New Gambian President Sworn-In
Gambian President, Adama Barrow, promises political and economic reform
Gambia's new president thanked his nation and promised greater freedom, an improved economy and better education as thousands attended a ceremony Saturday marking his inauguration after a tense political standoff with the country's former longtime leader.
"This is a victory for democracy. It is a victory for all Gambians," President Adama Barrow said to a packed stadium near the capital that included dignitaries and several African heads of state.
Saturday's ceremony was held to let Gambians witness a swearing-in that echoed the official one last month. Barrow first took the oath of office at Gambia's embassy in neighboring Senegal in January as former leader Yahya Jammeh refused to cede power.
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34 Killed in Somalia Blast
The death toll from a car bomb at a marketplace in Somalia's capital has risen to 34 with 52 injured, said a police officer.
The blast by a car bomb parked near a restaurant went off at a busy time when shoppers and traders were gathered inside the market, said district commissioner Ahmed Abdulle.
Many of the dead were carried away by their relatives soon after the blast, said Captain Mohamed Hussein.
The powerful explosion was the first major attack since Somalia's new president was elected on Feb.8. Although no group has yet claimed responsibility, it bears the hallmarks of Somalia's Islamic extremists rebels, al-Shabab. In a Twitter post, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed condemned the blast, saying that it shows the "cruelty" of al-Shabab.
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Elections too Expensive for DRC
The Democratic Republic of Congo will not be able to afford an agreed presidential election this year
Budget Minister Pierre Kangudia said the cost of organising the poll, which was said to be $1.8bn (£1.5bn), was too expensive.
Last year the government and the opposition agreed that new elections would be held by the end of 2017.
Elections in DR Congo are often controversial. Last year, protests against moves to delay the presidential poll resulted in at least 50 deaths.
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Xenophobic Violence on the Rise
Immigrant groups fear attacks at planned anti-crime protest.
Groups representing immigrant communities in South Africa said they fear a recent upsurge in anti-foreigner sentiment could spark a recurrence of xenophobic attacks that rocked the country in 2008 and 2015.
“Foreigners are being portrayed as criminals,” Marc Gbaffou, chairman of the African Diaspora Forum, said by phone on Wednesday. “This is a very disturbing situation. Our members are really concerned” that more attacks are imminent.
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba in November accused the national government of opening South Africa’s borders to “criminality.”
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Bird-flu Shuts Chinese Markets
A total of 100 people have died in the current bird flu season in China
China is experiencing its deadliest outbreak of the H7N9 bird-flu strain since it first appeared in humans in 2013, killing 79 people in January alone and spurring several cities to suspend live poultry trade.
The surge in fatalities has raised concerns that a severe outbreak looms, though health officials have said the worst has likely passed.
The government is urging people to avoid live poultry markets, where poor sanitation conditions can raise the risk of contamination.
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