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South African President Jacob Zuma resigns

Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, faces numerous allegations of corruption.



Jacob Zuma

Johannesburg, Feb 15 : South African President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday resigned from his office with immediate effect making the announcement in a televised address to the nation.

The 75-year-old has been under increasing pressure to give way to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC’s new leader.

Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, faces numerous allegations of corruption.

His resignation came at the end of a long speech in which he said he disagreed with the way the ANC had acted towards him.

According to BBC, he said he did not fear a motion of no-confidence, adding: “I have served the people of South Africa to the best of my ability.”

Zuma also said that violence and division within the ANC had influenced his decision to step down.

“No life should be lost in my name and also the ANC should never be divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect,” he was quoted as saying.

“Even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organisation, I have always been a disciplined member of the ANC.

“As I leave I will continue to serve the people of South Africa as well as the ANC, the organisation I have served… all of my life.”

Meanwhile, the ANC said Zuma’s resignation provided “certainty to the people of South Africa”.

Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte told reporters: “President Zuma remains a principled member of the ANC. The ANC wants to salute the outstanding contribution he has made.”


Millions going hungry in Africa’s Sahel zone: United Nations

“Children and young people continue to pay the highest price for a crisis not of their making. We need to act now with partners to avert a tragedy,” he added.




Sahel zone Africa
In this photograph taken Wednesday Nov. 13, 2019 and released by the World Food Program (WFP), Zore Yusef, 61, right, and his family, join other refugees in the Pissila camp, north of the capital Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. (AP)

Rome, Feb 3: The number of people needing food aid in the Central Sahel has risen sharply over the past year to over three million and the situation owing to growing insecurity and climate shocks, the United Nations said on Monday, urging nations to prevent the situation getting worse.

“We are seeing a staggering rise in hunger in the central Sahel. The number of food insecure people has doubled after harvest time, when it should have dropped,” said Chris Nikoi, Regional Director for the UN World Food Programme in West and Central Africa.

“Unless we act now, a whole generation are at risk,” he underlined.

Despite satisfactory agricultural production, 3.3 million people need immediate aid in the Central Sahel and face a critical lack of food and livelihood opportunities WFP, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a joint statement.

Experts forecast that close to 4.8 million people in the Central Sahel face hunger during the lean season between June and August this year if the international community fails to take urgent action, according to the statement.

The unprecedented escalation of humanitarian needs in the Central Sahel is a major driver of hunger in the West Africa region, where the number of hungry people could rise to 14.4 million – the highest level since 2012 – said the statement.

Of greatest concern are Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, where conflict and its impacts on communities have become the main cause of food scarcity. The three countries are experiencing a rise in the number of security incidents, including attacks by armed groups and local conflicts that often force people to flee their homes, the statement said.

In Burkina Faso, the number of internally displaced people has risen six-fold since January 2019 when it stood 90,000. Widespread insecurity is significantly hindering the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition among mothers and young children. Nutrition among children under five in the country has sharply deteriorated, according rapid nutrition assessments carried out in municipalities with high numbers of IDPs.

Throughout the region, climate change is disrupting already fragile livelihoods and causing early departures of transhumance herds. Meanwhile armed and community conflicts, theft, and banditry are worsening the situation. These security threats disrupt the mobility of animal herds, access to fodder and water resources and cause a concentration of animals in some of the more secure areas, which can stoke farmer-pastoralist conflicts.

Overall, the increasing vulnerability of rural populations, a lack of security and conflict over resources, are weakening social cohesion among communities and deepening the crisis in the Sahel long-term.

To reinforce social cohesion and lay the foundations for peace in the region, emergency humanitarian assistance must go hand in hand with substantial investments in rural livelihoods and social services, the statement said.

“Unless we address these crises at their roots, millions of vulnerable pastoralists and agro-pastoralists will continue requiring urgent assistance each year, as it was in 2019 and as it will be in 2020,” said Robert Guei, FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for West Africa.

Household food scarcity compounded by population displacement, limited access to health services and safe drinking water, as well as poor knowledge on optimal child feeding practices will have a serious impact on child nutrition. The ability of communities to bounce back from adversity will also be harmed if nothing is done now to make sure young children are adequately nourished and to prevent life-threatening acute malnutrition, the statement warned.

“The conflict in the Central Sahel is a cascading crisis sweeping across the region, putting a whole generation of children at risk. Hundreds of thousands of children are deprived of education, vulnerable to exploitation and at risk of malnutrition,” said Marie-Pierre Poirier, Regional Director for UNICEF.

“Children and young people continue to pay the highest price for a crisis not of their making. We need to act now with partners to avert a tragedy,” he added.

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Gayle, Russell highlight West Indies squad for World Cup




Chris Gayle

Barbados, April 25 (IANS) The Windies announced their World Cup squad late on Wednesday as Andre Russell and Chris Gayle were named in the 15-member squad for the showpiece event in England and Wales. While the senior campaigners were named in the squad, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine were the notable absentees.

Jason Holder has been expectedly named the skipper of the team which has the perfect mix of youth and experience with the likes of Shimron Heymyer being given a go alongside the likes of Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach.

Commenting on the selection, interim chief selector Robert Haynes said: “Based on the new selection policy approach which allowed us to consider a number of players that have not regularly appeared in the side over the last two years, we had a wide base of talent from which to choose.

“There were a number of tough calls we had to make to settle on our squad of 15, including ensuring there was some continuity in the side, but we believe we have chosen a strong squad of players taking into consideration such factors as experience, fitness, team balance, current form and conditions.”

Haynes said that Narine and Alzarri Joseph were not considered due to finger and shoulder injuries respectively.

Haynes also spoke about having the likes of Gayle and Russell to provide the boost the team needs with bat in hand. “To have a player the calibre of Chris in the side to lead the batting with his vast experience and his ability to play match-winning or game-changing innings is a blessing for us and the motivation of becoming the leading scorer for West Indies in ODIs is something which I think he will relish.

“Looking at the condition of pitches in ODIs over the last few years in England and Wales, it appears that big totals will be the order of the day, so we believe we have a line-up that can put big totals on the board or chase them, as we have seen from recent matches. With players like the captain, Holder, as well as Russell in the lower middle-order, we believe we have good depth to our batting which will allow us to play the brand of cricket that will give us the best of chance of winning the World Cup,” he explained.

Squad: Jason Holder (c), Andre Russell, Ashley Nurse, Carlos Brathwaite, Nicholas Pooran, Darren Bravo, Evin Lewis, Fabian Allen, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope, Shannon Gabriel, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Gayle.

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Floods renders 30,000 homeless in Nigeria



Nigeria Flood

Lagos, Sep 16 : Local authorities in Nigeria’s southern state of Edo on Saturday said 30,000 people have been displaced by floods in more than 35 communities in eastern and central part of the state.

The disaster had gone beyond the purview of local government council areas, Aremiyau Momoh, chairman of Etsako East, told reporters in Benin city, the state capital, Xinhua news agency reported.

On his part, John Akhigbe, chairman of Etsako Central, called for urgent intervention from both the state and the federal governments.

The duo said camps for the displaced had been placed in strategic locations across the council areas.

Similarly, about 700 houses including large farmlands have been affected by flash floods following heavy rains in parts of oil rich Rivers state.

Martins Ejike, a coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told reporters in Port Harcourt, the state capital, that the floods began since August.

Ejike advised people living in affected areas to relocate to higher ground for temporary shelters in case of the bigger floods.

In neighbouring Anambra state, authority also advised people living in floods-prone areas to immediately relocate to approved Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) centres across the state.

The state said it had established 28 camps across the state for possible flood victims.

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency had listed 12 states as areas likely to be affected by floods.

The agency said on Wednesday that the water level in central Kogi, one of the states, had neared the 2012 level at 10.66m and called for vigilance by residents.

In 2012, NEMA reported that floods killed 363 people and displaced over 2.1 million others in 30 states.


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