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Category : {Sports}

Could Africa Host The 2030 World Cup?

Thursday 18 October 2018,

It was a blow to African football fans this past summer when North America won its bid to host the 2026 World Cup. The event will take place primarily in the United States, but will also have matches hosted in Mexico and Canada, making for a vast spread and a great deal of variety among host cities.

This seems to be fitting given that 2026 will mark the first time the tournament expands to 48 teams. Hosting more teams requires a bit more space, at least in theory, and there is some logic to the idea of putting the Cup in a part of the world with countless tournament-ready stadiums and a reliable infrastructure.

Nevertheless, with Morocco the other finalist for 2026, the decision naturally disappointed anyone who would have liked to see the Cup return to Africa, where it was last held in 2010 (in South Africa). Now, these same people will have to wait at least 12 years, with 2030 marking the next World Cup that doesn’t yet have a home.

Over the next couple of years, we’ll likely start to see a picture painted of the frontrunners for this event. Football inspires endless speculation and debate on matters such as these, and in the modern sport, with technology moving faster than ever, betting markets too are constantly updated and refined. That means that when we start to see regular odds listings for 2030 - and rest assured, the Cup will have its own betting market - we can likely trust them as a fairly reliable indicator of which bid is in the lead. For now however, it’s still a little bit early for that, and we’re left more with speculation.

So far as we know at this point, there are three serious prospective bids for the 2030 World Cup.

One is from England, and by the sound of things Ireland would be a joint host. This essentially means we’d be in for a British Isles World Cup, presumably with England and Ireland qualifying automatically as hosts - and potentially Wales and Scotland as well. It would be an appealing bid, particularly after London did such a memorable job of hosting the Olympics in 2012, and also given that England - one of the top countries in the world as far as pure football adoration goes - last hosted way back in 1966. On the other hand, it’s a little bit difficult to imagine FIFA awarding a second consecutive Cup to a predominantly caucasian Western nation, after the North American tournament in 2026.

Another bid will come from Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay. This is already being viewed as a particularly formidable bid, to the point that some British publications have suggested it may be impossible to beat for the English/Irish bid. The main reason for the perceived strength of the bid is that 2030 will mark 100 years exactly since the first World Cup, which happens to have been held in Uruguay. There’s a lot of poetry there that the FIFA committee may find it hard to ignore, particularly given the sporting and diplomatic clout of the three nations in question. Argentina and Uruguay in particular are legitimate powerhouses on the world stage, and while the Cup certainly doesn’t have to go to a such a nation (as proven in South Africa, Russia, and Qatar), there’s always an allure to the idea.

And then there’s the African bid, which at this point appears to be getting the least attention of the three. The bid will come from Morocco again, though this time it will be aided by Tunisia and Algeria for what would effectively be a North African World Cup. There’s a nice balance to the idea as it would be exactly 20 years after South Africa hosted, and there is sometimes a feeling that a nation that misses out in one year deserves another chance soon thereafter. It’s certainly not a bid to be overlooked.

Again, at this point there seems to be a bit more chatter about the other bids, and the South American one in particular. But Africa, and specifically Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, will have a shot at it.

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Category : {Discovering}

Why it is important for communities to celebrate local art

Thursday 19 July 2018,

Communities play an important role in the art industry, especially when it comes to supporting and nurturing African art. Once a community is supportive of an artist, the artist will find their success increasing and their notoriety improving. Not only will the arts flourish, but the community will also see an increase in their tourist economy and in their overall morale. Below are just some of the reasons why it is important for communities to support local art.

It can help to fuel the economy

In communities with tight economic situations, artists often struggle to sell their work to individuals and often battle to support themselves because of the costs involved with creating the art.

Local art is affordable, and it is easier for communities to support an artist or artists because of this affordability. The economy will improve and the awareness of the artists’ work will also burgeon. As a community, if you support local creativity you will be showing the world how important their art is and you will be allowing them to continue to create stunning artworks that resonate with the community.

Art fairs are good for local merchants

While the focus of an art fair should be on the art and the artists, these events are also highly beneficial for local merchants. This is because attendees of events such as African art fairs spend money on food items, curios, parking and even babysitters.

People who live outside the country of the art fair are likely to spend twice as much as locals, which is great news for merchants who rely on such events to increase their revenue. Communities rely on the custom of visitors and locals to keep their merchants up and running, which is why it is so important to support artists and art fairs.

Art has a social impact

Art has always been an industry that strives to send a message to the world, whether overtly or subtly. This is most seen in African art by artists such as Mary Sibande, whose art focuses on ‘Sophie’ an alter-ego who is a domestic worker dreaming of freedom from this role.

Art such as Sibande’s can help to initiate social change within a community, as it helps to address issues that people might be feeling within that community. Issues such as racism, corruption, political upheaval and so forth are often examined in modern art and if a community supports this art, they will be helping to make the world more aware of the issues they face on a daily basis.

The youth’s engagement will increase

Including young people as meaningful contributors to the social and economic aspects of the community is important in building their engagement in helping to solve problems that community members face.

Engaging the youth should not fall onto the shoulders of parents and schools alone but on community projects such as organising art fairs or evenings where children are taught how to paint and sculpt by local artists. Supporting the arts will give children, teenagers and young adults an exciting and unique outlet and artists will be given a new source of income.

It helps to drive tourism

Tourism is what communities thrive on, and supporting local art is one of the best ways to drive tourism into your community. If you look at the newly opened Zeitz MOCAA art museum in Cape Town, South Africa you will see just how many people have stopped to visit it, both locals and those from foreign countries. African art is highly popular among tourists to the continent, so it is important that communities support and showcase the local art of their area. People from other countries will be educated on the culture of the community too. It is a fantastic opportunity to garner more income to the community, so why not organise an exhibition of a local artist and invite the whole community, and encourage everyone to invite as many outside people as possible to increase awareness and improve the tourism industry.

The art is original

Supporting local African art or local art in general means that your community will be able to get to know the artist, what their creative process is and the story behind their work. You will find that original art has much more meaning to it than mass-produced pieces, which also increases its value in the eyes of buyers and art lovers alike.

The lovingly crafted, hand-made pieces of art created by local artists are more special than something that has been created in a factory and supporting these artists make them a part of the community. There is also a sense of exclusivity to the purchase, something which will help to make the pieces more interesting to foreign buyers.

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Category : {Discovering}

Dust from Africa makes America’s Sky Hazy: What it Means for You

Monday 9 July 2018,

How far do you think can sands go? Well, it turns out, it can even travel hundreds of thousands of miles easily. Sands from the deserts of Sahara have suspended thousand miles up in the sky and are carried over to hover in America. So, in the past few weeks the sky in America has changed its colour and the wind has gone dustier.

A Look at What NASA Says

According to NASA’s reports, since the end of June wind has started blowing from Africa’s Sahara Desert. It has travelled more than 5000 miles, across the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Sure, online betting is fun but being aware of going on what’s around you is important as well. It is what will make you a more responsible individual who can make the planet a better place.

Florida and Sands: An Ongoing Tale

Every year during the summers, Florida experiences a gush of dusty wind. It comes from a far off land in the Africa.

Over millions of tons of dust gets picked up from the deserts of Africa and is carried across the Atlantic Ocean, upsettingmostly the air quality in North and South America. Usually Florida is the most affected area. However, this year the band of dust has spread wider, affecting the south and southwest of America also. According to one of the reports, this year the tropical Atlantic has experienced one of the dustiest week in 15 years.

This immense dust does not pose much of a threat to anyone except to people with dust allergies. It restricts the outdoor activities of those suffering from health issues like respiratory problems and asthma. The other aspect that might be considered as a problem is the hazy skies. However some photographers enjoy the misty effect of the sunset and sunrise that present them with immense photography scope. Nature lovers like me also relishes the picturesque beauty of the scattered lights during sunset.

Though this plume of dust lingers over America all throughout the summer on a regular interval, it doesn’t cause any other damage than the one already discussed.

Understanding the Benefits

On the other hand, the benefits reaped out of this sand brown dust is more deep rooted than one can fathom. With thorough research, University of Miami has confirmed that the suspended dust has positive impact on the temperature in North and South America. It cools the ocean temperature by absorbing and dispersing the solar radiation over the tropical Atlantic. This in turn, suppresses the energy required to form hurricanes.

North America and Dusts

If you are wondering how little things can make a great amount of difference, this is another definitive proof for you.

The dusty winds have another very significant role to play in favor of America. Each year, a millions of tons of Saharan dust forms sediment on the Amazon River Basin, where it replenishes nutrients in the rainforest that have become depleted by tropical rains. For thousands of years, this African dust has been helping in fertilization of the Everglades.

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Category : {Sports}

World Cup 2018: Argentina Issues Apology for Printing a Guide that Talks About Seducing Russian Women!

Friday 18 May 2018,

Now, there have been a number of controversies in the lead up to the World Cup 2018. It was first whether Russia would be able to complete its stadiums on time. Then, the question was how the country would manage the influx of millions of tourists for the event. The one controversy that people didn’t really expect to happen was one where the Argentinean Football Association (AFA) introduced a Russia guide for its travelers – which included, among other travel tips, ideas to seduce Russian women!

Yes, you heard that right!

While they could argue that it was for fun, we cannot overlook the fact that sports entertainment doesn’t really mean that. In fact, nowhere, even in if you take a look at other sports nations, like sports entertainment South Africa, is this what you can call acceptable practice.

The Argentine Football Association have been under a lot of fire since the publication of the Year 2018 FIFA World Cup manual which included advice on wooing Russian women. Since then, the AFA has apologized for the remarks.

The association issued a statement that said that they regretted having this development overshadowing the other educational activities they were offering, and apologized to anyone who had been hurt by the publication. Additionally, the statement said that the article in question did not endorse the thoughts of the Argentine Football Association or its president Claudio Tapia by any means.

What Did the Material Talk About ?

The manual in question included a course titled, "Language and Russian culture", where one course dealt with why it was important to not think about women as objects.

And while that sounds good, a tip in the chapter told readers how one could improve their chances with a Russian girl, which sparked the controversy. The course, organized by AFA, did have a lot of useful information for the country’s tourists, but this was definitely not one of them.

The remark was called a printing mistake and treated as so in the official statement as well. The statement as well read that after an investigation, it was found out that the material was printed by mistake. The association further stated that, due to human errors, the printing happened, though the material in itself was never a part of the course. What Happens Now ?

After the apology statement, the material has been removed from the publication and distributed again amongst the players. In order to further apologize for the controversy, the president of the Argentine football Association Claudio Tapia visited the cultural Institute Russia house in Buenos Aires.

Ever since the controversy, the sports entertainment world has been religiously covering the news and the progress it has made over the week. The tournament kicks off in Moscow on June 14. It has been estimated that over 40000 Argentines have bought tickets for the matches. The country has won the World Cup twice and will be facing Iceland, Nigeria, and Croatia this year.

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Category : {Society}

Economic Prowess Dominates Diplomatic Precision: An Overview of King Mohammed VI’s Tour of Africa South of the Sahara

Friday 14 March 2014, Nabil Ouchagour

Increasingly in recent months, international politics has been split down the red line of foreign policy—a demarcation dividing the EU and the US from Russia and China. Crises like the current showdown in the Crimea, and the dark shadow hovering over Syria, are bleak examples of an embedded opposition between east and west. Clustered around the borders of that red line are countries such as Mali, rising economies with a favorable GDP poised to make a firm, political shift toward a permanent residency on one side or the other.

It is advantageous for the pro-West faction then, that King Mohammed VI of Morocco has become one of the most influential statesmen in African politics. The King maintains a strong relationship with his counterparts in the US and the EU, based on mutual respect and economic links, and is fast extending an equally friendly hand to Mali and other isolated, underdeveloped African nations. Over the past two weeks Mohammed VI has shown impressive diplomacy and business acumen during a tour of the sub-Saharan countries of Mali, Guinea, Gabon and the Côte d’Ivoire. His carefully cultivated relationship with Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, the Prime Minister of Mali, laid the foundations for 18 bilateral agreements signed by the two countries during the King’s state visit, covering areas in finance, energy and national defense.

With hindsight, the success of Moroccan diplomacy in Mali was to set a trend for the remainder of King’s tour. In the Côte d’Ivoire warm words of welcome were extended in an address by President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, which included an expression of support for Morroco’s preferred policy of autonomy in relation to the Western Sahara. At the presidential palace in Abdijan, Ouattara and Mohammed VI presided over the signing of six bilateral agreements in the areas of aquaculture, tourism and civilian protection. A joint communiqué later released highlighted the potential for further economic cooperation and trade between the two countries, with the aim of expanding diplomatic and, most importantly, economic relations. In a speech in front of over 500 business delegates from Morocco and the Côte d’Ivoire, HM King Mohammed VI openly emphasized the necessity for economic cooperation in today’s climate of global interdependency, "Diplomacy used to serve the strengthening of political relations. Nowadays, the economic dimension comes first, and it forms the basis of diplomatic relations."

In Guinea, regal tapestries and jovial conversation were the backdrop to the consolidation of a strong economic partnership. The support of Guinea-Conakry provides Morocco with a strategic entry-point into the ECOWAS and UEMOA markets of West Africa—two markets bustling with foreign investment thanks largely to the local abundance of mineral resources. At the opening of the Morocco-Guinea Economic Forum, King Mohammed VI reiterated the importance of close ties between their two countries, and the mutual economic benefits that should arise henceforth. Over 20 agreements were signed across the fields of transport, energy, water, agriculture, industry and taxation. Morocco is now a privileged partner in Guinea’s economic development, as indicated by the rise in the number of Moroccan banks, including the Attijariwafa Bank Group, that have recently opened up offices in the region.

Further southwards in the city of Libreville, Mohammed VI met with the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, for what was the last state visit on his tour. Two days after the two countries met in an international friendly match of football, the King and the President signed a $2.3 billion joint-venture deal for the construction of fertilizer factories and the development of Gabon’s agriculture industry. The deal, a result of longstanding relations between Morocco and Gabon, is to construct two fertilizer factories in both countries that will expand the industries of Moroccan phosphates and Gabonese natural gas. Morocco’s Trade Minister Moulay Hafid Alamy stated that the estimated output of Morocco’s phosphate factories will be approximately two million tons by the year 2018, all of which is destined for the developing sub-Saharan market. A plant to be constructed in Gabon will produce natural gas from ammonia. The deal is expected to generate at least 5,000 new jobs, and will surely have been the ideal closing to a remarkably productive tour of Africa south of the Sahara for King Mohammed VI. As international relations continue to be dictated by the divisive west-east axis, the vulnerable economies of many African countries seek a confident and strong example such as that currently being shown by Morocco and the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI.

By Nabil Ouchagour

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Category : {Society}

African integration and a new president for Mali: a tale of two necessary transitions

Tuesday 1 October 2013, Saïd Ibrahimi

As the world is witnessing the surprisingly smooth political transition in Mali, Morocco is not only determined to speed up the pace of its own partnership with African countries but is also committed, at the highest level, to upgrade the economic integration of the African continent, which has evolved rapidly over the past few years in an area of strategic development.

Indeed, beyond the strong political ties binding Morocco to most African countries, the Kingdom has not waited for the world economic powers to look towards Africa to show interest in the continent and spearhead mutually advantageous south-south cooperation. Having realized years ago that the genuine growth of its economy has to be sought southward, Morocco has multiplied initiatives to boost its economic relations with its southern partners.

Therefore, Morocco’s choice of the southward path is quite natural, given its centuries old historical, cultural, and economic ties with the African continent. Indeed, Morocco has always had a strong presence across Africa and has played a key role in fostering trans-Saharan trade, which dates back to the 9th century BC and which reached its peak between the 13th and 16th centuries, laying a bridge between the mainland and the rest of the continent.

Today, centuries later, this bridge is still crossed by several Moroccan institutions and firms which do not hesitate to invest in African countries, to do business and at the same time to contribute to the socio-economic development of the continent and to promote transfer of expertise and know-how, making every effort to recognize local talents.

These firms find incentives in the personal commitment of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI who endeavours ceaselessly to consolidate his country’s bilateral relations with the rest of Africa and to boost south-south cooperation. Since his coming to power in 1999, the King has made of Africa one of his strategic choices, as evidenced by the number of African tours he conducted and the number of African heads of State he hosted in Morocco. Later last week, the King of Morocco attended personally in Bamako the swearing in ceremony of the newly elected President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK), to renew, if need be, Morocco’s commitment to a unified, stable Mali.

Besides, part of its humanitarian assistance to the Malian people, Morocco set up a few days ago a field military hospital in Bamako that provides medical care in different specialties. Morocco’s commitment towards Africa is also translated by the financial and humanitarian assistance the country provides whenever an African country is facing difficulties, social upheavals or natural hazards.

The King has actually been a driving force in the continental bid to establish a new and modern process of inter-African development and has always shown a constant, keen interest in bolstering Morocco’s relations and cooperation with other African nations.

Given the personal involvement of the Head of state, it is therefore hardly surprising to see Moroccan companies choosing Africa first when they go international. Thus, many Moroccan large firms, including Banks (BMCE, Attijariwafa Bank, Banque Populaire,) real estate developers (Addoha, Alliances Développement Immobilier,) insurance companies (Saham Group), mining and industrial companies (Managem group & OCP) and telecom companies (Maroc Telecom) are currently operating in some 23 African countries, with focus on the members states of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS.) Over the 2006-2012 period, about 40% of Morocco’s direct investment went to Africa and Moroccan operators participated in huge projects in the sectors of low-cost housing, civil engineering, water quality, transport etc. The returns of the telecom sector alone have recorded a 12% increase thanks to its sub-Saharan branches (Gabon, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania) and the Moroccan carrier RAM is servicing 26 African countries from the Casablanca hub.

However, whatever strong Morocco’s ambition can be and whatever bright the investment and business prospects in Sub-Saharan Africa can be, the Kingdom’s anchorage to the continent is affected by the fragmentation of markets and the weak integration of the continent on the economic scale.

Many observers believe that regional integration is a crucial economic necessity for the development of a continent, which remains fragmented. Intra-African trade, for instance, does not exceed the level of 11% while intra-Asian trade stands at 27%.

Whereas the huge cost of non-integration for African economies is assessed at around 1 to 3% of GDP, integration is a critical leverage for economic growth.

It goes without saying that a comprehensive integration is a long, arduous process. In order to move forward, African countries need to begin with the most feasible form of integration, which is also the most optimal in terms of cost, benefit, and time: financial convergence. It can be achieved mostly through increased cooperation, better rules, mutual concessions, and minor investments, knowing that deep and well-functioning financial systems contribute to providing access to cheaper and longer-term capital that companies need to sustain their growth.

Moreover, efficient capital markets that are less fragmented will allow Africa to capture a larger share of international capital, ensure better allocation of funds, improve corporate governance through higher transparency, and facilitate regional cross-border investment and operations through enhanced regional investment climate.

African governments need also to work together to reduce the administrative burden for regional companies and to facilitate cross-border flows through bilateral treaties. This is a crucial prerequisite to attract more international investors and companies looking at investing their extra liquidities in the region. Morocco has already grasped the strategic, economic and commercial importance of the continent. The Kingdom is strongly committed to work with all regional actors in order to facilitate the political and economical transitions Africa is witnessing. A first major step has been accomplished in Mali, but the second step will need everybody’s implication in order to achieve a true financial integration of the continent, source for future common prosperity.

Said Ibrahimi is the Chairman of Casablanca Finance City, the African financial hub of Morocco, and the former treasury general of the Kingdom.

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News in brief

South Africa: Lonmin offers premium 140 euros for minors

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Lonmin, the third largest producer of platinum, made ​​a gesture to persuade the miners on striking to return to work after five weeks of social conflict. The British company has proposed Tuesday a premium of 140 euros to its employees over 98 euros salary increase proposed last week. This pay increase was rejected by minors. Since August 10, minors of Marikana go on strike to protest against the security and demand a to their boss to triple their incomes from 400 to 1200 euros monthly. This social movement has taken a dramatic turn Thursday, Aug. 16 when South African police opened fire on the strikers killing 34 of them

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New news item

Tuesday 18 September 2012

An Egyptian soldier was killed Sunday in clashes with gunmen in the Sinai Peninsula, according to a spokesman for the Egyptian army, state television reported. The soldier was fatally wounded during an exchange of fire between security forces and militants in the northern Sinai. According to officials of the security services, he succumbed to his injuries after being transferred to a hospital in Cairo.

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New news item

Monday 17 September 2012

Damara and Sibut, two cities located respectively 75 km and 185 km from Bangui, the CAR capital, were stormed Saturday by unidentified armed group reports the BBC. Suspicion would be for a dissident wing of the Chadian rebellion Popular Front for Unity (RPF). reports the BBC.

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Lightning kills several school children in Burundi

Friday 18 February 2011

According to reports from Burundi’s national radio, several people, including 12 school going children and a teacher, were killed and some seriously injured, when lighting struck two provinces on Wednesday, 16 February. The affected provinces include the central region province of Karuzi, where most of the fatal cases were reported, and Bubanza province in the western region. October last year, AFP reported that: "Three people were killed by lightning... as heavy rains pounded the hills of Murambi and Kiganda (southern Burundi), where at least 37 homes were destroyed". A few days earlier, in the same month of October, a lightning incident caused the death of an Anglican priest and three of his church members during mass in southern Burundi.

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Uganda: Bahati defends gay rights death penalty bill

Friday 11 December 2009

Uganda MP Bahati accused of calling for a “gay death penalty” says he has been misrepresented and is only trying to criminalize child abusers. David Bahati says the new offence of “aggravated homosexuality” is a penalty against “defilement” of under-18s. He claims there has been distortion in the media and that the death penalty is aimed solely at homosexuals “who defile a kid less than 18 years old,” notes BBC.

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Angola: President dos Santos to postpone presidential vote

Friday 11 December 2009

According to VOA, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has announced the country’s first post-war presidential election will likely be delayed for another three years. The leader, who had previously said the vote would take place in 2009, says he wants his MPLA party to complete the mandate it won in last year’s parliamentary elections.

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Nigeria: Ex-Minister El-Rugai tracked down by Nigeria

Friday 11 December 2009

A Nigerian court has issued an arrest warrant for a senior member of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration charged with abuse of office and criminal conspiracy, reports Angola Press. Authorities have planned to ask Interpol for help in tracking down Nasir El-Rugai, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory under Obasanjo from 2003-2007, after he failed to show up to any of his court hearings in the past seven months.

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Somalia: Pirate patrol need to extend range

Friday 11 December 2009

British admiral in charge of the European Union fleet watching out for Somali pirates wants to extend its patrol area, the Press Association has revealed. Rear Admiral Peter Hudson said his flotilla’s range needed to increase because pirates were launching attacks up to 1,000 miles off the coast, nearer India tha Africa. The EU Naval Force currently deploys up to seven warships, covering a sea area said to be 10 times the size of Germany.

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Zimbabwe: ZANU-PH holds first party congress

Friday 11 December 2009

According to Al Jazeera, Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF party has met for its first party congress since the formation of a unity government with its rival, the Movement for Democratic Change. Thousands of Zanu PF members are expected to attend the two-day event in Harare. Deligates are hoping to revitalize the party in the wake of last year’s post-election standoff that pushed it into a power-sharing deal with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), lef by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

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Kenya: 3.8 million starve as famine persists

Friday 11 December 2009

More than 3.8 million Kenyans are currently facing hunger as drought in the Eastern African country persists, writes All Africa. As a result, the team coordinating the emergency intervention program launched in August, the Crisis Response Centre, has recommended in a report that more funds should be raised. The report says areas at high risk of becoming a humanitarian emergency include the greater Marsabit, Isiolo, Mandera, Wajir and most parts of Rana River districts.

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