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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

UN chief to visit CAR amid tense security situation
22 October 2017, 12:00 PM

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is expected to arrive in the Central African Republic on Tuesday, as violence between Muslim and Christian militias has intensified in the past few months.

“This is a gesture of solidarity with the peacekeepers working in one of the most dangerous environments,” Guterres said in an interview with AFP and Radio France Internationale (RFI).

His trip to one of the world’s poorest countries will be his first as part of a peacekeeping mission since taking office on January 1 but he regularly visited the country as former head of the UN refugee agency United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The secretary general’s visit comes at a time when the United Nations faces a precarious financial situation, as the United States pushes for cost-cutting measures in peacekeeping.

The international body has maintained some 12,500 troops and police on the ground in the Central African Republic since September 2014 to help protect civilians and support the government of Faustin-Archange Touadera, who was elected last year.

Its mandate expires on November 15, 2017 but is expected to be renewed.

For Guterres whose visit coincides with “United Nations Day” marking the entry into force of the UN charter “the level of suffering of the people but also the trauma suffered by aid workers and peacekeepers are deserving of our solidarity and heightened attention.”

One of the world’s poorest nations, the Central African Republic has been struggling to recover from a three-year civil war between the Muslim and Christian militias that started after the 2013 overthrow of leader Francois Bozize.

Between 2013 and 2016, acting under a UN mandate, France intervened militarily to push out the Muslim Seleka rebels and the United Nations launched its Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca) peacekeeping mission in 2014 but the country remains plagued by violence.

Since May, renewed clashes in the southeast have pitted armed groups against each other as they compete for control of natural resources and areas of influence, while claiming to protect communities.

MINUSCA said Friday that at least 26 people were killed during clashes in the town of Pombolo, while another 11 were wounded.

Since the beginning of the year, 12 aid workers and 12 peacekeepers have also been killed six peacekeepers alone in Bangassou where Guterres is expected to make a stop.

– By AFP

UN chief to visit CAR amid tense security situation
22 October 2017, 12:00 PM

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is expected to arrive in the Central African Republic on Tuesday, as violence between Muslim and Christian militias has intensified in the past few months.

“This is a gesture of solidarity with the peacekeepers working in one of the most dangerous environments,” Guterres said in an interview with AFP and Radio France Internationale (RFI).

His trip to one of the world’s poorest countries will be his first as part of a peacekeeping mission since taking office on January 1 but he regularly visited the country as former head of the UN refugee agency United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The secretary general’s visit comes at a time when the United Nations faces a precarious financial situation, as the United States pushes for cost-cutting measures in peacekeeping.

The international body has maintained some 12,500 troops and police on the ground in the Central African Republic since September 2014 to help protect civilians and support the government of Faustin-Archange Touadera, who was elected last year.

Its mandate expires on November 15, 2017 but is expected to be renewed.

For Guterres whose visit coincides with “United Nations Day” marking the entry into force of the UN charter “the level of suffering of the people but also the trauma suffered by aid workers and peacekeepers are deserving of our solidarity and heightened attention.”

One of the world’s poorest nations, the Central African Republic has been struggling to recover from a three-year civil war between the Muslim and Christian militias that started after the 2013 overthrow of leader Francois Bozize.

Between 2013 and 2016, acting under a UN mandate, France intervened militarily to push out the Muslim Seleka rebels and the United Nations launched its Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca) peacekeeping mission in 2014 but the country remains plagued by violence.

Since May, renewed clashes in the southeast have pitted armed groups against each other as they compete for control of natural resources and areas of influence, while claiming to protect communities.

MINUSCA said Friday that at least 26 people were killed during clashes in the town of Pombolo, while another 11 were wounded.

Since the beginning of the year, 12 aid workers and 12 peacekeepers have also been killed six peacekeepers alone in Bangassou where Guterres is expected to make a stop.

Sunday 22 October 2017 12:00

AFP

UN chief to visit CAR amid tense security situation
22 October 2017, 12:00 PM

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is expected to arrive in the Central African Republic on Tuesday, as violence between Muslim and Christian militias has intensified in the past few months.

“This is a gesture of solidarity with the peacekeepers working in one of the most dangerous environments,” Guterres said in an interview with AFP and Radio France Internationale (RFI).

His trip to one of the world’s poorest countries will be his first as part of a peacekeeping mission since taking office on January 1 but he regularly visited the country as former head of the UN refugee agency United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The secretary general’s visit comes at a time when the United Nations faces a precarious financial situation, as the United States pushes for cost-cutting measures in peacekeeping.

The international body has maintained some 12,500 troops and police on the ground in the Central African Republic since September 2014 to help protect civilians and support the government of Faustin-Archange Touadera, who was elected last year.

Its mandate expires on November 15, 2017 but is expected to be renewed.

For Guterres whose visit coincides with “United Nations Day” marking the entry into force of the UN charter “the level of suffering of the people but also the trauma suffered by aid workers and peacekeepers are deserving of our solidarity and heightened attention.”

One of the world’s poorest nations, the Central African Republic has been struggling to recover from a three-year civil war between the Muslim and Christian militias that started after the 2013 overthrow of leader Francois Bozize.

Between 2013 and 2016, acting under a UN mandate, France intervened militarily to push out the Muslim Seleka rebels and the United Nations launched its Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca) peacekeeping mission in 2014 but the country remains plagued by violence.

Since May, renewed clashes in the southeast have pitted armed groups against each other as they compete for control of natural resources and areas of influence, while claiming to protect communities.

MINUSCA said Friday that at least 26 people were killed during clashes in the town of Pombolo, while another 11 were wounded.

Since the beginning of the year, 12 aid workers and 12 peacekeepers have also been killed six peacekeepers alone in Bangassou where Guterres is expected to make a stop.

Sunday 22 October 2017 12:00

AFP

Somalia truck bomb death toll jumps to 358
21 October 2017, 6:36 AM

Somalia’s deadliest ever attack, a truck bomb in the capital Mogadishu, has now killed 358 people with 228 more injured, the government said late Friday, a major jump in the fatality toll.

A truck packed with explosives blew up in Hodan on October 14, destroying some 20 buildings in the bustling commercial district, leaving scores of victims burned beyond recognition.

Several experts told AFP the truck was probably carrying at least 500 kilos (1,100 pounds) of explosives.

“The latest number of casualties 642 (358 dead, 228 injured, 56 missing). 122 injured ppl flown to Turkey, Sudan & Kenya,” Somali Minister of Information Abdirahman Osman tweeted.

The figures mark a sharp increase in the toll, which earlier this week was put at 276 dead and 300 wounded.

The attack has overwhelmed Somalia’s fragile health system, and allies from the US, Qatar, Turkey and Kenya have sent planeloads of medical supplies as well as doctors, with all except the US also evacuating some of the wounded.

Death tolls are notoriously difficult to establish in Mogadishu, with families often quickly taking victims away to be buried.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility, but Al-Shabaab, a militant group aligned with Al-Qaeda, carries out regular suicide bombings in Mogadishu in its bid to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed government.

The group has a history of not claiming attacks whose scale provokes massive public outrage.

Already more than 100 unidentified people have been buried who were burned beyond recognition.

While the rapid burial is partly due to Islamic culture, the Somali government also has no proper morgue nor the capability to carry out forensic tests to identify the victims.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed vowed Wednesday to step up the war against Al-Shabaab, saying that the attack showed “that we have not done enough to stop Shabaab.”

“If we don’t respond to this now, the time will surely come when pieces of flesh from all of us are being picked up off the ground. We need to stand up together and fight Al-Shabaab who continue massacring our people,” he said.

However it was unclear what Farmajo — who came into office eight months ago also vowing to eliminate Al-Shabaab — planned to do to stop the militants from carrying out such attacks.
The previous most deadly attack in Somalia killed 82 people and injured 120 in October 2011.

Saturday 21 October 2017 06:36

https://www.photosnack.com/FEDFB57EFB5/somaliabombings.html

AFP

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