Turkey condemns search on cargo ships by German military


Turkey has condemned what it said was the unauthorized boarding of one of its cargo ships in the eastern Mediterranean by a German military vessel, monitoring an arms embargo against Libya. On Sunday night, the German frigate Hamburg stopped the Turkish-flagged cargo ship MV Roseline A. This was part of the European operation Irini, which monitors compliance with the UN ban on arms shipments to Libya. Ankara said, the Turkish vessel stopped in the southwest Peloponnese was carrying food and humanitarian supplies to Misrata. Armed German soldiers arrived on board the ship by rappelling down from a helicopter, according to images filmed by the crew and broadcast by the Turkish media, before taking control of the control room. In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said "All crew members, including the captain, were forcibly searched." It denounced an intervention "based on a suspicion that is difficult to understand," believing that the German military had no right to search the ship without Ankara's agreement. But the German Foreign Ministry has a different version. According to one of its spokespersons in Berlin, the military had warned the Turkish authorities of their intention to inspect the ship and, in the absence of any objection, proceeded to board it. The spokesperson said the decision was taken not by the German military, but by the headquarters of Operation Irini in Rome, adding that the intervention had been stopped after Turkey had signified its veto. "Everything went exactly according to protocol," the spokesman said, adding that no contraband had been found.

Guinea bans political protests, citing pandemic


The Guinean government has announced a ban on political demonstrations across the country until further notice, citing the coronavirus pandemic. But the opposition has denounced the move, saying the government is using the pandemic to silence opponents of President Alpha Condé. The ban comes as Alpha Condé’s main opponent and leader of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea party in the recently held presidential election, Cellou Dalein Diallo called for a protest to be held on Wednesday over what he terms an electoral ‘’hold up’’ and arrest of several of its leaders after the election. In a year of tensions caused by the candidacy of President Condé for a third term, authorities have repeatedly banned opposition rallies. They have argued the risk of disorder or the coronavirus. These bans had previously been issued on an ad hoc basis. The government spokesman called it an "exceptional measure justified by the state of emergency" officially introduced to combat the pandemic. He said the "temporary" measure will be lifted when "significant progress" has been made against the coronavirus. Condé, 82, was declared winner by the Constitutional Court. Diallo, head of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea party, claims to be the winner and denounces fraud. In the past, human Rights Watch has expressed suspicion that "the government is using the pandemic as an excuse to repress dissent and violate human rights.’’

Interview: TOBi Is Making Unapologetic Soul Music


​We talk to the Nigerian-Canadian artist about his latest project ELEMENTS, his creative process, mental health and more.

Cameroonian novelist fights for women rights through literature


Cameroonian novelist Djaïli Amadou Amal tackles the subjects of forced marriages, domestic violence and polygamy through her literature work. In her book, "Les Impatientes" she explores the implications of early marriage. "Early and forced marriage remains one of the most pernicious forms of violence because it automatically leads to all the others. Among the violence that it leads to, and which is the logical consequence of everything, and which conditions life, is economic violence. The woman does not have a diploma, she does not finish her studies or she does not learn a trade. Obviously she remains dependent for the rest of her life and because she is dependent she cannot protect herself from violence," Djaïli said. She created a surprise when becoming one of the four finalists for the Goncourt, the most prestigious French literary prize for her novel "Les Impatientes". Through the eyes of three women, explores forced marriages, domestic violence and polygamy. She wants to be "the voice of the women of the Sahel. "I have messages coming from Burkina Faso, Guinea, Senegal with all these women who say 'you don't know me but you tell my story anyway, I've been through the same thing, I've been through something similar or even worse'. Because what we say to ourselves when we have an external view is finally 'doesn't she exaggerate a bit?' I can assure you that I didn't dare to put in half of what is really happening because it could have been even more shocking than that," she said. According to UNICEF, Africa has the highest incidence rates of child marriage, with over 50% of girls marrying under the age of eighteen in five nations. Girls in West and Central Africa have the highest risk of marrying in childhood. Niger has one of the highest rates of early marriage in sub-Saharan Africa By 2050, Africa will be home to about half a billion girls under the age of 18, according to some report, which said a failure to invest in young women would result in huge economic losses.

Rwanda’s Ongoing Refugee-Evacuation Efforts


African Solidarity in the Time of Crisis In the country’s most recent efforts to contribute to the persistent issue of displaced persons within the African continent, Rwanda welcomed around 79 more people who arrived at the capital Kigali on November 19. All hailing from East Africa — with 42 being Sudanese, 33 Eritrean and four Somali, the 11 women and 68 men had been stranded in Libya and were made to take Covid-19 tests upon their arrival in Rwanda. Elise Villechalane, the spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Rwanda told The EastAfrican, "The situation there is quite difficult, there are still thousands of people stranded in Libya, estimated to 45,000 of whom a great number are in detention centres." Efforts Continue Despite the Pandemic These refugees and asylum seekers will be hosted at the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) centre in Bugesera district which is situated around 60km from the capital city and are the fourth group of migrants to be received by Rwanda since the country signed the Memorandum of Understanding last year. An agreement signed on September 10, 2019, between Rwanda, the African Union and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to move refugees and asylum seekers out of detention facilities in Libya. Upon signing, Rwanda received the first group of displaced persons in Kigali shortly afterwards on September 26, 2019. However, the initiative has since seen some temporary setbacks as movement into Rwanda was halted earlier this year in light of the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and consequential travel restrictions. According to the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Solange Kayisire, around 306 displaced persons have been received at the ETM in Rwanda, "121 persons have been resettled so far, 98 and 23 to Sweden and Canada, respectively. On December 2 and 3 this year, a group of 33 people at ETM will also depart to Sweden.”

Ugandan long distance runner Joshua Cheptegei in the final list of male athlete of the year award


Ugandan long-distance runner Joshua Cheptegei has been named as one of the five finalists for the Male World Athlete of the Year 2020 award. The 23 year old took Ethiopian Bekele’s 5,000m record at the Diamond League in Monaco in August, wiping 1.99 seconds off the 16-year-old mark when he crossed the line in 12:35.36. The Ugandan athlete will face it off with other compatriots like Ryan Crouser from USA who is undefeated in 10 shot put competitions. The list also consist of Mondo Duplantis of Sweden who broke the world record in the pole vault twice and was undefeated in 16 competitions. Others include Johannes Vetter from Germany and Karsten Warholm from Norway

4 EU nations threaten santions over Libyan-talks


France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany have threatened sanctions against those obstructing inter-Libyan talks.  The talks are aimed at establishing transitional institutions until elections slated for December 2021. In a joint communiqué, the four EU nations said "We are ready to take action against those who obstruct the Libyan Forum for Political Dialogue and other tracks of the Berlin process, as well as those who continue to loot state funds or commit human rights abuses in the country". The communiqué issued by the French presidency have thus ‘’called on all international and Libyan parties to refrain from any parallel and uncoordinated initiative that risks undermining the efforts of the United Nations.’’ The Libyan delegates charged with setting up a unified executive are due to resume virtual discussions on Monday after a first meeting in mid-November in Tunis. This meeting led to an agreement on elections on December 24, 2021, but not on the names of the future leaders of the transition. Acting UN envoy, Stephanie Williams, had then warned the proponents of the "status quo" concerned above all to "preserve their privileges. Libya has been plunged into chaos since the NATO-supported uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011.  

USM Alger sack French coach after one game

BBC News Africa  

Algerian club USM Alger sack their coach Francois Ciccolini after just one match in charge.

Burkinabés urge calm as they await results


Burkinabés await results of Sunday’s presidential elections. Thousands of voters were disenfranchised in the general elections due to security threats, officials said. No votes were cast in one-fifth of this West African nation. President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré is expected to be re-elected in an election supervised by an undisclosed number of troops.  "We are waiting for the results, but it looks like President Kaboré is in the lead and will win in the first round. That's really good for peace. If we have to start the campaign again, it will cause us a lot of problems", Ouagadougou resident, Tarpilga Iloussa said. For Kader Compaoré, "Well, there will be no challenges. Because the Burkinabés are very tired, yes, very tired. Because of insecurity, there have been deaths. We have really suffered a lot. So if the result comes out, I hope they will all accept it." The Independent Electoral Commission reported that a "certain number" of polling stations for the presidential vote had been closed after threats were made against them. President of the commission, Newton Ahmed Barry later told reporters that between 300,000 and 350,000 of about 6.5 million voters had not cast their ballots due to "security threats." Jihadist-related violence has forced one million people, five percent of the 20 million population, from their homes in the last two years. At least 1,200 have been killed since 2015. The security crisis, ignited by the presence of the regional offshoots of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, dominated the campaign in the landlocked West African country. Most of the 12 opposition candidates running against Kaboré have criticized the incumbent's failure to stem the bloodshed.

Ethiopia Conflict: The story of a pregnant refugee


Like all mothers-to-be, Berekhti Burro dreamt of bringing new life into the world in a safe place, with love and care at home to give her baby the best start. But Burro, nine-months pregnant, was forced to flee intense fighting near her home in Humera in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, trekking for hours in the blazing sun to safety in neighbouring Sudan. Now the 27-year-old sits with her husband in their new home; a makeshift shelter in the rapidly growing tent-town of Um Raquba refugee camp, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the border. With her baby due any day now, she has only one thought; what will become of her child? "It's all I think, about day and night," Burro told AFP. "I am really scared to give birth here. What if he got sick, or needs an operation. What will I do then?" She is not alone. UNFPA, the UN Population Fund, estimates there are more than 700 pregnant women among the new arrivals of refugees. - Thousands of refugees - Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, unleashed a military campaign on November 4 against Tigray's dissident leaders, accusing them of attacking federal military camps and trying to destabilise his government. Hundreds are reported to have been killed, and thousands of refugees have fled into neighbouring Sudan. Fighting continues, with Ethiopia's army on Sunday warning civilians to flee the key city of Mekelle before an all-out assault. Sudan's government is already burdened by its own economic woes and grinding poverty, but authorities immediately sought to prepare camps. The numbers of people arriving are overwhelming. Some 36,000 Ethiopians have already come, according to Sudan's refugee commission, but the United Nations warns numbers could rise to 200,000 within months. "Sudan is receiving more new refugees per day than most European countries accept in a year," Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, one of the aid agencies providing support, said Sunday. "We must help all in need." Conditions are tough; one mother, pregnant for nine months, lost her baby in Um Raquba "due to a lack of services," said Massimo Diana, UNFPA's head in Sudan. "No woman should have to go through this," Diana said in a statement. "We are working to ensure services are available to save lives." - Basic clinic - Um Raquba camp once housed refugees who fled Ethiopia's 1983-85 famine that killed more than a million people, but it was closed 20 years ago. Now it has reopened, with a makeshift clinic set up in an old building. "We can only do check-ups at this clinic," said midwife Nawal Adel, who has examined several expectant mothers, who she notes are "fatigued and lacking proper nutrition." The clinic provides basic healthcare, with medics treating patients suffering from sicknesses such as malaria and dysentery, made worse because the refugees are sleeping in the open with limited hygiene facilities. "Child delivery would be very tough here," Adel said. There are also fears of Covid-19, although there have been no reported coronavirus cases among the refugees. Aid workers worry about the conditions at the crowded camp. "We don't even have a proper building to provide appropriate medical care," said Mohamed al-Moatasem, a doctor at Um Raquba. "Most medicines are lacking especially life-saving ones, like antibiotics and anti-malarial drugs." - 'Can't go back' - In a makeshift shelter, Berekhti Calaio rocks her crying son, who was born less than a month ago. "I struggle to feed my baby because I have not been eating well myself for more than week -- and I can't afford to buy milk," said Calaio. The UN is providing kits with basic supplies to help mothers give birth safely, while medics say several pregnant women have been taken to local hospitals. Despite the conditions, Berekhti Burro says she knows she made the right decision to flee Ethiopia. "I know I can't go back home to Tigray and that it is much safer here, despite the lack of proper food, water or health facilities," she said. "I just keep wishing to deliver my baby somewhere clean and safe. All I want for him is to be healthy."

World peace through the power of music


International recording artists perform social justice anthems for an online fundraising concert to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.  The December 1 event on Facebook Live is dubbed ‘’Peace Through Music: A Global Event for Social Justice.’’ Angelique Kidjo is a recording artist/activist, and speaks on the power of music to connect across cultures. "I mean, my experience has been a very humbling experience because until you get to the countries and you have, you are privileged enough to be a musician and connect to people beyond skin color, beyond your own language, beyond faith, beyond....I mean, music has that absolutely powerful side to it, that sometime when I finish a concert, I'm like, 'Why can we just live like this?’’, the artist queried. The Grammy award-winning global star is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador helping young women in Africa. "Yet today, the racism is so, so linked to capitalism that we have failed to address that issue for so many, many, many years and centuries, I would say from slavery all the way to today, that it becomes a cancer that is eating our societies", Kidjo added. Skip Marley sings his grandfather Bob Marley's iconic ode "Get Up, Stand Up" with his mother Cedella Marley. "'Get up, Stand up.' Yeah. You know, yeah. Yeah, that's the anthem for years and years and years and years. You know, wherever there is a fight, you know, wherever there is oppression, wherever there is wrongdoing, you know, that will always be the anthem. So what better time than now, you know I mean, so it was an honor for us to be a part of this, you know what I mean? Yeah. . We support life. Yeah. Life over death. So, you know, we support the human race. We support Mother Earth, you know, and we've been, we support anything which is right. And that's what we stand for, in the world community, not just one. It's a world community, you know, so that is the mindset", Marley said. Donations will go to Playing for Change Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund, Sankofa, Silkroad and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.

Africa: FIFA Bans CAF President Ahmad Ahmad


[Premium Times] Ahmad gets a five-year ban for "financial mismanagement".

Al-Qaeda in North Africa appoints new leader


Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqmi) has appointed one of its members to head the terrorist group to replace Abdelmalek Droukdel, killed last June during a French military operation in northern Mali. The new leader from Algeria is an influential member of Aqmi, named Abu Obaida Yusuf al-Annabi. He is accused of having participated, in 2007 attacks against official buildings, including police stations in Algiers. Abu Obaida is said to have a degree in Economics. He has regularly appeared in the group’s propaganda videos, and in 2013 demanded that Muslims retaliate against France’s intervention in Mali. France has more than 5,000 troops deployed in its “anti-jihadist” Barkhane force in the Sahel. Abu Obaida was blacklisted by the United States as a terrorist and sentenced to death in absentia by his country's justice system.

Ethiopia: Sudan Supports Abiy Even as Govt Feels Weight of Conflict


[East African] The simmering Tigray conflict in Ethiopia is weighing heavily on Sudan as the growing humanitarian crisis impacts the fragile transitional government.

Zimbabwe: Opposition Hails VP Chiwenga for Promising Land to Youths


[New Zimbabwe] Opposition The Patriotic Front's (TPF) youth wing, The Young Patriots (TYP) has praised Vice President Constantino Chiwenga for initiating a programme that will see the young generation receiving agriculture land.

CAF President Ahmad Ahmad banned for FIVE years


The head of Confederation of African Football (CAF), Ahmad Ahmad, has been banned from football for five years by FIFA following an ethics investigation by world soccer’s governing body. Ahmad had intended to stand in an election in March in which he would have faced a number of challengers. FIFA said in a statement the independent Ethics Committee has found Ahmad guilty of offering and accepting gifts and other benefits, and misappropriation of funds. The Malagasy politician's reign at the continent's football governing body has been marred by controversy. The organization has been accused of misappropriating upto $20m in an audit sanctioned by FIFA according to a report that leaked in February. Ahmad himself is the subject of an investigation probing his role in the award of a tender for the supply of sportswear equipment for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. Ahmad has denied any wrongdoing.

Zimbabwe: Activist Demands Govt to Disclose Total Debt


[New Zimbabwe] A Harare lawyer, who is also a disability rights activist has approached the High Court demanding to know the total amount of debt that Zimbabwe owes to internal and external creditors.

Mateta scores hat-trick while Ajax thrash Heracles Almelo 5-0


Another weekend for the football enthusiasts as various European teams scrambled it out in their respective leagues for the top spot positions. In Germany, the 23-year-old Jean-Philippe Mateta got his first hat-trick for the season as Mainz sunk their counterparts Freiburg 3 goals to 1. The French striker registered his first goal in the second minute, grabbed a second goal in the 34th, and his third in the 40th. Meanwhile Koln remain winless after a 2-1 defeat by the Union Berlin. Nigerian forward Taiwo Awoniyi scored the opener for the Berlins. In Netherlands, Ajax thrashed Heracles Almelo 5-0. Burkina Lassina Traore scored the opener in the sixth minute as the Moroccan Zakaria Labyad put the Amste rdammers firmly in control by half-time after securing a goal in the 36th minute. He later affirmed his presence in the 77th minute to close the chapter sending Ajax at the top of the table with 24 points. Zakari;s first goal came from a quick corner and the midfielder landed a superb goal from a fast turning header. However, Labyad and midfielder Davy Klaassen picked injuries and questions linger on whether they will be fit for the Wednesday Champion's league against FC Midtylland. Ajax are two points ahead of vitesse in the Netherlands league competition In Italy, a dramatic weekend for AC Milan's Franck Kessie. The Ivorian midfielder seemed to have lost a tooth after a challenge from Matteo Politano of Napoli. The Ivory Coast international collapsed and briefly went off for treatment, but soon returned to complete the match. This was Kessie’s 148th appearance for AC Milan and surpassed George Weah's record for the club's most capped African player.

Ethiopia: Tigray given 72 hours to surrender


Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has given Tigrayan regional forces 72 hours to surrender before the military begins an offensive on the regional capital Mekelle. Mekelle is the regional capital of Tigray, a state in Ethiopia's northern region. The highland city where the rebels are based has a population of about 500, 000 people. Reports say advancing Ethiopian troops plan to shell the city to force surrender. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), in response has said its forces were digging trenches and standing firm. It has so far refused to surrender its rule of the northern region. Hundreds have been killed and more than 30,000 refugees have poured into neighbouring Sudan since Nov. 4 when the conflict began. Tigrayan leaders are accused of revolting against central authority and starting the conflict by attacking federal troops in the town of Dansha.  The rebels say his government has marginalised Tigrayans since taking office two years ago, removing them from senior roles in government and the military and detaining many on rights abuse and corruption charges. So far, attempts by foreign nations for mediation have failed as Prime minister Abiy maintains it is not a conflict or war but a law enforcement operation. In a statement on Sunday evening, he said “all the necessary precautionary measures have been taken to ensure that civilians are not harmed”.

Cuppy & Stonebwoy Drop Official Video For ‘Karma’


The fun-loving official video for ‘Karma’ sees Cuppy and Stonebwoy trade smooth verses as they dance and kick back in a relaxed party environment - a perfect match for the track’s seductive dancehall beats.

South Africa: Zondo Gets Hardcore On Zuma, Throws Every Legal Lasso, Including Urgent Approach to Constitutional Court


[Daily Maverick] Judge Zondo puts Jacob Zuma on notice: he will lay a criminal charge against the former President, issue a new summons and seek an urgent ConCourt order to force him to appear before the State Capture inquiry.

Ashburn Update