Wednesday, October 31, 2018

China's 12th National Women's Congress Opens
2018/10/31 1:13:51

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, shakes hands with delegates to the 12th National Women's Congress (NWC) in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 30, 2018. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)

The 12th National Women's Congress (NWC) opened in Beijing on Tuesday.

President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, attended the opening of the congress at the Great Hall of the People.

The meeting was also attended by other leaders of the CPC and the state including Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning and Han Zheng, all of whom are members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

Zhao Leji, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, delivered a speech on behalf of the CPC Central Committee.

A total of 1,637 delegates from all walks of life and 79 specially-invited delegates from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the Macao SAR, attended the congress.

Shen Yueyue, vice chairperson of the National People's Congress Standing Committee and executive chairperson of the presidium of the 12th NWC, announced the opening of the meeting.

Women's federations at all levels have taken Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as a guide, and made new contributions to the development of the women's cause and consolidating public support for the Party's governance since the 11th NWC, Zhao said.

Xi's discourses about women and the work of women have provided fundamental rules for the cause of women and the work of women's federations in the new era, he noted.

Zhao called on Chinese women to have firm ideals and convictions, act under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, contribute to the new era, advance the great cause, and continue their efforts to achieve the two centenary goals and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

When making a report on behalf of the 11th Executive Committee of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF), Huang Xiaowei, executive chairperson of the presidium of the 12th NWC, called for holding high the great banner of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and contributing to securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

A draft amendment to the ACWF constitution was submitted to the delegates for deliberation. 
DOJ Accusation Part of US Smear Campaign Against China
Global Times
2018/10/31 22:33:40

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said Tuesday that Chinese intelligence officers who work at China's Jiangsu Province arm of the Chinese Ministry of State Security conspired to steal confidential business information related to a turbofan engine together with "hackers and co-opted company insiders." The report pointed out all the officers' names, saying that the engine was being developed through a partnership between a French aerospace manufacturer with an office in Suzhou, China's Jiangsu Province and a company based in the US. The report also mentioned to "redouble our efforts to safeguard America's ingenuity and investment."

This is the third time that the Jiangsu security authorities became a target for the US since September. In early October, the US extradited a so-called Chinese intelligence officer of Jiangsu from Belgium, accusing him of stealing information under the guise of asking US scientists to deliver a presentation in China.

As the DOJ has not shown conclusive evidence for these accusations but only a one-sided description, we cannot believe the statement is true. We do not believe the US owns overwhelming superiority in the US-China intelligence battle when Washington keeps accusing Beijing of espionage while Beijing remains silent.

The US has made wrong accusations and hyped "Chinese spies" in the past. It has become Washington's political and diplomatic measure to express its attitude toward Beijing.

Continuous US accusations against the Jiangsu security authorities are obviously coordinated with Washington's policy adjustment toward China. This is a political action disguised as a judicial one.

The latest accusation is part of the campaign which also includes the US Department of Commerce's decision to block China's Fujian Jinhua from buying US components and high-ranking US officials' claims that there are many spies among Chinese students in the US, slandering China for infringing US intellectual property rights. The US is promoting political mobilization against China and so pressuring Beijing.

Bloomberg recently reported that China infiltrated the supply chain of computer hardware maker Super Micro Computer Inc to plant malicious chips that could be used to steal secrets, claiming that Amazon and Apple were both infiltrated by the chips. These companies strongly refuted the report. The US government, politicians and media together created a false impression that the Chinese government is organizing commercial espionage against the US.

Those radical US elites arrogantly believe that China stole its modernization from the US and every Chinese person looks like a spy to them. As China and the US share a wide and complicated exchange, such extreme thinking is harmful. It not only hurts the two countries' normal exchanges but also threatens the safety of innocent people and leads to miscarriages of justice.

Accusing the Chinese government-backed hackers of attacking US institutes' internet will induce real criminals to fake internet attacks in such a way as to evade detection. History has proved that when a society indulges in political impulses, right and the wrong will be confused and real criminals take to such chaos like a duck to water.

Those Chinese who live in the US must feel great pressure as Washington plays on the issue of "Chinese spying". Certain groups' rights have been trampled in the US due to diplomatic confrontation and now it's obvious that the US is falling into the same trap and is even going to extremes.

We appeal to China's national security institutions to make US espionage in China known to the public and let the world see US spies' behavior. If China always remains silent in the face of US provocation, it will only foster US arrogance and make itself passive. The US is the largest intelligence-gathering country and the PRISM program has revealed Washington's hypocrisy. It seems the US has forgotten the pain and believes that it is the victim of an intelligence attack.

Catching alleged Chinese spies has damaged China's reputation. It's time for China to act and eliminate the adverse effects
Will US Debt Crisis Trigger New Stock Rout, Financial Turmoil?
Global Times
2018/10/31 22:38:40
Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

Since the 1970s, US government debt as a percentage of GDP has remained at less than 70 percent for roughly 30 years, but in 2009, the ratio of public debt to GDP jumped to 82.4 percent.

Since then, US federal debt has gone out of control, more than doubling from the 2007 level of $9 trillion to $20.44 trillion in 2017, equivalent to 105.4 percent of GDP. After including state and city governments' debt, the total amount was close to $26 trillion, about 130 percent of GDP.

The 2001 stock market crash was resolved through the rapid development of the real estate market, which, however, caused a larger global financial crisis in 2008. Increased debt and quantitative easing were used in response to the US subprime mortgage crisis, but will the resulting debt lead to another large-scale stock market collapse and economic crisis?

Whether there will be a new crisis depends on whether the US government still has creditworthiness and whether it reaches a limit in terms of the debt-to-GDP ratio and debt leverage. Excessive debt issues may cause a US dollar devaluation and lower credit ratings, while excessive leverage could lead to a US debt default, creating trouble for new debt issues.

The US economy will get into trouble when its government debt reaches the fatal upper limit that will lead to a stock market crash and dollar collapse. Specifically, annual debt interest plus maturing debt should not exceed annual fiscal revenue.

Based on the growth tendency of US debt in recent years, the total amount of government debt may exceed $30 trillion by 2023. If local government debt is also included, the debt-to-GDP ratio could reach 150 percent or so. At that point, the US government's annual tax revenue will not be enough to cover interest payments and its maturing debt, thus touching the fatal debt ceiling.

A currency issued by a sovereign country is mainly supported by its economic development, essentially the government's tax and fiscal revenue. However, if a country's debt interest and maturing debt use up the full year's revenue, there will be no scope for new debt issues, thus affecting the nation's financing ability for debt repayment and causing a major financial crisis.

It is justified for the US to adopt expansionary policies to run some fiscal deficits for an economic recovery. Although excess monetary expansion may trigger a fiscal crisis and inflation, due to the global currency status of the US dollar, foreign investors have been attracted by high US interest rates to buy dollar-denominated assets. To a certain extent, this trend has offset the negative impact of fiscal deficits on investment.

For this reason, major US economic indicators like the growth rate, corporate profits and unemployment have been good in the past few years. But according to the IMF, if a country's debt-to-GDP ratio increases by more than 30 percentage points in five years, it will face a high probability of a financial crisis within five years.

The US debt-to-GDP ratio has risen by more than 30 percentage points for two consecutive five-year periods since the 2008 financial crisis, from less than 70 percent to the current 130 percent. Therefore, if the current growth rates of debts and deficits continue, a crisis will occur within the next few years.

Of course, the US will take measures to ease the pressure of excess debt. There are three ways to do so.

First, in order to maintain the status of the US dollar and continue financing for debt repayment, the US is unlikely to directly default on its debt. But it may indirectly default by means of devaluing the dollar and inflating prices.

Second, the US could transfer the crisis to others by raising interest rates and shrinking its balance sheet. In the past, whenever the US started a rate hike cycle, it would evolve into a slowdown or crisis for a certain area or region.

With this round of US rate hikes, the South Africa rand, Indian rupee, Indonesian rupiah, Russian ruble and Argentine peso have all depreciated sharply in recent months. Now everyone is wondering whether the recent depreciation of emerging-market currencies indicates that the new round of financial crisis will occur in emerging markets.

Third, the US may use its economic strength to change the rules of the game. The nation is now busy blaming others for its huge trade deficits, which, in fact, are caused by its own economic structure, not by other countries. In its problematic economic structure, 85 percent of GDP comes from the finance-centered services sector, while manufacturing only accounts for 11 percent.

While the US economy seems to have recovered quickly from the 2008 financial crisis, its structural problem has worsened, with the proportion of manufacturing in GDP further declining.

The economic stimulus measures proposed by the Trump administration may temporarily ease the structural difficulties in the economy, but they still cannot resolve the problem. Instead of trying to adjust its domestic economic structure and reduce its deficits (especially in terms of military spending) to relieve fiscal pressure, the US government chose to provoke trade friction around the world, promoting anti-globalization. But there is no way that such measures can solve its inherent structural and debt problems.

The article was compiled based on a speech by Huang Qifan, former Chongqing mayor and vice chairman of the National People's Congress Financial and Economic Affairs Committee, at the 2018 Symposium on Global Economy and Finance in Shanghai on October 15.
NATO Says Russian Missile Test Not to Change Its Massive Exercise Plans
2018/10/31 12:07:30

NATO said Tuesday the alliance will not change its plans for its biggest military exercise since the end of the Cold War in Norway after Russia announced to test missiles later this week in nearby international waters.

"We were notified last week about the planned Russian missile test outside the coast here," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a press conference before an exercise demonstration at a waterfront site near Trondheim in central Norway.

"I expect Russia to behave in a professional way and it will not change the plans of our exercise," he said.

According to Norway's local media reports, the country's civil airport operator Avinor has been informed by Russian aviation authorities of the missile test that will take place on Nov. 1-3.

The NATO chief noted that Russia has significant naval forces in this area and is regularly exercising its maritime capabilities off the coast of Norway.

"We will of course monitor closely what Russia does, but they operate in international waters and they have notified us in the normal way," Stoltenberg said.

Tuesday's hour-long joint demonstration with various military scenarios was a show of forces for NATO dignitaries, foreign observers and the international press.

It was part of the Trident Juncture 2018 exercise that involves around 50,000 participants from all 29 NATO member nations and its partners Sweden and Finland, with about 250 aircraft, 65 vessels and up to 10,000 vehicles.

Russia has said the NATO drills in Northern Europe, which started on Oct. 25 and run through Nov.7, are obviously anti-Russian and they lead to deterioration of military and political situation in the region, according to Russia's Sputnik news agency.

"It is obvious that this fighting capabilities demonstration has a distinct anti-Russian character," the Russian Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Department was quoted as saying in a statement on Thursday.

"It has a negative effect on the security of all the neighboring countries," it said.

Russia has also complained that the levels of military activities conducted by NATO near Russian borders have been higher than ever since the Cold War.
Bruno Rodríguez: “We Are Certain That the Amendments Will Be Rejected”
In statements offered to the press today, the Cuban Foreign Minister spoke about what will happen tomorrow, October 31, regarding the debate on the annual resolution presented in the UN by Cuba against the U.S. blockade. The vote itself will take place this Thursday, November 1

Digital news staff |
October 30, 2018 15:10:44
Photo: Cubaminrex

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez stated today in a press conference that the United States government, in its desire to create greater tensions and increase hostility, is posing obstacles to the forthcoming vote against the blockade in the UN.

He explained that the U.S. State Department originally presented a document consisting of eight paragraphs of amendments to the draft resolution “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba.” However, the text was hastily divided into eight separate amendments that will be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly for analysis tomorrow.

All this pursues the obvious aim of creating a pretext to tighten the blockade, and attempt to present the illusion that there is international support for the policy, Rodríguez stressed. The U.S. delegation to the UN seeks to disturb, consume time, create confusion and hinder the adoption of the resolution calling for the end of the blockade against Cuba.

The amendments presented by the United States have the objective of changing the nature of the resolution that opposes the blockade, with emphasis on the extraterritorial application of the policy, he explained. Instead, he said, the United States wants to turn it into a resolution that contains attacks against Cuba in the field of human rights, which are totally unjustified.

Cuba has presented this draft resolution for the last 26 years and, this time, the United States seeks to obstruct the adoption of the resolution, and thus disguise “the massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of all the Cuban people,” that the blockade represents, the Minister emphasized.

The U.S. delegation is thus forcing the UN General Assembly to debate eight aggressive amendments, which manipulate the issue of human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals. Rodríguez noted that there are other bodies of the UN where it would be more appropriate to seriously debate such issues.

Unlike in previous years, in the morning session this Wednesday, October 31, there will be a debate in the General Assembly about the resolution presented by Cuba, including remarks by groups of countries and member states. The vote on the draft resolution calling for the end of the blockade will take place on Thursday, as instead of facilitating a short voting act as in previous years, the U.S. State Department seeks to alter the process through the submission of these eight separate amendments, he explained.

“It is a policy that violates international law, transgresses the internationally recognized rules of commerce, violates freedom of navigation, that constitutes an act of aggression and economic warfare.

“Powerless, the government of the United States has found no other way this year than to try to hamper the adoption of the resolution, or to modify the content in an opportunistic, underhand manner.

“Thus, my impression is that the United States government, in its desire to increase tensions, increase hostility against Cuba, knows no bounds in this case, in creating difficulties for the General Assembly, which is an international, universal and democratic body of the United Nations.

“It is an attempt that will surely be rejected, but that does not pursue other purposes than to try to mask the situation of absolute and profound isolation that the United States government has in relation to Cuba, and to obscure the overwhelming rejection of the economic, commercial and financial blockade.

“We are confident that the amendments will be rejected, and that the resolution will receive overwhelming majority support, as has happened in the past,” the Cuban Foreign Minister stressed.

Cuban Foreign Minister Denounces U.S. Maneuver to Undermine International Support for an End to the Blockade
Yesterday afternoon, the United States permanent mission at the UN began circulating eight amendments to the Cuban resolution calling for an end to the blockade, reported Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez during a press conference at the ministry in Havana

Author: Daina Caballero Trujillo |
October 25, 2018 10:10:50
Photo: Cubaminrex

Yesterday afternoon, the United States permanent mission at the UN began circulating eight amendments to the Cuban resolution calling for an end to the blockade, reported Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parilla during a press conference at the ministry in Havana.

He reported that the amendments basically address aspects related to the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and the human rights issue, a subject that the U.S. government attempts to use to discredit Cuba – unsuccessfully.

What is most interesting, Rodríguez said, is not the content of the proposed amendments, but rather the fact that the document was circulated surreptitiously by the U.S. State Department, signed by deputy assistant secretary Gonzalo Gallegos, in an effort to dissuade UN member countries from voting in favor of the Cuban resolution calling for an end to the blockade, which will be considered in the General Assembly this coming October 31.

The document, he pointed out, “recognizes that the Cuban resolution – approved practically unanimously every year in the United Nations General Assembly – has as its purpose condemnation of the impact on the Cuban people of the application of the blockade. This is a profoundly hypocritical and shameless phrase, recognizing that the blockade causes significant human damage to our people, deprivations, shortage, difficulties; it affects all families, discriminates against Cuban migration, and even restricts the civil rights and freedoms of U.S. citizens by prohibiting them from traveling to our country,” the minister stated.

This is another maneuver with propagandistic objectives, to manipulate public opinion and that of other states, Rodríguez noted, recalling that the U.S. has a long history of manipulating the human rights issue when it comes to Cuba, whose accomplishments in the areas of health, education, sports, culture, and political participation are undeniable.

He emphasized that the United States has no authority to accuse others of human rights violations, citing the well known existence of minors tortured in the Guantánamo Naval Base, on illegally occupied Cuban territory.

He also pointed out that, since 1997, the UN General Assembly has rejected these unfounded accusations on the issue of human rights in Cuba. What is most significant, he said, is that the amendments presented by the U.S. include the same content mentioned in resolutions previously rejected by the General Assembly.

The U.S. attempted to use the exact same approach in November of 2006, but a motion rejecting their proposals was approved.

This action by the United States has no international support - on the contrary, such proposals generate isolation and discredit. The vast majority of Cuban émigrés in the United States and around the world oppose this attitude.

At another point in the press conference, the Minister recalled the numerous occasions Cuba has proposed dialogue with the U.S. on any subject whatsoever, including human rights, on the basis of sovereign equality and respect for our independence.

“If the U.S. government wants to discuss the relation of human rights to sustainable development goals, we can do that. Just say when and where,” he added.

Then we could talk about the discrimination faced by Blacks and Latinos in U.S. territory; or women doing the same work as men for less; the hundreds of thousands of citizens who prevented from participating in elections because they have debts; or the wars launched by Washington, the massacres of civilians, he said.

The United States has signed only 18 human rights covenants, of the 61 existent, he noted, “It would be interesting for the U.S. government to attend a debate in the UN on adhesion to international human rights pacts and instruments. They are the only country in the world to vote against the right to food.”

The United States is pursuing an increasingly hostile policy toward Cuba, linked to the anti-Cuban industry in Miami. It again attempts to cover up widespread rejection of the blockade by the international community and within its own society.
Tens of Thousands Protest Against Brazil's New Elect-President
30 October 2018

Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former paratrooper, joins a list of far right-wing figures to win elections in recent years that include U.S. President Donald Trump, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Sao Paolo and other cities to protest Brazil's president-elect Jair Bolsonaro's win in Sunday's elections.

The protest was organized by the Frente Brasil Popular, a federation of hundreds of social organizations, including the Landless Workers, the Urban Homeless Workless Movement, labor unions associated with ACUT,  and student organizations among others.

Protesters chanted "Not Him," a popular refrain throughout a recent, divisive campaign by those opposed to Bolsonaro, as they marched down Paulista Avenue, a major artery in this mega city.

"We always wanted the best for our country, but I still can't see his mandate with good faith," said protester Daniele Mantei.

Bolsonaro won the presidential race handily with already an investigation upon illegal disinformative campaigns on Whatsapp, while the real frontrunner for this election was the Workers Party's candidate, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in prison over controversial corruption charges.

Bolsonaro won 55 percent of votes in a run-off election against left-wing hopeful Fernando Haddad of the Workers Party (PT), who got 45 percent, according to electoral authority TSE.
Peru Judge Could Put Keiko Behind Bars For 36 Months
31 October 2018

Peruvian Judge to decide if legislator Keiko Fujimori will be detained for 36 months during investigation of her connection to Odebrecht corruption.

Peruvian Judge Richard Concepcion Carhuancho will continue the hearing against Keiko Fujimori, leader of Popular Force Wednesday in order to decide if the lawmaker should be held in 36 months of preventive detention.

Earlier this month the 2011 presidential candidate and daughter to the former authoritarian leader of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, was detained for 10 days for allegedly receiving up to US$1.2 million from Brazil’s Odebretch construction company to fund her previous campaign. She was released Oct. 20 and put in protective custody.

State prosecutor Jose Domingo Perez is trying to place Fujimori and 10 others from her political party, Popular Force, in long-term preventative detention while the investigation into their connection to the campaign money laundering scandal takes place.

Judge Carhuancho has already heard the cases against Keiko and her advisers Pier Figari and Ana Herz, as well as Vicente Silva Checa, and Jaime Yoshiyama, former secretary general of the party.

The judge is expected to make a ruling on the preventative detention for Fujimori and Augusto Bedoya Camere, Adriana Tarazona, Carmela Paucara Paxi, Jorge Yoshiyama Sasaki, Luis Mejia Lecca and Giancarlo Bertini Vivanco who are also being investigated in connection to the Odebrectch embezzlement case.

Local media says the legal battle against Keiko may jeopardize her 2021 presidential bid.

Keiko Fujimori leads the powerful conservative opposition party Popular Force, which has a majority in Congress and was key to toppling former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski last March in a different Odebrectch graft scandal.

In early October a pardon granted to her father by Kuczynski was annulled.

Alberto Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison for commanding death squads that massacred civilians in a counterinsurgency campaign during his right-wing government. He was later found guilty of crimes against humanity by an international court.
Colombia: Uribe, FARC Members Discuss Peace Court Reforms
31 October 2018

Uribe supporters seek to set up a new court within the Peace Jurisdiction to judge military and police personnel accused of crimes.

Former Colombian President and staunch detractor of Colombia’s peace process Alvaro Uribe met with four former FARC guerrillas Pablo Catatumbo, Carlos Antonio Losada, Victoria Sanguino y Sandra Ramirez Tuesday in the Senate to discuss the proposed reforms to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) presented by Uribe’s Democratic Center. 

The core of the reforms is the establishment of special courts within the JEP that would be in charge of the investigations and hearings for members of state forces. Before now, Uribe had not recognized the legitimacy of the JEP despite it being the central element of the peace accords signed between the Colombian state and the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Now, he is willing to recognize the court and its jurisdiction if the special courts are set up a proposal that has generated criticism by those who have historically supported the peace process and argue the reform would amount to the “dismemberment” of the peace accords.

The meeting also included the former presidential candidate for the Humane Colombia coalition and now senator Gustavo Petro and senator Ivan Cepeda, two of Uribe’s strongest opponents who have denounced Uribe’s alleged role in the rise of paramilitary forces in Colombia and the murder of hundreds of civilians by the Armed Forces.

Cepeda stressed via Twitter that “any modification that bring structural and procedural changes to the @JEP_Colombia and that promote the negation of the victims’ rights is unacceptable. I believe we bust dialogue to consolidate peace but without affecting Peace, Justice, and Reparations.”

During the negotiations, those who oppose the reforms proposed as an alternative to reinforce the court with new justices who would not be chosen by foreigners and would be both experts on International Humanitarian Law and the protocols used by Colombia’s Armed Forces. This option seeks to address what Uribe and his supporters have called the JEP ideological bias against state forces (military and police).

Uribe was accompanied by senators of the Democratic Center and president Ivan Duque’s interior minister Nancy Patricia Gutierrez, who attended the meeting as an “impartial observer.”

Gutierrez was the first to leave the meeting claiming there would be no agreement.

Tensions were high among the two bands but also between Uribistas and Duque’s government. Duque had expressed his support for the creation of special courts during the presidential campaign when he enjoyed the Uribe and the Democratic Center’s endorsement. 

President Duque has not referred to the proposed reforms but his Defense Minister Guillermo Botero and Interior Minister expressed their support for the bill this Monday. 

The meeting ended at night without an agreement.

Colombia’s Movement of Victims of State Crimes (Movice) urged “no political agreement should allow the creation of a special court for the military in @JEP_ Colombia. The victims and our rights are at the center of the peace accords. No more space for impunity in state crimes!”
Brazil's Bolsonaro in 1st Interview Since Elected: No Dialogue with Leftist 'Criminal' Groups
30 October 2018

In an interview with Record TV, Bolsonaro confirmed four members of his cabinet and called the MST a terrorist organization.

Brazil’s recently-elected president Jair Bolsonaro offered his first interview Monday revealing more of what his policies will be. In the interview with Record TV, he confirmed members of his cabinet, his opinions on relaxing regulations for bearing arms, and on minorities like Indigenous, Afro-Brazilians, LGBTIQ, and women who he has targeted throughout his 28-year-long political life.

The four men he confirmed are “Chicago Boy” Paulo Guedes for the Ministry of the Economy, Onyx Lorenzoni, who will be Chief of Staff, General Heleno Ribeiro who will head the Defense Ministry, and Marco Pontes will lead the Science and Technology Ministry.

Guedes is a 69-year-old neoliberal economist from the University of Chicago who is an avid supporter of privatization as a way to reduce public debt and the national deficit. Guedes is also preparing an economic team that would include Alexandre Bettamio, representative of the United States-based Bank of America in Latin America.

Lorenzoni, a legislator for the Democrats (DEM) party, has confessed to having received 100,000 Brazilian reals (around US$27,100) from Brazilian businessmen and has been summoned in the ongoing Odebrecht corruption investigations.

General Ribeiro was also Bolsanaro’s former instructor at the military academy. His confirmation is particularly worrisome because he embraces the militarization of Brazil’s internal security, which has particularly affected communities in Brazil’s impoverished favelas, where many have been killed by military police.

In the first six months of the intervention, ordered by un-elected President Michel Temer in early 2018, the Intervention Observatory registered a record 6,000 shoot-outs and a 38 percent increase in police-related deaths. This March alone, state security forces killed seven people in a favela in Rio de Janeiro.

Temer was the first head of state to appoint a military person to the Defense Ministry since the return to democracy.

Pontes is a 55-year-old combat pilot whose main encounter with science was his participation in a 2006 mission that took him to the International Space Station where he stayed for a week. 

Bolsonaro also said he wants to appoint judge Sergio Moro, who ordered the controversial imprisonment of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, leader of the Workers’ Party (PT) and favored candidate for the 2018 presidential elections, to the Supreme Federal Court (the country’s highest court) or the Justice Ministry.

On social movements, Bolsonaro said he will not hold dialogues with “criminal organizations” like the Landless Rural Workers (MST) and the Homeless Workers Movement, which he labeled terrorists, warning “private property is sacred.” On the eve of Sunday’s elections, an MST camp was set on fire by Bolsonaro supporters.

Brazil’s new president also said he would govern for all Brazilians, and that no one will have special treatment or protections in a reference to affirmative action programs put in place by former PT governments to undue Brazil’s historic and racialized inequality.

Bolsonaro also defended his vice-president, General Hamilton Mourao, who has stirred controversy for authoritarian comments, and assured he will be an adviser in his government.

Finally, Bolsonaro confirmed that the revision of the disarmament statute is a priority. The newly-elected president believes that easier access to weapons will help reduce the levels of violence in the country.
US: Protestors Shun 'President Hate' Over Synagogue Shooting
Spangler and her husband Cmarada show support of the Jewish community in Pittsburgh.

31 October 2018

More than 70,000 protesters signed a letter penned by Jewish leaders who declared Trump unwelcome in Pittsburgh unless he fully denounced “white nationalism."

U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife, along with daughter and son-in-law — both White House advisors — were met with massive protests at the Tree of Life Temple in Pittsburgh Tuesday, during their visit to pay their respects after 11 Jewish worshippers were shot dead by a white-supremacist over the weekend.

At the protests, there were approximately 2,000 demonstrators, according to Reuters, displaying signs with messages condemning the administration. “President Hate, leave our state,” “We build bridges, not walls” and “Trump, Renounce White  Nationalism Now” were among the prominently projected slogans.

More than 70,000 protesters signed a letter penned by Jewish leaders who declared Trump unwelcome in the city, unless he fully denounced “white nationalism,” according to a BBC report.

Law enforcement reported hearing from 46-year-old assailant Robert  Bowers that the killings were a form of retaliation to what he believed were actions of the Jewish community that allegedly “were committing genocide to his people.”

While white nationalism is not a new phenomenon in the United States, the onset of the Trump Administration narrative and campaign slogan to put “America  First," has emboldened the movement.

In 2017, there were 954 hate groups in the United States, that number shows a four percent increase over the previous year, and among the 600 white supremacist groups, neo-nazis rose from 121 to 99, from 2016 to 2017.

These groups hold extreme views on migration, specifically to halt the process.

The Trump Administration has reimagined the campaign-era anti-immigration stance as one of his predilect strategies for the upcoming midterm elections. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

‘We Were Never Meant to Struggle’
29 OCT, 2018 - 00:10

Crystal Orderson

In an exclusive interview, Crystal Orderson, for allAfrica, sat down with Samia Nkrumah — Ghanaian activist and daughter of the country’s first president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah — to talk about the new scramble for Africa, and how many countries are again knocking on the door of the prescriptive International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

One can get star-struck when conversing with Samia Yaba Nkrumah. Her passion for Pan-Africanism and the development of the continent to ensure equality for all Africans is palatable.

In 2011, Samia Nkrumah was elected to lead the Convention People’s Party — the first woman to lead a political party. She has since retired from active politics as an MP, but is now heading the Kwame Nkrumah Pan-African Centre.

Democracy Under Fire?

President Nkrumah famously said: “We face neither East nor West: we face forward; We prefer self-government with danger to servitude in tranquillity.” And it’s this ethos for a better continent that Nkrumah wants to focus on, as she outlined her thinking at the Dialogue of Civilisation conference on the Greek Island of Rhodes.

“We are practising democracy in particular environments and millions of people’s needs are not being met. We call elections season in Ghana ‘cocoa season’ — it’s the time people make money!” Nkrumah said during her talk titled “Economic Inequality and Democracy: Are They Compatible?”

Nkrumah said she wants democracy to translate into “tangible” things: “I want it to eradicate poverty, more sanitation, adequate water for all, reliable power supply. We are thinking of the outcome of democracy and not just the right to exercise the right to vote.”

The comeback kid: IMF back in Africa?

Nkrumah is scathing about her critique on the IMF structural adjustment programmes of the 1980s that left countries cutting back on education, health and infrastructure projects.

“They really set us back, they truly set us back, these prescriptions imposed on us from the outside without true knowledge of what was happening on the ground and the figures show it did not work,” says Nkrumah.

During the eighties and nineties’ debt crisis many African countries turned to the IMF and the World Bank for financial bailouts and this came with strict conditions. She says these loans did not help the growth of African economies “at all”.

“It was never inclusive growth and it did not trickle down and it affected our investment in health and education.”

Since the 80s, some states have become more indebted and the 2008 financial crisis coupled with the collapse of commodities did not help the continent. It is estimated that about 24 out of 50 low-income countries are currently in debt and that number has doubled in the past five years.

“Countries are going back to the IMF and truth be told we never ever stopped. It is so difficult to service the debt and our small economies and credit rating is so down and it is more expensive for us to borrow.”

Nkrumah says it’s a vicious cycle that has to stop somewhere — “sooner or later people will be so fed up and explode”. In 2014, 15 African countries had IMF loans worth a total of $5,39 billion. And now in 2018, it’s 20 countries with loans totalling $15,4 billion. Countries like Angola, Mozambique and the Republic of the Congo continue knocking at the international lenders’ door.

Nkrumah says Africa and Africans must have the freedom to choose the policies that suit their particular context so that the continent has more control over its economies.

Scramble for Africa?

“There has always been a scramble because the potential here is so huge, meaning we have not explored what we have and we cannot give our resources away for anything. And judging by the statistics, China is the new sugar daddy for African states, but some say it comes at a price, perhaps not as prescriptive as the IMF and Bretton Woods institutions, but nevertheless has strings attached,” she said.

According to statistics, the Chinese interest-bearing loans rose from almost zero in 2000 to $18 billion in 2013 and then $30 billion in 2016. This is part of the billions of dollars in overall financial support to Africa. Nkrumah says if Africa speaks with one voice it can be more powerful in negotiating loans and deal with, for instance, China.

“All this cannot happen if we are weak states, there is no way you can negotiate favourable things for your people. We advocating for States working together to get the best deals for the people, the best way to regulate the scramble.”

Nkrumah says this is a continent where everyone is coming for the resources, and she believes if things are not fair sooner or later tension will grow within populations and countries.

“Sixty percent of arable land is here in Africa and that is where everyone is coming and is going to come, and it has to be well-managed,” she says.

Some might say Nkrumah might be naive in her response to the burning issues some states are facing, but she believes, like her father, that unity for Africa is essential. “Our unity is a great contributor to peace and Africans need to take charge — A new Africa has to be born.”

Nkrumah says there will always be problems if Africans do not have unity of purpose and it can be facilitated by political union.

“We need to visit the original idea. We were never meant to struggle; African states must work together — it will be better for the world.”
Women: Let’s Empower Ourselves First
31 OCT, 2018 - 00:10
Anne Mazvabo

“Women are the real architects of society”, so says Harriet Beecher Stowe.

The citation above brings a lot of questions to mind; questions like: Are women really architects of society? If so, why then is there so much outcry about women empowerment? Why is it that the world seems to classify women as a minority group?

It is not a secret that society appears to favour men.

The Oxford Dictionary defines an architect as “a person who designs buildings in many cases also supervises their construction”. This means that the woman is the planner, and is the one in charge of construction. But then looking at the current situation it does not look like women are in charge. It really boggles the mind.

The environment is not giving women or the girl child an opportunity to take charge. Women are oppressed through culture and religion, which seem to favour men.

This starts at childhood when a girl and a boy are treated differently. A boy child is treated like royalty, allowed to express his views and expected to be always in charge while the girl child is expected to be humble, never to lay out her opinions, because it is a sign of disrespect. A girl child is raised in a way that she feels inferior to her male counterpart. This way of raising the girl child affects her even when she grows up to be a mother, sister, aunt, or wife.

We are living in a world where women are made to think that they cannot achieve anything without men’s assistance. Most women have lost their self-esteem, because culture and religion have broken the spirit of self-respect.

Even the spirits of those women whom we sometimes think are powerful; who occupy higher posts in corporate and political circles are broken, because they are wives and mothers. Women in executive posts face challenges of being disrespected or looked down upon by their male subordinates, who take their cultural and religious believes to work.

Such men think that they cannot be ruled by women, even if they occupy positions of influence. To add salt to injury the executive woman even faces insults from her female counterparts, who feel that her promotion came from sleeping with her superiors.

We live in a world which does not see a future in a girl child raised by a single mother. Society usually frowns when a girl child raised by a single mother marries well or achieves career-wise.  To those who believe in miracles, it is a miracle. This is because of the absence of a male figure in the house during her upbringing, therefore, nothing good is expected of her. Our society disparages single mothers, or single women considered to be past “marriageable age”.

In society’s view, there is a certain age limit in which a woman is expected to get married, hence, if she passes that age, trouble grins at her. As a single woman, who appears to have passed that age in society’s eyes, I know the feeling.

It is such a time of trials and tribulations because every relative, even the closest ones, will be on your case. The first thing they ask me when we meet is: “When are you getting married?” As someone without a formal job, they feel pity for me, especially so when there is no man in my life.

Probably I should not blame them for thinking that getting married will be my salvation, and not my career advancement. It is the way they were also brought up, in a society that overrates marriage and relegates women to the lowest rung of the societal ladder.

My single friends who are domiciled out of Zimbabwe always say that the only time they feel pressured when then come back home is when they have to face the question, “When are you getting married?” Despite their successes professionally, no one celebrates them. They usually get sympathy from those angling for their money or other goodies.

It is sad that women are considered incomplete if they are not married.  Fellow ladies, it is not a sin to live without the daily company of men, neither is it shameful, therefore, there is no reason to put ourselves under pressure. We should not be weighed down by societal burdens, for marriage is not man’s design, but God’s.

Instead of protecting women, culture and religion are used against women, thus instead of the phenomena playing a bigger role shaping women’s dreams, they become their worst enemies. Under-aged girls are getting married to older men, who may already have more than two wives. Women are being abused in marriages, but the fear of being labelled as a divorcee or not being a prayer warrior is too weighty to carry.

However, as I read the Harriet’s quote over and over again, I understood what she meant when she said: “Women are the architects of society.” She meant that we have the power to determine and design the kind of society we want, because we are the constructors of this society. Everything starts with a women. We give birth. We are the ones who are responsible for raising children. It is our teachings as mothers that mould personalities.

Ladies we need to empower our daughters and nieces with knowledge and skills to handle themselves when growing up. Teach them to never stop persevering. It is worth our time as mothers to teach the girl child to be strong and speak out her opinions.

We should never look down upon ourselves, for we are our own builders and societal constructors.
Hwange Put Under Reconstruction . . . Administrator Moves In
31 OCT, 2018 - 00:10
Tendai Mugabe
Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

Government has put Hwange Colliery Company under reconstruction in a bid to set it on the course to profitability.

The company is heavily indebted and owes the Government in excess of US$150 million, with its liabilities outstripping the value of its assets.

Government, which owns 52 percent stake in the company, announced the reconstruction exercise in an Extraordinary Government Gazette published on Monday.

The Extraordinary Government Gazette reads: “(a) The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs (Ziyambi Ziyambi) hereby in terms of section 4 of the reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent Companies Act (Chapter24:27) (No.27 of 2004) issues a reconstruction order in relation to Hwange Colliery Company Limited.

“(b) Appoints Bekithemba Moyo, the co-founder and director of DBF Capital partners having its principal place of business at No 2 Downie Avenue, Belgravia, Harare, to be the administrator of the company under reconstruction.”

Other members of his team include Ms Mutsa Mollie Jean Remba, who is the current managing director of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha who will be serving as the assistant administrator and Mr Munashe Shava who is the chief operating officer and project leader at the Great Dyke Investments.

Mr Shava is also going to serve as the assistant administrator.

The gazette further reads: “Direct that, from the date of publication of this order — the company under reconstruction shall be under the control and management of the administrator, and the boards of the companies under reconstruction shall be divested of the control and management of the companies’ affairs and any person managing or controlling the companies’ affairs in any capacity other than as simply a member of the board referred to above shall continue in the office subject to the control and direction of, and be answerable to, the administrator.”

Sources close to this matter confirmed to the Herald yesterday that the administrator had hit the ground running and yesterday had already moved in at Hwange Colliery offices in Harare.

“The administrator has already moved in as the parent ministry moved in line with its set goals of meeting the 2030 Vision targets as enunciated by the President,” said the source.

Top Harare lawyer Advocate Lewis Uriri said the effect of the extra ordinary Government Gazette was that Hwange Colliery board had automatically dissolved by operation of the law.

“This means that the board function now vests in the administrator,” he said.

“The underlying rationale is that this is a state enterprise that is insolvent because of failed management. With a different manager the fortunes of the enterprise may be turned around and its operations “reconstructed”. This is the equivalent of corporate rescue provisions such as judicial management. The staff remains in place but the policy and strategic vision ordinarily reserved for the board is now vested in the administrators who will now direct management.”

A senior manager at Hwange Colliery Company last week had hinted that Government might consider reconstruction of the company given a myriad of challenges it was facing.

“Government may consider a reconstruction exercise which works in three principles. The first principle is that Government has to be owed money, the second works on the basis that the company is insolvent and the third principle works on the basis that if properly reconstructed, the company can turn around the fortunes and Hwange fits in all those three. Firstly, because it owes money to Government in excess of US$150 million, secondly its liabilities far exceed its assets and thirdly it’s a good asset which if properly run, should be able to operate profitably. Therefore, based on that, there is merit in having the company reconstructed.”
Zimbabwe Government Deregulates Fuel Imports
 31 OCT, 2018 - 00:10 
Zvamaida Murwira
Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

Government has deregulated the importation of fuel and reports of the existence of a monopoly or cartel are baseless, Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo has said.

He said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) was making proportionate allocations of foreign currency to fuel companies based on the number of their service stations and reports of preferential treatment were not true.

Dr Gumbo said this on Monday evening during an interview on Star FM. He was responding to claims that there was a fuel monopoly controlled by Sakunda Holdings, which some quarters alleged was getting the lion’s share of hard currency.

“Let me give you the Government position and not speculation. The truth of the matter is that what I found at the ministry is that there is no fuel monopoly whatsoever. Government deregulated the importation of fuel in 2012, so it is open for anybody.

“Over 50 companies or entities did register to bring in fuel so that tells you that there is no monopoly. If the monopoly means bigger players are bringing in more fuel than smaller players then I do not know how to answer that,” said Dr Gumbo.

“If you look at the companies that bring in fuel, let me give you an example of say Total or Puma you will see that they have a lot of service stations with their emblem, so the number of service stations that they are able to supply fuel with translates to the money or foreign exchange that they will be given in order to feed those service stations.

“But if you are a person or company that has got only one outlet then you are given what is enough for your outlet. So that is the politics that is there. It is no that somebody is being segregated for any other reason.”

Dr Gumbo’s remarks come as the fuel situation has improved significantly with Sakunda Holdings and its partners providing Government with 100 million litres of fuel, which will only be paid for after 12 months.

Government and Sakunda are also finalising a deal that will see the latter supplying the country with 1,6 billion litres of fuel that would ensure adequate fuel supplies over the next 18 months.

Independent Petroleum Group (IPG), Glencore, Engen and Total have also chipped in and are working on various structures with the Government.

Dr Gumbo dismissed claims that Sakunda Holdings controlled the Beira-Feruka oil pipeline, which was supplying most of Zimbabwe’s fuel.

He said Government had no problem with establishing a second pipeline to make Zimbabwe a hub for fuel supply to the region.

“I am aware as the responsible minister that the pipeline from Beira to Feruka has nothing to do with Sakunda. It is a pipeline that is owned by a joint venture between the Government of Zimbabwe and Mozambique and it ends there,” said Dr Gumbo.

“The question of the second pipeline does not apply today. The point about a second pipeline will apply in future and I have a plan for that. I would want to make Zimbabwe a hub for distributing fuel in the region, Botswana, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo. However, the existing pipeline is not being used to full capacity. There is still underutilisation of that pipeline.”

He reiterated that the fuel shortage experienced recently was because of foreign exchange shortages.

“First of all you must know the causes of the fuel shortage. The economy is improving, so as it is improving it means you must have more of fuel in the country,” said Dr Gumbo.
DRC Special Envoy Briefs Zimbabwe President
31 OCT, 2018 - 00:10 

President Mnangagwa meets Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila’s special envoy Mr Kikaya Bin Karubi at his Munhumutapa Offices in Harare yesterday. — (Read story on Page 2). — (Picture by Presidential Photographer Joseph Nyadzayo)

Tendai Mugabe
Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mnangagwa yesterday met a special envoy from his counterpart President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo who briefed him on the progress made on that country’s elections set for December 23.

The special envoy, Mr Kikaya Bin Karubi who is President Kabila’s chief diplomatic advisor, told journalists after meeting President Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa Offices in Harare that they were going it alone in the coming elections without external assistance.

Mr Karubi, who was accompanied by DRC Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mwawapanga Mwanananga said once they accepted external assistance especially from the Western world, they should be prepared to pay back 10 times more.

“In terms of democracy, we are still babies, but we are doing it alone because elections are a matter of national sovereignty,” said Mr Karubi.

“We do not want anybody to interfere with our elections. The international community has been coming and asking to help us here and there, but in Congo we say we must be wary of Greeks bearing gifts.

“When someone offers you a gift, you must always remember to ask what does he want in return? So, we do not want anybody to help us with our electoral process. If we need help, we know on which door to knock. It will first be our African friends.

“We will never go all the way to Europe or America looking for help because we know when they offer you any kind of help, you must always be prepared to pay something 10 times more in return.”

Commenting on the political situation in DRC, Mr Karubi  said; “The situation is good despite some challenges here and there where transborder terrorists are coming into our country and killing our people. Our army is really putting pressure on them to put an end to that, come election time.

“The second challenge is the Ebola virus. The Ebola virus has been hitting here and there, but we have medical teams with the international community helping us as well to try and contain the disease.

“In terms of democracy, we are in a learning process. Congo, being a country of over 88 million people has 40 million voters and 21 candidates for the presidency and for the MPs I don’t know how many people. We have 700 parties competing for elections. This is a learning process for us.”

Mr Karubi said he gave President Mnangagwa a comprehensive brief on the political situation in DRC.

He said more than 700 political parties were participating in the polls with 21 candidates gunning for the presidency.

“As you know, the Democratic Republic of Congo will be having its third elections on the 23rd of December, so President Kabila thought that it was important that he sends someone to see His Excellency President Mnangagwa and brief him on the political situation in the Congo,” he said.
Risk-taking Woman Construction Boss in Mozambique Wins Top UN Award
29 October 2018
By GCR Staff

The founder of a large construction company in Mozambique has won a top United Nations award for quality, sustainability and environmental protection – and for leadership in a male-dominated sector.
Civil engineer Uneiza Ali Issufo (pictured) founded her company ConsMoz Ltd. in Nampula after struggling to get ahead working other firms, despite being president of her local contractors’ association.

After participating in UN entrepreneurship training workshop in 2017, organised by Empretec, the MBA graduate was able to expand her business so that it now employs 800 women and men, and lands large building contracts with a focus on sustainability.

She beat other contestants from around the world to win Gold Prize in the Women in Business Awards in Geneva, Switzerland on 25 October, organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Judges praised Issufo “for courage and audacity as a woman starting a green construction business, and her systematic and ongoing efforts to grow her business in innovative ways, creating employment opportunities for local communities particularly women.”

“Taking risk is my natural way of being,” Issufo said. “You cannot discover the oceans unless you dare to lose sight of the pier.”

She and other winners will be showered with gifts, including a watch by Delance of Switzerland, and others donated by sponsors including MontBlanc.

They will also receive personal development opportunities, including mentoring from impact investor Skyar, a study tour in Brazil donated by Lavazza, an executive course in digital marketing by IMD Lausanne, Switzerland, and mentoring by the MBA Business School in Grenoble, France.

The gala ceremony was held during the World Investment Forum 2018 in the historic Assembly Hall of the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Winning Silver was Lama Sha’sha’a Abu Dahab, of the International Robotics Academy, in Jordan.

Bronze Award went to Barbara Ofwono Buyondo, of Victorious Education Services, Uganda.

Image: Civil engineer Uneiza Ali Issufo founded her company ConsMoz Ltd. after struggling to get ahead as an employee in other firms (UNCTAD)
Chinese Company Starts Heavy Sands Exploration in Mozambique
30 October 2018

The launch of the Chibuto heavy sand exploration project is set to move ahead and its impact will radically change the quality of life of the population, the director of Mineral Resources and Energy of the Mozambican province of Gaza.

Castro Elias also told Mozambican state news agency AIM that Chinese company Dingsheng Minerals has already installed a sand processing plant with the capacity to process 10,000 tonnes of material a day.

He added that the Chinese company is currently preparing to install nine more platforms by mid-2019 to allow for the daily processing of 100,000 tonnes of sand.

The agency also reported that studies are underway to determine how best to distribute the ore extracted from the sands, and the construction of a port in the Chongoene region, about 15 kilometres from the city of Xai-Xai, the provincial capital of Gaza.

The initial project envisaged the construction of a railway line from Chibuto to Lionde in the Chókwè district from where the ore would be disposed of at the Matola terminal in Maputo province.

The source said that following more in-depth studies, the conclusion was that the construction of a port at Chongoene was more feasible, and the process is moving ahead in order to secure space for setting up that project at a very advanced stage.

The Chibuto heavy sands project will initially occupy an area of ​​10,000 hectares that in the future, depending on the growth of the project, could extend to another 15,000 hectares.

Children Dying of Ebola at Unprecedented Rate in Congo--Health Ministry
A Congolese health worker administers Ebola vaccine to a boy who had contact with an Ebola sufferer in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, August 18, 2018. REUTERS/Olivia Acland/File Photo

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Children in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are dying from Ebola at an unprecedented rate due largely to poor sanitary practices at clinics run by traditional healers, the health ministry said on Sunday.

The impact on children has been felt acutely in the city of Beni, which has emerged as the outbreak’s new epicentre. Of 120 confirmed Ebola cases in Beni, at least 30 are under 10-years-old, and 27 of them have died, according to health ministry data.

Many children affected by an unrelated malaria outbreak near Beni are thought to have contracted Ebola at clinics run by traditional healers who have also treated Ebola patients, said Jessica Ilunga, a spokeswoman for the health ministry.

“There is an abnormally high number of children who have contracted and died of Ebola in Beni. Normally, in every Ebola epidemic, children are not as affected,” Ilunga told Reuters.

“Traditional healers use the same tools to treat everyone. And the child who has entered a traditional healer’s clinic with malaria comes out with Ebola and dies several days later,” she said.

The rate of new cases in eastern Congo has accelerated in recent weeks. An emergency World Health Organization committee said earlier this month that the outbreak was likely to worsen significantly unless the response was stepped up. [nL8N1WX6IH]

The health ministry reported nine new confirmed cases late on Saturday — seven in Beni and two in the city of Butembo — the biggest one-day day jump since the outbreak was declared on Aug. 1.

The haemorrhagic fever is believed to have killed 168 people and infected another 98 in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, where attacks by armed groups and community resistance to health officials have complicated the response.

Congo has suffered 10 Ebola outbreaks since the virus was discovered near its eponymous Ebola River in 1976. The current one now ranks third in terms of number of confirmed cases.

Reporting By Fiston Mahamba and Giulia Paravicini; Editing by Aaron Ross and Toby Chopra
DRC Records 17 New Ebola Cases in Nation's 3rd-largest Outbreak
Stephanie Soucheray
News Reporter
Oct 29, 2018

Over the weekend and today, officials recorded 17 more cases of Ebola and 10 more deaths in the ongoing outbreak in the far eastern reaches of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Eleven of the new cases were in Beni, the outbreak epicenter, and the remaining 6 were recorded in nearby Butembo. The new infections bring the total number of cases to 274, including 139 deaths. Thirty-two suspected cases are under investigation.

At least one of the deaths over the weekend was a community death in Butembo, DRC officials said. Community deaths pose a greater threat of virus spread than those that occur in a hospital or Ebola treatment center because of the likelihood of added exposure.

From Oct 22 to Oct 28, DRC officials confirmed 36 new cases (28 in Beni and 8 in Butembo) and 19 deaths. 

Outbreak is DRC's 3rd largest

Though the outbreak is small compared with the 2014-2016 West African outbreak (which saw more than 28,000 cases), Congolese officials noted it has now surpassed the DRC's Luebo (Mweka) outbreak in 2007, when there were 265 recorded cases and 187 deaths.

The current outbreak, the country's 10th, is now the DRC's third largest, following the 1976 outbreak in Yambuku (318 cases) and 1995's outbreak in Kikwit (315 cases).

The outbreak is now the world's sixth largest since Ebola was first recorded in 1976.

Yesterday, 8,000 young people in Butembo and Beni were trained in Ebola response efforts, including a demonstration of a safe and dignified burial.  Officials said the efforts were meant to "increase the awareness actions for young people who are often at the root of resistance because of a lack of knowledge of the disease and its danger."

As of today, vaccination totals have reached 24,142 people in the DRC, including 12,464 in Beni and 1,295 in Butembo.
Eritrea, Sudan to Normalize Relations Soon: Report
October 28, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan and Eritrea would normalise bilateral relations in the near future as a result of regional efforts, according to a press report published in Khartoum on Sunday.

In January 2018, Sudan accused Eritrea of backing rebel groups unidentified opposition groups and closed the border after deploying thousands of troops. In return, Asmara last May accused Sudan, Ethiopia and Qatar of supporting armed opposition groups to overthrow the government of President Isaias Afewerki.

However, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed reconciled with Eritrea last July and sought to bridge the gaps between the two neighbouring countries as he did with Eritrea and Somalia.

Al-Meghar newspaper reported on Sunday that President Omer al-Bashir would meet his Eritrean counterpart Afewerki after a visit by the Presidential Assistant Faisal Hassan Ibrahim to Asmara in the upcoming days without further details.

The report said the normalisation of relations come after regional efforts to end the tensions between the two countries.

Also, the newspaper mentioned internal efforts by Sudanese political parties that have good relations with President Afewerki without naming these political forces. But it disclosed that Presidential Assistant Musa Mohamed Ahmed who is also the leader of the Beja Congress is currently in Asmara to discuss the normalization of bilateral relations and he would return next Tuesday.

Musa who was the leader of the rebel East Front signed a peace agreement with the Sudanese government brokered by the Eritrean government in October 2006 and remained close to Eritrean president.

Last September the IGAD Council of Minister said it would discuss the normalization of relations between Djibouti and Eritrea; and between Eritrea and Sudan. However, nothing was announced after the meeting of 12 September about this matter.

Sudanese Parliament Reaches Agreement on Electoral Body
October 28, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese National Assembly on Sunday said large consensus has been reached among the political forces to form the National Elections Commission (NEC).

Deputy head of the parliamentary sub-committee on legislation, justice and human rights Azhari Widaat Allah said the committee tasked with approving the election law is consulting with the political forces to endorse the law in the third reading.

He stressed the need to reach agreement on the disputed items on the election law, expecting the National Assembly to lead the consensus on the 2020 elections.

On October 10th, The National Assembly approved by majority the general features of the 2018 draft elections law.

Last June, the Sudanese Council of Ministers approved the 2018 elections law amid objection of several political forces participating in the national dialogue.

In October 2016, the political forces participating in the government-led national dialogue concluded the process by signing the National Document which includes the general features of a future constitution to be finalised by transitional institutions.

The NCG was installed in May 2017 to implement the outcome of the dialogue conference.

The rebel groups and opposition parties refused to join Khartoum process as they demand the government to end the war and ensure freedoms in the country ahead of the dialogue.

Also, last May, a coalition of some opposition left parties, the National Consensus Forces (NCF), announced the boycott of the 2020 elections, saying it won’t meet with the ruling party to discuss these elections.

On the other hand, several opposition groups that are part of the opposition Sudan Call forces consider participating in the next general presidential elections in 2020 if the regime of President al-Bashir provides needed guarantees for a fair election and ensures freedoms.

Sudan, Ethiopia to Hold Border Meeting in Gondar
October 30, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Government of Gedaref State said arrangements have completed to convene the border coordination meeting between Sudan and Ethiopia on the first week of November in Ethiopia’s city of Gondar.

The meeting brings together officials from Al-Galabat Al-Sharquiah, Al-Qreisha and Basunda localities along with their counterparts on the border Ethiopian regions.

Commissioner of Al-Galabat Al-Sharquiah locality Osman Mohamed Ahmed said the meeting would discuss a number of issues including joint security coordination, border protection as well as promoting cultural ties and popular diplomacy.

Although Khartoum and Addis Ababa have close ties, the border area between the two countries remains a source of tension and violence between the two sides due to the human trafficking and smuggling to reach Egypt and Libya.

Also, Ethiopian farmers are accused by the Sudanese farmers of occupying vast agricultural land in the Al-Fashqa area of Gedaref State.

The third issue until recently was Ethiopian rebels who sneak over the border coming from Eritrea. Many have been detained and handed over to the Ethiopian authorities.

Last August, the Sudanese and Ethiopian armies signed an agreement to withdraw troops from both sides of the border and to deploy joint forces to combat “terrorism”, human trafficking and to eliminate any potential security tensions.

Also, the two sides agreed that the competent authorities should accelerate the completion of the border demarcation, and to address the situation of farmers from the two countries.

Sudanese, U.S. Universities Sign Cooperation Agreements
October 30, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Several Sudanese and United States universities on Monday have signed a number of academic, training, research and student exchange agreements.

The first university forum between Sudan and the U.S. has concluded its sessions on Monday evening in Khartoum.

The three-day forum was organized by Sudan’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in coordination with the Institute of International Education (IIE) in Washington.

Sixty professors representing a number of U.S. universities including Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Indiana State University, University of Indianapolis and University of California, Berkeley have participated in the forum.

During the forum, universities from both sides signed several agreements to conduct research on a number of areas including agriculture, health, energy, social sciences and archaeology.

The forum also discussed a number of issues including the comparative advantage of Sudanese universities and the possibility of benefiting from them in research and scientific fields as well as ways to develop alternative sources to fund university programmes and projects.

In October 2017, a delegation of experts from IIE visited Khartoum to assess Sudan’s higher education institutions to build partnerships with its counterparts in the United States.

Established in 1919, the IIE is a nonprofit organization which focuses on international student exchange and aid, foreign affairs, and international peace and security.

It creates programs of study and training for students, educators and professionals from various sectors. Some of its most recognized programs include the flagship Fulbright Program and Gilman Scholarships.

Last year, the U.S. Administration permanently lifted 20-year-old economic sanctions against Sudan citing positive actions on humanitarian access and counter-terrorism.

The two countries are engaged in a five-track process towards the full normalization of relations.

Sudan, Russia Discuss Military Cooperation
Sudanese Army's Chief of General Staff Kamal Abdel-Marouf (SUNA Photo)

October 28, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Army’s Chief of General Staff Kamal Abdel-Marouf and Russia’s deputy chief of staff, Admiral Igor Osipov, have discussed military cooperation between the two countries.

Abdel-Marouf on Sunday met with the visiting Russian Admiral in the presence of Sudan’s chief of staff of the naval forces, Maj. Gen. Abdallah al-Matari al-Faradi besides the military attachés in Moscow and Khartoum.

During the meeting, Abdel-Marouf pointed to the strong relations between Sudan and Russia in all fields, stressing his country’s keenness to further those relations to serve the interests of the two peoples.

He also extended the invitation to his Russian counterpart to visit Sudan soon.

For his part, Osipov expressed his thanks and gratitude for the Sudanese officials, saying the visit allowed him to identify the areas of joint cooperation between the two countries.

He also expressed keenness to promote bilateral relations and bring it to wider horizons.

During a visit to Moscow last July to attend the 2018 World Cup Final, the Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir was met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both leaders pledged to promote military cooperation in the near future.

The two leaders last met in November 2017 in the Russian city of Sochi, with both expressing a desire to enhance military ties.

At the time, al-Bashir offered to construct an airbase for Russia on the Red Sea coast and to re-equip the Sudanese army with the Russian weapons including SU-30 fighter jets and surface-to-air missiles.

Politically, Russia is seen as a major ally of the government of al-Bashir that faces isolation from the West. However, economic cooperation between the two countries has remained very low, with a trade balance that does not exceed $400 million.

In December 2015, Sudan and Russia signed 14 cooperation agreements in different domains, including oil, minerals and banks.

The agreements also include a concession contract between Sudan and the Russian Rus Geology to prospect for oil in Sudan’s Bloc E57 and another accord for the geological mapping of the Jebel Moya area, North Kordofan State.