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BALACLAVA, (Xinhua) -- RSHIJIAZHUANG, (Xinhua) -- A student from the Confucius Institute of the University of Zambia learns Chinese painting at No. 42 Middle School in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China’s Hebei Province, Sept. 14, 2017. Twenty-five students and teachers from the Confucius Institute of the University of Zambia attended a cultural exchange activity in Shijiazhuang on Thursday. XINHUA PHOTO: ZHANG SHUO

Kenyan leaders play victim to win electorate as polls loom

By Bedah Mengo NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- As political campaigns for the repeat Oct. 17 polls gather momentum in Kenya, the main presidential candidates are portraying themselves as victims of corrupt institutions in a bid to win voters.

President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Party is painting himself as a victim of “corrupt” judges at the Supreme Court, who annulled his win in Aug. 8 polls.

On the other hand, his main rival, the National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga is portraying himself as a victim of a “corrupt” electoral system perpetuated by the poll’s body officials.

“The decision by the four Supreme Court judges to nullify my win was the most painful moment of my life. Four people cannot change what Kenyans have decided. I don’t and will not agree with them,” Kenyatta, who initially labelled the judges crooks and promised to ‘fix’ the apex court if elected, said on Wednesday.

He expressed the sentiments at a meeting with leaders and supporters from the Abagusii tribe, from which the Chief Justice David Maraga hails from, as he tried to win back the community’s support.

“It was very painful for me to accept the decision. I’m a human being and I was angry at Maraga and the Supreme Court, not the Abagusii community as Odinga would want you to believe,” said Kenyatta.

He defended his outbursts against the Supreme Court, asking his audience if it was wrong for him to come out and defend himself if he is robbed.

“I know I won the election. Just imagine a thief is caught with your cow and then the court rules that the police did not record the crime, so the cow cannot be yours,” Kenyatta said, as he propagated the victimhood narrative.

On Thursday, a Jubilee Party lawmaker filed a petition at the Judicial Service Commission seeking the removal of the Chief Justice, who he accused of gross misconduct.

Odinga, on the other hand, reiterated that NASA would not go to the polls with the current electoral commission officials accusing them of robbing him of victory and bungling the polls.

“We will only go to an election when the playing field is level,” said Odinga on Wednesday. “The last time the commission was partisan and the evidence we produced in court was enormous. We are not ready to engage in a farce.”

His NASA coalition announced that there would be no elections on Oct. 17 unless those who stole their victory are sacked and punished.

“We wish to inform all Kenyans that there will be no polls if the concerns raised in our petition are not met,” said Odinga’s partner in NASA Moses Wetangula.

“We will not only boycott the elections, but we will also not allow Jubilee to go to polls alone,” Wetangula said.

The coalition on Wednesday said it would institute private criminal prosecution of the electoral commission officials over the bungled polls in a new political tactic to stop them from managing the repeat polls.

In its war against the commission, the party is targeting 11 top officials, including the chief executive and a commissioner in charge of information and communication technology.

Analysts noted that playing the victim card is a strategy both Odinga and Kenyatta have perfected to galvanize their strongholds and win votes in the past elections.

Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer in Nairobi, explained that someone who plays victim seeks to gain sympathy often by misrepresenting facts to create an image of persecution.

In the 2013 polls, Kenyatta played victim of the International Criminal Court where he was facing crimes against humanity charges following the violent 2007 elections.

Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto portrayed themselves as innocent and were being pursued by the court due to pressure from western nations so that they could not win polls.

“That narrative worked well for the two and they managed to galvanize their political bases in Rift Valley and Central Kenya, where their supporters voted them to the last man,” noted Wandera.

However, he added the victim narrative was hard to sell ahead of the Aug. 8 polls for Kenyatta as there was nothing to cling on, therefore, he sold a development agenda.

“But with the Supreme Court ruling, Kenyatta has something to use to persuade his supporters and seek sympathy. That is what he would sell during this campaign period,” he noted.

Odinga, on his part, has for the last three elections in 2007, 2013 and 2017 claimed that he was robbed of his victory by the electoral commission through rigging and has fought for reforms at the polls body. 


Zimbabwe government to reform state enterprises

HARARE, (Xinhua) -- Government ministries have been instructed to come up with strategies to resuscitate ailing state enterprises and parastatals (SEPs) under their purview and to recommend the dissolution of those that are inefficient, a senior government official has said.

Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda told an engagement workshop between the public and private sectors on the Public Entities Corporate Governance Bill on Thursday that Cabinet had directed him to ensure that SEPs were restructured and operated viably, the Herald reported Friday.

He said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development would work with various government agencies to help the ministries come up with turnaround strategies for the state entities under their control.

Zimbabwe has 107 SEPs whose majority report losses every year, and at least six are insolvent.

President Mugabe recently said the SEPs were contributing only 11 percent of GDP in recent years compared to about 40 percent in the 1990s.

The decline has been attributed to asset stripping and mismanagement.

“Without effective performance and efficient service delivery by the sector, most especially the majority utility providers and commercial enterprises, the ambitious goals and development objectives under ZimAsset may remain beyond reach, certainly within the expected timeframes,” he said.

Zimbabwe has an economic blueprint called the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) which set targets for certain milestones to have been achieved within particular periods.


Zimbabwe begins biometric voter registration ahead of polls next year

HARARE, (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s electoral body begins biometric voter registration on Thursday in preparation for general elections next year.

Zimbabwe is for the first time using the biometric voter registration system to compile a new voters’ roll, which means that all voters including those previously registered must register afresh.

The state-run Herald newspaper reported that President Robert Mugabe will launch the voter registration exercise Thursday.

“We are hoping that President Mugabe will launch the program ...in the morning and thereafter we are going to continue with registration in public of a few invited guests,” the newspaper quoted Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Rita Makarau as saying.

The voter registration exercise will run until January 15, 2018 as proclaimed by Mugabe last week.

ZEC has so far received 400 kits for biometric voter registration and another 2,600 are still expected. 

ZEC has said it will start countrywide voter education in October.

Meanwhile, the government has scrapped off charges to acquire identity documents by members of the public during the 90-day mobile registration blitz being conducted by the Registrar General’s Office ahead of the 2018 polls.

This was in response to a plea from the public that the charges were high. The Registrar General’s Office was charging between 5 U.S. dollars and 10 U.S. dollars to replace national identification cards.

ZEC is targeting to register 7 million voters for the 2018 elections, up from 6.8 million registered in the previous 2013 elections. President Mugabe, 93, will seek re-election in next year’s polls.


Egyptian police kill terrorist involved in anti-police attacks

CAIRO, (Xinhua) -- Egyptian Interior Ministry said Wednesday that a wanted terrorist was killed in a fire exchange with police forces in the country’s Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

In a statement, the ministry said the terrorist was a prime suspect in an anti-police terror attack in July that left a number of policemen dead near the capital Cairo.

Security forces attempted to arrest the suspect after spotting his location, but he opened fire at the police force as they approached his hideout, according to the statement.

On July 14, a group of militants opened fire against a police vehicle in Badrashin city, killing five policemen in the vehicle.

At least five security men were killed on the same day when militants opened fire randomly at a checkpoint in Egyptian province of Giza, near Cairo.

Egypt has been fighting against a wave of terror activities that killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since the military toppled former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule and his currently outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

Terror attacks in Egypt used to focus on police and military men in North Sinai before spreading nationwide and targeting the Coptic minority as well, with most of them claimed by a Sinai-based group loyal to the regional Islamic State (IS) militant group.

The Egyptian military and police have killed hundreds of militants and arrested a similar number of suspects as part of the country’s anti-terror war.


Ethiopia receives 72,890 refugees in first 8 months of 2017: UNHCR

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia received 72,890 refugees in the first eight months of 2017 ending August 31, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Speaking to Xinhua on Friday, Kisut Gebreegziabher, Assistant Communications Officer at UNHCR Ethiopia said the largest group of refugees come from South Sudan at 44,000 followed by Eritreans at 17,000 and Somalis at over 6,400.

“Refugees from South Sudan fled to Ethiopia to escape civil war, Eritrean refugees mentioned indefinite military conscription and human rights violations for their flight while Somalis mentioned a combination of conflict and drought for fleeing to Ethiopia” he added.

The 72,890 refugees recorded in Ethiopia in the first eight months of 2017 have pushed the number of refugees living in Ethiopia to reach 852,721 as of August 21, making the country home to the second largest refugee population in Africa, according to UNHCR. 

Gebreegziabher said UNHCR is giving basic social services to refugees living in 26 refugee camps in six regional states of Ethiopia.

The social services given by UNHCR in the refugee camps include education, health, water and sanitation, food security, nutrition support and community empowerment.

The 26 refugee camps are located in Gambella, Tigray, Afar, Benishangul Gumuz, Oromia and Ethiopia Somali regional states.


Malawian court sentences Angolan cocaine dealer to 5 years imprisonment

LILONGWE, (Xinhua) -- A magistrate court in Lilongwe, Malawi, Thursday sentenced 44-year-old Angolan, Joad Matateu Manuel, to five years imprisonment with hard labor for attempting to smuggle cocaine through Kamuzu International Airport, KIA.

Police Spokesperson for KIA, Sgt. Sapulain Chitonde, said in a statement made available to Xinhua that Manuel, who hails from Luanda in Angola, was arrested on August 30 at KIA when he was about to board Kenya Airways en-route to Nairobi.

Upon search of his travelling bags Manuel was found with male condoms containing a liquid which, when examined by the country’s National Quality Control Laboratory, was confirmed to be cocaine weighing 2.1 kg.

Manuel pleaded guilty before court, according to the police spokesperson, hence the five-year jail term sentence.

“The State, through Deputy Director of Prosecution, asked the court to pass an immediate custodial sentence of not less than five years considering that drug traffickers are people with money and a fine would mean nothing to the convict,” said Chitonde.

He continued: “The state further stressed in the court that Malawi government would never allow to be used as a transit country for dangerous drug dealers and that the Angolan sentence should send warning shots to any would-be-offenders.”

Manuel through his lawyers, pleaded for a suspended sentence saying he could not understand any language apart from Portuguese and that he suffers from hypertension and custodial sentence would do more harm to him.

But the state said Malawi prisons were already keeping convicts with language barriers like Manuel and that the Angolan case would not be unusual.

On health services, the state said there was fully fledged health facility at Maula Prison where the Angolan would be confined to serve his jail term and that the facility would take care of Manuel’s hypertension problem. 

The drug was forfeited and destroyed right at the court, according to the police spokesperson, and after serving his sentence, the convict will be deported to his country and he will also be declared a prohibited immigrant in line with section 4 of the Immigration Act. 


Heavy rains leave over 200 families homeless in eastern Rwanda

KIGALI, (Xinhua) -- Heavy downpour that hit Ngoma district in eastern Rwanda on Monday has left 221 families homeless, Rwanda’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees Affairs said late Wednesday. 

The ministry said in a statement that victims had sought temporary shelter at their neighbors’ homes, adding that government officials had visited the affected areas to provide urgent basic relief aid.

Victims not living with their neighbors have been sheltered temporarily elsewhere in the district with the help of local leaders, it said.

Since August, heavy rains have destroyed nearly 400 houses and 76 hectares of crops in different parts of the east African country, according to the ministry.


Sudan says ties with Egypt in crisis due to disputed Halayeb area

KHARTOUM,  (Xinhua) -- Sudanese government has said its ties with Egypt in crisis due to the issue of Halayeb triangle and restrictions by Egyptian authorities on Sudanese miners, Sudan’s Ashorooq net reported Thursday.

“The relation with Egypt is not good and we hope it will get better in the coming days,” Hamid Mumtaz, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, was quoted as saying.

“Egypt insists on affiliation of Halayeb to it without documents. It also rejects arbitration or negotiation,” he added.

He went on saying “we have documents proving that Halayeb is Sudan’s,” urging the Egyptian side to overcome minor issues to restore the relations between the two countries.

The Sudanese official further reiterated Khartoum’s keenness on restoring ties with Cairo, saying “we are looking for peaceful solutions, but the endeavour should be made by both parties.” 

Sudan and Egypt have dispute over the Shalateen and Halayeb areas as both countries claim sovereignty over them. 


S. Africa urges Myanmar to address situation of displaced civilians

CAPE TOWN, (Xinhua) -- The South African government on Wednesday urged Myanmar to address the current situation in Rakhine State where violence has sent more than 300,000 Rohingya civilians fleeing their homes in Myanmar.

The Myanmar government should handle the situation within the ambit of the law and uphold the rights of all those living within its borders, said Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

There have been reports of civilians being killed during security operations in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. This latest round of violence came after the attacks on Myanmar security forces on Friday by Rohingyas, a Muslim ethnic minority denied citizenship in Myanmar.

As of Sunday, 313,000 Rohingyas, mostly women and children, have left Rakhine for Bangladesh since August 25, according to UN figures.

The Myanmar government regards Rohingyas, Muslims living in a Buddhist nation, as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.

South Africa supports the recent statement by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who has appealed to the Myanmar government to provide security to affected populations, and requested for humanitarian agencies to be granted access to affected communities in need of assistance and protection, Monyela said.

The South African government urges all parties to halt the violence in order to avoid further human suffering, said Monyela.

The South African government is mindful of the manifold challenges confronting the government and the people of Myanmar and has full faith that the Myanmar government will continue its process of democratization and political reform in order to deliver sustainable development, stability and to contribute to national reconciliation, Monyela added. 


News Analysis: Egypt plays unique roles to push Palestinian internal reconciliation

RAMALLAH, (Xinhua) -- The current improvement in the ties between Hamas movement and Egypt would keep the latter the sole sponsor for achieving a reconciliation that ends more than ten years of internal Palestinian split, but a breakthrough is ruled out for the short run, analysts said.

Following the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, when ties between Egypt and Hamas got tensed, Cairo’s role in the file of internal reconciliation had significantly retreated, despite its importance, where Egypt had almost stopped hosting delegations of Palestinian factions for this purpose.

In separate remarks, analysts told Xinhua that the recent improvement in the ties between Egypt and Hamas has strongly brought the file of internal Palestinian reconciliation back to Cairo, where this file has been previously mandated by the Arab League.

Two days ago, Hamas said it is ready to hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Fatah Party to conclude a reconciliation deal. The announcement was made after Hamas delegation, headed by its politburo chief Ismail Haneya, met in Cairo with Egyptian intelligence chief Khaled Fawzi.

Abbas chaired a meeting of his Fatah Party’s Central Committee in Ramallah on Tuesday, and stressed on “its keenness to have intensive and fast dialogue with the brothers in Egypt to end the Palestinian internal split.”

Following the meeting, Azzam al-Ahmad, head of Fatah delegation to the dialogue with Hamas announced he will go to Cairo within few days to meet with the Egyptian leadership to follow up the efforts of ending the Palestinian division.

Ashraf Ajrami, the Ramallah-based writer and political analyst describes the developments as “positive,” stressing on “the need to be reflected in concrete steps and immediate progress in the file of Palestinian reconciliation.”

He told Xinhua that Hamas is required to dissolve the administrative committee it formed in the Gaza Strip months ago, without any delay, in order to halt the recent punitive measures, taken by Abbas against the Gaza Strip.

“This step will create a positive atmosphere for reconciliation and for achieving unity that the Palestinian cause is in need for, mainly in resuming the stalled peace process,” said Ajrami. “There is a real reason to believe that things are changing for the better in light of the development of Egyptian relations with Hamas.”

He went on saying that “this allows a greater margin for Cairo to move from the security file (on its border with the Gaza Strip) to other political files.”

The internal Palestinian division began in 2007 after the Hamas violent takeover of the Gaza Strip following rounds of internal fighting with forces loyal to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

In response to seizing control of Gaza, President Abbas dismissed the national unity government, headed by Haneya. However, Hamas rejected the decision and kept a government that ruled the enclave.

Despite the formation of the first consensus government in June 2014 under the understandings of reconciliation reached two months earlier between a delegation from the PLO and Hamas in Gaza, it did not contribute to a practical end of split.

The consensus government kept accusing Hamas of not ruling Gaza and keeping a shadow government under its administration, while Hamas complained that the government neglected the Gaza Strip and didn’t help resolving its growing crises, especially the salaries of 43,000 employees Hamas assigned since 2007.

Several months ago, Hamas form a “high committee” for running the daily affairs in the Gaza Strip, and announced that it will continue to work as long as the division exists. It insisted that it will end its work when the consensus government comes to Gaza to run the enclave’s daily affairs.

In response to Hamas reject to dissolve the administrative committee, Abbas took a series of “punitive steps” against Gaza, mainly reducing the salaries of PNA employees and sending 7,000 of them to early retirement, while reducing the funding of basic services for the enclave.

Hamza Abu Shanab, a Gaza-based political analyst told Xinhua that Egypt at this stage restored “the lead” in the file of Palestinian reconciliation. He expected that Cairo will soon launch an initiative for this purpose.

Abu Shanab stresses on the importance of Egypt in moving the file of reconciliation and ending its stagnation, particularly Cairo vision is acceptable to most of the Palestinian factions and has a weight and influence on the Palestinian issue.

Abu Shanab also expects that relations between Hamas and Egypt will be strengthened in the coming stage, even if the desired progress is achieved in the reconciliation file “in the light of Hamas’ keenness not to escalate with Egypt.”

For his part, the political analyst from Gaza, Mustafa Ibrahim, said that Hamas “rushed” to Cairo because of the worsening crisis in Gaza and because of the increasingly difficult humanitarian situation and the need for urgent solutions.

Fatah and Hamas have reached a number of bilateral understandings within a comprehensive framework of the Palestinian factions and under the auspices of Egypt and other Arab countries, but failed to put an end to the internal divisions and restore the desired unity between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Instead of continuing to implement the reconciliation understandings, a series of measures taken by the two movements considered that they gradually contributed to the consolidation of the situation of division, especially with regard to Hamas taking full administrative and security control in the Gaza Strip.

Over the years of division, the developments in the regional situation have affected the Palestinian division, especially in terms of progress or retreat from both sides (Fatah and Hamas) and the desire of each party to build alliances that strengthen its position at the expense of the other party.

Therefore, the head of the Institute for Democratic Studies in Ramallah, George Jaqman, underestimates his expectations of a “real breakthrough” in the file of Palestinian reconciliation, whether sponsored by Egypt or elsewhere.

The files of the differences between Fatah and Hamas have worsened significantly over the past two years, showing the extent of deepening the internal Palestinian division and the difficulty of concluding it soon.

He points out that the internal division has created a reality that is divided between two regimes that govern individually in Gaza and the West Bank. They have special interests linked to the Authority, and both refuse to surrender to the other side.

Jaqman also stresses on the existence of political considerations that have sharpened the division between the Israeli and American rejection of the Hamas entry into the PLO or the integration of its elements within the framework of the Palestinian Authority.


UN blames climate change for increased malnutrition rates in Kenya

by Peter Mutai NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Climate change effects are to blame for the increasing acute undernourishment of children in Kenya, the United Nations said in a report released in Nairobi on Friday.

According to the UN, the failure of the March-June long rains, the third consecutive poor rains since early 2016 has contributed an additional 37,000 children across the country below the threshold of acute malnutrition.

“Climate-related issues have increased food insecurity in parts of northern Kenya where malnutrition rates have doubled in recent months,” the UN report says.

The report noted that the country’s undernourishment affected 8.8 million people, accounting for 19.1 percent of the population.

It states that almost 370,000 children across the country now require treatment for acute malnutrition, including 72,600 who are suffering from the most severe form and requires specialized life-saving care.

“In four out of 17 surveys conducted in June and July, acute malnutrition rates were at least double the emergency threshold of 15 percent,” the report said.

The failure of the March-June long rains, following two extremely poor rains in 2016, have led to widespread crop failure, acute water shortages, and declining production of milk in years, which pastoral children rely on for protein.

The report further blames drought related migration, early child marriages and child labor to lack of food and water.

“Several schools have closed while others are overcrowded because of migrating children or children who come in search of school-feeding,” it says.

Following the development in the country, the UN children’s fund (UNICEF) has urged for efforts to help fund its drought response.

“We need to make nutritious food, safe water and basic health care far more accessible to vulnerable children and families so that malnourished children can recover, and so that those at risk do not fall sick,” UNICEF’s Representative in Kenya Werner Schultink said.

Schultink revealed that the UN agency has reached 60 percent more children with life-saving assistance in the first half of 2017 compared to 2016, yet more and more children are becoming malnourished.

UNICEF is repairing water points in the country to help avail water to additional nine million children who lack access to safe water.

According to the report, Turkana Central, Turkana North and North Horr in Marsabit in northwestern Kenya registered acute malnutrition rates between 30 and 37 per cent.

Across the country, 1.6 million children are now food insecure, up from 1.2 million in February and 600,000 in August 2016.

Poor feeding practices, disease outbreaks and limited access to health services in the country are being exacerbated by a nationwide nurses’ strike, now in its third month.

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017 was jointly prepared by UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, World Food Program and the World Health Organization.


U.S. urges Somalia to build strong democratic institutions to spur peace

MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) -- The United States on Friday called on Somalia government to build strong and credible democratic institutions that will promote peace and stability in the country.

The U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu lauded the government for its continued progress towards a more inclusive democratic governance system and the peaceful transition to a new government in early 2017.

“We encourage all stakeholders to rise above political distractions in order to work together to achieve progress in democratization and good governance,” the embassy said in a statement issued to mark the International Day of Democracy.

Washington also encouraged the Western-backed government to continue to enhance its commitment to democratization by putting in place the legal and institutional tools needed to make progress towards one-person one-vote elections in 2020/2021.

The U.S. also called on Somalia to hasten completion of the constitutional review, and build strong credible institutions that are accountable to the people of Somalia.

The statement said the Horn of Africa nation is a country recovering from many years of conflict, and the road to democracy is long and full of challenges.

“The United States remains a strong partner to Somalia in its effort to build strong, credible, and democratic institutions that will promote peace and stability in the country,” it said.

The global community observes the International Day of Democracy on Sept. 15 to raise public awareness about democracy.

This year’s theme of democracy and conflict prevention focuses on the critical need to strengthen democratic institutions to promote peace and stability.


Gambian President lays foundation stone for Chinese-funded conference center

BANJUL, (Xinhua) -- The Gambian President Adama Barrow has laid the foundation stone on Thursday to mark the official commencement of the construction of the Chinese funded International Conference Center at a tune of 50 million US dollars.

Barrow said the bond of friendship and cooperation between The Gambia and China is growing stronger within the framework of South-South Cooperation, and that the strategic partnership between the two countries is based on mutual respect and common interest.

“The construction of the Center comes at the right time, to showcase the new Gambia, as a viable and peaceful destination, and as a place of democracy, good governance, rule of law, and freedom of speech,” he said.

The Chinese Ambassador to The Gambia Zhang Jiming said The Gambia International Conference Center is the very first major bilateral cooperation project between China and The Gambia since the resumption of the diplomatic ties. He said it is so far the biggest grant project in terms of finance scale in the history of the bilateral relations.

“The project demonstrates China’s resolve to closely combine its own development with assisting the development of The Gambia and Africa as a whole so as to realize win-win cooperation for common development,” he said.

Bai Lamin Jobe, The Gambia’s Infrastructure Minister said the building will have a conference hall which will have a capacity of 1,021 persons. According to him, it will have four thematic rooms each with a 200-person capacity, and it will also have fourteen bilateral meeting rooms, four press rooms, banquet halls and offices.

He said the contractor is China Jiangsu Provincial Construction Company Ltd and it will last for two years.

The two countries established formal diplomatic links in 1974, but China suspended relations in 1995 when Gambia resumed so-called “diplomatic” ties with Taiwan. Gambia severed ties with Taiwan in 2013. China and Gambia resumed diplomatic ties in March 2016.


Rwanda cracks down on wetlands encroachers

KIGALI, (Xinhua) -- Rwandan authorities Wednesday cracked down on establishments which were set up in wetlands, leaving several of them closed.

The exercise was led by Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) in conjunction with authorities of the capital city of Kigali and Ministry of Local Government of Rwanda.

Among the closed entities was a warehouse, a flour factory and church all located in Kigali’s Gasabo district, Director General of REMA Colette Ruhamya told journalists during the operation tour.

She said unlawful activities in wetlands will not be tolerated, adding that the operation would be extended to other parts of the country.

Rwanda’s latest State of Environment Report shows that wetlands cover a total area of 165,000 hectares, representing about 7 percent of the total surface area of the landlocked country. 


Diarrhea outbreak infects 4,500 in north Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- An Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) outbreak in Ethiopia’s northern regional states of Afar, Amhara and Tigray has infected about 4,500 people over the last four months according to Ethiopia Federal Ministry of Health.

Amhara regional state had the highest number of infected people with 3,000, followed by Tigray regional state at 1,200 and Afar regional state at 300. 

Speaking to reporters on Friday, health minister Yifru Berhan said the diarrhea outbreaks are being controlled through collaboration of his ministry and regional health bureaus.

The ministry in particular is working on eradicating possible Acute Watery Diarrhea breeding grounds by treating unhygienic conditions in mining areas, agricultural areas and factories.

Berhan also said educational programs on the cause of AWD are being taught in addition to monetary assistance being given to regional health bureaus to deal with diarrhea outbreaks.

With Ethiopia’s rainy season stretching from late June to September already underway, the ministry has urged community members to stay vigilant to avoid the spread of infectious diarrhea.


Facts & figures about China’s major-country diplomacy:
China’s assistance to Africa in fight against Ebola

Editor’s Note: China is rolling out a major documentary series on its diplomatic principles, practices and achievements over the past five years. The English-language version of the program is now also available on TV and online. To help audience better understand Chinese diplomacy, Xinhua is releasing a variety of reports that include anecdotes, quotable quotes, facts and figures. 

BEIJING, (Xinhua) -- The following is a set of numbers related to China’s assistance to Africa in the fight against the Ebola outbreak:

3 -- China’s assistance was the first to reach the three worst-affected countries in West Africa—Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

120 million—China’s response to the Ebola crisis was the country’s biggest-ever overseas medical aid mission. China provided 120 million U.S. dollars worth of materials and funding.

1,200 -- China also dispatched more than 1,200 medical personnel and public health specialists to the areas affected by Ebola.

Since the Ebola virus was first identified in 1976, sporadic outbreaks have been reported in Africa, but the 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa was the deadliest, resulting in more than 11,300 deaths, according to WHO estimates. 


Feature: Egypt digs in for Pharaonic treasures discovery

By Ahmed Shafiq LUXOR, Egypt, (Xinhua) -- Under the cliff of an ancient hill in Upper Egypt’s Luxor city, excavator Mohammed Bebish was carefully searching for relics inside a recently unearthed Pharaonic tomb.

“This burial place belongs to a goldsmith,” Bebish proudly said as he inspected a number of pottery items found in the tomb that is located in Draa Abul Naga necropolis of noblemen on the west bank of the Nile.

The 40-year-old, who inherited excavation profession from his ancestors, said the tomb is rich of priceless antiquities that date back to the New Kingdom of Egypt; the period between 16th century BC and 11th century BC, covering the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties of ancient Egypt.

“The tomb is a new addition to Egypt’s rich history,” Bebish, who works under the authority of Egypt’s antiquities ministry, said, flashing a victorious smile.

As one of the most ancient civilizations, Egypt has been hard at work to preserve its archaeological heritages.

Also, in an attempt to revive the country’s ailing tourism industry, which has suffered from an acute recession in the past few years due to political turmoil and security issues, Egypt is keen to uncover the Pharaohs’ archaeological secrets as well as other ancient civilizations throughout the history of this country.

The new discovery was carried out by an Egyptian archaeological mission led by director general of antiquities in Luxor Mostafa Waziri, who said the tomb belongs to God Amun’s goldsmith, Amenemhat.

Waziri said excavation works at the site started in April.

“After hard work, we discovered such a beautiful tomb that dates back to the 18th Dynasties; almost 3,400 years ago,” Waziri told Xinhua. “We have found many treasures such as mummies, wooden coffins, earrings, rings accessories, funeral masks and Ushabti figurines.

Helping his coworkers inside the tomb, Waziri said the newly discovered site includes an entrance located in the courtyard of another Middle Kingdom tomb.

“The entrance leads to a squared chamber where a niche is found at its end. A partly damaged duo sandstone statue depicting the tomb’s owner and his was found inside,” Waziri revealed.

He added that the statue shows Amenemhat sitting on a high back chair beside his wife who wears a long dress and a wig.

“Between their legs stands, in a smaller scale, a little figure of one of their sons,” Waziri said.

He pointed out that the tomb has two burial shafts; the first is located to the right of the chamber and probably had been dug to bury the mummy of the diseased and his wife.

“The burial place is seven meters deep with a collection of mummies, sarcophagi and funerary masks carved in wood along with a collection of statuettes of the tomb’s owner and his wife,” the official said.

The archaeologist noted that the second shaft is located at the left side where a collection of the 21st and 22nd dynasties deteriorated sarcophagi was discovered.

In the courtyard, the mission stumbled upon a group of burial shafts which probably date to the Middle Kingdom.

In one of them, a family burial place of a woman and her two children were found.

“The shaft includes two wooden coffins and a collection of head rests ... the mummies of the children were found inside one the coffins while the second has the mother’s mummy,” Waziri added as he observed excavators cleaning one of the coffins cautiously.

The mission has also unearthed a collection of 50 funerary cones, 40 of which are evidence of the presence of other tombs belonging to four officials, Waziri said.

However, he added, the exact location of their tombs has not been yet found.

“I expect we will find them in the same area ... we will start digging to locate them soon,” Waziri said.

Antiquities minister, Khaled al-Anany, who was present at the opening ceremony of the newly discovered tomb, said the works at the tombs are not finished yet, adding that he is expecting to find more objects inside the burial site.

“Every discovery has its value ... this discovery will help us know more about historical eras and areas,” the minister told Xinhua.

Al-Anany revealed that Chinese archeologists will arrive in Egypt later this year for new excavations in Luxor, the city that embraces one-third of the world’s antiquities including the super-famous King Tut’s tomb.

“Very soon we will have the first Chinese archeological mission in Egypt ... we are looking forward to cooperate with the Chinese experts,” the minister said. 


Johannesburg FOCAC gives impetus to Africa’s development: Chinese envoy

LUSAKA, (Xinhua) -- The implementation of the outcome of the 2015 Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has boosted the development of Africa and its relations with China, a Chinese envoy said on Wednesday.

Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming said Africa has developed faster over the last couple of years following the summit.

He said next year will be the last year for the implementation of the Johannesburg FOCAC framework arrangement, adding that a new arrangement will have to come into effect.

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to be held next month in Beijing will inject a new impetus into China’s rejuvenation drive and create good prospects for China-Africa friendly cooperation, he said.

At the Johannesburg summit, China committed 60 billion U.S. dollars to fund the implementation of cooperation programs over the next three years. 


Rwanda urged to fix mismatch between trade and agriculture policies

KIGALI, (Xinhua) -- There is a mismatch between trade and agriculture sectors in Rwanda which affects agricultural productivity and trade, an FAO report released on Wednesday said.

The report on Coordination between Agriculture and Trade Policymaking in Rwanda released in Rwanda’s capital city Kigali said trade and agriculture bodies need to start working together for complementarity.

In Rwanda, the majority of the population is employed in agriculture related sectors, but initiatives to improve agricultural productivity in the country are often constrained by market and trade-related bottlenecks, according to the study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

These can result from conflicting agricultural and trade policies, said the report, adding that this lack of coherence not only affects Rwanda’s international trade potential, but also creates obstacles to achieving food security and the sustainable development goal of zero hunger for all.

The report called on government to act as a private sector enabler as opposed to a private sector actor in order to improve agriculture and trade policy coordination.

Trade in agricultural goods accounts for a significant share of Rwanda’s total goods trade, where agriculture-related imports including food crops for consumption and processing, and inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides were 386 million U.S. dollars in 2016, or 21 percent of total imports, according to FAO.

Agriculture’s share of total exports was 35 percent in the same year, said FAO.

Agriculture and trade policy coherence in Rwanda would be improved through several ways such as better use of established coordination mechanisms and facilitating dialogue with all stakeholders, said Charles Murekezi, the Director General of Agriculture Development at Rwanda’s ministry of agriculture, at a workshop discussing the methods of addressing the issues in the report.

Cassien Karangwa, Commodity Value Chain Trade Officer at Rwanda’s ministry of trade, said collective efforts would be made to assess the problems that each side has in order to increase exports.


Senegalese tourism counselor says Africa increasingly important in global tourism

CHENGDU, China, (Xinhua) -- Africa is playing an increasingly important role in global tourism, while Senegal is taking the opportunity to attract more tourists, Abdoulaya Ndiaye, technique counselor to the Senegalese tourism minister, has said.

“Africa is an increasingly important force in the global tourism market. The continent is rich in cultural and wildlife resources, while it has majestic scenery,” Ndiaye said.

Africa is taking advantage of its wildlife resources to create its unique tourism products, while more and more people are attracted to Africa as they search for different experiences and lifestyles.

“It is a global trend that more and more people are travelling in Africa,” Ndiaye said, adding that this is becoming part of African people’s life.

He said Senegal is stepping up its infrastructure construction in order to provide better service and make travel in Africa more convenient for tourists around the world.

At the ongoing 22nd general assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Ndiaye told Xinhua Wednesday that they hoped to help the world hear Africa and Senegal’s voice during the assembly.

“We think this assembly plays a crucial role in strengthening the development of global tourism,” the counselor said.

Of all 44 African countries attending the gathering, 36 of them sent their ministers in charge of tourism, “which showed the African countries value this chance very much,” Ndiaye said.

According to UNWTO statistics, the global tourism industry has kept its positive growth for seven consecutive years at an average rate of four percent. Africa’s growth rate in the first six months of 2017 has reached eight percent, among the countries enjoying the strongest tourism growth in the world.

Based on Africa’s exceptional tourism resources, regional organizations like the African Union help to accelerate the free movement of people inside the continent, Ndiaye said.

“The tourism industry has entered a stage that, like it or not, everyone is involved in travelling,” Ndiaye said. “Tourism is becoming a global production chain, greatly supporting the world industry.”

Ndiaye praised the high-level bilateral relationship between Senegal and China, expressing the hope that more and more Chinese tourists could come to the West African country.

“We are improving our tourism service by strengthening infrastructure and coordinating with other countries,” said Ndiaye, promising that direct airlines would be built between every tourist destination in Senegal to make travel easier.

There would also be more travel products and routes in Senegal designed to promote the sustainable development of tourism, while every African country would do its utmost to improve the tourism connectivity inside the continent, as well as to link Africa with other regions in the world, Ndiaye said.

More than 1,000 delegates, including tourism ministers from more than 130 countries and regions, are gathering in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu to discuss the development of global tourism, as well as the sustainable growth of the tourism industry.


S. Africa’s Chamber of Mines withdraws interdict over controversial Mining Charter

CAPE TOWN, (Xinhua) -- The Chamber of Mines on Wedensday withdrew an urgent application to interdict Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane from implementing the controversial Mining Charter.

This came after the Chamber has reached an agreement with Zwane, in respect of the Chamber’s urgent interdict to prevent the implementation of the Mining Charter.

“In terms of the agreement, Zwane has given a written undertaking that the Reviewed Mining Charter will not be implemented until judgment has been handed down in respect of the Chamber’s review application, which has rendered the granting of an interdict by the court not necessary at this stage,” the Chamber said in a statement.

The minister has also undertaken that if he makes any reference in public to the Reviewed Mining Charter, he will simultaneously make reference to his written undertaking and that the Chamber has brought review proceedings to set aside the Charter, the Chamber said.

In the interests of expediting the review process, which is the industry’s primary focus, the Chamber has agreed that the matter be heard on December 13-14 this year by a full bench of judges, said the Chamber.

The minister’s written undertaking will be presented to the High Court of Gauteng in Pretoria on September 14 for noting, according to the Chamber.

Under the Mining Charter announced by Zwane on June 15, a new prospecting right must have a minimum of 50 percent plus one black person shareholding, including voting rights.

The Charter requires that a new mining right must have 30-percent black persons’ shareholding from the previous 26 percent, with the 30 percent shareholding to be apportioned between employees, communities and entrepreneurs in a specific manner.

The charter wants 70 percent procurement of mining goods and 80 percent procurement of services from BEE (black economic empowerment) entities. It also requires that analysis of 100 percent of mineral samples be done by South African based companies.

However, the mining sector expressed unhappiness for not being consulted properly before the charter was released.

The Chamber of Mines, which represents 90 percent of South Africa’s mines, claims that the charter is illegal and could destroy South Africa’s mining industry while undermining transformation attempts.

The Chamber took Zwane to court in July to stop the implementation of the Charter.


Kenya’s Kamworor eager to get maiden marathon title in New York quest

By John Kwoba NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- After almost one year sabbatical from the road race, world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya will return to contest the New York city marathon on Nov. 5.

Top of his agenda will be an attempt to improve the course record of 2:05:06, set by Geoffrey Mutai in 2011.

But for Kamworor to have any realistic chance of attacking the course record, he has to start by winning the race against spirited competition of experienced marathon runners from Kenya and Ethiopia.

In 2015, Kamworor finished second in 2:10:48 to compatriot Stanley Biwott (2:10:34). Now Kamworor, 24, believes he is the heir apparent to Olympic champion and his training partner Eliud Kipchoge and he will want to prove his critics wrong by taking the challenge to his rivals.

“There is no doubt in my mind of what I intend to do. It is going for the victory,” said Kamworor.

The Kenyan opted to focus on the track competition ahead of the London World Championships this season, where he finished a disappointing sixth place in the 10,000m race.

But that is already water under the bridge and as he marshals his energy for the quest of the hilly New York marathon, there is only one outcome he is dreaming of, winning.

But that will be only possible if he can slay the challenge of defending champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie of Eritrea, who is also the 2015 World marathon champion and 2016 Boston Marathon champion Lemi Berhanu and Lelisa Desisa, both of Ethiopia.

Desisa finished second at New York City Marathon in 2014 and third in 2015 before failing to finish last year.

Kamworor, started off as a pacesetter at 2011 Berlin and 2012 Rotterdam Marathon before his full marathon debut at 2012 Berlin, where he finished second to Geoffrey Mutai.

At the 2011 Berlin Marathon, Kamworor pushed Patrick Makau to break the world marathon record in a new time of 2:03:38.

He returned to Berlin in 2013 where he once again settled for third in 2:06:26 as Wilson Kipsang shuttered compatriots Patrick Makau’s world record (2:03:38) with a new mark of 2:03:23 followed by Kipchoge in 2:04:05.

Kamworor was also in the 2014 Berlin Marathon field that saw compatriot Dennis Kimetto break the world record in 2:02:57.

Emmanuel Mutai settled for second place in 2:03:13 followed by Ethiopian Abera Kuma in 2:05:56 and Kamworor (2:06:39) was in fourth.


Kenya’s Makau, Kibet confirmed for Berlin marathon conquest

By John Kwoba  NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Former world record holder Patrick Makau and former world champion Luke Kibet of Kenya are the latest inclusion to the men’s elite list at the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 24.

Makau, who made headlines in 2011 when he became the second Kenya to claim the world marathon record after legendary Paul Tergat, will return to the German capital expectant of a strong performance.

However, with a very strong challenge group ahead of him, albeit on form and time, Makau will be hoping for a miracle if he is to win.

“I really look forward to running again. I had to pull out of Boston marathon because of a knee injury. The doctors said it was an acute injury of the soft tissue surrounding my left knee. But I have overcome it and now Berlin is the next stop,” he said.

It will be the first time that Makau returns to the course where he set a world record back in 2011.

“It is a fast course and we have some very strong runners in Kipsang and Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele. But I will have my space and hopefully time my run to perfection,” he said.

Makau last competed in Fukuoka, Japan where he finished second in December, failing to make it his third straight win on the course. But that will not detract him from focusing on Berlin redemption.

Like many Kenyans brought up in country communities, Makau is not the most demonstrative of characters; but as well as having the build to withstand long fast training, he thinks tactically.

He ran the 2011 edition of the Berlin Marathon in 2:03:38, to beat Haile Gebrselassie world record. The record had stood for two years before countryman Wilson Kipsang bettered it by running just 15 seconds faster, finishing in 2:03:23 in 2013.

Both men will be lining up on Sept. 24 and though Makau conceded that Kipsang is stronger and capable of beating the current world record of 2:02.57 by Dennis Kimetto, he holds out as a spoiler.

“I will wait and take my chances. I start slowly but finish strong and if they will go with my pace, then I have an outside chance of winning in Berlin again,” he said.

There will also be another chance for former world champion Luke Kibet to make a comeback.

Aside from Kibet, Makau, Bekele, Kipchoge and Kipsang, the men’s field also includes Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew, who has a 59:11 half marathon personal best time. Pacemakers include former Chicago Marathon runner-up Sammy Kitwara, who has a lifetime best of 2:04:28.

Kipchoge has admitted that there is pressure on his shoulders to break the world marathon record after clocking 2:00:25 in Monza as part of the ‘Breaking Two’ project earlier this season.

“With the three of us (Kenenisa Bekele and Wilson Kipsang), I think I am the only one under pressure heading to the race in Berlin. If the two of them have 40 percent pressure, then I have 95 percent because of the time I ran in Monza and the Olympic gold as well. I have a lot of pressure,” he said.

“I expect a tough and beautiful race but at the end of the day, there will only be one winner.”

The elite field in the women’s race is headed by former winner Gladys Cherono from Kenya and Prague Marathon winner Valary Aiyabei, plus Ethiopians Amane Beriso, Gullume Tollesa, Meseret Mengistu and Ruti Aga. Reigning champion Aberu Kebede is a late withdrawal.

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