Wednesday, 20/11/2019 | 5:40 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Nigerians Vote Out Sitting President

We’d normally go with an April Fools headline. But Goodluck Jonathan’s concession to Muhammadu Buhari is a critically important moment in African history. Our poor attempts at humor just wouldn’t seem justified. This is the first time in Nigeria –Africa’s largest democracy– that an incumbent peacefully ceded an election to his opposition. Predictions of election related violence were overblown. Nigeria passed a huge milestone today. “Today’s concession puts Jonathan, whose administration had been synonymous with corruption and whose handling of Boko Haram had been called inept by many, in the history books for something irrevocable and positive. ‘He is the first leader in our country to have done this,’ said Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, chair of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission. ‘It’s not just a moment for Nigeria. It’s big for Africa, and it’s big for the black race. If Nigeria can do it, you can. This is an awesome moment for me as a Nigerian, for me as an African, for me as a black person. I feel close to tears.’” (Buzzfeed http://bzfd.it/1BN1kXk )

Here’s How Much The International Community Cares About Suffering Syrians…The international community has pledged $3.8bn to tackle the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Syria – less than half the amount the UN says is needed this year to help the millions of people affected by the ongoing conflict. At the start of the Third International Pledging Conference for Syria – which was held in Kuwait on Tuesday – the UN asked for $8.4bn: $2.9bn for people inside Syria and $5.5bn to help those who have fled to Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. The largest sums came from the EU, which pledged $1.2bn, the US ($507m) and Kuwait ($500m). Ahead of this year’s gathering, the German government said it would pledge $277m in new aid. Kuwaiti state media said local charities and aid organisations pledged another $506m just before the conference started. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1HhUOvo)

Iran Nuke Talks Extended…”Enough progress had been made to warrant the extension past Tuesday midnight, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, although there still were “several difficult issues” to bridge. Secretary of State John Kerry, who had planned to leave the talks on Tuesday, was remaining. And an Iranian negotiator said his team could stay “as long as necessary” to clear the remaining hurdles.” (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BN2j9U)

A Key Climate Inflection Point…March 31 was a key deadline in the lead up to the Paris Climate talks in November. Each country was expected to formally submit their own national action plans. The American approach was revealed by the White House today in a conference call with reporters. “Mr. Obama’s new blueprint brings together several domestic initiatives that were already in the works, including freezing construction of new coal-fired power plants, increasing the fuel economy of vehicles and plugging methane leaks from oil and gas production. It is meant to describe how the United States will lead by example and meet its pledge for cutting emissions.But the plan’s reliance on executive authority is an acknowledgment that any proposal to pass climate change legislation would be blocked by the Republican-controlled Congress.” (NYT http://nyti.ms/1C4uVKI)

Africa

Guinea has detected at least three new cases of Ebola in the alumina hub of Fria, according to the national coordination of the fight against the disease, as authorities blamed popular resistance for hampering the battle against the virus. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1F0b9lV)

Gunmen killed a driver with the International Committee of the Red Cross in an attack on his aid truck as it headed across northern Mali towards Niger, the ICRC and Red Cross officials said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1bOmZsa)

Human rights groups have welcomed moves to change a Kenyan law passed to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, which criminalises pregnant women who pass HIV/AIDS to their babies, saying it discouraged people from finding out their status. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1F0b8OP)

Researchers recently completed a study of a new method of giving healthcare to women in Northern Nigeria. They found women and children would use health services more often when they could see a female health worker. (VOA http://bit.ly/1HhV1ig)

Kenya’s anti-graft watchdog published a report detailing corruption allegations against 175 government officials on Tuesday, with some cases involving multi-billion-dollar Chinese-backed infrastructure projects. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1F0bapM)

A rise in illegal fishing off Somalia could spark a resurgence in piracy, United Nations and Somali fishing officials have warned, nearly three years after the pirates’ last successful hijacking in the Indian Ocean. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1bOn0fu)

Cameroon said it has attained the status of a “non-polio exporting country” – hitting the 6-month mark without a new case – but the country is still considered a high-risk nation with pockets of resistance to polio vaccination programs for children – especially in refugee camps. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GJzhOd)

A rapid Ebola diagnostic kit similar to a pregnancy kit has been developed by British military scientists and NHS medics in Sierra Leone. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1bOpKtB)

The next president of the African Development Bank must improve the livelihoods of the continent’s poorest people, address huge energy shortages and fill infrastructure funding gaps, according to the bank’s outgoing president, Donald Kaberuka. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1bOpOt4)

MENA

The USA announced it will resume transfers of military assistance to Egypt, suspended in the wake of al Sisi’s coup. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1BN0wSi)

Humanitarian agencies said Tuesday they could not safely get aid into conflict-hit Yemen and that a local Red Crescent worker had been shot dead while evacuating the wounded. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1C424pQ)

In an unusual move, an Egyptian court acquitted on Tuesday 68 people, including members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, who were charged with gathering illegally and attacking security forces, judicial sources said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1bOmWwq)

The UN Refugee agency has called for an investigation into the mistreatment of asylum seekers at Bulgaria’s border with Turkey following the deaths of two Iraqis. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1GJz5P4)

For months, members of the Arab League have been calling for a joint military force to quell the violence engulfing the region. Now that member states have largely agreed, analysts say having the force materialize and preparing it to fight complex modern conflicts may be an insurmountable challenge. (VOA http://bit.ly/1HhV0L5)

Asia

The stabbing death of an atheist Bangladeshi blogger in Dhaka a month after the killing of a prominent Bangladeshi-American author highlights the growing threat facing critics of religious fundamentalism in the South Asian nation. (VOA http://bit.ly/1HhUYD4)

A Thai military court sentenced a businessman to 25 years in prison on Tuesday on charges of defaming the country’s monarchy in what appears to be the longest sentence handed down in recent years for the crime of lese majeste, a civil liberties lawyer said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1C42axG)

The government of Myanmar and representatives from 16 major ethnic rebel groups have signed a draft cease-fire accord that aims to end decades of armed conflict. (VOA http://bit.ly/1HhUXPu)

China announced plans on Tuesday to roll out its first deposit insurance in May as part of steps to make the state-owned banking industry more flexible and competitive. (AP http://yhoo.it/1GdZqE5)

The Americas

The United States and Cuba met on Tuesday to discuss how they intend to treat future dialog on the thorny issue of human rights as the countries move toward restoring diplomatic ties. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GJzi4M)

Argentina’s public transport networks ground to a halt Tuesday, while port workers at the grains export hub of Rosario refused to work and banks shut their doors as a one-day strike to back demands for changes to income tax rates gripped the country. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GJzjWg)

Peru’s Congress has sacked the prime minister, Ana Jara, over alleged spying against lawmakers, reporters, business leaders and other citizens. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1GdZsMc)

…and the rest

The lead author of a United Nations water report has spoken out about media depictions of his findings, denying the report lays out a “doom and gloom” scenario. (IPS http://bit.ly/1C42v3H)

Research on climate-resilient agriculture must be turned urgently into initiatives to help farmers adapt to deteriorating land conditions, a conference has heard. (SciDevNet http://bit.ly/1C42Kf4)

Opinion/Blogs

Kidnap, rape and ‘honour’ killings: on the road with a female reporter in rural India (Guardian http://bit.ly/1GJyZ9S)

Map: Which countries are doing their fair share for Syria? (IRIN http://bit.ly/1HhUQ6o)

Trevor Noah: the South African comic who sails close to the wind (Guardian http://bit.ly/1C3X0BX

African Comic Has Chance to Change US Perspectives (VOA http://bit.ly/1GJzhOg)

Cuba and the European Union – The Thaw Begins (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1GdZsvN)

Why You Should Still Care About Syria (USAID Impact http://1.usa.gov/1HhXfht)

Book review: Indonesia Etc. by Elizabeth Pisani (Devpolicy http://bit.ly/1HhXgSC)

A Novel Idea: Would Fiction be a better induction to a new job than boring briefings? (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/1HhXgCj)

On Palestine, International Law and the International Criminal Court (Justice in Conflict http://bit.ly/1DoXLuZ)

The Other White Saviors: The Media’s Faith in the South African Mercenaries Fighting Boko Haram in Nigeria (Africa is a Country http://bit.ly/1DoYpc7)

Discussion

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