Undergraduate wins N.5m in Western Lotto game

LAGOS, Nigeria, Aug. 29, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — An undergraduate of the Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State went home N500,000 richer Monday, August 28, 2017, following his win in one of the games on the Western Lotto platform and pledged to continue to play for more winnings. A photo accompanying this […]

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After Violent Eviction, Rome Allows Some African Refugees to Stay

Public sentiment toward immigrants continues to sour across Europe, prompting authorities to respond with decisive, sometimes violent, action.

An example occurred last week in Rome, when Italian police forcibly evicted hundreds of refugees from a building near the Piazza Indipendenza.

Police used a water cannon and beat people with batons, resulting in 13 people being treated for injuries at the scene and four hospitalizations, according to Doctors Without Borders in Italy. The force was necessary, police said, to defend themselves against rocks and gas canisters hurled by the refugees.

Following an international outcry, Rome’s city council said Friday it will allow 40 refugees � mostly children, elderly and people with disabilities � to stay in the building for six months; but, hundreds of others remain homeless, and thousands of recent arrivals throughout Italy continue to struggle to integrate with the society.

Violent eviction

An evictee interviewed by VOA’s Amharic Service described the chaotic scene as police forced refugees out of the building.

I was running with everyone, and I was in front of the men so that they wouldn’t beat them, and then two police hit me, she said. The woman says she was beaten on her hands, back and torso as she tried to protect another evictee.

And then they hit me on my head, and I didn’t know what was going on, she says. When I tried to run, I got dizzy and fell because of the spraying water.

An estimated 800 people, mostly Eritreans and Ethiopians, were living inside the building, and most fled when authorities arrived. Several hundred people stayed outside to protest, and about 100 people, mostly women, children and those with disabilities, remained inside. They were cleared out by authorities at 6 a.m. local time the following day.

Police said those evicted were illegally squatting. Immigrants had been occupying the building since 2013.

Calls for accountability

Italian authorities need to ask hard questions about this shocking eviction and, in particular, whether the force used by police was necessary and proportionate, said Judith Sunderland, associate director for Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia division. Using police in riot gear to force vulnerable people out of their homes with little warning and nowhere to go is just about the opposite of how things should be handled, she said.

Laetitia Bader, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, said Italian courts had first ordered the eviction in December 2016, and the refugees had been warned that it would take place five days prior to the police action.

The temporary housing offered by authorities, however, was considered substandard by the refugees and far from the city center, Bader said, adding that the government has a legal responsibility to provide housing to the displaced.

Our concern is both that the notification was very abrupt [and] that [insufficient]… accommodation has been offered to these individuals, she told VOA. It’s absolutely key that the government looks into and investigates the abusive police action.

Negative sentiment

In Italy, public opinion toward refugees has grown increasingly hostile.

According to research published by Pew last September, 53 percent of Italians think diversity makes their country a worse place to live, and 77 disapprove of the EU’s handling of refugees. Sixty percent of Italians think refugees will increase domestic terrorism.

Politicians across the country have seized on this sentiment, often running on overtly anti-immigrant platforms. In June, center-right parties were decisive in local races, winning mayoral elections in 15 cities, according to The Guardian newspaper.

Italy’s burden and responsibility

Italians have seen record numbers of refugees reach their shores in recent years. At the end of 2016, Italy hosted nearly a quarter million persons of concern, including about 150,000 refugees and about 100,000 asylum-seekers, according to the U.N.’s refugee agency.

Despite its prominence as a point of entry into Europe, Italy hosts fewer persons of concern than both France, where more than 300,000 refugees live, and Germany, home to nearly 700,000 refugees and well over a half-million asylum seekers.

Italy has 20 million fewer people than does Germany, but hosts three times fewer persons of concern per capita.

It’s also processing far fewer asylum-seekers. In 2015 and 2016, 45 percent of asylum applications were handled in Germany, compared to 8 percent in Italy.

Within the country, some regions have been far more active in hosting refugees. Last summer, Italian newspaper La Stampa reported that just a quarter of the country’s 8,000 municipalities currently host migrants on humanitarian grounds.

In Rome, an Ethiopian woman interviewed by VOA’s Amharic Service last Friday said many of those evicted from the building are now sleeping on the streets.

She said they plan to continue protesting their treatment by Italian police. They don’t have any respect for us. They think black people are flies and donkeys, and they are saying, ‘We don’t care if you die,'” she said.

Source: Voice of America

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ACCRA, Officials of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have called for critical attention to be paid to the growing involvement of women and youth of the sub-region as active participants and victims in organized crime.

Sandra Oulate Fattoh Elleingand, the Director of ECOWAS Gender Development Centre (EGDC), said here Monday that a significant proportion of women and young people in the region were out of school and unemployed and were being targeted by terrorists and other criminals for recruitment into their networks.

She said out of the estimated population of 394 million people in West Africa, women formed about 52 per cent which meant that women constituted the majority of the West African population, while 66 per cent of the sub-region’s population was below the age of 25 years. This makes women and young people the prime targets of terrorists and criminal minded people.

As victims of violence extremism and other criminal activities, women and young people continue to suffer various indignities, including death, gross human rights abuses, abductions, sex slavery, rape and pillage, and other forms of sexual exploitation and abuse,” she said.

A typical example is the abduction of over 250 girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria, by Boko Haram in April 2014. Some of these girls have become suicide bombers and are wreaking havoc in several parts of Nigeria.

Every year, between 3,800 girls and 5,000 women are reported as victims of human trafficking in the sub-region, she said when addressing the opening of a Joint Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA)/EGDC Regional Forum on the Gender and Youth Dimensions of Financial and Cross-Border Criminality in West Africa.

Elleingand expressed grave concern for the growing phenomenon which posed a serious threat not only to the stability and development of West Africa, but also to the security and well-being of the people.

She said organized crime, which had been one of the major development challenges facing the sub-regional governments since the immediate post-independence era, had in recent years assumed very complex transnational dimensions which have serious implications for security, economic growth and development, political stability, and respect for the rule of law and human rights. �


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France’s Macron: Fighting Terrorism Abroad Is Top Priority

PARIS � French President Emmanuel Macron has made the fight against “Islamic terrorism” in Syria and Iraq the top priority in his foreign policy agenda.

Speaking Tuesday to French diplomats gathered at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Macron called the Islamic State group “our enemy.”

“Restoring peace and stability – Iraq then Syria – is vital priority for France,” he said.

He proposed creating a new contact group including the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to help handle negotiations with Syria. He didn’t give more details about the exact role and composition of this group, saying the main players of the Syrian crisis would be involved.

The group will first meet at the United Nations in New York next month.

Macron also announced the organization in Paris of an international summit “against the financing of terrorism” at the beginning of next year.

In Libya, a key country in Africa’s unstable Sahel region, Macron said only a political process will help “eradicating terrorists.” He vowed to help Libya’s neighbors, especially Tunisia, to protect those nations against the risk of destabilization.

On French territory, Macron confirmed that he plans to lift a state of emergency that has been in place since deadly November 2015 attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris. At the same time, he pledged to harden permanent security measures to fight Islamic extremism and other threats.

The state of emergency expires Nov. 1.

Macron recalled France’s commitment toward the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers – an agreement President Donald Trump has threatened to pull the U.S. out of.

“There’s no alternative” to this deal, Macron said, calling for a “constructive and demanding” relationship with Iran.

The French president praised a new European-African plan to grant asylum to migrants in Chad and Niger before they try dangerous, illegal sea crossings, calling it “more human and more effective” than any policies tried in the past.

He insisted that taking in refugees “is a question of dignity and loyalty to what we are,” but stressed the importance of sending home illegal migrants who don’t qualify for asylum.

Macron announced he is naming a new ambassador to oversee migration issues and said his government would step up European-African cooperation efforts to stop migrant smuggling.

Source: Voice of America

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La conférence TEDGlobal 2017 commence en Tanzanie

Dix ans après, TEDGlobal revient en Afrique pour un évènement en direct présentant plus de 45 interventions, entretiens et performances ARUSHA, Tanzanie, 28 août 2017 /PRNewswire/ — TED, l’organisation à but non lucratif qui se consacre aux « Ideas Worth Spreading » (idées qui méritent d’être diffusées) inaugure sa conférence TEDGlobal 2017 aujourd’hui à Arusha, en Tanzanie. Placé […]

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TEDGlobal 2017 Conference Opens in Tanzania

Ten years on, TEDGlobal returns to Africa with live event featuring 45+ talks, interviews and performances ARUSHA, Tanzania, Aug. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — TED, the nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, opens its TEDGlobal 2017 Conference today in Arusha, Tanzania. Themed “Builders. Truth-tellers. Catalysts.” the event will host 700 attendees at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge for […]

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