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South Africa Trade Unions Protest Job Losses, Wage Cuts

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South African biggest trade union group representing workers across a range of industries has on Wednesday embarked on a one-day national strike to protest job losses, wage curbs and corruption cases.

Earlier on Monday, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) called for a protest to highlight a litany of grievances, including corruption, the failing economy, gender-based violence, and government’s non-implementation of this year’s wage hikes for public servants.

COSATU said in its statement “we are convening this action under the COVID-19 lockdown alert level one regulations. This means that we have a responsibility not to undermine the fight against this deadly coronavirus that has killed so many of our compatriots.”

The union federation said this week that the more than two million jobs lost in the second quarter was an indictment of the cabinet’s performance and accused policymakers of presiding over “flagrant theft of taxpayer funds” after a spate of scandals.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said his government is finalizing an economic recovery plan to stimulate a rebound in employment and has promised tough action to deal with those implicated in corruption.

Meanwhile, it was not immediately clear how many COSATU members had heeded the call to down tools on Wednesday.

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Okonjo-Iweala Named Forbes Africa Person Of The Year

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Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has on Tuesday been named Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2020.

Forbes Africa disclosed this in a tweet saying Okonjo-Iweala who is a candidate for the office of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has been named “The 2020 African person of the Year.”

Reacting to the news, Okonjo-Iweala said she is “thrilled to be named Forbes Africa-CNBC ‘2020 African of the Year’ following in the footsteps of my great brothers Paul Kagame and Akin Adesina.”

She added “This award is for Africans suffering the health and economic impact of COVID-19. The energy and resilience of Africans inspires me”.

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Mauritania Uncovers Illegal Migration Networks

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Mauritanian authorities say they have uncovered more than 30 illegal migration networks and repatriated around 4,000 persons to various west African countries.

Interior minister, Mohamed Salem Ould Merzoug, told local media there had been an increase in the number of persons trying to reach Spain’s Canary Islands – an alternative route to the Mediterranean Sea where some migrants have been deterred by stricter controls and instability in Libya.

The United Nations has called for greater efforts to disrupt people-smuggling rings, after more than 140 persons died off the coast of Senegal in October in the deadliest shipwreck of the year.

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Amnesty Urges UN To Maintain South Sudan Arms Embargo

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Amnesty International is urging the United Nations Security Council to maintain its arms embargo on South Sudan amid what the human rights group calls “extreme violence by government forces, and an increase in attacks on civilians, including war crimes.”

The UN security council is due to conduct a mid-term review of its arms embargo and other measures on South Sudan before mid-December.

The council first established an arms embargo on South Sudan in 2018.  It was renewed last year and subsequently extended by a year in may this year.

Amnesty says it had documented “a series of extrajudicial executions, forced displacement, torture, and destruction of civilian property by government and former opposition forces.”

The group cited a four-fold increase in violence in the states of Jonglei, Lakes, Warrap and Western Equatoria between April and June compared to the same period last year.

Amnesty says as South Sudan was calling for the embargo to be reviewed earlier this year, “government soldiers were shooting civilians, burning homes, raping women and girls, and displacing tens of thousands of people from their villages in the south of the country.”

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