Sunday, October 24, 2021

AfCFTA Will Only Succeed if the Regional Economic Commissions and Protocols Are Addressed-Addy

By GNA 

Oct 24, 20210

Afcfta Accra Headquarters

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will only succeed if the Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) and AfCFTA protocols are addressed, Mr J Wendell Addy, the Chairperson for the Africa Private Sector Summit (APSS), has said.

He said it was important the AfCFTA Secretariat successfully implemented these protocols signed by the Heads of States at the Regional and Continental levels.

Mr Addy made these remarks at a press conference to end the four days APSS summit held in Accra.

The Summit was on the theme: “Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giants in Implementation of RECs and AfCFTA – Leveraging Strategic Opportunities for Africa’s Turnaround.”

It was to provide a high-level platform for industry giants, policy makers, the public sector, entrepreneurs and CEO across the continent of Africa to deliberate on topical issues.

The Chairperson said if the Continent truly wanted AfCFTA to succeed then the business community must have an engaging environment.

“They should engage in areas like infrastructural development on the Continent and the issue of common currency,” he added.

Mr Addy explained that the issue of common currency should now move from been a political game to a Continental game, where the game must be won by the Continent.

He said, “we cannot continue to function the way we have done over the years and expect a different results.”

He said the governments must be decisive in concluding and understanding of the Regional currencies or common currencies.

Mr Clement Osei-Amoako, the President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said not until Africans come together “we cannot get to the destination of transforming trade facilitation on the Continent.”

He said there were a lot of resources available that must be tapped to move ahead for the transformation of the Continent.

The President said AfCFTA would bring about industrialisation and raw materials needed to drive that and urged the Africa Continent to identify some key raw materials produced within.

He said every country on the Continent would have to identify its contributions to the realization of the AfCFTA objectives.

“Areas considered for deliberations include infrastructural development and transportation, ” he added.

Mr Osei-Amoako said after the summit, there would be the establishment of a monitoring team to monitor key issues identified to ensure that those actionable items were achieved.

He said the Chamber was committed to favourable collaboration with organisations interested in the fortunes of the Continent.

Some Western Media Blindly Propagate Terrorist TPLF’s Propaganda

October 24, 2021

BY MULATU BELACHEW

ADDIS ABABA- Despite concrete proofs that show the recent airstrikes have been taken seriously targeting TPLF military armaments by Ethiopian air forces, CNN, New York Times and AP have been reporting stories in favour of the TPLF rebels, said CBS Journalist Hermela Aregawi.

She pointed out in her three minute long YouTube post that this week airstrikes by Ethiopian government have not targeted civilians at all .

Hermela, however, said TPLF’s mouthpieces and activists saying the airstrike targeting the civilians.

 She further said : “ CNN, New York Times or AP have been reporting the same stories of the rebel groups ignoring facts , because they have proven to be mouthpieces for the rebel groups . It seems their aim is to support the rebel group in overthrowing the Ethiopian government.”

It is also important to know about some UN officials are proven to be a mixed bag in terms of credibility. There is a good one and there are those who have proven to be rebel allies how to redirect humanitarian aid to war, she noted.

‘A war struggled by the TPLF rebel while many of us have been calling for peace when the Federal government declared Unilateral Ceasefire in June.”

But, the rebels kept fighting killing thousands in neighboring states since July according to BBC report.

Hermela said that : “ Mekelle is Ethiopia’s Tigray state capital city, if the Ethiopian air force targeting the civilians, thousands will be killed. It is clear by the numbers given even by the rebels TV outlets themselves Ethiopian government is not targeting the civilian.”

Many international outlets particularly CNN, New York Times and the AP are getting it wrong when it comes to their reporting on Ethiopia. They seem to favour armed rebels who are working to overthrow the popular Ethiopian government ,it was learnt.

The Ethiopian Herald October 24/2021

UN Delegation Arrives in Mali to Mount Pressure on Junta

By Rédaction Africanews with AFP

UN Security Council delegates, led by the ambassadors from the US, France and Niger, arrived in Bamako for two days of talks to push the military-led interim government for a return to democracy after two coups in nine months.

The delegation adds to international pressure on coup leaders to abide by a February 27 deadline set by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for a presidential election, a deadline that the regime is openly suggesting might be missed.

Kenya's ambassador to the UN, Martin Kimani said it would be ideal for them to have a better understanding of the situation in Mali in order to know how best to help.

We want to understand the situation in Mali, to feed our discussion in New York. As a fellow African country, the situation in Mali and the Sahel is very dear to Kenya.

Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation Abdoulaye Diop welcomed the delegation adding that the meeting would help to give a progress report by the government.

"We welcome this mission with open arms. We found this an opportunity to present the reality of the situation in Mali, and also to present the progress that is being made by the transitional government. But also to present our vision of what must be done to complete this transition, through the organization of transparent and credible elections."

In a statement released on Friday Human Right Watch had urged the UN mission to use this as an oppourtunity to encourage Malian authorities to "investigate a spate of alleged summary executions, enforced disappearances, and detentions by government security forces".

BACKGROUND

It is alleged that since September, at least 14 men last seen in the custody of security forces, had disappeared or remain in "incommunicado detention".

The bodies of three men allegedly executed after their arrest by solders earlier this month were found nearby an army camp, it said.

HRW Sahel director Corine Dufka is reported to have said "Mali's transitional government shouldn't be standing back while its soldiers are linked to a wave of abuses, The army earlier this month said it had investigated images published online that purported to show torture and the bodies of victims, and that those involved had been sanctioned and "placed at the disposal of the gendarmerie".

the poor and landlocked nation that is home to at least 20 ethnic groups has been racked by jihadist and intercommunal violence, as well as coups in August 2020 and May this year.

Military intervention by France and the UN has failed to quell an Islamist insurgency that has swept into central Mali and spilled over into neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger, leaving thousands dead and forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes.

Guinea Junta Names General, Others From Ousted Administration as Ministers

By Saliou Samb 

Guinea junta leader Mamadi Doumbouya sits after he was sworn in as interim president in Conakry, Guinea October 1, 2021.REUTERS/Souleymane Camara

CONAKRY, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Coup leaders in Guinea have named their first line-up of government ministers, including a former general and three other figures who held posts under ousted president Alpha Conde.

The putchists have repeatedly tried to reassure investors, donors and regional powers, saying last month's overthrow of Conde was a one-off action to get rid of what it called a corrupt elite, and that it has no plans to stay in office. read more

Former army officer Aboubacar Sidiki Camara, a close associate of coup leader and interim president Mamadi Doumbouya, was named transitional minister of defence, a junta spokesperson said on state TV late on Thursday.

Camara is best known for having been a key member of the junta that seized control of Guinea from 2008-2010 after the death of then-President Lansana Conté.

That junta drew international condemnation after government troops killed more than 150 pro-democracy demonstrators at a stadium in 2009. A United Nations-led investigation called the massacre a crime against humanity, but no one was ever charged.

Camara, known by his nickname "Idi Amin" after the infamous Ugandan despot, later served as chief of staff in Conde's defence ministry and, after that, as an ambassador to Cuba.

Bachir Diallo, a former defence attaché based in Algeria, was named security minister, and Louhopou Lamah, a former foreign trade director, was named environment minister.

Abdourahmane Sikhé Camara was named Secretary General of the Government. He had previously served as an adviser to the position.

A special forces unit overthrew Conde on Sept. 5 in a move widely condemned by the African Union and by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which imposed sanctions.

It was the fourth coup in West and Central Africa since last year, following two in Mali and one in Chad. Conde had angered his opponents by changing the constitution to allow himself to stand for a third term.

Doumbouya was named interim president on Oct. 1 and appointed a civilian prime minister a week later. He has promised to hold free and fair elections, without giving a date, and has barred junta members from standing in any future vote.

Doumbouya was expected to place his security-sector allies in key defence positions, said Eric Humphery-Smith, an analyst at the British-based risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft. But the other appointments, he said, are more about "stalling for time."

"The junta is toeing a fine line to keep political and business stakeholders happy," he said. "The latest string of nominations means we will likely have to wait a while longer before we get names for the most coveted roles, such as the mines minister."

Reporting by Saliou Samb; Additional reporting and writing by Cooper Inveen; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Angus MacSwan

NAMIBIA HALTS USE OF SPUTNIK JABS AFTER SAHPRA HIV FEARS

South Africa earlier this week said it would not approve Sputnik V due to concerns it could increase the risk of HIV infection among men, a claim the vaccine's developer says is unfounded.

Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine. © Kittipong Satrinekarn/123rf.com

AFP | 

JOHANNESBURG - Namibia has discontinued the use of Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine following concerns raised by neighbouring South Africa, the health ministry said on Saturday.

South Africa earlier this week said it would not approve Sputnik V due to concerns it could increase the risk of HIV infection among men, a claim the vaccine's developer says is unfounded.

The Namibian health ministry said in a statement that following South Africa's decision it was suspending, with immediate effect, use of the shots until the formula is listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization.

"The reason for discontinuation of the administration of the vaccine is being done out of abundance of caution that men who received Sputnik V may be at higher risk of contracting HIV when exposed to it," said the ministry.

Namibia had taken delivery of a Serbian donation of 30,000 Sputnik doses -- out of which less than 120 have been administered so far.

South Africa's health products regulator, Sahpra, on Monday said it would not authorise use of Sputnik based on earlier studies testing the safety of a modified form of adenovirus -- a type of virus that causes respiratory infections -- known as the Ad5 and contained in the jab.

The regulator said two previous studies, one in South Africa and one in the Americas, found a heightened risk of HIV infection among men linked to the Ad5-vectored vaccine.

In both trials, "administration of an Ad5-vectored vaccine was associated with enhanced susceptibility/acquisition of HIV in men", the regulator said last week.

Russia's Gamaleya Centre, which developed Sputnik V, says any allegation of a link between the vaccine and HIV is unfounded.

It says clinical studies on more than 7,000 participants showed "there was no statistically significant increase of HIV-1 infection among adenovirus type-5 vectored vaccine recipients."

SADC NOT DOING ENOUGH TO ADDRESS CONCERNS OF ESWATINI CITIZENS - PUDEMO

The movement has urged the Southern African regional bloc to take the country’s crisis seriously after the resurgence of pro-democracy protests.

FILE: A victim of a police brutality, who was shot by Swazi Special Police Unit's Operation Service Support Unit (OSSU), is carried away on a stretcher in Mbabane, Eswatini, on 20 October 2021. Picture: AFP

Dominic Majola |

JOHANNESBURG - Eswatini’s People's United Democratic Movement said the SADC was not doing enough to address the concerns of citizens in the kingdom.

The movement has urged the Southern African regional bloc to take the country’s crisis seriously after the resurgence of pro-democracy protests.

The demonstrations have been spearheaded by students, civil servants, transport workers and others who are demanding immediate political reforms.

Schools have been shut, clashes with police have been widely reported and social media platforms were restricted in the last few days.

“We want to emphasise that the approach by SADC, because it is premised on the wrong starting point, the problem is not the uprising. The problem in Swaziland is politics. Until and unless SADC attends to the political nature of the problem, they will continue to focus on symptoms as opposed to focusing on the cause,” said the movement’s Mlungisi Makhanya.

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the SADC’s Chair Organ on defence, politics and security operation, sent special envoys to eSwatini for talks with King Mswati III.

Ramaphosa said on Saturday the king was open to a “national dialogue” to address the ongoing crisis.

AFTER SADC MEDIATION, ESWATINI'S KING MSWATI III CALLS FOR CALM

Formerly known as Swaziland, the country has been rocked by demonstrations that broke out in June and have prompted authorities to deploy the army and shut down the internet. 

King Mswati III with Special Envoy Jeff Radebe at the king's palace in eSwatini. Picture: Kingdom of eSwatini.

AFP | 

MANZINI - Africa's last absolute monarch on Saturday called for calm and dialogue in the kingdom of Eswatini following a visit by regional mediators to try to resolve the national crisis and deadly unrest.

Formerly known as Swaziland, the country has been rocked by demonstrations that broke out in June and have prompted authorities to deploy the army and shut down the internet.

The latest flare-up has run for more than two weeks, spearheaded by students, civil servants and transport workers.

At least two people were killed and dozens injured as security forces fired tear gas, live rounds and rubber bullets to disperse crowds.

His traditional prime minister Themba Ginindza said via the government Twitter account that "King Mswati III has announced that a process of national dialogue... will be initiated" after an annual ritual ceremony that starts in November and usually lasts several months.

During the ceremony known as Incwali, the king goes into seclusion and does not engage in official government activities.

Ginindza said the king wanted calm, and "an end to all violence as no dialogue can happen while tempers are this high".

"His majesty has sent us to pass our sincere condolences to all who have lost loved ones during the unrest," said Ginindza.

Police said 37 people have died since the violent anti-monarchy protests first flared, fuelled by discontent over living conditions and lack of political freedom in the tiny southern African kingdom.

But local civic group Leftu Sonkhe Institute of Strategic Thinking and Development suggests the unrest has so far claimed around 80 lives.

On Thursday government banned all protests.

Mediators from the 16-nation Southern African Development Community concluded two-day mediation talks with the king, government and civil society groups on Friday.

In a statement on Saturday, SADC's head of politics and defence, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, backed the idea of a national dialogue.

"I appeal for calm, restraint, the respect for the rule of law and human rights on all sides to enable the process to commence," said Ramaphosa.

The government also restored internet links Friday, two days after it had pulled the plug on most access.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

‘Leave Africa’s Problems for Africans’ Says London Sit-in Protesters

October 23, 2021 

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somali Coalition for Peace and Cooperation has been holding a week long sit-in protest in Downing Street, London starting October 22, 2021 to urge UK, EU, and the U.S. to leave Africa’s problems for Africans and bring to halt their destructive intervention in the Horn of Africa as well.

It was learnt that the sit-in protest at Britain’s corridors of power has been ongoing unabated, rain or shine-demanding the UK, EU, and the U.S.to stop their destructive intervention and to counter the intensive misinformation propagated by the Western media.

The Sit in protest has also requested UK, EU, and the U.S. leaders to think rationally and understand Ethiopia’s truth about the conflict.

Moreover, the protesters called on Africans to engage in public posts and create awareness about the Ethiopian current situation and actively counter misinformation of the western media as some western governments are working against Ethiopia and Eritrea.

They said: “We are protesting the intervention of the UK, EU, and the U.S. in the internal affairs of Africa. We are expecting to respond to us. We suggest the leader of the UK, EU, and the U.S. only stand by the side of Africa to put the notion of ‘African solution to African problems’. We are protesting in front of the Office of the Prime Minister of Britain downing street of London.”

People drawn from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and friends of the three countries have joined the protest that is expected end today.

BY ESSEYE MENGISTE

The Ethiopian herald October 23/2021

Ethiopian Airstrike Has Nothing to Do with Aid Aircraft Landing Failure

October 23, 2021

ADDIS ABABA – The airstrike that was carried out yesterday against the TPLF terrorist forces’ training center in Mekelle has nothing to do with World Food Program (WFP) aircraft that has aborted its landing in the aforesaid city, so disclosed Government Communication Service (GCS).

GCS Minister Legese Tulu (PhD) told local media that: “Unless the aircraft has its own problem, yesterday’s airstrike has not forced the aircraft to abort its landing as the flight time and destination of both are completely different.”

Ethiopia Current Issues Fact Check reported that another one of the terrorist group TPLF’s training center has been the target of air strikes yesterday. This site used to be the ENDF’s training center before being appropriated by the TPLF to undertake military training for its illegal recruits. It is also serving as a battle network hub by the terrorist organization. The government said its strike targeted a base formerly belonging to the military and now being used by the TPLF.

The Ethiopian herald October 23/2021

Westerners Take Up Human Rights Issues as Cover Up for Imposing Self-interest on Ethiopia: Scholar

October 23, 2021

 ADDIS ABABA – Some Western powers have been raising human rights issues as a cover-up to pressure Ethiopia and impose their interests, a scholar noted.

Speaking to ENA, Addis Ababa University Political Science and International Relations lecturer Demeke Achiso said some Western powers are taking issues of human rights in Ethiopia as a cover-up for imposing their interests.

The U.S. and its allies do not have a balanced view about the situation in Ethiopia, he noted, adding that they are rather inclined to favor the terrorist group.

“They have used breach of human rights as entry point and cover to impose their national interests. They are prejudiced and selective. They haven’t, for instance, condemned atrocities and displacements in some parts of the country. Instead, they magnify things done by the government so as to make it take weak measures.”

According to the scholar, the Westerners have a strong desire to see a weak state and government that can serve their interests in the region.

However, it seems that they have realized that the Ethiopian government is strong and cannot be manipulated by foreign powers, Demeke stated, adding that it is because of this that they pressurize the government with false allegations and support the TPLF clique.

He further pointed out that USA has been weakening a number of states, including Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, among others, to impose its interests.

Moreover, the US has been pressurizing the UN Security Council to impose  sanctions on Ethiopia without any ground. Fortunately, members of the Security Council like Russia and China opposed the motion on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign states.

“The US interference in the internal affairs of Ethiopia is exposed and it seems that most countries have now understood the unfair meddling of USA. Adhering to international laws and principles of non-interference in the domestic affairs of other states and believing that Ethiopia can handle its domestic problems, Russia, China, India, among others, have opposed the US interference in Ethiopia’s domestic affairs,” Demeke noted.

The scholar further stated that the government, besides promoting and enhancing diplomatic relations with the rest of the world, needs to strengthen internal cohesion of the country to avert external pressure and maintain the unity and sovereignty of the country.

The Ethiopian herald october 23/2021

Scholars Underline Swift, Decisive Military Victory against TPLF

October 23, 2021

ADDIS ABABA – Scholars urged that the Ethiopian government to carry out a swift military victory against the terrorist TPLF group to bring lasting political settlement to the current situation in the northern Ethiopia.

Speaking to local media, Hamline University Communication and Media Lecturer Endalkachew Hailemichael (PhD) stated that the government has to conclude the war sooner than later in a bid to bring the criminals before court and lasting solution to the conflict.

He said, “As we all know, by nature, the terrorist TPLF group is most authoritarian, maximalist, and consequentialist political group.”

He added that the terrorist group does not hesitate to do what it wants to achieve its objective in unjust and immoral manner.

The terrorist TPLF group does not know the principle of give and take. Based on this, the government must take decisive action, by revamping its action plan and examining its personnel, against the group to deteriorate the terrorist’s military capacity, according to him.

New York’s Iona University Sociology Assistant Professor Derese Getachew (PhD) stated that the government should formulate clear political and military goals with regard to the conflict.

The government needs to gain swift a military victory and demonstrate its military might by dwindling the terrorist group, he noted.

He further noted that the war has begun by the terrorist TPLF group and the federal government has been forced to take part in this war to preserve the unity of the country and bring peace in the country.

“I am sure that the government, Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF), and the people have the potential to dismantle the terrorist TPLF group,” he indicated.

Lawyer and International Peace and Security Expert Bilen Mamo on her part stated that terrorist TPLF’s military and political capabilities must be dwindled.

As to her, a protracted war can disrupt many things. “The longer a war lasts, the more psychological and economic losses it inflicts,” she added.

The continuation of the war has its implications on the government’s legitimacy and also on the relationship of the Ethiopian government and the international community, she added.

BY ABDUREZAK MOHAMMED

The Ethiopian herald October 23/2021

U.S. URGES SUDAN’S TRANSITION PARTNERS TO IMPLEMENT KEY BENCHMARKS

OCTOBER 23, 2021

October 22, 2021 (WASHINGTON) – The U.S. State Department on Friday called on Sudanese partners to adhere to the transition’s benchmarks and cooperate together in its implementation towards peace and democracy.

Sudanese on Thursday massively took to the street to support democratic reforms paving the way for the civilian rule in Sudan; and power’s handover to civilians in line with the Constitutional Document governing the transition.

The nationwide rallies took place one month after a failed coup attempt, and days after a demonstration staged by a dissident faction of the ruling coalition calling for military rule.

In a press briefing on Friday, Ned Price, State Department Spokesperson called on the members of the transitional government to heed the calls by the Sudanese demonstrators on Thursday.

He further stressed the need to “move forward in a spirit of dialogue and partnership to build on the momentum of yesterday’s demonstrations”.

“We urge progress on key transitional benchmarks necessary to stabilize the transition and resolve political differences, solidifying Sudan’s historic democratic transition,” he added.

U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman on 21 October stressed that the civilian and military components have to cooperate on the implementation of key benchmarks of the transition instead of seeking to sideline each other.

“If the transition is interrupted, if one side or the other in this (civilian-military) partnership tries to prevail, then the U.S. support for all of these issues, including debt relief, will be in question,” Feltman told The National, a UAE based newspaper.

The envoy was in Khartoum on 3 October for talks with the Sudanese civilian and military officials on the slow implementation of the democratic transition and urged cooperation on the pending issues.

Feltman told The National that he would travel again to Khartoum to inform the Sudanese officials about Washington’s position towards the current stalemate and lack of progress in the implementation of the transition’s goals.

“My trip will just reinforce the strong US support for the Sudanese transition, but also make it clear that our continued support depends on that transition moving forward,” he stressed.

In his briefing on Friday, Price did not respond to a question about when Feltman would visit Sudan. However, his deputy Payton Knopf is already in Khartoum.

Knopf met with Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi to discuss the challenges facing the democratic transition, peace implementation and efforts to bring the holdout groups to sign a peace agreement with the government.

The US Deputy Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa (…) “called for consensus between all the partners (of the transitional government) to ensure the success of the transitional period to establish a full and solid democratic regime,” reads a statement released by the foreign ministry in Khartoum.

The visiting diplomat further stressed the U.S. support for Sudan to achieve progress in the democratic reforms, added the statement.

(ST)

Zimbabwe Youths Urged to Continue Resisting Illegal Sanctions

21 OCTOBER 2021

The Herald (Harare)

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has commended the country's citizens for resisting machinations by the country's detractors to effect regime change through the use of illegal economic sanctions imposed to alienate the people from Zanu PF by the United States and is allies.

The President yesterday told the Zanu PF Politburo that sanctions should be immediately removed as they are illegal, unjustified, and counter-productive.

The call comes after President Mnangagwa this week met with the United Nations special rapporteur, Ms Alena Douhan, who is in the country to assess the impact of unilateral coercive measures on enjoyment of human rights.

She is on a 10-day fact-finding mission whose outcome is expected to give the world a clear picture of the debilitating effects of the illegal sanctions.

The high-profile visit by Ms Douhan follows the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution 34/13 of 2017, which stresses that unilateral coercive measures and legislation were contrary to international law, international humanitarian law, the charter and norms and principles governing peaceful relations among states.

President Mnangagwa said the Government will continue calling for the unconditional removal of sanctions which are affecting the general populace.

The Politburo session also coincides with the scaling up of preparations for the Anti-Sanctions Day to be held on October 25.

"Our party and Government will be joined by other SADC member states as we amplify our unequivocal calls for the unconditional removal of sanctions imposed on our beloved country.

"The sanctions are illegal, unjustified, counter-productive and continue to hinder the people of Zimbabwe from enjoying their fundamental human rights to enjoy sovereignty, independence, unfettered development and prosperity," said President Mnangagwa.

He urged the youth to be vigilant in defending the country's sovereignty and commended them for remaining resolute in resisting the regime change agenda.

"I commend the nation, particularly our young people, who continue to resist the use of these sanctions and other manoeuvres as tools of regime change," said President Mnangagwa.

Over the past two decades, Zimbabwe has been groaning under the weight of illegal economic sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union (EU) bloc as punishment for the land reform programme meant to address colonial land imbalances.

Since the illegal sanctions were imposed in 2001, Zimbabwe has lost an estimated US$42 billion and an estimated US$4,5 billion in donor support annually for more than two decades.

The country lost US$2 billion in IMF, World Bank, and African Development Bank (AfDB) loans which could have helped in developing infrastructure, as well as losing commercial loans amounting to US$18 billion which could have been extended to the private sector and other companies.

SADC member-states have since declared October 25 as Anti-Sanctions Day as the region exerts pressure on the US and its allies to remove the illegal sanctions choking Zimbabwe's development.

MLAMBO-NGCUKA HINTS AT RUN FOR ANC PRESIDENCY: I HAVEN’T LEFT POLITICS

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka spoke with young women in Gauteng on Thursday at the ANC's Ruth First Offices to mark what would have been the struggle icon's 103rd birthday.

FILE: Former United Nations Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Picture: GCIS

Tshidi Madia 

Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Former United Nations head of women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has not ruled out running for the presidency, saying she never left the political landscape.

Mlambo-Ngcuka spoke with young women in Gauteng on Thursday at the ANC's Ruth First Offices to mark what would have been the struggle icon's 103rd birthday.

She had largely been absent from political life since former President Thabo Mbeki's axing in 2008, making this her first time campaigning on behalf of the ANC since her return from her UN appointment.

Mlambo-Ngcuka told journalists many of the political parties needed to do better when it came to the selection of women as councillor candidates.

And when asked if there was any truth to claims that she might run for the ANC presidency in the party's upcoming elective conference, she said: “I will cross that bridge when I get to it. But I never really left the political sphere. We’ve always been around, continuing to make sure that our democracy continues to function.”

THABO MBEKI: IF ANC FAILS, SOUTH AFRICA WILL FAIL TOO

Former African National Congress (ANC) president Thabo Mbeki criticised the declining quality of party members and the lack of capacity in departments at local government while campaigning at an event with business professionals on Thursday night.

Tshidi Madia 

JOHANNESBURG - Former African National Congress (ANC) president Thabo Mbeki has called on the nation to hold the party to its promises, warning that if the governing party really was too big to fail and if it did let South Africa down, then the country would fail too.

Mbeki, who has been visibly absent from the ANC’s campaigns from the time he was recalled in 2008 until 2019, spent Thursday night engaging with business professionals as he campaigned for the governing party ahead of the local government elections.

During his speech, he criticised the declining quality of party members and the lack of capacity in departments at local government.

He pointed out that when it came to roping in resourceful roleplayers, including the private sector, most were willing to assist steer the country in the right direction, only to be failed by government.

This was a welcome sight for many who threw questions and hurled criticism at government’s approach to black business, while some simply wanted advice on how to help the ANC government from its former president.

He in turn, brought back concerns about the declining quality of party members, even cracking a joke about an ANC member who had no idea who the former leader was when Mbeki returned a telephone call to ANC provincial offices in the Western Cape.

"So I say 'OK' and then he says: 'Who are you?' So I told him and I said my name is so and so. 'What company do you work for?'" Mbeki joked.

Mbeki reminded those gathered at the event that the ANC still had to see through its 2017 Nasrec resolution of organisational renewal, adding that this would include dealing with certain members who did not reflect the values of the party.

"Because the ANC with its weight and its size, this is the governing party. If this governing party misbehaves, it has a very negative impact on the country," Mbeki said.

He said that the ANC has to be rescued, arguing that its collapse would mean a similar fate for the country.

MOTLANTHE: ‘VOTE FOR THE ANC AND ALL YOUR DISPUTES WILL BE ATTENDED TO’

A day after former president Thabo Mbeki joined the campaigning effort, former ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe was out on the hustings in Tshwane on Friday.

Former ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe in Pretoria on Friday, 22 October 2021. Picture: Gauteng ANC/Twitter.

Tshidi Madia 

PRETORIA - For the second time this week, the African National Congress (ANC) has rolled out some of the old guard as it seeks to sway voters in the nation’s economic hub.

A day after former president Thabo Mbeki joined the campaigning effort, former ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe was out on the hustings in Tshwane on Friday.

He’s the man who once said the party needed to lose an election in order to hit rock bottom and reinvent itself.

But he was singing a different tune on the campaign trail on Friday, urging citizens to trust the ANC and saying the party was now renewing itself.

According to Motlanthe, the ANC was on the right path, but there was still room for improvement.

Motlanthe did an election walkabout in Pretoria, acknowledging the party needed to tighten up its councillor selection process and promising to investigate it in the post-election period.

“What we are saying to them is that do vote for the ANC and after the elections, all your disputes will be attended to.”

Motlanthe also seemed to disapprove of the feeling that the party’s community visits seemed last minute.

“The reality is that it is not good enough to interact with the electorate on the eve of elections. Such interactions should happen in between elections.”

He said all disputes must remain in abeyance at least until after the 1 November polls.

FIVE MORE YEARS: MANTASHE ASKS VOTERS TO KEEP ANC IN POWER IN MABHIDA REGION

Gwede Mantashe told supporters how the ANC wants to ensure that social grants continue to be paid to intended beneficiaries.

Edwin Ntshidi 

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) Chairperson Gwede Mantashe has appealed to residents of the Moses Mabhida region in KwaZulu-Natal to give the party another five-year extension to continue with its programmes.

Mantashe was speaking at the Msunduzi Sub-region’s Siyanqoba rally at Edendale sports ground.

The ANC has deployed Mantashe to the Moses Mabhida region in a move to garner support ahead of the 1 November municipal elections.

Mantashe told supporters how the party wants to ensure that social grants continue to be paid to intended beneficiaries.

“The economic state of a household must not determine the state of development yengane [of a child]. Umntwana maka develop irrespective of the economic status of the home. Sinikeni i-extension, siqhubeke nale programme [give us an extension so we continue with this programme].

MASHABA IN ELDORADO PARK

Meanwhile, Action SA Leader Herman Mashaba said revitalising the communities across Joburg must be a priority.

Mashaba was speaking in Eldorado Park south of Joburg.

He was there as part of his mayoral campaign ahead of the local government elections.

Mashaba was also inspecting several projects in the area that have now become what he called “white elephants”.

“The City of Joburg has let this place become abandoned the last few years without doing anything. This is a disgrace. If we do have government in this country, then they’ve got to account as to what really happened.”

Friday, October 22, 2021

Big Media Outlets Gag Pro-Ethiopian Voices: Analysis

October 22, 2021

BY ABDUREZAK MOHAMMED

ADDIS ABABA – Good enough evidences confirmed that some international media outlets have been deliberately blocking pro-Ethiopian voices and misleading the international community to put improper pressure on Ethiopia.

A twitter handle known as ‘Addis Qnie’ has recently posted research-based analysis of the reporting situation of some international media outlets in the thread.

According to the analysis, for the past eleven months, the pro-Ethiopia camp has been screaming about bloody murder despite a virtually complete media blackout.

According to the collected threads of the analysis, the media blackout and the negative coverage of Ethiopia by the mainstream media have resulted in a cascading effect, leading astray not only ordinary citizens but also academicians who are expected to have better information.

Based on the assumption that journalists would uphold sacred principles of their profession and show both sides of the story, the expected outcome was an approximately equal representation of both sides.

Accordingly, news articles were extremely more likely to mention TPLF compared with the government of Ethiopia, which tells one that a lot about the narratives these articles are more likely to push.

The analysis observed a disturbing propensity to refer to the government of Ethiopia as Abiy Ahmed. “Ever heard of the U.S. referred as Biden or the U.K. as Johnson? The closest you get to this is the designation, the Biden Administration.”

It also compared the media coverage of Amhara and Afar states over time and expected to see a significant bump in coverage following the withdrawal of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces(ENDF) from Tigray and the start of TPLF aggression towards Amhara and Afar.

Ethnic Amharas and Afars keep getting massacred and yet the news remained firmly fixated on Tigray, even if there has not been active fighting in Tigray for more than three months, as to the analysis.

According to the thread, based on the information fed to them by the mainstream media, people all over the world, believe with religious fervour the ‘Tigray Genocide’ narrative fabricated by the terrorist TPLF and peddled by their enablers in the media.

It also noted that the media are not being deceived by the TPLF. The media are not only complicit but also actively taking part in the deception

The Ethiopian Herald October 22/2021

Government Urged to Invite International Observers’ Team

October 22, 2021

BY ABDUREZAK MOHAMMED

ADDIS ABABA – The Ethiopian government has to invite an international team of observers with a view to showcasing its unreserved efforts in providing humanitarian assistance to Tigray, so said Zelalem Moges (PhD), an international law expert.

In an interview with local media, Zelalem stated that the terrorist TPLF has been waging war on humanitarian corridors to cause famine in Tigray and then to encourage the international community to put pressure on Ethiopia.

Therefore he urged that the Ethiopian government should invite international teams of observers to prove who is really blocking humanitarian aid from reaching Tigray, and demonstrate federal government’s tireless effort to provide humanitarian assistance to the needy people in Tigray.

The international community currently thinks that there is series humanitarian crisis in the Ethiopia, Zelalem said, adding that the federal government needs to explain in detail to the international community the obstacles to deliver humanitarian assistances to Tigray, he further insisted.

By the same token, Zelalem indicated that the Ethiopian government should examine the challenges the country faced in the field of diplomacy during the past eleven months to strengthen its diplomacy and withstand the pressure of the some world powers.

According to him, it is important to have a consistent narrative about the current situation of the country and to lead the diplomacy by experienced, qualified, and wise diplomats.

He said :“Within the past eleven months, in my understanding we had problem in maintaining consistent narrative .The fact that Ethiopia has failed to sustain coherent narrative has undermined the international community’s confidence in the Ethiopian government.”

As to Zelalem, it is important to establish a think thank group that analyzes events at national, continental, and international levels and advises what Ethiopia’s stance should be. This will help fill gaps that arise regarding professionalism.

The Ethiopian Herald October 22/2021

Some Pro-terrorist Western Elements Conspiring to Advance Hidden Interests

October 22, 2021

BY HAILE DEMEKE

ADDIS ABABA– Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) stated that the recent undue pressure being exerted on Ethiopia is purposeful and intertwined by the hidden interest of some foreign powers working with the previous Ethiopian regime.

Spokesperson of the Ministry Ambassador Dina Mufti said that some of the western world which are trying to impose multilateral sanctions on Ethiopia are merely for the sake of securing their interest and realizing hidden agenda. The move towards putting sanctions on Ethiopia mainly emanates from hidden mission without understanding the situation of the country.

“What we are witnessing is that there is deliberate hypocrisy by the side of some of the foreign powers; not a matter of understanding the situation.” The only way to counter this undue pressure being exerting on the country is the unity, cooperation of the people of Ethiopia. “The people of Ethiopia need to say no to the unjustified pressure. Many countries across the world resisted external pressure and prevailed, and nothing new to Ethiopia too.” Such kinds of double standards will not work anymore,” he said.

On the other hand, some of the western media houses have kept silent while the TPLF terrorist group committed worst atrocities against innocent civilians and actively circulating story of the airstrike that targeted military armaments production sites.

The Ministry has also issued statements regarding the biased European Parliament Resolution and the High-level Ministerial Meeting of the US and its partners on the current situation of the country.

He said that the EU resolution is biased and lacks the facts on the ground. On the other hand, some international media keep accusing Ethiopia by distorting the facts and being silent while the TPLF terrorist group has committed atrocities in Afar and Amhara regions.

The ministry called upon the international community to give due attention to the people of Wollo and Gondar who are suffering from challenges caused by terrorist TPLF.

Media houses have kept silent while the TPLF terrorist group committed worst atrocities against innocent civilians and actively circulating story of the airstrike that targeted military armaments production sites.

The Ministry has also issued statements regarding the biased European Parliament Resolution and the High-level Ministerial Meeting of the US and its partners on the current situation of the country.

He said that the EU resolution is biased and lacks the facts on the ground. On the other hand, some international media keep accusing Ethiopia by distorting the facts and being silent while the TPLF terrorist group has committed atrocities in Afar and Amhara regions.

The ministry called upon the international community to give due attention to the people of Wollo and Gondar who are suffering from challenges caused by terrorist TPLF.

The Ethiopian Herald October 22/2021

Biden Administration Demands Ethiopia’s Unconditional Surrender

October 22, 2021

BY MULATU BELACHEW

ADDIS ABABAT- The Biden administration is demanding Ethiopia’s unconditional surrender via waging hybrid warfare in Ethiopia’s Tigray state , which may include official censure, mass media disinformation campaigns, sanctions, financial strangulation by the IMF and World Bank, Black Agenda Report disclosed.

It’s unlikely that the U.S. will ever again make large troop commitments like those made in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it remains committed to perpetual war for global hegemony.

In his executive order statement, Biden has threatened more sweeping new sanctions that will punish the Ethiopian people, even as he equivocates that “these sanctions are not directed at the people of Ethiopia or Eritrea, but rather the individuals and entities perpetrating the violence and driving a humanitarian disaster.

It calls on the sovereign Ethiopian government to stop fighting the armed TPLF insurrection and come to the negotiating table “without preconditions on his statement,” while Ethiopia has made it clear that it will not sit down to negotiate with the TPLF.

However, this week, during a Web conference with people to people, an Ethiopian Diaspora NGO founded to improve life in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Ambassador to the U.S. Fistum Arega said that he had turned to African ambassadors in the U.S., the African Union, and their trade experts for support to maintain Ethiopia’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) eligibility.

Mentioning the Biden’s threat to sanction Ethiopia, the ambassador asked the solidarity of all African countries to support Ethiopia because we are really focused on saving AGOA.”

Besides, he said that some of those who place orders with manufacturers in Ethiopia have already put them on hold, waiting to see what will happen. In his Twitter page, he suggested that the African Union learns from the European Union and negotiate AGOA agreements as a block.

Most Western press about the Ethiopian conflict have disparaged the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and blamed him for the war though it was forcibly enter into war after TPLF attacked a federal army base nearly a year ago.

The Ethiopian Herald October 22/2021

Chinese-aided Satellite TV Project Helps Connect African Villages to the World

New vision

By Huang Lanlan and Hu Yuwei

Oct 18, 2021 08:34 PM

Children watch TV in a village in Cote d'Ivoire. The Wan Cun Tong project cooperates with some 500 villages in Cote d'Ivoire. (Photo: Courtesy of StarTimes)

Hehrt curiously watches workers install a satellite TV at the hospital in which he works. He rushes to the TV and changes channels after it's been installed, and becomes very excited when there is a kung fu movie. "And it's in English!" he says. "I used to watch Jackie Chan's and Jet Li's kung fu movies."

It was in June 2019 when China's technical team came to doctor Hehrt's hospital in Olasiti, a small village in Kenya, to help set up a satellite TV signal. Prior to that, the hospital had neither a signal nor a television, and sometimes patients would get bored and impatient after waiting to see a doctor for hours while doing nothing, Hehrt recalled.

Now it's great that patients can watch TV when they are waiting, Hehrt said. "And I can watch my favorite football games after work," he added.

Including Olasiti, China has planned to provide more than 10,000 African villages with digital satellite TV services, helping many in Africa, especially those in rural areas, to broaden their horizons and narrow the digital divide. 

Named "Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages (or "Wan Cun Tong" in Chinese)", the project has been successfully completed in 20 recipient countries in Africa as of August 2021, benefiting more than 6.5 million people in 8,612 villages, StarTimes, a Chinese subscription television service provider that was contracted to implement the project across Africa, told the Global Times.

Similar to China's many other aid projects in Africa, Wan Cun Tong helps promote the development of Africa's lesser-developed regions and the connection of local people to the world, observers said.

Instead of a "content output" or an "information invasion" as some conspiracy theorists in the West may have claimed, the project is a beneficial, win-win cooperation between China and African countries, said Liu Haifang, director of the Center for African Studies at Peking University. "The West should stop applying their own logic of expansionism or colonialism to China," Liu told the Global Times.

"Wan Cun Tong" in Uganda

The project Wan Cun Tong, one of the resolutions reached at the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2015, aims to provide digital TV access to 10,112 villages across 23 Sub-Saharan countries.

Under the project, each selected village will receive two sets of solar-powered projector TV systems, and one solar digital TV integrated terminal system in a public area free of charge, according to StarTimes. The company will also install satellite dishes and decoders for 20 recipient families in each village for free.

Wang Fan, the CEO of StarTimes branch in Uganda, a primary recipient country in the project, told the Global Times that the program, initiated in July 2018, aims to install 20 satellite TV set-top boxes and projection TV systems in three public areas free of charge for 20 households in each of the 900 villages, totaling 18,000 households and 2,700 public areas including schools, hospitals, and churches. The total number of beneficiaries is estimated to be about 670,000.

The second phase of the project has completed preliminary basic training and research work, and is now in the process of installing user satellite pots donated to certain villages, which is expected to be completed by mid-December.

The Chinese technical team has also trained at least 2,000 local personnel for the installation and maintenance of  satellite TVs in Uganda, partly contributing to local employment. 

Wang Fan explained that local and Chinese representatives discuss and agree upon the list of villages to accept the equipment in the initial stages, allowing for the Chinese researchers to conducted field visits to conduct screenings to discover those unable to meet the basic requirements. Technical personnel next go into villages to design specific plans and bring along with them the relevant equipment and technology for personnel training. A long-term after-sales service tracking is required after the completion of an installation. 

Priority will be given to villages with large areas covered by public spaces and villages with convenient transportation close to cities.

"The overall Wan Cun Tong program has been very well received, appreciated, and supported by the local governments and people," Wang Fan told the Global Times. "But COVID-19 still poses a major challenge to progress. Uganda's shortage of vaccines amid the recent second-wave pandemic resurgence put us at risk indeed. But local health authorities gave priority to providing medical support resources to our team and coordinated using protective measures to ensure zero infection for all participants, which is much appreciated." 

A window to the world

The China-aided Wan Cun Tong project has provided satellite TV services to millions of residents in rural Africa in the past few years. It has brought conveniences and changes to peoples' lifestyles, particularly among the youth.

At the Milimani Primary School in Naivasha town in Kenya, one of the largest local public schools in the area, pupils began enjoying modern digital learning since the project installed a solar projection system there. With projection equipment, children at the school have greater access to information and culture from around the world, and even choreograph dance routines while following available videos online, the school headmaster Martin told StarTimes.

"I was so excited when I saw the TV pictures for the first time," said a student of the school nicknamed Kipkirui. "We learned math with the projector. Before that, I really hated math class. I couldn't understand what the teacher was talking about. But when the projector shows mathematical graphics in front of me, it's easy for me to understand.

"I used to get only 50 points in math, now I can get 80," Kipkirui added.

"Uganda is one of the least developed countries in the world, with a national GDP per capita of less than $800. A television set is a luxury for many local rural families," Wang Fan explained. "More, electricity in some villages is not stable, making running  TV even harder. The Chinese-aided project not only provides the equipment, but also the solar-powered electric system which greatly alleviates the electricity challenge. Equipment in the common area also includes 20 free programs."

The project has also trained more than 2,000 skilled local technicians in the installation and maintenance of digital television equipment, enabling them to improve their living standards and strengthen their financial stability with decent wages, Wang Fan suggested.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has raged on since the tail end of 2019, Uganda has also been in a state of partial lockdown, with schools closed and the government encouraging students to learn online. Residents in equipment-assisted villages can participate in online learning via satellite and by watching education channels, he noted. 

Wang Yuanbo, a StarTimes staffer who was once in charge of project implementation in Uganda, recalled a school headmaster in a village in western Uganda, who excitedly held Wang's hands after equipment installation. The headmaster thanked Wang and his coworkers for "opening a window for the children to the world."

"Uganda and China, we are good friends forever," the headmaster said to Wang Yuanbo, giving him and his colleagues a basket of oranges before they left.

A choice on both sides

As a trademark measure of the China-Africa cooperation and a practice of building a China-Africa community with a shared future, the Wan Cun Tong project offers people in Africa a portal through which to learn not only about the world as a whole, but also more about their good partner and friend, China, Liu told the Global Times.

In Kenya, 67-year-old Rebecca in Kajiado town said she watches international news on CNC (China Xinhua News Network Corporation) every day after her home was connected to a satellite signal under the project. Through watching TV, this retired teacher said she has seen rapid changes in China over the years.

"China was similar to us 20 years ago; now we see on TV that China is developing very fast, it has great engineers, and made-in-China [products] is full in our lives," said Rebecca, adding that she hoped her granddaughter might be able to go to China for further studies in the near future.

Nonetheless, with the rolling out of Wan Cun Tong in Africa, some in the US started to attack the project with lies and smear campaigns, observers have found. In a CNN article in July 2019, the author described the project as a method for China to "slowly expand its power in Africa," claiming that it gives Beijing "a tighter grip on the continent's communications infrastructure and control over how it is portrayed there in the media."

Wang Fan refutes such claims, clarifying that users are fairly free to choose any international channel, and that the StarTimes device does not block any channels.

The device provides 20 free channels in public areas, mainly popular local Ugandan channels covering education, news, sports, religion, film, and more. The device provided by the company offers more than 400 channels in total, including in Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, and various African vernacular channels, with more to come in the future, Wang Fan said.

Much like the CNN article, accusations against Wan Cun Tong and other China-funded aid projects to Africa are no more than common tricks by some Westerners, who constantly attempt to defame China and sever China-Africa ties with worn cliches such as "neocolonialism" or the "China threat theory," Liu pointed out.

"In the eyes of these former invaders and colonists, every Chinese national in Africa is sent by the Chinese government to carry out China's 'colonial plan,' and every Confucius Institute is a spy agency," Liu told the Global Times. "They judge others through the lens of past atrocities committed by them, passing off what their European predecessors did centuries ago on China."

The development of African countries, and the strengthening of mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Africa, is a conscious choice on both sides, and won't be hampered by the big "green-eyed Western monster" some, experts and observers noted.

There is no need to overly worry about the slanders, Wu Peng, director of the Department of African Affairs in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at the 2021 World Internet Conference (WIC) in September. He mentioned that amid the COVID-19, China's donations of medical supplies have covered all African countries. 

"What China is doing in Africa is something tangible," Wu said.

Academy of Defense Science Succeeds in Test-Launch of New-type SLBM

The Academy of Defense Science of the DPRK test-fired a new-type submarine-launched ballistic missile on October 19.

Yu Jin, department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, Kim Jong Sik, deputy department director of the Munitions Industry of the Central Committee of the WPK, and leading officials of the academy oversaw the test-launch.

The academy said that it presented a report of loyalty to the Party Central Committee with the pride and honour of having succeeded in the test-launch of a new-type SLBM again from the "8.24 Yongung" from which the first submarine-launched strategic ballistic missile was successfully launched five years ago to demonstrate the military muscle of the DPRK.

It clarified that the new-type SLBM, into which lots of advanced control guidance technologies including flank mobility and gliding skip mobility have been introduced, would greatly contribute to putting the defence technology of the country on a higher level and enhancing the underwater operational capability of the Navy.

Chinese, Russian Warships Circle Around Japan; Base of US Provocations Within Reach

By Liu Xuanzun

Oct 22, 2021 02:47 PM

Chinese and Russian warships transit simulated mined sea area during the naval exercise Joint Sea-2021 on the morning of October 15. The China-Russia joint naval exercise kicked off in waters near Russia's Peter the Great Bay on the afternoon of October 14, which focused on such training subjects as communications, mine countermeasures, air defense, live-fire shooting at maritime targets, joint maneuvering and joint anti-submarine missions.Photo:Xinhua

Chinese and Russian warships transit simulated mined sea area during the naval exercise Joint Sea-2021 on the morning of October 15. The China-Russia joint naval exercise kicked off in waters near Russia's Peter the Great Bay on the afternoon of October 14, which focused on such training subjects as communications, mine countermeasures, air defense, live-fire shooting at maritime targets, joint maneuvering and joint anti-submarine missions.Photo:Xinhua

The Chinese-Russian joint naval flotilla that transited the Tsugaru Strait days ago has since sailed along the east side of Japan's main island to its south, almost making a circle around the island country, in a move Chinese experts said on Friday can bring balance to regional stability at a time when the US, Japan and other Western forces have been colluding to destabilize the Asia-Pacific region.

From the east of Japan, China and Russia could reach the US Navy base in Yokosuka, headquarters of the US Seventh Fleet, from which the US and its allies have been making many provocative moves in places like the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea, observers said.

After the joint flotilla consisting of 10 warships from China and Russia transited the Tsugaru Strait on Monday, the vessels turned southeast, and were then seen heading south along the east of Japan on Wednesday and sailing to the west through islands to the south of Japan's main island on Thursday, Japan's Ministry of Defense Joint Staff said in a press release on Friday.

The warships involved included the Type 055 guided missile destroyer Nanchang, the Type 052D guided missile destroyer Kunming, the Type 054A guided missile frigates Binzhou and Liuzhou and the Type 903A comprehensive supply ship Dongpinghu from China, and the large anti-submarine ships Admiral Panteleev and Admiral Tributs, the instrumentation ship Marshal Krylov, and the corvettes of the project 20380 Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov and Gromkiy from Russia.

Ka-28 and Ka-27 vessel-based anti-submarine warfare helicopters from Chinese and Russian warships conducted operations in the process, according to the press release.

If the vessels enter the East China Sea through the Miyako Strait or Osumi Strait, it would mean that they have encircled Japan, observers said.

This would not be the first time Chinese warships have done so, as during the China-Russia Joint Sea-2013 naval drill, Chinese warships entered the Sea of Japan for drills via the Tsushima Strait, and after the drills, some participating vessels sailed through the Soya Strait into the Pacific Ocean, before returning to the East China Sea from the Miyako Strait.

Encircling Japan, particularly sailing to the east side of Japan, is of significance because many key military installations are located on that side, including the US Navy base in Yokosuka, a Chinese military expert who requested for anonymity told the Global Times on Friday.

Many US military provocations on China in places like the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea were launched from these bases, the expert said, noting that the joint patrol by Chinese and Russian vessels could be seen as a warning to the US and Japan, which have been rallying up to confront China and Russia, serve the goals of US hegemony and undermine regional peace and stability.

China and Russia's joint maritime patrol is not just a voyage, but will also feature drills along the way to enhance the joint combat capability between the two navies, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times.

Shi Hong, executive chief editor of the Chinese magazine Shipborne Weapons, told the Global Times that the voyage, involving some of China's most advanced and powerful warships, also displayed confidence as the Chinese Navy has developed rapidly over the past years.

Japan is known for its record of tracking and monitoring foreign warships and warplanes near it, so the flotilla is allowing Japan to see it to display confidence, while also practicing dealing with Japanese tracking and monitoring at the same time, Shi said.

Chinese warships will sail more frequently in far seas where international law allows, and cooperation between Chinese and Russian militaries will continue to deepen, experts said.

President Xi Jinping Inspects Carbon Reduction Tech Lab in Shengli Oilfield Crucial to Realizing Carbon Neutrality in China

Shengli Oilfield project to cut CO2 emissions by 1 million tons a year

By GT staff reporters

Oct 22, 2021 11:55 PM

Photo:Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping inspected the Shengli Oilfield in Dongying, East China's Shandong Province on Thursday, a city born with an oilfield.

But the city is witnessing huge changes amid China's pursuit of carbon neutrality, with more and more technology and green development in the way oil is extracted, which shows that technology is playing a more important role in China's efforts on carbon reduction. 

Xi visited a research institute, founded in 1964, which has a research and development center for shale oil, and a laboratory for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), an important emissions reduction technology crucial to realizing the carbon neutrality goal, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday.

The R&D center is doing a "CT" for the shale which can pinpoint where the crude oil is hidden, and the application of CCUS technology in oilfields focuses on injecting captured carbon dioxide (CO2) into reservoirs, which can help pump up oil.

Analysts said the visit will boost and accelerate the development of CCUS technology in China, which can be applied to the energy system. CCUS will play an indispensable part in realizing carbon neutrality and reaching net zero.

CCUS technology is crucial to reducing carbon emissions and is indispensable to the carbon neutrality goal, Wang Jun, director of Carbon Asset Management of Sichuan Yongxiang Company, told the Global Times on Friday.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the discovery of an oilfield in Dongying, which was later named Shengli Oilfield. 

Xi on Thursday said China, as a manufacturing powerhouse, must enhance self-reliance in energy amid efforts to develop the real economy.

Oil production is of great significance to the country, Xi noted.

The Shengli Oilfield is homes to China's first CCUS project above the 1 million ton level. Analysts said it's among the largest CCUS projects in the world.

The Shengli Oilfield CCUS project, which started construction in July by Sinopec, is expected to be put into operation at the end of 2021, and will become the largest demonstration base of the CCUS industry chain in China, which sets the stage for the country to promote the large-scale development of CCUS, according to Sinopec.

The project will capture CO2 from the Sinopec Qilu Fertilizer Plant in Zibo, Shandong and store CO2 in the Shengli Oilfield, which is used to displace oil from a reservoir. The two plants are approximately 70 kilometers apart.

Such a project can help reduce CO2 emissions by 1 million tons a year, which is equivalent to planting 9 million trees and shutting down 600,000 passenger cars a year.

CCUS contributes to emissions reductions in all regions in the sustainable development scenario. In absolute terms, China's contribution is the greatest, accounting for around one quarter of all the CO2 captured cumulatively to 2070 worldwide, according to a report by IEA.

The global CCUS market is expected to grow from $1.3 billion in 2020 to $1.46 billion in 2021 at a compounded annual growth rate of 12.3 percent, and will reach $2.97 billion in 2025, Research and Markets said.

"But investment in such a technology is huge and it's unprofitable for the most part, unlike new energy plants. Breakthroughs have yet to be made in CO2 hydraulics, and CCUS technology will not be widely used until later in the carbon neutrality process," Wang said.

The equipment used to capture and compress CO2 also uses a lot of energy, but carbon emissions are reduced. For example, a power plant equipped with CCUS equipment consumes 10-40 percent more energy than one without it, Wang said, noting that energy consumption is also one of the difficulties in promoting the widespread use of CCUS technology.

But Wang said that the CCUS application at Shengli Oilfield could be a good example of  benefitting from carbon reduction.

Analysts also said the development of CCUS can boost the construction of other clean energy plants in Shandong, and also in the Yellow River basin, where clean energy construction is less developed compared to other regions in China.

Wind, water and tidal power, and other forms of power generation are all clean energy sources, which the Yellow River basin includes, Sheng Honglei, an associate manager of CyberInsight New Energy Technology Company, told the Global Times on Friday.

"The Yellow River basin is a suitable region for the distribution of new and clean energy. Northwest China's Gansu Province and North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have enough wind to develop wind power, but less deployed with wind generation plants," Sheng said.

The oilfield visit is part of Xi's tour of Shandong Province. On Wednesday, Xi inspected the estuary of a river in the province.

Xi visited a dock, an ecological monitoring center and a national-level nature reserve in the Yellow River Delta. 

He also checked the river's waterways, the ecological environment of the wetlands in the river delta, and learned about the ecological protection and high-quality development of the Yellow River basin. 

Hypocritical Double Standards in US, UK and Australia’s Statements Crystal Clear: Global Times Editorial

By Global Times

Oct 23, 2021 12:07 AM

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

A US State Department spokesperson issued a statement on Thursday, claiming the US "remains seriously concerned at the continued erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including political participation, in Hong Kong." It points a finger at the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) for disqualifying certain district councilors according to law. On the same day, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne issued similar statements on Twitter. The spokesperson of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the HKSAR condemned on Friday the US' blatant and clumsy intervention in HKSAR affairs and China's domestic affairs. 

This is a joint action against Hong Kong since the US, the UK and Australia formed the new clique - AUKUS. Everyone on Earth knows that the US is the head of the gang, while the UK and Australia are merely two yes-men. 

The US has focused its attention on Hong Kong, tossing out statements on Hong Kong affairs every few days ranging from the Legislative Council to "diplomacy" and administrative agencies. This has become routine. The US is utilizing the statements, which cost nothing, to pave the way for future attempts to contain China with Hong Kong as an excuse, in public opinion. It also encourages anti-China rioters, which have almost come to a dead end, preventing them from falling into total despair. The US government issued an announcement on Thursday to allow Hong Kong residents in the US, who can extend their date of mandatory departure from the US, to apply for work permits. This is a move to offer a safe haven for anti-China rioters in exile. 

The US and other Western countries' statements are often covered under so-called democracy and human rights. They claim to protect the rights and interests of people in Hong Kong. Yet their rhetoric is highly deceptive. They are actually talking about the same thing over and over again. 

They say they stand with Hong Kong people, but they are in reality standing with the criminals who have been sentenced by the Hong Kong judicial system, bomb-making rioters, secessionists and political conspirators. Worse, they are now blatantly playing the role to save rioters in the city. They are not concerned about the rights and freedom of Hong Kong people. What they really intend to do is disrupt the city's rule of law, undermine its stability, and see Hong Kong in disorder.  

Seeing the consequences their actions have brought to the city, their hypocrisy and ill-intensions behind the statements are crystal clear.

If the US and the West really care about the people of Hong Kong, they should truly safeguard Hong Kong's status as a bridge between the East and West, and as the Pearl of the Orient. The US should immediately lift all sanctions against Hong Kong, let the people of Hong Kong interact with the people of the world, and create conditions for them to realize their well-being.

If the US and the West really care about the people of Hong Kong, they should pay attention to whether their right to live in safety can be guaranteed. During the riots, Hong Kong's airport was paralyzed, the MTR was destroyed, shops were smashed and innocent citizens were injured. If the US had even a little care and love for Hong Kong, it would feel distressed about such a situation. However, such a Hong Kong was called a "beautiful sight to behold" by US politicians. Their true intention was obvious.

It is Hong Kong citizens who have endured a painful price in the riots. Given the profound lesson,  they now cherish the restoration of Hong Kong's security, stability and economic restoration after the implementation of the national security law. Facts have proved, the better Hong Kong, which has integrated into the entire country's development, is built, the fewer political leverages the US and the West will have in Hong Kong. Their statements and sanctions can no longer intimidate anyone. Foreign forces which have been interfering in Hong Kong affairs are swallowing the bitterness of failure. Hong Kong patriotic forces are becoming more confident. The trend of Hong Kong heading toward prosperity thanks to the good governance is unstoppable. 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Ethiopian Air Force Reportedly Attacked Military Targets in Mekelle

October 18, 2021 

Photo: SM

Borkena

The Ethiopian Air Force reportedly attacked military targets in the rebel headquarters in Mekelle, Tigray region of Ethiopia. 

Getachew Reda, spokesperson of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF),  has confirmed it. However, the TPLF is claiming that civilians were targeted in the attack. 

Mr. Reda said in his Facebook update “Abiy Ahmed’s ‘Air Force’ sent its bomber jet to attack civilian targets in& outside Mekelle. Monday is market day in Mekelle & the intention is all too palpable. While they are losing big in what they dubbed as a final offensive against Tigray, they will obviously continue to target civilians in a desperate move to exact revenge on the people of Tigray. “

Furthermore, he claimed that planet hotel in Mekelle was targeted. But he did not specify if there was any damage. 

Ethiopian sources on social media, however, indicate that the targets were military training facilities in the outskirts of Mekelle near Mesobe Cement Factory and a military target near Planet Hotel. The Ethiopian Defense Force has not released any statement at this writing. 

This week TPLF forces made moves to control areas in South Wollo. On Sunday, they shelled civilian residential homes in Wuchale town, which is only 60 kilometers north of Dessie. At least thirty civilians were killed in the rebel attack. 

Latest citizen report, however, seems to suggest that Wuchale is already back in the hands of the Ethiopian Defense Force. 

Ethiopia Air Force Carried Out Another Airstrike on Military Targets in Mekelle

October 20, 2021

Unverified images circulating on social media purportedly shows scene of facility after air strike

Borkena

The Ethiopian Air Force on Wednesday carried out another airstrike on what is said to be military targets in the Mekelle city, capital of Tigray regional state where TPLF leaders are believed to be planning military operations. 

An industrial engineering facility that was believed to be used as maintenance and production for military supplies is among the targets, according to a citizen report on social media.  

The targeted air strike today is the second one in less than a week.

TPLF mouthpieces and supporters accused the government of  targeting civilians in the air strike. 

A  brief statement from Ethiopia Current Issues Fact Check on Wednesday said there was an air strike on Wednesday, but it targeted “TPLF arms production/manufacturing and armament repair sites. “

Furthermore, the Task Force said, “The ENDF’s surgical operations are aimed at destroying illegal caches of heavy weaponry and armaments at selected sites that the terrorist organisation has turned into military facilities.”

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front is intensifying military operations in South Wollo area of the Amhara region, after controlling much of North Wollo areas of the region for several months now. 

Sources in South Wollo told borkena on Tuesday that there is heavy fighting in the areas South of Wuchale including in the area of Haik Estifanos Monastery.