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Siya Kolisi claims referee in first Lions Test showed lack of respect

The South Africa captain Siya Kolisi has made the remarkable claim that he was shown a lack of respect by the referee Nic Berry during last Saturday’s defeat by the British & Irish Lions as the Springboks lashed out at the touring side, accusing Warren Gatland of “destroying the dignity of the series”.

Doubling down on Rassie Erasmus’s outburst over perceived injustices from officials as the extraordinary war of words intensified before Saturday’s second Test, Kolisi agreed with his director of rugby that he was treated differently to the Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones. The Springboks assistant Mzwandile Stick then took a swipe at Gatland for making his anger known about the appointment of the South African TMO Marius Jonker last week. Earlier, Rugby Australia slammed Erasmus for an “unacceptable” attack on Berry, labelling his rant as “against the spirit and values of the game”.

The British & Irish Lions, meanwhile, have insisted they have received assurances from Saturday’s referee Ben O’Keeffe that he will not be affected in the second Test against South Africa following Erasmus’s comments. Erasmus is under investigation by World Rugby after a video of him launching an hour-long diatribe about some of the decisions made by Berry, who will be one of O’Keeffe’s assistants on Saturday, emerged on Thursday. Kolisi could also face disciplinary action from World Rugby.

Despite the governing body’s investigation and palpable anger from Rugby Australia, however, the Springboks stuck to their guns. Kolisi said: “I didn’t feel respected at all. I didn’t feel I was given a fair opportunity. I didn’t feel I was given the same access to the referee [as Jones] and there is proof if you watch the game again, you will definitely be able to see.” Asked to expand on his claim, Kolisi simply replied: “Did you watch the video?”

Erasmus and South Africa have stepped on the offensive this week, after Gatland’s anger at Jonker’s appointment, rather than a neutral replacement when the New Zealander Brendon Pickerill withdrew, last week. On Friday Stick said: “If Rassie got into trouble because of what he said on social media, then the gentleman that challenged the integrity of the game at the beginning, when the TMO was challenged, I think that is something that really destroyed the dignity of the series. And it also challenges the integrity of World Rugby.”

Rassie Erasmus acting as water carrier in the first Test
Rassie Erasmus has sparked controversy with his outspoken comments this week. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

The Lions, for their part, have largely sought to avoid engaging with Erasmus this week but the assistant coach Robin McBryde has spoken of his dislike for “openly challenging decisions by the referee” with Stuart Hogg launching a charm offensive and describing O’Keeffe as “one of the best referees I’ve had to deal with”.

World Rugby’s public response to Erasmus on Thursday was to say that his comments had been noted and that they would be raised with the South African union. Rugby Australia, however, has come out firing, insisting, “there is no place for abuse of match officials in Australian Rugby, with Rugby Australia committed to promoting a fair, safe and inclusive rugby experience for all participants, officials and fans. Rugby Australia believes the recent actions are unacceptable and against the spirit and values of the game”.

Rugby Australia’s chief executive, Andy Marinos, added: “Match officials form the very fabric of our game – simply, the game would not exist without them. As a highly regarded and respected international referee appointed by World Rugby, the attack on Nic’s integrity, character and reputation is unacceptable.”

Erasmus’s frustrations centre on what South Africa perceive is a lack of respect shown by the officials towards Kolisi compared to Jones as well as the time it took to receive feedback from World Rugby about an array of decisions he felt went against his side.

His comments have also been seen in some quarters as an attempt to put additional pressure on the officials on Saturday but as the Lions seek to wrap up the series they have been put at ease by O’Keeffe, Berry and Mathieu Raynal, who will also act as an assistant on Saturday.

“We had a good meeting with the referees, as Ben O’Keefe said himself, we’re aware there’s a lot of stuff out there on social media, but that’s not going to affect anything,” said McBryde. “That’s just a sideshow. We had a positive discussion with the referee. Everyone realises they’re in a tough place. They’ve got a tough job to do. But we were really happy with Nic Berry last Saturday and I don’t think it will be any different this weekend either.”

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Hogg, meanwhile, was glowing in his praise of O’Keeffe, having had prior dealings with him when acting as Scotland’s captain. Even before the video emerged, Erasmus appeared to attempt to hit back at the Lions’ fury over Jonker’s appointment by insisting he would never bring attention to the fact that both O’Keeffe and Warren Gatland are New Zealanders. But Hogg said: “In the short time I’ve been Scotland captain Ben O’Keeffe has been one of the best referees I’ve had to deal with.

‘That’s a reason why a large majority of his games when he’s involved are allowed to flow, you’re allowed to get on with it, and he helped me massively in the couple of games we’ve had him when I’ve been leading the side.”

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US Donating Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to the Philippines

The United States is sending three million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines, the White House said Friday.

A White House official told reporters the shipping process began Friday and that the doses would arrive “early next week.”

The U.S. is providing the doses through COVAX, a campaign to provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine worldwide, the official said. 

The White House official said the U.S. is not contributing the doses to the Philippines “with strings attached” but because, “It’s the right thing morally, the right thing from a global public health perspective, and right for our collective security and well-being.”

America’s vaccine donations to the Philippines “represents the largest-ever purchase and donation of vaccines by a single country,” according to the official.

The U.S. has donated $2 billion to COVAX and will buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for distribution this year to the African Union’s 55-member nations and “92 low and lower middle-income countries” as defined by COVAX, the official said.

Philippines Says US Visiting Forces Agreement to Remain in Effect

Duterte retracts termination letter sent last year

The White House announcement to provide doses to the Philippines came on the same day Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reversed a decision to end a vital defense agreement with the U.S., as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrapped up a visit to the country on Friday.

The deal regulates the rotation of U.S. troops in and out of the Philippines for war drills and exercises. The agreement became increasingly important to the U.S. and its allies as they contend with an increasingly aggressive China.

White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman contributed to this report.

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Fowler bags Pan-African Oversight Committee board appointment

Former chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, has been appointed to the eight-member board of Pan-African Oversight Committee, an arm of the Pan-African Parliament of the African Union (AU).

 The appointment was contained in a letter signed by Ambassador Adriaan Fondse.

Dated 27 July, the letter stated that Fowler will have duties contained in the signed Pan-African Oversight Committee with full fiduciary powers in line with in-country legislation and common law and according to internationally accepted accounting practice

The committee is chaired by Mr. Adriaan Fondse of South Africa.

Other members are Ambassador Henry McCarter, General Fanissa Shezi, Mr. William Fink, all of South Africa; Mr. Mike Afflu of Ghana, Fowler of Nigeria and Mr. Lennox Sola of Botswana.

Fowler was chairman of the FIRS between 2016 and 2019, a position he occupied after heading the Lagos State Inland Revenue Service (LIRS).

He was the chairperson, African Tax Administrators Forum (ATAF) and had just concluded a UN assignment.

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My Take On It: A snapshot of Malawi’s leaders in 57 years of independent rule, Part IV


11“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

President Bingu wa Mutharika, also known as Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika, was a fraud. Single-handedly chosen by his predecessor President Bakili Mulizi, Mutharika (whom I call Mutharika I), sailed to State House on the coattails of Muluzi’s massive countrywide campaign theatrical antics. Throughout the campaign, Mutharika would be unveiled by Mulizi, requested to say a few words, and all he ever said was: Bingu woyeee! Muluzi woyeee! It was not a big guessing game that the entire civil service and many other Malawians used the catchphrase: “Tibvala Gwanda, mibingu kulibe!” (We are wearing the T-shirt, there are no clouds).

Despite the frenzy former Lower Shire giant created amongst Malawi’s intelligentsia, Bingu won the day and was whisk to the Presidency. This was not before of course, Muluzi and his henchmen prevented other contenders for the UDF ticket. Such contenders as Aleke Banda and Harry Thomson were hurled out of the convention hall by the legendary bully, Dumbo Lemani. And by the day of the inauguration, as Muluzi and Mutharika 1 drove to the Stadium, I was in bed, sick; as sick as I would later be in 2016 when Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump. Both are the epitomes of the big steal.

While he participated in the running of the clown-show uuuuuu campaign, he appeared to Malawians as a real big wimpy. Ironically, on inauguration day, just as Mutharika was about to finish the first quarter of his statement,  I suddenly stopped being sick and sat up to listen. I later took a pen and paper to take notes of what he was saying to Malawians. Rumor has it that Muluzi had given Mutharika a statement that he wrote, but never saw the light of day. There was something very similar to the song Mutharika wove in his words, the first time he spoke from his economic veins, a song we had not been allowed to hear him sing for himself as he called for our votes. The more I listened to Bingu’s speech, the more he sounded like Kamuzu Banda ; something about mending the economy through agriculture, enhancing food security at the household level. The economic engineer was replacing the political engineer Muluzi

It took Mutharika precisely six months to ditch the party that brought him to the State House.  He chose Chancellor College (now known as the University of Malawi) to make the announcement at a place he spoke out against massive corruption and corrupt practices in the UDF political party. The new party he established  was Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). In two years, Malawi was on a path to economic recovery through a number of policies adopted by his administration. All the while a very bitter UDF and lead henchmen Lemani and Kachimbwinda were on record stating Mutharika got to State House on stolen votes, and Sam Mpasu stating Mutharika was a hard ticket to sell to Malawians.

This hard-to-sell ticket brought economic prosperity through numerous steering away from Muluzi’s policies both locally, regionally, and internationally. He started by moving into the New State House. Bingu renamed development projects that bear former President Kamuzu Banda’s signature, among them Kamuzu Highway, Kamuzu International Airport, Kamuzu Stadium. He cut ties with Taiwan and established ties with China who funded among others, the new Parliament Building, Kamuzu Banda Mausoleum, Kamuzu Highway four-way carriage, and the very novel inland port in Nsanje that connects Malawi to the Indian Ocean via the Shire River in Malawi and the Zambezi in Mozambique.

The pivotal policy that Bingu made that remains in the hearts of Malawians was the introduction of the Farm Input Subsidy Program (FIST) to every Malawian in its first year, and to vulnerable Malawians in the second and subsequent years. The program shift that defied the UN, World Bank, and other international partners led to Malawi elevation to household food security on the one hand, and a donor to Zambia, South Africa and Haiti In 2010 Bingu refused to make the donation to Haiti in monetary form to the World Food Program. He insisted on sending instead bags of Malawi rice, complete with “Donation from the People of Malawi” stamped on every bag. He added silos to supplement those built by Kamuzu, encouraging fish farming on Lake Malawi.

Bingu soared high and was a much sought-after leader. He was Malawi’s first leader to be elected chairman of the African Union. He also chaired the SADC.

In the education sector, he established a science and technology university in his home district Thyolo. Additionally, Bingu entered into the training of Malawian doctors with Cuba.

Sadly, the First Lady Mama Ethel Mutharika passed away on April 7, 2007. Her death led to the nation learning about various projects she had introduced through the Bineth Mutharika Foundation that were lifting the livelihoods of rural women. Later Mutharika remarried, becoming the second president to marry while in the State House.

On the downtrend very shortly after winning in a landslide election, during which his running mate was Joyce Banda, Malawians saw cracks in the relationship between the President and his Vice. Sadly in July 2011 during demonstrations against Bingu’s dictatorial tendencies, 21 Malawians lost their lives.

Bingu is the only president to die while in office. He passed away after a cardiac arrest on April 5, 2012. His death brought temporary chaos in Malawi as party zealots aspired to find ways to prevent Vice President Joyce Banda from ascending to the role of president as prescribed by the Constitution.

In the year 2012, the world saw that the Malawi Defense Force is a professional entity. It rose to the occasion, upon being informed by the presidential aide de camp (a defense force personnel who is the principal security detail for the head of state)informed his superiors of the cardiac arrest of President Bingu wa Mutharika, a large contingency was sent to the vice president’s official residence, informing her that they were there for her protection. Among others, the move was to prevent a constitutional crisis. Malawi would plunge into a constitutional crisis if the president is confirmed to have died, and then someone harms the VP; there would be a leadership vacuum.

After much ado, Joyce Banda sailed into history as the first woman president in Malawi and the SADC region, and the second woman president in Africa. She led Malawians to mourn and bury President Bingu wa Mutharika, the superior with whom she did not have a cordial relationship for the better part of three years.

Bingu started as the weakling that Muluzi pushed into Malawi’s political sphere, rose to great economic strength and might, raising the living standards of Malawians, through revolutionized agricultural policies, mainly through farm input subsidies.

A little criticism here and there, made the house of Bingu come tumbling down, as Malawians shunned the hero they dared overpraise as they had done with Kamuzu.  

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AU Commission receives Ambassador of the State of Israel’s credentials

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Moussa Faki Mahamat (right) with Aleli Admasu

The African Union Commission Chairperson, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat has received credentials from Mr Aleli Admasu, Ambassador of the State of Israel to Ethiopia, Burundi and Chad at Addis Ababa, the AU Headquarters.

Presenting the credentials, Ambassador Admasu welcomed the opportunity to meet the Chairperson of the AU Commission as it marked the beginning of a new phase in building Israel’s relations with the African Region at a continental level.

He noted that whereas Israel had bilateral relations with several African countries, the engagement with African States through the African Union was key towards building the multilateralism required for promoting continental initiatives earmarked under Africa’s Agenda 2063.

The Israeli Ambassador commended the African Union for the role it played in promoting Africa’s peace and security agenda and advocating conflicting parties to engage in discussions and partnerships that would promote a stable environment free from conflict.

“Ambassador Admasu extended an invitation from the State of Israel to the Chairperson of the AUC to visit the country noting that the State of Israel would welcome the opportunity to host a meeting between the Chairperson and its leaders,” a statement obtained by the Ghana News Agency at Tema on Friday stated.

The African Union Commission Chairperson reiterated the call for the solution of the conflict of Palestine and Israel.

The Chairperson stated that the conflict between the States of Palestine and Israel had been a cause of great concern for over 70 years with various regional and international actors having participated in the search for a peace between the two nations.

He noted that a lasting solution was required to ensure the co-existence of both nations and to allow their people to live in a state of peace and stability.

He emphasised that the path towards long lasting peace and stability required that the peace process and the solutions sought must not only be acceptable, but must guarantee the rights of all parties.

Mr Mahamat, who is a former Prime Minister of Chad reiterated that in the almost 60-year history of Africa’s continental organisation, from its formation as the Organization of African Unity and re-launch as the African Union, it was clear on its position that in the issue of Palestine and Israel, a Two-State Solution was necessary for a peaceful co-existence.

Source: GNA

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Angola: Stock Exchange With U.S.$2 Billion Annual Turnover

Luanda — Angola Debt and Stock Exchange (Bodiva), planed to be privatised by 2022, trades an equivalent in local currency (kwanzas) of USD2 billion a year, the institution’s CEO said Wednesday.

Walter Pacheco, who was speaking via video conference at the International Roadshow for promotion of Privatisation Programme (Propriv), sponsored by the Ministry of Finance, predicted an increase in the coming years, in view of the policies being adopted by the institution.

Pacheco said that the Stock Exchange currently has 23 commercial banks (members) and two brokerages, which operate mainly in Treasury Bonds .

Data released earlier this year put at 1.18 billion kwanzas the value traded in 2020 on the treasury stock market, 35% more than in 2019.

In 12 month-period, 5 512 deals were carried out, 27% more than in the previous year.

Among the planned initiatives, Walter Pacheco announced plans for the entry into operation of the Stock Exchange Market (MBA) in 2022.

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Losers Win Gold Medals at UNESCO World Heritage Olympics

Losers Win Gold Medals at UNESCO World Heritage Olympics – African Union News Today – EIN Presswire

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COVID-19 vaccine shortages no longer an issue – Ramaphosa

COVID-19 vaccine shortages no longer an issue – RamaphosaMore than 31 million doses of the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in the country before the end of the year. (Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash)

President Cyril Ramaphosa is satisfied with the national vaccine rollout which has seen close to 7.3 million people vaccinated so far.  It was also announced that over 31 million additional doses will be delivered within the next two to three months meaning COVID-19 vaccine shortages are a thing of the past.

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The president addressed the media at the Rabasotho Community Centre which doubles up as a vaccination site in Thembisa yesterday.

Ramaphosa said the shortages experienced during the first three quarters of this year will no longer be a problem as the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson jabs make their way to South African shores.

A total of 1.49 million doses of the J&J vaccine – released by Aspen on Monday – are expected to be handed over to the National Department of Health in the new few days.

“Today or the day after, we are going to receive 5.7 million (vaccines) that have been donated by the government of the United States,” said Ramaphosa.

News that Aspen will start producing J&J vaccines in Ggeberha for the rest of Africa has calmed the president.

“I am not worried. Earlier, I was worried and that is why we’ve entered into various negotiations with pharmaceutical companies as well as various governments,” he added.

As a COVID-19 vaccine champion, Ramaphosa also said that the partnership between Biovac and Pfizer/BioNTech would benefit the continent not only during the pandemic but for years to come.

The deal is expected to result in over 100 million vaccine doses annually that will be manufactured in South Africa and be distributed to the 55 African Union member states.

“We now live in a world where pandemics are going to be occurring on an ongoing basis so that centre will be ready to do the Covid-19 vaccines and other vaccines as well,” said the president.

“So that is the beauty about that deal and it is a wonderful deal which we should welcome because it places South Africa in a very good position in as far as being the centre of vaccine manufacturing.”

Thembisa resident, Mona Mashele, was vaccinated while Ramaphosa was being taken on a walkabout inside the Rabasotho hall and was pleased to see him.

“It is an indication that he is motivating people of South Africa to come and vaccinate,” said the 47-year-old.

It was his (Mashele’s) first dose and he is hopeful that he won’t experience any side-effects from the vaccine.

“I am not sure which one I got, Pfizer or J&J, but I will go back and ask. I don’t know what will happen but as time goes on maybe I won’t experience anything as people are saying this thing is killing people,” he said. – Health-e News

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COVAX ships 4m COVID-19 vaccine doses to Africa

COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Africa are rapidly ramping up from multiple sources after a near-halt to deliveries in recent months.

Nearly four million doses from COVAX arrived in Africa last week, compared with just 245,000 doses from the facility throughout the month of June.

World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, spoke during a virtual press conference today with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

COVAX aims to ship 520 million doses to Africa by the end of 2021. COVID-19 vaccine deliveries from the African Union’s Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust are picking up, with a projected rise to 10 million each month from September.

Around 45 million doses are expected from AVAT by the year’s end.

So far, almost 79 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have arrived in Africa and 21 million people, or just 1.6 per cent of Africa’s population, are fully vaccinated. High-income countries have given 61 times more doses per person than low-income countries. To fully vaccinate 30 percent of Africa’s population by the end of 2021, the continent needs up to 820 million doses, considering a two-dose schedule.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel on vaccine deliveries to Africa but it must not be snuffed out again.

“I urge all countries with surplus doses to urgently share more in the spirit of life-saving solidarity and enlightened self-interest, because no country is safe until all countries are safe. I urge African countries to gear up and get ready, as our drought is finally ending,” said Dr. Moeti.

Tanzania has kicked off its COVID-19 vaccination campaign after receiving the first delivery of around 1 million doses, a donation of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the United States Government, through COVAX on 24 July. Tanzania joined COVAX on 15 June.

COVAX recently clinched new deals with Sinopharm and Sinovac to rapidly supply 110 million more doses to low-income countries.

“COVAX and the World Bank are set to further boost COVID-19 vaccine supply for developing countries through a new cost-sharing arrangement that allows low-income countries to purchase doses beyond the fully donor-subsidized doses they are already receiving from COVAX.

The rise in vaccine shipments comes as Africa sees its second week of falling case numbers after a steep and unbroken eight-week surge.

Reported case numbers fell by 18 percent from over 282,000 to 230,500 in the week ending on 25 July. The decline was largely driven by South Africa, which accounts for 37 percent of all reported cases, and Tunisia, which accounts for eight percent.

Twenty-two African countries saw cases rise by over 20 percent for at least two weeks running in the week to 25 July and reported deaths rose in 17 African countries to nearly 6,300 on the continent in the same week.

The highly transmissible Delta variant has been found in 26 African countries. The Alpha variant has been detected in 38 countries and Beta variant in 35.

“Africa is still in the throes of a third wave. The limited slowdown in cases is heartening and cause for a very cautious optimism, but we are far from out of the woods yet. We must all stay vigilant.

“One third of all African countries are still living through a dangerous resurgence and we must stick with the prevention measures that we know save lives, like mask wearing, good hand hygiene and physical distancing,” said Dr. Moeti.

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Quantum Farma y FarmaUSA lanzan cannabinoides enfocados en el tratamiento del cáncer y el dolor crónico en Brasil

Quantum Farma y FarmaUSA lanzan cannabinoides enfocados en el tratamiento del cáncer y el dolor crónico en Brasil – African Union News Today – EIN Presswire

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