Category Archives: Sports

Cameroonian Activist Wins French Prize for Promoting Women’s Rights

Cameroon is celebrating women’s rights activist Aissa Doumara Ngatansou after she won France’s inaugural Simone Veil Prize for helping victims of rape and forced marriage.

French President Emmanuel Macron gave Ngatansou, 47, the $112,000 prize, named after the iconic French women’s rights activist.

Nganasou said she is dedicating the award to all female victims of violence and forced marriage and survivors of the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram.

She also said she is very happy that many people now stand up for their rights, unlike past years when people were scared of denouncing violence against women and girls for fear of being persecuted by men.

The award was named in memory of Simone Veil, the person said to be most responsible for advancing women’s legal rights in France during the 20th century. Veil fought in the French parliament to legalize abortion in 1975.

Ngatansou escaped a forced marriage at 11 years old, fleeing her home and continuing her studies. She has since braved numerous threats to save hundreds of girls and women from the same fate. She currently runs the Association for the Fight Against Violence on Women and Girls, and cares for 23 girls she rescued from Boko Haram insurgents.

Alima Foutsou, 18, is one of them. She was forced to marry a suspected Boko Haram fighter, then was raped and abandoned on Cameroon’s northern border with Nigeria.

Foutsou said that, thanks to Ngatansou, she learned her rights and will never be indifferent when women and girls suffer. Some men in the far north region of Cameroon still think girls are objects to be used and dumped at will, she said, but she will work hard to make sure such traditional practices of forcing girls and women to marry against their will are stopped.

Marie Theres Abena Ondoua, Cameroon’s minister of women’s empowerment and the family, said Ngatansou has helped women suffering in the northern part of the country find legal assistance and social services instituted by the government. Cameroon should be proud that it has a woman who showed people that women and girls should not be treated inhumanely, Ondoua said.

The award came two days after Ngatansou organized a mass marriage ceremony for 82 couples to ensure that women in the relationships are legally protected.

Source: Voice of America

Malaysia Deports 7 for Alleged Ties to Terrorist Group

KUALA LUMPUR � Malaysian police said Sunday that six Egyptians and a Tunisian man believed to be linked to an African-based terror group have been detained and deported.

One of the Egyptians and the Tunisian national are suspected members of Ansar Al-Sharia Al-Tunisia, which is based in North Africa and listed as a terrorist group by the United Nations, national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said in a statement.

Fuzi said the two were detained in 2016 for trying to illegally enter an African country. He said they used fake passports to enter Malaysia in October last year and were planning to sneak into a third country to launch attacks.

Five other Egyptians and two Malaysians were detained last month for providing food, shelter, air tickets and employment for the two suspected terrorists, Fuzi said.

He said authorities are concerned with the entry of foreign terrorist fighters as investigations showed they may use Malaysia as a “safe haven” or a logistics hub to launch attacks in other countries.

The six Egyptians and the Tunisian were reported March 5 and blacklisted from entering Malaysia, Fuzi said.

Source: Voice of America

Attackers in Congo Hit Newly Reopened Ebola Treatment Center

Armed assailants on Saturday attacked an Ebola treatment center in the Democratic Republic of the Congo less than a week after it reopened following a previous attack.

The attack in Butembo came in the early-morning hours and left one police officer dead and several workers injured.

Butembo Mayor Sylvain Kanyamanda told reporters that security forces had defended the center and wounded one of the attackers.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus visited the center several hours later and encouraged health care workers to continue fighting the deadly Ebola virus.

“It breaks my heart to think of the health workers injured and police officer who died in today’s attack, as we continue to mourn those who died in previous attacks while defending the right to health,” Ghebreyesus told reporters. “We have no choice except to continue serving the people here, who are among the most vulnerable in the world.”

After the previous attack on the Butembo center, Doctors Without Borders suspended its operations in the city.

Precautions stir doubts

Anti-Ebola efforts already have faced adversity from residents suspicious of the extensive precautions taken by the health care workers to stop the spread of the highly contagious disease. Because Ebola virus can be transmitted through a victim’s bodily fluids even after death, even burial of the victims requires stringent safety protocols.

Thursday, Doctors Without Borders President Joanne Liu said the containment efforts used to control the latest outbreak of Ebola, which started in August last year, faced a “climate of deepening community mistrust” that was worsened by the use of security guards at treatment centers.

Congo’s health ministry has warned the attacks in Butembo and on another treatment center in Katwa last month can lead to a “significant upsurge” in new Ebola cases.

More than 86 percent of the confirmed cases over the past three weeks came from Butembo and Katwa, according to the health ministry.

The current outbreak is considered the worst since the two-year outbreak in West Africa that started in 2014 and killed more than 11,000 people.

Source: Voice of America

Breaking Down Community Resistance in Ebola-Affected Congo

GENEVA A unique project is making strides in breaking down community resistance toward international efforts to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has teamed up with the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to collect, analyze and implement new strategies in “real time” to tackle the major concerns of people faced with this dreaded disease.

Latest World Health Organization figures put the number of Ebola cases at 829, including 521 deaths. Officials say containing the spread of this deadly virus will depend largely upon getting communities to cooperate with health care workers.

This involves gaining their trust by overcoming the fears and misinformation that exist in Ebola-affected communities. Red Cross volunteers mainly come from the communities in which they work and understand their cultures and traditions.

Health workers say getting feedback on Ebola from communities in conflict-ridden North Kivu and Ituri provinces is critical in tackling this crisis. IFRC Community Engagement Senior Advisor, Ombretta Baggio, says information gathered from surveys is problematic.

So, she told VOA Red Cross volunteers no longer prompt people to answer a list of survey questions. Now, she said, they listen.

“We have conversations with them around their concerns, around Ebola. What they want to know from us around Ebola. So, the questions they have, the belief systems that they have, the rumors that they are listening in their communities. And, during these conversations, the volunteers share information around issues that are of concern for the communities.”

Baggio said the Red Cross has just finished an analysis of the data collected from Beni, where the Ebola outbreak was first detected in August. By listening, she said Red Cross volunteers have learned about the fears and concerns people have about the treatment centers where infected people are isolated from their families.

After the data is coded and categorized, she said it is shared with the Centers for Disease Control.

“CDC does the quality assurance of the dataand they interpret this data in a way that is user friendly for the response partnersThis analysis helps our volunteers understand what are the most prominent questions that in that space of time communities are asking,” said Baggio.

Traditional burial practices play a key role in the spread of Ebola. Christine Prue, a health scientist with the CDC leads the project. She said providing safe and dignified burial services is one of the major pillars and interventions in reducing the spread of the disease.

“So, we analyzed all that data and sent the reports back to Red Cross in saying is there a way for family members, a safe way for family members to be involved. Their teams on the ground figure it outSo, our analysis of the information they provided and our questions saying can you do things differently to bury them in a way that could include family members was totally their action on our informationSo, they have changed their practices to allow community members to participate in a safe way,” she said.

Prue said there has been a shift in peoples’ confidence around burials.

But as one problem is solved, she tells VOA others arise. She said the Red Cross will have to adapt its programs to meet these different needs.

“I do think in general that the pattern they have set is very good. But I do not think we can ever be satisfied that one way is going to be the only way, which actually reinforces the need for these kinds of feedback systems because every community is going to experience threat. Every community is going either invite, involve people, outsiders, insiders in different ways,” said Prue.

The World Health Organization cites Katwa and Butembo as the remaining major health zones of concern. It says community mistrust, especially in Katwa is high. Consequently, it says people are reluctant to report suspected cases and bring infected people in for early treatment.

Red Cross Advisor, Baggio said an additional problem is health workers are unable to access several areas in Katwa because of the conflict. However, she said the lessons learned from the project’s analysis will be implemented in areas where they can work.

She said volunteers will no longer deal with Ebola in a general way. Instead, she says they will focus on and respond to the precise concerns articulated by the communities in Katwa.

Source: Voice of America

South Africa: Citizens can still register to vote

CAPE TOWN, The South African cabinet has called on all eligible voters who have not registered to vote in the upcoming elections to do so at the offices of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which are still open across the country.

You can also check your voter registration status by sending an SMS with your ID number to 32810 (R1.00 per SMS) or install the IEC’s free mobile app for voters and use it to check your registration details, Cabinet said in a statement.

South Africa will holds its sixth democratic national and provincial elections on May 8.

Since the birth of our democracy, we have built a thriving constitutional democracy with institutions that ensure our basic rights and freedoms. Furthermore, programmes have been implemented to structurally transform the economy and address our many socio-economic challenges.

The upcoming elections are an opportunity for a new generation of young South Africans to exercise their right to vote, and have a say in their future and that of our country, the statement said.

Cabinet has congratulated all South Africans, especially thousands of young and first-time voters, who participated in the last voter registration weekend on Jan 26-27.

Source: NAM News Network