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Twist and turns in US presidential race

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The timing of the revelation of a new FBI probe into the emails of US Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton could not have come at a more embarrassing time with just 11 days before Americans go to the polls on 8 November to elect a new president, Franklin Adesegha writes. FBI Director, James Comey, said his bureau was looking into newly found messages which came to light during a separate inquiry into top Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s estranged husband, former congressman Anthony Weiner. Devices belonging to Ms Abedin and Mr Weiner were seized in an investigation into whether he sent sexually explicit emails to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 1 November 2016 | Hits: 86

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Egypt boat disaster shines light on new migration trend

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Just before sunrise on a warm September morning, mobile phones in the village of Green Island on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast began ringing urgently. “Our children began calling us from the sea. They said: ‘Save us! This boat is going to sink’,” Walid el- Hor, a community leader in the small fishing community, told IRIN. At least 204 people died on 21 September when an overloaded boat, carrying around 500 migrants destined for Italy, capsized around eight miles off Green Island. Those on board included Sudanese, Eritreans, and Somalis, but the majority were Egyptian, and many were locals from Green Island.

Features | NorthSouth | 1 November 2016 | Hits: 76

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Algeria: the new migrant staging post for Europe

By Saskia Houttuin and Eva Huson, IRIN Gerwinio never feels completely safe when he walks around Algiers. T he other day, the 27-yearold from Benin was taking an evening stroll when he heard monkey sounds coming from a group of laughing teenagers. Gerwinio averted his gaze and kept walking. He has become used to such racist taunts. “I was called ‘Ebola’ so often that I changed it into my Facebook name,” he says. Gerwinio is one of a growing number of sub-Saharan Africans coming to Algeria, although exact numbers are hard to come by. The Algerian government claims there are 25,000 such migrants in the country, but local NGOs say the true number is at least four times higher. “It is way more visible lately that there is more sub-Saharan migration,” said Pascal Reyntjens, mission chief for the International Organization for Migration in Algiers.

Features | NorthSouth | 1 November 2016 | Hits: 124

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The problem with aid convoys

As flames leap in the background, a volunteer from the Syrian White Helmets holds aloft a bag of diapers. “From the UN”, he says. The blurry video shows the aftermath of the deadliest attack on aid workers yet in Syria. At least 20 people died while carrying aid in rural Aleppo, with both the corpses of Syrian Arab Red Crescent workers and the detritus of the humanitarian cargo burned or ruined. With hopes for an end to the war dashed time and again, much hope has been pinned on these UN-led aid “inter-agency” convoys into mostly besieged and hard-to-reach areas, and the recent attack has brought them into further focus. But are these convoys – carefully choreographed, breathlessly reported, and sometimes lifesaving – the best way to bring aid to a desperate population? Are they becoming more risky? Are they an overhyped symptom of a politicised aid system that has failed the people of Syria? Or perhaps all of the above? It’s time to ask some hard questions about how assistance is being delivered in Syria, and if it’s really helping that much at all.

Features | NorthSouth | 1 November 2016 | Hits: 94

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Powerful states at risk of war

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With the end of the Cold War, conflict with the likes of Russia or China by Western powers seemed highly unlikely. Today, the growing tension between the US, Russia and China indicate that there is a real risk of a third World War being activated, Franklin Adesegha writes It may be triggered by a small event or even an accident. Any of the many Russian bomber planes now probing NATO ’s borders could collide with a British RAF Typhoon, prompting an aerial skirmish. With Russian jets flying near US planes on bombing missions, and sparring with NATO air defences in neighbouring Turkey, the skies

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 1 November 2016 | Hits: 79

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US must help pull Yemen back from total collapse

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By Jean-Marie Guéhenno, President & CEO of Crisis Group As the United States accuses Russia of “barbarism” in Syria over the targeting of a humanitarian convoy in Aleppo, Washington continues to support a brutal military campaign in Yemen that has repeatedly struck hospitals, schools, residential areas and civilian infrastructure, without apparent consequence. For 18 months, the Obama administration has begrudgingly supported Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen — while

Features | Crisis Group | 1 November 2016 | Hits: 82

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The economic disaster behind Afghanistan’s mounting human crisis

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Donors and Afghan state agencies must urgently tackle an economic crisis building up since 2014, when foreign troops started leaving and political instability worsened. The starting point must be a socio-economic assessment of just how big the problems are, argues Crisis Group As Afghanistan’s international donors meet in Brussels in a summit co-hosted by the European Union and the Kabul government on 4-5 October, Afghanistan’s rapidly deteriorating economy must be their central concern. Before this and an escalating humanitarian crisis merge to reach a dangerous critical mass, all must agree on several priorities – alongside renewed efforts to bring peace and political stability: realistic planning based on a thorough new socioeconomic assessment, currently

Features | Crisis Group | 31 October 2016 | Hits: 82

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Is Ethiopia unravelling?

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Just 50 kilometres south of the Ethiopian capital, in the picturesque volcanic lake town of Bishoftu, more than 100 people lay dead. About two million ethnic Oromo had turned up to celebrate a traditional cultural festival. But a deadly stampede ensued after police fired tear gas at protesters who were chanting anti-government slogans and throwing stones and bottles. Ethiopia is going through its most widespread and sustained protests since the ruling Ethiopia People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front came to power in 1991. It’s testing the leadership’s grip, and its big idea of a “developmental state” – the implied bargain in which the government delivers economic growth, in exchange for acquiescence over its authoritarianism.

Features | NorthSouth | 31 October 2016 | Hits: 79

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What JASTA will mean for US-Saudi relations

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The overwhelming vote in Congress to override President Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JAST A) bill will haunt US -Saudi relations for years. It is a reflection of the growing weakness of America’s oldest alliance in the Middle East that goes well beyond 9/11. The biggest loser will be the next president of the United States who will inherit a poisoned partnership, which she will need to help manage the region’s chaos and to fight terror. Congress passed JAST A despite two congressionally-mandated independent investigations in 2004 and 2015 that concluded that the Saudi government had no role in al-Qaida’s plot to attack America on September 11, 2001.

Features | NorthSouth | 31 October 2016 | Hits: 82

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The public spat between Nigeria’s president and his wife

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For criticising her husband’s choice of cabinet ministers, Nigeria’s first lady was swiftly reminded of her political inexperience and place in the kitchen by none other than the president himself, writes Franklin Adesegha Speaking to reporters on a visit to Germany, President Muhammadu Buhari said: “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room.” Standing next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel who looked taken aback, president Buhari said that having run for president three times and having succeeded at the fourth attempt, he could “claim superior knowledge over her”.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 31 October 2016 | Hits: 82

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Torture, starvation, deprivation: life inside IS prisons in Libya

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During a months-long investigation, Tom Westcott tracked down and spoke to those held in so-called Islamic State’s secret prisons. “I have been subjected to immense misery for about nine months for no fault of mine,” a desperate prisoner wrote to his so-called Islamic State captors in the Libyan town of Sirte. “I am sure you are merciful. Please show some mercy and release me from prison especially because I have been very sick and weak.” Written in English by a foreign national held captive behind the bricked-up windows of a secret IS prison, the desperate missive – signed Dr Muhammad and dated April 2016 – detailed ongoing neglect despite the writer’s conversion to Islam after just one month of incarceration.

Features | NorthSouth | 31 October 2016 | Hits: 100

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Trump loves Sisi

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“He is a fantastic guy” said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, after a short meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi during the United Nations General Assembly (UN GA) address in New York in September. “He took control of Egypt. And he really took control of it,” Trump said referring to Sisi’s highly controversial military coup d’etat in July 2013, ousting the first democratically elected government and leader in the country’s history. If Trump loves military dictators, then the world will be the worse for wear if, God forbid, he becomes president of the most powerful country in the world. The current Egyptian President by default, whose authoritarian ways critics say have surpassed those of his former boss President Hosni Mubarak, is a classic example

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 31 October 2016 | Hits: 82

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Private sector benefits from US ‘insatiable demand’ for drone war intelligence

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Some months ago, an imagery analyst was sitting in his curtained cubicle at Hurlburt Field airbase in Florida watching footage transmitted from a drone above one of the battlefields in the War on Terror. If he thought the images showed someone doing anything suspicious, or holding a weapon, he had to type it in to a chat channel seen by the pilots controlling the drone’s missiles. Once an observation has been fed in to the chat, he later explained, it’s hard to revise it – it influences the whole mindset of the people with their hands on the triggers. “As a screener anything you say is going to be interpreted in the most hostile way,” he said, speaking with

Features | NorthSouth | 31 October 2016 | Hits: 80

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Zuma in the dock after withdrawal from ICC

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Last month, Burundi announced it would withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), making it the first country to do so. It was immediately followed by South Africa’s President’s Jacob Zuma’s decision to deliver a notice to the United Nations to do the same. The notification of withdrawal does not affect the case and South Africa cannot avoid its responsibilities under domestic and international law by withdrawing from the Statute. The decision is particularly disturbing as it comes only one week after Burundi adopted a law in Parliament on withdrawal from the ICC. Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has controversially clung to power in a reign of fear

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 31 October 2016 | Hits: 107

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The Paris Agreement

Documentation At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C. The agreement is due to enter into force in 2020. Key elements The Paris Agreement is a bridge between today’s policies and climateneutrality before the end of the century. Mitigation: reducing emissions Governments agreed a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels; to aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change; on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries; to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science.

Cover Stories | NorthSouth | 31 October 2016 | Hits: 90

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Climate change risk to ‘one in six species’

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One in six species on the planet could face extinction if nothing is done to tackle climate change, analysis suggests. If carbon emissions continue on their current path - and temperatures rise by 4 degrees - 16% of animals and plants will be lost, according to a review of evidence. The study, published in S cience, shows risks are highest in South America, Australia and New Zealand. Previous estimates range from 0 to 54%. Dr Mark Urban of the University of Connecticut, US , analysed data from 131 scientific studies on the risk of extinction from climate change. He found that the rate of biodiversity loss is likely to speed up with each degree Celsius rise in temperature.

Cover Stories | NorthSouth | 31 October 2016 | Hits: 87

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Key dates

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The COP stands for the “Conference of the Parties.” It is the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN FCCC), opened for signature in 1992 during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and later entered into force in 1994. Through this instrument, the United Nations has equipped itself with an action framework to fight global warming. After its entry into force in 1994, the UN FCCC Secretariat was established in Geneva. It was then relocated to Bonn in 1995 following the “First Conference of the Parties” (COP1) in Berlin. Since then, there have been twenty-one COPs, with the most recent one organized in Paris last December.

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 31 October 2016 | Hits: 93

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Stage set for COP22 in Marrakech

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The Pre-COP Ministerial Meeting in Marrakech came to a close in October after two days of closed-door plenary sessions on final preparations for the 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22), the 12th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP12), and the 1st Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1) to take place in Marrakech, Morocco, from 7-18 November.

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 30 October 2016 | Hits: 89

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Half of marine life wiped out in just 40 years, says WWF

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Populations of marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish have halved in the last four decades, environmental NGO the Worldwide Wildlife Fund (WWF) warned. The Geneva-based conservation group said in its “Living Blue Planet Report” that over-fishing, pollution and climate change had significantly shrunk the size of commercial fish stocks between 1970 and 2010. According to the WWF, species essential to the global food supply were among the hardest hit. One family of fish, that includes tuna and mackerel, had for instance declined 74 per cent during the 40-year period, it found.

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 30 October 2016 | Hits: 98

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Landmark deal for world’s biggest marine reserve in Antarctica

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The world’s largest marine reserve aimed at protecting the pristine wilderness of Antarctica will be created after a “momentous” agreement was finally reached late last month, with Russia dropping its long-held opposition. The deal, sealed by the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) at an annual meeting in Hobart, Australia, after years of negotiations, will see a massive US and New Zealand-backed marine protected area established in the Ross Sea. It will cover more than 1.55 million square kilometres (600,000 square miles), the size of Britain, Germany and France combined, of which 1.12 million square kilometres will be a no fishing zone.

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 30 October 2016 | Hits: 88

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