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Hundreds of skeletons discovered in Sri Lanka mass grave
29 December 2018, 6:45 AM

Close to 300 skeletons have been found at one of the biggest mass graves uncovered in Sri Lanka since the end of the country’s civil war almost a decade ago.

Dozens of women and children as well as men were buried at the site in Mannar where Tamil guerrillas fought security forces during the conflict.

Some of the victims appear to have been bound.

Mannar was a key battleground in Sri Lanka’s four decade-long separatist conflict in which the Tamil Tigers waged a bloody war against government troops.

The war ended in 2009 after a major military offensive.

Zimbabwe's MDC party leader Nelson Chamisa
MDC approaches court to challenge Zimbabwean election results
8 August 2018, 2:36 PM

Zimbabwe’s MDC opposition party has vowed to overturn in court President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s narrow election victory, alleging that he won the historic vote via, quote: “mammoth theft and fraud”.

The MDC has until Friday to lodge its suit.

Mnangagwa — formerly a close ally of Mugabe — won 50.8 % in last week’s vote, just scraping in above the 50% run-off threshold.

Meanwhile, there is still no word on the fate of opposition leader Tendai Biti who was arrested as he tried to flee to neighbouring Zambia.

The state-run Chronicle newspaper says Biti was among nine suspects sought for inciting the MDC protests after the announcement of the parliamentary election results.

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Uganda denies it will host expelled migrants from Israel
4 January 2018, 4:15 PM

Uganda on Thursday denied it had agreed to receive thousands of African migrants as part a deal with Israel.

The denial came a day after Israel launched the programme to force some 38,000 migrants, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, to leave the country.

Israel has not clearly said where the migrants will go, but tacitly recognises it is too dangerous to return the Sudanese and Eritreans home.

As a result, according to activists in Israel, it has signed deals with Rwanda and Uganda, which agree to accept departing migrants on condition they consent to the arrangement.

Uganda, however, said it had made no such deal.

“Uganda is disturbed by these reports,” Foreign Affairs Minister Henry Okello Oryem told AFP. “We have no such agreement with the government of Israel to send refugees here.”

There was no immediate reaction from Rwanda.

Under Israel’s programme, migrants have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to do so, and those who remain will face arrest.

In Israel on Wednesday, Adi Drori-Avraham, from an NGO called ASSAF (Aid Organisation for Refugees and Asylum Seekers), told AFP: “From what we know, Uganda is a party to the amended agreement, allowing that people can be coerced into leaving.”

“It has published a denial, although I have to say that Uganda has for years been denying that it has some kind of deal with Israel,” he said.

“But we see that thousands arrive there. So, I don’t know how much Uganda’s denials should be taken seriously.”

WHO reverses Mugabe ambassador appointment
22 October 2017, 4:07 PM

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday reversed his decision to name Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador, following widespread uproar.

“Over the last few days, I have reflected on my appointment of President Robert Mugabe as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for (Non-communicable diseases) in Africa. As a result I have decided to rescind the appointment” the head of the UN agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a statement.

Tedros, who took charge of WHO in July, said he had “listened carefully” to those who condemned the decision and spoken to the Harare government. “We have concluded that this decision is in the best interests of the World Health Organization.”

Tedros had announced the appointment earlier this week during a speech in Uruguay, where he praised Zimbabwe as “a country that places universal health coverage and health promotion at the centre of its policies to provide health care to all”.

But activists, public health experts and key WHO donors like Britain, Canada and the United States swiftly denounced any prospective role for Mugabe, saying Zimbabwe’s healthcare system has collapsed under his 37 years of authoritarian rule. Tedros said on Sunday his goal was “to build political leadership and create unity around bringing health to all.”

The WHO boss had faced mounting pressure to reverse the decision, including from some of the leading voices in global public health. “The Mugabe appointment, coming at the end of (Tedros’s) first 100 days, was a misstep,” the director of the Global Health Institute at Harvard University, Ashish K. Jha, told AFP in an email shortly before the WHO decision was announced.

“Reversing will actually be a strong sign that the leadership listens and is willing to be responsive to views of the global public,” he added.

The US ambassador to the United Nations during Barack Obama’s administration, Samantha Power, tweeted: “Tedros will surely revoke terrible apptmt of Mugabe as goodwill ambassador, but damage is done. “The only person whose health 93-yo Mugabe has looked out for in his 37 year reign is his own.”

Multiple critics noted that Mugabe, who is 93 and in increasingly fragile health, travels abroad for medical care because Zimbabwe’s health care system has been so severely decimated.

Richard Horton, the editor of the leading medical journal The Lancet said: “WHO DG stands for Director-General, not Dictator-General. Tedros, my friend, retract your decision, consult with colleagues, and rethink.”

– By AFP

WHO reverses Mugabe ambassador appointment
22 October 2017, 4:07 PM

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday reversed his decision to name Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador, following widespread uproar.

“Over the last few days, I have reflected on my appointment of President Robert Mugabe as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for (Non-communicable diseases) in Africa. As a result I have decided to rescind the appointment” the head of the UN agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a statement.

Tedros, who took charge of WHO in July, said he had “listened carefully” to those who condemned the decision and spoken to the Harare government. “We have concluded that this decision is in the best interests of the World Health Organization.”

Tedros had announced the appointment earlier this week during a speech in Uruguay, where he praised Zimbabwe as “a country that places universal health coverage and health promotion at the centre of its policies to provide health care to all”.

But activists, public health experts and key WHO donors like Britain, Canada and the United States swiftly denounced any prospective role for Mugabe, saying Zimbabwe’s healthcare system has collapsed under his 37 years of authoritarian rule. Tedros said on Sunday his goal was “to build political leadership and create unity around bringing health to all.”

The WHO boss had faced mounting pressure to reverse the decision, including from some of the leading voices in global public health. “The Mugabe appointment, coming at the end of (Tedros’s) first 100 days, was a misstep,” the director of the Global Health Institute at Harvard University, Ashish K. Jha, told AFP in an email shortly before the WHO decision was announced.

“Reversing will actually be a strong sign that the leadership listens and is willing to be responsive to views of the global public,” he added.

The US ambassador to the United Nations during Barack Obama’s administration, Samantha Power, tweeted: “Tedros will surely revoke terrible apptmt of Mugabe as goodwill ambassador, but damage is done. “The only person whose health 93-yo Mugabe has looked out for in his 37 year reign is his own.”

Multiple critics noted that Mugabe, who is 93 and in increasingly fragile health, travels abroad for medical care because Zimbabwe’s health care system has been so severely decimated.

Richard Horton, the editor of the leading medical journal The Lancet said: “WHO DG stands for Director-General, not Dictator-General. Tedros, my friend, retract your decision, consult with colleagues, and rethink.”

Sunday 22 October 2017 16:07

AFP

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