Sunday, June 24, 2018

'Not My Time': Zimbabwean President Speaks About Explosion Inches Away From Him 
19:22 23.06.2018
Sputnik International

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa survived an explosion that occurred at a ruling ZANU-PF party demonstration on Saturday. The politician, who was immediately evacuated from the scene, has not been hurt and vowed not to let "cowardly act to get in our way".

"There has been an incident at Bulawayo (White City Stadium) where the president was addressing a rally. This is now a police issue but the president is safe at Bulawayo State House," the president's spokesman, George Charamba, said, as quoted by Reuters.

Constantino Chiwenga, one of Zimbabwe's vice presidents, and his wife were slightly wounded in the explosion, whereas the country's political commissar, Rugeje, has reportedly sustained injuries, Reuters reported, citing sources close to the president.

According to The Herald newspaper, Zimbabwe's other vice president, Kembo Mohadi, suffered leg injuries and the minister of water, environment and climate, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, was also wounded in the blast.

Reacting to the incident Mnangagwa stated that the blast took place just inches away from him, but "it wasn't his time". He noted that this is not the first assassination attempt he experienced, adding that there were "so many" of them.

"The campaign so far has been conducted in a free and peaceful environment, and we will not allow this cowardly act to get in our way as we move towards elections," Mnangagwa stated in a Facebook post.

Footage shown by the state TV broadcaster depicts Mnangagwa who had just finished his speech and was ready to leave the stage. When the explosion occurred, the broadcast was interrupted by the provider.

The incident took place amid preparations for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in the country reportedly slated for July 30. The elections will take place for the first time since the end of the 37-year rule of former leader Robert Mugabe.

In November, Mugabe, 93, who served both as president and prime minister, stepped down.

Mnangagwa, who previously served as vice president, was sworn in as Mugabe's successor. One of Mnangagwa's key promises was to revive the country's ruined economy, as well as hold free and fair elections.

Earlier in the day, a similar blast hit a rally in Ethiopia where the country's prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, was addressing supporters.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Attempt on ED’s Life
23 JUN, 2018 - 15:06 
Zimbabwe Herald

First aiders attend to the injured following an explosion that rocked White City Stadium this afternoon where President Mnangagwa was addressing thousands of Zanu-PF supporters.

From Mabasa Sasa and Tendai Mugabe in Bulawayo

An explosion has rocked White City Stadium in Bulawayo where President Mnangagwa was addressing thousands of people at a campaign rally. President Mnangagwa is unhurt and has been successfully evacuated.

Presidential spokesman Mr George Charamba said: “President Mnangagwa has not been injured and is at Bulawayo State House. Investigations are underway and more details will be given to the public. There have been multiple attempts on the President’s life over the past five years.”

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga is also reported to be safe. Several people are said to have been injured but the extent of the injuries has not yet been established. The area around the VIP stage has been cordoned off and security personnel are collecting evidence.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that Vice President Kembo Mohadi suffered leg injuries in the bomb blast. Minister of Water, Environment and Climate Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri was also injured. The two senior Government officials are admitted at a local hospital ( name withheld.)The Sunday Mail also has it on good authority that several security personnel attached to VIPs are also injured.

Officer Commanding Bulawayo province Senior Assistant Commissioner Learn Ncube told The Herald that they have already commenced investigations into the matter.

“I can confirm that there was an explosion at White City Stadium and that the President is safe. He was safely evacuated and investigations are already underway.
8 Injured in ED Assassination Attempt
23 JUN, 2018 - 18:06
From Tendai Mugabe in Bulawayo
Zimbabwe Herald

At least eight people including Vice President Kembo Mohadi and Zanu-PF national chairman Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri were injured following an explosion at White City Sports Stadium where President Mnangagwa was addressing a rally.

The injured are whisked away from the scene

Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba told the Herald that most of the injured people have been attended to and discharged.

“Vice President Mohadi is nursing some leg injuries but he is in good spirit,” he said.

“Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri is still in a state of shock and she had some injuries around her chest.

National commissar Gen Rugeje had some shrapnel in his arm but he has been attended to and discharged. Mai Chiwenga had some lacerations on her face as she tried to rescue one of her aides who had shrapnel in her stomach.
Mnangagwa Visits Explosion Victims, Asks Zimbabweans to 'Remain United'
Africa News

Zimbabwe’s president has visited victims of the explosion that rocked a rally he had just addressed in Bulawayo, the second largest city of the country.

The president, who survived what is thought to have been an assassination attempt on his life has urged the country to ‘remain calm and address our differences peacefully’.

‘‘While we await further information, my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this senseless act of violence,’‘ the president said in a tweet after confirming that he had visited some of the victims in the hospital.

Mnangagwa was speaking at his first rally in Bulawayo, an opposition stronghold where the ruling ZANU-PF has not won in national elections since 2000.

Mnangagwa said last August, when he was still vice president, that he had been poisoned at a rally outside Bulawayo and spent weeks receiving medical treatment in neighbouring South Africa.

In an interview conducted after Saturday’s explosion, Mnangagwa however insisted that he does not believe the people of Bulawayo are behind the attack, ‘they love him as much as he loves them’.

Zimbabwe holds its presidential election on July 30, with 75-year-old Mnangagwa and 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, the main contenders.

The vote next month is the first since Robert Mugabe’s downfall after a de facto military coup last November.

Unlike previous elections which were marred by violence, mostly against opposition members by ZANU-PF supporters, the run up to this year’s vote has been relatively peaceful.

Mnangagwa has promised a free and fair vote and if it is endorsed by international observers who are in the country for the first time since 2000, it could help Zimbabwe secure funding from international institutions for the first time in two decades.

Zimbabwe last had blasts at rallies in the 1980s, which had targeted Mugabe.
Zimbabwe's President Mnangagwa Survives Assassination Attempt at Rally in Bulawayo
Africa News

A rally attended by the Zimbabwe’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa in Bulawayo, was rocked by an explosion as the president walked off the podium. His spokesman said the head of state was successfully evacuated.

“The president has been successfully evacuated. He is at the provincial headquarters in Bulawayo,” spokesman George Charamba told AFP by telephone.

“We think it was an explosion, which certainly happened very close to the podium where the personalities were,” Charamba continued, without further clarification.

A ZANU PF official tweeted a video clip that he says captured the explosion.

Nick Mangwana, the chairman of ZANU-PF in the United Kingdom says some of the injured include Dr. Engelbert Rugeje, Mrs Mabel Chinomona and Mrs Marry Chiwenga among other dignitaries.

According to several witnesses, the explosion was felt when the head of state, candidate of the ruling party, Zanu-PF, in the presidential election scheduled for 30 July, had just finished his speech in front of several hundred of his supporters.

The meeting was held in a stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, considered an opposition stronghold.

The presidential and legislative elections on 30 July are the first to be held since the November resignation of President Robert Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe with an iron fist since independence in 1980.

Released by the army and the Zanu-PF, Mr. Mugabe was replaced by Mnangagwa, his former vice president.

Mnangagwa is largely expected to win the presidential election against a divided opposition.
Ethiopia Explosion: Six Suspects in Custody, As Allies Express Support for Abiy's Reforms
Daniel Mumbere

Several allies of Ethiopia have condoled with Ethiopians following a grenade attack that injured over 100 people at a rally organised in Addis Ababa on Saturday to express support for reforms by the new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.

The Ethiopian health minister, Amir Aman confirmed that one person had succumbed to their injuries, while at least 156 people were receiving treatment for injuries sustained during the grenade attack that happened this morning, just after Abiy finished his speech to the hundreds of thousands gathered.

Media portal Addis Standard reported that six suspects have under custody and are being investigated, according to the Commissioner General of the Ethiopian Federal Police Commission, Zeynu Jemal.

Ethiopia’s allies express support

Messages of support have started pouring in from Ethiopia’s allies including the president of Djibouti, who described the attack as one done by people ‘who want to oppose the bold reforms to develop and strengthen national unity’ initiated by Abiy.

‘‘We reaffirm our commitment to Ethiopia’s stability as a strategic partner for the region’s economic development,’‘ president Ismail Omar Guelleh tweeted.

 We extend our deepest condolences to the victims of the explosion in Meskel Square and their families and wish the injured a quick recovery. Violence has no place as Ethiopia pursues meaningful political and economic reforms.

Addressing the nation on television shortly afterwards, Abiy said the attack was an “attempt by forces who do not want to see Ethiopia united.”

Abiy had promised in his rally speech to bring more transparency to government and reconciliation to a nation torn by years of protests. When speaking on television, he was still wearing a green T-shirt handed to him by rally organisers.

Eritrea, which has long been at loggerheads with Ethiopia over a border row that Abiy has sought to resolve, also condemned the incident.

Ethiopia PM ready to welcome Eritrean delegation for peace talks

Abiy took office after his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, resigned following protests that erupted in 2015 in the nation of 100 million people. Emergency law was temporarily imposed to quell the unrest and was lifted this month.

Despite boasting one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, opponents say the benefits have not been shared fairly between ethnic groups and regions in the country, which has been run by the same ruling coalition for more than quarter of a century.
What Next for Ethiopia After Grenade Attack at PM's Rally?
Explosion at rally attended by supporters of reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed kills at least one and wounds scores.

by Fidelis Mbah
Al Jazeera

Tens of thousands of people descended in Addis Ababa's Meskel square on Saturday morning in a massive show of support for Abiy Ahmed, the new, reformist prime minister of Ethiopia.

Dressed in colourful attire displaying Abiy's image and carrying signs with slogans such as "One Love, One Ethiopia", the diverse crowd cheered on as the 41-year-old prime minister repeated his message of unity in a country rocked by violent unrest in recent years.

But the sense of jubilation didn't last for long.

Shortly after Abiy wrapped up his speech, an explosion went off among the demonstrators.

At least one person was killed and more than 150 others were wounded, in what is believed to be a grenade attack.

Abiy, who has announced a series of major reforms since taking office in April, was hurriedly escorted out of the rally as his supporters tried to come to terms with what had just happened.

"The people who did this are anti-peace forces," Abiy said in an address broadcast afterwards on state television.

"You need to stop doing this. You weren't successful in the past and you won't be successful in the future."

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion. Later on Saturday, police said six people were being investigated for the attack.

The blast sent shockwaves across Ethiopia, a country at a critical juncture in its political history as it seeks to emerge from a tumultuous period of instability.

"Abiy's effort to move the country forward has angered those who for a very long time maintained a stronghold on the country's politics and economy," Mohammed Ademo, political commentator and founder of, an independent news website on Ethiopia, told Al Jazeera.

"They are trying to scare people and undermine the prime minister so they can send a signal that he is not capable of stabilising the country," Ademo added.

"The incident is going to unite the people more and put the hardliners who want to obstruct his changes in a more difficult position."

'Reformist agenda'

Ethiopia was rocked by mass anti-government protests in 2015, which first broke out in the populous Oromia region, home to the Oromo, after the unveiling of plans for a controversial development project in Addis Ababa.

The rallies then spread to other parts of Ethiopia, including the Amhara region, with demonstrators demanding an end to human rights abuses as well political reforms and greater freedoms.

Hundreds of people were killed and more than 20,000 others were arrested in a government crackdown that was widely condemned by human rights organisations.

In February, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn abruptly resigned, citing ongoing "unrest and a political crisis" in the country as major factors in his decision.

He was replaced two months later by Abiy, who became the first prime minister from the Oromo ethnic group since the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) came to power 27 years ago.

Since assuming office, Abiy has introduced a number of reforms and has overseen the release of jailed dissidents and moves to liberalise the economy.

Overall, thousands of prisoners, including several senior opposition leaders accused of charges such as incitement to topple the government, have been pardoned since January - even before Abiy's election by the EPRDF.

The pardons are part of reforms that the government pledged to undertake after the violent unrest broke out three years ago.

Ryan Cummings, a political and security risk analyst, said the attack on Saturday is unlikely to force Abiy to change course.

"[He] has instituted enough socioeconic and political reforms, [which makes it] unlikely to respond to the attack today by instituting some of the repressive measures which he has lifted since his tenure [began]," he told Al Jazeera.

"Instead, the prime minister may continue to enact reforms which he has promised to deliver to Ethiopia and which will be central to the country's long-term stability."

It is going to be people power versus the power of a few disgruntled established hardliners. I think people power will overcome in the long run. It is people power that brought him to power

The new prime minister enjoys a lot of political support, especially from the younger population.

He has also made peace overtures to aggrieved opposition groups, as well as neighbouring Eritrea.

On June 5, Addis Ababa announced that it will fully accept the terms of a 2000 peace agreement with Asmara which ended a two-year war, in a major step towards calming deadly tensions with its decades-long rival.

The move, however, has been met with criticism by groups opposing the deal.

"Rescinding conciliation with Eritrea could render his governance as weak and could incentivise further violence in response to his policy promulgation," Cummings said.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki recently said the East African country will dispatch a delegation to Addis Ababa to "gauge current developments" in the region following Ethiopia's moves.
Blast at Rally in Support of Ethiopia's New PM Kills One, Injures 132
Maheder Haileselassie
10:06 23.06.2018
Sputnik International

The explosion happened in Meskel Square in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed finished addressing the crowd of his supporters and was prepared to leave the stage, waving to people.

"One person has passed away at Black Lion Hospital. I would like to pass my condolences to the family and Ethiopian people," Ethiopia's health minister Amir Aman said. The official added that 132 people were injured in a grenade attack during the pro-government demonstration.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister's chief of staff Fitsum Arega refuted previous reports that some people died in the blast, which disrupted a rally in support of the new prime minister, and confirmed 83 people injured. Previously, Abiy Ahmed in a televised address said that "a few people" had been killed and others got injuries as a result of the explosion.

According to the Prime Minister's chief of staff, the blast was caused by a grenade attack; however, no suspects have been identified yet.

"Some whose heart is filled with hate attempted a grenade attack. HE PM Abiy is safe. All the casualties are martyrs of love & peace. HE PM sends his condolences to the victims. The perpetrators will be brought to justice," Arega said.

Commenting on the blast later in the day, Ethiopian police stated that six suspects were under investigation for the attack.

Local media published alleged photos of the incident and reported that it was a hand grenade thrown at the police car.

Ambulances and emergency services immediately rushed to the scene.

The 42-year-old Abiy Ahmed, who took office only in April, already enjoys tremendous popular support as he's started an unprecedented wave of reforms in the country. The new prime minister has ordered the release of thousands of prisoners and negotiated a peace deal with Eritrea, Ethiopia's decades-long rival, as well as opened state companies to private investors.
Deadly Blast at Rally for Reformist Ethiopia PM
Explosion rocks venue shortly after Ahmad addresses gathering

15:34 June 23, 2018 Gulf News

Addis Ababa: One person died and scores of others were hurt after a grenade blast at new Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad's first mass rally in the capital that sent crowds fleeing in panic.

Abiy had just wrapped up his speech before tens of thousands of people in the heart of Addis Ababa when the explosion went off, sending droves of supporters towards the stage as the prime minister left hurriedly, an AFP correspondent said.

Girma Kassa, deputy head of Addis Ababa’s police commission, told the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation that 100 people had been injured in the attack, 15 of them “severely”.

Addressing the country minutes after he was hurried to safety, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad said “a few people” had been killed and others injured.

He called the blast a “well-orchestrated attack” but one that failed. He did not lay blame but said police were investigating. An Associated Press reporter saw more than a dozen injured people.

“The prime minster was the target,” a rally organiser, Seyoum Teshome, told the AP.

Held back by the crowd

“An individual tried to hurl the grenade toward a stage where the prime minister was sitting but was held back by the crowd.”

Three suspects, two men and a woman, were immediately arrested, Seyoum said.

The attack was “cheap and unacceptable,” the prime minister said, and added: “Love always wins. Killing others is a defeat. To those who tried to divide us, I want to tell you that you have not succeeded.”

The explosion in packed Meskel Square in the capital, Addis Ababa, came after weeks of sweeping reforms that had shocked many in Africa’s second most populous nation after years of anti-government tensions, states of emergency, thousands of arrests and long internet shutdowns.

Peace deal

The 42-year-old Abiy took office in April and quickly announced the release of tens of thousands of prisoners, the opening of state-owned companies to private investment and the unconditional embrace of a peace deal with rival Eritrea.

Websites were unblocked and opposition figures were invited to dinner. Ethiopians said they could hardly keep up with the pace of change.

Saturday’s rally began as a show of exuberance, with supporters wearing clothes displaying Abiy’s image and carrying signs saying “One Love, One Ethiopia.”

In a cowboy hat and T-shirt, Ahmad told the tens of thousands of supporters that change was coming and there was no turning back.

“For the past 100 years hate has done a great deal of damage to us,” he said, stressing the need for even more reforms.

After the explosion the state broadcaster quickly cut away from coverage of the rally, which broke up with people singing, chanting and going back to their homes.

“I’ve never thought this day will come in Ethiopia. I’m very emotional right now,” said Mulugeta Sema, a supporter of Ahmad who wore a T-shirt with the new leader’s image and spoke before the blast. “We should never get back to dictatorship. This is time for change.”

In a notable sign of the new effort at dialogue between bitter rivals after a deadly border war and years of skirmishes, one diplomat for Eritrea, ambassador to Japan Estifanos Afeworki, said on Twitter that his country “strongly condemns the attempt to incite violence” in Saturday’s attack.

The United States has been among those in the international community expressing support for the dramatic changes in Ethiopia, a key security ally in a turbulent region with neighbors including Somalia and South Sudan.

Not everyone has cheered the reforms. Some Ethiopians in the north near the border with Eritrea, one of the world’s most reclusive nations, have protested the embrace of the peace deal. And the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, a party in Ethiopia’s ruling coalition that has been the dominant force in government for most of the past 27 years, said the announcement on the peace deal had been made before the ruling coalition’s congress met to discuss it: “We see this as a flaw.”

Abiy is the first prime minister from the Oromo ethnic group, the largest in the country, since the ruling party came to power in 1991. Ethiopia’s sometimes deadly protests demanding more freedoms began in the Oromia and Amhara regions in late 2015 and spread elsewhere, finally leading to the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn early this year.

Abiy visited the restive regions shortly after taking office and stressed the importance of resolving differences through dialogue instead.
RALLY BLAST Shocking Moment Grenade Was Hurled Towards Ethiopia’s New Prime Minister Leaving Several Dead
The explosion may have been an attempt to assassinate new Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, according to reports

By Bradley Jolly
23rd June 2018, 10:53 am

THIS is the shocking moment an explosion rocked a massive rally by supporters of Ethiopia's new prime minister, leaving several people dead today.

The blast, believed to have been caused by a grenade, may have been an attempt to assassinate reformist leader Abiy Ahmed, according to reports.

Dramatic footage captures Ahmed being rushed from the scene in Ethiopian capital's Meskel Square as thousands of people panic in horror.

The 41-year-old, who became prime minister in April, says “a few people” are dead.

Dozens of others have been seriously hurt.

People on social media reported buildings and ambulances had caught fire after the explosion.

Others said "shots had been fired".

Mr Ahmed, who has three children, said: "Today was a day for unity, and the day love was raining, although forces who don't want to see this amazing day have tried to stop this.

"There are a few death, and wounded during this attack.

"This action will not derail the peace that is ongoing in Ethiopia right now."

He sent condolences to families of those who were killed.

The politician is the country's first leader from the ethnic Oromo group, which has been at the centre of nearly three years of anti-government protests.

However, today's demonstration was organised in support of the dad to three.

Authorities are still investigating the blast.

Friday, June 22, 2018

At Least Ten People Killed in Zambia Mine Dump Collapse
 22 JUN, 2018 - 00:06

LUSAKA. – At least 10 subsistence miners were killed when a mine dump collapsed in Zambia’s second-largest city and copperbelt mining hub Kitwe, police said on Wednesday.

“So far, we have retrieved 10 dead bodies and seven bodies of those injured,” said Copperbelt province police commissioner Charity Katanga.

Operations to retrieve bodies at the dump, known locally as Black Mountain, were ongoing, she added.

Zambia has some of the world’s largest copper reserves.

The metal accounts for 80 percent of the country’s export earnings.

High levels of unemployment have forced people to resort to illegal mining.

MSF Aid Workers in Africa ‘Used Prostitutes’: BBC Report
2018/6/21 22:43:42

Aid workers for charity Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) used prostitutes in Africa, a BBC report said Thursday citing anonymous whistleblowers who also reported boasts of trading medicine for sex.

The NGO said it took the allegations seriously but said it had been unable to confirm the claims and urged anyone with information to come forward.

The allegations follow a crisis at British charity Oxfam over claims that its workers used prostitutes while stationed in Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

A former employee based in MSF's London office told the BBC she had seen a senior staff member bring girls back to MSF accommodation while posted in Kenya.

"The girls were very young and rumored to be prostitutes," she said, adding that it was "implicit" that they were there for sex.

She said some of the older, long-standing male aid workers took advantage of their positions. "I felt that, with some of the older guys, there was definitely an abuse of power," she said. "They'd been there for a long time and took advantage of their exalted status as a Western aid worker."

She questioned what the charity knew, saying: "There's definitely a feeling that certain predatory men were seen as too big to fail."

Another female employee who worked with HIV patients in central Africa said the use of local sex workers was widespread.

"There was this older colleague, who actually moved a woman into the (charity) compound. It was pretty obvious that she was a prostitute but he'd call her his girlfriend," she said.

In a statement, the agency said, "We do not tolerate abuse, harassment or exploitation within MSF."
Debate About Einstein’s Diary Misses Point of Discrimination Against Asians Today
By Liu Yan
Global Times
2018/6/21 18:43:40

Famed physicist Albert Einstein was thrust into media limelight when a series of travel diaries written in early 1920s were found to contain deeply racist and xenophobic views. In his diary, Einstein described the Chinese as "industrious, filthy, obtuse people… they are a peculiar herd-like nation, often more like automatons than people." The shocking revelation has somewhat tainted the image of this iconic figure.

Being Jewish, Einstein later devoted himself to the civil rights movement in the US and lent sympathy to the treatment of the black population. Though the diaries were written nearly 100 years ago before the concept of anti-racism was fully developed, the great physicist's inner world has shattered the expectations of many.

A heated debate has flared up among Chinese internet users as to whether Einstein was a racist and if it is fair to judge his views by today's human rights standards. When Einstein visited China, Japan and some other Asian nations in 1922, the gap between Western and Eastern civilizations was huge. China had barely recovered from the humiliation of World War I and was mired in battles among warlords. Feudal rule had been overthrown, but a republican system functioned poorly.

That was the background of Einstein's diary. Famous Chinese writer Lu Xun (1881-1936) had many of his novels written during the same period. He made his name by depicting the dark side of Chinese society of the time and yearning to bring the Chinese out of their stupor.

This is not to say that Einstein should be forgiven for his racist view. Struggle for racial equality has however been a long and hard fight. The scientist likely expressed the same views in daily conversation.

Had the political correctness against racism developed at the time, one couldn't dodge censure for such offensive remarks against an entire race. It is also doubtful that he wanted to record his thoughts in private diaries. But the reality is Einstein lived in a world with a lax attitude toward racism.

After all, xenophobic sentiment against immigrants from Asia was common in US politics during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Persecution of Jews reached unprecedented levels during World War II.

It is the public's intolerance of racism today that made Einstein's diaries a center of the storm a century later. There is a development gap among countries, but it is political suicide for any public figure to make offensive remarks against race openly or privately. Political correctness is perhaps top consideration for public figure when making comment.

Einstein's diary kindled the fiery debate probably also because of the lingering question - is racism prevalent subtly today? Some Western media outlets inaccurately reported that Chinese net users defended Einstein's racist remarks. It would have made more sense if these media outlets explored whether racism against Asian exists today.

Racism against Asians is seen from time to time. In many cases, it is forgotten with an apology. It could be an image printed on a T-shirt, or a supermodel making a slit-eye gesture, or a TV anchor making disheartening comments.

Despite excellent academic performance, Asian students face a discriminatory admissions policy in Harvard. Asians are striving for due respect and fair treatment even today. They have made huge strides from the time of their ancestors, but it seems there is a long way to go.

Racist sentiments still persist. It is better to examine ourselves than judging whether Einstein was racist. Will people 100 years later be shocked by incidents of racism today? It's hard to say, but this question will haunt us for a long time.

The author is a commentator of the Global Times.
‘Western Enablers of CPC’ An Absurd Label
Global Times
2018/6/22 22:53:40

The Washington-based Hudson Institute recently published a report entitled The Chinese Communist Party's Foreign Interference Operations: How the US and Other Democracies Should Respond, attacking the CPC's united front work and accusing it of interfering in US elections, damaging academic freedom, cultivating cooperative US elites, and making the Chinese diaspora serve the CPC.

Michael Pillsbury, director of Hudson's Center for Chinese Strategy, said this report raised a key concept of "Western enablers" of the Communist Party, whom he said not only sing high praises to China but also help China understand the debates that it wants to influence.

The warnings about China are nothing new in the West, but this time they have employed a more systematic and exaggerative method.

Every Chinese knows that China is still focused on "anti-penetration" rather than "infiltrating the West." The West is still aggressively trying to influence the Chinese society, while most Chinese concede that China at present still doesn't have the soft power to counter, and it's needless to build some phony "ideological stronghold" in the US.

China is indeed trying to influence some Westerners. However, the sole purpose is to boost friendly relations between the two sides and reduce the Western public's bias against China. Isn't this the way things should be done in international relations? Is there a single country that doesn't work on this mission or set aside a budget for it?

China's Confucius Institutes in Western countries are similar to the Goethe Institutes of Germany and Spain's Instituto Cervantes. China has sponsored the research of a few American scholars. But how many research projects have been funded by American foundations? While some people in China have called for better regulation of these projects, the Chinese public has not openly condemned those programs.

The logic of some Americans will lead to the belief that the Chinese should condemn the US move to establish Tsinghua University using the Boxer Indemnity, and that most China-US cultural exchanges should be canceled, including Hollywood collaborations. Starbucks will also be categorized as an under-the-table transmitter of American culture and values.

There hasn't been any advocacy in the Chinese government to "spread the Chinese model," as it's one of China's diplomatic principles to maintain cultural and political diversity. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hawked Western political systems in Africa just a few days ago. It is absurd that Pompeo's declaration and the denunciation of "Western enablers of Communists" both become "mainstream" voices in the US.
Trump's Trade War Will Disrupt World Economic Order
Global Times
2018/6/20 22:48:40

Just one day after US President Donald Trump threatened to impose a 10-percent-tariff on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods, financial markets across Asia, Europe and America jittered with stock markets in most countries experiencing a fall. While a real trade war has yet to be launched, the threats of one have already exerted negative effects on the entire world.

The American government is the initiator of evil. Some analysts believe that while the Trump administration pledged to cut taxes domestically, it intends to realize a so-called revenue balance by increasing tariffs.

But Washington has been seeking moral pretexts for the trade war. In a report released Tuesday, the White House again accused China of waging a systematic campaign of "economic aggression." Such mischaracterization of Sino-US trade is a means by which the White House instigates the US society to support the trade war on China.

The White House has gathered together extreme ideologists, geopolitical hardliners and populists to seek supposed fairness. Yet, entrepreneurs, businesspeople, farmers and housewives, in the US and abroad, will have to pay the price for the frantic and miscalculated actions by these forces.

The US is already the wealthiest country in the world, but the Trump administration has been lecturing the American people to believe that they have been plundered and deserve a better life.

Such misrepresentations cloud the truth. The fact is that the US' poverty issue is rooted in an unequal distribution of wealth. However, the Trump administration isn't able to launch a domestic reform, and as a result intends to dredge for money from the outside world to meet domestic demands.

The White House deceived the American people that it's safe to wage a trade war, but the backlash from the US' trading partners reflects that no one believes the US can score the victory that the White House pledged. It's a wide expectation that Beijing will certainly retaliate against Washington's new tariff and an unprecedented trade war will be waged.

Investors also anticipate that if Washington imposes tariffs on an extra $200 billion of Chinese goods, Beijing will not comply and will take further retaliatory measures. World economic order will eventually be disrupted.

The US is threatening to start a worldwide trade war that will sweep across Asia, the EU and North America. The international community is concerned about the serious consequences of a full-fledged trade war and hopes that the US is merely using talk of war as leverage for more economic gains.

How will the trade war end? The White House said earlier that China will suffer more losses than the US. It seems that Washington is hoping to crush Beijing's will. But there's no sign that the Chinese government will submit to Washington in this regard.

Apart from direct losses to China and the US, a trade war will also drag the global economy into chaos, from which Americans will be the first sufferers. The US will see rising unemployment rate and inflation.

China's stance is justified. The country also has a systematic basis for political stability and enormous space for economic growth. It's a daunting task for the US to defeat such a competitive rival.
China Is Slamming $34 Billion Worth of US Goods With Tariffs
Bob Bryan
Business Insider

China is ramping up its retaliation to President Donald Trump's massive tariffs.

China is set to put tariffs on $34 billion worth of US exports to China, starting in July.

The tariffs cover mostly energy and agricultural products but hit everything from goldfish to electric cars.

The states that exported more than $1 billion worth of tariff-eligible goods to China in 2017 were Texas, Louisiana, Washington, California, Alabama, South Carolina, Illinois, and Kentucky.

The collateral damage from President Donald Trump's trade fight with China could soon have some states feeling the squeeze.

China announced tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports from the US in response to Trump's tariffs on Chinese imports, an escalation of the brewing trade war between the two countries.

Also mirroring Trump's move, China's tariffs will be deployed in two waves — the first covering $34 billion worth of goods coming in early July.

The Chinese tariffs are focused on energy and agricultural products, covering goods including ornamental fish, whiskey, and coal. By singling out certain goods, the Chinese are also hitting some states harder than others.

To break down the effect by state, Business Insider used US Commerce Department data to determine the number of tariff-eligible goods from each state sent to China in 2017.

Because of the US database's limitations, the totals include some foreign-sourced goods that may not be subject to China's tariffs. Those goods represent a small portion of the overall values.

Additionally, the database measures exports using a system called Origin of Movement. This measures where exports are sent from rather than where they are produced. While research shows that Origin of Movement can be a solid proxy for production, the Census Bureau may provide an undercount for some upstream producers.

For instance, some farmers in the Midwest ship their soybeans to Louisiana for transport, which increases the count for Louisiana. Given the fact that Louisiana still relies on the shipping and sales for its economy, the data is still helpful to evaluate the pain from the tariffs — but it may undercount the lost value to some upstream producers.

There are eight states that exported more than $1 billion worth of tariff-eligible goods to China in 2017:

Texas: $8,022,380,040
Louisiana: $6,627,390,388
Washington: $5,231,988,100
California: $4,560,897,434
Alabama: $2,620,256,485
South Carolina: $2,588,390,677
Illinois: $2,123,222,976
Kentucky: $1,006,565,148

Many of these states have just a handful of goods that make up most of the coming pain.

Similarly, for Alabama, $1.9 billion of the state's $2.6 billion in tariff-eligible goods is small-engined vehicles.

In Texas, the biggest hit will come from crude oil (the state sent $3.7 billion worth to China last year) and propane; the state shipped $1.7 billion worth of that to China last year.
Trump Threatens to Slam a Massive Tariff on European Cars, Which Could Cause Economic Chaos
Business Insider

President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to impose a 20% tariff on imports of cars from the European Union.

The move would be a huge escalation of Trump's ongoing trade conflict with the EU.

Trump already hit Europe with steel and aluminum tariffs, angering EU leaders and triggering retaliation.

President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to slam huge tariffs on imported cars from the European Union, a massive new threat in the escalating trade conflict between the allies.

Trump in May had directed the Commerce Department to launch an investigation into imported autos, similar to the procedure that led to the recent tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. While the results of that investigation are still weeks away, Trump raised the specter of tariffs on Twitter.

"Based on the Tariffs and Trade Barriers long placed on the US and it great companies and workers by the European Union, if these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the US," Trump tweeted. "Build them here!"

The tweet appears to contradict a statement made by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday. Ross told lawmakers that "no decision" had been made regarding tariffs and that the process was in the "early stages."

A spokesperson for the Commerce Department told Business Insider that the investigation is still ongoing.

Trump has long been fixated on imported cars. During a recent panel, his former economic adviser Gary Cohn recounted a story in which, he said, Trump asked why all cars in the US weren't made domestically.

New auto tariffs would be a massive escalation of the already intense trade fight between the US and Europe. Leaders from the UK, Germany, and France slammed Trump's decision to hit the EU with steel and aluminum tariffs, and the bloc responded with tariffs of its own.

In total, the US imported over $43 billion worth of vehicles for people transportation in 2017. That means the size of the tariffs would dwarf those on steel and aluminum, which hit a little over $7 billion worth of EU exports to the US.

European car manufacturers, including BMW and Mercedes-Benz, have a large presence in the US. In September, Mercedes' parent company announced that it was investing $1 billion in its Alabama plant.

Tariffs on autos would have a devastating effect on the US economy, driving up the cost of cars for consumers and likely producing a drag on GDP growth. Additionally, the move could hurt thousands of auto industry workers. According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a 25% tariff on imported autos to the US would result in the loss of 195,000 US auto workers' jobs.

In an interview with Business Insider Germany last week, Bernhard Mattes, the president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry, said tariffs would hurt not only European automakers but the US economy as well. Mattes also said German automakers could not subsist without access to the US market.

"No, because the US is both an important export market and a strong production base for us," Mattes said. "We produce more than 800,000 vehicles in North America and employ 116,500 people in 250 factories."

In a statement following Trump's tweet, VDA said that the president's tariff threat was counterproductive.

"Further escalation of the trade conflict benefits no one," the statement said. "The German automotive industry advocates talking to the US despite the current difficult situation in order to strengthen transatlantic relations and solve existing problems."

The move could also prompt a response from the EU that would damage US automakers. The US exported $10 billion worth of passenger vehicles to the EU last year.

Automakers' stocks took a hit following Friday's news, with Ford and General Motors selling off sharply. European automakers — including Daimler, the maker of Mercedes, Volkswagen, and BMW — also sank.

Daimler , BMW, and Volkswagen declined a request for comment.

Additional reporting by John Stanley Hunter.
Trump Leaves GOP Leaders Out To Dry On Immigration
Trump could have made immigration easier on Republicans. Instead, he’s making it harder.

By Matt Fuller
Huffington Post

WASHINGTON ― Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other Republican leaders thought President Donald Trump could be the magic bullet for accomplishing the elusive GOP goal of passing an immigration bill. Instead, he’s looking more like the death blow.

After telling House Republicans Tuesday night that he backed both of their immigration proposals “1,000 percent,” Trump has gone soft. He first asked on Thursday what the purpose was of the House passing immigration bills if the Senate was just going to reject a GOP-only bill ― a fair point. Trump then stepped up the Twitter criticism Friday morning to say, “Republicans should stop wasting their time on immigration” until after the November elections, where he improbably predicted a “Red Wave.”

Setting aside the delusions of increased GOP margins in the House, Trump’s statement that Republicans should set aside immigration is not the endorsement GOP lawmakers had been looking for ― and it’s already spooking Republicans who were on the fence about backing a compromise bill.

“Well that weighs a lot in my decision-making, what the president says,” Freshman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) told HuffPost Friday. “So one of the things we expressed to leadership was the president needed to come out and strongly endorse this compromise plan. It doesn’t appear that he has.”

Comer, who comes from a district that supported Trump over Clinton by nearly 50 points, said he was following Trump on immigration, and he had no reservations about giving the president such wide latitude on policy-making.

Other Republicans also told HuffPost they agreed that continuing to work on immigration was an exercise in futility.

“Given the makeup of the Senate, yeah, it is a waste of time,” Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) said. “And it’s forcing a lot of our folks to walk the plank for no good reason.”

Hice said even before Trump came to this conclusion, he was saying that it was pointless to try and work on immigration when Senate Democrats wouldn’t agree to a GOP immigration bill. He didn’t seem receptive to the idea of crafting a bipartisan immigration proposal.

“Why they even brought it up in the first place is a bit beyond me,” Hice said.

 House Republicans seem to understand that no immigration bill that could pass the Senate could pass the House. That is unless the House passes a bill with nearly all Democrats and a couple of dozen Republicans. But, the two dozen Republicans who signed a discharge petition to force a vote on immigration are outnumbered by rank-and-file Republicans who don’t want to actually work with Democrats, at least not in a way that would require actual policy concessions.

When HuffPost raised the point with Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) that Republicans could solve immigration issues if they were willing to work with Democrats, he flipped the statement around and said, “Obviously Democrats could solve this issue if they were willing to work with Republicans.”

But Perry and other Republicans aren’t really open to the ideas that Democrats have for addressing the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, and even when Democrats have shown willingness to give Republicans concessions like funding a border wall, Republicans (in the House, at least) have shown no willingness to bring Democrats to the table.

With that in mind, Trump’s diagnosis that solving the issue is impossible seems accurate, at least if you accept that Democrats shouldn’t have a say in the solution.

Speaker Ryan has consistently demonstrated he doesn’t think Democrats should have a seat at the table. And even in the House GOP’s failure to pass a Republican-only immigration bill, Ryan has been successful in his main endeavor: preventing a discharge petition from bringing up a bipartisan immigration bill that could pass the House.

“Our goal was to prevent a discharge petition from reaching the floor, because a discharge petition would have brought legislation to the floor that the president would have surely vetoed,” Ryan said Thursday. “It would have been an exercise in futility.”

Never mind that producing two GOP-only bills is an exercise in futility, and never mind that the only immigration bill that has a majority in the House is probably one that nearly all Democrats would support. Ryan doesn’t want to demonstrate that he’s blocking the will of the chamber.

But now Ryan is in a different pickle. Part of the gambit to block the discharge petition was to schedule two votes on immigration: one for a hardline bill named after Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and one for a compromise measure that moderates would support.

After Thursday, however, when the hardline bill failed but drew a surprising amount of support ― more support than the compromise bill would garner. Leadership decided to forego the embarrassment of putting up the second bill, at least for now.

It’s now considering changes that would bring the bill further to the right, but without Trump’s support, the bill would still likely fall short of the 193 votes that the so-called Goodlatte bill drew. That would show Republicans that the way to pass a GOP-only immigration bill is simply by tailoring it to the far right and hoping that, with the president’s support, you can pressure enough moderates to support the bill.

The problem there is that, while Republicans were closer than they thought to passing the Goodlatte bill, they were still 20 votes away. And even if you passed it through the House, you’d just be further from passing it in the Senate, where you need 60 votes and the support of at least nine Democrats.

Ryan would end up teaching Republicans the wrong lessons on immigration ― that the path toward passage is to the right ― when the truth is probably the opposite.

But with Trump seemingly hardening every day on immigration, and his willingness to support a DACA solution waning, Trump is just like many in the GOP conference when he advises Republicans to just give up.

Matt Fuller
Congressional Reporter, HuffPost
Trump's Conflicting Rhetoric on Border Separations Muddles Immigration Debate
Jun 22, 2018, 5:06 PM ET

At the end of a particularly acrimonious week, President Donald Trump roiled tensions once again with vacillating rhetoric over the ongoing immigration debate fueled by family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a stark message to members of his own party on Capitol Hill Friday morning, Trump instructed Republican lawmakers to "stop wasting your time" on a legislative fix for immigration until after the midterm elections in November.

Senate Republicans hold a two-seat majority and are defending eight seats this election cycle.

Trump’s latest Twitter crusade came after telling members, "I’m with you 100%" during a closed-door meeting Tuesday with House Republicans on immigration, according to a statement from White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah.

Later on Tuesday, the president echoed the message on Twitter, urging, "Now is the best opportunity ever for Congress to change the ridiculous and obsolete laws on immigration."

By Friday, frustrated with Republicans in the House of Representatives for failing to pass a conservative immigration bill on Thursday and delaying a planned vote on a GOP compromise measure until next week, Trump launched a rallying cry for his base, calling on voters to "elect more Republicans" to pass the "pass the finest, fairest and most comprehensive Immigration Bills anywhere in the world."

Hoping to reform an immigration system that is said to be "broken" by members of both sides of the aisle, Republican lawmakers aimed to implement legislative reforms that would address the ongoing crisis over the Trump’s administration’s "zero tolerance" policy after outrage erupted over family separations at the border.

Contending with vote counts wasn't the GOP's only struggle this week, however, as they worked to parse the president's shifting signals and policy pivots.

Trump signed an executive order ending family separations on Wednesday telling reporters: "I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated."

Later that evening, he told a crowd during a rally in Duluth, Minn., "They’re not sending their finest. We’re sending them the hell back! That’s what we’re doing."

As questions loomed over how the administration will reunite the more than 2,300 children with their parents who were apprehended after crossing the border and face criminal prosecution, the president said during a cabinet meeting Thursday, "I'm directing HHS, DHS, and DOJ to work together to keep illegal immigrant families together during the immigration process and to reunite these previously separated groups."

"But the only real solution is for Congress to close the catch-and-release loopholes that have fueled the child smuggling industry," he added.

With another tweet Friday morning, Trump again struck a more antagonistic tone on the issue, offering a preview ahead of his remarks at the White House with angel families — the loved ones of those killed by undocumented immigrants.

"We must maintain a Strong Southern Border," he wrote. "We cannot allow our Country to be overrun by illegal immigrants as the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief, hoping it will help them in the elections."

Friday afternoon, Trump spoke at the White House event to show "the other side" of the immigration debate.

"These are the American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones," he said. "Permanently — they're not separated for a day or two days, these are permanently separated because they were killed by criminal illegal aliens. These are the families the media ignores."

Meanwhile, House Republicans on Friday said they would continue intra-party negotiations on an immigration bill despite the president's tweet urging Republicans to "stop wasting their time," with leaders pledging to hold a vote on a measure at some point next week before adjourning for the July 4 recess.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said on the House floor that GOP leaders are "taking all ideas in" from members and will continue crafting the bill "through the weekend."

"We're going to have a vote," House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La, the House GOP's top vote-counter, told reporters. "Obviously it's an uphill fight to put that coalition together, we've got our own diverse approaches in the Republican conference."

Scalise said he believed Trump's tweet was expressing "frustration that Democrats have refused to engage in solving the problem."

Other Republicans, grappling once again with the president's fickle approach to legislative matters, were less sanguine.

"Does it make it harder? Yes. Does it make it impossible? No," Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., a moderate who supported bipartisan immigration reform efforts, told ABC News. "We have an obligation to the American people to work on this issue, to give it our best."

Republicans are considering additions to the legislation related to expanding the use of E-Verify — the system allowing employers to check if new hires are legally allowed to work in the United States — and visas for agricultural guest workers, a concern of Republicans in farm districts.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer complained that Republicans are not working with Democrats to consider any changes to the bill.

"We’re not included," Hoyer, D-Md., said on the House floor. "We’re shut out and the compromise has been rejected and undermined."

ABC News' Benjamin Siegel and John Parkinson contributed to this report.
Pentagon To House 20,000 Migrant Children On Military Bases
Thousands of children have been separated from their parents in recent weeks as part of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy.

By Willa Frej
Huffington Post

Military bases in Texas and Arkansas will begin housing tens of thousands of migrant children caught crossing the border illegally as soon as next month, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The Pentagon began making preparations for the policy last month, The Washington Post reported. Health and Human Services representatives visited bases last week to review the facilities, Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a military spokesman, said. Up to 20,000 beds at bases in the two states would house “unaccompanied alien children,” another Pentagon spokesman told The New York Times.

“We have housed refugees,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said Wednesday. “We have housed people thrown out of their homes by earthquakes and hurricanes. We do whatever is in the best interest of the country.”

The Obama administration rolled out a similar policy in 2014, temporarily housing 7,000 children in three military bases.

More than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents in recent weeks as part of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy, which aims to prosecute those entering the country illegally.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order this week to stop the separations, and it was unclear whether the military bases also will house families.

“There’s conflicting instructions being given,” Michelle Brané, director of Migrant Rights and Justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, told The New York Times. “It’s another example of this administration making these big, bold policy announcements with no plan for how they are going to implement them.”

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Eritrea to Discuss With Ethiopia Troops’ Withdrawal From Disputed Area: Afwerki
June 20, 2018 (ADDIS ABABA) - Eritrean President, Isaias Afwerki, Wednesday said he would send a delegation to discuss with the Ethiopian government ways to implement Algeria peace agreement over their disputed border.

The move comes two weeks after the announcement made by the Ethiopian government providing its full acceptance of the outcome of 2002 border commission ruling which awarded disputed area, including the town of Badme, to Eritrea.

This decision has been welcomed by the regional and international community as it paves the way to end a dispute that sparked in 1998, and negatively impacted the region.

Speaking on the occasion of Martyrs’ Day, President Afwerki pointed to the “positive signals issued in these past days” saying it reflects the popular choice in the two brotherly countries that share common history and interests.

“For this reason, and outside myopic considerations of public relations stunts and advantages, we will send a delegation to Addis Ababa to gauge current developments directly and in depth as well as to chart out a plan for continuous future action,” he said.

Asmara’s reaction has been awaited in Addis Ababa since the 5th of June as many analysts cast doubt on the willingness of President Afwerki to negotiate an end of the border conflict which led to the isolation of his country.

The Eritrean leader warned against what de called the “TPLF clique, and other vultures” saying they would seek to obstruct any positive change in the relations between the two countries.

“This is best illustrated by their ambivalent public pronouncements of “yes…but” in these past days. This is designed to prevent a durable solution to the senseless border conflict that they unleashed in the first place without any justification. But their principal preoccupation and ill-will is to avert and frustrate any positive change in Ethiopia”.

President Afwerki was referring to statements by some leading members of the ruling party, EPRDF, who are ethnic Tigrayans living in the border disputed area and opposition to Abiy decision to hand Badme over to Eritrea.

Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a war from 1998 to 2000 over their border dispute, which left about 80,000 people dead.

Abiy welcomes Afwerki’s response

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed welcomed the "constructive response" of President Isaias Afwerki of Eretria saying it "is essential for the mutual benefit of both countries".

The Premier pointed to the face to face meeting between President Salva Kiir and SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar and expressed his optimism that the coming years will offer the spirit of unity and respect among the East African countries.

Addis Ababa in the past several times asked for negotiation before to implement the ruling of the arbitration commission but Asmara demanded to withdraw Ethiopian troops first from Badme before talks.

The decision of President Afwerki could allow the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to consolidate his power and implement economic and social reforms in the country.

Jebel Marra IDPs Gather Around Golo Base: UNAMID
UNAMID's new Temporary Operating Base in Golo, Jebel Marra, Central Darfur on 30 April 2018 (Photo UNAMID)

June 20, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on Wednesday said hundreds of displaced persons fleeing the fighting in Jebel Marra have gathered around the Mission’s newly established base in Golo area.

Since last March, government forces and Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur fighters resumed clashes in different parts of Jebel Marra.

“In the evening of 15 June 2018, displaced persons started gathering outside UNAMID’s newly established Temporary Operating Base (TOB) in the Golo locality, of the Jebel Marra area, Central Darfur,” said the Mission in a statement on Wednesday.

“By the next day, 16 June, 305 IDPs, including 200 children and 85 women, were outside the TOB and had started erecting temporary shelters” added the Mission

According to the statement, UNAMID staff “provided protection and water to the displaced as well as first aid to an IDP woman who gave birth near the base”.

It pointed out that the displaced people “informed UNAMID that they were fleeing from villages in Jebel Marra where fighting has been reported, including Gubbo, Gur Lumbung, Kawara, Saboon El Fag, Abuloto, Ujongole, Kara, Jari, Buju Buju and Wira”.

UNAMID added it is coordinating with UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and local authorities to address the humanitarian needs of the displaced.

On Tuesday, Troika countries including United States, United Kingdom and Norway denounced the ongoing fighting between the Sudanese army and the SLM-AW in Jebel Marra saying this “unnecessary violence” affects only the civilians.

In a report covering the security situation in Darfur for the period from 16 February to 15 April 2018, the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) reported low-scale skirmishes in Jebel Marra area between the government forces and the SLM-AW fighters.

On 12 April 2017, the Sudanese army declared Darfur a region free of rebellion following the capture of Srounq area, the last SLM-AW stronghold in Jebel Marra. However, the army continued for several months to carry out attacks on rebel’s pockets in the mountainous area.

Jebel Marra, which spans over three states including North, Central and South Darfur, is located in a water-rich area that is characterised by a mild climate.

Last year, the UN Security Council decided to reduce the UNAMID, admitting that the security situation has improved but it decided to reinforce its presence in Jebel Marra because there is no cessation of hostilities as the SLM-AW refuses to declare it unilaterally or to engage in peace negotiations.

The Sudanese army has been fighting armed groups in Darfur since 2003. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, and over 2.5 million were displaced.

South Sudanese Delegation to Visit Khartoum for Oil Discussions
June 20, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Ministry of Oil and Gas on Wednesday said a delegation from South Sudan would arrive in Khartoum at the end of this month to discuss ways to scale up oil production.

Sudan’s State Minister of Oil and Gas Saad al-Din Al-Bushra told the semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) that the visit comes in implementation of bilateral agreements to increase production of South Sudan’s oil fields.

Earlier this month, a Sudanese delegation visited Juba to discuss economic issues between the two countries. During the visit, Sudan and South Sudan ministers of petroleum discussed oil cooperation and resumption of production in South Sudan’s oil fields.

Sudan lost 75% of its oil reserves after the southern part of the country became an independent nation in July 2011, denying the north billions of dollars in revenues. Oil revenue constituted more than half of Sudan’s revenue and 90% of its exports.

Sudan currently produces 72,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). The country’s production is stationed mainly in the Heglig area and its surroundings, as well as western Kordofan.

Chinese companies control 75 per cent of foreign investment in Sudan’s oil sector.

South Sudan Rebels Welcome Machar’s Release from South Africa
June 20, 2018 (ADDIS ABABA) – The diplomatic corps of South Sudan’s armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) have lauded the Ethiopian government and the regional bloc (IGAD) for organizing face-to-face talks between Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiye Ahmed attended Wednesday’s meeting, which saw the two rival leaders meet for the first time after nearly two years.

The meeting between Kiir and Machar was to discuss all outstanding issues in the power-sharing chapter within the peace agreement.

“By allowing the principals of the warring parties to sit and sift through their differences to address the root-causes and stop the war, IGAD has correctly diagnosed the problem and has set the negotiations on the right course,” the SPLM-IO said in a statement.

It further added, “We would, therefore, like to express our gratitude to Prime Minister Abiye for his wise leadership and timely decision.”

The armed opposition extended its appreciation to the regional countries and the Troika nations for their positive roles in efforts aimed at finding a lasting solution to the civil war in South Sudan.

The South Sudanese civil war is an ongoing conflict in South Sudan between forces of the government and opposition forces. In mid-December 2013, President Kiir accused his former deputy Machar and 10 others of attempting a coup d’état.

The fighting has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over two million.

South Sudan Kiir, Machar Meet in Addis Ababa
Ethiopa's PM Abiy Ahmed (R) President Salva Kiir ((C) and SPLM-IO leader (Photo Ethiopia Govt)

June 20, 23018 (ADDIS ABABA) - South Sudan President Salva Kiir and SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar Wednesday have finally met on Wednesday in a meeting attended by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The meeting was announced in a twit released by the Director of Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office Fitsum Arega without details about the outcome of the encounter.

"HE PM Abiy Ahmed hosted a private dinner to President Salva Kiir and Dr Rieck Machar together. The two met for the first time in two years," said Arega.

"Faced with the continued suffering in South Sudan, Ethiopia simply can’t stand by. With more work, a peaceful future is possible in S. Sudan," he further said.

Different sources reached in Addis Ababa said the face-to-face meeting only gathered the two rival leaders and the Ethiopian premier.

The first meeting between Kiir and Machar since July 2016, was supposed to discuss only the outstanding issues in the power-sharing chapter of the peace agreement.

South Sudanese officials under the cover of anonymity told Sudan Tribune that the meeting was not successful and the two leaders didn’t agree on anything.

"If the meeting was positive, at least, Abiy would be happy to issue a statement about its outcome, but this was not the case," an official said.

Machar, in a meeting with the civil society and opposition groups, pledged to defend their points of view in the meeting.

The IGAD Council of Ministers will discuss the outcome of the intensive consultations and then will submit its conclusions for considerations to the summit of IGAD head of states and government in the evening.

President Kiir is scheduled to return to Juba on Friday but it is not clear if another meeting will take place between him and Machar.

Upon his arrival to Addis Ababa, Kiir held a separate meeting with Abiy. President Kiir was accompanied by Minister of Cabinet affairs Martin Elia Lomuro, Ambassador Ezekiel Lul the Minister of Petroleum, Michael Makuei Lueth the Minister of Information and Awud Deng Achuil the Minister of Gender, and Social Welfare.

The meeting with Kiir, which began at 08:00 pm (local time), discussed the outcome of the Intensive Interlink Consultations and ways to move forward, according to a statement released by the information ministry.

Riek Machar, Salva Kiir Meet in Addis Ababa After 2 Years
Kenya Daily Nation

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir walks towards an airplane at Juba International Airport in Juba, South Sudan, on June 20, 2018 before travelling to Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa for meeting with the South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar for the first time in almost two years on efforts to end a five-year civil war. PHOTO | AKUOT CHOL | AFP

The official scope of the talks is broad — to build bridges between the two — but analysts say the outcome remains unclear given their notoriously volatile relationship and entrenched positions.

Once comrades-in arms in the fight for independence, Kiir and Machar experienced a bitter falling out, a development that played a key part in the civil war that blights the future of the world's youngest state.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly a third of the 12 million population have been driven out of their homes, and many to the brink of starvation.

The two figures at the centre of the civil war that has ravaged South Sudan met for the first time in nearly two years on Wednesday evening in the Ethiopian capital.

South Sudan's president Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, who fled South Sudan in July 2016, went into a closed door meeting at the Ethiopian prime minister's office.


Machar, who was greeted ahead of the meeting by Ethiopia's foreign minister, Worken Gebeyehu, arrived in Addis Ababa Wednesday morning.

Kiir followed in the afternoon and was met by prime minister Abiy Ahmed.

The official scope of the talks is broad — to build bridges between the two — but analysts say the outcome remains unclear given their notoriously volatile relationship and entrenched positions.

Once comrades-in arms in the fight for independence, Kiir and Machar experienced a bitter falling out, a development that played a key part in the civil war that blights the future of the world's youngest state.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly a third of the 12 million population have been driven out of their homes, and many to the brink of starvation.

The two warring leaders travelled to Addis at the invitation of Ethiopia's new prime minister, Abiy, who also chairs the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) regional bloc that has taken the lead in thus-far fruitless peace negotiations.

Abiy "will call upon the two leaders to narrow their gap and work for the pacification of South Sudan and relieve the burden of death and uprooting of South Sudanese people," Meles Alem, Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman, said.


Igad heads of state are due to meet in Addis, on Thursday, hoping to get peace talks back on track.

A landlocked state with a large ethnic mix, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after a long and brutal war.

The event was hailed around the world and by celebrity supporters such as George Clooney.

But in 2013, Kiir accused Machar, his vice president, of plotting a coup against him, and violence erupted between the two factions, feeding on brooding ethnic tensions.

They have not met since July 2016, when heavy fighting in the capital Juba signalled the collapse of a 2015 peace deal and Machar fled to South Africa.

The renewed violence spread across the country, spawning numerous new armed opposition groups and further complicating peace efforts.

Despite the pressure, observers say Kiir has little incentive to make concessions to his rivals.

2015 DEAL

His soldiers are winning militarily, while the opposition is more fractured than ever before.

Efforts to revitalise the 2015 agreement resulted in a ceasefire in December which lasted just hours before warring parties accused each other of breaking it.

The meeting in Addis Ababa comes against a background of growing international frustration.

In May, the UN Security Council gave the two warring sides a month to reach a peace deal or face sanctions.

Washington was a critical backer of South Sudan during its separation from Sudan, and remains Juba's biggest aid donor.

But a top US official earlier this month threatened parties on both sides of the conflict with sanctions after a report from a US foundation, The Sentry, said South Sudanese elites were profiting from human rights abuses.
Ebola Outbreak in Congo is 'Largely Contained': World Health Organization
Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola outbreak has been "largely contained" and no new cases of the disease have been confirmed since the last known sufferer died on June 9.

The World Health Organization said it viewed the situation with "cautious optimism," despite the difficulty of tracking down people who may have been exposed to the deadly virus.

The outbreak has killed 28 people since early April.

Photo: A World Health Organization (WHO) worker administers a vaccination during the launch of a campaign aimed at beating an outbreak of Ebola in the port city of Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo May 21, 2018.

Kenny Katombe | Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola outbreak has been "largely contained" and no new cases of the disease have been confirmed since the last known sufferer died on June 9, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

The U.N. health body said it viewed the situation with "cautious optimism," despite the difficulty of tracking down people who may have been exposed to the deadly virus in remote forests close to the Congo River.

The outbreak has killed 28 people since early April.

"Slightly over a month into the response, further spread of EVD (Ebola virus disease) has largely been contained," the organization said in a report.

The outbreak triggered particular concern because it occurred in a remote northwestern area that was hard to reach but close to the Congo River, causing fears it could take root in a neighboring city or spread to the capital Kinshasa, a city of more than 10 million people.

There were also fears that river transport could help the virus spread to neighboring Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo.

This outbreak is Congo's ninth, but the first to be countered with a "ring vaccination" strategy, where all contacts of known patients are vaccinated to try and stop the spread.

"The number of contacts requiring follow-up is progressively decreasing, with a total 1,417 completing the mandatory 21-day follow-up period. As of 17 June 2018, a total of 289 contacts were under follow up, of which 276 (96%) were reached on the reporting date," the WHO report said.

"If no new cases are reported, the last contacts of the known confirmed or probable cases will complete follow-up on 27 June 2018."

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The disease has an incubation period of up to 21 days, meaning the risk declines the longer Congo goes without a new case. The vaccine takes about 10 days to work.

The risk of unidentified Ebola carriers traveling outside the affected province was now considered "very low," but exit screening was being maintained as a precaution, the WHO report said.

An Ebola outbreak is normally declared over once 42 days have passed since blood samples from the last confirmed case tests negative for the second time.

The last laboratory-confirmed case of Ebola was a patient who died on June 9. By a Reuters calculation, if there are no more confirmed cases, the outbreak will be declared over around July 21.