International

New Gambian President Sworn-In

Gambia's new president thanked his nation and promised greater freedom, an improved economy and better education as thousands attended a ceremony Saturday marking his inauguration after a tense political standoff with the country's former longtime leader.

"This is a victory for democracy. It is a victory for all Gambians," President Adama Barrow said to a packed stadium near the capital that included dignitaries and several African heads of state.

34 Killed in Somalia Blast

The blast by a car bomb parked near a restaurant went off at a busy time when shoppers and traders were gathered inside the market, said district commissioner Ahmed Abdulle.

Many of the dead were carried away by their relatives soon after the blast, said Captain Mohamed Hussein.

Elections too Expensive for DRC

Budget Minister Pierre Kangudia said the cost of organising the poll, which was said to be $1.8bn (£1.5bn), was too expensive.

Last year the government and the opposition agreed that new elections would be held by the end of 2017.

Elections in DR Congo are often controversial. Last year, protests against moves to delay the presidential poll resulted in at least 50 deaths.

To read the article titled, “DR Congo election: 'We cannot afford $1.8bn cost', says minister” click here

Bird-flu Shuts Chinese Markets

China is experiencing its deadliest outbreak of the H7N9 bird-flu strain since it first appeared in humans in 2013, killing 79 people in January alone and spurring several cities to suspend live poultry trade.

The surge in fatalities has raised concerns that a severe outbreak looms, though health officials have said the worst has likely passed.

The government is urging people to avoid live poultry markets, where poor sanitation conditions can raise the risk of contamination.

Dineo Bears Down on Mozambique

Mozambican authorities have warned people in provinces of Inhambane and Gaza to brace for the arrival of category 4 tropical cyclone Dineo on Wednesday evening.

The Ministry of State Administration and Civil Service said Dineo recorded wind speeds of up to 200km/h and rainfall of 100mm in 24 hours. The strong winds are also expected to increase the numbers of homes, roads, and schools damaged.

The national emergency operational centre instructed Mozambicans to keep themselves informed, but to turn off all electronic devices, including cellphones.

Zim Far on ICTs

Zimbabwe has adopted the biometric voting registration (BVR) system, as part of advancements in information communication technologies (ICTs), in a move anticipated to ensure the security of elections, whose handling has always been a source of contestation.
 
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has urged citizens to embrace the development and called on all eligible voters to ensure their names would be on the new biometric voters’ roll.

Jonathan Moyo to Pay

Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo was yesterday slapped with costs after his application challenging the constitutionality of his arrest by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) was postponed indefinitely for failing to comply with the Supreme Court rules.

Through his lawyers, Moyo failed to properly paginate and bind his court documents in strict violation of rule 43 of the Supreme Court. This prompted the full Constitutional Court (ConCourt) bench to censure Moyo’s legal practitioners and decline to entertain the matter.

32 Die After Drinking from a Well

At least 32 people have died in Somalia after drinking water from a well that was believed to have been poisoned, officials said on Monday.

More than 10 other people were hospitalised after drinking the water in Masuubiye near the south-western city of Baidoa, regional senior official Hassan Hussein Elay said.

Elay accused the militant Islamist group al-Shabaab of poisoning the well.

"Al-Shabaab poisoned the waterhole to prevent government soldiers from drinking water there," he said, without providing details.

Hunger, Malnutrition and Death

Repeated rain failures have pushed 15 million people across the three countries into crisis, and in need of aid, as their animals are dying and water is in short supply, Save the Children said in a statement.

"The situation for already desperate children and families in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya will only get worse – leaving millions at risk of hunger, and even death," the charity's Ethiopia country director, John Graham, said.

The next rainy season is likely to bring more below-average rainfall across the region, experts predict.

Gold Price Drops

Gold fell half a percent on Friday and headed for its first weekly loss of the year, as a two-day rise in the dollar prompted some investors to cash in gains after the metal hit its highest since mid-November earlier this week.

The US currency pared some early gains but remained up 0.2 percent against a currency basket on Friday.

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