as it is.

“They have to protect their hold on the economy even if it means they have to destroy our spirits and take our lives,” Zuma said.

South Africa must re-industrialize so that  more jobs can be created, he said.

“We also want to beneficiate our minerals and agricultural products so that we add more value and do not depend on import of finished goods from other countries,” the president said.


Namibia amends South Africa poultry ban

WINDHOEK, (Xinhua) -- Namibian has revised the ban on poultry products from South Africa when a number of fast food outlets had indicated that they would close down shop if nothing was done.

The ban on poultry from South Africa was imposed on June 23, 2017 when the South African Department of Forestry and Fisheries detected bird flu at a breeder flock in Villier, close to the Mpumalanga provincial border.

Namibia announced the ban of all poultry and ostrich products from South Africa on June 23, 2017.

In a statement issued Friday, however, the chief veterinary officer Adrianatus Museke amended the ban.

Museke said Namibia will allow live poultry and ostriches originating from compartments approved by the DAFF and registered in terms of Veterinary Procedural Notices 44.2012.01 provided such compartments are outside a 90-kilometer radius around the Vaal Dam that borders Gauteng and Free State provinces.

He also said that raw poultry and ostrich meat and table eggs from compartments approved by the Department of Forestry and Fisheries and registered in terms of Veterinary Procedural Notices 44.2012.01 and slaughtered at approved abattoirs provided such compartments are outside a 90-kilometer radius around the Vaal Dam.

Museke further said that the verifying veterinarian should endorse on the health certificate that the compartment tested negative for Avian Influenza and that the results are not older than 30 days of endorsement.

Cooked poultry products, the statement said, processed in line with the articles of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code will be also be allowed for imports.

“All other poultry, wild birds, domestic birds or products derived from the aforementioned remain ineligible for imports into Namibia,” the statement said.

The amendment on the ban comes after several shops that depended on poultry imports from South Africa had experienced a down spiral on their businesses.

KFC that has three shops in Windhoek alone had gone on for more than two weeks without some of its signature meals such as hot wings and the Street Wise packs.

Another fast food outlet, Barcelos had said that they would consider closing down some shops because their chicken products should come from South Africa.


Morocco to host 30th World LPG Forum in October

RABAT, (Xinhua) -- The Moroccan city of Marrakech will host the 30th World LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) Forum on October 3-5, the World LPG Association has announced.

This global event will be bring together key international agencies, policy makers, experts, media and the highest level of industry leaders to explore the LPG business, to discuss its growth potential and to forge new business relationships, the association pointed out.

The forum will also look into the LPG business opportunities in Africa as the continent’s LPG consumption has outpaced growth in other major regions of the world with nearly 30 percent increase over the last five years.

In the same period, the Moroccan LPG market has seen a 20 percent increase in volume, making it the second largest consuming market on the continent.

As a part of the Marrakech World LPG Forum, the 10th Global Technology Conference (GTC-2017) offers participants the opportunity to see some of the most important and innovative technology being discovered in the global LPG industry.

The primary aim of the GTC-2017 is to showcase the most innovative and original technological ideas from around the world and create new opportunities for the LPG industry.


Kenya launches new int’l airport in northeast region

ISIOLO, Kenya, (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday commissioned the Isiolo International Airport, opening up the northern tourist circuit to help increase the number of visitors in the country.

Kenyatta said the airport, which is part of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project, will also boost the economy for the benefit of the residents.

“This airport is a catalyst to economic development that will come with the expansion of tourism and creation of quality job opportunities,” he said. LAPSSET is an economic and transport corridor that stretches from Lamu port in the coastal Kenya to South Sudan and Ethiopia.

The new airport, which is developed and managed by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), is Kenya’s fifth international airport and is expected to promote development in the vast region.

The project will involve the construction of a Passenger Terminal Building covering a floor area of 4,800 sq. m. and with a throughput capacity of 125,000 passengers annually.

The airport, which is aimed at unlocking regional economic potentials, is strategically located for miraa (khat), beef and fresh produce exports from Kenya’s Lower Eastern region.

The ultra-modern airport, which is located in Isiolo County with half of the runway extending to Meru County, covers an area of 329.76 hectares and is elevated about 3501 feet above sea level.

Its runway is 1.4 km long with a new apron that can handle six Code “C” aircrafts.

Its passenger terminal building has a floor area of 5,000 square meters while its passenger terminal car park has a capacity to accommodate 200 cars.

Kenyatta said the airport will open up access to the beautiful northern Kenya tourism attractions, which include eco-tourism, rich cultural heritage, national reserves, private ranches and wildlife conservancies.

The terminal building amenities include nine check-in counters (domestic and international), a VIP lounge, restaurants, duty free shops, banking facilities, forex bureaus, airline front offices and shops.

Under Vision 2030, Kenya’s long term national development plan, Isiolo has been identified to host one of the five resort cities that will be set up as flagship projects.


Kenya rugby 15s coach eyes Namibia Gold Cup title

By Kimathi Kamau NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya rugby 15s head coach Jerome Paarwater is optimistic that his side can lift the 2017 Rugby Gold Cup on Aug. 5 by beating favourites and title holders, Namibia in Windhoek.

The South African led his team popularly known as Simbas (Lions) to a well-earned but unspectacular 42-21 victory over Zimbabwe’s Sables in Bulawayo to keep their hopes of being crowned continental champions for the first time since 2013 alive.

Namibia remain top of the Gold Cup group on 20 points, two ahead of the Kenyans after coming through unscathed in Kampala when they ran out 48-24 winners to set a winner takes all clash on Aug. 5 in Windhoek on the final day of the 2017 top continental 15s showdown.

But the Simbas are quietly confident of spoiling the part since after opening their campaign on Jun. 24 with a morale-sapping 33-33 draw against Uganda; they have stormed to victories against Tunisia (100-10/July 8) and Senegal 45-25 (July 15) at the RFUEA grounds in Nairobi before the away victory over the Sables on Saturday.

“The game was about patience and the guys stuck to their guns. We didn’ t play much rugby in our 22, they forced the play and we struggled to keep them in their half but we hit them when it matter most.

“Today was not about playing extensive and funny rugby, it was just to play winning rugby that is sometimes ugly but it was a good game,” the pleased South African Simbas boss Paarwater told Kenya Rugby Union media after the game.

“There were many positives, the one negative is I was not happy with the one on one tackles but I can take the result at the moment,” Paarwater added.

Back row Justin Newman, who was one of the try scorers for the table toppers, said Namibia needed to win the match to avoid unnecessary pressure in the Gold Cup title decider next weekend.

“We play Kenya next which is one of the top sides in the continent. Victory today (Saturday) sets up good atmosphere before the final,” Newman said ahead of the winner-takes-it-all meeting with the Simbas.

The Cranes notched three tries, three conversions and a penalty as Namibia got seven five-pointers, a penalty and five conversions to round their fifth straight victory on the bounce.

Winners of the 2018 Gold Cup will qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in England.


Uganda beat South Sudan 5-1 in 2018 CHAN qualifier

KAMPALA, (Xinhua) -- Uganda Cranes have qualified for the next round of the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier after they beat visiting South Sudan 5-1 on Saturday.

After ending with a goalless draw in the first leg last week in Juba, hosts Uganda clinched the second-leg win to qualify for the next round where it will face Amavubi of Rwanda. The two will compete in two legs in August to decide who can go through to the finals.

The South Sudan team defended in numbers from kick-off before the hosts took the lead after 33 minutes.

Derrick Nsibambi, playing his third full match for the national team nodded the ball past South Sudan’s goalkeeper Daniel Khamis Dak after a well taken cross by defender Nicholas Wadada.

Nsibambi however collided with the goalkeeper and needed medical attention before he was replaced by Paul Mucureezi.

The substitute made sure his impact was felt when he made it 2-0 after 44 minutes with a neat finish.

Uganda’s goalkeeper Ismeal Watenga later punched James Saeed Moga well taken shot.

In the second half, Mucureezi made it 3-0 after 46 minutes.

With the Uganda Cranes midfield well controlled by Muzamil Mutyaba running rings around the South Sudan team, the hosts made it 5-0 with Mucureezi again getting his name on the score sheet.

Daniel Boki Olivier netted a last minute consolation goal for South Sudan who had held Uganda to the goalless draw in the first leg in Juba last weekend.

“I am happy that the boys responded well and got the goals. It is always important to take the chances and now we wait to face Rwanda,” said Uganda’s Coach Milutin Sredojevic.

South Sudan’s coach Felix Bilal Kumuyange said his team had been outplayed.

“We started well, but failed to keep pace with the Ugandan team,” said Kumuyange.


Namibia defeat hosts Uganda in Africa Rugby Gold Cup

KAMPALA, (Xinhua) -- Namibia defeated hosts Uganda 48-24 in a 2017 Africa Rugby Gold Cup game played in the capital Kampala on Saturday.

“The boys knew the game plan and did exactly as we had planned. It is a sweet win away from home,” Namibia’s coach Davies Philip Thomas told Xinhua after the game.

The kick-off of the game was delayed by 40 minutes after a military chopper landed on the filed of play as the players ran off. It was the Ugandan Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga who used the chopper to catch the game before kick-off.

The determined Namibian team started the game with speed, but the hosts took the advantage first with Asuman Mugerwa scoring the first try and Philip Wokorach making no mistake with the conversion. Namibia scored a penalty through Cliven Loubser before Justin Newman picked the first try to make it 8-7 after 10 minutes. Loubser made no mistake scoring the conversion. Wokoroch who was voted man-of-the-match in the 78-17 win against Tunisia a week ago made sure he scored a penalty to make it 10-10 after 15 minutes.

But the quick Namibian team later ran riot and scored two tries through 8 and Johan Tramp, with Loubser converting one of them.

The visitors took a 22-10 half time lead as the Ugandan fans became unsettled.

After recess Uganda failed to play a coordinated game as poor ball handling by Micheal Okorach gifted Namibia with a chance to increase the lead with another try to make it 29-10.

The visitors with nice inter play made it 34-10 with Newman on the scoresheet again. But Loubser missed the conversion.

Making his debut for Uganda Rugby Cranes, Eric Mula scored a try on 54 minutes after a neat pass by Mathias Ochwo. The conversion was well struck by Wokorach before he also picked a try two minutes later after a neat pass by fly half Ivan Magomu.

Later the hosts failed to match Namibia’s speed and clever passing as the visitors added two more tries. The win takes Namibia to 20 points after they also picked a bonus point.

Uganda’s head coach John Duncan was a disappointed man attributing the defeat to the slow reaction of his players.

“We let in a mistake at the back and got punished,” added the coach.

Uganda will now wait to host Zimbabwe next weekend in the last game.


Namibia advance to final round of 2018 CHAN Championships

WINDHOEK, (Xinhua) -- Namibia managed to proceed to the final round of the 2018 Confederation of Africa Footfall (CAF) Africa Nations Championships (CHAN), following their penalty shoot-out win over hosts Zimbabwe in Harare on Sunday.

Namibian coach Ricardo Mannetti said in a statement that his side played a very good Zimbabwe team that was in great shape, but Namibia’s hunger was stronger than their opponents.

Zimbabwe managed to run out 1-0 winners thanks to a strike from Prince Dube, leaving the aggregate score 1-1 after two legs, and the two nations had to go through the penalty shoot-out to decide who would progress to the next stage.

“The mentality won us this round. We wanted it more than them. The boys defended well, created chances and that was very brave of them. When Immanuel scored that penalty we could not contain ourselves,” Mannetti said.

Namibia beat hosts Zimbabwe 5-4 on penalties and will next face the Comoros on Aug. 11 for a Third Round first leg, with the second meeting in Windhoek on Aug. 18.

The winner will qualify for the 2018 CHAN to be held in Kenya from Jan. 11 to Feb. 2.

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