AfricaStay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.., 22 Sep 2014 04:08:04 +0000SRA Framework 2.0en-gbSierra Leone's three-day Ebola shutdown ends Millions of Sierra Leoneans were set to emerge from their homes on Monday after a three-day nationwide lockdown during which scores of dead bodies and new cases of Ebola infections were uncovered.

The west African country had imposed the extreme measure confining its six million people to their homes for 72 hours in a bid to stem a deadly Ebola outbreak which has claimed more than 2,600 lives there and in neighbouring Liberia and Guinea this year.

Only essential workers such as health professionals were exempt, as were some 30,000 volunteers who went door-to-door to hand out soap and give advice on halting the contagion.

Liberia also ramped up the battle against the epidemic, announcing Sunday a four-fold increase in hospital beds to 1,000 for Ebola patients in the capital Monrovia, as more US troops arrived to shore up overwhelmed local officials in the fight.

Ebola fever can fell its victims within days, causing severe muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and -- in many cases -- unstoppable internal and external bleeding.

Fears of contagion have crippled the economies of affected nations, as wary workers stay home and cross border trade is disrupted by airlines cutting links.

Sierra Leone's deputy chief medical officer Sarian Kamara said that through the lockdown, "we were... able to confirm new cases which, had they not been discovered, would have greatly increased transmission."

"Up to this morning, we had 22 new cases. The response from the medical (teams) has improved and the burial teams were able to bury between 60 to 70 corpses over the past two days."

But the shutdown had also drawn criticism with some calling it a mere publicity stunt and others complaining about the poor quality of advice given by volunteers on stemming the disease.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri)AfricaMon, 22 Sep 2014 03:59:04 +0000
Egypt military aircraft crash kills six An Egyptian military aircraft crashed while on a training mission on Sunday after a technical failure, killing six soldiers, the army said.

The aircraft crashed in an area about 100 kilometres (62 miles) south of Cairo, an army statement said.

"During military training, a technical failure led to the crash of an aircraft carrying troops in Kom Aushim in Fayoum province... killing six soldiers and injuring one," the army said.

No further details about the accident, including the type of the aircraft, were immediately available.

Army Chief Sedky Sobhy ordered an investigation into the crash, the statement added.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Imaduddin)AfricaSun, 21 Sep 2014 13:45:02 +0000
Sierra Leone faces criticism over Ebola shutdown

imageFREETOWN: Sierra Leone began the second day of a 72-hour nationwide shutdown aimed at containing the spread of the deadly Ebola virus on Saturday amid criticism that the action was a poorly planned publicity stunt.

Most of Sierra Leone's six million people have been confined to their homes from midnight (0000 GMT) on Friday, with only essential workers such as health professionals and security forces exempt.

Almost 30,000 volunteers are going door-to-door to educate locals and hand out soap, in an exercise expected to lead to scores more patients and bodies being discovered in homes.

But independent observers have voiced concerns over the quality of advice being given out, deeming the shutdown a "mixed success" in the Western Area, the region that includes the capital. Freetown.

"While the supervisors were well trained, the visiting teams to families in some parts in the Western Area had poor training and could not deliver the information properly," said Abubakarr Kamara, from the Health for All Coalition, a local charity.

"From my observation, many of them were too young to be involved in the exercise and in one or two households where I witnessed their intervention, there were hardly messages given to the families which were beneficial to the households."

Ebola fever can fell its victims within days, causing severe muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and -- in some cases -- unstoppable internal and external bleeding.

The outbreak has killed more than 2,600 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone this year, cutting a swathe through entire villages at the epicentre and prompting warnings over possible economic catastrophe from the World Bank.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri)AfricaSat, 20 Sep 2014 09:28:20 +0000
Tunisia president Marzouki declares re-election bid Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki announced on Saturday he will stand for re-election in November, in a key vote almost four years after a revolt that sparked the Arab Spring uprisings.

Marzouki, a fierce opponent of ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, formally presented his candidacy at the offices of the electoral authority, watched on by journalists.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri)AfricaSat, 20 Sep 2014 09:05:34 +0000
US says no Ebola patient contact for troops in Liberia US troops heading to Liberia to help fight the Ebola epidemic will help train health workers but will have no "direct contact" with patients infected with the virus, the Pentagon said Friday.

The 3,000-strong contingent due to deploy to Liberia will carry protective gear, but "there's no intent right now for them to have direct contact with patients," spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters.

He said the first US military cargo plane arrived in Monrovia on Thursday as part of the US effort to help fight the epidemic, which has killed more than 2,600 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone this year.

"Right now, the effort does not include US military personnel treating Ebola patients," Kirby said. "We're going to be in support of other health care workers that are experts at doing this."

Kirby said a C-17 aircraft with equipment and seven service members landed on Thursday, with two more cargo planes expected this weekend carrying 45 personnel.

The small team will then set up a headquarters for Major General Darryl Williams, who will oversee the US mission to train local health workers and set up additional medical facilities, he added.

The Pentagon has requested up to one billion dollars from Congress for efforts to combat the outbreak, Kirby said.

Obama unveiled the troop deployment to West Africa earlier this week, appealing for urgent global action to prevent the virus from spreading "exponentially."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Muhammad Iqbal)AfricaFri, 19 Sep 2014 18:24:50 +0000
Lagos building collapse survivor recounts ordeal A Nigerian man on Friday claimed that he spent over 24 hours under the rubble of a Lagos church building, blaming "Satan" rather than structural failure for the collapse believed to have killed at least 84 people.

Taiwo Taiwo was among 131 people pulled from the remains of the guesthouse for foreign followers of preacher TB Joshua's Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), which collapsed on September 12.

All those who died came from South Africa, the government in Pretoria said.

A week on, rescue workers were winding down search operations, after complaining that hostile members of the evangelical church prevented them from accessing the building in the first three days.

Joshua, whose followers call him "The Prophet" or "The Man of God", has rejected claims of lack of cooperation and linked the collapse to a low-flying plane seen in the area beforehand.

Jeff Radebe, a South African minister in charge of Pretoria's response to the disaster, said 349 South Africans had travelled to Lagos to visit the megachurch.

"As of yesterday evening (Thursday), the total number of unaccounted for South Africans and presumably deceased remains at 84," Radebe said.

"This figure however remains tentative as it is still subject to confirmation through forensic tests."

Taiwo told reporters in a briefing organised by the church that he was helping visitors at the guesthouse, which could accommodate up to 350 people in its dining hall.

"Most of them were actually in the church having a lecture from the Wise Man (Joshua). People were coming back to have their lunch," said the 28-year-old.

"I just noticed a very sharp sound and I looked up and I saw the wall just coming off..., like something you see in the movies. It didn't look real.

"Consciously, the (Holy) Spirit said to me, 'This is not normal'. Next thing..., it was all dark. People were screaming, shouting. I just kept calm."

Taiwo, who appeared unscathed apart from a bandaged finger, said the accident happened at about 1:10 pm (1210 GMT) and he was only pulled free at 5:05 pm the following day.

Joshua has broadcast security camera footage on his network, which he said showed a "strange aircraft" flying low over the building four times between 11:30 am and 11:54 am.

The building is then seen to collapse at 12:44 pm, according to the camera's time-codes.

Joshua, a self-styled miracle worker and faith healer who counts heads of state among his flock, called the incident "an attack on the Synagogue Church of All Nations and in particular Prophet TB Joshua".

The Lagos state government has ordered an investigation and indicated that the addition of extra floors onto the building without strengthening the foundations caused the fatal collapse.

Survivors of the tragedy have so far not spoken publicly about their ordeal in Lagos, although South Africans who returned home have recounted their lucky escape from the rubble.

South Africa's high commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni, told The Times newspaper that one woman pulled out a steel bar that had pierced her chest and missed her vital organs and spine.

There was no independent corroboration of Taiwo's account. Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has said survivors had typically suffered broken bones and injuries from being crushed.

Taiwo, who said he was a recent graduate of the University of West London, also maintained that sabotage was to blame.

"I believe it was an attack. Obviously every thing that is not good comes from Satan," he said.

"The idea that people are thinking that it is a collapse, it's not possible I'm very sure of that because the structure was solid."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Muhammad Iqbal)AfricaFri, 19 Sep 2014 18:24:18 +0000
Germany, France to start joint airlift to Ebola-affected countries

imageBERLIN: Germany and France agreed on Friday to launch a joint airlift to send aid supplies to western African states hit by Ebola, a spokesman for the German defence ministry said, adding the operation might start within 48 hours.

Germany's armed forces will send up to 100 soldiers to a joint base in Dakar and from there two German Transall military transport planes will fly supplies to affected countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the spokesman said.

"That will enable more than 100 tonnes to be transported per week," he said, adding that France would also provide planes.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her French counterpart agreed on the airlift at a meeting in Paris on Friday. The supplies will include medicines, medical equipment, blankets and tents.

The aim was to improve the logistics chain, so Germany's armed forces will also collect goods from countries like Switzerland, Luxembourg and fly them on to West Africa.

The defence ministry said there were also plans for the German and French armed forces to each deliver a treatment centre with 50 beds.

Germany would send its centre to Liberia while France would supply Guinea with one. Earlier on Friday, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would do all it could to help.

"At the moment it's not a question of money, but rather of capacity and logistics and quick implementation," she said in Berlin.

Ebola has infected some 5,357 people in West Africa this year, killing 2,630 of them, in the worst outbreak of the virus yet recorded.

Western nations have pledged in recent days to ramp up their aid effort and the United Nations said on Thursday it would deploy a special mission, calling the outbreak a "threat to international peace and security"

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Muhammad Iqbal)AfricaFri, 19 Sep 2014 17:54:13 +0000
Seven killed as Ugandans, South Sudanese clash at border

imageKAMPALA: At least seven people were killed in a string of clashes either side of Uganda and South Sudan's border, a remote area plagued by cattle rustling and conflicts over territory, Uganda's military said.

The fighting started on Thursday when South Sudanese gunmen detained Ugandan local government officials carrying out a census, accusing them of straying into South Sudanese territory, said Uganda's military spokesman Paddy Ankunda.

That triggered demonstrations in the Ugandan border town of Moyo, where Ugandans razed houses belonging to South Sudanese residents, Ankunda said.

That, in turn, led to a series of tit-for-tat attacks. "I am informed last evening Ugandan youth entered South Sudan and killed a South Sudanese woman. In retaliation, South Sudanese militants entered Uganda and killed five people at around midnight," Ankunda told Reuters.

A local government official in Moyo, Jimmy Vukoni, told Reuters by telephone that he had received reports that South Sudanese youths on Friday also crossed into Uganda and stole cattle, burnt houses and raped women.

Ankunda said five Ugandans were killed in the skirmishes and both Ugandan and South Sudan security officials were trying defuse the fighting.

A South Sudanese county commissioner near the area where the fighting occurred, Henry Sabuni, said two people from his country also died.

Uganda sent troops into South Sudan late December in support of the government of President Salva Kiir against insurgent forces led by his sacked deputy Riek Machar.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Muhammad Iqbal)AfricaFri, 19 Sep 2014 17:09:22 +0000
Ebola infections cross 5000 mark in West Africa: WHO The World Health Organization (WHO) has reportedly said that the number of people infected by the Ebola virus in West Arica has crossed 5,000.

The United Nations agency confirmed that while the number of suspected and confirmed cases stands at 5,335 in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the death toll has risen to 2 622, News 24 reported.

The number of people infected and killed by Ebola infection is the highest in Liberia, WHO said.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri)AfricaFri, 19 Sep 2014 14:55:28 +0000
84 South Africans killed in Nigeria church collapse: official The number of South Africans known to have died in the collapse of a multi-storey megachurch in Lagos last week has risen to 84, Pretoria's high commissioner to Nigeria said on Friday.

"The number has risen from 67 to 84, with more bodies discovered on Thursday," Lulu Mnguni told AFP.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri)AfricaFri, 19 Sep 2014 11:11:51 +0000