SWAKOPMUND – Governments in AFRICA have been encouraged to give more priority to the rights of people living with blindness, to ensure they take part fully in development.
The call has come up in the Western NAMIBIA coastal city of SWAKOPMUND, where campaigners from throughout Southern AFRICA have met this week.
The AFRICAN UNION Southern AFRICA Regional Conference of the Blind provides a platform for blind people to strengthen their fight for equal opportunities.
Conference Chairperson ISHMAEL ZHOU of ZIMBABWE says he hopes the gathering will move AFRICAN governments closer to improving access to education, information, jobs and health care for the visually impaired.
SWAKOPMUND discussions come amid World Health Organization estimates showing the unemployment rate among blind people in developing countries at 90 percent.
A census carried out SIX years ago in NAMIBIA reveals more than 98-THOUSAND people live with disabilities, with 35 percent of them being visually impaired.
Vice President NICKEY IYAMBO, who is a surgeon, says the authorities in NAMIBIA have started a campaign to improve the lives of people who lived with disabilities in exile during the Liberation Struggle.
He says the program is the reason his country has placed the Ministry of Disability Affairs under the Office of the President.
However, the NAMIBIAN Vice President admits there is still a lot to be done, and calls for more partnerships between society and the private sector to improve inclusion of the visually impaired./Sabanews/cam
VICTORIA – More students in SEYCHELLES can now apply to study in MALAYSIA following the renewal of an agreement between the TWO countries.
SBC News says the accord has been signed by KAMINAL MURRUNDI from the Winning Magnitude Agency of MALAYSIA and the SEYCHELLES Human Resource Development Principal Secretary LINDA BARRALLON as well as Acting CEO NADIA LAURICOURT.
Ms LAURICOURT says the agreement confirms the strong collaboration existing between SEYCHELLES Human Resource Development Agency and the Winning Magnitude Agency of MALAYSIA.
She says she is confident the implementing terms outlined in the deal will serve to improve existing working relationships to ensure it is a long lasting and fruitful one.
The SEYCHELLES national broadcaster says about 100 SEYCHELLOIS students are undertaking studies in different universities across MALAYSIA.
In another development, State House has put up a display of gifts that President DANNY FAURE has been receiving from other heads of state, ambassadors, as well as from other foreign and local dignitaries.
The exhibition, aimed to commemorate his FIRST year in office, also features videos and pictures of President FAURE at work in the communities, visiting families and places of work.
The Secretary of State for Cabinet Affairs, MOHAMED AFIF, has launched the program, saying it is a symbol of transparency in action, showing the people the gifts the Head of State has received on their behalf.
He says President FAURE believes strongly in keeping citizens well informed about the work the government does, while Cabinet decisions are communicated regularly through the media.
Mr AFIF also says government ministries make statements and answer questions in the National Assembly; and the President and his ministers hold regular press conferences.
He says the State has introduced more than 50 items of legislation since 16 OCTOBER 2016, including amendments to the Constitution, bills on the protection of human rights, access to information, employment, combating drug abuse, and on institutions of democracy.
The national broadcaster says different experts and commentators have described the event as historic, since it is the FIRST time in history for SEYCHELLES to organise an exhibition of official gifts to the President./Sabanews/cam
VICTORIA – SEYCHELLES is on high alert after a serious outbreak of pneumonic plague in neighbouring MADAGASCAR, where the disease has killed 57 people in less than TWO weeks.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, says the plague has been affecting major cities and other non-endemic areas since it was FIRST detected last month in MADAGASCAR.
However, it says the outbreak, of which there has been a total of 684 suspected, probable and confirmed cases reported from 35 out of 114 districts, carries a moderate risk of spreading to neighbouring INDIAN Ocean islands.
The WHO says the danger has been mitigated by the short incubation period of pneumonic plague, from exposure to onset of symptoms, as well as exit screening measures at the airport and other major ports.
SBC News says the global organisation has sent TWO experts to assist with response to the plague, as the situation in neighbouring MADAGASCAR shows no signs of abating.
It says they are supporting the Department of Surveillance Response Unit and have carried out a ONE-day-long training workshop for contact tracing.
The authorities have admitted in hospital ONE person suspected to have been infected by the ailment, but who is no longer infectious; although he remains in isolation to complete his antibiotic course.
A statement from the Public Health Authority says they have effectively controlled all potential contacts with the suspected case.
Meanwhile, the authorities in SEYCHELLES are calling on members of the public to report any individual planning to travel to MADAGASCAR and they have given a hotline number for people to call for information and advice./Sabanews/cam
ADDIS ABABA – AFRICA has launched a program to reflect on and review its strategic partnerships, to make them more relevant and responsive to the needs of the peoples of the continent.
Experts say strategic partnerships are long-term ties between TWO countries or continents – based on political, economic, social and historical factors; and AFRICA has such a link with EUROPE.
The AFRICAN UNION, AU Executive Council has this week held an extraordinary meeting at the AU Commission Headquarters in the ETHIOPIAN capital, ADDIS ABABA.
The Commission says delegates have discussed ways to speed up talks ahead of the FIFTH AU-EU Summit scheduled for 29 and 30 NOVEMBER in ABIDJAN, the major city of COTE D’IVOIRE.
The Commission has issued a statement saying the Ministers of Foreign Affairs have been exchanging views to have a common AU position during the upcoming AU-EU Summit.
Commission Chairperson MOUSSA FAKI MAHAMAT has opened the gathering and commended the continued commitment of the Foreign Affairs Ministers in the application of the AU Development Agenda 2063.
Agenda 2063 is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years, a program aimed to speed up implementation of past and existing initiatives.
Mr MAHAMAT says the upcoming AU-EU Summit comes at a crucial moment in the history of the AU-EU Partnership, when AFRICA is now expecting such ties to be more meaningful.
He says the Summit will also be greatly vital because it will discuss the AU theme of the year: Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in the Youth.
It therefore touches on the larger part of the AFRICAN citizens, given that young people represent more than 60 percent of the population on the continent.
Mr MAHAMAT says the AU has recognized the urgent need to improve the current state of the youth, because any action, or inaction, today, regarding youth development and empowerment will have a huge impact on future prospects.
The AU Commission Chairperson says there is need to reorganise the structure of the AU and revise its methods of work, as well as redefine the AU-EU partnership and ties with the rest of the world; based on mutual respect, equality, freedom and solidarity./Sabanews/cam
RUNDU – A mysterious disease outbreak, which authorities currently suspect to be anthrax, threatens to wipe out the hippo population in the BWABWATA National Park in North-eastern NAMIBIA.
The Environment and Tourism Public Relations Officer has issued a statement saying the outbreak needs not affect tourism; although warning people to avoid touching or eating the meat of the dead animals.
ROMEO MUYUNDA says there is no health risk for visitors to the region because the affected parts of the Park are not open to the public, but are exclusive areas for wildlife management only.
However, he has called on tourists to avoid straying near the affected area by any means, while also strongly urging members of the public to avoid consuming or touching the meat – saying it will be catastrophic if they do.
Meanwhile, Mr MUYUNDA says he is concerned about the survival of the hippo as a species, as they continue to die in big numbers.
Environment Permanent Secretary MALAN LINDEQUE has told NBC News the authorities hope the deaths will remain localised in a limited area, because similar outbreaks have occurred before and animals were able to recover fast afterwards.
The NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC website has reported lots of hippos, some lying on their sides, others completely belly up, but all mysteriously dead and partially submerged in a lake; saying what confuses locals even more is how quickly it happened.
It quotes Acting Environment and Tourism Director JOHNSON NDOKOSHO as saying they spotted the FIRST hippo on ONE OCTOBER; and since then at least 100 have turned up dead.
The NAMIBIAN official says the government is carrying out tests to determine the type of disease they are dealing with in the BWABWATA National Park, which is sandwiched between ANGOLA and BOTSWANA./Sabanews/cam
UNITED NATIONS: CLIMATE CHANGE/SABANEWS/12/10/17 SABANews 1
HARARE – The international community is in panic mode as droughts hit AFRICAN communities and fierce hurricanes devastate poor island states of the CARIBBEAN Region.
The populated area around the CARIBBEAN Sea comprises islands and coasts, south east of the Gulf of MEXICO and North AMERICA, east of Central AMERICA, and north of South AMERICA.
The Head of the UNITED NATIONS Information Centre in HARARE, ZIMBABWE, says Secretary General ANTONIO GUTERRES is visiting a number of the affected islands this weekend.
TAFADZWA MWALE says he has called on the international community, in advance of the trip, to be more generous and help rebuild the islands as well as speed up efforts to implement the PARIS Agreement.
The global deal, also named the PARIS Climate Accord or the PARIS Climate Agreement, is within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – dealing with Greenhouse Gas Emissions Mitigation.
Ms MWALE says next FRIDAY, 13 OCTOBER, is the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2017.
She says it comes as CARIBBEAN islands, covering TWO-MILLION-754-THOUSAND square kilometres with a population of about 39-MILLION-170-THOUSAND, are rebuilding from the devastations of hurricanes IRMA and MARIA.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary PATRICIA ESPINOSA, UNDP Administrator ACHIM STEINER, and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, ROBERT GLASSER, have prepared a statement.
They say Climate Change threatens the rich and the poor alike; and from MIAMI and PUERTO RICO to BARBUDA and HAVANA, effects of the 2017 hurricanes across LATIN AMERICA and the CARIBBEAN prove the impacts of Climate Change respect no borders.
The THREE experts say Category FIVE hurricanes have brought normal life to a standstill for millions in recent weeks in the CARIBBEAN and on the AMERICAN mainland, with HARVEY, IRMA and MARIA having been particularly damaging.
Some THREE-MILLION-400-THOUSAND people of PUERTO RICO have been scrambling for basic necessities including food and water.
The island of BARBUDA has been rendered uninhabitable, and dozens of people are missing or dead on the UNESCO world heritage island of DOMINICA, yet the impact is not confined to this region.
The UN officials say record floods across BANGLADESH, INDIA and NEPAL have made life miserable for some 40-MILLION people, with more than ONE-THOUSAND-200 dead, many left homeless, crops destroyed, and a number of workplaces flooded.
They say 20 countries have declared drought emergencies over the last 18 months, with major displacements taking place across the HORN of AFRICA, comprising DJIBOUTI, ERITREA, ETHIOPIA, and SOMALIA, who share a long history of linked cultures.
The impact of disasters can be severe for least developed countries, reducing livelihoods and progress on health and education; while for developed and middle-income countries economic losses from infrastructure alone can be massive.
The UNITED NATIONS officials say for both the poor and rich nations, the events demand the need to act on a changing climate that threatens only more frequent and more severe disasters./Sabanews/cam
DAR ES SALAAM – Military authorities in TANZANIA say they have now managed to end activities of pirates along the shores of water bodies including the INDIAN Ocean as well as Lakes TANGANYIKA and NYASA.
TANZANIA People’s Defence Forces Chief General VENANCE MABEYO says they have beefed up security and sealed off serious threats that existed in the areas between 2008 and 2012.
The DAILY NEWS newspaper says he has revealed the development during a televised program on local stations.
General MABEYO says pirates had been capturing ships entering the country, forcing some of them had to use alternative routes like SOUTH AFRICA, largely affecting the economy of TANZANIA by pushing commodity prices up.
General MABEYO says the Naval Command has since worked hard to ensure pirates and other criminals who have been using the same routes to traffic humans to different parts of the world, are dislodged.
He says technological advancements have seen crimes carried out differently, and security personnel are being well trained and educated to ensure they are able to use sophisticated tools.
General MABEYO says there also has been an increase in the number of firearms owned by civilians, yet TANZANIA is host to people fleeing their countries due to conflicts – some of them taking advantage of the situation.
He says the authorities should control the country’s own weapons from spreading around and then identify how illegal arms are making their way in; and they should examine incoming goods at all times to ensure security.
The TANZANIA Defence Forces Chief says the military is calling on members of the public to give their support to identify people in their areas who they deem suspicious./Sabanews/cam
CHILONGA – RUNDE River continues to kill people each rainy season in the South-eastern ZIMBABWE area of CHILONGA, where a bridge was washed away by Cyclone ELINE in 2006.
The NEWS DAY newspaper says the water body is violently flooded whenever it rains, and many cases of drowning are recorded as people attempt to cross, either on foot, on canoes, or in motor vehicles.
It says despite a government promise 11 years ago to rebuild the overpass, the coming rainy season spells doom for the SHANGANI people who live on either side of RUNDE River and others who pass through.
The publication says last year alone, at least 10 people, SIX of them motorists and FOUR villagers using dug-out canoes, drowned after they attempted to cross the flooded river.
However, it quotes Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister JORAM GUMBO as saying the authorities have plans to reconstruct the Bridge, a project temporarily shelved due to the harsh economic environment.
He says they are currently mobilising resources amid hardships caused by sanctions imposed by the BRITISH-led Western powers and the UNITED STATES.
BRITAIN campaigned vigorously on the international arena to punish ZIMBABWE after the former colony displaced about FOUR-THOUSAND white farmers to resettle millions of stranded black peasants.
The embargo, combined with serious levels of corruption both in the public and private sectors, saw the closure of factories and other revenue channels – leaving the State coffers dried up.
Nevertheless, the authorities still face the duty to rebuild collapsing and rotting infrastructure throughout ZIMBABWE, including on the seized farms – where looting and vandalism have rendered some of the properties run-down./Sabanews/cam
BENI-DRC – The TANZANIA People’s Defence Forces has announced the killing of yet another TWO of its soldiers on a UNITED NATIONS Peacekeeping Mission to neighbouring DRC.
The DAILY NEWS newspaper says the incident comes ONE month after the ALLIED DEMOCRATIC FORCES, ADF rebels killed Private MUSSA JUMANNE MURYERY.
It says a military statement has named the latest victims as Corporal MASELINO PASCHAL FABUSI and Private VENANCE MOSES CHIMBONI, bringing the total number of lost TANZANIAN soldiers to THREE so far.
The Army says the killings took place this MONDAY after a group of rebels attacked the soldiers 24 kilometres outside the north eastern city of BENI, lying immediately west of the VIRUNGA National Park and the RWENZORI Mountains.
UN Spokesperson STEPHANE DUJARRIC says 18 other peacekeepers were injured during the MONDAY attack, and the world body has formed a board of inquiry to investigate the incident.
Secretary-General ANTONIO GUTERRES has in turn strongly condemned the series of raids blamed on the ADF rebels in the NORTH KIVU Province.
The UN statement says he has offered his condolences to the families and friends of the deceased, as well as to the Government of TANZANIA; wishing a speedy recovery to the injured.
Meanwhile, the UN Chief has warned the DRC rebels of possible prosecution for war crimes under international law for attacking peacekeepers – also saying all armed groups should lay down their weapons./Sabanews/cam
THYOLO – At least SEVEN people have been brutally killed by mobs of villagers over the past few months on accusations of sucking the blood of humans in Southern MALAWI.
The NYASA TIMES newspaper says President PETER MUTHARIKA has finally broken his silence on the scaring developments, which he says are affecting development in affected areas.
It says vigilante mobs are directly executing people suspected to be vampires in the southern districts of MULANJE, PHALOMBE and THYOLO, and the Head of State has pledged to visit the communities from 13 to 17 OCTOBER.
President MUTHARIKA has revealed the plan at a political rally at KALIYEKA Primary School, where he was campaigning for ruling DEMOCRATIC PROGRESSIVE PARTY Candidate REUBEN NGWENYA ahead of a by-election on the 17TH.
He has described reports of fatal mob violence resulting from the imaginary blood sucking stories as agonising and distressful, saying he is deeply concerned with the developments.
President MUTHARIKA says he does not know who started the rumour in the country, but he understands the claims originated from Northern MOZAMBIQUE.
He says he has sent out officials to sensitise the villagers and the situation has improved, as cases of mob justice are slowly dying down; but he will still make a tour to address the communities personally.
Traditional leaders and villagers have teamed up with the State-funded MALAWI Human Rights Commission to seek government intervention after the mob killings of suspected blood suckers had gone out of hand./Sabanews/cam