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Corneille Nangaa, president of Congo's National Independent Electoral Commission.
US imposed sanctions on three DRC senior officials
22 March 2019, 5:48 AM

The US has imposed sanctions on three senior officials from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission, accusing them of corruption and obstructing the December presidential election.

The US Treasury says in a statement that the commission’s organisation of the December 30 election, which led to Congo’s first ever transfer of power via the ballot box, failed to ensure that the vote reflected the will of the Congolese people.

The statement stopped short of calling into question the legitimacy of President Félix Tshisekedi’s victory.

This is despite what sources say is an outright rigging to deny runner-up Martin Fayulu the win.

CEO of the IEC, Sy Mamabolo.
Cost of elections increased due to number of contesting parties
20 March 2019, 11:26 AM

The Electoral Commission says the significant increase in political parties contesting this year’s election, has considerably raised the cost of preparing for the elections.

48-political parties will contest the May 8 national poll with over 600 contesting the nine provinces. Political parties will on Wednesday sign the electoral code of conduct.

Addressing the event in Midrand in Johannesburg, IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo says they are ready to provide free and fair elections.

He adds that they have been working with an international organisation to train at least a thousand IEC officials to mitigate and deal with any violence that may arise during the voting process.

“The significant increase in the number of contesting parties has placed a perverse cost burden on the IEC. The commission has been working with a European centre for electoral support on a project to prevent and mitigate and manage election-related conflict and potential violence. We have managed to train over a 1 000 individuals in leadership and conflict management in electoral processes. The electoral commission is on track and will deliver elections on the 8th of May.”

Click on video below: 

WATCH: Signing of the Electoral Code of Conduct Pledge
20 March 2019, 11:00 AM

Political parties sign the Electoral Code of Conduct Pledge hosted by the Electoral Commission at the Gallager Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

On Tuesday, Judge President of the Independent Electoral Court, Boissie Mbha, says he is concerned that after 25-years, South Africa’s democracy is still maturing.

He was addressing representatives of political parties who signed a pledge in Durban, committing them to the IEC’s code of conduct.

 

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
New Zealand PM urges global action on social media perils
20 March 2019, 10:05 AM

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday called for a global response to the dangers of social media as the Muslim community began burying their dead five days after the twin-mosques massacre.

A white supremacist gunman streamed his 17-minutes of carnage in which he is accused of killing 50 Muslim worshippers during their Friday prayers.

Facebook said the livestream from Christchurch was viewed fewer than 200 times, but it had to remove a staggering 1.5-million videos as footage of the slaughter went viral.

Ardern said while her focus was on the people of New Zealand, there were issues world leaders needed “to confront collectively”.

“We cannot, for instance, just simply deal with some of the issues we face with our social media to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis,” she said.

“There is an argument there to be made for us to take a united front on a global issue. This is not just an issue for New Zealand, the fact that social media platforms have been used to spread violence (and) material that incites violence. All of us need to present a united front.”

In the United States, a congressional panel said it was asking top executives from US tech firms to explain the proliferation online of the “horrific” video.

The House Committee on Homeland Security called it “critically important” to filter such violent images.

Social media companies have long argued that they are not responsible for what is put on their platforms but Ardern has countered that they cannot simply be “all profit, no responsibility”.

A 44-year-old businessman was remanded in custody after a preliminary court appearance in Christchurch onWednesday on charges of distributing footage of one of the mosque shootings. If found guilty, he faces up to 14-years in jail.

Ardern also announced New Zealand would hold two minutes of silence as a mark of respect for the dead on Friday and women in the country were being encouraged to wear headscarves to show their support for the Muslim community.

Indonesia flash floods.
Indonesia flood death toll tops 100, dozens still missing
20 March 2019, 9:44 AM

The death toll from flash floods and landslides that tore through Indonesia’s Papua region has topped 100 with dozens more still missing, the disaster agency said Wednesday.

Nearly 10,000 people have moved to shelters while at least 104 victims are confirmed to have died and 79 are unaccounted for in the aftermath of the disaster, triggered by heavy rain on Saturday.

Scores have suffered injuries, including cuts and broken bones, while some 40 unidentified bodies would be buried in a mass grave on Thursday, officials said.

Many survivors fear more floods will rip through hard-hit Papua, which shares a border with independent Papua New Guinea on an island just north of Australia.

“The increasing number of evacuees has made the shelters very crowded and uncomfortable,” said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

As teams loaded mud-caked corpses into body bags, the search for survivors was hampered by mountains of debris including rocks and fallen trees.

Hundreds of homes, bridges, schools and other public facilities were destroyed.

More than 2,300 personnel have been deployed to search for the missing victims and to clean up debris.

Flooding is common in Indonesia, especially during the rainy season which runs from October to April.

In January, floods and landslides killed at least 70 people on Sulawesi island, while earlier this month hundreds in West Java province were forced to evacuate when torrential rains triggered severe flooding.

Meanwhile, three people were killed – including two Malaysian tourists – and some 182 were injured after an earthquake on Sunday triggered a landslide on the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, next to Bali.

Lombok was rocked by several earthquakes last summer, killing more than 500 people and leaving over 150 000 homeless.

And in September last year, the country was hit by an earthquake and tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island which killed around 2,200 people.

The Southeast Asian archipelago of some 17 000 islands is one of the most disaster-prone nations on Earth, straddling the Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common.

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