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Summary * 'Hotel Rwanda' figure to be released on Saturday* Rusesabagina to be flown to Doha, and on to the U.S.* His release follows letter to president seeking clemency* Rebel spokesman Sankara to also be releasedKIGALI, March 24 (Reuters) - Paul Rusesabagina, who was portrayed as a hero in the Hollywood film "Hotel Rwanda" and is serving a 25-year sentence in Rwanda on terrorism charges, will be released on Saturday, a Rwanda government source said on Friday. His release follows intense diplomacy by the United States, where Rusesabagina has permanent residency rights. Rusesabagina will initially be flown to Doha, and then on to the United States, the source said. "If I am granted a pardon and released, I understand fully that I will spend the remainder of my days in the United States in quiet reflection," he wrote. Earlier this month, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said there were discussions about "resolving" the fate of Rusesabagina.
The announcement of his release follows intense diplomacy by the United States, where Rusesabagina has permanent residency rights. "This is the result of a shared desire to reset US-Rwanda relationship," Stephanie Nyombayire, spokesperson of Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, wrote on Twitter. Rusesabagina was sentenced in Sept. 2021 over his ties to an organization opposed to Kagame's rule. "If any individual benefiting from early release repeats offences of a similar nature, the commutation can be revoked and the remainder of the prison sentence will be served," Rwanda's justice ministry said. In a handwritten letter to Kagame released by the justice ministry, Nsabimana said he had apologised to all Rwandans and especially those affected by attacks by FLN fighters.
Factbox: Legal hurdles faced by LGBT+ people in Africa
  + stars: | 2023-03-22 | by ( )   time to read: +3 min
Africa accounts for nearly half of the countries worldwide where homosexuality is outlawed, according to the review, which was last updated in December 2020. - Life imprisonment is the maximum penalty for same-sex relations in Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, while jail terms of up to 14 years are possible in Gambia, Kenya and Malawi. - Broad protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation exists in three countries: Angola, Mauritius and South Africa. - South Africa is the only African country where gay marriage is legal and where the constitution protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, South Africa has high rates of rape and homophobic crime.
Uganda passes a law making it a crime to identify as LGBTQ
  + stars: | 2023-03-21 | by ( )   time to read: +3 min
KAMPALA, March 21 (Reuters) - Uganda's parliament passed a law on Tuesday making it a crime to identify as LGBTQ, handing authorities broad powers to target gay Ugandans who already face legal discrimination and mob violence. The new law appears to be the first to outlaw merely identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ), according to rights group Human Rights Watch. In addition to same-sex intercourse, the law bans promoting and abetting homosexuality as well as conspiracy to engage in homosexuality. Violations under the law draw severe penalties, including death for so-called aggravated homosexuality and life in prison for gay sex. In recent weeks, Uganda authorities have cracked down on LGBTQ people after religious leaders and politicians alleged students were being recruited into homosexuality in schools.
NAIROBI, March 21 (Reuters) - A Kenyan judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the mass redundancy of some 260 Facebook content moderators working for an outsourcing company contracted by the social media site's parent company Meta (META.O), court documents show. Last week 43 moderators at Facebook's Nairobi moderation hub filed a lawsuit against the social media company and Sama for unlawful redundancy. Nduma also temporarily barred Meta from subcontracting the roles of the workers who moderate Facebook content for eastern and southern Africa. The court cases could have implications for how Meta works with content moderators globally. The U.S. company works with thousands of moderators around the world, tasked with reviewing graphic content posted on its platform.
Uganda passes bill banning identifying as LGBTQ
  + stars: | 2023-03-21 | by ( )   time to read: +3 min
The new law appears to be the first to outlaw merely identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ), according to rights group Human Rights Watch. In addition to same-sex intercourse, the law bans promoting and abetting homosexuality as well as conspiracy to engage in homosexuality. Violations under the law draw steep penalties including death for so called aggravated homosexuality and life in prison for gay sex. I support the bill to protect the future of our children," said lawmaker David Bahati during debate on the bill. In recent weeks Uganda authorities have cracked down on LGBTQ individuals after religious leaders and politicians alleged students were being recruited into homosexuality in schools.
WASHINGTON, March 20 (Reuters) - The United States has determined that all sides committed war crimes during the conflict in northern Ethiopia that killed tens of thousands of people, left hundreds of thousands facing hunger and displaced millions, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday. Members of the ENDF, Eritrean forces, and Amhara forces also committed crimes against humanity, Blinken told reporters, including murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence and persecution. Members of the Amhara forces committed the crime against humanity of deportation or forcible transfer and committed ethnic cleansing through their treatment of Tigrayans in western Tigray, Blinken said. "In terms of what happens next in Ethiopia, including what process they establish to provide for justice, for accountability, we'll see. The United States was outspoken in its criticism of alleged atrocities by Ethiopian forces and their allies from Eritrea and the Amhara region during the Tigray war.
NAIROBI, March 20 (Reuters) - Facebook content moderators in Kenya are suing the social media site's parent company Meta (META.O) and two outsourcing companies for unlawful redundancy, a rights group said on Monday. The 43 applicants say they lost their jobs with Sama, a Kenya-based firm contracted to moderate Facebook content, for organising a union. They also say they were blacklisted from applying for the same roles at another outsourcing firm, Majorel, after Facebook switched contractors. The court cases could have implications for how Meta works with content moderators globally. The moderators accuse Meta of instructing Majorel not to hire any moderators previously employed by Sama, according to the court petition.
REUTERS/Thomas MukoyaNAIROBI, March 20 (Reuters) - Kenyan police tear gassed the leader of the opposition on Monday and arrested senior lawmakers in his parliamentary faction, as protesters took to the streets to march against President William Ruto and the high cost of living. Police officers in riot gear fired tear gas at hundreds of rock-throwing protesters in the capital Nairobi's vast Kibera slum, who chanted: "Ruto must go." We've had enough," said one protester, who asked not to be identified, as tear gas swirled around her. Police used tear gas and a water cannon to prevent Odinga's convoy from driving towards the president's State House residence to deliver a petition. Tear gas engulfed the vehicle as he spoke, calling for protests every Monday until the cost of living comes down.
Son of Uganda's president says to stand for leadership in 2026
  + stars: | 2023-03-16 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
Uganda's opposition has long accused Museveni of seeking to impose a monarchy on Uganda and claimed he was grooming his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba to take over from him. Currently a special presidential advisor for special operations, the 48 year-old general is known for firing off controversial tweets that have earned him reprimands from his father. "The Prime Minister of UK is 42 years old, the Prime Minister of Finland is 37 years. Museveni not yet said whether he intends to stand again in 2026, although his supporters have encouraged him to do so. Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Hereward Holland; Sofia Christensen and Frank Jack DanielOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
[1/11] U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 15, 2023. "We have agreed to strengthen the long standing bilateral relations between our countries with a commitment to partnership," the Ethiopian leader said. While the peace deal has allowed humanitarian aid to flow into Tigray, needs remain immense after the conflict left hundreds of thousands facing starvation. Eritrean troops remain in several border areas while militia from the Amhara region, which neighbours Tigray, occupy large areas of territory in contested parts of western and southern Tigray, humanitarian workers said. A spokesperson for the Amhara regional government said it and the people of Amhara were "always ready to co-operate with peace deal process and activities".
Kenya hit by nationwide power outage
  + stars: | 2023-03-04 | by ( )   time to read: 1 min
NAIROBI, March 4 (Reuters) - Kenya was hit by a nationwide power blackout on Saturday evening caused by a "system disturbance", electricity distributor Kenya Power (KPLC.NR) said. "We are working to restore normalcy within the shortest time possible," Kenya Power said in a statement. Kenya Power is the country's sole electricity distributor and the bulk of its power comes from Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) (KEGN.NR), which is the main producer. Reporting by Hereward Holland, Editing by Louise HeavensOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
South Sudan president fires defence and interior ministers
  + stars: | 2023-03-04 | by ( )   time to read: +2 min
JUBA, March 4 (Reuters) - South Sudan President Salva Kiir has sacked two top security ministers, violating the terms of a peace agreement with opposition party leader First Vice President Riek Machar. Implementation of the deal, known as the Revitalized Peace Agreement for South Sudan, has been slow and the opposing forces have clashed frequently over disagreements about how to share power. In exchange, the president gave Machar's party the interior ministry. "The switch... is unilateral and a new cycle of violating the revitalized agreement," said Puok Both Baluang, Machar's spokesperson. Edmond Yakani, a leading civil rights activist and signatory of the peace agreement, said in a statement he urged the presidency to explain "why there is an exchange of information that demonstrates the violation of the peace agreement."
Power restored to parts of Kenya after nationwide blackout
  + stars: | 2023-03-04 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
NAIROBI, March 4 (Reuters) - Power was restored to parts of Kenya after a nationwide blackout lasting several hours which was thought to have been caused by a fault on a transmission line, electricity distributor Kenya Power (KPLC.NR) said on Saturday. "Initial reports indicate that the outage was caused by a fault that occurred on the Suswa-Loyangalani high-voltage power transmission line," Kenya Power said in a statement. The power supply was restored to parts of Eldoret, Kisumu and Nakuru, the distributor said. Electricity had also returned to at least one part of the capital Nairobi, according to a Reuters journalist. Kenya Power is the country's sole electricity distributor and the bulk of its power comes from Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) (KEGN.NR), which is the main producer.
ANTANANARIVO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Madagascar's government on Tuesday suspended schools and transport in the path of tropical cyclone Freddy, which was likely to make landfall in the southeast of the country by evening. The cyclone is expected to hit Mananjary district, about 270 km from the capital Antananarivo, with winds of nearly 155 km per hour, Madagascar's meteorological services said. All traffic in cyclone Freddy's projected path was suspended overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday, the country's ministry of transport and meteorology said. Cyclone Freddy is expected to make landfall nearly a month after storm Cheneso battered the island nation of 29 million, killing 33 people and forcing thousands from their homes. "It is expected to cause locally devastating winds and a very dangerous sea state near the impact zone in Madagascar," UNOCHA said on Monday.
NAIROBI, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Like many people in Kenya, Sperenza Maina went into denial when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer, hiding it from her family for months and delaying important treatment. As in much of Africa, most cancer cases in Kenya are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when treatment options are limited and families make huge sacrifices by selling assets or borrowing money, according to a World Bank report. As the country gets wealthier, cancer diagnoses are on the rise; annual incidence increased by almost 30% between 2012 and 2018, data from the health ministry shows. Women in Kenya often fear seeking diagnosis for some of the most common and deadly cancers in Kenya such as cervical and breast cancer, said Bridget Nyabuto, a doctor at the Nairobi Radiotherapy and Cancer Centre. Having cancer is not a death sentence, you have to live to tell the story," she said.
NAIROBI, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki said on Thursday that reports of Eritrean troops committing human rights violations during the conflict in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region were "a fantasy" and "misinformation". Eritrean troops fought alongside the Ethiopian military and allied militias in the bloody two-year conflict that pitted the Ethiopian government against rebellious forces in the northern region of Tigray. In November, the Ethiopia government and the Tigray forces signed an agreement to end the hostilities. During the war, Eritrean troops were accused by residents and human rights groups of various abuses, including the killing of hundreds of civilians in Axum during a 24-hour period in November 2020. At a news conference in Nairobi Afwerki called the allegations of human rights abuses by Eritrean troops "a fantasy of those who went to derail the peace process... a factory of fabricating misinformation."
STELLENBOSCH, South Africa, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Flocks of white, black and brown ducks hunt for snails and bugs as they patrol the grapevines at a vineyard in South Africa's winemaking town of Stellenbosch, helping the owners steer clear of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers. Around 500 Indian runner ducks work as a natural pest control at the Vergenoegd Löw Wine Estate, but also entertain wine-quaffing tourists. "We call them the soldiers of the vineyards," the managing director of the estate, Corius Visser, told Reuters. Ducks are at the heart of the winery's regenerative agriculture practices, and specifically Indian runner ducks, which have long legs and an upright posture, meaning they are able to reach for snails between the leaves. Nutrient-rich manure from the ducks and other animals ensure the vineyard runs as sustainably as possible.
[1/2] Abandoned ammunition boxes lie on the ground following a battle between the Ethiopian military and Tigray forces along the road between the village of Sheweate Hugum and Yechila town in south-central Tigray, Ethiopia, July 10, 2021. REUTERS/Giulia ParaviciniADDIS ABABA, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Tigray forces, who fought a two-year war against Ethiopia's federal government, began handing over heavy weaponry to the national army as part of an African Union-led peace process on Tuesday. The demobilisation of Tigray forces is seen as central to the Nov. 2 ceasefire agreement, alongside the restoration of services, resumption of humanitarian aid and withdrawal of Eritrean troops, who fought alongside Ethiopia's army but were not party to the truce. The conflict created famine-like conditions for hundreds of thousands of Tigray's population, killed thousands and displaced millions across northern Ethiopia. At the ceremony, Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) representative Mulugeta Gebrechristos said the start of the disarmament would play a major role in restoring peace.
HustleSasa, which officially launched in November 2021, allows the singer-songwriter and fellow creatives to stream music or sell branded merchandise, concert tickets, food, fashion and other services in one mobile phone application. Artists or vendors sell their products directly to the market, with no set-up costs or monthly fees, and receive payment instantly via bank card or mobile money, avoiding expensive commissions charged by some apps. "Our region has one of the lowest payout rates in the world from other streaming platforms, but on HustleSasa you are getting value for money in real time," Alusa said. Yaba, another Kenyan musician, said the app's streaming service allows him to make more money and to connect directly to his audience. "It's the future of ticketing, it's the future of selling merch, it's the future where we are going to have the power and future in our hands."
BAMAKO, Dec 30 (Reuters) - A court in Mali sentenced 46 soldiers from Ivory Coast to 20 years imprisonment on Friday for conspiring against the government, and three others to death in absentia. Forty-nine Ivorian soldiers were arrested at the airport in Mali's capital Bamako in July, three of whom were later released. Mali's ruling junta said the soldiers were acting as mercenaries, while Ivory Coast said they were part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission. Ivory Coast said its troops were being held hostage, and has made repeated pleas for their release. The country announced last month it would withdraw its remaining soldiers from the U.N. peacekeeping mission.
Nigeria dance carnival helps residents reclaim the streets
  + stars: | 2022-12-27 | by ( )   time to read: +2 min
Residents of Oworonshoki have seen their share of violence, with robberies and tit-for-tat gang murders once commonplace in this part of Nigeria's vast, boisterous commercial capital. Days of dance workshops culminated with an all-day carnival aiming to reclaim the streets and reduce tensions between rival gangs. "I've been able to achieve a big goal in my life, and Slum Party has really changed a whole lot for me," he said. Community leader Oriyomi Akeem said Slum Party has helped bring peace to a neighbourhood once known as a no-go area overrun by gangs. Ozegbe-Obiajulu hopes the carnival's success could be replicated by people in other troubled areas of Nigeria and beyond.
Ethnic fighting kills 56 in South Sudan, official says
  + stars: | 2022-12-27 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
JUBA, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Clashes have killed 56 people during four days of fighting in South Sudan's eastern Jonglei state, after youth from the Nuer community attacked another ethnic group, a local official said on Tuesday, with the Nuer making up most of the casualties. The territory of South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, has been plagued by blood feuds and clashes over cattle and land for decades. "The government is managing to help the communities, but the fighting is still ongoing," Kelang told Reuters by telephone. He said 51 of those killed were Nuer attackers, with only five Murle defenders killed. Last week, the United Nations peacekeeping mission (UNMISS) said armed Nuer youth were being mobilised ahead of a potential raid against the Murle.
REUTERS/Tiksa NegeriBENGALARU, Dec 2 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization said on Friday it still does not have the unfettered access to Ethiopia's northern Tigray region stipulated in a truce signed a month ago. Troops from Eritrea, to the north, and forces from the neighbouring Ethiopian region of Amhara, to the south, fought alongside Ethiopia's military in Tigray but were not party to the ceasefire. "That peace process has not yet resulted in the kinds of full access, unfettered access and in the massive scale of medical and health assistance that the people of Tigray need," WHO's emergencies director Mike Ryan said. Ethiopia's Minister of Health Lia Tadesse, State Minister Redwan Hussien, and government spokesperson Legesse Tulu did not respond to requests for comment. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in October accused Ethiopia's government of using the denial of food and healthcare as weapons of war in Tigray.
Kenya Power reports outages in parts of the country
  + stars: | 2022-11-24 | by ( )   time to read: 1 min
NAIROBI, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Kenya Power (KPLC.NR), the country's sole electricity distributor, reported power outages across parts of the nation on Thursday. The company did not explain what triggered the outages but said it was working to "restore normalcy within shortest time possible". It buys the bulk of its power from Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KEGN.NR). The outages follow widespread blackouts this month in East Africa's economic powerhouse. Later that month, three senior managers Kenya Power were charged with sabotage and negligence.
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