June 24, 2021
UN has raised alarm over the “unprecedented humanitarian crisis” in Central African Republic (CAR) where defense forces, soldiers from nearby countries and other security personnel have been fighting an “asymmetric war” against armed groups.
Mankeur Ndiaye, CAR Special Representative and Head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission (MINUSCA) told the Security Council on Wednesday that the situation was a source of concern.
The top UN official raised concern over a military counter-offensive against the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC).
“CPC is an alliance of armed groups that launched attacks against forces loyal to the Government ahead of the presidential vote in December, which returned incumbent Faustin-Archange Touadéra to power on 4 January.
“The result has been an unprecedented humanitarian crisis with new waves of displacement and 57 per cent of the population in need of humanitarian assistance,” he said.
The Special Representative underscored that recent widespread rights abuses committed by State forces embolden armed groups, exacerbate fears of radicalisation and compromise any chance of establishing trust between citizens and their leaders.
“This is a new trend that, if not careful, will ruin the meagre progress that has been hard won in the quest for social cohesion and national reconciliation.”
He warned that bilateral forces would be useful only if they contributed to protecting civilians from armed groups and creating an environment conducive to a lasting political solution.
Ndiaye also reported that conflict-related sexual violence in the first quarter of this year is five times higher than that of the last quarter of 2020.
Noting the development of a special investigative commission on abuses committed by CAR State forces and their partners, he said that MINUSCA intends to continue documenting rights violations to be reported publicly.
In addition, he said MINUSCA would document the violations and report it publicly to “preserve a framework for frank, transparent and constructive dialogue” with the authorities.
“The looting and militarisation of civilian infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals, hinder already inadequate access to basic services, and undermine the protection of civilians and humanitarian assistance, and peace and stability efforts,’’ the MINUSCA chief said.
He also drew the Council’s attention to the frequency of explosive devices being deployed, which have restricted peacekeepers’ movement, hindered economic activities and reduce the mobility of MINUSCA and humanitarian actors.
“We have shared our concerns with the relevant national authorities and have encouraged the ratification of the relevant international conventions to have a mechanism for preventing and combating this scourge.”
Pointing to the presence of international forces along with MINUSCA as diminishing the mission’s effectiveness, Ndiaye said that with the Council’s support, he would take “immediate measures” to create the optimal conditions to improve efficiency and enhance the performance of UN ‘blue helmets’.
He told Ambassadors that MINUSCA had received assurances that the President had instructed CAR military leaders to explore new ways of working with the mission.
Meanwhile, citing incidents against peacekeepers on May 30 and June 19,, the MINUSCA chief underscored that the safety of UN troops and personnel remains “an imperative”.
He also noted that hate speech and incitement to violence against MINUSCA and CAR partners had become “increasingly strident the past few months”.
“Today more than ever, we need the Council’s support”, he said, stressing that multifaceted threats endanger MINUSCA’s mandate and put peacekeepers and UN personnel at greater risk.
Ndiaye thanked the Security Council, Angola, the African Union (AU) and other international partners for their support and appealed for financial assistance to fill an estimated nine million dollars gap for local elections, early in 2022.
Noting that those elections should contribute significantly to decentralised governance, local development and the participation of many more citizens in political life, he said that President Touadéra and others in the political process have committed to complete the electoral cycle.
“We must seize this new opportunity to harmonise regional initiatives and encourage the new Government to mobilise the support of all international partners for the success of the inclusive political dialogue,” he said.
Magnitude 5.8 earthquake hits Greek island of Crete
By Gistflash News
Sept 27, 2021
A magnitude 5.8 strong quake hit Greece’s Crete island on Monday, according to the Geodynamics Institute of the National Observatory of Athens.
The tremor’s epicentre was located at a depth of 10 km, some 25 km south of the city of Heraklion, the capital of Crete island, while aftershocks up to 4.3 magnitude have followed, according to Greek scientists.
Material damage has been reported, with no injuries until now, local officials told Greek national news agency AMNA.
Earlier, the Euro Mediterranean Seismological Centre put the quake’s magnitude at 6.2, which was later revised to 6.0.
WHO investigators seeking COVID-19 origin going back to China
By Gistflash News
Sept 27, 2021
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is launching a new investigation into the origins of COVID-19, months after an earlier probe ended without drawing firm conclusions, according to a report published.
WHO was putting together a team of some 20 scientists, who will be charged with finding new evidence in China and other locales, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The group will examine whether the virus emerged from a laboratory, a theory that has been angrily rejected by China.
In December 2020, WHO investigators began visits to Wuhan, China, where the first known outbreak of the virus took place.
But their March 2021 report said they had gotten insufficient information from Chinese scientists to answer key questions about COVID-19’s origin.
In August, U.S. intelligence agencies issued a separate report saying they also could not make firm conclusions about COVID-19’s origins.
Florida Gov. appoints Nigerian-American, Joseph Ladapo Surgeon-General
By Gistflash News
Sept 25, 2021
Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor, U.S. has appointed a Nigerian-American, Dr Joseph Ladapo, as Florida Surgeon-General and Secretary of the Department of Health.
DeSantis in a statement posted on the Florida Department of Health website, stated that he was pleased to announce Ladapo for the position.
“I am pleased to announce that Ladapo will lead the Florida department of health as our state’s next surgeon-general
“Ladapo comes to us by way of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, with a superb background.”
According to him, Ladapo has had both a remarkable academic and medical career with a strong emphasis in health policy research.
The governor said: ” Ladapo will bring great leadership to the department of health, ” thanking both Dr Scott Rivkees and Dr Shamarial Roberson for their hard work on behalf of all Floridians.
Lieutenant-Governor, Jeanette Nuñez described Ladapo’s as, “an excellent choice to serve as our next surgeon general.
“Ladapo has impeccable credentials and a strong vision to effectively serve the people of Florida at the helm of our public health agency.
“Through his service to our state, we will continue Florida’s work to advance our public health goals,” Nuñez said.
Ladapo said he is honored to have been chosen by DeSantis to serve as Florida’s next surgeon-general.
“We must make health policy decisions rooted in data and not in fear.
“From California, I have observed the different approaches taken by governors across the country and I have been impressed by DeSantis’ leadership and determination,” he said.
The new surgeon-general said he was impressed by DeSantis’ leadership to ensure that Floridians were afforded all opportunities to maintain their health and wellness, while preserving their freedoms as Americans.
“It is a privilege to join his team and serve the people of Florida,” he said.
Ladapo was recently granted a professorship at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine.
Prior to joining UF, he served as an associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),caring for hospitalised patients.
He is a graduate of Wake Forest University, who also holds an MD from Harvard Medical School and a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
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