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Dancing And Singing At Vatican Mass As Pope Welcomes Congolese

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Dancing And Singing At Vatican Mass As Pope Welcomes Congolese

Pope Francis has celebrated a mass for Congolese Catholic community in Rome on Sunday at the Vatican.  The faithful from violence-prone Congo rocked Saint Peter’s basilica with their traditional dances and songs.  They also denounced arms suppliers for perpetuating violence in their country.

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The Pope celebrated the mass to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Catholic Congolese community in Rome.

The mass was conducted using a special rite approved by the Vatican in 1988 called the “Congolese missal for the dioceses of Zaire,” the Congo’s former name.

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The Pope prayed in his homily that conflict would cease in the Congo.  He noted that peace was gravely threatened in the country’s east.  He decried weapon suppliers, and lamented what he called “conflicts fed by those enriching themselves with arms.”

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Recently, rebels in eastern Congo have targeted Ebola response workers, and that has complicated efforts to contain the outbreak.

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Algerian Court Convicts Two Former Prime Ministers Of Corruption

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Algerian Court Convicts 2 Former Prime Ministers Of Corruption

An Algerian court has on Tuesday sentenced two former prime ministers convicted of corruption-related charges to prison in a landmark trial.

With heavy security presence around the courthouse in Algiers, the court handed Ahmed Ouyahia 15 years in prison and $16,000 in fines, while Abdelmalek Sellal was sentenced to 12 years in prison and given $8,000 in fines.

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The verdict, unleashing cheers of joy from pro-democracy activists came amid high political tensions just two days before a controversial presidential election. The trial was televised as authorities sought to show the public they are taking protesters’ concerns about corruption seriously.

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Both former prime ministers who were accused of abusing authority in a car manufacturing embezzlement scandal were longtime allies of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika who stepped down in April in the face of mass protests that erupted in February against his bid for a fifth term after spending 20 years in power.

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Qatar Airways Acquires Stake In Rwanda Airport

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Qatar Airways Acquires Stake In Rwanda Airport

In a twitter post on Monday, Rwanda development board has announced that Qatar national carrier, Qatar Airways has signed an agreement to take a sixty-percent stake in a new one and-a-half-billion-dollar international airport in the country.

The board said the first phase of construction would provide facilities for seven million passengers a year in the Bugesera district, a few kilometers southeast of the capital, Kigali.

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A second phase, expected to be completed by 2032, would double capacity to 14 million passengers a year.

The country’s infrastructure minister, Claver Gatete told a news conference that a construction company was still being sought to build the airport and that once work starts, the first phase would take five years to complete.

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The plans for the new airport are a modification of those drawn up in 2017 for a smaller facility with a maximum capacity of four and a half million passengers a year in the same location.  Gatete said Qatar airways investment would help in building the larger airport.

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Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani has just visited Kigali for the presentation of the international anti-corruption excellence, ace, award.

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U.N. Expert Urges Ethiopia To Stop Continuous Internet Shutdowns

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U.N. Expert Urges Ethiopia To Stop Continuous Internet Shutdowns

A senior United Nations official has urged Ethiopia on Monday to stop continuous internet shutdowns without any legal basis. Ethiopia’s state-owned Ethio Telecom and only internet service provider, has cut internet access at least 9 times this year alone without explanation.

The U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of expression David Kaye told a news conference in Addis Ababa that he is concerned about the frequent internet shutdowns carried out by the government. He narrated his internet shutdown experience during his first mission to the country in the past week.

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Kaye said officials were unable to give a legal basis for the action which he said some officials have continued to justify.  Kaye also urged the authority to revise a draft law meant to curb hate speech to ensure it protects freedom of speech.

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Cabinet approved the law last month to combat what it called fake news and hate speech ahead of elections scheduled for May next year. He asked authorities to reconsider a draft hate speech law that he said would worsen already high ethnic tensions and possibly fuel further violence.

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