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Tuesday, 17 December 2019
Tuesday, 17 December 2019 11:52

Egypt set to relocate govt headquarters

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said the government headquarters would be relocated to the New Administrative Capital in 2020 and that it would use modern systems to reduce human error.

“We made sure that all the relevant AI technologies and applications are incorporated in the process of digitising all the Egyptian government’s services,” al-Sisi said during a discussion entitled “Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Humans: Who is in control?”.

According to report by Xinhua/NAN, the discussion was part of the 3rd edition of the World Youth Forum which opened on Saturday in Egypt’s Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Egypt is currently building a new administrative capital city covering an area of 714 square km, some 45 km east of the capital Cairo.

The city will be a new home to most government buildings including 29 ministries, the cabinet and the parliament, as well as 20 residential neighbourhoods that can accommodate 6.5 million people, luxurious hotels, malls, parks and many other venues.

“The use of AI provides a great opportunity to overcome human error and save time,” al-Sisi said.

He added that it represents a great opportunity to reduce corruption as well.

“I promise Egyptians, African countries, and the countries that want to join us, that we will open a new generation of universities during the next school year with all the sciences you are talking about today,” he noted.

Published in World

Congo DR families that have had their children killed or seriously hurt while mining for cobalt in the central African nation have sued major US technology firms, demanding compensation over child abuse.

International Rights Advocates, suing on their behalf, listed more than a dozen victims in its 79-page lawsuit, filed Sunday in U.S. district court. Apple, Google parent company Alphabet, Microsoft, Dell and Tesla were named as defendants, according to a report by UPI.

The families are seeking damages from the companies, which they accuse of aiding British mining company Glencore in using forced child labor in the Democratic Republic of Congo to mine the material. The suit says the companies are “knowingly benefiting from and aiding and abetting the cruel and brutal use of young children” at Congolese cobalt mines.

Cobalt is a key element in the manufacture of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that are used in common electronic products like electric vehicles, smartphones and computerized devices. It is in abundant supply in the DRC, particularly in its Katanga region.

The lawsuit charges the companies with violating the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act by not intervening to prevent abuses.

“We will do everything possible to get justice quickly for the children we represent,” Terry Collingsworth, IRA executive director and lead counsel, said in a statement. “In my 35 years as a human rights lawyer, I’ve never seen such extreme abuse of innocent children on a large scale. This astounding cruelty and greed need to stop.”

Congolese families said children were killed in the collapse of one cobalt mine tunnel and other mishaps paralyzed and maimed child workers.

Although it’s not a defendant in the U.S. lawsuit, Glencore said it “does not tolerate any form of child, forced or compulsory labor.”

Published in World

Ethiopian Airlines has launched its inaugural three times weekly flights to Houston, Texas.

At a brief ceremony to flag off the inaugural flight in Lome,Togo, on Monday, the Ethiopian Airlines Vice President, Marketing, Rahel Assefa, assured passengers of exciting journey on the new route.

The News reports that the Ethiopian 787-8 aircraft to Houston flagged off the trip in Lome, enroute Houston for the grand breaking.

The report said passengers on board of the inaugural flight were welcomed with special gifts, and that the flight left for Houston immediately after Assefa addressed stakeholders at the Lome Airport.

According to the news, it is going to be a good flight for the entire West African region travelling to Houston, Texas.

“From next week, we expect to see full booking from West Africa to Houston.

“Safety and Passengers comfortability remain our priority,” she told stakeholders.

Assefa said that the routes would allow passengers to fly nonstop on Ethiopian Airlines from Houston to Africa.

“Ethiopian’s service to Houston will operate from Addis Ababa via Lome in Togo with Boeing 787-8 aircraft.

“Early in 2019, we announced that we were changing our services to the United States.

“Service to Los Angeles will terminate in favour of a new thrice-weekly service from Addis Ababa to Houston via Lome, Togo,” she said.

The airlines vice president said that U.S was among the Ethiopian Airlines’ most important markets, owing to the presence of a large African community and growing business and tourism ties with Africa.

“Our new route structure with additional frequencies to multiple gateways and the opening of new route to Houston are aimed at responding to the market demands and availing best possible connectivity to over 60 African destinations.

“The service will depart Addis Ababa on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Houston departures are on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

“The flight will depart Addis Ababa after a stop in Lome and a long transatlantic flight; the aircraft will touch down in Houston the next day.

“Ethiopian’s aircraft will depart Houston at 11.00a.m and finally arrive in Addis Ababa the next day at 14:30p.m,” she said.

Assefa said Houston was chosen because Ethiopian Airlines does not face much competition from Houston to Africa.

”In fact, the airline will be the only carrier to offer flights from Houston to Africa.

“Economically speaking, Houston is an oil and business hub. Thus, there is a significant potential for business connectivity that Ethiopian Airlines is trying to gain access to.

“Business and leisure travellers alike will have only one nonstop option to Africa from Houston”, she said.

Published in Travel & Tourism
Tuesday, 17 December 2019 09:03

UK provides $78m to empower youths in Nigeria

The United Kingdom says it is currently supporting initiatives to increase economic opportunities for youth in northern Nigeria with development funding worth nearly 50 million dollars (N15 billion).

Mr James Roscoe, the UK Ambassador on General Assembly Matters to the United Nations, stated this at a UN Security Council meeting on peace and security in West Africa, in New York on Monday.

Roscoe said the UK was providing additional 28 million dollars (N8.5 billion) in funding for projects to “reduce young people’s vulnerability to recruitment by violent extremist groups” in Borno.

The gestures, according to him, are part of the UK’s contributions, working with its partners in West Africa, to support domestic efforts at preventing extremism and inter-communal violence in the region.

Earlier at a briefing, Mohamed Chambas, Special Representative and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), said the region had been “shaken by unprecedented violence” in recent months.

Chambas said “relentless attacks on civilian and military targets have shaken public confidence”, citing last week’s attack by militants on a military base in western Niger that left 71 soldiers dead.

He blamed the situation partly on poor management of national resources, inequalities, marginalization, corruption and the failure of governments in the region to provide security and justice.

The special envoy, however, noted that “recipes against violent extremism” were being put in place in many West African countries.

Specifically, chambas said that some grassroots initiatives, such as inter-faith coalitions in Nigeria, were in place to curtail recruitment by Boko Haram.

Published in Bank & Finance

A Pakistani special court hearing the high treason case against former president General Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday handed the former ruler a death sentence.

A three-member bench of the special court headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad announced the decision, in a split judgment.

The court, in its short order said that it had analysed complaints, records, arguments and facts in the case for three months. The court added it had found Musharraf, now living in Dubai, guilty of high treason according to Article 6 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

It was a majority verdict, with three of the two judges giving the decision against Musharraf.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had filed the treason case against Musharraf over his imposition of extra-constitutional emergency in November 2007.

The former army chief was indicted in the case in March 2014 after he appeared before the court and rejected all charges.

On March 18, 2016, the former president left Pakistan for Dubai for medical treatment after his name was removed from the exit control list on the orders of the Supreme Court.

A few months later, the special court had declared him a proclaimed offender and ordered the confiscation of his property owing to his continuous inability to appear.

Later, his passport and identity card were also cancelled on orders of the apex court

Published in World

WorldRemit digital money transfer service has partnered with Vodacom Tanzania to enable nine million M-Pesa customers to receive money directly to their M-Pesa wallets from friends and family living abroad.

The new service increases convenience for money transfer recipients in urban and rural areas of Tanzania to receive international money transfers directly to their phones, without the need for a bank account or internet connection.

Tanzanians living abroad in over 50 countries, including the US, UK and Canada, can send money home 24/7 ising the WorldRemit Transfer Service. 

Epimack Mbeteni, Vodacom Tanzania M-Pesa Director, said:This new partnership with WorldRemit enables us to tap into their global payments network, and help customers receive remittances into Tanzania from more countries around the world. It will enable families and friends in the country to conveniently receive money through M-Pesa from across the world. This is just one more way we are making our customers’ lives easier.

“Once the money is in their M-Pesa accounts, recipients can use it for development and other economic activities such as savings and loans, overdraft services, group savings, e-payments and many more services offered by Vodacom. We have an extensive footprint of over 106,000 M-Pesa agents across the country, as well as a diverse ecosystem of banks, businesses and merchants connected to M-Pesa.”

Cynthia Ponera, Country Manager for Tanzania at WorldRemit, said: “Our money transfer service to Tanzania is growing by over 100% year-over-year, and mobile money is the most popular way for our customers to send money to the country.

“We are delighted to partner with Vodacom to further expand our network and connect over nine million M-Pesa customers to our award-winning money transfer service. Our partnership will drive down the cost of sending money to Tanzania and enable recipients in some of the most remote locations to receive money from abroad in seconds.”

Published in Bank & Finance
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