#AceBreakingNews – BURKINA FASO – October 30 – Thousands of protesters stormed Burkina Faso’s parliament on Thursday and set fire to the building, ahead of a vote on a motion to allow the president to stand for re-election, Reuters witnesses said.
The crowd then headed towards the prime ministers office as a government helicopter flew overhead, shooting tear gas canisters at protesters, a Reuters witness said.
Lawmakers had been due to vote on Thursday a plan proposed by the government to change the constitution to allow President Blaise Compaore stand for re-election next year, when he was due to stand down due to a two-term limit. Most deputies had not yet arrived for the vote when protesters entered the building.
“We did this because Blaise was trying to stay too long. We are tired of him,” said Seydou Kabre, a protester in the crowd headed to the prime minister’s office. “We want a change. He must go!”
Protesters took the parliament building after police starting shooting in the air in a bid to disperse them. In the face of the surging crowd, police were forced to withdraw, witnesses said.
(Reporting by Mathieu Bonkoungou and Joe Penney; Writing by Joe Bavier and Daniel Flynn; Editing by David Lewis)
#AceWorldNews – ALGIERS – July 27 – According to latest information that either 116 or 118 people on board the Air Algerie flight AH5017 which crashed in the restive northern Mali, at least 33 French military personnel including three senior intelligence officials and a Lebanese Hezbollah leader were present, it has emerged reported IBTimes
Even as the Algerian authorities have asserted that the real cause of the crash could be established only after a thorough investigation, they have not ruled out a terror attack either.
The exact number of people present in the aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas-83, is still unclear – whether it was 116 or 118.
But the local daily Echorouk, citing sources, said there were French troops on board.
There were at least 19 Lebanese passengers and some of them were dual citizens, including an alleged senior Hezbollah figure, who was disguised as a businessman.
A team of Lebanese experts is also on its way to Mali to assist the ongoing investigation.
Meanwhile, militants from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA), locally known as Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa, are said to be stationed near the crash site, which is not far from their stronghold.
The al-Qaeda-inspired outfit is believed to be holding an arsenal of missiles in its possession which were smuggled from Libya.
However, experts have firmly ruled out any ground-to-air attack that brought down the plane.
But speculation over a criminal incident linked to explosives inside the Burkina Faso-Algiers flight has also surfaced.
"We rule out — and have from the start — any ground strike," French junior transport minister Frédéric Cuvillier told France Two television.
#AceWorldNews – FRANCE (Paris) – July 19 – French President Francois Hollande on Friday promoted a new military operation being rolled out in West Africa to take on a multi-faceted menace from Islamist groups that he warned threatened France’s interests and citizens reported Reuters.
The military operation succeeded in scattering the Islamist groups in Mali, and Paris is in the process of reorganising its deployment in the region, with its 1,700 soldiers in Mali being folded into a broader counter-terrorism force.
Under the new plan, some 3,000 French troops will now operate out of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad – countries straddling the vast arid Sahel band – with the aim of stamping out an Islamist threat across the region.
“There are threats, notably from Libya. Military hardware has accumulated there, and without a doubt, terrorists are seeking refuge there,” Hollande said in Niger during a three-day trip that will also take him to Ivory Coast and Chad.
“We have, therefore, decided to put in place structures and measures that will allow us to confront this threat of terrorism in the Sahel,” he said.
BBC: leaked report shows alleged corruption – involving tens of thousands of dollars – was discovered by investigators working for the Global Fund.
When the final report on the case was published, all but one of the allegations had been removed. The Global Fund says it is “transparent and has zero tolerance of corruption”. The Global Fund is one of the biggest providers of international aid and fights malaria, Aids and tuberculosis in the developing world.
In 10 years the fund spent £13.5bn and saved millions of lives, the UK government recently announced it was giving the Global Fund £1bn according to an Internal draft. One official report looking at corruption in projects funded by the Global Fund in Cambodia was published two weeks ago.
But Panorama has obtained a leaked copy of an original internal investigation report from inside the fund.
There are significant differences between what the investigators wrote in the initial, leaked report and what the official one says.
Some of the allegations relate to money sent to a non-profit health organisation called Medicam by a British charity working for the UK government.
In the internal draft seen by Panorama they were accused of double billing for staff and computers, charging more than £61,000 for consultants who were never employed and charging thousands for hotels that were never used.
The leaked report also detailed how investigators found allegedly falsified documents on the office computer of the director of Medicam, Dr Sin Sumony.
In the final report, just one of the four allegations remains.
Bea Edwards, from the Government Accountability Project in Washington, said: “The fact that a report is suppressed for almost a year and then is somewhat less detailed than the original version, that is a cover-up.”
The Global Fund said that “procedural due process made this report take longer than usual” and that only “evidence that can be confirmed as fact is included in the final version”.
The scope of Global Fund investigation reports “should be limited to Global Fund grants”, they said.
Panorama spoke to the director of Medicam, Dr Sumony, who sits on the Global Fund committee that oversees its projects in Cambodia.
“Number one, we did not commit that corruption, number two, through the Global Fund support, their financial management system has improved,” he said.
Dr Sumony confirmed they were about to receive more money from the Global Fund: “This year it is over $720,000.”
Mosquito net ‘scam’
Panorama also obtained an unpublished Global Fund report into corruption in Burkina Faso.
It details an alleged scam involving an £8.3m contract that might have left two million people more vulnerable to malaria.
The BBC’s leaked copy reveals how a company with apparently no experience of supplying mosquito nets won a contract to provide two million of them.
The company took the £8.3m but bought cheaper nets from China that had not been properly treated with insecticide to kill mosquitoes.
The Global Fund announced it was replacing the nets last year and stressed that the nets “while untreated, still give protection”.
The fund said it had “since distributed replacement nets to replace all untreated bed nets“.
It said the investigation would be published when it was complete.
The leaked report shows that the investigation was completed a year ago but still has not been published.
Panorama has seen details of a series of investigations that were started more than a year ago but which have not been published. They reveal potential fraud of £16.5m.
The countries investigated are Niger, Ghana, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Global Fund says it doesn’t comment on open investigations and it expects to report on its findings.
It says the fund is transparent and has zero tolerance of corruption: “Twenty-seven reports have been published in the last 12 months. Standards of disclosure remain exceptionally high.”
Many of the investigations were initiated by the fund’s former inspector general.
In November 2012, John Parsons was sacked for “unsatisfactory” performance.
A year earlier his department had been described in an independent report as “the only risk-mitigation strategy within the Global Fund that has worked”.
Panorama can reveal that before he was dismissed, Mr Parsons wrote to his bosses complaining about “harassment, intimidation and retaliation”.
“Your true intention is to weaken the function, simply because you don’t like what we find and report upon,” he wrote.
Documents from inside the fund show the inspectors felt they were being undermined, saying they were repeatedly told “not to look so deep”.
One said: “The organisation, while parading ‘transparency’ and openness, in practice views disclosure of results as negative, harmful and unwanted.”
The Global Fund says it is “committed to a strong and effective office of the inspector general, and has not tried to weaken it at all”.
Panorama: Where’s Our Aid Money Gone?, BBC One, Monday 2 December at 19:30 GMT and then available in the UK on the BBC iPlayer.
- Fund suspends contracts over ‘bribes’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Tahir Contributes $65 Million to the Global Fund (newstimeafrica.com)
- Malaria Graft in Cambodia Forces Global Fund to Cancel Mosquito Nets Contract With Two Suppliers (medindia.net)
- Global Fund Reveals Network Of Bribery in Health Ministry (cambodiadaily.com)
- Cambodia: Corruption in the Ministry of Health (crofsblogs.typepad.com)
- Global Fund Bribery Rumors Confirmed (euzicasa.wordpress.com)
- CPP Says ACU Will Investigate Global Fund Corruption (cambodiadaily.com)
- Little Will Be Learned From Global Fund Scandal (cambodiadaily.com)
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced today they are teaming up for a trip to the Sahel next week to address pressing issues in the vast African region such as pervasive poverty, food insecurity and conflict.
“The Sahel is one of the most impoverished and fragile places on the planet,” said Mr. Ban in a “http://www.un.org/sg/offthecuff/index.asp?nid=3155” joint press conference in New York. “We are going together to listen and act. We are convinced the cycle of crises in the Sahel can be broken. The region can move from fragility to sustainability.”
Earlier this year, Mr. Ban and Mr. Kim travelled together to Africa’s long troubled Great Lakes region in support of a new peace framework agreed by leaders there. It was the first joint visit by a UN Secretary-General and a President of the World Bank. The new trip seeks to build on joint efforts, foster international support, and spotlight the challenges currently facing the Sahel.
“Our message on this critical visit and around the world is that peace and development must go hand-in-hand,” Mr. Ban said. “At this time last year, Mali was in crisis. Since then, our collective efforts have helped not only improve the political and security situation in Mali but also address some of the broader challenges in the Sahel. The time is ripe to build on these gains.”
The Sahel has suffered three major droughts in less than a decade. More than 11 million people are at risk of hunger and 5 million children under five are at risk of acute malnutrition. In addition, political instability and unconstitutional changes in Governments have had significant economic and social consequences in the region and terrorist acts, as well as organized crime, have threatened the region’s stability.
“These challenges cannot be overcome by any Government or organization alone,” Mr. Ban said. “The issues are connected and we need an approach that connects our efforts.”
“Many of these countries have chronically low economic growth which lags behind the urgent need for job creation,” Mr. Kim told reporters via teleconference from Washington D.C. “We need to work together so that people of the Sahel can have peace and development.”
He stressed that the World Bank’s new approach to the Sahel will entail working side by side with the region’s Governments, the UN and other development partners and will promote greater stability, resilience and sustainable development in the five core countries of the region: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
“Our aim is to address the root causes of poverty, conflict and helplessness. As a part of this new approach, the World Bank will mobilize substantial public and private sources in support. We’ll help strengthen social safety nets for people, lower the cost of energy and increase support for irrigation and pastoralism, as well transform the state of agriculture in the region,” Mr. Kim said.
The Sahel stretches from Mauritania to Eritrea, including Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan, a belt dividing the Sahara desert and the savannahs to the south. The joint visit will start from Mali and continue to Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.
Mr. Ban and Mr. Kim will be joined by Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy to the region, Romano Prodi, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka, and Commissioner for Development of the European Union Andris Piebalgs.
Courtesy of :UN News Room
- Billions of dollars for Sahel region in Africa announced (worldbulletin.net)
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to Make Joint Visit to Africa’s Sahel Region (weinformers.net)
- Ban pleads for women’s rights to curb Sahel fertility (modernghana.com)
- UN, World Bank chiefs on Sahel anti-poverty mission (modernghana.com)
- EU, World Bank pledge over $8 bn in fresh aid for Sahel (modernghana.com)
- UN, EU pledge $8.25 billion to Africa’s Sahel (boston.com)