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South Sudan President, Rebel Leader Agree To Form Unity Government

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Relief As South Sudan Unveils New Ministers

South Sudan’s former rebel leader Riek Machar said he has agreed to form a unity government with president Salva Kiir by Saturday’s deadline, following talks at state house on Thursday.

President Kiir has promised protection for opposition leaders. Machar’s allies had sought assurances for his safety should he formally return to the capital.

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Kiir said the main issues which have not been resolved, such as how he and Machar would share the power, and how opposing forces will be unified, are set to be addressed and finalized in coming days.

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There are expectations the deal will bring an end to South Sudan’s devastating six-year civil war, which has killed some 400,000 persons.

Before the announcement, it had been unclear if the deadline would be met as key benchmarks of the 2018 peace agreement had not been fulfilled. The deadline had elapsed several times without an agreement between the two sides.

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Explosion At Astron Energy’s South African Refinery Kills At Least Two: Source

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Explosion At Astron Energy's South African Refinery Kills At Least Two: Source

An explosion went off at Astron energy refinery in South African on Thursday. A source who works at the 100,000 barrel per day plant says, at least two persons are reported killed in the explosion and several others injured.

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The plant, which was just starting up after undergoing extended maintenance, was shut down after a fire broke out early on Thursday.

The company- Astron energy `s spokesperson has not responded.

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Mali Opposition Seeks To Curb President’s Authority In Reform Plan

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Mali Opposition Seeks To Curb President's Authority In Reform Plan

Opponents of Mali’s president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita have sought on Wednesday to end a political crisis by proposing reforms to neuter his authority and hand executive power to a prime minister.

Thousands of people took to the streets of the capital Bamako twice in June to demand the immediate resignation of Keita saying he had been unable to resolve Mali’s numerous crises, while corruption and economic hardship have flourished.

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A leader of opposition coalition, Choguel Kokala Maiga, presented a nine-point proposal this week that included the appointment of a prime minister by the opposition. But did not push for a demand for the president`s resignation.

Among the group’s proposals are the dissolution of the national assembly, a transitional legislative body, the renewal of members of Mali’s highest court, and a government of national unity.

Their proposal would effectively curtail Keita’s powers to that of a ceremonial head of state. 75-year-old Keita, was re-elected in 2018 for a second five-year term.

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Mali has been in political turmoil since a disputed legislative election in march. The lead-up to the poll was marred by allegations of vote buying and intimidation and the kidnapping of opposition leader Soumaila Cisse.

As concerns about Mali’s political instability are growing, Boubacar Keita`s government has offered concessions, including a unity government, while mediators from the regional body ECOWAS have proposed new legislative elections in disputed constituencies. These have been rejected by the opposition.

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The united nations, which has thousands of peacekeepers in the country, has also called for calm and dialogue. At a Sahel security summit on Tuesday, France, EU and regional leaders called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

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Burundi To Boost Testing, President Labels Covid-19 ‘Worst Enemy’

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Burundi To Boost Testing, President Labels Covid-19 'Worst Enemy'

Burundi’s new president Evariste Ndayishimiye says his government will take the coronavirus pandemic more seriously than his late predecessor. Former president Pierre Nkurunziza who died last month was criticized for not taking the pandemic seriously.

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Now, Ndayishimiye says screenings will be launched wherever clusters of cases are suspected, and that soap prices and water bills will be reduced. He called the coronavirus the country’s worst enemy.

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Some countries and human rights groups have expressed hope that the new president, an ally of Nkurunziza, might break with certain ways of his predecessor.

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Burundi has reported 170 confirmed coronavirus cases.

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