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Tunisia Begins Week Of Strict COVID Lockdown

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The Tunisian government has announced restrictions during the Muslim Eid celebration amid coronavirus pandemic as a preventive measure nationwide.

The country started on Sunday a week of coronavirus restrictions covering the Eid holiday, as hospitals battle to stay afloat as covid-19 cases soar. An overnight curfew is also in force. Schools have been closed since mid-April.

On Friday, prime minister Hichem Mechichi said that Tunisia was going through “the worst health crisis in its history” and that health facilities were at risk of collapse.

Tunisia, a country of almost 12 million, has officially recorded more than 319,000 coronavirus cases and 11,350 deaths.

Over 500 people are currently in intensive care, a level previously unseen in the north African country.

The country has set up field hospitals to deal with the influx of patients.

It is also struggling to meet its oxygen needs and has appealed for assistance from European countries and even neighbouring Algeria, struggling with its own health crisis.

A vaccination campaign launched in mid-march, a month later than planned, is moving more slowly than anticipated.

“The number of patients in hospitals has almost doubled in just a month,” said Amen-Allah Messadi, a doctor on the country’s COVID-19 scientific task force.

He added that oxygen consumption had “multiplied by four or six”.

Shops along Tunis’s central Habib Bourguiba avenue and in the old city were all closed on Sunday.

But videos shared on social media appeared to show almost normal activity in several other parts of the country, including people without masks and failing to respect social distancing.

The Eid al-Fitr holidays that mark the end of Ramadan are traditionally a time when Muslim families and friends gather together.

This year, the holiday is expected to begin on Thursday.

Wajdi Ben Raies explains the new approach to the crisis this time around.

“During the second wave, we instantly began importing the necessary amounts (of oxygen) from European countries and our partners in Italy and France. But, during this third wave, due to long distances, we chose to import from Algeria, which has fairly large reserves. However, we have no guarantee when it comes to the imports from Algeria, so we are trying to diversify them from many other countries.”

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Rwanda Leads Way In Gender Equality

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Rwandan government has been hailed for leading way in gender parity.

A latest report by the Inter-Parliamentary Union dubbed ‘women in parliament’ (IPU) says Rwanda remains the world’s leading country with the most number of women in government positions. The analysis shows Rwanda was the only African country in this year’s top ten leading countries with women in politics.

Besides the 61% of the country’s parliamentary seats being occupied by women, the report also ranked Rwanda as the sixth country with women holding 50 %or more ministerial positions.

The report’s authors have said, women’s equal participation and leadership in political and public life are essential to achieving the sustainable development goals by 2030, citing that achieving gender parity in political life is far off, with the current data.

Besides Rwanda, there are only two parliaments where women account for above 50% of the seats. They include Cuba and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), occupying the second and third spots respectively.

For the first time, however, the global average of women in parliament reached a record-high 25.5%, an increase of 0.6% from the previous edition.

“Progress is being made, but parliaments must be more open to women. They should be gender-sensitive and transform their functioning and structures to facilitate work-life balance for women and men,” the IPU secretary-general, Martin Chungong, said.

The report said, at the current pace, it will take another 50years before gender parity is achieved in parliaments worldwide.

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Ethiopia Says UN Role In Nile Dam Row ‘Unhelpful’

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Ethiopia Says UN Role In Nile Dam Row 'Unhelpful'

Ethiopia says United Nations role in Nile Dam row is unhelpful. The huge dam known as the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) has been a point of contention for a decade between Addis Ababa and downstream nations Egypt and Sudan. Ethiopia says the project is essential to its development and has started filling it. But the other two countries fear it could restrict their citizens’ water access.

Ethiopia has described as “unhelpful” the intervention of the U.N. in the long-running dispute over the Nile River mega-dam.

The county’s foreign affairs ministry said in a statement that it was “regrettable to witness that the progress of negotiations has been dragged and politicized”. Ethiopia said on Tuesday that the African Union-led process was important in addressing the concerns of the three concerns and that it was committed to seeing the process to a successful conclusion.

The statement added “Ethiopia has made its position clear time and time again that this is unproductive and bringing the subject matter to the United Nations security council was and is unhelpful and far from the mandate of the council.

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EU To Train Mozambique Military Forces

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EU To Train Mozambique Military Forces

The European Union (EU) has approved a military training mission in Mozambique to support armed forces there to protect the civilian population. Nearly a million persons have fled their homes amid jihadist violence there.

The EU mission says it aims to train and support Mozambique military in restoring security to northern Cabo Delgado which has been plagued by extreme violence amid jihadist attacks since 2017.

The mission, initially set to last for two years, will also involve “military training in operational preparation, specialized training in counter-terrorism, and training and education in the protection of civilians.

Over the last three years, more than twenty-eight hundred persons have died in the violence which has forced about 900,000 others from their homes.

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