Friday 23 June 2017
(Voice of America 06/08/17)
A U.S. congressional delegation returned from central Africa last week with one overriding question: what can be done to stop South Sudan's war and help the refugees streaming into Uganda, suffering from a lack of food? Representative Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, says the answer lies with the parties in South Sudan's conflict, especially the government and military, which have been accused of blocking food aid to needy populations, using rape as a weapon of war and engaging in ethnic cleansing.
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as many girls in East Africa and three times as many in Central Africa completed secondary education in 2014 as in 2005, according to the annual African Economic Outlook report, which was published at the end of last month. Yet more...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Sixteen-year-old Stacey narrowly escaped what could have been a life of poverty and prostitution on the streets of South Sudan's capital Juba when she was taken into a shelter and offered safety and schooling. South Sudan's civil war, which erupted in late 2013, has uprooted a quarter of the population, shattered families and left thousands of orphans, abandoned children and runaways to fend for themselves in the city. With few options, sex work has become a form of survival for many girls and young women. While there are no accurate figures to gauge the extent of child prostitution in the scrappy, low-rise city
(Xinhuanet 06/07/17)
South Sudan seeks to strengthen effectiveness and efficiency of the community health sub-system by training more health workers and upgrading infrastructure, Health Minister Riek Gai Kok told Xinhua. The Boma Health Initiative launched in April seeks to empower rural communities through training of three community health workers in each village (Boma) and upgrading health infrastructure to enable delivery of high impact and cost-effective primary health care services. "Production of trained health workers is priority to reduce the labor deficit and upgrading infrastructure is key to improving health sector at the local level," Kok said in a recent interview. It will provide integrated community case management for child health including screening for malnutrition; malaria, tuberculosis, promotion of immunization, provision of safe...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Building a network of African women leaders in fields ranging from business to politics could galvanize female leadership across the continent and boost peacebuilding efforts and good governance, the head of U.N. Women said on Tuesday. The African Women Leaders Network, which was launched last week in New York by the United Nations and the African Union Commission, hopes to drive more women into leadership roles, through mentoring, peer learning and harnessing contacts. By supporting women's leadership in Africa, the platform aims to galvanize their contributions to building and sustaining peace, improving political processes and driving social change, and realizing the U.N. global goals, according to U.N. Women. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in 2015, include targets on...
(Bloomberg 06/06/17)
Total SA approached South Sudan about developing two of its biggest oil blocks after previous talks on the fields collapsed, according to the African nation’s petroleum minister. "They have written to me that they are still interested" in blocks B1 and B2, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said Monday in an interview in Cape Town. Tullow Oil Plc has also asked to discuss the blocks, he said. South Sudan needs foreign investment to ramp up oil production -- currently at about 130,000 barrels a day -- after conflict that erupted in 2013 cut output. Discussions with Total on blocks B1 and B2 reached an impasse in April
(Xinhuanet 06/06/17)
Delegates of an African conference in solidarity with Cuba on Monday called on the United States to lift its over 50-year economic blockade against Cuba. "We applaud the positive development in this respect and we commend the U.S. government and Cuba for their efforts towards normalizing of ties," said Namibian President Hage Geingob, officially opening the fifth Continental Africa Conference in Solidarity with Cuba here on Monday. "However, there is still much ground left to cover to ensure the complete lifting of the blockage against Cuba," said Geingob. According to Geingob, the conference will lead to the development of the common African strategy in terms of support to Cuba. The delegates also called for the return of the Guantanamo Bay,...
(Voice of America 06/03/17)
The world is watching closely as food shortages grip parts of Africa and the Middle East. As humanitarian groups respond to the crisis, they have to solve a major problem: how to track food security in areas that are simply too remote or too dangerous to access. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) has come up with an innovative answer. The U.S.-funded organization is working with DigitalGlobe, a Colorado satellite company, to crowdsource analysis of satellite imagery of South Sudan. The effort will rely on thousands of volunteers — normal people with no subject matter expertise
(AFP (eng) 06/02/17)
Fifteen children died in South Sudan after receiving contaminated measles vaccines that had not been properly refrigerated, and were mixed using the same syringe for four days. In addition to the blunders handling the vaccine, Health Minister Riek Gai Kok said that two children, aged 12 and 13, had been recruited to administer it. An investigation showed that local officials failed to follow immunisation guidelines during a four-day campaign to vaccinate around 300 people in the southeastern state of Kapoeta in May, Kok said. "The team that vaccinated the children in this tragic event were neither qualified not trained for the immunisation," he added. The campaign came amid a measles outbreak that has killed 70 children this year, the latest...
(The Associated Press 06/02/17)
Fifteen young children have died in a botched measles vaccination campaign that saw people as young as 12 years old administering the vaccines, South Sudan’s government said Friday. The health ministry blamed the deaths on human error. One syringe was used for all the children, and the vaccine was not stored properly. The government said all of the children who died were younger than 5. It is setting up a commission to determine who is responsible and whether victims’ families will be compensated. Vaccinations continue Measles is yet another challenge facing the desperately poor country that has been
(News24 06/02/17)
South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar, who has been in South Africa since last year, has told the United Nations that the country's government has been "hospitable", but he wishes to be released "from confinement and detention". "My host here South Africa has been hospitable," Machar said in a statement released on Wednesday after a teleconference with the UN security council. According to reports the leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO), arrived in South Africa late last year without the government's knowledge - after fleeing the capital Juba, claiming that President Salva Kiir wanted to assassinate him. Reports said at the time that he was "basically under house arrest" near Pretoria, with his movements "restricted and phone calls...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/02/17)
At least 15 children died in South Sudan in early May after health workers vaccinating them against measles used the same syringe without sterilizing it, the health minister said on Friday. About 300 children were vaccinated on May 2-5 in Nacholdokopele village in Eastern Equatoria state, another 32 of whom have recovered after falling ill with symptoms including fever, vomiting and diarrhea, Health Minister Riek Gai Kok said. "The team that vaccinated the children in this tragic event were neither qualified nor trained for the immunization campaign," Kok told a news conference. A report prepared by a committee of specialists found the children had died from severe sepsis toxicity as a result of the vaccine's contamination, caused by repeated use...
(Xinhuanet 06/02/17)
Fifty-four African Union member states will convene the 5th Continental Conference of Solidarity with Cuba in the Namibian capital from June 5-7, said an Naminian official on Thursday. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of International relations and Cooperation, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, said the aim of hosting the conference in Namibia is to intensify solidarity and to strengthen bounds of friendship between the people of Cuba and the progressive peoples throughout the African Continent. Namibia's President Hage Geingob will open and address the conference, which will run under the theme, "Intensifying Solidarity and continuing the legacy of Fidel and Che". The conference, which will also be attended by a Cuban delegation, will also recognize the important work done in support of...
(AFP (eng) 06/01/17)
One in five children born with a twin sibling in sub-Saharan Africa dies before the age of five -- three times the rate among singletons, said a study Thursday. Almost two-thirds die in the first month of life -- often succumbing to the after-effects of a difficult birth or entering the world too early or underweight, according to research published in The Lancet medical journal. And while rates of under-five deaths in the sub-Saharan African region have declined over two decades, the improvement has been much slower for twins than for single-borns. "Twins account for 10.7 percent of all under-five deaths and 15.1 percent of neonatal (newborn) deaths in the region and these percentages are increasing," the study said. "The...
(The Associated Press 05/31/17)
"He told me not to be afraid," Evelyn Juma says, remembering her husband. Tears stream down the young woman's face as she sits on her unmade bed, her newborn nursing at her chest. "That's the last thing he ever said to me." On the morning of April 10, when South Sudan government soldiers broke into Juma's house in the northwestern town of Wau, the 24-year-old never dreamed it would be the last time she'd see her husband alive. "They kept asking him if our neighbors were Nuer and which tribe we were from," she says. When her husband refused to turn over their friends, the soldiers forced him outside and shot him in the head. "I heard the gunshot," Juma...
(Voice of America 05/31/17)
A top South Sudan army official has used his position to accumulate millions of dollars through his personal business, while helping to orchestrate a conflict that has resulted in famine, according to a new report by a Washington-based human rights group. Lt. Gen. Malek Reuben Riak, the SPLA’s deputy chief of defense force for operations, accumulated more than $3 million in his personal account between January 2012 and early 2016, according to the Sentry. It says Reuben made millions more than what a general in his rank earned during the 2014-2015 budget cycle — about $40,000. J.R. Mailey, the Sentry's senior investigations manager, says the report uncovers conflicts of interest and potential wrongdoing by Reuben in his roles at Mak...
(The Guardian 05/31/17)
Men appear before military court in Juba over alleged involvement in hotel attack in which five aid workers were raped and one man murdered. South Sudanese soldiers accused of raping five foreign aid workers and killing their local colleague have appeared before a military court in Juba, in a case seen as a test of the government’s ability to try war crimes. The attack, one of the worst on aid workers since civil war erupted in South Sudan three and a half years ago, occurred on 11 July 2016, as President Salva Kiir’s troops won a three-day battle in the country’s capital against opposition forces loyal to Riek Machar, the former vice-president. Witnesses said armed men attacked the Terrain hotel...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/31/17)
The Vatican said on Tuesday it had scrapped tentative plans for Pope Francis to make a visit this year to South Sudan, which has been hit by civil war, famine and a refugee crisis. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the trip "was not for this year" but did not say when it might now take place. Church leaders in the country said they had expected the pope would visit the capital, Juba, probably in October, but the Vatican had never announced the trip officially. Burke did not give a reason for the cancellation of the plans but Vatican and Church sources said it was a combination of security concerns and logistics. The trip was to have lasted only one day...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
The old man’s house had become a camp for the displaced. In the back yard, groups of women boiled water for rice. Small children skittered across the dirt, running into the bedroom, where they careened around the long, skinny legs of Elijah Karama. “Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” said Karama, 57, more tired than proud. By conditions, he meant Boko Haram’s destruction of vast areas of northeastern Nigeria, and the hunger crisis that has followed. This city of about 1 million has absorbed an additional 1 million people who fled the Islamist militants who burned their villages and kidnapped hundreds of children. In Maiduguri, the vast majority of the displaced aren’t living in U.N...
(AFP (eng) 05/30/17)
A South Sudan military court on Tuesday opened the trial of 13 soldiers accused of raping foreign aid workers and murdering a local journalist during fighting in Juba last July. The chilling attack cast a spotlight on atrocities by government troops but also led to a damning probe into the failure of United Nations peacekeepers to protect civilians, which led to the sacking of the force's commander. The suspects appeared in court in a variety of uniforms indicating attachment to different units, including four in the colours of the "Tiger Division" which guards the president. "There is a crime of murder, we have a crime of raping, we have a crime of looting and we have a crime of damaging...

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