Africa Stay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:38:10 +0000 SRA Framework 2.0 en-gb Tunisia vote offers post-Arab Spring hope imageTUNIS: Tunisians vote Sunday to elect their first parliament since the country's 2011 revolution, in a rare glimmer of hope for a region torn apart by post-Arab Spring violence and repression.

After three weeks of largely low-key campaigning, more than five million voters are to elect 217 deputies in a ballot pitting the Ennahda movement -- the country's largest party -- against a host of secular groups.

Tunisia has enjoyed relative stability since the region's 2011 uprisings in contrast to the lawlessness of Libya and Yemen, the military takeover in Egypt and Syria's bloody civil war.

But the country has flirted with disaster, particularly last year when a rise in militant activity, the assassination of two opposition lawmakers and an economy in the doldrums threatened to drag Tunisia down the same path.

Its political class, although often at loggerheads, caved in to pressure from civil society groups in January to schedule Sunday's vote and set presidential elections for November 23.

Tunisia's model of coalition government -- in which Ennahda shares power with two secular parties -- was praised by the international community.

That arrangement collapsed and was replaced in January by a government of independents tasked with holding fresh elections.

"You just need to compare (Tunisia) with other Arab Spring countries... from the point of view of the protection of freedom and democracy, we are considered a successful model," said Ennahda's former prime minister, Ali Larayedh.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) Africa Tue, 21 Oct 2014 03:28:32 +0000
Blast kills six security forces in Egypt's Sinai imageCAIRO: At least six Egyptian security force personnel were killed by a remotely detonated roadside bomb in the Sinai Peninsula on Sunday, medical and security sources said.

The bomb exploded as a patrol responsible for protecting a natural gas pipeline passed by, the sources said.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Imaduddin) Africa Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:15:07 +0000
Women, children killed in new attack in east DR Congo: official imageGOMA: Twenty-two people, most of them women and children, have been killed in a new attack in the troubled east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, just days after a similar massacre, a government official said on Saturday.

The attack left 10 women, eight children and four men dead, a local government official told AFP. It occurred some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the town of Beni in the North Kivu province, where rebels slaughtered 26 people with machetes on Thursday, raising doubts about government claims that the Ugandan rebels who had been terrorising the area for the last two decades had been defeated.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) Africa Sat, 18 Oct 2014 08:07:41 +0000
Lab half a world away at center of West Africa Ebola fight imageWINNIPEG: A soldier with a fever and a bad cough walked into a Canadian hospital and was swiftly quarantined, while his blood was tested for Ebola here at one of the world's few "level four" labs.

Days earlier, he had travelled to Sierra Leone as a member of an aircrew that delivered 128,000 face shields to doctors and nurses fighting an outbreak that has claimed more than 4,000 lives.

His blood sample was sent from the Belleville, Ontario hospital to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, half a world away from the outbreak in West Africa and one of only 15 laboratories worldwide dealing in deadly pathogens at this level.

The laboratory has been involved in combating Sars, H1N1, West Nile fever and Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and is now at the forefront of the fight against Ebola, corralling and diagnosing suspect cases in Canada, and sending teams of epidemiologists to West Africa to track infections.

It is also here in the windswept Canadian prairies that a potential vaccine, VSV-EBOV, and an experimental treatment for Ebola, ZMapp, were created.

American doctor Kent Brantly and four others who were treated with ZMapp before supplies ran out lived. Two others died.

Clinical trials of VSV-EBOV are now underway on 20 volunteers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the United States, following successful tests in primates.

The results are expected in December.

"If the Canadian vaccine is proven to be safe and deemed effective, it will stop this devastating outbreak," said Health Minister Rona Ambrose.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) Africa Sat, 18 Oct 2014 07:42:03 +0000
Mozambique polls close with opposition crying foul imageMAPUTO: Mozambicans voted Wednesday in a closely-fought test for the ruling Frelimo party, which has run the southern African country since independence from Portugal in 1975, with opposition parties crying foul.

Frelimo is facing growing discontent over a wealth gap that persists despite huge mineral resources, with fast economic growth sidestepping the bulk of a population that is among the world's poorest.

But members of the two opposition parties later claimed they had discovered attempts to stuff ballots by the ruling party.

"A young man was shot (in the feet). He tried to stop the Frelimo (local) secretary from stuffing boxes," in central Sofala province, said Sandes Carmona, spokesman for the fledgling MDM opposition party.

In northern Nampula province, riot police used teargas to disperse a crowd that had gathered at a polling station to watch the counting, claimed the MDM representative in the area, Elias Nquiri.

Main opposition Renamo spokesman, Adriano Muchunga, claimed police opened fire in Nampula, the largest electoral province.

The electoral commission, local and foreign observers confirmed some incidents had occurred, but said on the overall, voting went on fairly smoothly.

"There have been some incidents here and there but in general the situation is under control," Paulo Cuinica, spokesman for the national Electoral Commission told AFP, adding voting went on "smoothly"

"We noticed some irregularities, but I would say all-in-all until closing time, it was fairly okay. It was calm," EU observer chief Judith Sargentini told AFP.

Counting started shortly after polling closed at 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) but final results are not expected for two weeks.

Incumbent President Armando Guebuza, from Frelimo, is prohibited by the constitution from running for a third term.

So the presidential race pits Frelimo's Filipe Nyusi, the former defence minister, against the veteran leader of former rebel group Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama, and Daviz Simango, Beira city mayor and founder of the Mozambique Democratic Party (MDM).

"I am convinced of a victory," 55-year-old Nyusi told reporters after casting his ballot. "We have worked for a long time, very hard to prepare for this election."

Dhlakama, 61, who voted at the same polling station, has cried foul each time he lost in previous elections. But he expressed hope that this vote would be free and fair.

"Results will be accepted when they are clean. As you know on the African continent, results are often not clean," he said.

"We hope for the first time in Mozambique results will be acceptable, proper and with credibility."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) Africa Thu, 16 Oct 2014 03:51:22 +0000
Polls open in tough test for Mozambique ruling party imageMAPUTO: Voting started Wednesday in a tough electoral test for Mozambique's ruling Frelimo, the party that has run the resource-rich country since independence in 1975.

Voters in neat lines started casting ballots shortly after 7:00am (0500 GMT) with Frelimo facing growing discontent amid an apparent popular swing towards the opposition.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) Africa Wed, 15 Oct 2014 06:23:34 +0000
Member states losing race against Ebola: UN imageUNITED NATIONS: The world is falling behind in a desperate race to gain the upper hand over the deadly Ebola outbreak, a top UN official warned on Tuesday.

"Ebola got a head start on us," said Anthony Banbury, head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response.

"It is far ahead of us, it is running faster than us, and it is winning the race," the Briton told the UN Security Council in New York, by remote link from UNMEER headquarters in Accra.

"If Ebola wins, we the peoples of the United Nations lose so very much,' he said.

"We either stop Ebola now or we face an entirely unprecedented situation for which we do not have a plan," Banbury stressed.

He said that with infection rates rising exponentially every day. UNMEER will need 7,000 beds for treatment.

"There's much bad news about Ebola but the good news is we know how to stop it," said Banbury.

But to push back the spread "we must defeat Ebola and we must do it fast," he said.

"With every day that passes, the number of sick people increases," Banbury added.

"Time is our biggest enemy. We must use every minute of every day to our advantage and that is what UNMEER is doing."

WHO assistant director general Bruce Aylward, describing his figures as a working forecast, said the epidemic "could reach 5,000 to 10,000 cases per week by the first week of December."

The latest death toll is 4,447, from 8,914 recorded infection cases, Aylward said as the worst-ever Ebola outbreak spirals in the three hardest-hit countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) Africa Wed, 15 Oct 2014 05:22:07 +0000
Libyan in Benghazi case faces raft of new charges imageWASHINGTON: The Libyan militia leader charged in a deadly attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi has been hit with a slew of new criminal counts, some punishable by death.

US Justice Department announced on Tuesday that a federal grand jury in Washington indicted Ahmed Abu Khatallah with more offenses linked to his alleged role in the September 11, 2012, attacks that killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The attacks, which also targeted a CIA annex, shocked the nation and became a highly charged political talking point in across the United State.

Khatallah, 43, a Libyan national, was indicted June 26 on the charge of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists resulting in death.

That charge, which is included in the superseding indictment, carries a potential life sentence.

Tuesday's indictment includes a total of 17 new charges, including some potentially calling for a death sentence.

"These additional charges reflect Ahmed Abu Khattalah's integral role in the attack on US facilities in Benghazi, which led to the deaths of four brave Americans," Attorney General Eric Holder said.

"We will never relent in pursuing justice against those who commit heinous acta of terrorism against the United States," he said.

"Those who would do harm to our citizens-no matter how far away-should understand that our nation's memory is long and our reach is far."

The charges that could carry death sentences include one count of murder of an internationally protected person; three counts of murder of an officer and employee of the United States; four counts of killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility involving the use of a firearm and a dangerous weapon; and two counts of maliciously damaging and destroying US property by means of fire and an explosive causing death, the statement said.

The US State Department has identified Khatallah as a senior leader of Ansar al-Sharia, a Libyan group responsible for a spate of attacks and assassinations.

Khatallah will be arraigned on new charges at a hearing October 20 before judge Christopher Cooper in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. He has pleaded not guilty in an earlier arraignment.

The choice of the US District Court in Washington to try Abu Khatallah was unusual, as most terror suspects tried in the United States since the September 11, 2001 attacks have been tried in federal courts in New York and Alexandria, Virginia.

The Benghazi attack raised questions about security at US diplomatic facilities worldwide and the accuracy of US intelligence on militant threats.

Republicans charged that the White House failed to respond decisively and then tried to hide some facts in the grisly episode.

The Obama administration, in turn, has accused critics of politicizing a tragic event.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) Africa Wed, 15 Oct 2014 05:20:05 +0000
First US Ebola infection result of 'protocol breach' imageWASHINGTON: A Texas health care worker has become the first person to contract Ebola on American soil, authorities confirmed Sunday, blaming a safety breach for the spread of the deadly disease.

The new Ebola patient, the second person infected outside Africa and the second diagnosed in the United States, had treated a man at a Dallas hospital who died of Ebola last week.

The infection deals a blow to global efforts to stem the epidemic, which has already claimed more than 4,000 lives, most of them in the hard-hit West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

"This development is understandably disturbing news for the patient, the patient's family and colleagues and the greater Dallas community," the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

But the CDC insisted that any further spread into the community surrounding the hospital "can be prevented with proper public health measures."

Earlier, the agency's chief Thomas Frieden said it was clear that "at some point there was a breach in protocol and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection."

The CDC has launched an investigation and is hunting for more medical care workers who may have been exposed to the dangerous virus.

US President Barack Obama said that federal authorities should take "immediate additional steps" to make sure hospitals were ready to follow protocols designed for Ebola patients.

National Nurses United, the largest US organization of nurses, is now demanding protective equipment, including hazmat suits, and special training on how to treat Ebola.

"The time to act is long overdue," said executive director RoseAnn DeMoro.

Meanwhile in hardest-hit Liberia, health care workers plan to go on strike Monday to demand hazard pay for treating patients infected with the deadly disease.

In Liberia alone, 95 health care providers have died from the tropical fever, out of 201 infected, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) Africa Mon, 13 Oct 2014 03:38:34 +0000
Six UN peacekeepers injured in C. Africa imageBANGUI: Six UN peacekeepers were injured during an attack by unknown assailants who opened fire on a patrol northeast of the capital Bangui, amid a flareup of violence after months of relative calm.

The new UN peacekeeping MINUSCA force, in a statement late Saturday, condemned Friday's attack, which came a day after another UN peacekeeper was killed near Bangui.

The latest attack was carried out by "armed elements who opened fire on a MINUSCA police patrol... leaving four blue helmets injured".

Such attacks "must cease immediately" the statement continued, calling for a "durable peace".

"It is unacceptable that the blue helmets, who come from various places, should become the target of attack," it added, without giving the nationalities of those injured.

A UN peacekeeper from Pakistan was killed, and nine others injured, near the capital on Thursday.

It was the first peacekeeper death of the mission that deployed last month in the Central African Republic, taking over from African-led troops that were sent after a March 2013 coup plunged the country into bloodshed and chaos.

Bangui has been rocked by days of violence pitting the city's Muslim and Christian populations, leaving at least seven people dead and many dozens wounded, according to UN sources in Bangui.

The UN's 130,000 troops, police and civilian staff serving in missions worldwide are being drawn into more complex conflicts while being tasked with enforcing fragile peace deals.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) Africa Sun, 12 Oct 2014 06:50:59 +0000