Xinhua News Agency, Xinhuanet is an important central news service-oriented website, an important information organ of the central government, and an important platform for building up China's online international communication capacity. Established on November 7, 1997, as an online news provider of the Xinhua News Agency, it was officially named Xinhuanet on March 10, 2000 and began around-the-clock news release with leading online public opinion at home and setting a good image of China abroad as its main task.

IS Responsible for 4 Deadly Attacks In Yemen

Islamic State had demanded a ransom in return for sparing the hostages? lives
Islamic State had demanded a ransom in return for sparing the hostages? lives

The Islamic State claimed responsibility in an online statement for four bombing attacks in Yemen’s capital Sanaa and the northern Saada province that killed more than 138 people and wounded at least 100 others during Friday prayers. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


Kenyans Protest Poor Security In Mandera Town

Residents in Kenya’s northern Mandera town on Friday held a peaceful demonstration to protest over poor security and demand a transfer of local commissioner.

Mandera County Governor Ali Roba
Mandera County Governor Ali Roba

The demonstration, led by 20 members of county assembly, lasted for more than six hours.
The protesters asked the government to transfer Mandera County Commissioner Alex Nkoyo for incompetence and gave him a-48-hour ultimatum to step down.
They said Nkoyo was behind the current wave of insecurity that have claimed several lives in the region.
Mandera County Governor Ali Roba last week narrowly escaped death after a car of his convoy was blown up by an improvised explosive device.
Nkoyo draw himself into controversy after he said Roba was not the target of the attack and the attackers were just carjacking two vans.
Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery on Wednesday defended Nkoyo, saying the attack and a recent Wajir County attack that killed four people were done by “mere banditry”.
Some protesters waved anti-Nkaissery placards, warning “if the national government does not act, they will ensure Nkoyo does not serve them any longer by themselves”.
Roba, who survived the fifth attempts on his life in less than a year, told journalists in Nairobi on Monday that the government should consider deploying troops to restive northern towns to tackle suspected Somali militants.
The governor blamed security personnel deployed in the county, saying they are ineffective.
Northern Kenya which borders Somalia has seen worsening security situation since the country sent its troops to fight Al- Shabaab inside Somalia. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

China Soon To Increase Grain Output For Farmers

China has plans to increase grain output and do more to prevent wild fires, to help farmers, according to a central meeting on Friday.
wpid-Li-Keqiang.jpgGovernment at all levels shall guarantee spring farming and year-round grain harvests, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed in an instruction to the meeting. He demanded farmers improve production efficiency.
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang presided over the meeting, saying stronger technical guidance, capital supply and credit support will help deal with new challenges in agricultural production this year.
Better meteorological services and more water conservation projects are expected to help farmers resist flood and drought, and diseases of animal and plants shall be prevented, Wang said.
He mentioned that many places are now facing high risks of forest and grassland fire, and local authorities have to avoid such accidents and casualties.
Meanwhile, the vice premier said innovation in planning, guidance, information service and quality monitor will be promoted to boost agricultural restructuring and improve the industry’s efficiency. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

India passed new bill for development of mines and minerals

India’s Upper House of Parliament Friday passed a new bill for development of mines and minerals, in an apparent boost to the reform measures sought by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said officials.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The bill will bring a regime of auctioning blocks for prospecting licenses, like for coal blocks, for 50 years as against 30 now. The government has already identified 199 mines for auction.
Once the bill gets presidential consent, the new legislation will replace an old mines and minerals ordinance and come into effect.
Officials said mining contributes over two percent to the GDP and is one of the biggest employers, so a revival will help create many jobs.
The government said mining sector has been in decline for years. The iron ore production declined to 152 million tons in 2013-14 fiscal year from 218 million toes in 2009-10 fiscal, due to legal restraints. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Kenyan farmers form associations to seek profits

by Robert Manyara

Eight years ago, Kenyan farmer Margaret Munga would sell a kilogram of carrots through middlemen at 0.11 U.S. dollars.Farmers Now, the small scale farmer from Mau Summit in Njoro, Nakuru County, about 190 kilometers northwest of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, cannot let go of her produce for a price of less than 0.66 dollars, even many other carrot farmers in the East African country decry of losses as a result of increasing cost of production.
Munga is a member of the Mau Narok Farmers Sacco, a local association with a membership of more than 600 farmers. They collect carrots from farmers and sell them to wholesale traders in Uganda.
Through the Sacco which is established in 2012, the small scale farmer, who also serves as a treasurer for the association, says the farmers are able to negotiate for good prices.
“Farmers get leverage when they have a unified voice in marketing their produce,” says Munga.
However, she notes the harvests must be of good quality so that they can be competitive in the agricultural market, where brokers seek to reap huge profits through buying from farmers at a low price and sell at exaggerated prices.
Getting access to information about good agricultural practices that are effective in yielding high-quality produce is a major issue that the Sacco addresses.
“A Sacco not only works to market the produce but recommends to farmers institutions where they can be trained on how to improve their yields,” she says, adding the Sacco is aimed at increasing the farmers’ income, and giving them tips on sustainable agriculture is a priority.
According to her, without the Sacco she could still be selling the carrots at a loss since brokers make frequent visits to farms, providing a seemingly quick and easier alternative market for farmers.
With the Sacco, the farmers’ carrots are collected twice a week and transported to Uganda where Munga says prices are favorable, thus can bring good returns.
For a kilogram, they could sell for a price ranging between 0. 66 U.S. dollars and 0.82 U.S. dollars depending on the season.
Munga says for local farmers, to form associations or cooperatives for joint business and share advanced farming methods is a good way to achieve long-term success.
Over the years, Kenyan farmers producing carrots, potatoes and maize have worried about finding markets where they can sell their produce at good prices. They have complained over exploitation by middlemen who take advantage of scarce direct links between farmers and the customers.
“Small scale farmers in the country work extremely hard but still they suffer poverty because they do not make profits from their produce,” says Pauline Maina, an officer in the Ministry of Agriculture who also is in charge of programs aimed at training farmers on agribusiness.
Official figures show less than 25 percent of Kenyan population make a living in agricultural activities. Thus, Maina says Saccos are key to promoting food security in the country as they can bring good returns to this population.
Maina says the Kenyan government is helping farmers obtain methods and skills concerning marketing their agricultural produce.
“It is important to consider the marketing strategy so that the value do not end up in the hands of middlemen,” says Jonathan Kimuge, an agricultural expert.
Kimuge says farmers not only need to know how to increase yields but also have a sustainable and profitable market for their produce to be able to improve their livelihood. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Ukraine orders for $15 million worth of gas from Gazprom

Russian gas giant Gazprom confirmed Friday that it has received a new prepayment of 15 million U.S. dollars from Ukraine for its gas supply to the country.


“We received another 15 million dollars from Naftogaz (Ukraine state gas company). This means that supplies till the end of the next week have been paid for,” Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.
It was the fifth prepayment for gas supply to Ukraine that Gazprom has received so far this month.
Earlier this week, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Russia may discuss natural gas discount for Ukraine after the expiry of the previously clinched “winter package.”
Under the current package, which will expire on March 31, Kiev pays Russia 329 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter of 2015, which is 100 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters below the market price.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said that Kiev is expected to discuss a “summer package” on natural gas supplies with Russia and the EU in Brussels on Friday. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

South African opposition party denies connection with dompas system

Opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader Hellen Zille on Friday denied allegations that the DA was connected with the reintroduction of a racial segregation system, known as the “dompas”.

South Africa
South Africa

The system was initiated by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and wasn’t connected to the DA, Zillie told the provincial parliament of the Western Cape Province.
Zille, Premier of the Western Cape Province run by the DA, laid the blame on the ruling African National Congress (ANC) which she said was the first to reintroduce the system in Gauteng Province.
The system was endorsed by the ANC, politicians, unions, farmworkers and the ANC as a safety measure in Gauteng, according to Zille.
The DA was taken to task when news emerged in early March that in the DA-run Breedevalley Municipality in Worcester, the Western Cape, black gardeners and domestic workers are forced to carry the dreaded green pass, or dompas, in order to gain access to areas mainly inhabited by whites.
The dompas, apartheid South Africa’s most demeaning instrument of racial segregation, sought to ensure that the movement of black people was limited and that certain areas were to be protected as the sole reserves of white South Africans.
The system was introduced by the town’s Community Policing Forum (CPF), in collaboration with the SAPS in June 2014 as a security measure against crimes. Job-seekers and workers in certain residential areas were issued with cards bearing their photographs and personal details. It is also reported that people who do not have a green card are treated with suspicion and monitored closely by the CPF.
The ANC has accused the DA of reactivating an identity system which is nothing but an evil apartheid relic.
But Zille said on Friday the DA objected to the system at the very beginning.
She said that when the system was first introduced in Gauteng, the only person who objected to the move was the DA’s spokesperson who issued a statement to that effect.
Zille said a “dompas” system in place in Worcester was actually reintroduced by the ANC.
The ANC has called on the Human Rights Commission to carry out an investigation into the matter.
National Police Commissiner Riah Phiyega said earlier that the SAPS has begun a process to withdraw the green passes. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Russia To Build Iraq’s Defensive Capabilities To Fight Against Islamic Extremism

Russia will help Iraq build its defensive capabilities in the fight against Islamic extremism, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said here on Friday.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin

“Russia, as a friend of Iraq, will do everything necessary to strengthen its defensive capabilities and provide the (Iraqi) armed forces with abilities to counter outer threats,” Rogozin said at a meeting of the Russia-Iraq Intergovernmental Commission.
He said Russia will help Iraq protect the country from terrorism forces, the Islamic State (IS) groups in particular.
“Iraq has been protecting its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity from outside aggression,” the Interfax news agency quoted Rogozin as saying.
Moscow is supporting Iraq’s fight against the IS and will continue to do so in the future, he added.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who took part in the meeting, vowed that his country will do all it can to provide security for Russians in Iraq.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told al-Jaafari during their talks that strengthening the Moscow-Baghdad cooperation in oil and gas, power engineering and military-technical spheres is of “special significance.”
The two sides also agreed to promote joint cooperation projects in all areas and to make concerted efforts to boost regional stability and security. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Over 2,000 tons of plastic waste collected in Burkina Faso

Over 2,000 tons of plastic waste was collected in 2014 in Burkina Faso after the launch of a national project to recycle plastic waste, an official source has said. waste
The national program also enabled authorities to sensitize the population and business operators on management of plastic waste, the statement issued after a cabinet meeting held on Thursday in Ouagadougou indicated.
The statement added that through the program, storage facilities for plastics and recycling plants had been constructed in the country’s 13 regions.
The government had decided to implement the project to reduce the negative impact plastic bags were having on the environment and human and animal health, to promote decent green jobs, the statement continued.
A law passed in Burkina Faso on Feb. 21, 2015 bans production, importation, sale and distribution of non-biodegradable plastic bags.
Those who contravene this law risk being jailed for a period ranging from 2 to 5 years and getting a fine ranging from 2,000 to 20,000 U.S. dollars.
With this law, Burkina Faso joins other African countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Togo, Chad and Tunisia that have banned non-biodegradable plastic bags. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Tanzania to build new natural and history museum

Tanzania is on the brink of building another new natural and history museum which will be dedicated to document and showcase the country’s endangered flora and fauna. TanzaniaThe new facility is to be built a few kilometers from the country’s tourist hub of Arusha, Director-general of the Tanzania National Museum Prof. Audax Mabula said here on Friday when speaking at the opening ceremony of a wildlife photographic exhibition.
“This is part of the government’s initiatives to uplift services offered by the Arusha National Natural and History Museum, ” he said.
“At the new site in Burka area we have acquired about one acre of land, where we are planning to document more information on the country’s wildlife particularly species, which are endemic,” he said.
Under the new arrangement, the new museum facility will be equipped with a modern botanical garden in the area to showcase all endemic plant species, including those from the Eastern Arc Mountains and coastal forests, according to the official.
Apart from boosting the Arusha-based museum facility, the authority is also planning to set up a modern museum in Singida, central part of Tanzania.
“We are tired of seeing Tanzania’s natural resources are showcased in foreign museums, that’s we’re trying to come up with such plans,” he said without disclosing the time-frame for the project to start and its budget.
He called upon Tanzania’s private sector and development partners to heavily invest in strengthening museums because of its significance in preserving country’s heritage and tourism.
Lazaro Nyalandu, Tanzania’s Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, also expressed his commitment towards improving country’s museums so that flora and fauna are documented for the current and future generations. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Nigeria’s economic hub to shut major dump site in 2022

A major dump site in southwest Nigeria’s Lagos State would be wound down by 2022, a top official said on Friday.

Scavengers picking some plastic materials at the dump site

Ola Oresanya, the Managing Director of Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), stated this at the Olusosun Landfill in Ojota area of Lagos during a tour of the 23 year-old site.
The authority had started the process for the final wind down program of the site, Oresanya said, noting that the place will be turned to a green park and used for various things like a golf course and recreation center.
He told reporters that the electricity that will be used in this place will be from the methane gas generated at this site.
According to him, the authority would provide a fish pond to breed different species of fishes to complement the green park center, adding that a Boston based company in the U.S. had been contracted to execute the project.
He said the landscape of the dump site had been adjudged to be suitable for golf course.
The Olusosun is the biggest of the existing three landfills, covering 41.7 hectares and receiving 40 percent of the wastes being generated in the state. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Greek Finance Minister welcomes Brussels meeting results

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis welcomed on Friday the results of the special meeting on Greek economy held on the sidelines of the EU summit in Brussels, urging all European counterparts to work together to re-design Europe and move forward to shared prosperity.
wpid-Yanis-Varoufakis.jpgGreek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agreed with top European officials and leaders on late Thursday evening to step up efforts for the full implementation of the Eurogroup February 20 agreement to resolve Greece’s liquidity woes in coming weeks and the overall debt crisis in coming months.
“The February 20 Eurogroup agreement offers an excellent opportunity to move forward. Let us implement it immediately, as our leaders have urged in yesterday’s informal Brussels meeting,” Varoufakis commented on his personal webpage on Friday.
The Greek official made a bid to ease tensions between Athens and its European partners, in particular Germans, over the way to proceed by calling on all sides to “work towards ending the toxic ‘blame game’ and the moralizing finger-pointing which benefit only the enemies of Europe.”
“Germans and Greeks, along with all Europeans, can re-imagine our monetary union as a realm of shared prosperity,” Varoufakis stressed.
The Greek Premier and his interlocutors agreed in Brussels that Greece would “present a concrete plan of reforms and timetable within a week to our partners at the Eurogroup,” Greek government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis said.
This way Athens expected that further international aid would be unlocked soon, he explained, to avert a financial meltdown.
Technical teams of Greece’s creditors in the meantime are preparing a detailed list of their requirements for fact-finding about the operations of the Greek government and plans for ongoing reforms, Greek Finance Ministry said in a statement.
“This is a constructive development, which the Ministry of Finance welcomes, as it will bring clarity to the Brussels Group deliberations and allow them to proceed in an orderly and effective way, consistent with the February 20th agreements,” the statement said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Switzerland To Become AIIB Founding Member On March 28

China’s Ministry of Finance said on Friday that the country welcomed Switzerland’s decision to apply to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Asian Infrastructure Investment BankSwitzerland will become a founding member on March 28 if other members approve, according to a statement on the ministry website.
Switzerland on Friday announced its application to join the bank as a prospective founding member and submitted its candidacy to China last week.
The AIIB will be an international financial institution providing support to infrastructure projects in Asia, and is expected to be established by the end of this year.
China’s Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said on Friday that the AIIB has already had 27 prospective founding members. The application deadline is March 31.
Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg have previously applied. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

88 People Killed In Four Bombing Attacks In Yemen

A total of 88 people were killed and at least 100 others wounded on Friday in four bombing attacks in Yemen, local sources told Xinhua. Two suicide bombers attacked two mosques in the capital of Sanaa during Friday prayers, killing at least 55 people, while at least 33 others were killed in two bombing attacks against a government building and a mosque in the Shiite Houthi stronghold of Saada province.

In Sanaa, the bombers detonated explosives at two mosques controlled by the Shiite Houthi group, a security official said on condition of anonymity, adding that most of the dead were supporters of the Houthi group. The first attack hit prayers at Badr mosque in southeastern Sanaa, killing 35 people, while the second bombing occurred at Hashoush mosque in northeastern areas, killing at least 20 others, he said. This is the second bombing attack in Sanaa this year after an al-Qaida car bombing attack against the police academy killed at least 50 cadets on Jan. 7.

In Saada province, at least 15 Houthi fighters were killed on Friday noon when a bombing attack hit a government building in Saada city, the provincial capital of Saada province in northern Yemen, a Houthi source told Xinhua. Meanwhile, at least 18 people, most of them Houthi followers, were killed during Friday prayers when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque in Saada city, he added. Dozens of people were wounded in the two separate attacks, the source added. The Shiite Houthi group took over control of Sanaa in last September and met strong resistance in the central and southern regions by powerful Sunni tribes and Sunni-dominated al-Qaida network. On Thursday, tribal militia fought against security forces supported by the Houthi group in the southern port city of Aden, the second biggest city in the country, killing at least 15 people. Enditem


Source: Xinhua

Nigeria’s Lagos residents get free health checks

A Non Governmental Organization in Nigeria, Arise Women on Friday provided free medical treatment for people living in Lagos. WiLDAF offers free health screening
Up to 1000 children and adults were offered free medical services such as free eye screening and distribution of eye glasses, free medical consultation and treatment, cancer screening, blood pressure and blood sugar checks among others.
Convener of Arise Women Siju Iluyomade said the free medical treatment was provided to help people who could not afford the medical cost of treating diabetics and hypertension.
Iluyomade told Xinhua that their activities are geared toward promotion of preventive healthcare at the primary level.
A beneficiary of the free medical clinic, Adebayo Olasubomi, said the treatment would enhance the healthiness of the people in the state, adding that only a few people in the vicinity had access to medical treatment and check-ups.
“We thank the group for catering for our health. I urge other groups to also embark on things of this kind that give good gesture and bring development to our health,” she said. Enditem



Ugandan president swears in country’s new chief justice, ministers

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Friday swore in the new country’s chief justice, his deputy and newly appointed ministers.

Yoweri Museveni
Yoweri Museveni

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe was the first to be sworn in a ceremony officiated by the acting Chief Registrar Isaac Muwata at State House Entebbe, 40km south of the capital, Kampala.
He was followed by Justice Steven Kavuma, the new deputy chief Justice, before the new cabinet and state ministers took their oaths in the presence of Museveni.
The new ministers who sworn in are Maj. Gen Jim Muhwezi, the minister for information and national guidance minister, Evelyn Anite, the state minister for youth, David Bahati, the state minister for planning and Chris Baryomunsi, minister of state for health among others.
The newly appointees were on Wednesday approved by the Parliamentary appointments committee in Kampala in fulfillment of the Constitution requirement.
President Museveni on March 5 appointed Katureebe and Kavuma as the new chief justice and deputy chief justice respectively following a two year vacuum since the positions fell vacant.
The 64 year old Katureebe who has been a Justice of the Supreme Court replaces Benjamin Odoki who retired in March 2013 after clocking the mandatory 70 year retirement age and Justice Kavuma who had been acting Chief Justice and deputy Chief Justice for two years, replaces Justice Constance Kobusingye Byamugisha who died on March 2013. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Japan to tackle plummeting birthrate

The Japanese government on Friday laid out a series of strategies aimed at tackling the nation’s plummeting birthrate over the next five years.

Now you can have a truly unique name for your little bundle of joy- for a cool ?21,000
Now you can have a truly unique name for your little bundle of joy- for a cool ?21,000

The phenomenon threatens to hollow out the nation’s workforce in the future if not comprehensively addressed.
In a Cabinet meeting on Friday an outline was approved that included, among a host of provisos, granting greater financial assistance to families with 3 or more children, assisting with matchmaking events and setting quantifiable targets for men to be involved in childcare.
The outline stated that Japan’s declining birthrate had become “critical” and could lead to the undermining of the nation’s economy and society.
The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will through the guidelines, be aiming to have 80 percent of men take paternity leave as soon as their partners give birth, and wants those opting to become househusbands hit 13 percent by 2020. In addition, the plan calls for men to spend at least 150 minutes with their children who are aged 6 or under, from a current 67 minutes, as logged in 2011.
The sweeping measures also traverse upping the percentage of women continuing work after childbirth, reducing the nation’s notoriously long working hours and methods to reduce the amount of bullying of those who take maternity or paternity leave, as they are legally within their rights to do.
Larger families will be offered more support, with the guidelines stating that the fees for nursery school for a family’s third child will be waived.
Japan’s population decline has been attribute to a comparatively low fertility rate here, as well as socio-economic phenomena that has seen more women become financially independent and choose their careers over marriage and motherhood, while studies have also shown that a relatively large proportion of males in their late teens and twenties have no interest in pursuing females and would rather spend their time and money on themselves.
Statistics here have also revealed that, compared to other developed countries, men and women in their twenties and thirties, in particular, are disproportionally uninterested in sexual activities involving a partner. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Uganda to set up environmental courts

Uganda is to set up environmental courts to hasten the trial of the perpetrators of environmental degradation.


Flavia Munaaba, minister of state for water told Xinhua in an interview here on Friday that following the normal court system delays and yet the environment is degraded at a fast rate.
“We are negotiating with the judiciary to have environmental courts in place. We are talking about issues of personnel and financing,” she said.
“In the ordinary court system, there is a lot of bureaucracy and yet environmental matters need to be sorted on the spot,” she added.
She said an environmental police unit is already in place to arrest the perpetrators.
The move to push for establishment of environmental courts follows the rapid degradation of the environment in the East African country. The rapid population growth, according to experts has forced people to settle and farm in wetlands and clear forests.
Government has also come up with other measures like canceling all land titles where wetlands are located.
Munaaba said government has started restoring wetlands in some parts of the country.
“A total of 443.4km wetland boundaries have been demarcated in 16 districts. A total of 689.2ha of degraded wetland sections have been restored in the districts,” she said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

China’s maternal mortality rate dropped

China’s maternal mortality rate contracted to 21.7 per 100,000 in 2014 from 23.2 per 100,000 the previous year, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said Friday.
maternal mortality nigeriaThe reading is a 75.6-percent drop from that of 1990, when the maternal mortality rate was 88.8 per 100,000.
That figure allowed the nation to meet the target set in the Millennium Development Goals one year ahead of deadline. Under the goals adopted by the United Nations in 2000, nations are obligated to cut maternal mortality by three-quarters by 2015.
The commission attributed the decrease to a more equitable medical care system as well as allowances provided for rural women who give birth in hospitals.
However, it stressed that the disparity between the more developed eastern regions and its less developed west still exists, with a maternal mortality rate in western China more than doubling that of the east.
The commission said it would focus its efforts on western China and poor areas to improve medical services and management there.
The statement said the nation’s infant death rate and mortality for children ages five and under both dropped in 2014 to 8.9 per thousand and 11.7 per thousand, respectively. The figures for 2013 were 9.5 per thousand and 12 per thousand, respectively. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Benin launches rehabilitation of Cotonou-Parakou railway line

Benin’s President Boni Yayi and his Nigerien counterpart Mahamadou Issoufou on Thursday launched the rehabilitation works for the railway line linking Benin’s commercial capital, Cotonou, to the country’s northern town of Parakou. railway
Cotonou-Parakou railway line aims to connect the towns of Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire, Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, Niamey in Niger and Cotonou in Benin, a distance of 2,500 km.
Speaking during the ceremony, Yayi said the launch of the project in Benin creates a new opportunity for the country’s economic growth.
The Nigerien president said regional countries will not achieve their development objectives if they do not go beyond their borders, as illustrated by the railway project.
The ceremony was equally attended by the representative of French group Bollore, Michel Rossin. Bollore group which essentially works in transport, logistics and energy distribution, is the project’s strategic partner. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Police Investigates Singaporean For Posting Fake Picture Of Ex-PM’s Death

The Singapore Police Force is investigating a young male Singaporean who is suspected of having posted the fake photo claiming the death of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew earlier on Wednesday night, local media reported on Friday.
Lee kuan yewThe young man is a student and below 16 years old, according to Channel NewsAsia report.
The Singapore Police Force said it established the identity of the suspect within 24 hours and preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect was believed to have modified an earlier 2010 Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) media statement hosted on the PMO website and subsequently sent out a photo of the modified content.
The suspect is believed to have operated alone, police added. He is now assisting the Police with investigations for the offence of Access with Intent to Commit or Facilitate Commission of Offence under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, which carries a punishment of a fine not exceeding 50,000 Singapore dollars (36,232 U.S. dollars) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to both.
As of Friday afternoon, Lee Kuan Yew is still “critically ill” at hospital, according to the latest press release from PMO. A designated area has been set up this afternoon at the Singapore General Hospital, where Lee is receiving treatment, for the public to place a card or flowers to Singapore’s founding father. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Another Copenhagen Shooting Suspect Arrested

Another man, who is suspected of assisting in last month’s fatal shootings in Copenhagen, was arrested, Danish police said on Friday.
copenhagen shootingThe man was “suspected of complicity in the perpetrator’s actions on February 14 and 15,” police said in a statement.
With the latest arrest, a total of five people have been detained on suspicion of assisting in the shootings following a massive investigation.
Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, a Dane of Palestinian origin, attacked a debate event in front of a cultural center on Feb. 14 and at a synagogue on Feb. 15, leaving two people dead. The gunman himself was shot dead by police later. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

No South African killed in Tunisia terror attack

The South African government on Friday refuted press reports that a South African was among those killed in the terror attack in Tunisia. Tunisia map
Only one South African was injured during the attack on a museum in the Tunisian capital Tunis on Wednesday, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said.
Press reports said earlier that several South African citizens might be among those affected, including one who was killed.
DIRCO spokesperson Clayson Monyela said only one female South African was injured as officially confirmed. He did not identify the woman.
“There is a South African lady that was injured. Her husband is with her. Our embassy officials have visited her in hospital. We are in touch with local authority as well as their family and we would like to take this opportunity to wish her a speedy recovery, ” Monyela said.
A group of gunmen attacked the Bardo Museum in Tunis, killing more than 20 people, including 17 tourists in what was believed to be the most serious attack in Tunisia in years.
On Thursday, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers reiterated his government’s stance that terrorism in any form and from whichever quarter cannot be condoned.
South Africa will continue to support regional and international efforts to address the scourge of terrorism in all its forms, including working through relevant forums such as the African Union Peace and Security Council, of which South Africa is a member state, Landers said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea could fire nuclear missile anytime

nuclear missileThe Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has the ability to fire a nuclear missile at “anytime,” and the United States does not have a “monopoly” on nuclear weapon strikes, the country’s ambassador to Britain Hyun Hak-bong told British Sky News Friday. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Only 4 DR Congo parties spread across national territory

Out of 477 political parties registered in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), only four spread across 75 percent of the national territory, a study has shown.

DR Congo
DR Congo

The revelations were made in a report released on Wednesday by the African Commission for Election Supervision, an organization bringing together 74 civil groups.
The four parties are the ruling People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy, Union for Democracy and Social Progress of Etienne Tshisekedi, Movement for Liberation of Congo of Jean-Pierre Bemba and Union for the Congolese Nation of Vital Kamerhe.
The other political parties only exist in Kinshasa or in the provincial headquarters, the report says, adding that 12 parties are popular in the provincial headquarters or in places of origin of their leaders, which gives them a 45 percent national coverage.
Other 461 political parties are only operational in Kinshasa, with a coverage of 20 percent. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Kenya reduces flights to Tanzania amid row

by David Musyoka and Chrispinus Omar

Kenya Airways said Friday it has reduced its frequencies to Dar es Salaam after Tanzanian authorities slapped restrictions on flights entering its airspace.

Kenya Airways
Kenya Airways

Kenya Airways said in a statement issued in Nairobi that it will now only fly twice daily to Tanzania from March 19.
“Kenya Airways wishes to notify its customers that it has reduced its frequencies to Dar es Salaam from 42 to 14 per week and will now only fly twice daily from March 19,” it said. “This is as a result of a communication from the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) reducing flight frequencies of Kenyan carriers into Tanzania.”
The Tanzanian action follows a deadlock on the Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) between the two countries.
Sources said the Dar es Salaam authorities were also angered by Kenya’s decision to ban Tanzanian tour vehicles from accessing the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to pick up tourists.
According to the TCAA letter, Kenya has maintained a hardline stance on resolving issues surrounding the BASA.
“Tanzania regrets that the discussions could not come into consensus on the matter relating to principal place of business and effective regulatory control as a criterion for airline designation parallel to the majority ownership and effective control requirement,” reads the letter.
The acting TCAA director-general, Charles Chacha, reportedly said the two countries had gone for years without an aviation agreement.
He said BASA has been stuck in a stalemate between the two countries, adding that there are issues to be considered in each agreement, including the number and kind of flights, alongside identification of airport for international flights.
Kenya Airways operated five daily flights to Dar es Salaam and one to Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar respectively.
“Noting that Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) are negotiated between governments, we are aware that the relevant Kenyan government agencies have reached out to their Tanzanian counterparts in a bid to resolve the issue,” Kenya Airways said.
The Kenyan carrier said transport is a critical pillar in the integration of the East African Community, noting that expeditious resolution of the pending issues pertaining to the BASA is crucial in fast-tracking regional integration.
Analysts predicted that the move is likely to have a direct and adverse impact on tourism and trade as well as spark diplomatic standoff between the two East African countries.
Early February, Kenyan denied tour vans from Tanzania access into the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, setting the stage for frosty relations between tourism stakeholders from the two countries.
Kenyan Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie invoked a 1985 bilateral agreement on tourism between the two countries, which barred tour vans from cross-border operations.
Kandie said Kenya resorted to the rule to”ensure fair play and safeguard Kenyan businesses.”
Under the rule, Tanzanian tour vans will not be allowed to drop or pick visitors at the airport. Tanzanian tour operators with clients using the airport for arrival, transfer or departure will have to strike deals with the local counterparts to handle the process on their behalf.
Tanzanian tour vans cannot also take tourists to any Kenyan game parks or reserves, or other attractions, without requisite preapprovals under the 30-year rule.
Currently, Kenyan tour vans are not allowed to drop or pick tourists in Tanzania, including access to attraction sites, airports and airstrips. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Burkina Faso authorities urged to institute inquiry on martyrs of uprising

The Coordination of Civil Society Organizations for Change in Burkina Faso (COSCA) has asked the country’s authorities to open a parliamentary inquiry on circumstances of the deaths of martyrs of last October’s uprising that overthrew the regime of President Blaise Compaore.

Pro-democracy protesters chant slogans against military rule at Place de la Nation in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, November 2, 2014
Pro-democracy protesters chant slogans against military rule at Place de la Nation in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, November 2, 2014

Addressing the press on Thursday in Ouagadougou, COSCA asked the president of the transitional parliament to “institute a parliamentary inquiry on the circumstances that led to the deaths, given the failure by the government to act.”
The popular uprising towards the end of October 2014 left at least 30 people dead and over 600 injured.
COSCA president Michel Rabo said “if within 15 days the new authorities will not institute a judicial inquiry on the crimes committed during the uprising, his organization will reserve the right to call for their resignation.”
In their statement, members of this organization equally called for the disbandment of ex-president’s security unit, “demilitarization” of the political life and extradition of Compaore who is currently in Cote d’Ivoire where he fled into refuge after his fall. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Djibouti expresses solidarity with Tunisia over terror attack

Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh has expressed his solidarity with the Tunisian people following Wednesday’s terrorist attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis.

President Ismail Omar Guelleh
President Ismail Omar Guelleh

In a message sent to the Tunisian leaders, Guelleh condemned the “barbaric” nature of the attack and promised the support of the Djiboutian people and government during this tragic moment.
“Pass my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims of this attack in the Tunisian capital,” the Djiboutian president wrote, before reiterating his sympathy to the Tunisian government and people.
Guelleh said he believed the Tunisian people not only had the capacity to overcome this tragedy, but they also had determination to fight against terrorism. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Gaza UN School attacks to be probed by Netanyahu?s government

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has ordered to investigate the shelling last summer of a UN school in Gaza that killed at least 20 Palestinians, the IDF said on Thursday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a campaign trail in the east Jerusalem Jewish settlement of Har Homa, on March 16, 2015. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told an Israeli news website Monday that if he is elected in Tuesday's national elections, "there will be no Palestinian state." (Xinhua/JINI)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a campaign trail in the east Jerusalem Jewish settlement of Har Homa, on March 16, 2015. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told an Israeli news website Monday that if he is elected in Tuesday’s national elections, “there will be no Palestinian state.” (Xinhua/JINI)

The IDF has ordered the military police to open criminal investigations into six potentially unlawful acts, including the shelling of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Elementary Girls School in Jabalia, about four km north of Gaza City, on July 30, 2014.
The school was used as a shelter for displaced Palestinians during the 50-day Gaza war between Israel and Hamas-led militants last summer. Some 21 people were killed and more than 100 others injured during the shelling.
The IDF said five tank shells hit the school in response to mortar fire by Hamas from the vicinity of the school. However, a New York Times reporter who visited the scene said no one saw Palestinian fighters in the area and no bullet holes or empty castings supported IDF claims.
UNRWA charges that it had repeatedly notified the IDF about the shelter’s location in order to avoid being attacked. Some human rights groups also charged that Israel “provided no evidence to suggest militants were operating in the area,” nor “explain why it used a weapon as indiscriminate as a high-explosive heavy-artillery shell so near a UN school housing displaced people.”
After its offensive, dubbed Operation Protective Edge, on Gaza last summer, the IDF decided to handle claims, delivered by human rights organizations and the United Nations, over unlawful military activities.
Senior IDF officials believed that the attack on the UNRWA school was not in accordance with IDF rules of conduct and therefore ordered a criminal investigation on it.
More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed, including hundreds of children, during the two-month war, while some 18,000 homes were destroyed or badly damaged and more than 100,000 Palestinians displaced.
On the Israeli side, more than 70 Israelis died in the war, mostly soldiers operating in Gaza, as well as several citizens who died from Hamas rockets. Enditem

Source: Xinhua