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US Ambassador ‘Horrified’ By Zambia Sentence For Gay Couple

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US Ambassador 'Horrified' By Zambia Sentence For Gay Couple

A comment by the United States ambassador to Zambia, that he was “horrified” by the sentencing of a local gay couple to fifteen years in prison, has earned him condemnation from the Zambian government.

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Ambassador Daniel Foote told reporters on Monday he would not be intimidated by officials in the southern African nation, where same-sex relationships are criminalized.  Zambia and many Sub-Saharan African countries have maintained this British colonial-era laws.

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The ambassador’s statement last week said the men’s consensual relationship did not hurt anyone.  He juxtaposed that with government officials he says steal millions of public dollars without prosecution.

Zambia’s foreign affairs minister, Joseph Malanji says the government is sending a protest letter to Washington over the ambassador’s remarks he says amounted to meddling in Zambia’s internal affairs.

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Botswana Ruling Party Member Claims ‘Vote Rigging’ In October Election

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Botswana Ruling Party Member Claims 'Vote Rigging' In October Election

A member of the Botswana ruling party says there was vote rigging in the elections held two months ago in which he participated.

The Botswana democratic party, which has ruled the country since independence in 1966, was declared winner of the election.

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The ruling party member told a court that he ferried thousands of people to vote in the opposition stronghold, Gaborone. He also said there was double voting.

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The runner-up in the election, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), had complained of irregularities in some constituencies and filed the legal challenge against the election result.

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A panel of high court judges, hearing the UDC’s petitions, is set to rule within 90 days of the submission.

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Rwanda Scraps Tax On Sanitary Pads 

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Rwanda Scraps Tax On Sanitary Pads 

Rwanda has scrapped taxes on sanitary pads following South Africa’s move a year ago.

Ministry of gender and family promotion said, in a tweet, it was moving in the right direction as the government has added sanitary pads to a list of goods that are vat exempted.  He said this would make them more affordable.

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Most activists have held that the unavailability of pads, stemming from their cost, continued to affect especially school girls across Africa. There has been a sustained push for governments to scrap the taxes.

Consumers expect to pay much lower amounts for pads as soon as the directive begins to be implemented.

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Zambia and Kenya provide sanitary pads for schoolgirls. The U.N. Children’s agency, UNICEF, estimates one in 10 African girls miss school during their periods, which means they fall behind in their studies, and often drop out of school.

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In neighbouring Uganda, oxford university researchers have found absenteeism was 17 percent higher among girls who had no access to sanitary towels or information about puberty.

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At Least 71 Soldiers Killed In Attack On Niger Military Camp

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At Least 71 Soldiers Killed In Attack On Niger Military Camp

Islamist militants have killed 71 soldiers in Niger in an attack on a remote military camp near the border with Mali.  Authorities say this was the deadliest raid ever against the Nigerien military.

Army spokesman, Colonel Boubacar Hassan said on state television on Wednesday, several hundred militants attacked a base in the western Niger town of Inates over a period of three hours on Tuesday evening.  That is the same area where Islamic State’s west African branch killed nearly 50 Nigerien soldiers in two attacks in May and July. But this time, the army said, insurgents used artillery shells and kamikaze vehicles.

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Hassan said, 12 soldiers were wounded, while an unspecified number of others were missing. A significant number of militants were also killed.

Niger authorities said president Mahamadou Issoufou has cut short his visit to Egypt as a result of the attack.

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Meanwhile French president Emmanuel Macron, along with Niger’s president Mahamadou Issoufou, has announced that a summit scheduled for Monday to discuss security issues in the Sahel Area has been postponed to early next year.

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