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

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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

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)

KENYAN ACTOR PHILIP MUCHIRI SIGNS AS NABA LIFE FOUNDATION AMBASSADOR

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Philip ‘Mentor’ Muchiri, an ambitious, energetic and career minded film producer cum actor who strives to excel in the role he is assigned to, has signed as the Kenyan Ambassador for NABA LIFE FOUNDATION, a registered non-governmental organisation in Ghana.

“I am happy to join NABA Life Foundation as they are implementing great initiatives to help the less privileged in Ghana. I want to be part and will do my best to support an organization that seeks to help the under privileged in the society”, he stated.

Apart from the acting career, Philip Muchiri has developed the passion in giving back to his people, creating a hope for a better today and an even better tomorrow for people especially children.

He said “I will use my influence in Filmmaking to show together we can rise for the better and together we can change the world in our own small deeds of helping each other and caring for the less privileged in our society”.

Philip Muchiri has passion in acting and was involved in script writing, directing, editing and playing lead roles. He also studied digital editing as well and has experience in production and holds a brown belt in Karate.

He has featured in movies like GICAGI, Mtaani, Street Game, The Blessed Child and Boda Boda, among others. He has won several awards including Best Cinematography in Gicagi Film 2014, Best Lead Actor in Boda Boda, Riverwood Academy Award 2015, etc.

MISS WHITNEY TAI IS NABA LIFE FOUNDATION AMBASSADOR

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Whitney Tai, an emerging singer, songwriter, entertainer and designer from New York City has signed as the ambassador for NABA LIFE FOUNDATION, a registered non-governmental organisation in Ghana.

Whitney is an artist looking to give back to the community and help people from around the world gain inspiration and motivation to achieve their deepest, most personal goals.

In January 2014, Tai released her first pop single in collaboration with Sunfreakz, “To Be Loved,” and a remix by Adrian Buster shortly after. The song received Hot Shot of the week on two FM stations in the country of Holland gaining her recognition from DJ’s and producers worldwide.

In April 2015, Whitney dropped her first debut pop alternative album, “Metamorphosis,” written and co­-produced with Billboard chart topping composer, Sunfreakz.

Whitney Tai has been working extensively to give out the best in the music career to her fans all over the world. Her newest EP of 2016, “Forever”, was produced by Billboard producer Spencer Garn, engineered by Morgan Ray Garcia of Upstairs Records.

The entire Board and Management of the foundation wish to say “Ayekoo” to Miss Whitney for joining the team to promote a good cause in helping young people in the country and beyond.

Source: NABA LIFE FOUNDATION

 

Early HIV vaccine results lead to major trial: researchers

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Durban (South Africa) (AFP) – Promising results from an early safety trial with a potential HIV vaccine have paved the way for a major new study, researchers announced at the International AIDS Conference in Durban on Tuesday.

An 18-month trial with a candidate vaccine dubbed HVTN100 drew on 252 participants at six sites in South Africa, one of the countries hardest-hit by an epidemic that has claimed more than 30 million lives worldwide since the 1980s.

The participants fell within a low-risk category for contracting the sexually-transmitted virus, the researchers said.

The trial cleared a key hurdle in the long, three-phase process to test new drugs. In this early phase, the main point is to assess safety, not efficacy.

“We wanted to see if this vaccine candidate is safe in a South African population and if it is tolerable,” Kathy Mngadi, principal investigator at one of the research sites, explained to AFP.

The team also looked for antibodies signalling that the body’s immune system was responding to the vaccine.

The trial built on the foundations laid by a groundbreaking trial conducted in Thailand in 2009, which yielded the world’s first partially effective vaccine, dubbed RV144.

While hailed as a breakthrough, the effect of the Thai course decreased with time, dropping from 60 percent after one year to 31.2 percent after three-and-a-half years.

“RV144 set us on this journey of hope, but also showed us what we still need to learn and accomplish in this field,” said Fatima Laher, co-chair of the HVTN100 trial.

– Next step –

All the study criteria “were met unequivocally and, in many instances, the HVTN100 outcomes exceeded both our own criteria,” added trial protocol chair Linda-Gail Bekker.

The next phase of the trial, dubbed HVTN702, will kick off in November with the recruitment of 5,400 South African men and women aged between 18 to 25 at high risk of contracting HIV.

People are divided into risk categories through criteria that includes their sexual activity.

“We hope to have results in five years, and it is going to be a very exciting five years for all of us because it is the result of many, many years of hard work,” said Glenda Gray, HVTN Africa programme director.

A fully effective vaccine is still a long way off, she cautioned.

But recent studies have shown that even a partially effective blocker could have a huge impact if rolled out on a large scale.

Some two-and-a-half million people are still becoming infected with HIV every year, according to a new study published on Tuesday, even as drugs have slashed the death rate and virus-carriers live ever longer on anti-retroviral treatment.

While the quest for a cure continues, many view a vaccine as the best hope for stemming new infections.

Larry Corey, principal investigator for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, a publicly-funded international project, said vaccines were barely mentioned the last time the conference was held in Durban some 16 years ago.

“It’s really gratifying now to see how far we’ve come scientifically,” he said.

Last year, billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates, who spends millions of dollars on AIDS drug development, said he hoped for an HIV vaccine within a decade, as a cure seems less likely.

Angolan court frees 17 jailed activists

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An Angolan court on Wednesday ordered the conditional release of 17 young activists, including a well-known rapper, three months after they were jailed for rebellion against President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Most of group were arrested during a book club meeting in June last year where one of the books on the line-up was about non-violent resistance to repressive regimes.

The activists maintained throughout their trial they were peaceful campaigners for the departure of dos Santos, who has been in power since September, 1979 and rules the oil-rich country with an iron fist.

“Release warrants under house arrest were issued on behalf of 17 applicants to be executed from the present day,” the Supreme Court in Luanda said in a statement.

The ruling overturns sentences ranging from two to eight years in prison, which were handed down at the end of a lengthy trial in March amid complaints about political repression.

One of the accused, rapper Luaty Beirao, went on hunger strike for over a month last year to protest against his detention.

Defence lawyer Francisco Miguel Michel said Wednesday he was “very happy”.

“Any court concerned with the application of justice would have ruled the same,” he said, insisting his clients “committed no crime”.

Human Rights Watch researcher Zenaida Machado told AFP the ruling was “long overdue”.

“The order should have been given immediately after the verdict in March… I am satisfied that the Supreme Court is upholding the law of the country,” she said.

AFP

Angola’s yellow fever death toll tops 300: WHO

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Angola’s yellow fever outbreak has killed more than 300 people since December, with cases of the deadly disease spreading to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and even China, the World Health Organization has said.

The outbreak was first detected in the capital Luanda at the end of last year, and has now been confirmed in most coastal and central regions of the west African country.

“Angola has reported 2,536 suspected cases of yellow fever with 301 deaths,” WHO said in an update released Thursday.

“Despite vaccination campaigns in Luanda, Huambo and Benguela provinces, circulation of the virus persists in some districts.”

WHO warned of unimmunised travellers spreading the virus after neighbouring DR Congo reported 41 cases imported from Angola, with two cases in Kenya and 11 in China.

“The outbreak in Angola remains of high concern due to persistent local transmission in Luanda despite the fact that more than seven million people have been vaccinated,” WHO said.

There is no specific treatment for yellow fever, a viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes and found in tropical regions of Africa and Latin America’s Amazon region.

Yellow fever vaccinations are routinely recommended for travellers to Angola, though the country had not previously seen a significant outbreak since 1986.

Aid groups have warned of poor health facilities and vaccine shortages limiting Angola’s ability to cope with the outbreak.

AFP

AU Commission Chairperson concludes official visit to Belarus

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A bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Belarus, signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, holding talks with the Board Chairman of the Belarus National Bank and delivering a lecture at the University of Belarus. These are highlights of the maiden official visit of the African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to Belarus. The visit took place from 21-24 April 2016.

In her meeting with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus, H.E. Andrei Kobyakov, the AU Commission Chairperson made a case for greater collaboration and cooperation between Africa and Belarus. She recalled the historic relationship that existed during the days of the Soviet Republic, and invited the Government of Belarus to create favourable conditions for Belarusian businesses to invest Africa at national, sub-regional and continental levels.

“We will never forget the support that Africa got during that time,” said Dr. Dlamini-Zuma. “That is why today we are urging the people of Belarus to invest in Africa as it implements its 50-year development plan, Agenda 2063.”

In line with a clear strategic direction, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the AU Commission Chairperson, Dr. Dlamini Zuma and the First Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Belarus, Mr. Mikhnevich. Following the signing of the MoU, they agreed to put establish a working group to identify specific project areas of cooperation, based on Africa’s Agenda 2063, the 10-year implementation plan and the 12 flagship projects.

The Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr. Elham Ibrahim, who was part of the Chairperson’s delegation, would lead the working group from the Africa side.

Areas that would benefit from immediate cooperation include agriculture and agro-processing, transport, energy, ICT infrastructural and industrialisation projects of continental regional and continental reach.

“Belarus has no oil, no gas, and the weather isn’t always good. But we have the head and the hands that we have used develop expertise in the areas of agriculture and agro-processing, energy generation through wind, sun, wood and nuclear,” the First Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister said.

The same views were shared by the Chairperson’s delegation when they met separately with the Belarus Minister of Industry; the Chairman of the State Committee on Science and Technology; First Deputy Minister of Architecture; and the Chairman of the Board of the National Bank of Belarus.

Dr. Dlamini Zuma highly appreciated the involvement of the Banks at this early stage, given that Financing is often one of the principal challenges raised in international business transactions.

After meetings with Government officials, the AU Commission Chairperson also delivered a lecture at the University of Belarus, focusing on Africa’s Agenda 2063. The lecture was characterized by a lively and interactive discussion between the Chairperson and students.

It was agreed that a MoU would be signed between the Pan African University and the University of Belarus to facilitate, among others, the training of students but also the transfer of technology.

African Champs League: Zamalek, Zesco and Setif through

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Egypt’s Zamalek and former champions Entente Setif of Algeria have joined Zambia’s Zesco United in the group stages of the African Champions League.

Zamalek, coached by former Birmingham City and Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish, grabbed a late equaliser against Mouloudia Bejaia to progress 3-1 on aggregate.

The success eases some of the pressure on McLeish, who’s side are trailing their great rivals Al Ahly in the Egyptian league by 11 points.

Setif, African champions in 2014, were held to a goalless draw at home by Sudan’s Al Merreikh.

Coupled with a 2-2 draw from the first leg, that takes the Algerians through on away goals.

Earlier Zesco beat Mali’s Stade Malien 2-1 on Tuesday to complete a 5-2 victory on aggregate and become the first team to reach the Champions League group stage.

Zesco’s Jesse Were scored the opener for the hosts after five minutes.

Samake Issaka equalised after the break for visitors Mali, but an 80th-minute close-range effort from Maybin Mwaba made certain of their progress.

Malien’s misery was complete when Issaka was sent off on 89 minutes.

The losers get a second chance as they enter the draw for the play-offs in the second-tier Confederation Cup.

There are five more matches on Wednesday, while the draw for the group phase takes place on 24 May.

Source: BBC