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Two Louisville Police Officers Shot And Injured Amid Protests Over Breonna Taylor’s Death

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Protesters took to the streets of Louisville, Kentucky expressing anger hours after a grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for killing Breonna Taylor.

Authorities confirmed two officers were shot and wounded during the demonstrations over police killings of black people.

Interim Louisville police chief, Robert Schroeder, said a suspect was in custody but did not offer details on whether that person was participating in the demonstrations. He said both officers are expected to recover.

The violence comes after prosecutors said two officers who fired their weapons at Taylor, a black woman, were justified in using force to protect themselves after they faced gunfire from her boyfriend.

The only charges were three counts of wanton endangerment against fired officer Brett Hankison for shooting into a home next to Taylor’s with people inside.

African News

France’s Macron Says Success In Sahel Enables Operational Change

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France is aiming to boost its military strength in Africa’s Sahel region where its troops have been helping to fight insurgency.

French president Emmanuel Macron says France could “adjust” its operations in the Sahel region following successes against jihadist groups.  Macron said the arrival of special forces from other European countries would allow France to make changes.

The French president assured that efforts at stability and victory against the jihadists will be maintained.

More than 5,000 French troops have been serving as part of operation Barkhane in support of the forces of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.

The soldiers face a growing insurgency by jihadist groups, which have significantly stepped up their attacks in the Sahel countries since last year.

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African News

EU Eyes Scheme To Share Surplus COVID-19 Vaccines With Poorer Nations

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The European Union says it wants to set up a mechanism that would allow the sharing of surplus COVID-19 vaccines with poorer neighbouring states and Africa, in a move that may undercut a W.H.O.-led global vaccine initiative.

The EU, with a population of 450 million, has already secured nearly two and a half billion COVID-19 vaccine doses and candidates from six companies, although most of them still need regulatory approval.

EU health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, told lawmakers on Tuesday the body is working with EU member states to propose a European mechanism to share vaccines beyond their borders.

She said the mechanism would get vaccines to poorer countries “before COVAX is fully operational.” COVAX is the global scheme co-led by the World Health Organization.  It was set up last summer to ensure a fair distribution of COVID-19 shots around the world.

COVAX is already operational but has so far struggled to secure vaccines. It announced in December deals for nearly 2 billion doses, but the largest part of these shots has been pledged by vaccine makers under non-binding accords because COVAX is currently short of money to book them in advance.

“Firms will not give you doses if you don’t pay in advance,” a senior EU vaccine negotiator said on condition of anonymity, noting that the EU initiative was the result of COVAX having fallen short of expectations.

Internal documents seen by Reuters showed in December that COVAX co-leaders saw high risks of failure for the mechanism because of insufficient funds and complex contractual arrangements.

The WHO has warned of risks to fair distribution caused by rich nations’ hoarding of available shots, but publicly remains upbeat about COVAX and the possibility of delivering the first vaccines this quarter.

Kyriakides said the EU vaccine-sharing scheme should prioritize health workers and most vulnerable people in the western Balkans, north Africa and poorer sub-Saharan African countries.

The EU official said the EU could give some vaccines to COVAX which would then distribute them to poor countries.

It is however unclear whether the EU will donate or sell its excess doses. Sweden has set up a mechanism to sell its surplus vaccines. Decisions on sharing vaccines are taken by EU governments.

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UK’s New COVID-19 Strain Reported In At Least 60 Countries – WHO

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The World Health Organization has on Wednesday said the faster-spreading coronavirus variant been found in the United Kingdom is now in at least 60 countries, 10 more compared with a week ago.

WHO said in its weekly update that the South African strain, 501Y.V2, which like the United Kingdom one is believed to be more infectious but does not appear deadlier, has now been reported in 23 countries and territories.

With the global death toll now well past two million, and new variants of the virus causing deep concern, countries across the world are grappling with how to slow infections until vaccines become widely available.

The UN’s health agency added that the number of new deaths climbed to a record high of 93,000 over the previous seven days, with 4.7 million new cases over the same period.

The UK strain, first detected in mid-December, is thought by the WHO to be between 50-70 percent more infectious than the original.

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