Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Monkeypox Kills 9 in Congo; First Death in Nigeria in 2022


May 30, 2022

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nine people have died of monkeypox in Congo in 2022 while Nigeria has recorded its first death from the disease this year, the countries’ health authorities said, even as at least 20 countries continue to grapple with sudden outbreaks not seen in years.

Dr. Aime Alongo, chief of the Sankuru health division in Congo, said Monday that 465 cases of the disease have been confirmed in the nation, making it one of the worst-hit in West and Central Africa, where the disease is endemic.

The persistence of the disease in Congo is due to the consumption of dead monkeys and rodents, Dr. Alongo said.

“The residents enter the forest, pick up the corpses of monkeys, bats and rodents which are the reservoirs of monkeypox,” the official added, urging those with monkeypox symptoms to visit a health center to isolate themselves.

Nigeria, meanwhile, recorded its first death from monkeypox this year in a patient with underlying medical conditions, the diseases control agency said Sunday.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention announced that in 2022 it has confirmed 21 out of 66 suspected cases of the disease, which is usually endemic in Nigeria and other parts of West and Central Africa.

“The death was reported in a 40-year-old patient who had underlying co-morbidity and was on immunosuppressive medications,” the Nigeria CDC said.

Nigeria has not had an outbreak of monkeypox since September 2017 but it continues to report sporadic cases. At least 247 have been confirmed in 22 of its 36 states since then with 3.6% fatality rate, the disease control agency said.

A spike in monkeypox cases reported in Europe and the U.S. has generated concerns among those countries, many of whom have not recorded a single case of the disease in years. Over 250 cases of the disease have been reported in more than 20 countries not usually known to have outbreaks, the World Health Organization said.

Monkeypox has not previously triggered widespread outbreaks beyond Africa, where it is endemic.

One of the new cases in the U.K. was recorded in a man days after his arrival from Nigeria on May 4. Nigeria has recorded six confirmed cases of the disease the British citizen left the country.

Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, head of the country’s Center for Disease Control, told The Associated Press nothing shows that the British citizen contracted the disease in Nigeria and the country remains prepared to respond to an outbreak of monkeypox.

“The biggest challenge that you have with a disease such as monkeypox is that it is uncommon and the perceived risk by the population about how dangerous this condition is has been very low … that is why ... we have conducted awareness training and advocacy training to increase the level of awareness of health care workers,” Adetifa said.

Kamale reported from Kinshasa, Congo.

WHO: Monkeypox Won’t Turn into Pandemic, But Many Unknowns


May 30, 2022

FILE - This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. WHO's top monkeypox expert Dr. Rosamund Lewis said she doesn’t expect the hundreds of cases reported to date to turn into another pandemic, but acknowledged there are still many unknowns about the disease, including how exactly it’s spreading and whether the suspension of mass smallpox immunization decades ago may somehow be speeding its transmission. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, File)

LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization’s top monkeypox expert said she doesn’t expect the hundreds of cases reported to date to turn into another pandemic, but acknowledged there are still many unknowns about the disease, including how exactly it’s spreading and whether the suspension of mass smallpox immunization decades ago may somehow be speeding its transmission.

In a public session on Monday, WHO’s Dr. Rosamund Lewis said it was critical to emphasize that the vast majority of cases being seen in dozens of countries globally are in gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men, so that scientists can further study the issue. She urged those at risk to be careful.

“It’s very important to describe this because it appears to be an increase in a mode of transmission that may have been under-recognized in the past,” said Lewis.

“At the moment, we are not concerned about a global pandemic,” she said. “We are concerned that individuals may acquire this infection through high-risk exposure if they don’t have the information they need to protect themselves.”

She warned that anyone is at potential risk for the disease, regardless of their sexual orientation. Other experts have pointed out that it may be accidental that the disease was first picked up in gay and bisexual men, saying it could quickly spill over into other groups if it is not curbed.

Last week, WHO said 23 countries that haven’t previously had monkeypox have now reported more than 250 cases. On Monday, the U.K. announced another 71 monkeypox cases.

Lewis said it’s unknown whether monkeypox is being transmitted by sex or just the close contact between people engaging in sexual activity and described the threat to the general population as “low.”

Monkeypox is known to spread when there is close physical contact with an infected person, their clothing or bedsheets.

She also warned that among the current cases, there is a higher proportion of people with lesions that are more concentrated in the genital region and sometimes nearly impossible to see.

“You may have these lesions for two to four weeks (and) they may not be visible to others, but you may still be infectious,” she said.

Last week, a top adviser to WHO said the monkeypox outbreak in Europe, U.S., Israel, Australia and beyond was likely linked to sex at two recent raves in Spain and Belgium. That marks a significant departure from the disease’s typical pattern of spread in central and western Africa, where people are mainly infected by animals like wild rodents and primates.

Scientists haven’t yet determined whether the monkeypox outbreak in rich countries can be traced to Africa, but the disease continues to sicken people on the continent.

On Monday, authorities in Congo said nine people have died of monkeypox in 2022. Dr. Aime Alongo, chief of the Sankuru health division in Congo, also said 465 cases have been confirmed, making it one of the worst-hit nations in West and Central Africa.

Nigerian authorities confirmed the country’s first monkeypox death this year, in addition to six more cases. WHO says thousands of cases are reported from Nigeria and Congo every year.

Most monkeypox patients experience only fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. People with more serious illness may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body. No deaths have been reported in the current outbreak beyond Africa.

WHO’s Lewis also said while previous cases of monkeypox in central and western Africa have been relatively contained, it was not clear if people could spread monkeypox without symptoms or if the disease might be airborne, like measles or COVID-19.

Monkeypox is related to smallpox, but has milder symptoms. After smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, countries suspended their mass immunization programs, a move that some experts believe may be helping monkeypox spread now, since there is now little widespread immunity to related diseases. Smallpox vaccines are also protective against monkeypox.

Lewis said it was also uncertain how much immunity people who were previously vaccinated against smallpox might still have, since that was at least more than four decades ago. She said WHO’s priority was to stop the current spread of monkeypox before the disease became entrenched in new regions.

“If we all react quickly and we all work together, we will be able to stop this,” she predicted. “We will be able to stop it before it reaches more vulnerable people and before it establishes itself as a replacement for smallpox.”


Chinedu Asadu in Abuja, Nigeria, contributed to this report.

Across the Planet, Voices Raised to Denounce the Blockade

"Solidarity cannot be blockaded," stated Party First Secretary and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, yesterday May 29, expressing his gratitude to the many Cubans living abroad and friends who protested in cities across the planet against the U.S. blockade of Cuba

Author: Internacional news staff | informacion@granmai.cu

May 30, 2022 09:05:52

Photo: Twitter @DiazCanelB 

"Solidarity cannot be blockaded," stated Party First Secretary and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, yesterday May 29, expressing his gratitude to the many friends and Cubans living abroad, members of solidarity movements who participated in another day of protest in cities across the planet against the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.

“A thousand times thanks to friends who this Sunday, in more than twenty cities around the world, came together to demand the end of the blockade against Cuba. Bridges of Love are indestructible, they reach our island overcoming all obstacles,” Díaz-Canel tweeted.

Many examples could be cited of the explicit, courageous statements made, including a video posted by a Cuban resident in Andalusia, Spain, informing "Mr. Biden” that Cubans and friends of the island would continue to support her country, while in the United States, protesters in Miami defied threats and held a demonstration, although they were forced to cancel a scheduled meeting, according the Carlos Lazo, leader of the Puentes de Amor/Bridges of Love organization.

“We had an event planned in a Miami restaurant. We made the reservation and people from the caravan and other U.S. cities were going to participate, but the haters began to call and threaten the owner of the place," he reported on Cuban television.

“Once again the atmosphere of hostility, of McCarthyism, of persecution in Miami is confirmed, but also confirmed is the fact that these people are desperate,” Lazo added.

Nicolás Maduro Addresses ALBA Summit: No One Here Considers Himself the Boss

He denounced the attempted exclusion as an erratic position. "Let's not lose the real perspective, the 21st century is that of union and sovereignty," he stressed

Author: Nuria Barbosa León | informacion@granma.cu

Author: Susana Besteiro Fornet | internet@granma.cu

Author: Milagros Pichardo Pérez | internet@granma.cu

May 27, 2022 14:05:54

Photo: ALBA on Twitter

Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of Venezuela, one of the nations the United States has excluded from the Los Angeles Summit of the Americas along with Cuba and Nicaragua, took the floor this morning during the XXI Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Treaty of Commerce of the Peoples (ALBA-TCP).

He noted that participants Havana Summit had shared an "intense, open and frank debate" on the path forward for Our America, at this stage, a dialogue among equals.

As equals, as brothers and sisters, we are capable of debating, said Maduro. ALBA has a history and a clear doctrine on the relationship of peoples. We can demonstrate the concrete results of our work since ALBA was founded 18 years ago, he said, adding that the organization has managed to expand the concept of Latin American and Caribbean unity.

"Here no one considers himself the boss, the one decides what’s in and what’s out ," he said, in clear reference to what happened with the IX Summit of the Americas, scheduled to be held in the U.S. city of Los Angeles.

This is our path forward, the path of equals, of respect, of inclusion, and of integration, convoking all to join our commitment to the path of union and inclusion, concluded the Venezuelan President.

Díaz-Canel: The Voice of Cuba Will be Heard at the Ninth Summit of the Americas

President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez thanked countries which have taken a courageous, dignified position, denouncing exclusions from the Summit of the Americas, and stated that he will not attend the meeting, in any case

Author: Yaima Puig Meneses | informacion@granmai.cu

May 26, 2022 11:05:11

Photo: Clacso

The First Secretary of the Communist Party Central Committee and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, speaking yesterday during a meeting of the Council of Ministers, reiterated Cuba's positions and principles in relation to the upcoming Ninth Summit of the Americas, which It will take place June 6-10, in the U.S. city of Los Angeles.

We all know, he emphasized, that the government of the United States conceived this Summit of the Americas, from the beginning, as a non-inclusive event. “Given the government of the United States’ original design, its initial intentions, the Summit was not meant to be inclusive. It was their intention to exclude several countries, among them Cuba, despite the existence of a strong regional demand that exclusions from this type of event end,” he said.

On this note, he emphasized, "The United States has made an intense effort, exerting brutal pressure to demobilize the just and firm demand of the majority of countries in the region that the Summit be inclusive."

In the context of the meeting of the Council of State, the highest body of the Cuban government, the President of the Republic thanked countries which have taken “a courageous, dignified position, raising their voices to denounce exclusions from the Summit of the Americas.”

We want to emphasize – he said – that we share the position of regional leaders who have firmly insisted that everyone must be invited on equal footing.

"Given the conditions in which all these processes related to the Summit have been conducted and the attitude maintained by the U.S. government, I can assure you that I will not attend the Summit of the Americas, in any case," he stated.

Nonetheless – he concluded – as always, as has occurred in the past, we are conscious, we are convinced, that the voice of Cuba will make itself heard at the Ninth Summit of the Americas.

Politburo Consultative Meeting of WPK Central Committee Held

The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) convened a consultative meeting at the office building of the Party Central Committee on May 29. 

Attending the meeting were members of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee and members and alternate members of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee. Also, present as observers were officials of the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters. 

First, the Political Bureau heard a report of the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters on the state of the epidemic spread as of May 28. 

More than 89 500 fevered cases and over 106 390 recoveries were reported from May 27 to 28 throughout the country. 

The total number of fevered persons, found as of May 28 since late April, is about 3 448 880, of which more than 3 262 700 (94.602%) have recovered and at least 186 110 (5.396%) are under medical treatment across the country. 

Reported to the Political Bureau were the epidemic situation in each region, the characteristics of course of the pandemic disease, various analysis data, the supply of medicines and the experiences in treatment.

The Political Bureau heard the results of the state-sponsored study and clarification of the first place of the outbreak of the pandemic disease and the cause of infection before discussing the relevant issues. 

It made a positive evaluation of the pandemic situation being controlled and improved across the country and discussed the issues of continuously stabilizing and improving the overall anti-epidemic situation while further consolidating the experiences gained in the early period of the anti-epidemic work. 

The Political Bureau examined the issue of effectively and quickly coordinating and enforcing the anti-epidemic regulations and guidelines given the current stable anti-epidemic situation. 

The meeting heard the accounts of the technical guidance teams’ activities for the mid-term review of the execution of the Party and state policies set forth at the 4th Plenary Meeting of the 8th Party Central Committee and discussed the important issues concerning the preparations for the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 8th Party Central Committee.

It also studied and discussed the orientations of other state affairs.



For the Future of the Country

Providing children with their rights is a very important issue related to the development of each country and nation and the future of humankind.

It is an unshakable will of the Workers’ Party of Korea to bring up the rising generations in the best system and conditions to be happiest in the world.

Under the care of the state, all children of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are growing up to be knowledgeable, morally sound and physically strong.

It is an unadorned reality of the DPRK that it has educational institutions equipped with excellent educational facilities, basses for extracurricular activities including the Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s Palace and the Songdowon International Children’s Camp and children are happily learning and frolicking to their heart’s content while flapping wings of hope.

Many overseas Koreans and foreigners, who visited the Songdowon International Children’s Camp, said that the camp was literally an ideal paradise of children, referring to it as an oasis for campers. They were very envious of the Korean children, they all said with great admiration.

In the DPRK, people’s power organs are responsible for fully providing children in such areas as remote mountains and islands with educational conditions. And school ships, buses and trains are in operation even for only a few children of ordinary industrial and agricultural workers.

Light industry factories, including the Mindulle Notebook Factory and bag factories in different parts of the country, increase the production of goods for children and children go to school in new uniforms, carrying new bags and school things provided by the state.

With the state’s investment in education on the systematic increase, education in the country keeps developing as the days go by.

The DPRK makes it a policy to combine education and public health for children’s spiritual and physical growth and development and it is thoroughly embodied in practice.

The Okryu Children’s Hospital can be cited.

The hospital modern in medical equipment and highly qualitative in medical service also has classrooms for the education of children to make up for their lessons during their hospitalization.

And it has indoor and outdoor playgrounds for children so as to make sure that they feel a sense of safety like they do at home.

In the DPRK an orderly medical supply system is established in the institutions for upbringing and education of children.

Not only all nurseries, kindergartens and schools but also bases for extracurricular education have medical workers exclusively for children and are regularly provided with medical instruments and medicines by the state.

The state bears all the expense for preventing and treating diseases of children, that is, for medical examination, medical experiments and tests, medicines, hospital treatment, recuperation, travel to and from sanatoriums, health checkups, medical consultation and vaccination and epithesis.

It is the most important policy and the greatest cherished desire of the WPK and the state to provide more improved conditions for bringing children up even at the cost of huge sums of money.

In February there was adopted the DPRK law on childcare to establish a strict system and order in producing and supplying nutritious foods for children and providing conditions for bringing them up so as to make a contribution to thoroughly implementing the state’s childcare policy.

This is why the world people unanimously say that the Korean children, who are growing sound mentally, morally and physically, are really happiest in the world.


KPA Takes Lion’s Share in Anti-epidemic War

Medics in the medical sector of the Korean People’s Army, who have been urgently committed on the special order of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea, are leading the anti-epidemic campaign in the capital city of Pyongyang, performing their honourable mission and duty as defender of the people’s happiness.

After being committed to hundreds of pharmacies in the city, they have distributed to all the pharmacies over a million syringes, well over a million packets of medicines, more than 10 000 pamphlets dealing with highly efficacious folk remedies and “service registers.” At the same time as supplying medicines according to prescriptions in collaboration with civilian medical workers, the medics are giving patients diagnoses and treatment. They have installed various sound facilities and TV sets in pharmacies to explain and publicize the validity and vitality of the anti-epidemic policies of the Party and the state and common medical knowledge.

Having formed tens of mobile treatment and medicine supply teams, they go to the units with many persons with fever to supply medicines and treat them in a positive manner, and send health foods and daily necessities to families.

They also do laudable deeds voluntarily for the sake of the people.

A medic sent to Kyongru-dong of Central District took first aid treatment for a baby and promptly sent it to the Okryu Children’s Hospital.

Seeing the fighting spirit of combatants in the medical sector of the KPA, who are doing laudable deeds voluntarily for them as they would do for their family members, people are keenly feeling warm affection of the People’s Army.


For Health Protection and Better Living Conditions

Great effort is being directed to protecting the health of medical workers , who are standing in the frontline of the anti-epidemic campaign, and provide them with necessary conditions for living.

Officials of Party and government bodies of Pyongyang Municipality are providing them with necessary materials and medicines.

They go to clinics in districts to scrupulously organize screening of medical workers while paying attention to let them wear personal kits so that they have perfect anti-epidemic capacity.

The cities of Nampho and Rason, South Hwanghae Province and other provinces are putting efforts to providing accommodation and living conditions to the medical workers, who are engaged in the work for screening and check-up of the people and supply of medicines to them, and to those in medicine production units so as to encourage them to enhance their sense of responsibility and role in the anti-epidemic war.


First State Crime of Japan Against Korea

On April 13, 1592, Japanese invaders mobilized huge forces to launch an armed invasion of Korea, absurdly demanding that Korea make way for them to the Ming dynasty of China.

This was called Japanese invasion of Korea recorded as the Imjin Patriotic War (1592–1598) in the history of the country. It was a direct result of Japan’s greed for territory and policy of overseas invasion and its first state crime against Korea.

Under the barbarous slogan “Kill all the Koreans!”, the Japanese invaders committed atrocities of indiscriminate slaughter. Starting the war with an assault on the Pusan Fort of Korea, they recklessly killed the people, young and old, men and women, in the fort. About the situation in the fort at the time, a history book says, “They climbed up the three man-high stone wall … killed all including even the elderly, women, dogs and cats.”

Such massacre was not limited to the Pusan Fort.

After occupying the Jinju Fort in June 1593, the invaders massacred innocent people at random and caught and locked all those who had narrowly escaped death in a warehouse to burn them to death. There was not a single person left alive in the fort.

There is a tomb of 214 752 noses and ears of Koreans in Kyoto, Japan. The tomb, the kind of which cannot be found elsewhere in the world, remains as the historic evidence that still reveals the atrociousness of Japan though hundreds of years have since passed.

During their invasion of Korea, the Japanese aggressors randomly kidnapped excellent talents of science, technique and the arts, including ceramists, physicians, architects, painters, embroiderers, type-makers and printers, and even ordinary people as manpower.

According to the confession by the Japanese, the Korean victims of the abduction numbered over 100 000.

The Japanese aggressors forced the kidnapped into slave labour and even sold them to other countries.

Most atrocious was that the aggressors abducted lots of women to be used as sexual slaves to satisfy their carnal desires. They raped all women they caught, regardless of elderly or married women or young girls and took them about when moving to other battlefields to commit barbarities that would make even beasts blush with shame.

This tells that Japan’s crime of sexual slavery censured as the most heinous in the last century already started by samurais hundreds of years ago.

This was not all

The Japanese invaders also destroyed and plundered valuable cultural assets of Korea at random.

According to History of Japan, a book written by a Portuguese, even Japanese boatmen and carriers and low-class Japanese, to say nothing of the chiefs of the Japanese aggressor forces, were hell-bent on making money by plundering cultural assets of Korea. The Japanese aggressors not only burnt and destroyed valuable books and excellent buildings as national treasures but also plundered innumerable ceramics, bells, Buddhas and art works.

Even a Japanese scholar confessed that Hideyoshi’s aggressive war was also the one for plundering and taking away all the Korean cultural assets to Japan.

Later, too, Japan ceaselessly committed aggression and plunder against Korea.

Particularly, it made desperate efforts to completely obliterate Korea as a state with a 5 000-year-long history and culture by militarily occupying the country and fabricating the aggressive Ulsa Five-point Treaty (on November 17, 1905), Jongmi Seven-point Treaty (on July 24, 1907) and Korea-Japan Annexation Treaty (on August 22, 1910).

The Japanese imperialists occupied Korea for over four decades and pursued a barbarous policy for exterminating the Korean nation. They forced sufferings and deaths on a huge number of Koreans as cannon fodder for their war of aggression and as labour and sex slaves, and plundered the country of an immeasurable amount of cultural assets and natural resources.

Far from reflecting on all sorts of criminal acts it committed in the past, Japan is embellishing them in an attempt to repeat its history of crime. Such shamelessness and impudence add fuel to the burning hatred of the entire Korean nation against Japan.

The Korean people will never forget Japan’s heinous crimes of murder and plunder against the Korean nation but make it pay for the crimes.

Kim Kwang Song


Monday, May 30, 2022

Putin Confirmed to Erdogan That Russia Can Export Food if Sanctions are Lifted — Kremlin

The presidents also discussed the situation in Ukraine with the focus on providing safe navigation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov

© Mikhail Klimentyev/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

MOSCOW, May 30. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed readiness of the Russian side to export fertilizers and foods if sanctions are lifted in the telephone conversation with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, the Kremlin’s press service said.

"In the light of problems on the global food market occurred in consequence of the unwise financial and economic policy of Western states, it was confirmed that Russia can export considerable volumes of fertilizers and agricultural produce in case relevant anti-Russian sanction restrictions are lifted," the Kremlin said.

Putin and Erdogan discussed the situation in Ukraine with the focus on providing safe navigation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and elimination of the mine threat in their water areas, the Kremlin’s press service added. "Vladimir Putin noted readiness of the Russian side to facilitate unobstructed seaborne transit of goods in coordination with Turkish partners. This also pertains to export of grain from Ukrainian ports," the press service noted.

War in Ukraine Adds to Food Price Hikes, Hunger in Africa


FILE- Malian women sift wheat in a field near Segou, central Mali, Jan. 22, 2013. In 2022, Families across Africa are paying about 45% more for wheat flour as Russia's war in Ukraine blocks exports from the Black Sea. Some countries like Somalia get more than 90% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine. That's forcing many people to substitute wheat for other grains. But the United Nations is warning that the price hikes are coming as many parts of Africa are facing drought and hunger. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — It now costs Ayan Hassan Abdirahman twice as much as it did just a few months ago to buy the wheat flour she uses to make breakfast each day for her 11 children in Somalia’s capital.

Nearly all the wheat sold in Somalia comes from Ukraine and Russia, which have halted exports through the Black Sea since Moscow waged war on its neighbor on Feb. 24. The timing could not be worse: The U.N. has warned that an estimated 13 million people were facing severe hunger in the Horn of Africa region as a result of a persistent drought.

Abdirahman has been trying to make do by substituting sorghum, another more readily available grain, in her flatbread. Inflation, though, means the price of the cooking oil she still needs to prepare it has skyrocketed too — a jar that once cost $16 is now selling for $45 in the markets of Mogadishu.

“The cost of living is high nowadays, making it difficult for families even to afford flour and oil,” she says.

Haji Abdi Dhiblawe, a businessman who imports wheat flour into Somalia, fears the situation will only worsen: There is also a looming shortage of shipping containers to bring food supplies in from elsewhere at the moment.

“Somalis have no place to grow wheat, and we are not even familiar with how to grow it,” he says. “Our main concern now is what will the future hold for us when we currently run out of supplies.”

Another 18 million people are facing severe hunger in the Sahel, the part of Africa just below the Sahara Desert where farmers are enduring their worst agricultural production in more than a decade. The U.N. World Food Program says food shortages could worsen when the lean season arrives in late summer.

“Acute hunger is soaring to unprecedented levels and the global situation just keeps on getting worse. Conflict, the climate crisis, COVID-19 and surging food and fuel costs have created a perfect storm — and now we’ve got the war in Ukraine piling catastrophe on top of catastrophe,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley warned earlier this month.

Even the cost of therapeutic food for malnourished children could rise 16% over the next six months because of the war in Ukraine and disruptions related to the pandemic, UNICEF says.

African countries imported 44% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine between 2018 and 2020, according to U.N. figures. The African Development Bank is already reporting a 45% increase in wheat prices on the continent, making everything from couscous in Mauritania to the fried donuts sold in Congo more expensive for customers.

“Africa has no control over production or logistics chains and is totally at the mercy of the situation,” said Senegalese President Macky Sall, the African Union chairperson, who has said he will travel to Russia and Ukraine to discuss the price woes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin pressed the West last week to lift sanctions against Moscow over the war in Ukraine, seeking to shift the blame from Russia to the West for a growing world food crisis that has been worsened by Ukraine’s inability to ship millions of tons of grain and other agricultural products while under attack.

Putin told Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi that Moscow “is ready to make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis through the export of grain and fertilizer on the condition that politically motivated restrictions imposed by the West are lifted,” according to the Kremlin.

Western officials have dismissed the Russian claims. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has noted that food, fertilizer and seeds are exempt from the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and many others on Russia.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has accused Russia of looting both grain and farm equipment from territories held by its forces. A Russia-installed official in southern Ukraine has confirmed that grain from last year’s harvest there is being sent to buyers in Russia, according to a report Monday by Russia’s Tass state news agency.

That grain, however, isn’t make its way to Africa. In Cameroon, baker Sylvester Ako says he’s seen his daily clientele drop from 300 customers a day to only 100 since bread prices jumped 40% because of the lack of wheat imports.

He’s already let three of his seven employees go, and worries that he will have to shutter his Yaounde business entirely unless something changes.

“The price of a 50-kilogram (110-pound) bag of wheat now sells at $60 — up from about $30 — and the supply is not regular,” Ako said.

Along with the shortfall in wheat imports, the African Development Bank is also warning of a potential 20% decline in food production on the continent because farmers are having to pay 300% more for their imported fertilizer.

The organization says it plans to address the issues through a $1.5 billion plan that will provide farmers in Africa with certified seeds, fertilizer and other help. Reducing dependence on foreign imports is part of the strategy, but those economic transitions are likely to take years, not months.

Senegal’s president says appetites can pivot more quickly. He’s encouraging Africans to consume local grains that were once the staples of their diets.

“We must also change our eating habits,” Sall said. ”We dropped millet and started importing rice from Asia. Now we only know how to eat rice and we don’t produce enough. We only know how to eat bread. We do not produce wheat.”


Krista Larson reported from Dakar, Senegal. Associated Press journalists in Europe and Edwin Kindzeka Moki in Yaounde, Cameroon; Babacar Dione in Dakar, Senegal; Al-Hadji Kudra Maliro in Bunia, Congo, and Francis Kokutse in Accra, Ghana, contributed to this report.

Sudan’s Military Leader Lifts State of Emergency

May 29, 2022 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Sunday issued a decree lifting the state of emergency, seven months after its imposition in October 2021.

On October 25, al-Burhan dissolved the civilian transitional government and the empowerment removal committee suspending a series of political and economic reforms and preparations for elections.

The coup opened the door for political instability following the detention of FFC leaders and the killing of civilian protesters. Also, it triggered the suspension of international support and re-emergence of Islamists who voiced their support for the junta.

Upon a recommendation by the Security and Defence Council, the Sovereign Council issued a statement announcing the lift of the state of emergency.

“In order to create a conducive environment for a fruitful and meaningful dialogue that achieves stability during the transitional period, the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereign Council, Lt Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, today issued a decree lifting the state of emergency throughout the country, a short statement released on Sunday evening.

Also, the security service released some 125 political detainees two hours after months of arbitrary detention under the state of emergency.

Rehab Mubarak a member of the Emergency Lawyers group told the Sudan Tribune that “the security forces and the police released 125 protest leaders,” held in several prisons and detention facilities across the country on Sunday night.

Mubarak added that a detainee remains held in Al-Huda prison in the capital, Khartoum as he faces criminal charges.

The trilateral mechanism facilitating a dialogue aiming to restore the civilian-led transition several times stressed the need to create a suitable atmosphere and called for the release of political detainees, a lift of the state of emergency and the end of violence against protesters.

Also, Sudan’s former ruling coalition Forces for Freedom and Change made a similar request.

Last April, al-Burhan stated that he had directed the competent authorities to keep some provisions related to the economic and security situation after the lift of the state of emergency.

The Security and Defence Council in its statement said the lift of the state of emergency should not contradict laws related to security issues or criminal law.

The Resistance Committees, according to their weekly timetable, plan several local protests in the three cities of the capital before a unified march to the presidential place on June 2.

South Sudan Slams Ghana’s Decision to Back Arms Embargo

May 29, 2022 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese government has described as “disappointing” Ghana’s decision to vote in favour of the recent renewal of arms embargo by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The UN Security Council on Thursday last week adopted a resolution to renew for a year, till May 31, 2023, an arms embargo against South Sudan.

Security Council Resolution 2633 (2022) was adopted by a vote of 10 in favour (Albania, Brazil, France, Ghana, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States) to none against, with five abstentions (China, Gabon, India, Kenya and the Russian Federation).

South Sudan government, however, applauded China, India, Russia, Gabon and Kenya for not voting for the sanctions on Juba. The five countries abstained from the vote. The resolution to extend the ban through May 2023, drafted by the United States, was passed with 10 out of 15 votes.

The vote by Ghana in favour of the U.S-drafted resolution angered Juba.

“That our brotherly country, whom we look to as an anchor of Pan-Africanism, should vote against the African Union position disappoints us. We, nonetheless, have confidence that the Ghanaian Government will revisit its position,” South Sudan’s Foreign Affairs ministry said in a statement.

“That some countries would dismiss the African Union’s stance on this matter shows an old hubris with no value for a world shaken by wars, including in Africa and Europe. When the African Union rejected the US-sponsored sanctions and arms embargo on South Sudan, Ghana was its chair”, it added.

South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had written a letter to the UNSC protesting the decision.

“The government of South Sudan is dissatisfied and disappointed with the resolution of the Security Council because this resolution in the opinion of the government doesn’t actually serve the interest of the people of South Sudan and doesn’t in any way serve the proper implementation of the agreement,” he told the state-owned South Sudan television (SSBC) Friday.

“We call on members of the UNSC not to listen to individual reports that are presented without being substantiated and by so doing they take such decisions at a time when they are not properly substantiated,” he added.

On 28 May 2021, the UN Security Council renewed its arms embargo on the territory of South Sudan, which it first imposed in 2018, and identified the implementation of the 2021 action plan as one of five benchmarks against which renewal of the arms embargo would be reviewed in May 2022.


Egypt Jails Former Presidential Candidate for 15 Years

FILE- Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Fotouh speaks during an interview with Associated Press at his home

Amr Nabil/AP

Africa News with AFP

 Last updated: 5 hours ago


An emergency court in Egypt has sentenced a 2012 presidential candidate, Abdel Moneim Aboul Foutouh, to 15 years in prison for "false information" and "undermining state security".

In the sentence announced on Sunday, there are 24 other Islamist opponents, a judicial source said.

Among them, Mahmoud Ezzat, former supreme guide of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, already sentenced to life imprisonment for "espionage", and the N.2 of Mr Aboul Foutouh's "Masr Qawiya" party, Mohammed al-Qassas.

Mr Aboul Foutouh was arrested on his return from London, where he had granted interviews criticizing the government and calling for a boycott of the presidential election that returned Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.

In 2012, however, he was a candidate in the election won by the Muslim Brother Mohamed Morsi -- overthrown by Mr Sissi, then head of the army, a year later.

Mr Aboul Foutouh, placed on the "terrorist" list and whose assets have been sequestered for four years, was charged with membership of an "illegal organisation" before an anti-terrorism court.

His lawyer Khaled Ali, a leading figure on the left and also a former presidential candidate, had decided to use the weapons of power of Mr Sissi to defend him.

In April, he submitted four episodes of a successful military soap opera featuring videos of Mr Aboul Foutouh filmed without his knowledge by the intelligence services and criticising the Muslim Brotherhood to the judges as exculpatory evidence.

Amnesty International - which recently said Egypt held the world record for death sentences with more than 350 in 2021 - denounced the verdict, calling it a "totally unfair political trial", saying the convicts had been subjected to "torture and ill-treatment" in detention, and calling on Mr Sissi to release them.

Mr Aboul Foutouh, "aged 70, has been deprived of medical care for years," the human rights NGO added.

NATO Faces Expansion Predicament as Members Elbow to Maximize Own Interests

By Global Times

May 30, 2022 09:30 PM

NATO Photo: IC

"As long as Tayyip Erdogan is Turkey president, we cannot say 'yes' to countries that support terror joining NATO," Erdogan told journalists on Saturday, referring to the bids of Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO. 

The bids require support from all NATO members, while Turkey objected to their entry into the alliance, citing Finland and Sweden's alleged support for Kurdish militants whom Turkey considers terrorists and restrictions on weapons sales to Turkey. 

Turkey is not the only NATO member that set a barrier to Finland and Sweden joining  NATO. Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said earlier that Finland and Sweden should be allowed to join NATO only when the issue of equality of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina in elections is addressed. "That is not an act against Finland and Sweden but for Croatia," Milanovic insisted.

Both Turkey and Croatia are making use of NATO to address matters of national interest. The main reason for their objection to Finland and Sweden's NATO membership is their national security. But a New York Times article on Monday called Turkey a "disruptive ally" as its objection "performs to the benefit of President Putin of Russia." According to the article, Erdogan's objections "have even renewed questions on whether or not NATO could be higher off without Turkey."

The US has its own interests in mind as if no country should prioritize its interests. If they do, they may face consequences. But what Turkey is doing is no different from what the US has been doing. Washington is trying to maximize its own interests by controlling and manipulating the future security pattern of Europe via the expansion of NATO. But other countries also have  reasons to maximize their interests by making use of the current situation. When NATO cannot satisfy the interests of all its members, the bloc faces a predicament.

Gao Jian, a scholar at Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times that NATO is in essence an "interest fair" where countries with different interests exchange interests, so Erdogan is taking this opportunity to raise his demands and maximize Turkey's national interests.

The invisible war between the interests of different countries and US hegemony is suffusing the complicated NATO interest fair. Against the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, two contradictory trends of NATO are occurring. On the one hand, with two more countries applying to   NATO, the military bloc has strengthened its presence. But on the other hand, NATO does not always speak in one voice when there is a major strategic policy or choice that needs to be made from within. 

"NATO's enlargement of membership will further weaken the consensus within the bloc. The bargains by different members due to different interests will bring instability to NATO. The obstacles NATO faces will eventually come from within NATO," said Gao.

Song Zhongping, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times that this will make it more difficult for NATO to make inroads into Asia-Pacific affairs. 

"If NATO members really want to maximize their interests, the Asia-Pacific region means opportunity, market and the driving force of economic development. Why would they destroy such an important market through military means?" said Song.

Song also noted that although NATO members are part of the US-led group, they do not want US interests to dictate their own interests. When Washington puts America first, other countries want to put their interests first.

GT Voice: US Slander Against China’s Economy Reeks of Sour Grapes

By Global Times

May 30, 2022 09:54 PM

Photo: CFP

As two Chinese megacities - Beijing and Shanghai - are emerging from the shadow of China's worst COVID-19 outbreak since 2020 and bringing normalcy to social and economic activities, it is repellent to see some US media outlets continue to play up the risks of the dynamic zero-COVID strategy to global supply chains.

In an article published on Monday entitled "China in danger of exporting fresh inflation turmoil: MLIV Pulse," Bloomberg claimed that China's zero-COVID strategy will likely intensify the world's supply-chain woes and challenge central bankers' efforts to curb inflation. Despite its appearance as a news article, the Bloomberg piece is nothing but an attempt to blame the US' own economic woes on China, provide cover for Washington's total failure against the virus and aid certain US investors' shady moves regarding the Chinese economy. 

It is no secret that Wall Street investment banks have recently downgraded their Chinese GDP forecast for 2022, with some apparently over exaggerating the impact of the epidemic and China's response. For instance, JP Morgan recently cut China's GDP growth forecast to -5.4 percent for the second quarter of this year. Clearly, such attempts to hype economic volatility in China are ill-intentioned.

China has been sparing no efforts in accelerating the resumption of production and business to stabilize economic development and tackle supply chain and other specific issues. It should be easy for any fair-minded person to understand that such efforts to stabilize the world's second-largest economy, the world's biggest trading nation and one of the biggest global growth drivers is good for the global economy as a whole.

From that perspective, it is only logical that there are sinister purposes behind the US' smearing campaign against China's dynamic zero-COVID strategy and exaggerating its impact on not only the Chinese economy but also global supply chains. One of such sinister purposes is Washington's intensifying efforts to exclude China's from regional and global supply chains. In this sense, US media outlets like Bloomberg are not only being jealous of China's relative success against COVID-19 but also doing Washington's bid. 

The pessimistic views toward China appears to be particularly out of touch with reality and reeks of sour grapes at a time when supply chains are recovering quickly in China and the country has learned valuable lessons in coming up with more targeted epidemic prevention measures with the minimum cost to combat COVID-19. China has apparently brought the most recent outbreak under control with 122 new locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases reported on Monday, and the resumption of production in Shanghai is accelerating, with most businesses expected to reopen this week. Beijing has also allowed certain business resumptions and public activities, as the outbreak in the city eased.

Of course, there is no denying that the recent flare-ups have caused some economic difficulties, but they will only be short-term ones and the fundamentals of China's economy remain strong. As long as economic activity returns to normal in the shortest possible time span, the Chinese supply chain will prove highly resilient with enormous potential.

It is groundless for US and Western media to accuse China of intensifying supply chain problems. In fact, the US itself is facing serious supply chain problems, as reflected in its recent baby formula shortage. They are making a big deal over China's supply chain issues because they don't believe China can overcome the problems they cannot address. Nor do they want to see China accomplish what they are unable to achieve - simultaneously saving lives and securing livelihood in the face of COVID-19.

To a certain extent, the US appears to be more concerned about China's supply chain than it is about its own supply chain. US media outlets have always hyped up China's supply chain crisis, while many American experts and industry insiders suggested moving supply chains out of China or squeeze China out of US domestic supply chains. 

By contrast, China has long focused on its own matters. Whenever encountering economic problems, China will go all out to address them. This time will be no exception. Under the current circumstances, accelerating the recovery and development of its supply chain will not only be of great significance to the Chinese economy, but also to China's efforts to further consolidate its position in the global industrial chain and stabilize global supply chains. The US' smearing campaign and geopolitical tricks won't change that.

China, Pacific Island Nations Expand Cooperation at Second FMs’ Meeting Covering Poverty Alleviation, Climate Change and Agriculture

China respects local countries in signing cooperation, but could be sabotaged by few politicians used as US pawns

By Zhang Hui, Liu Caiyu and Shan Jie

May 30, 2022 10:52 PM

The second China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting is held on May 30, 2022. Photo: Chinese Foreign Ministry website 

One year since the first virtual foreign ministers' meeting between China and the Pacific Island nations, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi took a historic trip to eight regional countries and jointly chaired the second foreign ministers' meeting in Fiji on Monday, during which China and the countries reached a new consensus to deepen cooperation on sectors including poverty alleviation, climate change and agriculture. 

Chinese analysts believed that any cooperation between China and the Pacific Island nations is conducted on the basis of respecting the countries and their people, and the cooperation will never be imposed on them like some Western countries do. They said that even for some joint document that is not yet finalized, which is a normal process for bilateral relations, China will respect regional countries and continue the discussions. 

But they also pointed out that a few people in these countries, under the pressure and coercion of the US and former colonizer, may be willing to serve American interests at the cost of their national and people's interests.

At the second China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Monday, Wang announced that China will continue to jointly build six new cooperation platforms with regional countries on sectors including poverty alleviation, disaster prevention, climate change and agriculture. The meeting was attended by foreign ministers of China, Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Micronesia, the Solomon Islands and Tonga, as well as secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum online and offline.

China and the Pacific Island countries reached a five-point consensus at the meeting, which include deepening their comprehensive strategic partnership, upholding true multilateralism and pursuing common development and prosperity. 

Wang said facts proved that China's cooperation with Pacific nations conforms to the trend of the times, benefits the people in the region, and has bright prospects, and China will continue to listen to the voices of the regional countries and their people, respect the current cooperation mechanism of the region and support other countries to increase investment in promoting regional development and carry out three-party or four-party cooperation. 

The foreign ministers from the regional countries said they support the Belt and Road Initiative, will continue to firmly pursue the One China policy and look forward to working with China to expand cooperation in various fields and improve infrastructure and people's livelihood. 

China also released a 15-point position paper on mutual respect and common development with Pacific Island countries, including jointly promoting regional peace and security and cracking down on transnational crimes, such as cyber crimes, and tackling COVID-19 and strengthening people-to-people exchange. 

As for some people who questioned why China was actively helping the South Pacific nations, Wang urged them not to be over anxious and nervous about it, as the common development and prosperity of China and other developing countries will make the world fairer, more harmonious and more stable.

On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a written speech at the meeting, in which he said China remains committed to the equality of all countries regardless of size, and will always be a good friend, a good brother and a good partner of Pacific Island countries no matter how the international landscape evolves. 

Chinese analysts said that the meeting showed China's assistance to and cooperation with the regional countries are truly for the benefit of local people, as China's help has never been interrupted even after changes in local governments. 

Chen Hong, president of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies and director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University, told the Global Times that the second meeting, which was held in Fiji, went further than the first virtual one on deepening existing cooperation and exploring new fields, and the holding of the meeting was a success for the two sides.

Fiji is the fourth leg of Wang's tour to the South Pacific island nations, which will also take him to Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, as well as Timor-Leste. Before arriving in Suva, Wang visited the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Samoa. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at Monday's media briefing that the foreign ministers' meeting was held successfully, with representatives reaching new consensus on deepening cooperation. While some foreign media reported that China and the regional countries did not sign a planned joint agreement covering security and trade cooperation at Monday's meeting, Zhao said the joint document is under continued discussion and all parties reached a new consensus, marking an important step toward the final agreement. 

Chinese analysts said that the fact the two sides have yet to sign the agreement due to different opinions actually reflected China's sincere diplomatic attitude of respecting local countries, and it was a normal process for bilateral relations. 

Meanwhile, they warned that opposition to the agreement may also be a deliberate move carried out by a few politicians of some regional countries who are willing to be used by the US at the cost of the interests of the country and people. 

Behind the different voices 

In reporting that China and Pacific Island countries were unable to sign a sweeping agreement, several Western media outlets cited the previous opposition from President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) David Panuelo, who said the draft of the agreement should be rejected as it essentially binds all Pacific Island countries to China and would affect the sovereignty of Pacific Island countries. 

It's not known which country voiced concerns over the joint agreement, but analysts said that all concerns will be taken seriously. 

Yang Honglian, a Fiji-based senior researcher at the Pacific Islands Research Center of Liaocheng University, told the Global Times on Monday that voicing concerns is the legitimate right of regional countries, but it is worth deep study on whether the concerns are from the majority or just a few politicians. 

If it was a few politicians making irresponsible remarks by kidnapping the will of the people, all regional countries should condemn such selfish actions, Yang said. 

A regional pact is difficult by nature and time-consuming, and may last for a decade, which is acknowledged internationally, Yu Lei, chief research fellow at the research center for Pacific Island countries of Liaocheng University in East China's Shandong Province, told the Global Times.

For instance, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was overwhelmingly supported by most countries, but some Western countries represented by the US rejected it out of their own selfish interests. This kind of behavior severely obstructs the worldwide marine pact from being implemented, Yu said. 

As for the remarks from FSM, Yu said that in the face of pressure and personal interests, a few people are willing to be led by the US, which would undermine the interests of the country and the people.

Yu said FSM is one of three free associates of the US in the region and home to the world's largest and most advanced strategic missile testing site, adding that it is obvious to all which country is threatening FSM's survival and development.

According to the Pacific Island Times, the US and FSM in 2021 agreed on a plan to build a military base in the Pacific Island nation to serve the Pentagon's strategic ambition of increasing its footprint in the Indo-Pacific region and contain China. 

The US and Australia have been smearing China's normal cooperation with regional countries since China and the Solomon Islands signed a security cooperation deal. 

Actually, as well as the Solomon Islands, many other regional countries need to improve their police's law enforcement abilities, and lacking national infrastructure and inadequate policing equipment makes it difficult to rely on their own police forces to do the job, Yang said, noting that police security cooperation is urgently needed in the region.

Residents Welcome Normal Hustle and Bustle as China’s Top Two Cities Reemerge from Epidemic Cautiously but Steadily

Life worth fighting for

By Lin Xiaoyi

May 30, 2022 10:46 PM

A father takes photos of his children at the Temple of Heaven on May 29, 2022. Photo: Li Hao/GT

A reward for the perseverance of residents in China's two biggest cities during the hard battle against Omicron, there is finally a bright light at the end of the tunnel. 

Starting from June 1, Shanghai will open residential communities, fully resume public transport operations, and allow vehicles on roads, ending the static management put in place since the end of March. 

This financial hub is not alone to see anti-epidemic victory ahead of the Dragon Boat Festival holidays set in early June. With the number of daily confirmed new cases having dropped to single digits in Shanghai and 18 in Beijing, the two cities are gradually driving Omicron away, speeding up the return to normal life for the tens of millions of residents.

Although there has not been an immediate return to the usual hustle and bustle, many people in Beijing and Shanghai are already excited about starting to consider their Dragon Boat Festival holiday plans, returning to pre-epidemic routines: free movement to and from one's compound, being able to enjoy public transport, buying zongzi at reopened time-honored snack shops, breaking a sweat and shaping the body again at the gym, or tearfully watching a movie in the cinemas.

When she saw the news that Shanghai would soon receive a city-wide easement, 47-year-old newspaper editor Xi Xi rushed out of her house to Xujiahui, one of the busiest shopping areas in Shanghai. Even though she hadn't wasted the four precious four hours a day she was allowed to go out in recent days, she still wants to feel the heartbeat of the city at a moment of great importance.

"Looking at the increasing number of vehicles and people on the streets, I feel that the city will soon be coming back to life," she said.

In Beijing, 1,220 kilometers away from Shanghai, the city is also alive and active again.

Since May 29, except for the temporary control zones, public transportation services such as buses, subways, and taxi operations all resumed in Chaoyang, Shunyi and Fangshan districts, the most severely affected areas in the city in the latest round of Omicron infection.

On May 30, residents in Chaoyang - the most populous district in Beijing and the first to implement a work-from-home order a month ago, amended its remote work proposal to in-office work.

During the morning rush hour of the first working day after the resumption of public transportation, Beijing subway operated in an orderly manner with a large increase in passenger traffic.

Major shopping malls in the capital also reopened over the weekend as customers eagerly and cautiously returned to grab a long-awaited cup of milk tea.

In addition to the parks such as the Beijing Wildlife Park, Chaoyang Park, and Olympic Forest Park which have been embracing the laughter of tourists since Sunday, the Badaling Wildlife World, the Ming Tombs, and the Juyongguan Great Wall section also reopened on May 30 to the public in accordance with the 50 percent restriction on visitor flow.

In Beijing, the restoration of city life and the epidemic prevention go hand in hand. "The barbershops are sterilized before every customer; grocery stores opened for residents to make orderly purchases, and nucleic acid testing sites have been added to the city in large numbers to guarantee regular testing among residents. The public is looking forward to the gradual, complete lifting of restriction, but also takes a cautious attitude toward the unpredictable virus," Zhang Qi, a COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control volunteer at Taiyanggong community of Chaoyang district, told the Global Times.

Xi Voices 'Full Trust' for HK New Chief, Hopes City Government to Unveil New Changes

Electoral system proves successful, fits HK democracy

By Chen Qingqing and Xu Keyue

May 30, 2022 11:10 PM

President Xi Jinping meets with John Lee, the newly appointed sixth-term chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, on Monday in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping met John Lee Ka-chiu, the newly appointed sixth-term chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Monday in Beijing, during which he praised Lee for his patriotism and contributions for safeguarding national security and Hong Kong' s stability and assured that Lee has the full trust from the central government. The Chinese top leader also stresses the central government's resolve of unswervingly implementing the "one country, two systems" and that the city's new electoral system must be treasured and upheld, hoping that the new HKSAR government can unveil a new chapter for the city's development. 

Experts in both the mainland and Hong Kong consider the central government's affirmation of Lee as a major requirement for Hong Kong officials - patriots with the firm stance who take action in advancing reforms to fix deeply-rooted problems that Hong Kong society has been facing over the past decades and in bringing the city into a new future.

As 2022 also marks the 25th anniversary of the city's return to the motherland, the message delivered by the central government is clear. The "one country, two systems" principle won't change as Xi fully recognized its practice over the past 25 years, and he also indicated a new direction for the future as the city is changing from chaos to being well governed and prosperous, experts noted.  

In his meeting with Lee after he was officially appointed as the new chief executive (CE) and received an official appointment certificate of the State Council from Premier Li Keqiang on Monday morning, Xi praised Lee for maintaining the unwavering stance of loving the country and the HKSAR, being willing to assume responsibilities and actively performing his duties, as well as his contributions to safeguarding national security and Hong Kong's prosperity and stability in various roles.

"The central government gives full affirmation to you and has full trust in you," Xi said.

Over the past year, Hong Kong has successfully held the Election Committee election, the seventh-term Legislative Council election and the sixth-term CE election, which proved that the new electoral system has played a decisive role in implementing the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong," ensuring the position of Hong Kong people as their own masters, and facilitating a good environment in which all sectors of society work together for Hong Kong's development, Xi said. 

He also noted that the new electoral system is a political and democratic system that is in line with the "one country, two systems" principle and suited to Hong Kong's realities and needs for development. It must be cherished and upheld for a long time. 

For the central government, the new electoral system is very important for safeguarding national security, helping fully implement the "one country, two systems" in a correct manner, so it has to be upheld for a long time. "For those who seek to restart the political reform, they must feel disappointed," Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Monday. 

"I believe even if Hong Kong's electoral system will see further improvement in the future, those changes will only be made in making the patriots more united and stronger rather than copying the Western-style democratic system," Lau said. 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, and despite challenges over the past 25 years, the practice of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong has been a resounding success, Xi said, noting that the central government's resolve to fully and faithfully implement the principle of "one country, two systems" has never wavered, still less will it change. 

Xi said he believes that the new HKSAR government will bring new changes and Hong Kong will make new advances in its development.

In evaluating the political performance of Lee, his firm stance of being a patriot comes as the first quality, and in implementing the new electoral reform, electing those who are truly patriots is the top objective of the system, Tian Feilong, a legal expert at Beihang University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday. 

"Lee's political quality and governing performance is highly affirmed by the central government, and the new electoral system laid the foundation for Hong Kong's democracy," Tian said. 

Lee was elected with 99.16 percent of the supportive votes on May 8, which was the first election for CE since the implementation of the national security law for Hong Kong and the electoral reforms that brought about the principle of only patriots administering Hong Kong. The election also completed the final step of the electoral system reform, after electing EC members, LegCo members and now CE, which is a fresh starting point for Hong Kong in terms of local governance by eliminating interference from anti-China and rioting forces in the system, expert said. 

In the eyes of the top leader, the new HKSAR government is facing the most favorable environment in terms of governing than the previous CEs, as both the national security law for Hong Kong and the new electoral system ensure that the anti-China rioting forces and external forces won't be able to hinder local governance, Lau noted. 

"This brings up the new expectation from the central government for the local governance, as the new government is expected to make progress in fixing the problems that Hong Kong faces, and the central government will closely supervise it and hold it accountable," he said. 

Besides forming a capable team for the new government, fixing the region's housing woes and implementing Article 23 of the Basic Law were among the urgent tasks listed by Lee, who also highlighted youth education, the city's further integration into the country's overall development plan in his policy address. 

"The top leader's message is clear. The new government, along with different sectors of Hong Kong society, needs to work together and make some changes in carrying out the reforms," Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the National People's Congress Standing Committee from Hong Kong, told the Global Times. 

Lee will assume office on July 1, 2022.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

DRC Citizens in Goma Welcome Government Sanctions against Rwanda

People walk on the road near Kibumba, north of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, as they flee fighting between Congolese forces and M23 rebels in North Kivu

Africa News

The decision by the Congo to cut ties with Rwanda has elicited mixed reactions.

Kinshasa on Friday halted all RwandAir flights from the country alleging Kigali’s involvement in supporting the M23 rebel group in the eastern parts of the vast nation.

Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) later said two soldiers had been kidnapped on patrol and were being held by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), another rebel group active in eastern DRC.

"As our country has taken the decision to suspend RwandAir flights, I think if other countries would take the same measures, Rwanda will understand that its game is known by all states and that it is now time for it to stop and for us all to give peace a chance," said Josué Kabanza, a resident of Goma.

"Although it is late, the measures taken by the Congolese government are to be encouraged, but it is not enough. We need to go further than that," said Espoir Ngalukiye, a human rights activist.

Kinshasa has regularly accused Rwanda of carrying out incursions into its territory, and of backing armed groups there.

More than 120 armed groups roam volatile eastern DRC, many of which are a legacy of regional wars more than two decades ago.

"It is unacceptable that the Congolese continue to suffer this tragedy, simply because they decided to extend hospitality to a neighboring country, to brothers and sisters of a neighboring country who were in danger. Today, I think it is quite obvious that the DRC can shout out loud that it is time for this to stop and to take its responsibilities as a state," said Omari Grâce, a resident of Goma.

Relations had begun to thaw after DRC President Felix Tshisekedi took office in 2019, but the recent resurgence of M23 violence has reignited tensions.

The militia group briefly captured North Kivu's provincial capital Goma in late 2012, before the army quelled the rebellion the following year.

 Sudan Women’s Activist Wins Human Rights Award

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 8, 2013, shows Sudanese Amira Osman Hamed...

Africa News with AFP

27/05 - 16:13

Sudanese women’s activist Amira Osman Hamed has won a Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, the organisation announced Friday.

Ms Hamed, an engineer in her 40s, who has been a long-time activist for women's rights in Sudan, was first arrested in 2002 for wearing trousers, and again in 2013 for refusing to cover her hair.

At the time, a law prohibited women in Sudan from uncovering their hair or wearing trousers in public.

This law, which "turns Sudanese women from victims into criminals", according to Ms Hamed, was finally repealed in 2019 after the army removed President Omar al-Bashir.

More recently, Ms Hamed was arrested in January this year before being released a week later for speaking out against military rule after General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane's putsch in October 2021.

Relatives of Ms Hamed told AFP at the end of January that "30 armed and masked men" broke into her house in Khartoum in the middle of the night, "and took her to an unknown destination".

Amira Osmane Hamed "never turned away from her mission and continued to actively participate in peaceful demonstrations", said in a statement by the NGO Front Line Defenders, which awarded the activist.

The scheme has awarded human rights defenders since 2005.

Malawi Kwacha Gets 25% Weaker

FILE- Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera attends a press conference on the sidelines of the

Africa News with AFP

 27/05 - 15:14

Malawi on Thursday announced a 25% devaluation of its national currency, the kwacha, in a bid to shore up dwindling foreign exchange reserves and curb inflation.

The declaration was made as the government launched recovery package talks with the International Monetary Fund.

The devaluation, the biggest in a decade, will take effect from Friday, the Central Bank of Malawi said.

The last devaluation of the kwacha (-33%) took place in 2012.

For six months, Malawi has seen its foreign currency reserves shrink sharply due, according to the Central Bank, to a drop in export revenues due to the Covid epidemic and a rise in the cost of imports, particularly raw materials, due to the war in Ukraine.

The country was also hit by two devastating cyclones in 2022.

"The supply-demand imbalance has manifested in the domestic foreign exchange market in a number of ways, including low foreign exchange supply (and) declining official foreign reserves," the bank said.

Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe told AFP the government had planned the devaluation move "some time back".

"We had to do this," he said. "The central bank was struggling... because of the overvalued Kwacha".

Malawi's inflation for April hit 15.7%, triggered by a rise in food and non-food prices.


Heads of states from across Africa, including President Cyril Ramaphosa have gathered in Malabo in Equatorial Guinea for the 16th extraordinary summit.

FILE: Police officers of the African Union's peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) patrol on a street in Mogadishu on 17 September 2019. Picture: AFP

Buhle Mbhele |

JOHANNESBURG - Coups, terrorism and food security featured high on the agenda of an African Union summit.

Heads of states from across Africa, including President Cyril Ramaphosa have gathered in Malabo in Equatorial Guinea for the 16th extraordinary summit.

The summit aimed to assessing the persistent threats, evaluate current response mechanisms and decide on the specific actions and measures for protection of terrorism victims.

Ramaphosa shared his submissions about the South African government's suggestions of ways to fight terrorism and displacement as well as refugees.

This comes at the time where hundreds of families in KwaZulu-Natal and some in the Eastern Cape are homeless and living in town halls after the recent floods left a trail of disaster in the two provinces.