Nov 102014
 

EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, November 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Further to our earlier press releases; on 9 November 2014, an African Union –United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) verification team was granted access to Tabit village in North Darfur; following media reports of an alleged mass rape incident perpetrated against 200 women and girls in the area. The team included representatives from police, military and civilian components.

The team spent several hours touring the village and interviewing a variety of Tabit’s residents; including community leaders, ordinary men and women, teachers and students to ascertain the veracity of the media reports. Village community leaders reiterated to UNAMID that they coexist peacefully with local military authorities in the area. The team also interviewed the local Sudanese Armed Forces Commander.

None of those interviewed confirmed that any incident of rape took place in Tabit on the day of that media report. The team neither found any evidence nor received any information regarding the media allegations during the period in question.

UNAMID intends to conduct further follow-up actions on the matter; including possible further investigations and patrols; in coordination with relevant host authorities and in accordance with the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the Government of Sudan and UNAMID.

Nov 102014
 

VATICAN, Holy See, November 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Prelates of the Conference of Bishops of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau were received in audience by the Holy Father this morning, at the end of their five-yearly “ad Limina” visit. In the written discourse that he handed to them at the end of the visit, the Pope writes that the bishops’ visit to the See of Peter is “an opportunity to strengthen the communion the particular Churches maintain with the Church of Rome and with her bishop. However, it is also an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of love between you … and to experience collegiality. This represents a great challenge for an episcopal conference that groups together the bishops of four countries – Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau – that are different in terms of language, geography, culture and history, but which nonetheless feel the need to be united and to support each other in their ministry”.

“Among the challenges you face, there is that of rooting faith more deeply in hearts so that it is put into practice in life. This is particularly true in areas experiencing first evangelisation, but it also applies where the Gospel has been announced a long time ago, as faith is a gift that must always be strengthened and which is under threat in many ways nowadays, owing to other religious proposals that prove easier and more attractive from a moral point of view, and as a result of the phenomenon of the secularisation that affects African societies”.

Therefore, “it is useful for laypeople to receive a solid doctrinal and spiritual formation, and continual support so that they are able to become witnesses of Christ in all areas of their lives, and to imbue society with the principles of the Gospel, avoiding the marginalisation of faith in public life. The pastoral care of families, as shown in the recent Synod of Bishops, must receive special attention since the family … is the place where the foundations of faith are laid, where the basic principles of community life are learned, and frequently where the priestly and religious vocations are nurtured – vocations your Churches need”.

“Priestly formation is decisive for the future”, writes Francis. “Your countries experience very different situations, but the primacy of quality above quantity is always important. I invite you to be close to your priests, especially those who are young, to ensure that after their ordination they continue their formation, persevere in their life of prayer, and are able to count on a spiritual guide, so that they are able to meet the challenges presented to them: for some, this means a certain isolation, for others, material poverty and the lack of resources, or worldly attractions. Contact with other religions is an important issue in many of your dioceses where there is an Islamic majority, in terms of mutual relations between different communities. I believe that it is important for the clergy to receive a formation to establish a constructive dialogue with Muslims, a dialogue that is increasingly necessary for peaceful coexistence. If we all, believers in God, wish to contribute to reconciliation, justice and peace, we need to work together to prevent all forms of discrimination, intolerance and religious fundamentalism”.

“More generally, it seems to me that it is important not to hesitate in occupying all the space that is yours in civil society. I know that you work tirelessly, in particular in Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, for peace and reconciliation, and for this I rejoice. I urge you to maintain good relations with the political authorities in order to promote the official acknowledgement of Church structures, which will be of great help in facilitating evangelisation. Some of you, such as the bishops of Cape Verde, already benefit from the existence of a framework agreement between the State and the Holy See. Even where the Church is in a minority, or is completely at the margins of civil life, she is appreciated and recognised for her important contribution in the fields of human development, healthcare and education. I thank you for what you achieve in your dioceses, often due to the efforts of many religious congregations and laypeople”.

“Dear brothers”, the Pontiff concludes, “some of your Churches are small and fragile, but they are courageous and generous in the proclamation of faith and you are witnesses to their dynamism. I offer thanks to God for the wonders He performs through you, and likewise I thank again those who participate in our common task of evangelisation”.

Nov 102014
 

VATICAN, Holy See, November 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Today, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience John Dramani Mahama, president of the Republic of Ghana, who subsequently met with Cardinal …

Nov 102014
 

MONROVIA, Liberia, November 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — While the number of new Ebola cases reported in Liberia has declined in recent weeks, the outbreak is far from over and new hotspots continue to emerge across the country, the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said today, warning that the international aid response must rapidly adapt to this new phase of the epidemic, or risk undermining progress made against Ebola.

Unlike in neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone, where cases are on the rise, MSF teams in Liberia are witnessing a decline in the number of Ebola patients admitted to case management centres (CMCs) for the first time since the beginning of the epidemic. At present, MSF’s 250-bed ELWA3 CMC in Monrovia is treating around 50 patients. In Foya, in northern Liberia, the number of patients reached zero on October 30, with no confirmed cases since that date. Case numbers could again rise, as they have in Guinea, where, following two significant dips in admissions to MSF facilities, patient numbers are again increasing.

“In Liberia, the international response is finally getting off the ground,” said Fasil Tezera, MSF head of operations in Liberia. “Financial support is starting to flow into the country and huge resources are being put into constructing large-scale Ebola isolation centres. Isolation units in Monrovia and some other parts of the country now have adequate capacity and we must adapt the strategy if we want to stay ahead of the curve and beat the epidemic. Priority should be given to a more flexible approach that allows a rapid response to new outbreaks and gets the regular healthcare system safely up and running again.”

Agile and well-equipped rapid response teams should be deployed quickly to actively investigate hotspots wherever they occur, and mount a comprehensive response, MSF said. This includes isolating patients, tracing people who have been in contact with the sick, organising safe burials, carrying out disinfection of contaminated areas, and mobilising local communities.

“In Foya, we believe this comprehensive approach, as well as active engagement by the community, has led to a steady reduction of cases across the county,” said Dr. Nico Heijenberg, MSF emergency coordinator. “Trust and understanding by the community is hugely important in acceptance of medical activities, and in successfully containing the virus.”

Restarting essential healthcare services is also a critical component of an Ebola response.

The Liberian healthcare system has virtually collapsed because of the epidemic. Many hospitals and clinics are closed, and those that are running turn feverish or vomiting patients away for fear they have Ebola. MSF is adapting its response in Monrovia by carrying out a mass distribution of anti-malarial prophylaxis/treatment and opening an Ebola screening point next to the 200-bed government-run Redemption Hospital, assisting it to reopen safely.

“Infection control measures like triage points should be implemented urgently within regular health facilities, in order to reduce the spread of Ebola and stop people dying from preventable diseases and unmanaged complications,” said Dr. Heijenberg. “Much of the international aid funding for the Ebola response is earmarked for specific projects. Instead, international donors and implementing organisations should deploy their resources with flexibility so that they can be used where they are needed most.”

MSF is responding to the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, employing roughly 3,300 staff across the region and operating six Ebola case management centres and two transit centres. In Mali, an MSF team provides technical support to the Ministry of Health. Since the beginning of the outbreak, MSF has admitted more than 5,600 patients.

Nov 102014
 

DAKAR, Senegal, November 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On 1 and 2 December, the first Francophonie Economic Forum (http://www.forum-economique-francophonie.com) will bring together political and economic decision-makers from the five continents at the Dakar International Conference Centre (DICC) in Senegal, following the 15th Francophonie Summit.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/fef.png

During these two days, the decision-makers will discuss legal and economic measures, investment strategies and projects to transform the Francophonie into a generator of sustained economic growth.

This forum aims to create strong partnerships between international investors and investors from the Francophonie world, in priority production sectors, with an emphasis on projects that will create jobs and promote human development.

The objective is to raise the visibility of the Francophonie States by presenting the assets, potential and investment opportunities of this space, whose 57 member states generate total GDP of 7.2 billion dollars.

The participants will examine the countries’ new projects and economic programs, progress made in reforms and development programs, job-creating entrepreneurial initiatives, etc.

Senegal will share its own experience with its Emerging Senegal plan, which aims to raise the country’s growth rate to 7% by 2017 by diversifying its economy.

“I know I can count on the expertise of our executives, the commitment of our public employees, the contribution of our development partners and the responsiveness of our government,” explains S.E. Macky Sall, President of Senegal.

Richard Attias, the forum’s executive producer, adds, “Many economic markets have been created based on a regional approach in recent years, not always with much success, unfortunately. A common culture and language could bring a new dimension to solidarity and effective economic partnership. The aim of this first forum is to present the foundations of this concept. “

Among the speakers expected:

• Jacques Attali, President of PlaNet Finance

• Karim Baina, President of JET4YOU

• Nicolas Baverez, Partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

• Thierry Breton, CEO of ATOS, former French Minister for the Economy, Finance and Industry

• Nicolas Bussard, CEO and co-founder of SkilledAfricans.com

• Ibrahima Cheikh Diong, CEO of Africa Consulting and Trading

• Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region

• Jean-Louis Ekra, President of Afreximbank

• Amina Gerba, President of Afrique Expansion

• Moussa Seck Sow, PANAAC-Pan African Agribusiness and Agro-Industry Consortium

• Moustapha Sow, ICIEC Regional Manager, Africa at Islamic Development Bank

• Karim Sy, Founder of JokkoLabs

• Farid Toubal, Economist, advisor at CEPII, Professor at Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the 1er Forum économique de la Francophonie (FEF).

Media contact: media.fef@richardattiasassociates.com, tel.: +33 (0)1 42 68 83 94

For more information: www.forum-economique-francophonie.com

To contact investors: forumfrancophonie@apix.sn

Nov 102014
 

KIGALI, Rwanda, November 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Rwanda’s top musicians are promoting better nutrition and health through a catchy new music video that was released today (http://bit.ly/EatHealthyBeans).

Music video with English Subtitles: http://bit.ly/EatHealthyBeans

Music video with Kiswahili Subtitles at: http://www.swahiliwood.com/maharagwe

Rwanda Music Road Show photos: http://bit.ly/EatHealthyRwandaRoadshow

Iron Bean Photos: http://bit.ly/IronBeanPhotos

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/harvestplus.png

The song extols the nutritional benefits of new high-iron beans that are now available in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. Almost 40 percent of children in Rwanda do not get enough iron in their diets. In severe cases, this can lower their IQs and learning capacity, resistance to disease, and energy levels. Beans are a traditional staple food and eaten every day. These new iron beans contain 15 percent more iron than ordinary beans, and can provide women and children with almost half their daily iron needs. They also yield twice the harvest of ordinary beans, increasing incomes for farmers.

More than 700,000 Rwandan farmers are growing and eating these nutritious beans, first released by the Rwandan Government in 2011. “We’ve had tremendous success so far in getting these beans out, but we wanted to reach a much wider audience across the country,” said Lister Katsvairo, who heads the Rwanda Office of HarvestPlus (http://www.harvestplus.org), a global program to improve nutrition. “These iron beans are now making their way into urban markets, so we are launching a campaign to increase consumer awareness. We worked with Rwanda’s top musicians, who cater to all musical tastes including Afro-pop, rap and R&B. Who better to spread this message of how beans can improve nutrition and health?”.

The campaign has taken musicians King James, Miss Jojo, Riderman, Tom Close, and Urban Boyzon a series of roadshows across the country where they have performed live for more than 30,000 people. The road shows included exhibitions and sales of iron bean seeds.

“We are bringing good news for all Rwandans that will change their lives once they start listening to the song, because it raises their knowledge about the benefits of growing and eating these high-iron beans. We hope that will change the lives of a lot of people in Rwanda,” said King James, an R&B artist.

“This was a chance for us to teach people how to stay healthy by eating what is necessary for their bodies—we came together to make sure that we say goodbye to malnutrition,” said Rwandan rapper Riderman.

Rwanda was the first country in Africa to officially launch iron beans developed through conventional breeding. HarvestPlus works with many partners to deploy iron beans, including the Rwanda Agriculture Board with whom they co-produced this video. The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) is also partner in developing more varieties of beans even richer in iron. Iron beans are now also being distributed to several hundred thousand farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of HarvestPlus.

Media Contacts:

Vidushi Sinha, HarvestPlus. Washington DC. v.s.vidushi@cgiar.org Tel: +1 2028624686

Laetitia Umulisa, HarvestPlus, Rwanda l.umulisa@cgiar.orgTel: +250 788 417 833

More about HarvestPlus

HarvestPlus (http://www.harvestplus.org) leads a global effort to improve nutrition and public health by developing and deploying staple food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals. These are cassava, maize, and orange sweet potato that provide more vitamin A; beans and pearl millet that provide more iron; and rice and wheat that provide more zinc. We work with public and private sector partners in more than 40 countries. HarvestPlus is part of the CGIAR (http://www.cgiar.org) Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) (http://www.a4nh.cgiar.org). CGIAR is a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Its science is carried out by its 15 research centers in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations. The HarvestPlus program is coordinated by two of these centers – the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) (http://ciat.cgiar.org) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) (http://www.ifpri.org).

Nov 102014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — FIFA has announced the refereeing trios who will officiate at the forthcoming FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2014.

Referees from Australia, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Portugal and Tahiti will take charge of the matches, with Noumandiez Doué from Côte d’Ivoire the oldest at 44, and Walter Alexander López from Guatemala the youngest at 34.

The FIFA Club World Cup will take place in Marrakech and Rabat between 10 and 20 December.

Nov 102014
 

DAKAR, Senegal, November 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — APO (African Press Organization) (http://www.apo-opa.com), the sole press release newswire in Africa and the global leader in media relations relating to Africa, today announced its appointment by Brand South Africa (http://www.brandsouthafrica.com), the official marketing agency of South Africa, to provide media relations services across Africa and beyond.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/apo-african-press-organization-small.png

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=782 (Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and CEO of APO (African Press Organization)

Brand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness.

APO will offer exclusive media relations services to implement Brand South Africa’s strategy using its excellent understanding of the Pan-African media landscape.

The scope of work includes press release distribution services and media monitoring in Africa, social media analytics, op-ed publications, online press conferences (http://goo.gl/sZrqpY), and more.

“This contract reinforces the fact that APO is the media relations agency of reference for organisations with expanding footprints on the continent or operating across many regions. APO is well known for its standards of quality of services in a challenging, growing emerging market. We have the longstanding experience in understanding each African country’s requirements in managing media relations projects. The fact that our journalist subscribers continue to increase by double digits every year clearly indicates that African nations need to communicate more,” says Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and CEO of APO (African Press Organization).

APO’s clients include some of the world’s top companies, PR agencies, institutions and organisations, from DHL, to Standard Bank, to Western Union, Etihad Airways, the African Development Bank, the Federal Ministry of Finance of Nigeria, Orange, Philips, Coca-Cola, and also The World Bank, to name a few.

It offers a complete range of services, including press release distribution and monitoring, online press conferences, interactive webcasts, media interactions, strategic advice, public diplomacy, government relations, TV production and distribution, media buying, Twitter Q&A sessions, social media analytics, surveys, and events promotion.

APO is the creator of Africa Wire® (http://goo.gl/RKc5KV), the newswire service for press release distribution and monitoring in Africa. This reaches over 50,000 media outlets, bloggers and social networks, and redistributes content to more than 50 African websites, as well as to Bloomberg Terminal, Thomson Reuters, Lexis Nexis, Dow Jones Factiva, 250 million mobile subscribers in 30 countries, and more.

APO Africa Wire® has a potential reach of 600 million and guarantees the most efficient media influence in Africa; in turn, this is how APO’s clients can directly target audiences in all corners of the continent and the world.

APO is the NASDAQ GlobeNewswire Authorized Agency for Africa offering unique access to 1.5 million financial and trade media outlets in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East (http://goo.gl/3WEgAm).

Download brochure: http://goo.gl/il44qU

More information about Africa Wire Competitive Advantages can be found here: http://goo.gl/KYKZ7d

More information about APO Media Reach can be found here: http://goo.gl/eEKlQh

More information about Africa Wire®, the service for newswire press release distribution in Africa, is available at http://www.apo-opa.com/services.php

Contact:

Aïssatou Diallo

bdm@apo-opa.org

+41 22 534 96 97

About APO

APO (African Press Organization) (http://www.apo-opa.com) is the sole press release newswire in Africa and is a global leader in media relations relating to Africa.

With offices in Senegal, Switzerland, Dubai, Hong Kong, India, and Seychelles, APO owns a media database of over 100,000 contacts and is the main online community for Africa-related news.

It offers a complete range of services, including press release distribution and monitoring, online press conferences, interactive webcasts, media interactions, strategic advice, public diplomacy, government relations and events promotion. To find out more, please visit http://www.apo-opa.com.

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apo_source

Follow us on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/african-press-organization

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/africanpressorganization

Nov 102014
 

KHARTOUM, Sudan, November 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Adam, Commissioner, Humanitarian Aid Commission, Government of Sudan, H.E. MayenDutWol, Ambassador to Sudan, Government of South Sudan, and Mr. Ali Za’tari, Res…

Nov 102014
 

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A draft peace agreement to end the military and political crisis in northern Mali does not adequately address the need for justice for serious international crimes during the conflict, Human Rights Watch said today. The next round of negotiations between the Malian government and armed groups involved in the conflict is scheduled to begin on November 20, 2014, in Algiers.

All parties to the 2012-2013 armed conflict in northern Mali committed serious violations of the laws of war that included possible war crimes. Agreements that ended previous civil armed conflicts in Mali from 1962 through 2008 failed to address rampant impunity and weak rule of law, and some included provisions providing immunity from prosecution.

“Mali’s peace talks need to succeed where previous deals have failed by bringing those responsible for atrocities to justice,” said Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The final agreement should include provisions to support the prosecution of war crimes, strengthen the truth-telling commission, and ensure the vetting of security force personnel.”

Security has been deteriorating in northern Mali. While control of the north by the Malian government was largely restored in 2013 following a French-led military intervention, the groups negotiating with the government and others linked to Al-Qaeda are occupying territory and committing abuses against civilians and peacekeepers.

Following the conclusion of the third round of peace talks in late October 2014, Algeria’s foreign minister, Ramtane Lamamra, said that the international mediation team had produced a “draft agreement for comprehensive peace,” which would form the basis for discussion when talks resume.

Human Rights Watch research in Mali and elsewhere suggests that a failure to prosecute individuals responsible for serious wartime abuses enables and may even encourage future abuses. Providing immunity to those who committed war crimes denies the victims and their families a measure of justice for their suffering.

Human Rights Watch and other organizations documented hundreds of alleged war crimes and other serious abuses during the 2012-2013 armed conflict. These include the summary executions of up to 153 Malian soldiers in Aguelhok by opposition armed groups; widespread looting, pillage, and sexual violence by the ethnic Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA); and the recruitment and use of child combatants, unlawful amputations, and destruction of shrines by Islamist armed groups. Malian soldiers were also implicated in serious abuses, including extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, and torture or ill-treatment of suspected rebels.

The government has made little progress in holding to account those responsible for war crimes and other abuses. The provisional release of scores of men detained in relation to the conflict, including several commanders from northern armed groups credibly implicated in abuses, has raised concern of a de facto amnesty for these crimes.

International law encourages countries to provide a broad amnesty or pardon for captured combatants and others detained for their participation in a conflict, so long as they are not responsible for war crimes or other serious abuses.

However, the releases that began in late 2013 under the June 18, 2013 Ouagadougou Accord and characterized by the government as “confidence building measures” in advance of negotiations, have been carried out without sufficient review to determine whether any of those freed are implicated in serious international crimes. Amnesties for those responsible for serious international crimes are not recognized under international law.

“It is time to break the decades-long cycle of conflict, abuse, and impunity. Any deal which turns a blind eye to the need for justice will not only disregard the rights of victims and their families, but also encourage further abuses and sabotage a truly durable peace,” Dufka said. “Ensuring that the talks incorporate measures to address long-standing impunity is all the more urgent given the deteriorating security situation, and increasing attacks, lawlessness, and banditry by armed groups in the north.”