18 killed, 239 injured in South Africa passenger train crash

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A passenger train slammed into a truck in South Africa’s Free State province on Thursday, killing 18 people and injuring 239 others.
The Emergency Services confirmed that the Shosholoza Meyl Train 37012 was traveling from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg, when it hit a truck at Jeneva level crossing between Henneman and Kroonstad in Free State province.
Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi said the derailment left 18 people burned to death and 239 injured.
Firefighters and medical personnel have rushed to the scene to help the victims.
Footages sent by passengers from the scene shows a number of carriages laid on the ground and engulfed in flames.

Source: Xinhua

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SuperSport launched new app

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Content discovery made easier for SuperSport fans through the newly launched app, designed to provide users with a fresh, modern experience. Navigation has been refined with all the standards like, live scoring, fixtures, results, tables, news and short-form video highlights.

The main difference is that SuperSport’s live channel streaming is now hosted at the DStv Now app, to ensure the breadth of DStv’s channel offerings is contained on a single platform. This will deliver the best viewing experience as DStv Now has been optimally set up to provide the best support and stability for live streaming.
Users of the SuperSport app will be automatically redirected to the DStv Now app if they are seeking live sports streaming. Log-in requirements remain the same as before with users needing to use their DStv log-in details, which require their smart-card number.
Navigation is simple in DStv Now, with users simply having to click on the drop-down menu to “live TV” and then locate their preferred channel. Content is free on the apps, but data charges apply.

Source: nextvafrica.com/supersport-launched-new-app

 

Zimbabwe Vice Presidents Sworn In

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Retired army boss Constantino Chiwenga and veteran politician Kembo Mohadi were on Thursday sworn in as Zimbabwe’s co-vice presidents.
The two were sworn in by Chief Justice Luke Malaba at a ceremony at State House following their appointment by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
President Mnangagwa took over from former president Robert Mugabe last month and has vowed to resuscitate the economy, fight corruption and create jobs for the people.
Chiwenga led the military intervention that led to the resignation of Mugabe last month, and is among military leaders that have been appointed into government positions by Mnangagwa.
Others are former air force chief Perrence Shiri who is now lands and agriculture minister and retired major general Sibusiso Moyo, now foreign affairs minister.

Source: Xinhua

Zambian gov’t pledges commitment to growth of film industry

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The Zambian government on Wednesday reassured stakeholders of its commitment to the growth of the film industry.
Chief Government Spokesperson Kampamba Mulenga said the government will ensure that it works with all stakeholders in the implementation of a recently approved film policy, adding that the industry has in the past been neglected due to lack of a policy to guide its operations.
The filming sector, she said, could not continue to be silent in the economic affairs of the country because of its huge potential to effectively contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The spokesperson, who is also information and broadcasting minister, was speaking when she met a delegation from Ster-Kinekor, one of the local firms promoting the film industry, according to a statement released by her office.
She further pledged that the government will continue to create an enabling environment that will facilitate the growth of the film industry and appealed to stakeholders to support the successful implementation of the film policy.
Wanda Matandela, the managing director of Ster-Kinekor, said the firm was ready to work with the government and other stakeholders in successfully implementing the film policy which he said was key in the development process of the industry.
He said there is need for Zambian film makers to work hard and produce content that will appeal to the international market in order for the industry to grow.

Source: Xinhua

Libya keen to resume normal ties with African countries: PM

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Libya’s UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez Serraj said Wednesday that improved conditions in Libya will contribute to the return of normal relations between Libya and African countries.
Serraj made his remarks here during a meeting with Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama.
According to the media office of the prime minister, the meeting discussed bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries against illegal immigration, where the two officials agreed for coordination directly and through the African Union.
“The two officials stressed the importance of the decisions of the Euro-African summit in Abidjan, and the joint action to dismantle smuggling and human trafficking networks,” the office said in a statement.
Onyeama and Serraj agreed to repatriate illegal Nigerian immigrants from Libya, the statement confirmed.
“The two officials also discussed economic cooperation. The prime minister welcomed the proposal of organizing an economic forum for businessmen and economic experts in both countries,” the statement revealed.
Due to the insecurity and chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Gaddafi’s regime, Libya became a departure point for illegal immigrants, mostly Africans, wanting to cross the Mediterranean towards European shores.
An official of the International Organization for Migration on Tuesday told Xinhua that more than 19,000 illegal immigrants have been voluntarily departed from Libya in 2017.

Source:Xinhua

The Secret Behind Rwanda’s Successful Vaccination Scores: When Poverty Can’t Stop You

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THE best medical treatment option in the world can’t save a single patient unless it is delivered at the proper time, with the proper plans and processes in place.
Thats why implementation science for health matters. It can best be described as a collection of principles that, if applied, will ensure the best possible health care is delivered to a specific community. It involves using evidence-based research to identify the obstacles to delivering health services, and the best ways to overcome them. The research must take into account things like geographical limitations, the social and economic make up of a community as well as cultural practices. Once established for one community, the methodology can be reused in others.
Through my own experience as an academic and as former health minister of Rwanda I am convinced that unless we adopt this approach we won’t be able to achieve universal health coverage and other United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This is particularly true for Africa where health services are stretched because of a lack of resources.
If we incorporate efficient, evidence-based practices into our service delivery models in Africa well save millions of lives, as well as millions of dollars.
A vaccination programme rolled out in Rwanda illustrates what I mean.

THE RWANDAN EXAMPLE
In 2011 Rwanda began a vaccination programme for human papillomavirus (HPV) the most common sexually transmitted disease in the world. 33 countries had rolled out vaccination programmes, but few of them were in developing countries and none were in Africa.
In 2010, when we were preparing our first campaign, Rwanda seemed an improbable candidate for achieving near-universal HPV vaccination coverage. After all, we were ranked the 15th poorest nation in the world. International skeptics argued that developing countries couldn’t manage because of their weak scientific base, poor infrastructure, economic difficulties and overemphasis on curative, rather than preventative, medicine.
At the time even the developed world had achieved only moderate coverage of HPV vaccinations. The US had less than 35% of its adolescent female population fully vaccinated, and France also had a low coverage. If countries like this couldn’t realize HPV universal vaccination roll-outs, how could low and medium income countries manage?
But we weren’t deterred. We convinced HPV vaccine producers to ignore the global disapproval by presenting our evidence-based strategy of how we would roll-out a programme across the country. They listened, and then signed a public private partnership agreement, which funded the programme.
Despite the seemingly impossible odds, Rwanda achieved 93% HPV vaccination coverage within a year of initiating the campaign. The coverage level has been maintained ever since.
What is the secret to Rwandas success? The answer is simple. We put our trust in implementation science.
IMPLEMENTATION SCIENCE IN ACTION
For the rollout we collected evidence, adapted distribution methods to our setting and set clear targets and outcomes.
Every step of HPV distribution was evidence-based. To analyse the cultural implications of our programme, the Ministry of Health conducted a series of interviews and discussions with community members. We set up a task force which included all stakeholders – religious, educational, political, parliamentary, and community leaders – and designed a strategy of nationwide community education to spread awareness of cervical cancer, the benefits of the vaccine, and the proper time to receive it. Since almost all types of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus, it was important first to explain the link with cancer.
Using the same focus groups, we developed a method of defining and reaching the target population. Since HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, we wanted to vaccinate girls before they became sexually active. The task force researched the proper age bracket for this. Its conclusion was that a school-based vaccination scheme of 12-year-old girls would be most effective. Over 97% of female Rwandan pre-teens are enrolled in primary school and few have sexual intercourse at that age.
Another research component was on the cold chain management. We needed to know how much vaccine to procure, how much storage space and money this would require, how many transport vehicles we would have to mobilise and where to send them. We also drew from our experience in rolling out other vaccination programs to create a rotating decentralized storage system.
Once all the evidence had been evaluated, we put a detailed delivery plan in place. We organised a distribution system to transport the vaccine from the cargo plane, to Kanombe International Airport, to the national warehouse, to the 30 district hospitals, to the 436 health centres at that time, to the primary schools.
We also collaborated with Rwanda’s 45,000 community health workers and all the teachers concerned. They identified girls who were absent from school on the day of vaccination to make sure they were covered too. And teachers were taught how to monitor students in the days after the vaccination so that they could report any adverse side-effects and be a key pillar of the HPV vaccine pharmacovigilance system.
The principles of implementation sciences applied for the success of the HPV vaccination roll-out have been used in other vaccination campaigns. Today in Rwanda we have more than 90% of all children fully vaccinated for 11 vaccines, with an additional HPV vaccine for all girls.

NEED FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATION

As Vice Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda we are introducing researchers to implementation science.
Like any science, it requires research. At the moment, the global focus (and therefore global funding) is on clinical research and fundamental sciences. Last year less than 2% of all research grants offered by the National Institute of Health, the largest funder of health research in the world, have been dedicated to implementation science.
But to improve health care we must also invest in implementation research to improve service delivery. Sure, we need basic science to create cheaper, more effective technology. But we also need implementation science to provide cost-effective ways of delivering and promoting universal health coverage.

-This article was originally published on The Conversation.

Ghana coach Avram Grant: We had to be ‘faultless’ to beat DR Congo

 

 

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Ghana coach Avram Grant says his side had to cut out all mistakes from their previous matches to dislodge 

The Black Stars posted a 2-1 win over the Leopards at the Stade d’Oyem to secure a semi-final berth.

It was an improved performance after losing 1-0 to Egypt last Wednesday in the final Group D match.

“We corrected mistakes we made and in the second period it was totally different,” Grant told reporters after the DR Congo game.

“We played good football. The two goals we scored were fantastic. And when we fell asleep, they (DR Congo) also scored a fantastic goal.”

For more Ghana football news visit www.ghanasoccernet.com

Handing over to Akufo-Addo-led government starts today

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The outgoing John Mahama-led administration will Wednesday morning present its handing over notes containing details about the state of the nation to the incoming New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.

The Transition Team, jointly inaugurated by President Mahama and president-elect, Nana Akufo-Addo, is expected to sit for six weeks from Wednesday.

The meeting will afford the incoming government the opportunity to enquire about matters of national interest from the Mahama administration.

The transition team will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the International Conference Centre to set up the Transitional Committee comprising those of the incoming and outgoing teams.

There would also be the transitional sub-committee on finance, energy, infrastructure, social services, the presidency, etc, presenting their handing over notes to representatives of the incoming administration.

The spokesperson for president-elect Nana Akufo-Addo, Mustapha Hamid, said Tuesday once his team gets the notes they would scrutinise it and ask further questions for clarity as this would be the basis for proceeding on anything.

“Certainly there would be questions that we would need clarifications on, and those questions would be the basis for meetings…we already have a lot of information from various ministries and government agencies and we hope that the notes that we would be given would be consistent with some of the things that we know. Where there are inconsistencies we would ask questions,” he said.

Mr Hamid does not expect any hiccups past transitions have experienced if the teams work with honesty, openness and transparency as said Nana Akufo-Addo said.

He stressed that past traditions did not have a law governing them, unlike the current system where there is a law governing the process adding he has “no doubt this would be arguably the smoothest transition process we are likely to have.”

Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | GN

Donald Trump and Barack Obama to meet at White House

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President Obama is to welcome his successor Donald Trump to the White House for talks aimed at smoothing over the transition of power.

It could prove a difficult meeting with Mr Trump having questioned Mr Obama’s US citizenship and promising to dismantle some of his key policies.

Mr Obama though has said he is “rooting” for Mr Trump after his shock defeat of Hillary Clinton.

Thousands have taken to the streets of major US cities denouncing Mr Trump.

Mr Obama – who for his part had branded Mr Trump “unfit” for office and campaigned against him – urged all Americans to accept the result of Tuesday’s election.

“We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country,” he said.

The defeated Mrs Clinton also told supporters Mr Trump had to be given a “chance to lead”.

In his victory speech in the early hours of Wednesday, Mr Trump vowed to “bind the wounds of division”, after an acrimonious election contest, and to be “president for all Americans”.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest has insisted Mr Obama will be sincere about ensuring a smooth handover when he meets Mr Trump, although he added: “I’m not saying it’s going to be an easy meeting.”

With the Republicans holding a majority in both chambers of the US Congress Mr Trump has an easier path to pass his laws and scrap key Obama initiatives like his healthcare reforms.

The president-elect will be accompanied to the White House on Thursday morning (1600 GMT) by his wife, Melania, who will have a meeting with First Lady Michelle Obama.

Source: BBC

School ban on pregnant teens divides Equatorial Guinea

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“Pregnancy is neither a crime nor a mental illness,” insists Imelda Bosuala, a 15-year-old who was turned away by her school in Equatorial Guinea after falling pregnant.

When the school term began last month, the government had put in place a new rule — in order to enrol, all teenage girls must take a pregnancy test.

And a positive test means no more education.

Speaking on state television, deputy education minister Maria-Jesus Nkara said the tough new measure sought to encourage schoolgirls to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancies.

A month into the new term, it is still too early to tell how many girls have been affected by the ban in a country where teenage girls come under heavy pressure to start a family.

World Bank figures show that in 2014, the birth rate among Equatorial Guinean adolescents aged 15-19 was 110 in 1,000.

The figure is substantially higher than the global average of 44 per 1,000, but lower than in other African nations such as Niger (204), Mali (175) and Angola (167).

Rights organisations have criticised the authorities for violating the right to education, slamming the measure as another example of repression in this tiny oil-rich nation whose president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, has ruled with an iron fist since seizing power in a 1979 coup.

Illegal abortion fears

But opinions within the country are divided.

“This is a good decision,” said 13-year-old Sabina in the playground of Bioko Norte high school in the capital, Malabo.

“Coming to class while you’re pregnant shows a lack of respect.”

Even Bosuala herself is in two minds. “Pregnancy is also not a good example to set in the school environment,” she admits.

But French teacher Gerardo Ndong believes the decision was “foolish”.

And Trifonia Melibea, a sociologist and teacher at the National University of Equatorial Guinea, was also dismayed by the decision.

“These adolescents are being deprived of the fundamental right to education. That’s an insult,” she said.

She also warned that the measure could push teenagers into seeking abortions in “inhuman conditions”.

In the former Spanish colony of 800,000 people, pregnancies can be legally terminated only if there is a threat to the health of the mother and with the authorisation of the spouse or parents.

Daughters as ‘trade items’

Efua, whose 14-year-old daughter is expecting a baby, believes the government should open a dedicated school “especially for young pregnant girls” so they can keep up their studies.

Early pregnancies are most common in poor families, where adults might even consider sending a daughter out as a sexual offering.

“Some parents use their daughters as items of trade, asking them to go out with rich men to help the family survive,” said 19-year-old Ana Rita.

Sociologist Martin Ela pointed to increasing pressures from consumerism since oil production began in the 1990s.

“These little girls go out with someone who is able to give them a smartphone because they want to be on Facebook or WhatsApp,” Ela said.

Melibea said teenage girls were particularly vulnerable to pressure.

“In Equatorial Guinea, if a girl reaches the age of 18 without having a child, everybody starts saying she’s barren,” she said.

The high number of teen pregnancies can also be linked to the absence of legislative protection for minors against sexual harassment, meaning abusive men can operate with impunity.

‘Devastating consequences’

Sierra Leone introduced a similar ban on pregnant teens last year, prompting a sharp reaction from Amnesty International.

“Excluding pregnant girls from mainstream schools and banning them from sitting crucial exams is discriminatory and will have devastating consequences,” the London-based rights group said in a study released in November 2015.

“Education is a right and not something for governments to arbitrarily take away as a punishment.”

The report said the prohibition, which was sometimes enforced through “humiliating physical checks”, was likely to affect an estimated 10,000 young girls and risked destroying their future life opportunities.

The ban has yet to be lifted.

Source:Malabo (Equatorial Guinea) (AFP)