Egypt : minister of transport resigns after train crash kills 25 people

Egypt’s transport minister resigned after a deadly train crash in Cairo killed at least 25, and left 50 injured.

Through a statement, the Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly is said to have accepted Hisham Arafat’s resignation

Madbouly who visited the scene of the crash announced that the incident would be investigated and anyone found responsible held to account.

Inside the station, the train’s blackened engine could be seen tilted to one side next to a platform.

Eyewitness Ibrahim Hussein said: “I saw a man pointing from the locomotive as it entered the platform, and screaming ‘There are no brakes, there are no brakes’ before he jumped out of the locomotive. And I don’t know what happened to him.”

According to security sources from local media, there was no indication that the crash was deliberate.

The Gambia : Sait Darboe accuse Edward David Singhateh of killing Gambian Army Officers were accused of coup attempt on 11 / November / 1994

BY KABIRU SAGNIA ( C.E ) OF KNN :

The Vice President of the West African Bloc ECOWAS’s Edward David Singhateh has been accused of masterminding the killing of Gambian army officers, who were accused of coup attempt on 11 November of 1994. Mr. Singhateh was the Junta Defense Minister at the time of the mass execution of the officers. The revelation was made by Sait Darboe, a former Army Private soldier. Darboe was giving evidence yesterday before Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC).

Mr. Singhateh works at the ECOWAS Secretariat in Nigeria. He was elected Vice President of the African bloc during dictator Jammeh’s rule. He still maintains that post .

Mr. Darboe says Singhateh had played a leading role towards the execution of the November 11th Juntas . He says Singhateh did not only supervised the execution, but he also took part in the mass execution of the former army officers.

He says Singhateh’s younger brother Lt. Peter Singhateh had also took part in the execution of the accused officers. He described Peter Singhateh as a heartless former officer.

THE GAMBIA : President Bio of Sierra leone urges Gambians not to repeat past mistakes

The President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio has said The Gambia must move forward and consolidate its newfound democracy and avoid repeating its past mistakes.
Speaking to journalists at State House yesterday, President Bio said Gambia can pay attention to the future, because every nation is going forward.
“It is good to have a truth commission but it should not mean to go back to open up new wounds. It will definitely bring out certain lessons which you can incorporate in your governance structure in the way people relate to one another so that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. Gambia should do that to catch up with the rest of the world,” he said.

He said The Gambia and Sierra Leone had different experiences and that it is always good to use those experiences as a way to chart the future.
“We decided to have a truth, reconciliation commission and people took part in it. I was there myself and the recommendations of the commission have been properly documented and have guided us to be able to move forward as far as development is concerned. It also serves as a guide to make sure that we don’t go back into the bad habits like bad governance, injustice and corruption that led to the war,” he observed.

Sources : standard

Iran : Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Enemies cannot hurt Iranian nation

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the fact that millions of people celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Revolution, once again proved that the enemies cannot hurt the Iranian nation in any way .

He added that ” Of course, the adversaries would deny that millions of people showed up but they do know and they do understand that as long as a nation holds its ground like this, enemies can do it no harm,” Ayatollah Khamenei told a crowd of thousands of people on Monday

Millions of Iranians took to the streets last week to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, much to the dismay of US leaders who had said the Islamic Republic would not survive to see the event. 

THE GAMBIA : First National Human Rights Commission sworn in at the State House in Banjul.

His Excellency, President Adama Barrow today presided over the swearing-in of members of the first ever National #HumanRights #Commission at the State House in Banjul.

The five-man Commission, led by Chairperson Emmanuel Joof – a seasoned human rights lawyer – on Thursday morning swore to the oaths of office, allegiance, and secrecy in front of a cross section of high level government officials, family members, and well wishers.

In his congratulatory remarks, the President described the ceremony as a “historic milestone” in fulfillment of the human rights obligations of the government. He pledged that his government would ensure the independence and autonomy of the commission in executing its mandate. He also promised that government would render all the necessary support, be it moral or financial, to the commission in realization of its objectives.

The President highlighted that all categories of citizens would look up to the commission for the protection of their individual and collective rights, imploring on the commissioners to deal with all complaints “fairly and objectively, regardless of the identity, ethnic or political backgrounds” of complaints.

According to the Minister of Justice, the swearing in reaffirmed the fidelity of the government to the values and principles of good governance and democracy. He explained that the ceremony epitomes that The Gambia is reclaiming it’s rightful place in Africa as one of the leading bastions of democracy and rule of the law.

Speaking on behalf of the new commissioners, Chairperson Joof said, although it’s the state’s primary responsibility to protect human rights, he would urged all citizens to remain steadfast in upholding the rule of the law and human rights at all times.

THE GAMBIA : Fatou Bah-Barrow Gambia’s First Lady selected to Lead Regional fight against Plastic Pollution in Africa

The First Lady of the Gambia has been selected by the African Union Commission to lead the West African region’s efforts to eradicate plastic Pollution in Africa.

Fatou Bah-Barrow was selected at the First Ladies’ Dialogue during the 32nd ordinary summit of the African Union held on February 10th in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

As part of her role, Ms Bah-Barrow will spearhead the campaign to ban and eradicate plastics on the continent.

The First Lady said she will use her new role to help the gradual eradication of plastics through advocacy and awareness raising on the impacts of plastics and share experience on strategies and measures being undertaken to address the menace of plastics.

She said the Government of the Gambia is conscious of the health and environmental hazards associated with the growing demand for plastics, and remains committed to maintain the ban on plastic bags.

Ms Bah-Barrow expressed her appreciation to the African Union Commission and her fellow first ladies from across Africa at the High Level Working Session on Banning Plastics in Africa, for the laudable initiative and the honour bestowed on her as champion for West Africa.

AFRICA : Egypt’s Sisi took over the leadership of African Union from Kagame of Rwandan

Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who led an active, reformist tenure as African Union chair, on Sunday passes the leadership to Egypt, seen as more likely to focus on security issues than expanding the powers of the body.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi officially took over the post of ceremonial head of the African Union which rotates between the five regions of the continent at the start of a two-day summit in Addis Ababa.

While multiple crises on the continent will be on the agenda of heads of state from the 55 member nations, the summit will also focus on institutional reforms, and the establishment of a continent-wide free trade zone.

The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) was agreed by 44 nations in March 2018, but only 19 countries have ratified the agreement, with 22 needed for it to come into effect.

THE GAMBIA : Police warn about unauthorized demonstration

The Gambia police force has warned against public demonstration without a police permit adding that it was illegal and unlawful.   

A press release issued by the office of the Inspector General of Police stated that they “were aware of an audio circulating on social media about an intent to demonstrate without a permit which contravenes the principles of democracy.

“Therefore it’s important to note that under section 178 of the 1997 constitution, the Police Force is responsible to preserve, protect and maintain public peace.

There is nowhere in the world where a person or group of persons occupy the streets without the consent of the relevant authorities whose presence will be to protect lives and properties of everyone.

“The public is hereby reminded that the Office of the Inspector General will use all means reasonable to ensure that the peace and tranquillity of this country will never be compromised in all its forms.

“Furthermore, those who may want to protest or demonstrate should ensure that they comply with the law in order to be protected by the law.

“In as much as being in a democratic society one has the right to the enjoyment of fundamental human rights, but of course such rights go with certain responsibilities.

South Sudan : Four people died after UN helicopter crashes at (UNISFA) compound in Abyei

An Ethiopian military helicopter with 23 passengers on board has crashed on Saturday  inside the compound of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) killing four of its crew members.

The MI-8 helicopter was on routine operation carrying Ethiopian troops on rotation from Kadugli to Abyei when it crashed. Ten passengers were injured, and two are in critical condition at the UNISFA Level II hospital in Abyei, South Sudan.

BREAKING NEWS :Morocco withdraw from Yemen war amid row with Saudi Arabia

Morocco says it has stopped its involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, and recalled its ambassador to the kingdom amid rising tensions between Riyadh and Rabat.

A Moroccan government official said Thursday that Morocco no longer takes part in military interventions or ministerial meetings in the Saudi-led coalition.

Morocco Flag

Morocco’s government has not explained the details of its participation in the war which has killed thousands and displaced over 3 million people since 2015 but reports suggest that the African country contributed with six planes and 1,500 troops.

Last year, Morocco pledged to pull its warplanes out of the Saudi war, citing a need for military buildup at home.

THE GAMBIA: The Gambia’s 54th Independence celebrations coverage

The Office of the President is pleased to announce that media accreditation for coverage of the forthcoming Independence celebrations of our beloved Republic is open. This year’s activities will take place between the 16th – 21st February 2019.

Heads of bona fide media organizations, both accredited and non-accredited State House media, interested in covering the events should send a notice of interest in writing to the Office of the DPPR listing their representative(s) to info.dppr.op@gmail.com. Each media house can accredit up to:

1) Two reporters and a camera-person for newspapers and news agencies;
2) Two TV crews (one reporter and a cameraman each). However, media houses interested in live coverage can apply for more, and each case will be treated separately.
3) Two reporters for each radio station

Deadline for submission of application is 4:00 P.M, Wednesday, 12th February 2019.

World News : Venezuela authorities seize weapons shipment from Florida U.S.A

Venezuela Authorities seized a large shipment of US-made weapons aboard a cargo plane that had taken off from Miami, Florida, days after US President Donald Trump repeated his threats of taking military action against the Latin American country amid an ongoing political rift.

Representatives from the Venezuelan National Guard and the National Integrated Service of Customs and Tax Administration (SENIAT) found the weapons aboard a plane that had landed at the Arturo Michelena International Airport in the city of Valencia on February 3.

The official Twitter account of the Venezuela Public Safety Bureau posted pictures of the weapons bust on Wednesday, which included 19 rifles, 118 ammunition clips, high-caliber ammo and 90 communication devices.

Venezuelan authorities have launched an investigation to identify the source of the weapons.

WORLD NEWS : Trump will meet North Korea’s Kim on 28 Feb 2018 in Vietnam

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday (Feb 5) announced that his second summit with North Korea President will take place later this month in Vietnam as he also reported headway in talks with the Taliban.

Delivering his annual State of the Union address to Congress after being politically battered by a partial government shutdown, Trump hailed his diplomacy with North Korea and seized on the drama of the setting to reveal his long-planned second summit with leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump said he would meet the elusive young leader on Feb 27 and 28 in Vietnam, although he did not specify the venue.

“Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months,” Trump told lawmakers assembled in the House chamber.

AFRICA NEWS : Egyptian lawmakers pave the way for Sisi to stay in power until 2034

An Egyptian parliamentary ( Lawmakers ) committee on Tuesday approved proposed constitutional amendments which would allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay in power until 2034 and boost his control of the judiciary.

The approval is the first step needed to move forward with the constitutional changes, which are expected to be finally endorsed by parliament and then move to a referendum within a few months.

The proposed amendments were submitted on Sunday to the speaker of parliament who heads the committee that approved the changes.

Any changes need approval by two-thirds of parliament members, followed by a referendum.

“This is a constitution made for a pharaoh,” said Mohamed Zaree of the Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies. |”It gives a lot of authority with no accountability.”

Sisi supporters say the changes are necessary for the stability of the country and to give the president more time to implement economic development plans.

AFRICA : Central African Republic signs peace deal with armed groups

The government of the Central African Republic and 14 armed groups signed a new peace accord seeking to end years-long fighting that has left thousands of people dead.

The accord was initialed by President Faustin Archange Touadera for the CAR government and representatives of militias which control most of the chronically-troubled country.

It will be formally signed in the CAR capital of Bangui “in the coming days,” Touadera’s office said, without announcing a date.

“The Khartoum Agreement opens the door for peace to return to our homeland,” Touadera declared at the ceremony. “It is now time to open a new page for Central Africa. Let’s go together to Bangui to build our country together.”

President Hassan Rouhani : US domination over Iran will not return

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says that the United States’ hostile attitude toward Iran since the victory of its Islamic Revolution 40 years ago, and the era of US domination over the Islamic Republic has come to an end.

Rouhani made the remarks in an address to the closing ceremony of the 36th Book of the Year Award and the 26th World Book Award of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Tehran on Tuesday.

He said Europe, the US and some reactionary Arab countries in the region imposed an all-out blockade against Iran but failed to achieve any success due to the Iranian nation’s faith, belief and hope.

The president said the US prevented four “scientists” from traveling to Tehran to receive their book awards and threatened that it would not give them visas to turn back to the United States, in a move that showed they are under sanctions.

“Who are you fighting with? You are fighting with the ideologies and civilization of the world. You are fighting with nations in our region,” Rouhani said.

The Gambia : Deputy imam comments about gay marriage

The deputy imam of Sanchaba Sulay Jobe Abibou Choi, has urged government not to draft laws that would allow same sex marriage.

He said that the current Gambian Constitution provides for marriage between two people but added he was not sure whether it specifies gender.

He urged the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) to draft laws in the new constitution that would prohibit sodomy.

“I want the constitution to state clearly that only a man and woman should marry each other,” he opined.

He urged that if the constitution allows people to marry without specifying gender; that could encourage people of the same gender to marry each other and claim that it is their constitutional right and that nobody would be able stop them from practicing sodomy.

Imam Choi also spoke at length on the importance of the Friday prayer and stressed the need for the day (Friday) to be made a holiday for Muslim workers.

The Gambia : Jammeh is not in( APRC ) list submitted to the ( IEC )

Despite the opposition Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction’s claims that former President Yahya Jammeh is re-elected as their party leader and secretary general, the former president’s name is not in the list that was submitted to the Independent Electoral Commission, IEC.
“The list we got from the APRC did not include Jammeh. As far as the IEC is concerned, the list that they officially gave us stated that Fabakary Tombong Jatta is the party and the list did not include Jammeh at all,” IEC chairman, Alieu Mamarr Njai confirmed to The Standard yesterday.

“The list of the APRC executive goes as follows: Ousman Rambo Jatta, first deputy, Borry Colley, second deputy, Yankuba Colley, national mobiliser, Amul Nyass, spokesperson, etc. But Jammeh is not in the list, that I can confirm,” Chairman Njai said.
Asked whether it is legally right for anyone to call Jammeh party leader of APRC in light of the above, Njai replied: “As far as the IEC is concerned, the official list shared with us is the APRC executive and that does not include Jammeh. That is what I can say.”

Islamic news : did Pope Francis and Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb kiss each other ?

At an inter-religious meeting in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, the two religious leaders celebrated the signing of a document on fighting extremism together with an embrace – and a kiss.

Many observers, seeing a picture of the event published by Reuters, believed the moment was just a tad too intimate, with the Pope and the Imam all but locking lips in front of onlookers. Social media users snickered, suggested the two “get a room” and mocked the image in light of both religions’ scriptures concerning homosexuality, as well as the UAE’s strictness on public displays of affection.

The Gambia :“I pledge my commitment not to interfere in the judiciary” ( President Barrow )

Delivering a strong message of assurance at the opening of the 2019 Legal Year, President Barrow has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to continue ensuring a judiciary free from executive overreach.

“On this auspicious occasion, I once again pledge my firm commitment not to interfere in the judicial administration of the country”, the President said.

The President said his administration has broken free from the intolerable practice of sacking Judicial officers without any just cause, as witnessed in the past, stressing that no judicial officer has been arbitrarily dismissed from office since he assumed office.

He also pointed out the appointments of human rights lawyers as Chief Justice and Minister of Justice, respectively, as well as the swift reconstitution of the Supreme Court after a three-year break, as testaments of respect for the third arm of the government.

The Chief Justice and the Minister of Justice joined the President in paying glowing tribute to the high level of judicial independence under the current govt.

“You [President Barrow] have lived up to your assurance of no interference in the judiciary both in public and private”, stressed the Chief Justice, Hassan B. Jallow.