11 elephants died in plunge from waterfall while trying to save drowned calf

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWSPAPER)

 

11 elephants died in plunge from waterfall while trying to save drowned calf

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At least 11 wild elephants died after plunging from a waterfall in a national park in Thailand, wildlife officials said Tuesday.

Five elephant carcasses were confirmed Tuesday from drone cameras days after six elephants were first spotted, said Sompote Maneerat, spokesman for the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department.

The animals were found at Haew Narok – Ravine of Hell – waterfall in Khao Yai National Park.

Park officials said five adult elephants and a calf were found at the waterfall Saturday. Officials said the baby elephant drowned and the five adults, found in a ravine below the baby, fell trying to reach it.

Elephant deaths: 6 wild elephants die after falling from waterfall in Thailand, reports say

‘Zombie gene’: Elephants rarely get cancer thanks to ‘zombie gene,’ study finds

The five additional elephants confirmed Tuesday were from the same herd, and only two elephants from the herd survived the incident, said Nattapong Sirichanam, governor of Nakhon Nayok province, according to Reuters.

The two surviving elephants had been trapped on a cliff above the baby elephant, park officials said.

A similar incident killed eight elephants at the same waterfall in 1992, and Sompote said the 11th death is the highest number of elephants to die in a single incident in Khao Yai.

According to Reuters, 3,500 to 3,700 wild elephants remain in Thailand. The park is home to about 300 elephants, the news agency reported.

Asian elephants are classified as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The surviving elephants will probably experience grief. When two elephants died this year at an Indianapolis zoo, officials confirmed that the rest of the herd reacted emotionally.

“We know that elephants grieve. They are intensely social,” Indianapolis Zoo President Rob Shumaker said.

Contributing: Joel Shannon, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

 Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller

Tunisian Judiciary Rejects All Appeals Against Presidential Elections Results

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Tunisian Judiciary Rejects All Appeals Against Presidential Elections Results

Tuesday, 24 September, 2019 – 11:00
Presidential candidate Kais Saied speaks as he attends a news conference after the announcement of the results in the first round of Tunisia’s presidential election in Tunis, Tunisia September 17, 2019. Reuters/Muhammad Hamed
Tunis – Mongi Saidani
The Administrative Court in Tunisia rejected six appeals by former presidential candidates who lost in the first round of elections, limiting the second round to candidates Kais Saied (Independent) and Nabil Karoui for Qalb Tounes (Heart of Tunisia Party).

Tunis Administrative Court’s spokesperson Imed Ghabri told Asharq Al-Awsat that Seifeddine Makhlouf, Abdelkrim Zbidi and Slim Riahi’s demands were rejected for not meeting the formal requirements to file the appeal.

Neji Jalloul, Hatem Boulabiar and Youssef Chahed’s demands were also rejected.

Thus, the administrative court, which specializes in resolving electoral disputes, has initially legitimized the results of the first round of the presidential race, pending the possibility of appeal by appealing candidates.

The appeals submitted against the results of the first round accused the winning candidates of relying on political publicity in the election campaign as well as violating the rules of the campaign.

While announcing the election results on Sunday, Independent High Authority for Elections (IHAE) President Nebil Baffoun said violations committed are not election crimes and don’t affect the results announced.

The first round of the presidential elections resulted in the victory of law professor Saied, who was ranked first among 26 candidates and won 18.4 percent of the votes, and Karoui, ranked second with 15.6 percent of the votes.

They will both compete during the second round, which is scheduled to be held on October 6 or 13.

On the other hand, Chahed suggested forming an alliance with Zbidi, the resigned defense minister who is backed by Nidaa Tounes party, following their loss in the first round of the elections.

Observers say both parties need one another to return to the competition in the parliamentary elections, during which power-sharing will be determined for the next phase.

Ebola virus: Tanzania failing to provide details, WHO says

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Ebola virus: Tanzania failing to provide details, WHO says

Ebola workers in DR CongoImage copyright REUTERS
Image caption Ebola workers in DR Congo, where the latest outbreak has killed more than 2,000

The World Health Organization (WHO) has rebuked Tanzania for failing to provide information about possible Ebola virus infections.

The WHO said it had learned of one suspected fatal case in Dar es Salaam and two others but, despite repeated requests, was given no information.

Tanzania has said it has no suspected or confirmed cases.

The latest outbreak has killed more than 2,000 in eastern DR Congo, with Uganda battling to stop any spread.

An epidemic that ravaged parts of West Africa from 2014 to 2016 killed more than 11,000 people.

What is the WHO complaining about?

A statement on Saturday said that on 10 September the organisation had learned of a suspected infection in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s most populous city, in what would be the country’s first Ebola case.

It said the patient had been to Uganda, shown symptoms of Ebola in August, tested positive and died on 8 September. It said that the woman’s contacts had been quarantined.

The WHO said it had unofficial reports of two other possible cases.

It said: “Despite several requests, WHO did not receive further details of any of these cases from Tanzanian authorities.”

It added: “The limited available official information from Tanzanian authorities represents a challenge for assessing the risk posed by this event.”

What has Tanzania said in response?

On 14 September, Tanzania said there were no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in the country.

Media caption Fear and myths: Why people are still in denial about Ebola

However, it did not directly address the case of the woman mentioned by the WHO and provided no further information.

Last week, US Health Secretary Alex Azar criticized Tanzania for its failure to share information on possible cases.

Tanzania is heavily reliant on tourism, which could be affected by confirmed cases.

What is the latest on the outbreak?

It began in the eastern DR Congo in August last year and is the biggest of 10 Ebola outbreaks to hit the country since 1976, when the virus was first discovered.

In July, the WHO declared the Ebola crisis in the country a “public health emergency of international concern”.

There have been more than 3,000 cases and more than 2,000 deaths.

Other nations are on high alert. Four people have died after being diagnosed with the virus in Uganda, which has maintained largely successful screening centers along its border.

The disease can spread rapidly and similarly rapid measures are needed to control it, including hand-washing regimes and quarantines.

What is Ebola?

The Ebola virusImage copyright BSIP/GETTY IMAGES
  • Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat
  • It progresses to vomiting, diarrhea and both internal and external bleeding
  • People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, feces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola
  • Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure

A proposed split in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church stokes ethnic, religious tensions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

A proposed split in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church stokes ethnic, religious tensions

A priest of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church rests inside the 13th century rock-hewn Church of Bet Giorgis, Lalibela, Ethiopia, November 1, 2007. Photo by A. Davey via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

On September 1, 2019, an ad hoc committee formed by Oromo clerics from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC), declared their plan to establish a new regional parish administration unit in Oromia Regional State. They want to establish a regional “episcopacy” — in church speak — that caters to the spiritual, administrative and linguistic needs of the Orthodox Oromo people.

The EOTC currently has over 50 million members comprised of members from all over Ethiopia.

Oromo church members say that inefficiency and corruption hinders EOTC from addressing their spiritual, linguistic and administrative needs and members of the ad hoc committee threatened to take measures into their own hands — including the launch of a distinct, separate administrative unit — if they don’t hear back within 30 days from EOTC’s ruling body, known as the Holy Synod and Church fathers.

The EOTC has its own unique administrative structure that does not match Ethiopia’s federal government structure, which constitutes nine autonomous ethnic regions — among which Oromia is the largest. The Oromo clerics want to reorganize the church’s structure to follow Ethiopia’s federal political system.

The EOTC has about 35,0000 churches throughout Ethiopia. Some reports suggest about 7,000 are in Oromia. This constitutes about 20 percent of all churches.

If Oromos create a regional parish administrative structure without approval from the Holy Synod, it could create an administrative conflict.

The clerics believe that reorganizing the church’s administrative structure will help revitalize empty and neglected churches whose followers left them for expanding Protestant churches in Oromia.

According to the head of the ad hoc committee, arch-scholar Belay Mekonen, there is already a precedent for doing this. He says that the church has changed its governance structures throughout history to match changes in government structures.

He also insisted that new administrative unit will help the EOTC realize its apostolic mission by bringing the church closer to Oromia people, with plans to consolidate and institutionalize the use of Afan Oromo (the Oromo language) within the EOTC.

Unlike Protestant churches that offer services Afan Oromo, Oromo clerics say the EOTC expects Oromos to worship in Ge’ez, the church’s liturgical language, or Amharic, the working language of Ethiopia’s federal government. But Ge’ez is an ancient language that most people barely understand — not only in Oromia but throughout Ethiopia. And Amharic is a language spoken mainly by people who reside in major cities and towns in Oromia, and less so in rural areas, where Afan Oromo is prevalent.

Another member of the ad hock committee said the new administrative unit will help to bring the people who felt alienated back to church.

A monk reads Ge’ez, the liturgical language of the Ethiopia Orthodox Tewahedo Church, October 15, 2018. Photo by Rod Waddington via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

Stinging, holy rebuke

The committee’s push prompted a stinging rebuke from the Holy Synod, setting up a protracted intra-institutional administrative conflict.

Opposition to the committee has also come from Orthodox faithfuls, who feel the push to establish a separate administrative unit is profoundly disturbing. They say their church is a sacred institution only willed by God.

Others variously labeled the move as an opportunistic shot or attempt to destroy the defining element of their national, cultural and religious identity:

Abiye Teklemariam Megenta@abiyetk

This why I think these new rebels aren’t EOC institutionalists who seek greater inclusiveness. They are cultural vandals who have suddenly got the opportunity to economically and politically profit from the chaos and crisis in one of humanity’s greatest institutions. https://twitter.com/sitinanu/status/1168208368214917120 

Sitina Nuri@sitinanu

hahahaha! okay! chill burh! chill! 🤭

Embedded video

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Mady Yonas@Madyyon

I don’t think I will ever identify with any specific religion anymore but I have a soft spot for EOTC [ which I used to taunt in my college days when I was “ woke” ]
It’s historic and was nurtured and protected by our forefathers. I am proud of EOTC and its wisdom. https://twitter.com/abiyetk/status/1168316302559252480 

Abiye Teklemariam Megenta@abiyetk

I left the EOC as a religion skeptic when I was a 16-year-old law student. Since then I had been to mass a few times just to please my family. But the recent vandalistic attack on this august institution is making me re-embrace my identity as a Tewahedo Orthodox Christian.

See Mady Yonas’s other Tweets

Numerous Addis Ababa-based EOTC organizations and parish administrators have scheduled to hold a rally on Sunday, September 15, 2019, protesting an escalation of violence against Orthodox clerics, laity and the destruction of churches.

Rally organizers said the demonstration is planned to demand the government to provide protection for Orthodox Christians throughout Ethiopia. They emphasized the planned rally has nothing to do with the Oromo clerics and could be called off if they get a practical response.

But the planned rally takes on added significance because the organizers say they support the response the Holy Synod has given to Oromo clerics.

The Oromo clerics have also gotten lukewarm support from an unlikely source: Daniel Kibret, a prominent EOTC personality, writer and strong ally of Ethiopia’s reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.

In a lengthy blog post, he wrote that while he agrees with the clerics’ analysis of the problem in the EOTC, he also wrote the clerics’ solution is wrong.

But members of the ad hoc committee insist that they do not want to splinter the EOTC in Oromia. They have not proposed a distinct theological element nor introduced a new canon and ritual activities, they say.

Religious tension, ethnic rivalries

Crucially, the dispute has also become an important manifestation of religious tension freighted with ethnic rivalry among political elites of Ethiopia’s several ethnic groups.

On social media, the clerics’ move has amplified increasing ethnic tensions, due to a long-standing rift between Amhara and Oromo people, two of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic groups: Conflicts over land, history, economy and culture have intensified, nearly a year after their ruling elites entered a tactical alliance within the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Party (the EPRDF), to bring down the supremacy of Tigryan elites who ruled for 27 years.

Both Amharas and Oromos practice a wide range of religions. Christianity and Islam are the main ones.

Statistically, 30.4% of 25 million Oromos follow the EOTC, while 82.5% of 19 million Amharas are Orthodox faithfuls.

The Amharas have a tangled relationship with the EOTC. A prominent historian Harold Marcus describes the Amharas alongside the Tigrayans as inheritors and avatars of Orthodox Christianity.

This contrasts sharply with the Oromos’ relationship with EOTC. Although there is a significant number of Orthodox Oromos, some argue Oromo nationalists have tended to promote the development of secular nationalism as a unifying ideology.

In fact, a long-held belief among Oromo nationalists asserts that when Oromos and other southern peoples of Ethiopia incorporated into modern Ethiopia, the EOTC was an active agent for assimilationist policies of successive Ethiopian emperors.

They contend that most of bishops and priests historically appointed to Oromia were native Amharic speakers who aimed to “Amharize” Oromos by discouraging the use of Afan Oromo in church.

The latest dispute between Oromo clerics and the Holy Synod is a new incarnation of a long-standing strand of EOTC’s intra-institutional conflict — albeit with different features and players.

In 1991, after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) troops assumed control of the country, a prolonged intra-institutional conflict broke out within the EOTC, when the TPLF-led regime plotted to force the abdication of the fourth Patriarch, Abune Merkorios.

Following the abdication of the Patriarch, a movement supported by members of the Ethiopian diaspora in the US formed a Holy Synod in Exile in 1996.

This resulted in division among clergy and faithful that stemmed from ethnic and political tension between the Amhara and Tigray.

The EOTC in exile also operated as an anti-EPRDF body based in Washington, DC.

In July 2018, Prime Minister Abiy assisted the reunification of the Synod of the EOTC and the Synod of the EOTC in exile.

Regardless of one’s ethnic background and recurring intra-institutional conflict, most Orthodox followers consider the church a defining element of Ethiopian national identity. Even people who describe their affiliation to the church as cultural rather than faith-based feel a connection.

But Ethiopians who live in regions dominated by non-Orthodox faiths emphasize that their identity is not predicated on Orthodox religiosity.

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe dies, leaving behind a ‘very complicated legacy’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe dies, leaving behind a ‘very complicated legacy’

Then-president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, listens as professor Alpha Oumar Konare, chairman of the Commission of the African Union, addresses attendees at the opening ceremony of the 10th Ordinary Session of the Assembly during the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 31, 2008. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Lock via Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0.

Zimbabwe’s first post-independence leader, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, has died at the age of 95.

Mugabe died at a hospital in Singapore on Friday, September 6, 2019, after battling ill health.

According to Al Jazeera, he was hospitalized in Singapore for months for an undisclosed ailment, as officials often said he was being treated for a cataract, denying frequent private media reports that he had prostate cancer.

Current President Emmerson Mnangagwa expressed his condolences on Twitter early Friday:

President of Zimbabwe

@edmnangagwa

It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe (1/2)

8,667 people are talking about this

Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting Services, Energy Mutodi, also expressed condolences, calling Mugabe an “African icon” and a “revolutionary.”

Hon. Dr Energy Mutodi (PhD)@energymutodi

Rest In Peace President Robert Mugabe. There is no doubt you were an African icon, a statesman of a rare character and a revolutionary. I wish to pass our condolences on my own behalf & on behalf of the government to His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa & the Mugabe family.

175 people are talking about this

Mugabe was ousted from power in a military coup in November 2017, before his long-time political colleague and protégé, Mnangagwa, forcefully took over — ending 37 years in office.

Mugabe was born on February 21, 1924, in what was then Southern Rhodesia, a colonial state ruled by the British. Known as an intellectual who fell in love with Marxism, he studied at Fort Hare University in South Africa. He later taught in Ghana, where he was influenced by its founder, President Kwame Nkrumah, before he returned to Southern Rhodesia in 1963. There, he was imprisoned in 1964 for a decade without trial after criticizing the Rhodesian government over its racist policies.

In 1973, while still in prison, he was selected as the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) president and was a leading figure in the contentious civil war that led to independence on April 18, 1980.

Robert Mugabe in the Netherlands, June 1982 via Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0.

Mugabe’s rule was characterized by various episodes of success soon after independence when he made a clarion call to erstwhile warring parties to unite and live peacefully for the good of the nation. However, this olive branch was short-lived after he waged war against those he termed dissidents in Matabeleland (Southern Zimbabwe), resulting in the massacre of thousandsof local Ndebele-speaking people.

After years of waiting for Britain to fulfill its terms outlined in theLancaster House Agreement to fund a  land reform program that would redistribute land to black Zimbabweans, the country’s war veterans grew impatient, as there was no progress in this regard.

Under immense pressure from the war vets, Mugabe relented and allowed a chaotic land reform process to occur, leading to violent attacks on commercial farms throughout the country.

Mugabe’s final years in office were characterized by a catastrophic economic collapse, violent land seizures of farms belonging to white commercial farmers, abductions, intimidation and a vicious power struggle.

Mugabe’s own frustration and sense of humiliation over his ousting were clear, and voiced with typical rhetorical force at an extraordinary press conference at his residence in Harare, the capital, days before elections in July 2018.

Nelson Chamisa, leader of the main opposition party in Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change, tweeted his respect for the late Mugabe, despite the major political differences they shared:

nelson chamisa

@nelsonchamisa

1/3 My condolences to the Mugabe family and Africa for the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding President.This is a dark moment for the family because a giant among them has fallen. May the Lord comfort them.

833 people are talking about this

Liberation hero or dictator?

The public has been abuzz with various views and thoughts on his passing away.

Magumbo Special tweeted about the complexity of Mugabe’s legacy:

Magumbo Special👢Shumba’s Lioness😎@docfarai

I’m conflicted you leave a very compicated legacy. Some will forever admire you as a liberation hero, but many who suffered under your harsh rule will only remember a dictator who ruined a country with great potential. You have run your race now time to face your Maker

View image on Twitter
1,011 people are talking about this

Netizen Thandekile Moyo, in a tweet to President Mnangagwa, wrote:

President of Zimbabwe

@edmnangagwa

It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe (1/2)

Thandekile Moyo@Mamoxn

Be sincere. You of all people know about .
Mugabe was a ruthless mass murderer who ruled for as long as he did because of his killer instinct. He dedicated his life not to emancipation but to his quest for a one party state whose benefits you are reaping. Respect us.

97 people are talking about this

The Gukurahundi refers to the massacres of Ndebele civilians by the Zimbabwe National Army between 1983 and 1987.

Leader of Economic Freedom Fighters in South Africa, Julius Malema, wrote:

Julius Sello Malema

@Julius_S_Malema

I’m saddened by the passing of our martyr & giant of the African Revolution cde President Robert Mugabe. Let’s continue the fight & protect his legacy. We must not allow our enemies to tell us how to remember him; we know our heroes.

May his soul rest in revolutionary peace.

View image on Twitter
7,191 people are talking about this

Donald Kipkorir laments how Mugabe could have been great, but became “bewitched by insatiable greed”:

Donald B Kipkorir

@DonaldBKipkorir

Robert Mugabe could have been Africa’s greatest leader but like most, got bewitched by insatiable greed for riches .. Like many failed leaders who had so much promise, his Advisers were sycophantic cowards who echoed him & supported & participated in his thievery ..

921 people are talking about this

But others chose to focus on reasons to celebrate his achievements:

Abubakar As’sidiq@afkar_9

He was feted as an African liberation hero and champion of racial reconciliation. Rest well Mugabe

See Abubakar As’sidiq’s other Tweets

The ailing Mugabe spent his last remaining years shuttling between medical facilities in Singapore and his mansion in Harare.

Mugabe had made it clear to his close family members that he did not want to be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre or to be associated with President Mnangagwa and all those he viewed as his ‘betrayers and tormentors,” according to a close family friend as reported in Bulawayo. “He has said he doesn’t want them to sing and pontificate over his dead body.”

Egypt’s President Calls for Expanding Cooperation with African States

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Egypt’s President Calls for Expanding Cooperation with African States

Wednesday, 7 August, 2019 – 10:45
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during his meeting with the prime minister and several ministers. Photo provided by the presidency
Cairo – Asharq Al-Awsat
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has chaired a meeting aimed at discussing ways to expand cooperation with countries in the African continent.

The meeting brought together Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and several ministers, including the ministers of electricity and renewable energy, finance, health and housing, trade and industry, agricultural and land reclamation, in addition to the head of General Intelligence.

Spokesman for the Egyptian Presidency Bassam Rady said Sisi “gave instructions to expand the scope of cooperation with African countries and build bridges of communication with them.”

He also advised to work hard in drafting and improving the mechanisms for joint African action.

The meeting addressed the steps taken to implement Egypt’s plan of action for taking over the African Union presidency, especially with regard to achieving economic integration after the enforcement of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in May and the official launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area during the latest exceptional AU summit in Niamey, Niger, said Rady.

It also tackled Egypt’s efforts to support infrastructure projects in Africa, such as the Cairo-Cape Town Highway as well as power and railway interconnection projects, which seek to boost continental integration, the spokesman added.

In a related development, several Egyptian and African lawmakers stressed during a meeting hosted at the Egyptian parliament the importance of issuing joint legislation and exchanging expertise.

They also shed light on the necessity of improving the investment climate, mainly in agriculture.

Sudan: Arab States Welcome Sudan’s Agreement on Constitutional Document

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Arab States Welcome Sudan’s Agreement on Constitutional Document

Monday, 5 August, 2019 – 11:15
Deputy Head of Sudanese Transitional Military Council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and Sudan’s opposition alliance coalition’s leader Ahmad al-Rabiah hold up signed copies of the constitutional declaration during a signing ceremony in Khartoum, Sudan August 4, 2019. (Reuters)
Cairo, Jeddah – Sawsan Abu Hussein, Asharq Al-Awsat
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Bahrain and GCC, Arab and Islamic organizations welcomed the agreement reached on the constitutional document between Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) and Forces of Freedom and Change in Sudan.

Saudi Arabia praised the qualitative step, saying it will move the country towards security, peace and stability.

The Kingdom commended efforts exerted by all parties to give priority to the national interest and open a new chapter in the country’s history, according to a source at the Foreign Ministry.

The source reiterated the Kingdom’s full commitment to support Sudan stemming from the close ties between the two countries and peoples.

Egypt also welcomed on Sunday the agreement for a new period of the transitional government, describing the deal as an important step to achieving security and stability in Sudan.

The Foreign Ministry asserted its full support to the choices and aspirations of the Sudanese people as well as the state institutions.

Recent steps that were taken in Sudan, including the agreement on the constitutional declaration and the agreement to form a civilian government, prove that Sudan is back on the constitutional path, read the statement, noting that the suspension of Sudan’s membership in the African Union should be lifted.

Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the initial signing of the constitutional declaration, underlining the importance of the step in further establishing peace and stability in the country and realizing the aspirations of the Sudanese people in achieving progress and prosperity.

Bahrain appreciated the keenness of all parties on protecting the greater interest and for the efforts exerted to reach this agreement, according to the statement.

The Ministry reiterated Bahrain’s firm stance of solidarity with Sudan, especially during this crucial stage in history and its support for all that enhances Sudan’s interests and benefits its people.

For his part, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said Sudan was turning over the page of the former regime and Muslim Brotherhood.

“Sudan is turning the page of the rule of Al-Bashir and the Muslim Brotherhood into a new era in its political history by turning to civil rule,” Gargash said on Twitter.

The Minister noted that the path to a state of institutions, stability and prosperity will not be filled with roses, asserting UAE’s confidence in Sudan and its people.

Also, GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif al-Zayani praised the signing of the constitutional document saying it is an important historic step to establish stability, security and peace in Sudan.

Zayani called upon the Sudanese people and all national forces to strengthen confidence and consensus, unite ranks and efforts, uphold national unity and embark on building a democratic and civil state in accordance with the principles of justice to achieve the aspirations of the Sudanese people.

OIC Secretary-General Yousef al-Othaimeen also welcomed the signing between the TMC and the Forces, which paves the way for handing over the administration of the country to a transitional civilian government.

Othaimeen stressed that this agreement is an important step in the course of the political process and the fulfillment of the requirements of the transitional period.

The Sec-Gen reiterated that OIC stands by Sudan at this delicate stage to achieve the aspirations of its people for security, peace, stability and development.

Tunisia to Witness Promising Olive Harvest

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Tunisia to Witness Promising Olive Harvest

Monday, 5 August, 2019 – 11:15
Women harvest oil from trees in Sidi Thabet, Tunisia (File photo: Reuters)
Tunis – Mongi Saidani
Tunisia is expected to witness a promising olive harvest season this year with olive oil production reaching 350,000 tons, the Ministry of Agriculture has announced.

These prospects would make Tunisia the world’s second top oil producer after Spain, having for years been among the top five, competing with Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal.

Director General of Tunisia’s National Olive Oil Board, Chokri Bayoudh, said that during its recent meetings, the Board discussed mechanisms to support the quality and control the production of olive oil, further adjust the market and facilitate the access of exporters of olive oil and producers to state funding.

The government continues to support the development of the industry by planting millions of olive trees to ensure Tunisia stays among the top international producers. However, there remain several obstacles, namely lack of workers in olive harvesting which usually runs for a short period between November and March.

Last year, Tunisia’s olive oil production dropped to 140,000 tons, 117,000 of which were exported with a value of about $526 million, compared to a record high in 2017.

During recent years, Tunisia’s olive oil production reached 185,000 tons, however, it is expected to improve in the coming years to reach 230,000 tons at an annual rate. This will place Tunisia at a leading position among major international olive oil producers.

The Tunisian olive oil production is a major contributor to the economy’s stabilization. Reduced olive oil exports have affected the food trade, which was about $226 million during the first half of the year.

Production has improved globally this season among the largest producing countries except for Spain, showed figures.

Tunisia’s National Observatory of Agriculture (ONAGRI) announced that olive oil production in Spain will reach 1.35 million tons during the coming season, compared to 1.77 million tons in the previous season.

ONAGRI also noted that production in Italy will reach 270,000 tons and Greece 300,000 tons, marking an improvement compared to the previous season, and the rate in Portugal will reach 130,000 tons. These countries are among the most competitive with Tunisian olive oil in international markets.

Saudis: EU to Observe Elections in Tunisia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

EU to Observe Elections in Tunisia

Sunday, 4 August, 2019 – 11:45
The head of Tunisian Independent High Authority for Elections, Nabil Baffoun, attends a news conference in Tunis, Tunisia, March 6, 2019. Reuters file photo
Tunis – Mongi Saidani
The European Union announced sending a 38-member Election Observation Mission (EOM) on August 23 to overlook presidential and parliamentary elections in Tunisia. It said this move comes as a response to a request by the Independent High Authority for Elections.

Ten observers will be deployed in Tunis, with the remainder distributed to several polling stations throughout the country.

According to the EU, the mission will work “independently, impartially and fully in line with international standards,” to monitor elections.

This would give greater credibility to the elections’ results and maintain the level of political support for the emerging Tunisian democracy.

Ten candidates have submitted their papers to run for the early presidential elections, scheduled to be held on September 15.

Five among these 10 represent well-known political parties including Head of the Democratic Patriots’ Unified Party Mongi Rahoui, President of the Democratic Current Mohamed Abbou, Head of the Republican People’s Union (L’Union Populaire Républicaine) Lotfi Mraihi, President of the Free Destourian Party (Free Constitutional Party) Abir Moussi and Head of the Heart of Tunisia Party Nabil Karoui

The other five, however, are independent and don’t represent any political party in the country, and they include Mounir Joumai, Nidal Karim, Hamdi Alia.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, Defense Minister Abdul Karim al-Zubaidi and former Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa are also expected to run for the presidential elections.

The number of political and social parties backing Zubaidi has increased on Saturday after leaderships of Ennahda Party and Nidaa Tounes announced they would vote for him.

In this context, Head of Tunisian Independent High Authority for Elections Nabil Baffoun affirmed the proposal to revise chapter 49 of the Tunisian Electoral Code concerning the appeals of the results relating to the presidential elections, or the enactment of a special statute relating to the electoral dates for the premature elections.

In case the deadlines were shortened, coordination with the Administrative Court (a court that hears appeals by the candidates) will take place in a bid to respect the constitutional term for electing new president within a maximum period of 90 days, which ends on October 24.

If the parliament approves the Independent High Authority for Elections’ proposal, the second round of presidential elections will be held before September 29, respecting constitutional deadlines.

Saudis: Sudan Detains 9 Soldiers over El-Obeid Killings

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Sudan Detains 9 Soldiers over El-Obeid Killings

Friday, 2 August, 2019 – 10:30
Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi. Sudan News Agency
Asharq Al-Awsat
Sudan’s military council spokesman said on Friday that nine soldiers from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been dismissed and detained in connection with the killing of protesters this week.

Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi added that the governor of North Kordofan state and its security council would also be held accountable for the killing of six people, including four schoolchildren, in the state capital El-Obeid on Monday.

Opposition groups have accused the RSF, led by the deputy head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council, of killing scores of protesters demanding a return to civilian rule since President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April.

The RSF’s commander, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, has previously denied these claims and blamed “infiltrators” instead.

The main opposition coalition, the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), welcomed the action against the RSF members, saying it would prevent further violence.

Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese took to the streets on Thursday in response to the killings in El-Obeid, and opposition medics said four more protesters were killed and many injured by gunfire in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman.

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