Category Archives: World

S Africa’s ANC picks Ramaphosa as leader

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Cyril Ramaphosa

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has selected Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma as the party’s leader.

The nation’s deputy president defeated former cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Mr Zuma’s ex-wife, after a marathon voting process.

Mr Ramaphosa is in a strong position to become president after polls in 2019.

The leadership battle caused fierce political infighting, raising fears the party may split before the polls.

Mr Ramaphosa beat Ms Dlamini-Zuma by 2440 votes to 2261, an ANC spokesperson announced.

This triggered celebrations among party members.

Media reports earlier said the announcement was delayed after Ms Dlamini-Zuma’s camp had demanded a recount.

More to follow…

 

Thousands stranded by airport power cut

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Many hundreds of flights have been cancelled

Passengers at the world’s busiest airport faced a second day of disruption on Monday after a power cut led to hundreds of cancellations.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport lost power on Sunday, affecting tens of thousands of people.

Passengers were left in darkened terminals or on board planes.

Power was restored overnight and a handful of passenger flights resumed just after 06:00 local time (11:00 GMT) on Monday.

Hundreds of other flights, however, were cancelled.

The airport is the world’s busiest, handling more than 250,000 passengers and almost 2,500 flights every day. But during its first hour of operation on Monday morning, fewer than a dozen commercial flights departed.

A number of cargo flights had operated during the partial shutdown.

Thousands remain stranded in the airport awaiting rescheduled flights. In a statement, the airport said it had distributed more than 5,000 meals to waiting passengers.

Security processing began at about 03:30 local time, it said, but those with tickets dated Sunday would need to reprint them to pass through checkpoints.

The airport advised passengers to check the status of their particular flight directly with their airline.

A suspected fire

In a statement, the airport confirmed it had suffered a power cut shortly after 13:00 on Sunday.

Many flights scheduled to arrive from other airports were diverted elsewhere, or held at their departure airport.

Georgia Power, which supplies the airport’s electricity, said it believed a fire at an underground electrical facility had caused the power cut. Officials said a piece of its switchgear could have failed and started the fire, causing cable damage.

Power was fully restored to the airport around midnight on Sunday.

Atlanta’s mayor confirmed the fire’s cause was under investigation, and apologised to the thousands affected.

A number of major airlines, including United, Southwest and American Airlines, completely suspended their operations on Sunday. Each had at least some flights scheduled to depart Monday.

‘A lot of confusion’

Images shared on social media showed passengers waiting in darkness. Some reported being stuck on board aircraft for six hours.

One passenger, Jannifer Lee, was travelling to Minnesota from Florida with her 10-year-old pet rescue cat Penny.

Her first flight was stuck for almost four hours at the gate.

“I was hoping to have a really smooth flight, especially with a cat,” she told the BBC.

“I’ve only ever flown with her for two or three hours before, not a 12-hour journey! I guess animals can be a lot more resilient than people.”

She and thousands of others were left stranded without information from airlines about onward travel.

“There was a lot of confusion on the flight, because the national news knew more about the situation than we did,” Ms Lee said.

Another passenger, Naomi Harm, was stranded on the tarmac on a Delta flight from Sacramento, California.

She told the BBC that airline staff had kept the passengers in good spirits by communicating regularly and handing out any food and drinks they had available.

She said one passenger seated close to her had been escorted down to the aircraft’s cargo area to give insulin to his diabetic pet dog in the hold by an air marshal.

After almost four hours she was guided out in darkness after portable steps were found for them to disembark.

“Inside the terminal there were thousands all over, children crying,” she said. “The air conditioning wasn’t working and it was very hot inside.”

The local police department confirmed it had sent extra officers to help the airport with the situation.

About 30,000 passengers were reportedly affected by the power cut.

Atlanta is located within a two-hour flight of 80% of the US population, making the city a major port of entry into the US and a common stopover for travel within the country.

Source: BBC

ANC delegates vote to choose Zuma’s successor

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The two contenders are Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa

Thousands of delegates are voting in Johannesburg for a successor to President Jacob Zuma as leader of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC).

The vote began in the early hours of Monday and is still going on.

The choice is between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Emotions have run high, with delegates shouting each other down as they raised objections over voting rules.

The eventual winner will be in a strong position to become national president after elections in 2019.

But the leadership battle has caused fierce political infighting, raising fears the party may split before then.

Mr Zuma has warned the party is under threat and is at a “crossroads”.

It has been in power since the country transitioned to democracy in 1994 under Nelson Mandela.

More than 5,000 delegates are taking part in the four-day ANC elective conference at the Expo Centre in Johannesburg.

Many there are saying there could be just the smallest of margins between winning and losing when the results come in, says the BBC’s Lebo Diseko at the conference.

The leadership contest is done in secret and is expected to be close, with legal challenges a possibility.

But proceedings were delayed as claims that bogus delegates had been accredited and real delegates barred were resolved.

A BBC correspondent there said voting was brought to a stop with what seemed like most of the room singing in support for Ms Dlamini-Zuma, who is President Zuma’s ex-wife. And unlike on Saturday, it was difficult to hear any counter singing in support of Mr Ramaphosa.

The party had said that anyone singing “divisive” songs would be thrown out, but there was little sign of that.

President Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, is expected to remain in power until the 2019 national elections. The country limits presidents to two five-year terms.

The 75-year-old has been at the heart of much of the controversy surrounding the ANC party. He currently faces numerous corruption allegations but denies any wrongdoing, having already survived several votes of no confidence in parliament during is presidency.

He is backing his 68-year-old former wife, Ms Dlamini-Zuma, a veteran politician in her own right, who has been critical of the enduring power of white-owned businesses. They have been divorced for almost 20 years and had four children together.

A former leader of the women’s wing of the ANC, Ms Dlamini-Zuma has served as foreign, home and health minister in government.
Her economic agenda is very different to main opponent, the country’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who is one of the country’s wealthiest men and a former leading trade unionist.

Mr Ramaphosa, 65, has spoken out strongly against state corruption and has the backing of the business community.

Recent news that he had a modest lead in the polls was quickly reflected by a rise in the financial markets.
In his final speech as party leader at Saturday’s conference opening, Mr Zuma denounced the party’s “petty squabbling” during the leadership battle.

Last year’s disappointing results for the ANC in local elections, he said, “were a stark reminder that our people are not happy with the state of the ANC”.

In the speech he asserted that “theft and corruption” were as prominent in the private sector as they are in government. He added that “being black and successful is being made synonymous to being corrupt”.

He lashed out at the media, which he said was not “impartial and fair”. He also targeted the judiciary, arguing that the courts should have no role in deciding internal party matters.

The party has overwhelmingly won every victory since 1994, when democratic elections where everyone could vote brought the end to white-minority rule. But it polled only 54% in last year’s local elections, its worst result since taking power.

The BBC’s Andrew Harding says a question remains whether the ANC is in terminal decline, and what that might mean for South Africa’s stability and its future.

Source BBC

Row over Trump team email trove

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A lawyer for a group set up to help Donald Trump’s transition to the White House has accused special counsel Robert Mueller of unlawfully obtaining thousands of emails.

Kory Langhofer made the comments in a letter to congressional committees.

But a spokesperson for Mr Mueller said the “appropriate criminal process” had been followed.

Mr Mueller is investigating allegations of collusion between Mr Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.

What’s the issue?

Mr Langhofer works for the Trump for America (TFA) group. It used the facilities, including email hosting, of a government agency, the General Services Administration (GSA), in the period between Donald Trump’s election in November 2016 and inauguration in January.

In his letter, Mr Langhofer, says GSA staff “unlawfully produced TFA’s private materials, including privileged communications, to the special counsel’s office”.

The GSA, he complains, “did not own or control the records in question” and the constitutional rights of transition officials were violated.

Mr Langhofer goes on to ask Congress to act to protect future presidential transitions from having “private records misappropriated by government agencies, particularly in the context of sensitive investigations intersecting with political motives”.

The emails obtained reportedly involve 13 Trump transition officials, including former national security advisor Michael Flynn who pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI earlier this month.

What’s the reaction been?

A spokesperson for Mr Mueller said they had done nothing wrong.

“When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process,” Peter Carr said.

GSA Deputy Counsel Lenny Loewentritt has denied another of Mr Langhofer’s accusations, that the GSA assured that requests for Trump transition records would go through the group’s lawyers.

He told BuzzFeed that the transition group knew materials would have to be provided to law enforcement “therefore, no expectation of privacy can be assumed”.

Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell tweeted that the accusations were “another attempt to discredit Mueller as his #TrumpRussia probe tightens”.

What’s the status of Mr Mueller’s inquiry?

US intelligence agencies believe Moscow tried to tip the presidential election in favour of Mr Trump but both deny collusion.

The US president has called Mr Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” while other Republicans accuse it of bias.

Michael Flynn became the most senior Trump official to be indicted as part of the inquiry after admitting making false statements to the FBI about meetings with Russia’s ambassador.

President Trump renews attack on ‘disgraceful’ FBI

Another ex-aide, George Papadopoulos, has also pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents.

In October, Mr Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his business associate Rick Gates were accused of conspiring to defraud the US in dealings with Ukraine. Both deny the charges, which do not relate to the Trump campaign.

On Friday, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Adam Schiff, said he feared Republican members wanted to shut down their own investigation.

President Trump’s private lawyers are expected to meet Mr Mueller and members of his team next week to discuss the next phases of the inquiry, US media report.

Source: BBC

ANC: Zuma pleads for unity as party picks new leader

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South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has called on the African National Congress (ANC) to stop infighting as it decides who will next lead the party.

Mr Zuma warned the future of the ANC was under threat, with South Africans “not happy” with it.

The main contenders to succeed him are the deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, and former cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President Zuma’s ex-wife.

Whoever wins is likely to succeed Mr Zuma as South African president.

But their bitter leadership battle has raised fears that the ANC could split before national elections in 2019.

President Zuma can remain head of state until those elections. He has been in office since 2009 and South Africa limits the presidency to two five-year terms.

The leadership contest is expected to be a close one, with legal challenges a possibility.

Addressing delegates at the beginning of a gathering to decide the next ANC leader, Mr Zuma said their movement was at a “crossroads”.

“Petty squabbling that takes us nowhere needs to take back seat, our people are frustrated when we spend more time fighting among ourselves instead of solving the daily challenges they experience,” he said.

Last year’s disappointing results for the ANC in local elections, Mr Zuma said, “were a stark reminder that our people are not happy with the state of the ANC”.

A composite showing Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa

The leading candidates are Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa photo: REUTERS/AFP

President Zuma, 75, has been the focus of much controversy and has survived several votes of no confidence in parliament.

He faces numerous corruption allegations but denies any wrongdoing.

In his final speech as ANC president, he asserted that “theft and corruption” were as prominent in the private sector as they are in government. He added that “being black and successful is being made synonymous to being corrupt”.

He lashed out at the media, which he said was not “impartial and fair”. He also targeted the judiciary, arguing that the courts should have no role in deciding internal party matters.

For the leadership, President Zuma is backing his 68-year-old former wife, Ms Dlamini-Zuma, a veteran politician in her own right who has been critical of the enduring power of white-owned businesses.

Mr Ramaphosa, 65, has spoken out strongly against state corruption and has the backing of the business community.

Recent news that he had a modest lead in the polls was quickly reflected by a rise in the financial markets.

No one spared

Lebo Diseko, Johannesburg, BBC News

Jacob Zuma came out fighting in his speech, hitting out at his critics both inside and outside the party.

It seemed like no one was spared – from ANC members who voted with the opposition to try and remove him, alliance partners who have booed him and called on him to stand down, to “counter-revolutionary forces” he said were intent on reversing the progress made since 1994, when apartheid was brought to an end.

Indeed, that idea of malevolent forces working to bring down both him and the ANC was a thread that ran right through his speech. Mr Zuma placed his fight against his opponents within the wider framework of the fight against apartheid.

He ended his speech by saying “I tried my best”, and of those who tried to bring him down “I bear no grudges”. He then led the room in song.

This was Jacob Zuma in his element: a rousing speaker, a fierce opponent, delivering cutting rebukes with charm and charisma.

Grey line

More than 5,000 delegates are taking part in the four-day ANC elective conference at the Expo Centre in Johannesburg.

A vote on the new leader is expected on Sunday.

The first major engagement for the new leader will be the party’s anniversary celebrations on 8 January.

The ANC has governed South Africa since the first democratic election more than 20 years ago.

The BBC’s Andrew Harding says a question remains whether the ANC is in terminal decline, and what that might mean for South Africa’s stability and its future.

The ANC was the party of Nelson Mandela but have people lost faith under Jacob Zuma?

Source: BBC

ANC gathers to choose new leader

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President Jacob Zuma 

South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) is preparing to choose a new party leader to succeed President Jacob Zuma.

The main candidates are the current deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, and former cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President Zuma’s ex-wife.

The tense leadership battle has raised fears that the ANC could split before national elections in 2019.

President Zuma can remain head of state until those elections.

Whoever becomes the new ANC leader is likely to succeed him as president of the country.

As delegates gathered for the four-day conference in Johannesburg, Mr Zuma, who faces multiple corruption allegations, has urged the party to unite behind the eventual winner.

The leadership contest is expected to be a close one, with legal challenges a possibility.

Grey line

ANC future in the balance

Analysis by Andrew Harding, BBC News, Johannesburg

The ANC is still the dominant political force here but the party itself bluntly admits to “looting”, “infighting” and a loss of public trust.

Many here blame President Zuma. Only this week, the High Court condemned his behaviour as “grossly remiss”.

If Mr Ramaphosa loses, the party could split before elections in 2019. Foreign confidence in South Africa’s struggling economy would almost certainly be damaged in the short term.

The larger question is whether, after 23 years in power, the ANC is in terminal decline, and what that might mean for South Africa’s stability and its future.

Grey line

President Zuma is backing his 68-year-old former wife, Ms Dlamini-Zuma, a veteran politician in her own right who has been critical of the enduring power of white-owned businesses.

A guest takes a selfie with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma during a presidential Gala dinner at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg on December 15, 2017

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has spent almost two decades in key government positions photo: AFP

Mr Ramaphosa, 65, has spoken out strongly against state corruption and has the backing of the business community.

Recent news that he had a modest lead in the polls was quickly reflected by a rise in the financial markets.

Cyril Ramaphosa arrives for a presidential Gala dinner at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg on December 15, 2017

Cyril Ramaphosa has sought to reassure the business sector photo: AFP

President Zuma, 75, has been the focus of much controversy and he has survived several votes of no confidence in parliament.

He faces numerous corruption allegations but denies any wrongdoing.

More than 5,000 delegates are taking part in the four-day ANC elective conference at the Expo Centre in Johannesburg.

The first major engagement for the new leader will be the ANC anniversary celebrations on 8 January.

The ANC has governed South Africa since the first democratic election more than 20 years ago.

South African President Jacob Zuma (C) takes his seat during a presidential Gala dinner at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg on December 15, 2017

President Jacob Zuma can stay on as head of state until elections in 2019 photo: AFP

Source: BBC

French school bus cut in two in rail crash

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A train and a school bus have collided near Perpignan in southern France, leaving at least four children dead and many other people injured.

Twenty people were injured and 10 of them were in a critical condition, after the crash on a level crossing between Millas and Saint-Féliu-d’Amont.

The bus had picked up pupils, aged between 13 and 17, from a nearby secondary school before it was hit.

Pictures from the scene showed the bus split in two by the force of the crash.

Train operator SNCF said witnesses had reported seeing the barriers at the level crossing down at the time of the collision, although that was not confirmed.

The bus, which had left the Christian Bourquin College in Millas, was on the crossing when it was hit by the train, which was travelling from Perpignan at around 80km/h (50mph). Visibility was described as good.

A witness who was on the train told local news website l’Indépendant that “it was a very violent crash – it seemed as if the train would derail”. Some 30 people were on the regional train at the time.

Investigators are waiting to interview the woman driver of the bus who was slightly injured in the crash. Both drivers escaped serious injury.

Carole Delga, president of the Occitanie regional council, said the level crossing appeared to be in very good condition and had been upgraded recently. “The level crossing was very visible,” she said. SNCF said it had an automatic barrier with standard signals and was not considered particularly dangerous.

But the grandmother of an injured 11-year-old girl who had been on the bus told a very different story. The girl said the barrier had not come down but remained raised. “The red lights that normally flash did not come on,” she said. “The (bus) driver went through and stopped half way, and that’s where the train crashed into it.”

Rail operator SNCF has modernised level crossings across France in recent years, following numerous accidents, the BBC’s Chris Bockman reports from Toulouse.

Map showing the location of the crash

The four victims have been identified, French media reported.

More than 150 emergency workers and four helicopters were deployed as part of the rescue effort.

Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne called the crash a “terrible accident” and Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer was due to visit a counselling centre set up at the Christian Bourquin College on Friday.

A statement from the education minister’s office said he would visit “to support students, families, teachers and the entire educational community”.

In a tweet, French President Emmanuel Macron offered his condolences: “All my thoughts for the victims of this terrible accident involving a school bus, as well as their families. The state is fully mobilised to help them.”

Source: BBC

Thousands of Rohingya ‘killed in a month’

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Among the refugees are many young children

At least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the month after violence broke out in Myanmar in August, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says.

Based on surveys of refugees in Bangladesh, the number is much higher than Myanmar’s official figure of 400.

MSF said it was “the clearest indication yet of the widespread violence” by Myanmar authorities.

The Myanmar military blames the violence on “terrorists” and has denied any wrongdoing.

More than 647,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh since August, MSF says.

The aid group’s survey found that at least 9,000 Rohingya died in Myanmar, also known as Burma, between 25 August and 24 September.

“In the most conservative estimations” at least 6,700 of those deaths have been caused by violence, including at least 730 children under the age of five, according to MSF.

Previously, the armed forces stated that around 400 people had been killed, most of them described as Muslim terrorists.


A case for the International Criminal Court?

Jonathan Head, South East Asia correspondent

There have been plenty of detailed reports by journalists and researchers, based on interviews conducted with refugees, which make it hard to dispute that terrible human rights abuses took place at the hands of the security forces.

But many of these reports focussed on the worst cases; there are several media reports about a massacre at one village called Tula Toli. Some Rohingya I interviewed told me they had fled in fear of violence, but had not actually experienced it.

This well-researched figure by MSF suggests the operation conducted by the military was brutal enough to raise the possibility of taking a case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.

The problem would be that Myanmar has not ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC and is not bound to co-operate with it. Bringing a case would require the approval of all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and China has until now given its full support to the Myanmar government’s handling of the crisis.


The military crackdown began on 25 August after Rohingya Arsa militants attacked more than 30 police posts.

After an internal investigation, the Myanmar army in November exonerated itself of any blame regarding the crisis.

It denied killing any civilians, burning their villages, raping women and girls, and stealing possessions.

The mostly Muslim minority are denied citizenship by Myanmar, where they are seen as immigrants from Bangladesh. The government does not use the term Rohingya but calls them Bengali Muslims.

The government’s assertions contradicted evidence seen by BBC correspondents. The United Nations human rights chief has said it seems like “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

An injured Rohingya boy lifts his T-shirt to reveal a large bandage across his stomach

MSF says the experiences recounted by refugees were “horrific”

“What we uncovered was staggering, both in terms of the numbers of people who reported a family member died as a result of violence, and the horrific ways in which they said they were killed or severely injured,” MSF Medical Director Sidney Wong said.

According to MSF:

  • 69% of the violence-related deaths were caused by gunshots
  • 9% were due to being burnt to death in their houses
  • 5% were beaten to death.

Among the dead children below the age of five, MSF says more than 59% were reportedly shot, 15% burnt to death, 7% beaten to death and 2% killed by landmine blasts.

Momtaz Begum

Many refugees have been subject to brutal violence photo: REUTERS

“The numbers of deaths are likely to be an underestimation as we have not surveyed all refugee settlements in Bangladesh and because the surveys don’t account for the families who never made it out of Myanmar,” Mr Wong said.

In November, Bangladesh signed a deal with Myanmar to return hundreds of thousands of the refugees.

MSF said the agreement was “premature” pointing out that “currently people are still fleeing” and reports of violence have come even in recent weeks.

The group also warned there was still very limited access for aid groups into Rakhine state.

The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority who have long experienced persecution in Myanmar.

Source: BBC

We won’t allow Liberia slide back into instability & conflict – Akufo-Addo

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Ghana’s president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says West Africa is not prepared to contemplate the scenario of Liberia sliding back into instability and conflict.

He said ECOWAS over the years, has made a huge investment in promoting peace in Liberia, and “we will do all we can to ensure that democracy is entrenched in Liberia, and we will not accept any other outcome.”

The December 7, 2017 ruling by Liberia’s Supreme Court on their presidential election, the President said, must ensure that Liberia will have its first peaceful handover of power from one democratically elected leader to another in 73 years.

“The work undertaken by that truly historic figure, the first elected female leader of an African nation, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in stabilising the country, after a bitter and protracted civil war, has been very solid and commendable,” he said.

He continued: “I am anticipating that, at the end of the day, Liberia’s institutions, particularly the Supreme Court and the Electoral Commission, will be up to the task, and shepherd the country through a successful transition.”

Nana Akufo-Addo made this known on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 when he delivered the Commencement Address at the 98th Commencement Exercises of the University of Liberia, in Monrovia.

Transform structure of African economies

With over 2,500 students graduating from the University, the President noted that it is not enough to hold successful elections every four years or to be able to criticize the government and to have a choice of 100 radio stations.

Democracy, he explained, must ensure that we are able to provide our people with a good quality of life.

“The structure of economies, bequeathed to us by colonialism, was dependent on the production and export of raw materials. Even though Liberia was not colonised, the structure of her economy remains very much the same as the others on the continent. Such economies cannot create opportunities, prosperity and wealth for our people,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo stressed that the time is long overdue for Africa to transform the structure of African economies to serve better the needs of the African peoples.

“Too many of our peoples are still kept down by extreme poverty. The promise of prosperity that was to accompany freedom has not materialised for the mass of the African peoples, and has rather been replaced with widespread despondency across the continent. This is not what our forebears promised,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo, therefore, urged “the current generation” of African youths to meet the challenges of today, and help banish the disgraceful spectre of young Africans, taking harrowing risks in trekking the Sahara desert or drowning in the Mediterranean, seeking greener pastures in Europe.

“Your generation has to ensure the fulfilment of the statement, made almost 70 years ago in 1949 to the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly by Joseph Boakye Danquah, the father of modern Ghanaian nationalism, that ‘the two things go together, economic freedom and political freedom. And we must have the two together in this very age, and in the shortest possible time’”, President Akufo-Addo added.

To this end, President Akufo-Addo stressed that a new paradigm of leadership on the continent is called for, i.e. “leaders who are committed to governing their peoples according to the rule of law, respect for individual liberties, human rights, the principles of democratic accountability and social justice; leaders who are looking past commodities to position their countries in the global marketplace”.

The President also called for “leaders who are determined to free their peoples from a mindset of dependence, aid, charity and hand-outs; leaders who are bent on mobilizing Africa’s own immeasurable resources to resolve Africa’s problems; leaders who recognise the connectedness of their peoples and economies to those of their neighbours.”

This new generation of African leaders, the President added, “should help bring dignity and prosperity to our continent and its longsuffering peoples.”

By 3news.com|Ghana

EU rebuffs Netanyahu on Jerusalem

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The EU’s foreign policy chief says there is “full EU unity” in support of Jerusalem becoming the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Federica Mogherini said the bloc’s member states would not recognise the city as Israel’s capital before a final status peace agreement.

She spoke after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who wants the EU to follow the US in doing so.

President Donald Trump’s move prompted widespread international criticism.

Ms Mogherini, who was speaking at a news conference in Brussels alongside Mr Netanyahu, said the EU would continue to recognise the “international consensus” on Jerusalem.

“There is full EU unity on this, that the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states with Jerusalem as the capital of both the state of Israel and the state of Palestine.

“The EU and member states will continue to respect the international consensus on Jerusalem until the final status of the holy city is resolved, through direct negotiations between the parties.”

But Mr Netanyahu said the US decision was a recognition of “reality”.

He is in Brussels for talks with EU foreign ministers – the first time an Israeli prime minister has visited the city in more than 20 years.

Mr Trump’s announcement drew worldwide condemnation and sparked protests which continued for a fifth day on Monday.

In the West Bank, dozens of Palestinians threw stones at Israeli soldiers.

Palestinian militants in Gaza fired a rocket into Israel, and the Israeli military said it responded with air strikes and tank fire targeting a position of Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the territory, reports say.

Protests are continuing in the region, including Dahia, the Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut.

Speaking from an undisclosed location, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said: “Trump thought that when he made his announcement… capitals around the world and in Arab countries would rush to support him.

“Now he seems isolated, only supported by Israel. This position is very important and should be built upon.”

Embassy move

As well as recognising Jerusalem, President Trump also said he was directing the US state department to prepare to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has for a second time on Monday criticised Mr Trump’s decision to move the US embassy.

Speaking in Ankara, Turkey, after talks with his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mr Putin said:

“Both Russia and Turkey think that the US administration’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the American embassy there is not helping the settlement of the situation in the Middle East.

“Effectively, this could erase the prospects for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.”

Why Trump’s move was controversial

Israel regards Jerusalem as its “eternal and undivided” capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel since 1967 – as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally, and all countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv.

According to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the final status of Jerusalem is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

Since 1967, Israel has built a dozen settlements, home to about 200,000 Jews, in East Jerusalem. These are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

Jerusalem is also home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.

Source: BBC