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France pays tribute to former president Jacques Chirac

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France’s National Assembly and Senate stood in silence on Thursday to mark the death of former president Jacques Chirac.

Chirac, who ruled France from 1995 to 2007, “is now part of France’s history,” National Assembly president Richard Ferrand said in an official statement.

The conservative Chirac was best known abroad for his staunch opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

At home, perhaps his greatest legacy was his acknowledgement, for the first time, of the French state’s role in the wartime round-up and arrest of Jewish people to Nazi death camps.

But he also knew many political setbacks, including the 2005 rejection by French voters of a proposed constitution for the EU.

Later the same year, he suffered a minor stroke, and in the closing months of the year the country saw severe rioting by frustrated youths from minority backgrounds.

In 2011, he received a two-year suspended sentence over allegations that, as mayor of Paris in the 1990s, he put party members on the city payroll without them actually working.

Tributes to the former president came from left and right, with Ferrand also recalling his commitment to arts and the environment.

“Personally, I cannot forget the last message he addressed to us when he left power, in which he exhorted the French people never to compromise with extremism, racism, anti-
Semitism, or the rejection of others,” Ferrand wrote.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner spoke of “the strong emotion that touches, at this moment, the French people.”

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was “devastated” to hear of the death of Chirac, whom he counted as a great friend, a spokeswoman said.

The leader of the EU executive has “no words to express his grief,” according to commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva.

Chirac, who suffered from severe memory problems, had disappeared from public life in recent years. His wife Bernadette, who survives him, has also faded from public view.
FAT/AFA

Edited by Fatima Sule/Felix Ajide

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Trade between Egypt, COMESA up 32.2% in 2018, says statistics agency

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 Trade exchange between Egypt and member states of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) hit 2.952 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, up 32.2 per cent year on year, Egypt’s statistics agency said on Tuesday.

In a statement, the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics said that exports to COMESA countries amounted to 1.908 billion dollars in 2018, up 17.2 per cent from 2017.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s imports from COMESA countries reached 1.44 billion dollars in 2018, an increase of 72.6 per cent year on year, it added.

Egypt’s economy has been battered by years of turmoil following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

However, the country has recently shown signs of economic improvement amid strict economic reforms, including tax hikes and energy subsidy cuts recommended by the International Monetary Fund that supports Egypt’s economic reform plan with a 12-billion-dollar loan. (Xinhua/NAN)

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(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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Sudan gov’t agrees to delay peace talks with armed groups to Dec. 10

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The Sudanese government has agreed to delay Thursday’s peace talks with the armed groups to Dec. 10, after a request from the host country South Sudan.

Sudan’s Higher Peace Council said this in a statement by its spokesperson Mohamed Al-Hassan Al-Taishi on Tuesday.

South Sudan’s capital Juba had been scheduled to host a new round of peace talks on Thursday between the Sudanese government and the armed groups from Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions.

“The government has agreed to delay the peace negotiations to Dec. 10 at the request of the mediation,”  Al-Taishi said.

On Oct. 14, Juba hosted a round of peace talks between the Sudanese government and the armed groups.

Sudan’s Justice and Equality Movement, the Sudan Liberation Movement /Minni Minnawi faction, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/northern sector took part in the talks with the government. (Xinhua/NAN)

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(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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Kenyan economist roots for adoption of yuan as reserve currency in Africa

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African countries should hasten the adoption of the yuan as a reserve currency amid increased bilateral trade with China, a Kenyan economist said.

Bernard Ayieko, a Nairobi-based economist said in a commentary published by the Business Daily newspaper that the adoption of the yuan would boost the ability of African countries to attract new investments and trade favorably at the global market.

“The Chinese growing influence and the increase in Sino-Africa relations have brought to the fore a debate on the African countries’ need to adopt the renminbi as a currency reserve,” Ayieko added.

He said that the internalization of yuan, or renminbi, would boost globalization and foreign trade that Africa could leverage to propel growth.

“The call to internationalize the renminbi continues to reverberate across the world.

“African countries are mulling the need to use the renminbi as a reserve currency and a medium of exchange in international settlements,” Ayieko said.

The internationalization of yuan reached a milestone in 2016 when it joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) basket of reserve currencies alongside the U.S. dollar, the Euro, Japanese Yen, and the British Pound.

“Premised on the increased trade, loans and grants to Africa from China, there has been an incessant debate in Africa that time is nigh for African countries to adopt the yuan as a reserve currency.

“The growing China-Africa trade has increased the yuan’s convertibility in settling financial transactions between countries.

“ yuan as a reserve currency, African countries will trade smoothly at both bilateral and multilateral levels because it will be easier to make international transactions between many countries that require diverse currencies for financial settlements,” Ayieko said.

(Xinhua/NAN)

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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76-year-old punched to the ground in anti-Semitic attack in Berlin

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A teenager hurled anti-Semitic insults at a 76-year-old man in Berlin before punching him to the ground, police in the German capital said on Tuesday.

The 16-year-old, who was with a group, began harassing the man, who was not actually Jewish, in the city of Pankow district on Monday morning, police said.

The two men then got into an argument and the teenager punched the older man several times in the face, causing him to lose his balance and fall to the ground.

Police restrained the younger man before handing him over to his father.

The incident is being investigated as a politically-motivated crime.

Edited by Halima Sheji/Donald Ugwu

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Thousands of documents on Nazi victims published online

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The Arolsen Archives International Centre on Nazi Persecution has published online thousands of documents on people persecuted by the Nazis.

A statement from the institution in the North Central German town of Bad Arolsen on Tuesday said it wanted to document the crimes of the Nazis and find missing persons.

“After World War II, the Allied occupying powers had a mammoth task in front of them.’’

The Arolsen Archives have now made these documents freely accessible via the internet.

In the U.S. occupied zone alone, 850,000 documents with information on 10 million names were created.

In order for the information to be retrieved quickly, the Arolsen Archives have obtained support from an online platform for genealogy research.

The research is to help with the processing, provision of data and publication of the documents in the organisation’s own online archive.

Giora Zwilling, the head of unit at the Arolsen Archives said “the data collected by Ancestry enrich our online archive with a wealth of valuable information, such as the whereabouts of foreign forced labourers.

The Arolsen Archives have the world’s most comprehensive archive on the victims and survivors of the Nazi regime.

The collection is backed up by the former Nazi victim search service, the International Tracing Service (ITS).

These references to around 17.5 million people form part of the UNESCO world documentary heritage.

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Donald Ugwu

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GIZ supports AU Border Programme with €18m -Official

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Ludwiz Kirchner, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) GIZ Cluster Coordinator says it has renewed its support for African Union (AU) Border Programme with 18 million Euros from 2020 to 2022.

Kirchner made this known on the sidelines of the Workshop on Regional Review and Planning of the African Union Border Programme in West Africa on Tuesday in Abuja.

“The African Union Border Programme was quite a successful programme, the fourth phase has been established with a total of 18 million euros that will be allocated to different countries but with the focus on the West African Region.

“With already three phases at the beginning starting with demarcation activities, but more and more has moved also to border management and cross border initiatives especially for trading and better environment at the border areas.

“It has been very successful, and it was from all sides, the German sides and also from the partner side to continue with the programme.

“The main purpose is to develop the border area because mostly border areas are so remote and somehow also not in the focus of the government services, so there is a need for development in the border areas“.

For his part, Adamu Adaji, Acting Director General, National Boundary Commission, said the workshop aimed to review the support of the German Government to the AU Programme as it enters the fourth phase.

`The programme is to review the support of the German Government over the years, as it now ends its third phase and commences the fourth phase, beginning from 2020.

“The German Government had as part of their policy, provided support to the African Union Border Programme to some West African Countries; Nigeria became a beneficiary of that support just two years ago.

“The support has enabled us to partner with Niger Republic to put more pillars along our common international boundaries, and the support has also enabled us to provide eight solar powered boreholes to our border communities and have a very peaceful international boundary regime with our neighbours.“

According to the Acting DG, with the support from the German Government, affected countries will work out modalities to ensure that their boundaries are well defined as expected.

He said: “part of the support is also to provide facilities that will engage the affected border communities so as to curb the rate of crime and other vices along our international boundaries“.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Germany government has a long-standing cooperation with the African Union and its Member States in several areas.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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