Friday, June 30, 2023

African Companies Should Prioritize Expansion of Intra-regional Trade in Manufactured Goods


June 30, 2023

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former Commissioner of the African Union Commission, has charged businesses in Africa to grow intra-continental trade in finished goods.

She said: “We need to trade in our own goods… so that in 50 years [when Agenda 2063 is due], we will be able to celebrate free trade and say, I can drive from Cape Town to Cairo and from Djibouti to Senegal.”

Her call comes as the continent implements the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the largest free-trade area by number of member states, and a flagship project of the AU Agenda 2063.

Dr Dlamini-Zuma was speaking at a ceremony held by the Secretariat of the (AfCFTA) in Accra in her honour to championing the AU Agenda 2063 and gender equality.

“Trade is not about raw materials; our colonisers did that and they continue to want to buy raw materials from us. That’s ill, and should stop. It’s something we must work at and fast,” she said.

“Ninety per cent of our goods are transported across the Mediterranean. Who is in control of these processes?” she quizzed, adding that “this is something we must look at.”

She explained that when raw materials were exported, it was the higher-level of jobs that Africa exported, leading to the export of revenue at the detriment of its people and development.

“When we export raw materials, by the time it’s turned into a finished good, it’s probably 10 times or more expensive than the raw materials, and sometimes when they come back, most of us can’t afford them,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

She, therefore, urged businesses to shore up efforts to change such a situation, while encouraging governments on the continent to create the enabling environment for the success of AfCFTA.

On gender issues, the Minister for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities at the Presidency in South Africa, said that: “Our continent cannot develop socially and economically and reach its full potential if we do not invest in women and give them opportunities to explore their potential.

Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, said, “it is important that we honour people once they’re still alive, and recognise their contribution while they’re still with us.”

Mr Mene said the Secretariat decided to honour Dr Dlamini-Zuma because she had contributed immensely in helping to build Africa, and introduced reforms in the AU.

“She ensured that when we talk about gender equality and equality of opportunities in institutions, such as the AfCFTA Secretariat and the AU Commission, it’s not just a slogan, but we see the impact,” he eulogised her.

The Secretary General also acknowledged the effort of women, at the launch of the African Prosperity Network, during the 2023 Afeximbank Annual Meetings in Accra.

He said: “The principal architect of AfCFTA are strong women. We’ve found the moving train; a train that was started by strong women. A moving train whose foundation was already built by strong African women leaders.”

Mr Mene reiterated that the private sector remained critical in the actualisation of the objectives of the intra-trade pact to create jobs, engender innovations, and make Africa competitive on the global market.

He verbalised that the network of private sector that was being built under AfCFTA would create jobs for young Africans, spur on innovation, and put the continent on a path of competitiveness.

African States Urged to Heighten Sensitization on Artificial Human Reproduction Technologies


June 30, 2023

Artificial human reproduction technologies

Professor Letlhowkwa George Mpedi, Vice Chancellor, University of Johannesburg, South Africa, has urged African state actors and policy makers to champion sensitisation and awareness on artificial human reproduction technologies.

He said artificial human reproduction technologies was a reality people were waking up to, adding that, they needed to be well informed to make the right choices and minimise risks.

Professor Mpedi said this when he made a presentation on “Artificial Reproductive Technology: Ethical and Legal Considerations through an African Prism”, at a Public Lecture and Book launch at the University of Professional Studies, Accra.

The Vice Chancellor said it was through improved sensitisation and awareness creation in the area that challenges and concerns could be addressed.

He explained that artificial reproductive technologies were methods of treating infertility and achieving pregnancy by artificial or partially artificial means.

He said artificial reproduction technologies represented new frontiers to addressing issues of infertility for those seeking alternative routes to conception.

Professor Mpedi said currently the area faced cultural and religious challenges due to uninformed perceptions people held and called for increased engagement with traditional and religious leaders to address those concerns.

He also called for ethical and legal regulation in the area to keep up with developments in the space.

“While there are broad ethical frameworks in place, it is imperative that we get more specific as these technologies shift from theory to practice.

“What is apparent is that as these technologies increasingly emerge, society needs to respond accordingly,” he added.

Professor Mpedi also launched his book coauthored with Dr Theophilus Edwin Coleman titled, “Labour Law in Ghana”.

The 16 chapters and 330 pages book covers issues on labour laws in the country in accordance with the Labour Act.

The book comes as a source material on understanding labour and the role it plays in national development.

Six African Heads of Government and U.S. Government Delegation Confirmed for U.S.-Africa Business Summit


June 30, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC, USA, 30 June 2023, /African Media Agency/- More than 1,000 participants, including six African heads of state and government and a delegation of senior U.S. government officials, are expected in Gaborone, Botswana for the U.S.-Africa Business Summit, organized by the Corporate Council on Africa, in partnership with the Presidency of the Republic of Botswana. The Summit, to be held July 11-14, 2023 at the Royal Aria Convention Centre, is the continent’s largest annual gathering of U.S. and African leaders and senior government officials, private sector executives, international investors, and multilateral stakeholders.

Under the theme “Enhancing Africa’s Value in Global Value Chains,” the Summit promises an exceptional lineup of 100-plus speakers, among them business and government leaders providing insights on emerging opportunities for U.S.-Africa trade, investment and commercial engagement, and priority action areas for collaboration in key growth sectors of agribusiness, finance, energy, health, infrastructure, ICT and creative industries. The four days offer a premier platform for interacting with high-level government officials and business leaders from countries across the African continent with some of the most promising markets for investments and learning about business opportunities, continental and national policies, and success stories.

The U.S.-Africa Business Summit builds upon the positive momentum created by the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and Business Forum held in Washington D.C. in December 2022 during which President Joseph R. Biden announced more than $15 billion in two-way trade and investment commitments, deals, and partnerships. Indeed, the conference in Botswana will provide a progress report and latest developments arising from the Leaders Summit, as well as announcement of new deals and financing by institutional investors, U.S. and African financial institutions and others. Highlights include presidential dialogues, invitation-only roundtables, and closed-door pitch sessions for institutional investors.

“The packed program for this year’s U.S.-Africa Business Summit reflects everything we are trying to achieve at Corporate Council on Africa: to be a nexus for business and investment between the United States and the nations of Africa,” said Florizelle Liser, CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa. “We have a host country in Botswana that provides a model for African success, multiple African heads of state and government who value the importance of enhancing economic collaboration with the U.S., a U.S. government using an array of programs and tools to fully engage with the continent, and a contingent of American investors ready to deploy capital across multiple sectors.”

Confirmed African Heads of Government include:

H.E. Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana

H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique

H.E. Hage Geingob, President of Namibia

H.E. Haikande Hichilema, President of Zambia

Hon. Samuel Matekane, the Right Honorable Prime Minister of Lesotho

H.E. Cleopas Sipho Dlamini, the Right Honorable Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini

Confirmed United States Delegation include:

Scott Nathan, Chief Executive Officer, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)

Enoh Ebong, Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)

Judd Devermont, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, White House National Security Council

Travis Adkins, President and CEO, U.S. African Development Foundation

Johnnie Carson, Special Presidential Representative for U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Implementation

Peter Hendrick Vrooman, U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique


A recent study found that microbiome data sets from African ecosystems are vastly underrepresented compared to the global north's.

Kevin Brandt | 28 June 2023 16:13

CAPE TOWN - Scientific researchers have called for increased efforts to sequence and study African microbiomes.

Their study found that microbiome data sets from African ecosystems are vastly underrepresented.

The findings were published in the prestigious peer-reviewed science journal, Nature Reviews Microbiology, recently.

University of Pretoria's Professor Thulani Makhalanyane used the example of the coronavirus and explains that there are billions of other microorganisms that occupy every space on earth.

"So these microorganisms not only include viruses like COVID, but also include bacteria and fungi and other microscopic a microbiome is basically a term that describes microorganisms that occupy a defined space."

This space could be the human body, soil, water, and plants.

Makhalanyane added that studies on microbiomes have largely focused on the global north.

"If we don't know how African diet may ultimately affect the gut-microbiome and processes that happen in the gut, that means that we lack an understanding for instance on how things like the gut microbes may determine our susceptibility to newer, degenerative disorders."


Between storms in the Western Cape, snow in the Eastern Cape, and a tornado in KZN, the past few weeks have proved challenging - with more inclement weather forecast.

Snowfall was reported in parts of the Eastern Cape on 29 June 2023. Picture: Facebook/Eastern Cape Tourism

Lauren Isaacs | 29 June 2023 21:41

CAPE TOWN - Heavy rains, strong winds and rare weather phenomena have wreaked havoc across the country over the past two weeks.

Storms in the Western Cape more than a week ago led to uprooted trees, rockfalls, mudslides, rivers bursting their banks, and at least two deaths.

In KwaZulu-Natal this week, a tornado ripped through parts of Durban.

Eastern Cape residents have also been posting pictures of streets covered in snow.

Some parts are still being hit by inclement weather amid recovery operations.

And forecasts are ominous, with the South African Weather Service issuing a yellow level 2 warning for disruptive snow over the Drakensberg and the Eastern Cape, including the areas of Molteno, Barkly East, Matatiele, and Lady Grey.

A yellow level 1 warning has been issued for damaging winds in parts of KwaZulu-Natal, where seven fatalities were reported this week. The latest in a string of cold fronts is hitting the Western Cape from Thursday.


The Chapter 9 institution also investigated the conduct of the police’s handling the Phala Phala burglary.

Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka presents the controversial Phala Phala saga report - among others - on 30 June 2023. Photo: Xanderleigh Dookey Makhaza/Eyewitness

Tshidi Madia | 30 June 2023 20:59

JOHANNESBURG - Acting Public Protector advocate Kholeka Gcaleka has exonerated President Cyril Ramaphosa from any wrongdoing in the Phala Phala farm scandal but has found the police wanting in their handling of the 2020 burglary at the Limpopo farm.

Gcaleka made public her final report on the matter at her Pretoria office on Friday morning.

And while she absolved Ramaphosa of any wrongdoing, his head of security major-general Wally Rhoode, and presidential protection official Sergeant Hlulani Rikhotso, were found to have exhibited improper conduct in their handling of the investigation.

The Phala Phala report is one of 12 that Gcaleka has made public, including an investigation into claims of judicial capture laid by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) deputy president Floyd Shivambu and Phapano Pasha against Ramaphosa, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, and Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo.

Gcaleka told journalists the investigation into the controversial Phala Phala saga looked at three major issues around the president, which included whether he contravened the executive ethics code, acted in conflict with his oath of office, and if he abused his powers.

The Chapter 9 institution also investigated the conduct of the police’s handling the Phala Phala burglary.

Gcaleka found there was no basis to conclude that Ramaphosa contravened the Executive Members' Ethics Act.

The acting public protector said there was no evidence to prove Ramaphosa was actively involved in the day-to-day operations at his farm, or even earned remuneration from it or Ntaba Nyoni, the private entity he is the sole director of which manages the Limpopo farm.

She said while he did have financial interests, he made this declaration in line with the country’s legal prescripts.

Gcaleka said claims of conflicts of interest were also unsubstantiated, flagging that the president’s farm did not do any business with the State.

A complaint against Ramaphosa was made by the African Transformation Movement’s (ATM) Vuyo Zungula in June 2022. The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) John Steenhuisen also approached the Chapter 9 institution, along with two members of the public.

All grievances were based on the criminal complaint laid by former spy boss Arthur Fraser, who claimed the president failed to report the theft of millions of undisclosed foreign currency stuffed in a sofa at his Limpopo-based farm.

Ramaphosa was accused of breaching the ethics code by failing to report a crime, undertaking paid work while serving as the country’s head of State, and exposing himself to situations where there was a conflict of interest between his private interest and national responsibilities.

The highly politicised investigation had been used as a basis to call for Ramaphosa to step down by opposition parties. It also seen the suspension of advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who started the inquiry, and the rise of her deputy, Gcaleka, who took her time in completing the investigation.

The acting public protector told Eyewitness News earlier this year, that she had reinforced the investigative team.

At the time, she said it was a complex investigation which involved information from the intelligence community.

She also stressed her understanding of the genuine concerns expressed by South Africans, as the matter involved a sitting president.

The inquiry also found the president did not abuse his powers, as he is entitled to protection at all private residences he uses during his term of office - despite the fact that Ramaphosa refused security at the farm, as he is seldom there.


Acting Public Protector advocate Kholeka Gcaleka said the Chapter 9 institution only obtained Arthur Fraser's affidavit - which the investigation is based - on at a later stage.

Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka presents the controversial Phala Phala saga report - among others - on 30 June 2023. Photo: Xanderleigh Dookey Makhaza/Eyewitness

Lindsay Dentlinger | 30 June 2023 20:15

CAPE TOWN - Acting Public Protector advocate Kholeka Gcaleka said suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane only contributed to the Phala Phala investigation by sending President Cyril Ramaphosa questions based purely on hearsay.

Gcaleka cleared Ramaphosa of violating the executive members' ethics code.

It's taken a year for the Office of the Public Protector to complete its investigation with Mkhwebane claiming that her suspension was due to the work she had been doing on Phala Phala.

While Mkhwebane signed off the questions sent to the president, Gcaleka managed and oversaw the investigation as the acting Public Protector.

Gcaleka said the Chapter 9 institution only obtained Arthur Fraser's affidavit - which the investigation is based - on at a later stage.

"And I must say that at a time that these questions were signed off to the president they were based on hearsay evidence that the Public Protector did not have in her possession."

Meanwhile, there has been swift reaction from opposition parties to the release of the report.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has labelled it a whitewash with party leader John Steenhuisen insisting the president has abused power and special treatment by the South African Police Service (Saps).

Echoing the African Transformation Movement, the other political complainant in the matter Steenhuisen said the DA would also challenge the findings in court.

The report has cleared the president of breaching the Executive Members' Ethics Act, citing no evidence of a conflict between Ramaphosa’s official position and his private business interests.

The DA said Gcaleka has contorted the law in her interpretation of the Executive Members' Ethics Act.

Steenhuisen said it just can’t be that Ramaphosa was an innocent bystander to the Saps chasing after millions of US dollars stolen from his Limpopo farm, Phala Phala, in 2020.

"The president used the Presidential Protection Unit, something that is not provided to any other person, to bypass the normal Saps channels and to then search for money that accrued to his private business interests at Phala Phala."

Steenhuisen said the DA would be consulting its lawyers to take the report on review.

"She’s ignored the point that it was the president who called Rhoode. How do you find Mr Rhoode guilty, but the president is somehow reduced to an innocent bystander in the whole matter."

He said this report also flies in the face of the findings of an independent legal panel headed by a retired judge - that Ramaphosa does have a case to answer to.

South African President Exonerated in $580k Farm Cash Theft Scandal

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) speaks during a joint press

Africa News with AFP

South Africa's president has been exonerated of charges of misconduct and betraying the honour of his office in a burglary scandal that almost cost him his job last year, the country's ombudswoman announced on Friday.

The scandal broke in June 2022 when the former head of intelligence lodged a complaint accusing Cyril Ramaphosa of having concealed the theft in 2020 of bundles of dollars unearthed by burglars under the cushions of a sofa in one of his properties.

The police and the Ombudsman, Kholeka Gcaleka, launched investigations at the time. Mr Ramaphosa was also accused in the complaint of having bought the silence of burglars who had stumbled upon these sums, leading to suspicions of money laundering and corruption.

The Ombudsman, also known as the Public Protector, determined that in this case the behaviour of Mr Ramaphosa, 70, was not contrary to the Constitution.

"In the light of the standards imposed by the executive's code of ethics, there is no basis for concluding that the President has breached" the relevant provisions of the law, "including during the period following the alleged theft of dollars", Kholeka Gcaleka told the press in Pretoria.

The Office of the Public Protector is an independent institution, provided for in the Constitution, which must investigate and report any misconduct or wrongdoing within the government "without fear, favour or prejudice". It does not, however, have the power to prosecute.

Mr Ramaphosa has always denied any dishonesty in this affair, stating that the money, $580,000 in cash, came from the sale of buffalo from his farm.

Last year, a parliamentary committee found that he "may have committed" "violations and faults" in this affair. Parliament subsequently decided not to initiate impeachment proceedings, which could have forced him to step down.

Mr Ramaphosa, a former trade union leader who became a business tycoon after apartheid, took over as head of South Africa in 2018, promising a "new dawn" after the scandal-ridden term of office of his predecessor Jacob Zuma.

Libya: Tripoli Denies Involvement in Drone Strike on Wagner Camp

In this photo released by China's Xinhua news agency, heavy smoke

Africa News with AFP

The Tripoli-based Libyan government on Friday denied any involvement in drone strikes against a base used by the Russian paramilitary group Wagner that had been reported by a military source in the eastern camp of the divided country, media reported.

The military source, who requested anonymity, told AFP that drone strikes "of unknown origin" had targeted the al-Kharrouba air base on Thursday evening, 150km south-east of Benghazi (east), where "elements of the Wagner group are believed to be based".

News websites attributed the attack to the armed forces of the UN-recognised government in Tripoli, whose legitimacy is disputed by the rival camp in eastern Libya.

"We are surprised by reports (...) of strikes carried out by our aircraft against a base in eastern Libya", said the Ministry of Defence of the government of national unity, quoted on Friday by the al-Massar channel.

"We are respecting the ceasefire signed in October 2020," it added.

"None of our aircraft has targeted any site in the eastern region," said General Mohamad al-Haddad, Chief of Staff of the armed forces in western Libya, quoted by Addresslibya.

This kind of information, he said, "aims to rekindle the war between Libyan brothers and involve Libya in a regional conflict".

Libya has been in the grip of a major political crisis since the Pentagon-NATO counter-revolution against Muammar Gaddafi's Jamahariya in 2011, undermined by divisions between East and West and continuing imperialist interference.

From April 2019 to June 2020, Khalifa Haftar, the strongman of Libya's eastern camp, used Chadian, Sudanese, Nigerian and Syrian fighters, but above all mercenaries from Wagner, in his failed attempt to seize the capital Tripoli.

This failure was followed in October 2020 by a ceasefire agreement, compliance with which is supervised by a military commission comprising five officers from each side.

Since then, hundreds of Wagner members have remained active in the east, in the area of the oil terminals, and in the south of Libya after some of their troops left for Mali or Ukraine to fight alongside the Russian army.

UN Security Council Ends Mali Peacekeeping Mission

The UN Security Council votes unanimously to end a decade-old peacekeeping mission to Mali, whose military junta urged the troops' removal

Africa News with AFP

The UN Security Council on Friday voted to end a decade-old peacekeeping mission to Mali, whose military junta urged the troops' removal as it aligns with Russia.

The Security Council voted unanimously on a resolution that will immediately start winding down the Minusma mission, started in 2013 to prevent a jihadist takeover.

The vote came two weeks after Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop stunned the Security Council by calling the UN mission a "failure" and urging its immediate end.

Mali's relations with the United Nations have deteriorated sharply since a 2020 coup brought to power a military regime which also severed defense cooperation with France, the former colonial power.

The junta has aligned itself with Russia and brought in Russian military contractors.

"We deeply regret the transitional government's decision to abandon Minusma and the harm this will bring to the Malian people," senior US diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis told the Security Council.

But he said that the United States voted for the resolution as it agreed with the timeline for withdrawal.

Under longstanding UN practice, a peacekeeping mission needs the approval of the host country.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Germany to Speed Up Mali Withdrawal as UN Mission Ends

Africa News and Agencies

Germany, which has deployed some 1,000 soldiers to Mali, is already withdrawing them and aims to wind up by May 2024.

With a UN peacekeeping deployment set to conclude on June 30, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has stated that his nation wants to remove its troops from Mali more quickly while maintaining order.

The troops were mostly stationed near the northern town of Gao where their main task is to gather reconnaissance for the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA.

On June 16, taking everyone by surprise, Mali's Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop, while denouncing the "failure" of the UN mission, suddenly demanded before the Security Council its immediate withdrawal.

The peacekeeping operation, known as Minusma, was the most expensive mission on the UN's books, costing $1.2 billion per year, now appears set to wind down, plunging Mali -- a country struggling with jihadist attacks -- into the unknown.

As recently as early June, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had deemed the continued presence of Minusma "invaluable," despite the high cost, highlighting regional fears of an expansion of extremist groups in the event of a withdrawal.

However, one of the key principles of peacekeeping is the consent of the host country.

Therefore, the latest draft resolution from France on Wednesday, suggests the Security Council will "terminate Minusma's mandate under resolution 2640 (2022) as of June 30 2023."

The mission created in 2013 to help stabilize a state under a serious jihadist threat, and to protect civilians, would cease its activities on July 1 to focus on the withdrawal, "with the objective of completing this process by 31 December 2023."

BRICS Summit to Go as Planned Despite Putin Arrest Warrant

Africa News

South Africa said Thursday that the BRICS summit will go ahead as planned, amid speculation that it may be moved to China to allow Russian president Vladimir Putin to attend.

The Russian leader was accused by the **International Criminal Court (ICC)**in March of kidnapping Ukrainian children, and an arrest warrant was issued against him.

South Africa will host the BRICS summit from August 22-24 in Johannesburg.

On Tuesday, South Africa's foreign minister said there had been no confirmation of attendance from Putin.

The leaders of China, Brazil and India are all expected to attend.

South Africa has been attacked by the west for its neutral stance on the conflict in Ukraine.

Back in May, the US ambassador to South Africa publicly accused the rainbow nation of loading arms or related technologies onto a Russian ship docked at Simon’s Town naval base.

These accusations were denied by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has since opened an investigation on the matter.

British Court of Appeal Rules Deporting Migrants to Rwanda "Illegal"

Africa News with AFP


The controversial plan to deport migrants who arrived clandestinely in the UK to Rwanda was declared unlawful on Thursday by the British court of appeal due to safety concerns, much to the dismay of the government, which has announced that it will appeal to the supreme Court.

The court explained that Rwanda cannot currently be considered a safe third country as there is a real threat that those sent to the east African country will be returned to their country of origin where they may have been subject to persecution and inhumane treatment.

“The deficiencies in the asylum system in Rwanda are such that there are substantial grounds for believing that there is a real risk that persons sent to Rwanda will be returned to their home countries where they faced persecution or other inhumane treatment, when in fact they have a good claim for asylum. In that sense, Rwanda is not a safe third country,” said Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett.

"Unless and until the deficiencies in its asylum process are corrected, sending asylum seekers to Rwanda will be unlawful," the court stressed in a summary of the judgment. 

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he fundamentally disagreed with the decision and announced that his government would seek permission to refer the matter to the Supreme Court.

"The policy of this government is very simple, it is this country, and your government, that must decide who comes here, not criminal gangs," he said in a statement, claiming he would do "whatever is necessary" to implement it. "Rwanda is a safe country," he insisted. 

Fears of persecution

The fight against illegal immigration is one of the priorities of Mr. Sunak's government.

Despite Brexit promises to "take back control" of borders, more than 45,000 migrants crossed the Channel from France in small boats in 2022, a record. And there are more than 11,000 this year to have done the same.

The Court of Appeal made it clear that its decision did not imply "any view whatsoever on the political merits" of this measure, and that its only concern was to judge whether this policy complied with the law.

Despite this decision, "Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership" with the UK "work", Kigali government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo explained.

"While this decision ultimately rests with the British judiciary, we dispute the fact that Rwanda is not considered a safe country for refugees and asylum seekers", she added.

In terms of human rights, however, Rwanda is regularly criticized for its harsh repression of political opposition and its lack of respect for freedom of expression.

Changing course

Hailing a "rare piece of good news in the UK's grim human rights landscape", the country director of Human Rights Watch, Yasmine Ahmed, urged Home Secretary Suella Braverman to "abandon this feverish, impractical and unethical dream".

This ruling "offers the government the opportunity to change course", she added: "Rather than treating human beings as cargo to be shipped elsewhere, it should focus on ending the hostile environment towards refugees and asylum seekers".

Last December, London's High Court gave the green light to the deportation of certain illegal migrants to Rwanda, deeming the scheme legal.

The project has since been put on hold due to legal challenges.

However, the judges agreed to consider an appeal by several applicants and Charity Aid, which provides legal support to asylum seekers. They denounce the project as "systemically unjust", and believe that asylum seekers who are expelled to Rwanda risk persecution there.

No expulsions have yet taken place. A first flight scheduled for June 2022 was cancelled after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) called for a thorough review of the policy.

The plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was announced when Boris Johnson was Prime Minister, in a bid to discourage illegal crossings of the English Channel.

In 2021, 27 people lost their lives trying to cross this strait, one of the busiest in the world. At least four more died last year.

125 Sudanese Army Soldiers Held by Paramilitary Force Are Freed, Red Cross Says

5:00 AM EDT, June 29, 2023

CAIRO (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday it had facilitated the release of 125 Sudanese army soldiers held captive by the country’s rival paramilitary force.

The soldiers walked free on Wednesday, the ICRC said, as the violent conflict between the army, led by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, commanded by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, enters its 11th week.

Fighting between the rival forces broke out on April 15 and has killed more than 3,000 people, the country’s Health Ministry said. Over 2.5 million people have been displaced, according to the latest U.N. figures.

The freed men— 44 of whom were wounded — were transported from the capital, Khartoum, to the city of Wad Madani, 160 kilometers (100 miles) to the south, the ICRC said in a short statement. It remains unclear where the 125 men were being held.

“This positive step means that families will be celebrating Eid-al Adha with their loved ones,” said Jean Christophe Sandoz, ICRC’s head of delegation in Sudan.

The RSF claim to have detained hundreds of army soldiers since the fighting broke out. Interviews with army detainees feature prominently on the paramilitary’s social media, with soldiers — who often appear bruised and frightened — telling their families they are being treated well by their RSF captors.

Earlier this week, both generals separately announced a cease-fire to mark the first day of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, which fell on Wednesday. Residents from East Khartoum said light gunfire and intermittent explosions could be heard throughout the truce.

Since the conflict broke out there have been at least nine cease-fires, but all have foundered.

The U.N. and other rights groups have continually criticized both forces for harming civilians and violating international law.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the U.N.'s mission to the country condemned the army for bombing residential areas, while accusing RSF of ethnically targeted violence in the western Darfur region and raping civilians.

Darfur, along with Khartoum, has been the violent epicenter of the ongoing conflict. In West Darfur province, the RSF and Arab militias have been reportedly targeting non-Arab tribes, according to local rights groups and the U.N.

In a report issued last week by the Dar Masalit sultanate, the leader of the African Masalit ethnic community accused Arab militias, backed by the RSF, of “committing genocide against African civilians.” More than 5,000 people were killed in the province’s capital, Genena, he estimated.

ICRC rescued 297 children from an orphanage in the capital in early June. The operation came after 71 children had died from hunger and illness in the facility since mid-April.

Aid Group Raises Alarm Over Rising Malnutrition in Refugee Camps in Northern Kenya


11:28 AM EDT, June 29, 2023

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A humanitarian group has raised alarm over rising malnutrition in refugee camps in northern Kenya.

The International Rescue Committee said Thursday that children have been particularly affected as food rations fall due to decreased funding.

The group said the number of patients admitted to camp hospitals for malnutrition rose by almost 95% in May from the previous month at the Hagadera camp inside the Dadaab complex, which mostly hosts people.

Other refugees from neighboring South Sudan, Uganda and Burundi living at the Kakuma camp are also severely affected.

Kenya hosts more than 600,000 refugees in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps, and within urban centers.

The East African region is experiencing its worst drought in decades following six consecutive failed rainy seasons, with millions of people affected.

IRC Kenya country director Mohammed el Montassir urged governments, donors and the international community to work together to combat malnutrition and provide treatment.

“Our team on the ground has witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of malnutrition on children in the Kakuma and Hagadera camps — the situation demands urgent attention,” he said in a statement.

In one of the camps, malnutrition cases without complications rose from 64 to 109 while those with complications increased from 37 to 72 in May, IRC said.

An IRC health manager, Dr. Sila Monthe, said the number of admitted patients in Kakuma is twice the bed capacity.

The team has opened extra wards, increased staffing and extended working hours but is still not at the recommended healthcare worker-to-patient ratio, Monthe told The Associated Press.

“I feel frustrated and like nothing I can do matters. For my team, I’ve seen their morale has gone down and there’s a lot of burnout,” she said.

Malnourished children are prone to infections and the camps have already seen an outbreak of malaria, Monthe said.

China, African Countries Eye Deals Worth $19.1b at Expo, as Trade Ties Thrive Despite West’s Smears

By Tu Lei in Changsha and Wang Cong in Beijing

Jun 29, 2023 11:58 PM

Participants from African countries take picture in front of the venue of the 3rd China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo that kicked off on June 29, 2023 in Changsha, Central China's Hunan Province. Photo: VCG

The third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo kicked off on Thursday in Changsha, Central China's Hunan Province, where representatives from 53 African countries and 12 international organizations gathered to further boost bilateral cooperation, with deals worth $19.1 billion expected to be signed. 

The expo offered another crucial platform for cooperation in various fields and further proof of thriving China-Africa economic and trade ties. Beyond trade, China-Africa cooperation is expected in a wide range of areas, including cultural and people-to-people exchanges. 

Highlighting this, the China-Africa Women's Forum also kicked off in Changsha on Thursday. Delivering a speech to the forum via video, Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping and UNESCO Special Envoy for the Advancement of Girls' and Women's Education, vowed to pull strength from all sides to promote women's full development and contribute to the building of a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era. 

At the China-Africa trade expo, many African officials and business representatives rebuked Western slander against China-Africa cooperation, such as claims of a "debt trap," and expressed enthusiasm for closer ties with China.  

This enthusiasm was on vivid display at the expo, which is scheduled to run through July 2. This year's event attracted 1,500 exhibitors, a jump of 70 percent from the previous edition. Also, 1,590 products from 29 countries were registered, surging by 165.9 percent, according to official data. The exhibition area expanded by 30,000 square meters to 100,000 square meters. 

Addressing the opening ceremony on Thursday, Chinese Vice President Han Zheng welcomed Chinese and African participants to the expo and urged them to jointly write a new chapter in China-Africa high-quality economic and trade cooperation.

"China is the biggest market. If you can get any products to China, it means that you [don't need to] look for any other countries in the world," Anna A Wapalila, CEO of Tanzania-based Herbanna General Supply Co, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

This is the first time Wapalila is attending the exhibition, where he brought spices, honey, soy and other agricultural products to showcase and seek potential buyers for. Currently, there is a Chinese company that is planning to buy a "huge amount" of soy. "Hopefully there will [be] a lot of deals," he said.

During the expo, a total of 218 cooperation projects worth $19.1 billion are expected to be inked, as well as nearly 20 outcomes, including the release of a report on China-Africa economic and trade relations and the China-Africa Trade Index. 

Released for the first time, the China-Africa Trade Index, compared with the base reading of 100 recorded in 2000, rose to 990.55 in 2022, showing that bilateral trade remains on a rapid upward growth trajectory and is likely to continue to scale new heights, according to the index released by the Chinese General Administration of Customs (GAC) on Thursday.

The compilation and regular release of the index will objectively reflect the dynamics, development potential and other aspects of China's commodities trade with Africa, and play a positive role in promoting economic and trade exchanges between China and African countries, said Lü Daliang, a GAC spokesperson.

China and African countries, including Tanzania, have enjoyed rapid growth in bilateral economic and trade cooperation over the past decade, according to Mbelwa Kairuki, Tanzania's Ambassador to China, while praising the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 

"In the last 5 years, we have seen tremendous achievements in terms of connectivity between BRI countries, individual policy connectivity, trade connectivity, infrastructure connectivity, and people-to-people [exchanges]," Kairuki told the Global Times on Thursday on the sidelines of the expo in Changsha. 

Western 'propaganda'

Kairuki also refuted what he called "propaganda" on so-called "debt traps" in China-Africa cooperation. Noting that the majority of debt is owed to other countries and institutions, the Tanzanian ambassador said that "it's just propaganda, even they borrow [from] China."

Rwandan Ambassador to China James Kimonyo also refuted the "debt trap" claims in Western media reports. 

"In any economic structure, you look at the pillars and the projects that are going to support your growth. Once you have identified them, then you look for the resources to implement them. And then in the process of looking for the resources, then you engage the partners. China happens to be a partner that is very open in terms of what we discuss in terms of the financing of projects," Kimonyo told the Global Times on Thursday in Changsha. "I think that narrative is wrong. China is not putting Africa in a debt trap."

African officials and businesses at the expo also resoundingly rejected some Western anti-China forces' push for a decoupling from China. 

Regarding some Western countries' attempt to "decouple" from China or "de-risk" their trade with China, Kairuki said that "the view is misplaced." He added that "as far as we are concerned, there are many opportunities for cooperation between [us] in terms of trade, [and] in terms of investment."

China-Africa economic and trade cooperation has led to remarkable achievements in recent years. Bilateral trade saw a 20-fold increase between 2000 and 2022 and an average annual growth rate of 17.7 percent. In 2022, trade between China and African countries rose 11 percent year-on-year to $282 billion. China has taken various steps in its plan to increase trade with African countries to $300 billion by 2025. 

Also, in the past decade, China's total direct investment in African countries has exceeded $30 billion, making China the fourth-largest source of investment in Africa. At the same time, African officials are calling for more cooperation in investment in infrastructure and other projects.

"We need more money from China to finance projects that are going to accelerate our growth," Kimonyo said, while again dismissing the "debt trap" claims. "From my perspective, we need more money from China. So there is no point in complaining when you get money from China as long as the money is invested in the projects that are going to make a difference in the lives of all people."

Tanzania's ambassador also said that Chinese investments and enterprises have done a lot of work in the country, building ports, roads and other projects. "We have nothing to say but we are grateful and looking forward to 10 more years," Kairuki said. 

GT Voice: Is Chinese Economy Caught in a ‘Confidence Trap’?

By Global Times

Jun 29, 2023 11:21 PM

Lujiazui Photo:VCG

As the first half of 2023 is coming to an end, global expectations for the Chinese economic recovery in the second half remain robust as China's continuous efforts to expand its services sector access for foreign companies in a comprehensive and orderly manner and to shorten the negative list of foreign investment access inject new momentum.

It is true that various Western media outlets have been playing up the gloomy outlook for the Chinese economy, claiming that China's economic recovery is running out of steam, as growth appears to be slowing in terms of a slew of economic indicators such as exports and factory production. Some even claimed that China is caught in a "confidence trap." Is this really so? The truth is that if the Chinese economy is really as gloomy as they say, then why have foreign executives been coming to China so intensively?

High-profile names of CEOs and senior executives who have recently visited China include Microsoft's co-founder Bill Gates, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon, ASML's CEO Peter Wennink, and JPMorgan Chase & Co's CEO Jamie Dimon.

Moreover, the 14th Annual Meeting of the New Champions, also known as the Summer Davos Forum, which was held from June 27 to 29 in Tianjin, attracted more than 1,500 political, business, and academic elites from nearly 100 countries and regions. Confidence, openness and cooperation are the key words for the participants when it comes to discussions about China's economic prospects.

There is no denying that due to the complicated and grim external environment and sluggish global trade and investment, the foundation and conditions for China's economic recovery may not be as solid and favorable as expected. But that doesn't change China's economic resilience.

When addressing the opening of the Summer Davos this week, Chinese Premier Li Qiang said that China is expected to achieve this year's economic growth target of around 5 percent, with the growth in the second quarter to surpass that in the first quarter. His remarks, to a certain extent, indicate that China's macro-policy emphasis is not on the stimulus of rapid growth, but on maintaining the sustainability of economic recovery to ensure the resilience amid the changeable environment. And such economic resilience may exactly be a major appeal to foreign businesses when the global economy is slowing.

For China, what is crucial right now is how China can translate foreign companies' confidence into actual growth and further propel its upward trajectory. Further opening-up seems to be the only answer. 

In the past, China's adherence to reform and opening-up has achieved the miracle of long-term high-speed economic growth. If China's economy is to achieve sustained growth in the future, it must still maintain its openness despite external "decoupling" or "de-risking" pressure.

Like China's economic recovery, its opening-up is also a continuous and gradual process while various government authorities have successively rolled out their agenda and measures to promote opening-up. 

Wang Shouwen, China's International Trade Representative and Vice Minister of Commerce, recently said that China will continue to uphold a high-level opening-up for development. At present, China has basically opened the market access to manufacturing sector for foreign enterprises, and is expanding its services sector access.

The National Development and Reform Commission said in mid-June that China is studying measures to attract foreign investment and will reasonably reduce the negative list for foreign investment access. China's "2022 Catalogue of Encouraged Industries for Foreign Investment" was officially implemented on January 1 this year. The 239 new items added marked a record high.

Indeed, news of expanded access for foreign investment can now be heard almost every few days. According to Chinese government information on Thursday, the State Council has recently issued a document about measures to promote systematic opening-up in pilot free trade zones and free trade ports. Among them, it specifies that apart from specific new financial services, if Chinese financial institutions are allowed to carry out a certain new financial service, then foreign financial institutions in pilot regions should also be allowed to carry out similar services.

Also, Chinese governments at all levels are strengthening communication with foreign investors to help them solve specific problems and constantly improve the environment for foreign investment.

Of course, there are both opportunities and challenges for China to attract foreign investment. Faced with the global industrial chain restructuring, China will continue to do a solid job of improving the country's business environment for global businesses.

Malicious Attacks on China’s Patriotic Education Law Aim to ‘Weed Out’ Patriotism

By Global Times

Jun 29, 2023 09:18 PM

Three men hold Chinese national flags at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Tuesday after the flag-raising ceremony. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Imagine if a government were to introduce legislation against drug dealing, who would feel the most frightened and troubled? The most likely answer would be drug dealers. In the case of China's recent legislative push for the spirit of patriotism in the country, some forces have exposed themselves as those "drug dealers."

This week, a draft patriotic education law was submitted to China's National People's Congress Standing Committee for its first reading. Several external voices subsequently attempted to give such an effort a bad name in different ways. Some criticized the draft for "brainwashing younger generations," some said it was "forcing people to love tyranny," and others saw it as a way to "suppress dissent." 

Patriotic education is an important component of national education in almost all countries. If we observe the global scenario, we will find that it is a common practice in many nations to promote and guarantee patriotic education through the rule of law.

For example, a study reveals that the US has more than 600 laws and regulations and more than 1,700 provisions related to patriotism, forming a patriotism-revolved legal system consisting of federal legislation, state legislation, and presidential executive orders to ensure the cultivation of patriotism. 

However, when it comes to China, every aspect of a similar legislative move is interpreted through a distorted lens. It is extremely absurd and malicious for some external forces to use such a double standard.

Patriotism has been deeply rooted in Chinese culture since ancient times. It is regarded by the Chinese people as one of the most important traditional virtues and is taught to children generation after generation. The smear campaign against Chinese patriotic education legislation is clearly part of the US and Western information warfare to erase such a root of Chinese culture from the nation's ideological sphere.

Moreover, as the Chinese people love their country, they actually support the strengthening of patriotic education. And most of them would likely support a legal guarantee of patriotic education. This puts to rest the claims that the Chinese government is "imposing patriotism on the people."

With the development of the times, patriotic education in China is facing new challenges. On one hand, various instances of historical nihilism can be observed in China's education. Since education is one of the most prominent areas targeted in information warfare against China, certain loopholes in the country's current education system have been exploited as an entry point for ideological infiltration.

On the other hand, with the widespread use of the internet in China, a multitude of information sources have emerged in the country's cyberspace, leading to a diverse and confusing range of voices. This allows for the dissemination of false values and turns Chinese cyberspace into a chaotic environment. For some external forces with malicious intent, the more chaotic China's internet becomes, the better, as they seek to divide and dismantle China's mainstream ideology.

These factors have greatly impacted China's patriotic education and pose a threat to its ideological and national security. Therefore, in light of these circumstances, it is crucial to establish a strong mainstream ideology that can unite everyone, as well as a fundamental law to safeguard our confidence in the national system and culture.

Some forces in the West don't want to see China strengthening its patriotic education. Deep inside, they hope to cultivate believers in historical nihilism within China so that Western ideology can be easily imposed on the country.

These people want to eliminate patriotic sentiment in Chinese society and lead the country's mainstream ideology in the wrong direction, such as ultra-liberalism. They act as if they are "empowering Chinese people" with such values, but in reality, they just want to corrupt the thinking of the Chinese people to facilitate their future moves in information warfare.

Any force that feels uncomfortable with China's draft patriotic education law without raising any functionality issues can only prove that they are against the spirit of patriotism advocated by Chinese education. They feel targeted because this draft will hinder their efforts to discourage patriotism and threaten and challenge China's security.

"It is justified for China now to propose a patriotic education law, which will further regulate education activities in the country. Some ill-intentioned forces hyped this legislation is a crush-down on different ideologies, which is their misunderstanding and an over-interpretation," Zhu Wei, vice director of the Communication Law Research Center at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times.

The Foreign Relations Law Puts China's Attitude on the Table: Global Times Editorial

By Global Times

Jun 30, 2023 12:12 AM

Photo: VCG

The Law on Foreign Relations of the People's Republic of China will come into effect on July 1. It is the first comprehensive foreign relations law in the country since the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It sets out the guiding principles, fundamental positions, and institutional framework of China's foreign work and provides a general regulation for the development of China's foreign relations. China is the first major country to have a foreign relations law, highlighting its distinctive Chinese characteristics. As China increasingly moves closer to the center stage of the world, it has become more necessary to establish a comprehensive legislation in the field of foreign relations. This legislation is not merely a short-term response to external challenges, but is a masterpiece focusing on the development of China's relationship with the world.

Those who have a sincere and positive mindset will find positive aspects in this foreign relations law, including China's development outlook, security concept, concept of civilization, as well as the systematic idea of building a community with a shared future for mankind. The law conveys China's determination to pursue a path of peaceful development, promote the building of a new type of international relations, and construct a community with a shared future for mankind. China advocates for the peaceful resolution of international disputes, opposes the use or threat of force in international relations, and rejects hegemonism and power politics. These principles not only represent China's diplomatic attitude but also serve as solemn legal declarations and practices.

The promulgation of the foreign relations law by China signifies self-improvement under new circumstances and international environments, as well as a transcendence of the old paradigm. Through a complete law, China confirms the peaceful nature of its development and diplomacy, its opposition to hegemonism and power politics, and its openness. No other country has done this before. It is the strongest refutation of the "China threat" theory propagated by the US and the West. China, which breaks the logic of "a strong country is bound to seek hegemony," is setting up a new model of human interaction and has global significance. The stronger China becomes, the greater its contribution to world peace and stability is. As long as countries seek normal relations with China, they will easily perceive China's goodwill and sense of responsibility as a major power from the foreign relations law.

At the same time, this law provides valuable stability to the current global governance system, which is affected by the counter-globalization trend and regional conflicts. For instance, the law explicitly states that the country has the obligation to fulfill treaties and agreements in good faith and clarifies that the country will takes steps to implement sanction resolutions and relevant measures with binding force adopted by the United Nations Security Council in accordance with Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. It can be said that foreign relations law provides an answer from China on how to properly handle the relationship between domestic law and international law. That is to firmly uphold the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law, thus steadfastly defending international fairness and justice.

Some Western media and public opinion in the US felt nervous about China's foreign relations law and even attempted to discredit it immediately. This reaction is not surprising. Firstly, it is a projection of the US' long-standing history of abusing legal actions. For decades, Washington has repeatedly trampled on international law and norms through the use of "long-arm jurisdiction" under domestic law, imposing illegal unilateral sanctions or intimidation on other countries, causing significant harm to many countries. Now that they see China has enacted such a law, they naturally and subconsciously worry about whether China will use the same means to "retaliate" against the US. In plain terms, this is their habitual double standard and a manifestation of their guilty conscience due to their extensive history of wrongdoing.

Of course, the enactment of China's foreign relations law has a background, which is the increasingly unreasonable suppression of China by the US. Traditionally, China is a country that values harmony and is reluctant to resort to countermeasures. Now, the foreign relations law further demonstrates China's determination to safeguard national sovereignty security, and development interests in a legal form. In this sense, the foreign relations law has teeth. Anyone who deals with China with malicious intent and attempts to infringe upon China's legitimate rights and interests will definitely feel the pain. This point is also very clear.

In international exchanges, law is an indispensable and important part. It is also a reflection of a country's original intention and attitude in dealing with foreign affairs. To some extent, the promulgation and implementation of the foreign relations law demonstrate and strengthen China's strategic transparency. China's diplomacy is open and aboveboard. We hope to be friends with everyone, but we will not tolerate actions that harm China's interest. Whether it is what we support or oppose, we put it on the table. Shouldn't such a great country be trustworthy, lovable, and respectable?

Xi Stresses Improving Quality of Party's Organizational Work

CPC to gather more talents, advance with the times: experts

By Yang Sheng and Zhang Changyue

Jun 29, 2023 03:28 PM

Cai Qi (center), a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and a member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, attends the national conference on organizational work in Beijing. A recent instruction of Xi Jinping was studied at the conference, which was held on June 28-29, 2023. Photo: Xinhua

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has called for developing a good grasp of the CPC Central Committee's important theory on Party building, and improving the quality of the Party's organizational work.

Chinese analysts said this is a message to the whole Party and the nation that the CPC will gather more talents and strengthen organizational construction to advance with the times, and to overcome the newly emerging challenges in the new journey.

Xi, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in a recent instruction. The instruction was studied at the national conference on organizational work, which was held on Wednesday and Thursday.

Xi, on behalf of the CPC Central Committee, extended greetings to all Party members as the Party will celebrate its 102nd founding anniversary on July 1. Xi stressed the pivotal role of the Party in building a modern socialist country in all respects and advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts. He also stressed the pivotal role of personnel in this regard.

Yang Xuedong, a professor of political science at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Thursday that every year before the founding anniversary of the CPC, the general secretary will extend greetings and also some instructions to the whole Party, and this time, the message from the top leader is focusing on how to improve performance in governance by strengthening and improving Party building and the Party's organizational work. 

At the conference, Xi said that to fulfill the missions and tasks of the CPC on the new journey, new progress should be made in enhancing Party building and the Party's organizational work. He noted that upholding and strengthening the centralized and unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee should be taken as the highest principle, and efforts should be made to build a contingent of competent key officials for governance that are capable of shouldering the mission of national rejuvenation.

Yang said, "A large party has its advantages and also some unique challenges, including how to strengthen internal unity on the basis of 90 million Party members, and to play the role as the leading core and vanguard to lead a country with a massive population to realize Chinese modernization."

In realizing Chinese modernization, there is no precedent in other countries for the CPC to learn from, so the Party needs to explore it by itself. That's why the leader repeatedly emphasizes solving the unique problems faced by a large party and building a team capable of taking on this responsibility, Yang said.

Xi emphasized moving faster to build global hubs for talent and innovation. He urged consistent efforts to enhance the quality of organizational work so as to provide a firm guarantee for building a great modern socialist country and advancing national rejuvenation.

Analysts said that in order to build global hubs for talent and innovation, the Party and the country must provide certainty, stability, fault-tolerant spaces for exploration and innovation, as well as market potential to people with talents, so that the CPC can attract more and more talents that are familiar with cutting-edge technologies and shared ideas and faith with the Party to join the great journey. 

"The Party will also put more young and talented members into leading posts, so that their potential can be activated and maximized to give them the chance to test and try their new thoughts and ideas, and to make more qualified leaders from the new generation in the Party," Yang noted.  

Zhang Xixian, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee in Beijing, told the Global Times that on the new journey, there have been some unprecedented challenges caused by the profound changes that the world is experiencing, such as the great power competition launched by the US, as well as the international economic and geopolitical crises along with the ongoing Ukraine conflict.

In the new journey, the Party and country need to be prepared for the "strong winds and high waves and even dangerous storms" frequently mentioned in some documents of the Party's meetings in recent years, and the Party's organizational work and Party building also need to take the challenges of this era into consideration, Zhang noted.  

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Smoke from Canada Wildfires is Increasing Health Risks in Black and Poorer US Communities

Smoky air from Canada’s wildfires shrouded a broad swath of the U.S., exacerbating health risks for people already suffering from industrial pollution (June 28)(AP video: Mike Householder and Mark Vancleave)


12:05 AM EDT, June 28, 2023

DETROIT (AP) — Smoky air from Canada’s wildfires shrouded broad swaths of the U.S. from Minnesota to New York and Kentucky on Wednesday, prompting warnings to stay inside and exacerbating health risks for people already suffering from industrial pollution.

The impacts are particularly hard on poor and minority communities that are more likely to live near polluting plants and have higher rates of asthma. Detroit, a mostly Black city with a poverty rate of about 30%, had some of the worst air quality in the U.S. on Wednesday, prompting the Environmental Protection Agency to warn that “everyone should stay indoors.”

“The more breaths you’re taking, you’re inhaling, literally, a fire, camp smoke, into your lungs,” said Darren Riley, who was diagnosed with asthma in 2018, a few years after arriving in Detroit.

“Many communities face this way too often,” said Riley, who is Black. “And while this wildfire smoke allows, unfortunately, many people to feel this burden, this is a burden that far too long communities have faced day in and day out.”

The EPA’s site showed cities including Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis and Cleveland, Ohio, had “very unhealthy air” as of Wednesday afternoon. A wider circle of unhealthy air spread into Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Louisville, Kentucky.

Earlier this month, smoke from the wildfires blanketed the U.S. East Coast for days.

Another round of drifting smoke from the wildfires was moving through western Pennsylvania and central New York and headed toward the Mid-Atlantic, said National Weather Service meteorologist Byran Jackson. In Canada, smoke will migrate across Quebec and Ontario over the next few days, Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Steven Flisfeder said.

In the U.S., the smoke is exacerbating air quality issues for poor and Black communities that already are more likely to live near polluting plants, and in rental housing with mold and other triggers.

Detroit’s southwest side is home to a number of sprawling refineries and manufacturing plants. It is one of the poorest parts of the city. According to a 2022 report by the American Lung Association, the city’s and short-term particle pollution ranked among the worst in the nation.

“Being close to those refineries — that’s an environmental factor that’s difficult to control,” said Dr. Ruma Srivastava, a pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. “It does increase their risk for asthma flareups. For them, it’s even more important to follow the (air quality safety) recommendations.”

Riley’s own experiences prompted him to start JustAir, which provides air pollution monitoring.

“Just because you’re born in a certain ZIP code or you’re born into a certain family with a certain skin color doesn’t mean that you should have an unequal go at it,” he said.

Elsewhere, Milwaukee County Emergency Medical Services has seen a spike in calls for residents with respiratory complaints, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Office of Emergency Management data show a disproportionate amount of calls for respiratory issues – 54.8% – have been for Black people in Milwaukee, according to the newspaper. Milwaukee County’s population is 27.1% Black.

In Chicago, where about 29% of the population is Black, Mayor Brandon Johnson urged young people, older adults and residents with health issues to spend more time indoors. He pledged “swift action to ensure that vulnerable individuals have the resources they need to protect themselves and their families.”

President Joe Biden visited the nation’s third-largest city on Wednesday to promote his renewable energy policies. Biden has described the Canadian wildfires as clear evidence of climate change.

Minnesota issued a record 23rd air quality alert for the year through late Wednesday night, as smoky skies obscured the skylines of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana were among other states issuing air quality alerts, and cities including Louisville also advised people to limit prolonged or intense outdoor activity.

“This is particularly thick smoke,” Jackson, with the National Weather Service, said.

A record 30,000 square miles (80,000 square kilometers) of Canada has burned, an area nearly as large as South Carolina, according to the Canadian government.

“As long as the fires are burning and the smoke is in the atmosphere it is going to be a concern not just for Canadians but Americans as well,” Flisfeder, the Canadian meteorologist, said.

The small particles in wildfire smoke can irritate the eyes, nose and throat, and can affect the heart and lungs, making it harder to breathe. Health officials say it’s important to limit outdoor activities to avoid breathing in the particles.

The warming planet will produce hotter and longer heat waves, making for bigger, smokier fires, said Joel Thornton, professor and chair of the department of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Quentin Hernandez, a 24-year-old event planner from Detroit, was out skateboarding for about an hour Wednesday at a skate park near the Ambassador Bridge, which connects the city and Windsor, Ontario.

“It just sits like this all day,” said Hernandez, saying that it smelled like being at a barbecue. “Literally, the smoke just sits in the air.”


Associated Press contributors include Trisha Ahmed and Steve Karnowski in Minneapolis, Ken Kusmer in Indianapolis, Rebecca Reynolds in Louisville, Ky., and Julie Walker in New York.

France Braces for More Protests After Police Kill Teenager

Police killed the 17-year-old early on Tuesday, sparking fury in the Parisian suburbs.

Firefighters work to put out a burning car on the sidelines of a demonstration in Nanterre, west of Paris, on June 27, 2023, after police killed a teenager who refused to stop for a traffic check [Zakaria Abdelkafi/AFP]

28 Jun 2023

France is bracing for further protests after police shot dead a teenager, an incident which French President Emmanuel Macron said has “moved the entire nation”.

Clashes broke out between demonstrators and police overnight after an officer killed the 17-year-old in a Paris suburb, Nanterre.

The teenager, identified as Nael M, allegedly failed to comply with a police order to stop his car on Tuesday.

He was driving a rental car when police pulled him over for breaking several road rules, prosecutors said.

A video circulating on social media, authenticated by the French news agency AFP, shows two police officers trying to stop the vehicle, with one pointing his weapon at the driver through the window and firing at close range when he apparently continues to drive.

The car moved a few metres before crashing.

Emergency services tried to resuscitate the teenager at the scene but he died shortly afterwards.

The deadly police shooting was “inexplicable” and “unforgivable”, Macron said on Wednesday, as the government raced to ease tensions.

“A teenager was killed. That is inexplicable and unforgivable,” he said during a visit to the Mediterranean city Marseille, saying the case had “moved the entire nation”.

Local residents held a protest outside the police headquarters. Tensions soared later on Tuesday; demonstrators lit fires, set a car alight, destroyed bus stops and threw firecrackers towards police who responded with tear gas and dispersion grenades.

Thousands of police were deployed on Wednesday amid fear of further unrest.

Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler, reporting from Nanterre, said anger “boiled over” in the suburb.

“Many people are deeply shocked and upset at what has happened on their doorstep,” she said, adding that the video circulating on social media was fuelling feelings of rage.

“People here say this is cold-blooded murder. The French government have called the images shocking and distressing. The government is calling for calm, talking about an investigation.

“The problem is, we have seen incidents like this over the past year and a half – more than 13 people have been killed in traffic stops and checks. People are saying this is another example of police tactics in France which are often heavy-handed and deadly.”

“There is a sense that the French police have a culture of impunity and it is not being addressed.”

During the riots, 31 people were arrested, 25 police officers were injured, and 40 cars burned, officials said.

The French football star Kylian Mbappé, who grew up in the Parisian suburbs, was among those who were outraged by the latest killing.

“I feel bad for my France,” he tweeted, deploring the “unacceptable situation”.

“All my thoughts go out to Nael’s family and loved ones, this little angel who left far too soon.”

Actor Omar Sy called for “justice” to “honour the memory of this child”.

‘Extremely shocking’

The officer accused of firing on the driver has been arrested on homicide charges, the Nanterre prosecutor’s office said.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin acknowledged that the images on social media were “extremely shocking”.

In a statement, lawyers rejected a reported statement by the police that officers’ lives were in danger because the driver had threatened to run them over.

Yassine Bouzrou, a lawyer for the family, told local media that while all parties needed to wait for the result of the investigation, the images “clearly showed a policeman killing a young man in cold blood”.

“This is a long way from any kind of legitimate defence,” he said, adding the family had filed a complaint accusing the police of “lying” by initially claiming the car had tried to run down the officers.

After the record 13 deaths from police shootings in France during traffic stops last year, the killing of Nael is the second fatal shooting in such circumstances in 2023.

Three people were killed by police shooting after refusing to comply with a traffic stop in 2021 and two in 2020.

A Reuters news agency tally of fatal shootings in 2021 and 2022 shows the majority of victims were Black or of Arabic origin.

“As a mother from Nanterre, I have a feeling of insecurity for our children,” said Mornia Labssi, a local resident and anti-racism campaigner, who said she had spoken to the victim’s family, which she said was of Algerian origin.


UN Human Rights Official Says Arms Embargo and Deployment of Special Force Needed for Haiti

People displaced by gang violence stand in Jean-Kere Almicar’s front yard, where they have sought refuge, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, June 4, 2023. Nearly 200 people who once lived in the Cite Soleil slum near Almicar’s house are now camped out in his front yard and nearby areas. They are among the nearly 165,000 Haitians who have fled their homes amid a surge in gang violence. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)



5:36 PM EDT, June 28, 2023

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A U.N. human rights expert said Wednesday that a specialized international force is needed to help fight gang violence in Haiti and that a weapons embargo should be implemented immediately.

William O’Neill, who was appointed expert on human rights in Haiti in April, spoke at the end of a 10-day trip during which he met with civil society leaders, government officials and victims of gang violence.

“I found a country bruised by violence, misery, fear and suffering,” he said, adding that all types of human rights are being violated. “It is urgent to take action. The survival of an entire nation is at stake.”

30,000 Haitian kids live in private orphanages. Officials want to shutter them and reunite families.

O’Neill said the absence of government is palpable and that the lack of response by officials is affecting people’s access to water, food, health, education and housing. He added that while Haitian authorities face “immense challenges,” the government has a duty to respond within its limited capabilities.

“Entire neighborhoods are left to their fate, without access to any public service,” he said.

O’Neill’s visit comes as an understaffed and under resourced police department struggles to fight against warring gangs who have grown more powerful since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, with gangs now estimated to control up to 80% of the capital. The violence has led to an increase in starvation, with people unable to leave their homes and trucks unable to transport goods to Port-au-Prince and beyond.

The surge in killings, rapes and kidnappings in Haiti has led to a violent uprising, with civilians killing nearly 200 people since April in their fight against suspected gang members. The uprising has been criticized by some who worry that innocent people are being targeted, while O’Neill said the movement reflected a failure of Haiti’s judicial system.

“History has shown that popular justice and its many excesses have never made it possible to resolve violence,” he said.

O’Neill said deploying a specialized international force that would work alongside Haiti’s National Police “is essential to restore the freedom of movement.” He also said that an embargo on arms, especially those from the U.S., is crucial given that no weapons are produced in Haiti.

Several U.N. officials have called for such a deployment, a request first made by Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry in October last year, but the U.N. Security Council has not taken action, opting instead to impose sanctions.

In an aside with The Associated Press after the press conference, O’Neill said he envisioned a specialized police force skilled at dealing with gangs and organized crime working alongside Haiti’s National Police, with local authorities taking the lead. He said such a force would provide advice, guidance and possibly backup.

“Whoever comes, if they come, is not going to stay forever,” he said.

O’Neill also noted that despite calls for Haiti to hold general elections, it’s currently not safe to do so.

O’Neill also criticized what he called the inhumane conditions that inmates at the main prison in Port-au-Prince and in Cap-Haitien face, noting that more than 200 of them died last year.

“I ask the authorities to make every effort to allow detainees to live in dignity; this includes immediate and constant access to basic needs,” he said.

He also urged authorities to restore operations at a court in Port-au-Prince that was captured by gangs last year and has not functioned since then.

In addition, O’Neill also called on Haiti’s government to fight sexual violence, with the number of such incidents doubling last month. He noted that gangs often collectively rape girls and women as a way to control the population.


Coto reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico