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Zimbabwe : Activists go into hiding over security crackdown

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Zimbabwe’s Activist Tendai Biti arrested by police ( BBC Photo)

Zimbabwe’s Activist Tendai Biti arrested by police ( BBC Photo)

Hundreds more activists have gone into hiding in Zimbabwe as security agencies intensify a crackdown launched shortly after the election 10 days ago.

Millions of people cast votes in the poll, the first since the ousting of Robert Mugabe last year.

The victor was Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former aide to Mugabe and a stalwart of the Zanu-PF party, which has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980.

Nelson Chamisa, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader, has said his party will challenge the “illegitimate and fraudulent” election in the courts.

The poll was seen as a potential turning point for Zimbabwe, which desperately needs foreign investment to avoid economic breakdown.

But hopes for dramatic and immediate change have been dashed by violence and alleged human rights abuses since the election.

Tendai Biti, a senior MDC leader, was arrested at the country’s border with Zambia on Wednesday, while further reports of detentions of and assaults on activists emerged.

Six people died last week when soldiers opened fire on MDC protesters in central Harare.

According to dozens of testimonies gathered by the Guardian, security forces have since harassed hundreds of MDC leaders and activists, arbitrarily detaining and beating scores of people.

At the weekend, soldiers moved through neighbourhoods of Harare and surrounding towns, targeting opposition supporters, smashing property and assaulting dozens of people.

Last week the homes of leaders were surrounded by unidentified masked and armed men during the night, and homes of activists were invaded by gangs shouting pro-government slogans.

In the past 48 hours, dozens of independent media activists have gone into hiding, along with several NGO workers fearful of detention.

Ashley Pfunye, 21, a student leader, said he had gone into hiding after a warning that “the military” were looking for him. At least one of his friends had already been detained, he said.

“The army has a list and I am on it,” Pfunye told the Guardian. “I rang my mum to tell her she would not hear from me for a while and went underground. It was a hard call to make.

“I don’t know when we’ll speak again. If I’m found, I will disappear and it might be forever. I am frightened, but it is what politics here in Zimbabwe is all about.”

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UN wants Africa to prepare for effect of climate change

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UN wants Africa to prepare for effect of climate Change

UN wants Africa to prepare for effect of climate Change


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called on international community to evolve measures to prepare the African continent for the ravages of climate change.

Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa, Director of UNDP’s Africa Bureau, who made the call at the 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) climate conference, in Katowice, Poland, said preparing Africa for the reality of climate change “cannot be an afterthought.”

Eziakonwa said: “Taking reactive approaches to food security and disaster recovery costs the people of Africa billions of dollars in lost GDP, and syphons off government resources that should be dedicated to education, social programmes, healthcare, business development and employment”.

According to a new report launched by the UNDP, Africa is at a “tipping point” as global warming increases, and urgent action needs to be taken across the continent now to mitigate risks and safeguard a decade of social and economic gains.

For two weeks, the COP24 has brought together thousands of climate action decision-makers, advocates and activists, with one key objective: adopting global guidelines for the 197 parties of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

At the Paris Agreement, countries committed to limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees centigrade – and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees centigrade – above pre-industrial levels.

Ahunna noted that in spite of major structural inequalities, nations across the continent have achieved “impressive economic, political and social growth in recent decades.”

She, however, argued that “climate change, droughts, floods, changing rainfall patterns and conflict have the potential to unravel efforts to reduce hunger and achieve the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The UNDP study shows that, should the world fail to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees centigrade, families will find it hard to feed themselves, and the risk of famine and increased poverty will rise along with temperatures.

Higher levels of poverty would further limit the capacity of communities to manage climate-related risks, according to the report.

The report warned that failure to mitigate climate-related risks could translate into more risky migration patterns, serious epidemics such as the 2014 Ebola outbreak across West Africa, and greater political instability.

Drawing on years of data from projects geared to enabling communities to adapt to a changing climate and build resilience, the report shows that as emissions continue going up, support for climate adaptation initiatives must be increased urgently and accelerated across the continent, especially across the 34 African least developed countries.

However, measures to enable communities to adapt to the changing climate is a costly matter that would require creative financial mechanisms and substantial engagement with the private sector to meet.

It would also require developed nations to make good on their 2015 Paris Agreement commitments to dedicate $100 billion annually to supporting climate action in developing nations.

The report analyses a number of noteworthy successes in climate change adaptation in Africa over the past decade, including projects aimed at improving food security in Benin, Mali, Niger and Sudan.

It also analysed supporting governments in having improved climate information and early warning systems to save lives from fast-acting storms; and empowering women to be effective climate action champions.

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Ukraine demands release of seized ships, crew from Russia

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Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria Dr Valerii Aleksandruk

Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria Dr Valerii Aleksandruk

The Ukrainian authority has protested Russian’s armed attack and capturing of its navy ships “Berdyansk” Nikopol and the tug boat `Yana Kapu’ as well as injuring of the crew members.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria Dr Valerii Aleksandruk who said this in a statement in Abuja said the country demanded for immediate release of the seized vessels and crew members.

Aleksandruk said Russian forces opened fire on a group of Ukraine ships in the Black Sea off the coast of the Crimean Peninsula late on Nov. 25th.

The envoy said the country also protested striking of two warships and wounding of two crew members before seizing the vessels along with a Ukrainian Navy tugboat.

He said that the attack on Ukrainian ships was carried out during a sea crossing from the port of Odessa to the port of Mariupol.

“The attack, in accordance with the provisions of all effective multilateral and bilateral international treaties and navigation rules, is nothing but another act of armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine

“It is against Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations and the provisions of UN General Assembly Resolution 29/3314 of 14 December 1974 on the definition of aggression.

“Russia has de facto expanded its military aggression against Ukraine to the sea.

“Kremlin’s criminal regime has today once again demonstrated that it won’t stop its aggressive policy and is ready for any acts of aggression against the Ukrainian state,” he said.

According to him, Ukraine also requested for urgent medical assistance to the wounded and to ensure their immediate safe return home.

“Ukraine also demands to return the captured navy ships and to compensate for the damage caused.

“It is Kremlin’s regime who bears full responsibility for further aggravation of the situation in the Azov and Black Seas and for undermining the peaceful settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict.

“Ukraine urges its allies and partners to take all necessary measures to deter the aggressor, by applying new and strengthening existing sanctions

“Ukraine also urges its allies to provide military assistance to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty within the internationally recognised borders,” he said

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CNN sues White House for barring reporter

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CNN sued Donald Trump’s administration on Tuesday, alleging the White House violated journalist Jim Acosta’s rights under the constitution by revoking his press credentials following a heated exchange with the US president.

“The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process,” the news network said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process.”

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