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Displaying apartheid flag constitutes hate speech, says South African court

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The old flag, which was replaced in 1994, when South Africa became a democracy with Nelson Mandela as its president, can now only be displayed for historical, educational or artistic purposes, Judge Phineas Mojapelo said in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

Mojapelo was granting an application from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which had argued the gratuitous display of the orange, white and blue apartheid flag was an indicator of racial superiority and oppression.

YEE

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

Foreign

IOM partners with South Sudan to enhance COVID-19 border surveillance

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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Wednesday that it has entered into a partnership with the South Sudanese government and other United Nations agencies to ramp up surveillance at the country’s borders to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The UN migration agency said a joint team led by government officials recently completed assessment on the establishment of an entry point in Wunthou, Renk, a county bordering the Blue Nile state of Sudan.

“Renk is an important and busy trade and humanitarian corridor,” Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM South Sudan‘s chief of mission, said in a statement issued in Juba.

With 40 to 50 trucks moving across the border each week, Renk has proven to be an important trading hub and is vital to the humanitarian aid lifeline connecting South Sudan and Sudan, Chauzy said.

“As a first step and before establishing a fully-fledged point of entry, infection prevention and control measures such as the installation of handwashing stations must be in place as well as proper management of suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19,” he said.

Chauzy said the team assessed the preparedness and capacity to carry out border management, and found that protracted disputes over demarcation between Sudan and South Sudan due to lack of shared intelligence, leaving movement across the borders uncoordinated.

Zacharia Modi, director of public health in the ministry of health, said: “It is an important step to ensure that while we keep borders open for essentials and humanitarian relief, we do so while taking precautions that protect the public from COVID-19 transmission.”

Modi noted the need to strengthen the capacities of local authorities, frontline officers and local partners in responding to the pandemic, including improving the current infrastructure that is not yet adequate to respond to the health crisis.

“We are very pleased that this joint assessment with the International Organization for Migration and other partners took place,” Modi said.

South Sudan has 1,317 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with six recoveries and 14 deaths, as of Tuesday.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Five killed in renewed South Sudan violence

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At least five people were killed in South Sudan’s capital Juba during renewed violence that erupted Wednesday morning, the presidential spokesperson said.

The presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny said four men and one woman died in the shooting incident, which broke out in the Sherikat neighborhood.

The latest violence was sparked by wrangles over a disputed piece of land.

“The killing of five people is a very serious criminal act and the perpetrators must be punished. Our sympathy to the families of the victims,” Ateny said in a statement issued in Juba

Ateny said the South Sudanese leader was saddened by the loss of lives, adding that perpetrators would be punished.

“The president condemns this in the strongest terms possible and has directed authorities to investigate the incident and press charges against the perpetrators,” Ateny said.

Relative calm has since returned to Juba after tribal and government authorities intervened to stop hundreds of rioting youth who earlier blocked roads with barricades and burning tires.

Ateny said one suspect, believed to be a distant relative of President Kiir, was arrested during the clashes.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Roadside bomb blast kills 9 civilians in southern Afghanistan

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Nine Afghan civilians were killed and five others wounded after their vehicle touched off a Taliban roadside bomb in southern Kandahar province on Wednesday, local police said.

“The incident occurred in Khoshak locality of Arghistan district at mid-day. The injured were shifted to a district hospital,” Jamal Barakzai, provincial police spokesman, told Xinhua.

He blamed Taliban militants for planting the improvised explosive device (IED) on the dusty road in the province, 450 km south of the country’s capital, Kabul.

The Afghan civilians continue to bear the brunt of armed conflicts as more than 3,400 civilians were killed and over 6,900 others injured in conflict-related incidents in 2019, according to the figures released by the UN mission in the country.

Out of the total casualties, more than 880 civilians were killed and over 3,450 others wounded in suicide and non-suicide IED explosions in 2019.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Confirmed COVID-19 cases mounting in South, Southeast Asia as India total infections surpass 200,000

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South and Southeastern Asian countries continued to report spikes in COVID-19 cases Wednesday as India recorded its highest daily increase of 8,909 new cases, bringing the total to cross the 200,000 mark.

The number of confirmed cases rose to 207,615 in India, and the death toll reached 5,815, said the federal health ministry.

As many as 217 new deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, added the ministry’s data.

Bangladesh reported 2,695 more positive cases, bringing the total to 55,140.

A total of 37 deaths including 28 men and nine women were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 746.

In Indonesia, the total cases rose by 684 within one day to 28,233, and the death toll increased by 35 to 1,698.

The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines surged to 19,748 after the Department of Health reported 751 more infections.

The number of recoveries further climbed to 4,153 after 90 more patients have recovered, and the death toll also increased to 974 after eight more deaths were reported.

Malaysia recorded 93 newly-confirmed cases, pushing the national total to 7,970.

Health ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said at a press briefing that all the new cases are local transmissions, with 91 being foreign nationals and two are locals.

No new deaths had been reported, with the total standing at 115.

The Afghan Ministry of Public Health confirmed 758 new cases, bringing to 17,267 the total number of patients in the country.

Twenty-four patients died within the period, taking the death toll to 294.

South Korea reported 49 more cases compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 a.m. Wednesday local time, raising the total number of infections to 11,590.

The daily caseload stayed above 30 for three straight days due to small cluster infections from religious gatherings in the metropolitan area.

One more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 273.

South Korea unveiled the country’s biggest-ever supplementary budget plan Wednesday to tackle an economic fallout from the pandemic.

The extra budget plan worth 35.3 trillion won (28.5 billion U.S. dollars) will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

In New Zealand, restrictions on businesses will be removed under COVID-19 Alert Level 1, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern explained the details as New Zealanders are seeing their lives returning to normal.

The country reported no new cases for 12 consecutive days.

The decision to move down to Alert Level 1 will be made on June 8, Ardern said, adding it was possible that New Zealand could move down to Alert Level 1 by June 10.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Libyan gov’t forces kill dozens of eastern-based army soldiers in southern Tripoli

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Libya’s UN-backed government forces said Tuesday that they have killed 48 soldiers of the rival eastern-based army in the south of Tripoli.

“The heavy artillery of the 307 Artillery Battalion destroyed a mortar company of Haftar’s terrorist militias (commander of eastern-based army) in Wadi al-Rabee axis (southern Tripoli),” Mohamed Gonono, spokesman of the UN-backed government’s forces, said in a statement later Tuesday.

“Our brave forces counted 48 bodies of the fleeing terrorists left behind before they escaped from the battlefields,” the statement added.

The spokesman also said that the UN-backed government’s forces has seized eight armed vehicles of the eastern-based army, captured four soldiers, and destroyed 10 military vehicles.

Despite repeated international calls for cease-fire, the eastern-based army and the UN-backed government have been fighting for more than a year over the control of Tripoli, which killed and injured hundreds of civilians and displaced more than 150,000 others.

(XINHUA)

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General news

APC has done well for South East, says Igbokwe

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A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Mr Joe Igbokwe, on Tuesday said the South East had benefited immensely under the APC government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He made the statement in Ikeja while speaking with newsmen during the inauguration of new executives of Ndigbo APC in Lagos State.

Igbokwe, who is the leader of the group, said the South East had gotten more projects under the APC government than any other government since 1999.

He said the APC government would soon deliver the Second Niger Bridge after several failed promises by previous governments.

Igbokwe, also the Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Drainage and Water Resources, urged more people from the South East to join the APC as the party meant well for the region and the country in general.

“I want more of our people to join the APC given what is happening in the South East now in terms of development.

“I do not think there is any project bigger than the Second Niger Bridge in Nigeria now; the bridge is getting to completion.

“I know that by next year, the government would have finished the bridge. The same bridge that was used to dupe our people for 22 years will soon be completed,” he said.

Igbokwe said the inauguration of the executives was to further strengthen Ndigbo in APC Lagos to take the party to greater heights both in the state and at the national level.

He added that the group had the mandate to mobilise Ndigbo for the APC to ensure the party’s continued foothold in Lagos and the nation.

Igbokwe charged the new executives to discharge their duties without let or hinderance and ensure the growth of the party “from strength to strength”.

He dismissed reports in some quarters that there was division in Ndigbo APC in Lagos State.

The governor’s aide said that whoever was parading himself as apex leader of Ndigbo in Lagos APC outside of the group was an imposter as the group was not factionalized.

Igbokwe said he was the face of Ndigbo in Lagos APC as he had done a lot for the party and that he was recognised as leader by all Igbo political stakeholders in APC.

He called for support for Gov. Sanwoolu, saying the governor was doing his best to take the state to greater heights.

Speaking on behalf of the newly inaugurated executives, the Coordinator, Chief Uche Dimgba,  thanked all members of the group, particularly Igbokwe, for the confidence reposed in them.

He also thanked the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for giving all members of the party a sense of belonging.

Dimgba promised that he and other executive members of the Ndigbo in Lagos APC would do their best to move the party forward.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports the 15-member executive include Chief Chris Ekwulo(Deputy Coordinator);Princess Oby Onu(Women Leader);Chief Uche Babatata(Organising Secretary);and Mr Leo Obasi(Assistant Youth Leader).


Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

South Sudan’s minister of East African Affairs dies

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South Sudan’s minister of East African Affairs in the current unity government, John Luk Jok has died, a government spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.

Michael Makuei Lueth, minister of information and broadcasting, described the deceased as a liberator and scholar who helped write the country’s Constitution in 2011.

“It was this Tuesday morning when I received a telephone call and informed that brother John Luk Jok has passed on. So it is true that it has happened,” Makuei told Xinhua in Juba.

He said there was no official confirmation of the cause of the death.

“We have lost a great man who contributed a lot in a liberation struggle and after liberation. He had ever been a servant of people, and with his death, we have lost a great man,” said Makuei.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Over 600 civilians killed across South Sudan in Q1: UN

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JUBA, June 2 (Xinhua)–The UN peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said Tuesday at least 658 were killed in the east African country between January and March.

The UNMISS human rights division in a report released in Juba documented more than 275 incidents of violence against civilians, in which 1,767 civilians were subjected to four major forms of harm.

The UNMISS investigation revealed the death of 658 civilians, 452 injuries, 592 abductions and 65 cases of sexual violence across the conflict-torn country.

The Peacekeeping mission said between January and March 2019, 159 incidents were documented, involving at least 912 civilian victims.

UNMISS said the new data corresponds to a 94 percent increase in violence against civilians compared to the same period last year.

The report said that inter-communal violence constituted majority of violence affecting civilians.

“This is a direct result of the evolving nature of inter-communal conflict, which is often carried out with military-style tactics and military-grade weapons,” UNMISS said.

“During the reporting period, for instance, at least four separate attacks each claimed the lives of more than 50 civilians. Intercommunal violence varies significantly in scale and intensity,” it added.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Accelerating increase of COVID-19 cases seen in South Asian countries as Bangladesh records biggest daily jump

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Asia-Pacific countries are still facing a growing outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday as Bangladesh recorded its highest daily increase, while India became the seventh country in the world in terms of infections.

Bangladesh confirmed 2,911 new cases, the highest daily rise since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country on March 8, bringing the total to 52,445.

A total of 37 more people including 33 men and four women died in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 709.

Bangladesh had earlier recorded highest 2,545 cases in a 24-hour period on Sunday.

India’s federal health ministry on Tuesday morning reported 204 new deaths and 8,171 positive cases during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 5,598 and total cases to 198,706.

In Indonesia, the confirmed cases in Indonesia rose by 609 within one day to 27,549, and the death toll increased by 22 to 1,663.

The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines climbed to 18,997 after the Department of Health reported 359 more infections on Tuesday.

The number of recoveries further climbed to 4,063 after 84 more patients have recovered, and the death toll also increased to 966 after 6 more deaths were reported.

Malaysia reported 20 new cases, pushing the national total to 7,877, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

Of the new cases, 15 are imported cases while the five local transmissions were made up of 3 foreign nationals and two locals.

No new death is reported with the total standing at 115.

South Korea recorded 38 more infections compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 a.m. Tuesday local time, raising the total number of infections to 11,541.

The daily caseload stayed above 30 for two straight days due to small cluster infections from religious gatherings in the metropolitan area.

New Zealand announced no new case on Tuesday for 11 consecutive days, with the combined total of confirmed and probable cases staying at 1,504, according to the Ministry of Health.

(XINHUA)

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