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IN A SURPRISE TWIST, SIERRA LEONE OPPOSITION TAKES THE LEAD IN ELECTION COUNTDOWN

An opposition candidate has taken the lead out of a field of 16 hopefuls in a tight presidential race. If neither candidate receives 51% of votes cast, a runoff is required. Earlier in the day, presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party scored 848,438 (43.3%) votes cast while the candidate of the ruling APC (All People’s Congress), Samura Kamara, was behind with 83 ...

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U.S. STATE SEC’Y FIRED, CUTTING SHORT LONG-AWAITED AFRICA VISIT

An extended visit to Africa this month by the U.S. Secretary of State to mend fences after the President’s crude description of African and Caribbean countries was cut short this week by the dismissal of the embattled Secretary Rex Tillerson. It was the first tour of the continent by the ex-Secretary who was the first high level U.S. representative to visit the continent since the President’s vulgar remarks ...

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‘UNEQUAL REALITIES’ HOLD BACK RURAL WOMEN, SAYS U.N. ON EVE OF WOMEN’S CONFAB

On the eve of International Women’s Day, the United Nations is renewing its call for concrete actions to address the plight of rural women who make up over a quarter of the world population yet are being left behind in every measure of development. In an opening statement, UN Under-Secretary-General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka applauded a new era for women displaying “a remarkable gathering of strength, speaking ...

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FRENCH COUNTERTERROR SCHEME DRAWS FIRE IN BURKINA FASO

The so-called French pillar of counterterrorism in West Africa drew fire this week from Islamic extremists who struck the French Embassy in Burkina Faso and that country’s army headquarters. Seven soldiers were reported killed, as were eight attackers. Over 80 persons were injured. The incident took place in Burkina’s famed capital city of Ouagadougou just as regional senior officers who coordinate with Fra ...

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NEW ANC PRESIDENT ENDORSES TRANSFER OF LANDS FROM WHITES TO BLACKS

Barely a month into his presidency, Cyril Ramaphosa has taken sides on a hot button issue whose resolution had eluded previous leaders. He vowed to speed up the seizure of land from white owners and turn the properties over to blacks. “This original sin that was committed when our country was colonized must be resolved in a way that will take South Africa forward,” he declared. The resolution calling for ex ...

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OBIANG REVIVES DEATH PENALTY IN BID TO SAVE UNPOPULAR REGIME

Equatorial Guinea, under President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, is reviving the odious death penalty against 147 opposition activists accused of “rebellion, attacks on authority and public disorder” – a sign of deepening desperation under President Obiang. The activists include leaders of Citizens for Innovation (CI), many of whom were rounded up after a purported coup plot discovered near the country’s b ...

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FORMER ZIMBABWE LEADER TO RECEIVE STATE-ASSISTED BURIAL IN HOME VILLAGE OF BUHERA

The mortal remains of veteran opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai were returned to Zimbabwe from South Africa where he died last week of colon cancer at a Johannesburg hospital. A memorial attended by thousands of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters all clad in red, the party’s colors, thronged Robert Mugabe Square in Harare, prior to the late prime minister’s departure for Buhera, his home vill ...

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ETHIOPIAN RESIGNATION MET WITH WORRY, ANGER AND STATE OF EMERGENCY

The Ethiopian government has given itself sweeping new powers - from restrictions on freedom of assembly and free expression to the deployment of combat-ready troops in civilian centers. The newly-imposed state of emergency is expected to last six months. The harsh new limits on democratic expression may have blindsided those in the international community who were expecting an opening for reforms with the ...

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OPPOSITION FORCES PLAN SHOW OF FORCE TO DEMAND RESIGNATION OF DRC PREZ

Time is running out for the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo as a united front of the Catholic Church and members of the main opposition party plan a massive march to demand President Joseph Kabila’s resignation. “All activists are urged to respond,” read a statement from the Union for Democracy and Social Progress. A Party congress scheduled for Feb. 26-27 has been postponed to support the Feb ...

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UK AID GROUPS KNEW OF SEX ORGIES BY STAFFERS IN POOR COUNTRIES – REPORT

Revelations that the renowned emergency aid group, Oxfam International, failed to catch rogue aid workers who admitted to hiring prostitutes for wild sex parties in Haiti and Chad, have shaken the aid community worldwide. According to a blistering new report in the Times of London, Oxfam knew of concerns about the conduct of two of the men caught up in the Haiti sex scandal before they were appointed to sen ...

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