SOMALIA: U.S airstrike kills Al-Shabaab militant

ALGIERS, (Xinhua) —Algerian counter-terrorism troops arrested on Sunday
four individuals suspected of providing support to terrorists in the
province of Batna, 400 km southeast of Algiers, Defense Ministry
said in a statement on Monday.

The source
specified that the four suspects were arrested after the
exploitation of accurate intelligence by counter-terrorism troops.

Later last
month, a wide-scale counter-terrorism operation was conducted in the
eastern region of Algeria, as six militants were killed and seven
others arrested including five women.

individuals were also arrested suspected of providing support to
terrorist groups.

Located in a
region plagued by unprecedented security and political instability,
Algeria faces ongoing terrorist threats.

A few
militants affiliated to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and
recently established Daesh affiliate groups are still taking refuge
in the dense woods in the north, and remote desert areas near the
troubled Libya and Mali. 


Somalia vows to intensify military
operations against terrorists

MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) —Somalia on Tuesday vowed to intensify military
operations against Islamist State (IS) and Al-Shabaab militants to
stabilize the Horn of Africa nation.

Minister Abdurahman Omar Osman said the government will use all
available resources, including foreign military support from
international partners, to flush out terrorists from Somalia.

government will continue the military operations, including the use
of airstrikes, against Al-Shabaab in response to the cowardly
attacks against civilians, as well as on Somali security forces and
AMISOM,” Osman said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

stands for African Union Mission in Somalia, a peacekeeping mission
operated by the AU with the approval of the United Nations Security

statement came after a series of airstrikes by the U.S. military in
the Horn of Africa nation, which reportedly killed “several” IS and
Al-Shabaab militants, in a joint operation with Somali forces.

The U.S.
forces have vowed to continue using all authorized and appropriate
measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats.

Osman said
all airstrikes and offensive operations taking place in Somalia are
well planned and “our leaders sought assurances that in attempts to
avoid civilian casualties, all necessary precautions are taken prior
to every airstrike.”

The minister
lauded the Somali people for their support to military operations
against terrorists who have killed innocent people, including the
Oct. 14 truck bomb attack that left at least 358 people dead.

“We cannot
thank enough the support of our people for saying ‘enough is enough’
following the 14 October truck bomb attack in Mogadishu,” said Osman.
“Winning hearts and minds of our people is key to the success of
counter terrorism in Somalia.” 


Polls open in Somalia’s breakaway
region of Somaliland

MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) — Voting kicked off at 7 a.m. in the breakaway region
of Somaliland on Monday as over 700,000 voters lined up in queues to
vast their ballot to elect their fifth president.

started forming in a number of the stations as voters lined up to
vote in 1,642 polling centers.

“I am very
happy to vote and I will give my vote to the most suitable
candidate,” Sagal Mohamed told Xinhua.

Muse Bihi
Abdi will be defending the ruling party seat while former House
Speaker Abdirahman Irro is vying in Wadani ticket. Faisal Ali Warabe
is running under Justice and Development Party (UCID).

This is the
first poll in Somaliland to use a new voter registration system,
which itself marks the first use of iris-scan biometric technology
in an African election.

Meanwhile, a
60-member team of international observers from 27 countries is
monitoring the polls.

international election observation mission (EOM), which has been
invited by Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission (NEC), said it
will conduct its observation activities in accordance with the
Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation,
emphasizing the impartiality and independence of that observation.

The EOM is
led by the Development Planning Unit (DPU) at University College
London (UCL), and Somaliland Focus UK.

This EOM
marks the fourth election in Somaliland observed and reported on by
DPU and Somaliland Focus since 2005.

“Preparations for this mission have been intense, and we are very
appreciative of the invaluable assistance we have had from so many
stakeholders in Somaliland, and from the British government in
funding this mission,” Michael Walls of DPU, chief observer on the

“Now that we
are seeing the hard work bear fruit, we are hoping we will see a
spirited and peaceful polling day marking another step in
Somaliland’s democratic development,” Walls said. 


Security tight as Somalilanders
vote to elect new president

MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) — Security is tight as Somalilanders in the
semi-autonomous region of Somalia lined up on Monday to elect their
new president in polls delayed by severe drought and political

The northern
region’s military chiefs promised to ensure that the election which
begun at 7.a.m runs smoothly without any disruption from terrorists
and pledged to work with whoever emerges the winner.

“We will
work with every candidate that wins. Somaliland forces are in every
area, at the borders and at all polling stations across the country
to secure and make sure the election is peaceful,” said Somaliland
Chief of Army Nuh Ismail Tani.

He added
that all forces were already prepared to secure the safety of the
voters to ensure peace prevails in Somaliland during the
presidential election.

said election is significant because it’s the first time an
incumbent is not contesting, giving voters in the former British
protectorate a real choice between the three candidates.

Tani called
on Somalilanders to maintain peace to ensure the election runs
smoothly. The results of the presidential election are not expected
until Friday.

told Xinhua that there is heavy security presence in Hargeisa, the
capital of Somaliland and in all polling stations, saying the forces
are also guiding voters who are blind, pregnant or weak on to cast
their ballot.

security situation is okay. So far there are no insecurity incidents
which have been reported. There are Special Forces everywhere
maintaining security. There has also been public awareness by
politicians, community leaders and presidential candidates on the
importance of maintaining peace,” said a resident who refused to be


U.S airstrike kills Al-Shabaab
militant in Somalia

MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) — At least one Al-Shabaab militant was killed when the
U.S. military carried out another airstrike against the Al-Qaida
allied insurgent group in Somalia late Saturday.

operation occurred near Bulogudud, about 400 km southwest of the
capital city of Mogadishu, the U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said
late Sunday.

coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, the U.S. forces
conducted an airstrike in Somalia against Al-Shabaab at
approximately 4:30 p.m. local time (1330 GMT) on Saturday, killing
one enemy combatant,” Africom said in a statement.

“Prior to
this strike, the U.S. forces observed the Al-Shabaab combatant
participating in the attacks on a U.S. and Somali convoy. The U.S.
forces subsequently conducted the strike under collective self-defense
authorities,” it added.

The U.S.
military has killed several militants in strikes carried out in
coordination with the Somali government in the past week in a bid to
stabilize the Horn of Africa nation.

said Al-Shabaab has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaida and is dedicated
to providing safe haven for terrorist attacks across the world.

is publicly committed to planning and conducting attacks against the
United States and our partners in the region,” it said, vowing to
intensify airstrikes against the militants in Somalia.


UN welcomes S. Sudan’s order on
humanitarian access

JUBA, (Xinhua) — The top United Nations relief official in South Sudan
on Monday welcomed President Salva Kiir’s decree ordering free,
unimpeded and unhindered movement of humanitarian organizations in
the country.

unhindered humanitarian access is essential to save thousands of
lives who are in need of aid, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for South
Sudan Alain Noudehou said in a statement issued in Juba.

Sudan’s humanitarian partners appreciate the step that President
Kiir has taken to ensure the free movement of supplies and
personnel, particularly at a time when food insecurity continues to
deteriorate and humanitarian organizations face pressure to expand
their response,” Noudehou said.

According to
the decree issued on Nov. 9, all roadblocks must be cleared
immediately for international aid agencies.

The decree
came amid complaints from international aid agencies who have had
difficulties in reaching the most vulnerable populations in remote
areas, worsening a humanitarian crisis, with some displaced people
starving to death, especially in the Upper Nile and Equatoria

expressed hope that the order will have a positive impact in
reducing the many constraints faced by humanitarian partners that
delay or prevent the provision of urgently needed help and which too
often place humanitarian staff at risk.

“We look
forward to seeing the order implemented on the ground swiftly and we
will continue to work with all concerned authorities to ensure a
safe and secure operational environment that is conducive to the
timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in need,” he


S. Sudan withdraws soldiers from
ex-army chief’s home

JUBA, (Xinhua) —
South Sudan said it has resolved the standoff with ex-army (SPLA)
Chief of General Staff Paul Malong by withdrawing hundreds of
soldiers that had been surrounding the latter’s home following more
than one week of standoff over his bodyguards.

spokesperson Lul Ruai Koang, in a statement on Sunday night in Juba
announced the peaceful resolution of the standoff between the
government and Malong.

announces peaceful resolution of misunderstanding between the
government and the former Chief of General Staff,” he said.

He disclosed
that Malong who was sacked in May by President Salva Kiir finally
accepted the presidential order to allow withdrawal of the over 30
bodyguards from his home.

review was undertaken which indicated lack of real security threats
to the government in particular and residents of Juba in general,”
Koang said of the reasons behind the withdrawal.

He also
added that the decision will help reduce and eliminate uncertainty
created by deployment of security forces around the residence of the
former Chief of General Staff, and will help to build confidence
between the government and Malong.

Koang also
said Malong’s house confinement since the beginning of November had
caused inconvenience to several road users in the capital and that
peaceful settlement of this once contentious matter will free up
some roads for public use.

The United
States Department of the Treasury this year indicted and effected
asset freeze for Malong and other two senior ranking officers
accused of fanning the more than three years of violence and
obstructing peace efforts.

Hundreds of
soldiers on armored personnel carriers (APC) had until surrounded
the former army chief’s residence on the pretext he may escape with
his bodyguards, after the government in May had blocked him with his
heavily armed troops in Yirol Western Lakes state en route to his
home area of Aweil in Northern Bahr El Ghazal. 


S. African ruling party refutes
claims about removal of its secretary general

CAPE TOWN, (Xinhua) —South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC)
on Monday denied rumors that its Secretary General Gwede Mantashe
would be removed from office.

rejects with contempt the false, malicious and mischievous reports,
the party said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.

The local
news outlet eNCA reported on Sunday that Mantashe came under attack
at the party’s special National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in
Pretoria at the weekend and there have been calls within the ANC for
his removal.

The report
claimed that discussions were underway to remove Mantashe.

A decision
on whether or not to suspend Mantashe would be made on Monday
morning after the NEC meeting resumed, eNCA said, citing sources in
the party.

The report
came after Mantashe was named in Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s
proposed leadership team, should Ramaphosa be elected ANC president
in the upcoming ANC elective conference next month.

Because of
the serious nature of the rumors, the ANC has decided to depart from
normal procedure and issue this statement which unequivocally
dismisses claims made by nameless and faceless sources that there
are discussions underway to remove Mantashe, ANC national
spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.

rumors are peddled to sow confusion and division within the movement
and are indicative of the media’s laziness and total disregard for
proper journalistic ethics in favor of populism and sensationalism,”
said Kodwa.

calls upon its members, supporters and South Africans at large to
resist and reject the frenzy of fake news peddled by so-called
insiders and analysts and rather await formal communication from the
NEC on the outcomes of its meeting, he said.

The ANC has
reportedly been locked in a seccession battle, pitting presidential
hopeful Ramaphosa against ANC MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former
African Union Commission Chairwoman.

The battle
heated up last week after Ramaphosa announced his “winning team” in
the campaign to lead the party, choosing Science and Technology
Minister Naledi Pandor as his deputy. Ramaphosa lined up Mantashe as
the party’s national chairman.

His move
drew sharp criticism from within the party for lack of respect to
the organizational processes and procedures. According to the ANC’s
constitution, preferred candidates are nominated by ANC members at
ANC branch general meetings (BGMs).

The ANC will
hold its elective conference in December to elect its president to
succeed incumbent President Jacob Zuma. Once elected, the new ANC
president will automatically become the country’s president if the
ANC wins the 2019 general elections.


Elephant kills two Western tourists
in southern Zambia

LUSAKA, (Xinhua) —
Two international tourists have been trampled to death in Zambia’ s
southern city of Livingstone, the police said on Sunday.

The incident
happened on Saturday at a lodge located near a national park, and
the deceased were a 57-year-old woman from Belgium and a 64-year-old
man from the Netherlands, acting police spokesperson Danny Mwale

However, the
names of the deceased have been withheld until their next of kin
have been informed.

The police
spokesperson said the tourists were killed by the elephant as they
went close to it to take photographs.

An inquiry
file has since been opened for further investigations, he added.

This is the
second incident this month in which elephants killed human beings in
Zambia’s tourist capital.

Last week.,
a local security officer was crushed to death by elephants when he
cycled through the national park. 


At least 34 killed in train crash
in southeast DRC

KINSHASA, (Xinhua) —A 13-car train crashed in the southeast Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC) on Sunday, killing at least 34 people and
injuring 26 others, a provincial governor said.

The number
of casualties is likely to rise because some cars remain on fire and
some are carrying fuel, according to Lualaba governor Richard Muyej

Radio Okapi
reported that the cause of the crash is yet unclear and 11 cars of
the National Railway Company of Congo train, en route from the
southeast city of Lubumbashi to the southern town of Luena caught

The injured
were transported to a hospital some 30 km from the crash site, with
some losing their limbs, the hospital’s media officer was quoted on
radio as saying.


Kenya launches policy on combating
antimicrobial resistance

NAIROBI (Xinhua) —Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Monday launched a
policy on prevention and containment of antimicrobial resistance to
help promote prudent use of antimicrobial agents.

Ministry of
Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu said the policy will ensure
that there is continued successful treatment and prevention of
microbial diseases.

“We are
going to make safe antimicrobials effective and quality accessible
to patients in need,” Mailu told journalists during the launch in

According to
reports from hospitals and communities, the east African nation is
experiencing rising rates of antimicrobial resistance among
infections that contribute the most to human disease.

Antimicrobial resistance, one of the most significant global public
health problems, is rising in many developing nations due to overuse
of antimicrobial agents, widespread availability of counterfeit or
substandard medicines, and poor infection control measures.

Research has
demonstrated that a continued rise in antimicrobial resistance
globally would lead to 10 million people dying every year and a 3
percent reduction in gross domestic product (GDP) by the year 2050.

According to
a March 2016 survey, Kenya is already experiencing high levels of
antimicrobial resistance.

patients are experiencing such resistance that renders many
available antimicrobial regimens like penicillin and cotrimoxazole
ineffective against common infections.

“With the
increasing levels of international travel and trade, antibiotic
resistance is one of the biggest threats to global public health,
food security and development,” Mailu said.

He noted
that this year’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week is aimed at
enhancing public awareness of the increasing threat of antibiotic
resistance and the need to enhance appropriate rise of antibiotics.

The World
Health Organization (WHO) has recently warned of the emergence of
drug-resistant bacteria that are rapidly spreading across the globe,
threatening the world’s ability to treat common infectious diseases.

noted that an increasing number of infections such as pneumonia,
tuberculosis, drug poisoning and gonorrhea are now becoming harder
and sometimes impossible to treat as antibiotics become less and
less effective.

Ministry of Health is partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture,
Livestock and Fisheries in consolidating efforts toward implementing
sustainable measures in mitigating further emergence and spread of
antimicrobial resistance. 


China-Africa expo provides new
platform for industrial capacity cooperation

BEIJING, (Xinhua) — An upcoming exposition will create a new platform for
Chinese and African businesses to strengthen industrial capacity
cooperation, officials said Monday.

China-Africa Industrial Capacity Cooperation Exposition will take
place in Nairobi, Kenya, from Dec. 13 to 16, organized by the China
Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), according
to Chen Zhou, vice chairman of CCPIT, at a press conference.

work has been basically completed for the expo, which is being
organized by the CCPIT in Africa for the first time, according to

56 Chinese companies will take part in the expo to showcase
high-quality products and advanced technology in railway and road
construction, infrastructure, telecommunications, machinery,
manufacturing and farm produce processing,” Chen said.

“The expo
will provide a new platform for Chinese and African businesses to
conduct full-scale communication and deepen cooperation, and
encourage more Chinese firms to enter Africa and speed up its
industrialization process,” Chen said.

Africa has rich natural and human resources and stands at the
starting period of industrialization, China has the technology,
equipment, talent and funds that can help Africa realize
independent, sustainable development,” he said.

Kinyanjui, Kenya’s ambassador to China, said the expo aimed to
attract local and regional delegates from over 30 African countries.

“We believe
the expo will add impetus to the ongoing China-Africa collaboration
in trade, investments, and also cooperation in industrialization,”
Kinyanjui said.

Chen hailed
the win-win cooperation between China and Africa in recent years,
speaking of rapid growth in trade and investment.

The two
sides saw their trade volume rise 19 percent year on year to 85.3
billion U.S. dollars in the first half of this year, when Chinese
firms’ non-financial direct investment in Africa increased 22
percent year on year to 1.6 billion dollars, according to Chen.

The China
Africa Development Fund, an equity investment fund managed by China
Development Bank, has authorized 4.5 billion dollars of investment
in 91 projects in 36 African nations since its establishment in
2007, according to Zhou Chao, vice president of the fund.

investment areas ranging from industrial capacity and infrastructure
to energy and agriculture, those projects are estimated to drive
more than 20 billion dollars of investment from Chinese enterprises
after their completion,” Zhou said.


Roundup: Zuma releases report on
feasibility of free higher education in S. Africa

CAPE TOWN, (Xinhua) — President Jacob Zuma on Monday released the
much-anticipated report on the Feasibility of Fee-Free Higher
Education and Training in South Africa.

The report,
however, falls short of making higher education and training
fee-free, raising fears that a new spate of student protest might

There is
currently no capacity for the state to provide free tertiary
education to all students in the country, the report has found.

There is
insufficient financial capacity in the state to provide totally free
higher education and training to all who are unable to finance their
own education, let alone to all students, whether in need or not,
according to the report.

In January
2016, Zuma established a Commission of Inquiry into higher education
and training in order to add into the body of knowledge and evidence
that will inform the government’s decision making process in pursuit
of a sustainable solution to the on-going higher education funding

The report,
released by Zuma, recommends that all undergraduate and postgraduate
students studying at both public and private universities and
colleges, regardless of their family background, be funded through a
cost-sharing model of government guaranteed Income-Contingency Loans
sourced from commercial banks.

Through this
cost-sharing model, commercial banks should issue government
guaranteed loans to the students that are payable by the student
upon graduation and attainment of a specific income threshold,
according to the report.

The report
also recommends that the government increase its expenditure on
higher education and training to at least one percent of the GDP, in
line with comparable economies.

Inter-Ministerial Committee on Higher Education Funding led by the
Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, and the Presidential Fiscal
Committee led by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba are processing the
report, Zuma said.

“I will make
a pronouncement on the report once the ministers have concluded
their work. I have decided to release the report prior to the
conclusion of our work in processing it so that the public can have
an opportunity to study the report while we continue with the
processing thereof,” Zuma said.

were planning a national day of action as their demands for Zuma to
release the much-awaited Fees Commission Report intensified.

Zuma had
been under fire for delaying the report.

widespread student protests over tuition fee increases in 2015, Zuma
established a Commission of Inquiry in January 2016 to investigate
the feasibility of making higher education and training fee-free in
the country.

failing to present the report within the 18-month deadline, the
commission had its term extended until June 30, 2017.

received the final report from the commission on August 30, 2017.

Students are
threatening to launch fresh protests nationwide to press their
demand for free higher education.

In 2015,
widespread student protests erupted in all major universities across
the country, triggered by tuition fee hikes ranging from 10 percent
to 50 percent for the 2016 school year.

The protests
continued for weeks until Zuma succumbed to students’ demand for
zero-percent increase in tuition fee. 


Zimbabwe relaxes import controls on
basic goods to boost supply

HARARE, (Xinhua) — The Zimbabwe government has relaxed controls on
importation of basic goods into the country to improve supply and
stabilize prices ahead of the festive season, the state-run Herald
newspaper reported Monday.

Industry and
Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said the government was also willing to
give import licenses to individuals and organizations with free
funds to bring in the goods.

Zimbabwe is
facing an acute shortage of foreign currency which has resulted in
price hikes of some basic commodities as retailers are sourcing hard
cash on the parallel market at a premium.

September, the country experienced a temporary shortage of cooking
oil and other basic goods due to panic buying by consumers after
social media messages claimed there would be shortages of such
commodities due to the ongoing forex shortages.

availability of such goods has since stabilized but demand for basic
commodities usually rise during the festive season.

Bimha said
the government wanted to avoid shortages of such goods by licensing
more importers.

“What we
would want to announce today is that, we want to call upon companies
and individuals who have free funds to import basic commodities and
my ministry is ready to process permits and licenses to that
effect,” Bimha said.

The minister
said the government was monitoring prices of various commodities and
had discovered that many sectors, including brick making, packaging
and pharmaceuticals, had hiked prices without any justification.

“What is
disturbing, though, is that some of these companies are companies
that are getting a lot of support from government,” he said.

He warned
that the government could withdraw operating licenses for companies
that had unjustifiably hiked prices.

A cabinet
task force appointed recently to monitor prices of various goods
would meet this week to identify culprits and decide on the action
to take, the minister said.  


Three Gorges project builder signs
contract for Nigeria hydropower project

WUHAN, (Xinhua) —Chinese construction giant China Gezhouba Group Corp.
(CGGC), the main builder of the Three Gorges project, said Tuesday a
CGGC-led consortium has signed a contract with the Nigerian
government to build a hydropower project valued at 5.792 billion
U.S. dollars.

The Mambilla
hydropower project is the largest infrastructure project in Nigeria
and also the largest hydropower plant Chinese firms have ever built
overseas, the Wuhan-based CGGC said on its official WeChat mobile
messaging account.

consortium includes CGGC, Sinohydro Corp. Ltd. and CGCOC Group Co.
Ltd, with stakes of 45 percent, 35 percent and 20 percent,
respectively, CGGC said in a statement filed to the Shanghai Stock

The project,
expected to be completed in 87 months, involves building four dams
and installing 12 generators totaling 3,050 megawatts. Upon
completion, it will be capable of generating about 4.7 billion
kilowatt hours of electricity a year.

construction work includes 1,295 kilometers of transmission lines
and 184 kilometers of access roads.

The project
will ease the power shortage and become a reliable water source for
local residents and farmland in the African country, CGGC said,
adding that the project’s builders will employ 5,000 to 8,000 local
workers and train 1,000 managerial and technical personnel. 


UN authorizes Israel to expand
technological support in Central African Republic

UNITED NATIONS, (Xinhua) —The United Nations on Monday authorized Israel to
expand its technological support for its peacekeeping mission in the
Central African Republic and help improve security in the country.

In a letter
of assist UN Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare
signed with Israel, the UN approved the Israeli government’s
proposal to expand its existing observation systems used by the UN
Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central
African Republic (MINUSCA).

Since 2015,
Israel has contributed both static and mobile observation systems to

capacities have proven highly successful in increasing situational
awareness and preventing outbreaks of violence, including during the
visit of Pope Francis, the election process in Bangui (CAR’s
capital) and many other events associated with potential security
threats,” said a press release.

Department of Field Support (DFS) thanks the government of Israel
for its continued support to UN peacekeeping,” it said.

DFS is a UN
department dedicated to supporting peacekeeping and political


Zambia to rebase GDP

LUSAKA, (Xinhua) —Zambia intends to revise and benchmark its Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) to update the country’s economic data,
according to the country’s national statistical office on Monday.

“We are
planning to rebase and benchmark our GDP for 2017. We wanted to do
it in 2016, but because of the bad economic situation we had to
postpone our plans, but we will do it now,” said Goodson Sinyenga, 
Zambia’s Central Statistical Office (CSO) assistant director in
charge of economics and financial statistics.

The idea was
to make planning and investment decisions more robust and informed
through the collection of highly segregated data, Sinyenga said
during a press briefing, adding that the GDP was last rebased in

statistics agency has since come up with a model in collaboration
with the International Monetary Fund and the International Labor

The model
will provide a detailed picture about the structure of the economy
and the relationship between products and industries in a given year
by providing elements of the production process, the use of the
goods and services and the income generated.

Zambia’s GDP
was 216.1 billion Zambian Kwacha (about 21.8 billion U.S. dollars)
last year. 


S. African Deputy President travels
to London in support of Rugby World Cup bid

CAPE TOWN, (Xinhua) — South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will
return to London to make a final effort in support of the country’s
bid to host the prestigious Rugby World Cup 2023, the President’s
office announced on Sunday.

visit will demonstrate the South African government’s support for
and commitment to the effort to return the tournament to the African
continent in the 21st century, Ramaphosa’s acting
spokesperson Tyrone Seale said.

will leave for London on Monday, leading a high-level delegation to
reaffirm South Africa’s readiness to host the event, according to

September, Ramaphosa led the South African Rugby World Cup Bid Team
to London to present the country’s case to host the 2023 tournament
that will take place 200 years after the invention of the game of
rugby by William Webb Ellis.

The South
African bid had previously been named as the “clear leader” and
“unanimous” choice of the Rugby World Cup board to host the
tournament. This follows an exhaustive tendering, clarification and
evaluation process. Contenders France and Ireland were rated second
and third, respectively.

The final
announcement is expected to be made in London on November 15.

The final
decision rests with 26 World Rugby Council members who collectively
exercise 39 votes and among whom a simple majority is required to
secure the hosting rights. The three bidding countries do not vote.

South Africa
expects the tournament, if held in the country, to help stimulate
the economy and further boost its tourism and hospitality sectors.

During his
upcoming visit to London, Ramaphosa will be accompanied by Sport and
Recreation Minister Thulas Nxesi, SA Rugby President Mark Alexander
and Chief Executive Officer Jurie Roux, who laid out South Africa’s
technically and commercially compelling case to host the tournament
in September.


South African Rugby team leaves for
ahead of 2023 World Cup announcement

JOHANNESBURG, (Xinhua) —South African deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will
be off to London on Monday where the announcement of the Rugby World
Cup 2023 host venue will be announced.

The deputy
president will lead South Africa team to the World Rugby Council in
London, where the announcement is expected on Wednesday.

Jacob Zuma has urged the country to rally behind the bid committee
ahead of the announcement.

South Africa
has been tipped to land the bid to host the tournament, named as the
“clear leader” and “unanimous” choice of the Rugby World Cup board
to host the event.

The country
is competing against France and Ireland which have been rated second
and third respectively.

spokesperson Tyrone Seale confirmed to Xinhua on Sunday that the
South Africa team will be led by the deputy president, “The final
decision rests with 26 World Rugby Council members who collectively
exercise 39 votes and among whom a simple majority is required to
secure a hosting right,” Seale said.

In May,
Jurie Roux, chief executive of SA Rugby, and Ahlangene Cyprian
Sigcau, South African ambassador to Ireland, revealed a  827-page
document giving their case for hosting the tournament.

South Africa
last hosted the tournament in 1995, scoring an epic 15-12 extra time
win against New Zealand in the final at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

It is
estimated that hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup will inject about
R27 billion into South Africa’s economy.


Kenyan Ruto wins 2017 Beirut

BEIRUT, (Xinhua) — Bahrain’s Eunice Chumba won the women’s marathon with
a course record of 2:28:38, while Dominic Ruto from Kenya also set a
2:10:41 course record in the men’s marathon. Both picked up 3,000
U.S dollar bonuses for breaking the course record.

top finisher in the men’s race was Hussein Awada, who came in ninth.
Nisrine Njiem led the Lebanese athletes in the women’s race with a
tenth place finish.

first lady Nadia Aoun participated in the 8 kilometer Fun Run and
officially started the para-athletes race.

Ambassador to Lebanon Glenn Miles was the sole ambassador to run the
full marathon, while U.K. Ambassador Hugo Shorter was among other
diplomats running in the 21 kilometer race.

Since the
marathon’s inception in 2003, 393,000 runners from 105 countries and
regions have participated and more than $1.3 million has been raised
for various causes. Organizers say that the 2017 competition drew
45,000 participants, with the winners of the men’s and women’s races
each taking home some $10,000 in prize money. This year, more than
4,400 volunteers helped the various races run smoothly.


Ghana draws one-all with Egypt to
wrap up World Cup qualifying campaign

ACCRA, (Xinhua) — Ghana wrapped up its 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying
campaign with a 1-1 result against Egypt in the final round of
qualifiers on Sunday.

Shikabala shot the North Africans into the lead with a sublime
finish in the 61st minute much to the admiration of the
few Egyptian fans who thronged the China-built sports stadium in the
Coastal City of Cape Coast to cheer their team.

leveled in the 64th minute through Edwin Gyasi whose
left-footed shot deflected into the back of the Egyptian net.

The Black
Stars piled on pressure in the second half of the encounter but the
youthful West African side could not outwit the tight defensive set
up of the Pharaohs.

Prior to the
game, Egypt, who are seven-time African champions, had already
secured the sole ticket to the global soccer fiesta from Group E,
dashing Ghana’s hopes of making a fourth-straight FIFA world cup

The North
Africans last featured in the FIFA world cup in 1990.

Before the
game, players of Ghana’s Black Stars had promised to win the match
in order to boost the West African soccer powerhouse’ s position on
the FIFA world rankings, but they were frustrated by a tactical
Egyptian side who also played for pride especially to prevent the
heavy 6-1 defeat they suffered in their last encounter with Ghana in
the 2014 World Cup qualifier.

Both sides
were without key players as Egyptian coach Hector Cuper handed
opportunities to fringe players in his fold while Ghana coach Kwesi
Appiah was without skipper Asamoah Gyan and influential player
Christian Atsu on his team.

The pair got
injured during preparations for the match.

Ghana coach
Kwesi Appiah says he has his eyes fixed on annexing the African Cup
of Nations (AFCON) trophy to end the Black Stars’ 35-year title
drought and is putting together a strong team capable of winning the
2019 AFCON to be staged in Cameroon.

“We knew we
were already out of the race to qualify for the World Cup, so I
wanted to give other players the opportunity to see what they can
offer my new team for 2019,” Appiah said at the post-match press

result means that Ghana failed to record a win in all its three
homes matches throughout the campaign after drawing goalless with
Uganda in the opening round of the qualifiers before being held 1-1
by Congo.

The Black
Stars thus finished third in Group E, seven points behind leaders
Egypt and Uganda.

The final
draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will be held at the State
Kremlin Palace in Moscow on Dec. 1.


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