Violent clashes in northern Togo after imam arrested

Tue, 2017-10-17 12:00

LOME, Togo: Violence broke out in Togo’s second city, Sokode, after the arrest of an imam close to the country’s main opposition, fueling tensions after weeks of anti-government protests.
“Electricity was cut off at about 7:00 p.m. (2100 GMT on Monday) after evening prayers,” said Ouro Akpo Tchagnaou, from the main opposition National Alliance for Change (ANC).
“Five police vehicles arrived to arrest Alpha Alassane, a very well-known imam in the city,” he added. “The population felt targeted and took to the streets.”
Clashes lasted throughout the night until calm was restored but the authorities have been warned of renewed protests if Alassane is not freed on Tuesday morning.
“The situation was hard to put up with last night. The security forces and youths clashed in several parts of the city, with teargas and stone-throwing,” one local told AFP.
“There were burning tires, barricades erected and buildings were looted,” added ANC spokesman Eric Dupuy.
“Homes were set on fire as well as a bank and premises belonging to (telephone company) TogoCell.”
“We know there were deaths and injuries but I can’t give you a toll at this time. We are still gathering details.”
Togo’s security minister, Col. Yark Damehame, told the local Radio Victoire that the arrest of Alassane, who is close to the Panafrican National Party (PNP), was justified.
“In his sermons he has been calling for violence and hatred… The last straw was last Friday when he called on his followers to kill soldiers,” he said.
Alassane has long been a dissenting voice in Togo but his arrest comes at a time of heightened political tension in Togo in recent months.
He has allied himself with the PNP of Tikpi Atchadam, who has spearheaded protests against President Faure Gnassingbe that have mobilized hundreds of thousands across the country.
The PNP and 13 other opposition parties are calling for political change in Togo to end the 50-year rule of the Gnassingbe family.
They want a limit on the number of presidential mandates to two — in line with practice elsewhere in west Africa — and the introduction of a two-round voting system.
The opposition parties have vowed to defy a government ban on midweek protests by marching in the capital Lome on Wednesday and Thursday.

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Outrage over Somalia blast horror

Mon, 2017-10-16 04:00

PARIS: Britain, Turkey and the African Union (AU) on Sunday strongly condemned the weekend suicide bombing in Somalia, the worst attack to date with at least 231 deaths.
Saturday’s massive truck blast occurred at a junction in Hodan, a bustling commercial district of the capital Mogadishu, which has many shops, hotels and businesses.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said his country “condemns in the strongest terms the cowardly attacks in Mogadishu, which have claimed so many innocent lives.”
Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairman of the African Union Commission asked the government “to show renewed unity at this critical time and overcome divisions, to rebuild cohesion at all levels of the federal institutions.”
It said the pan-African body, which has deployed a peacekeeping mission in the east African country, would “continue its support to the Somali government and people in their efforts to achieve sustainable peace and security.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Ankara was sending planes “with medical supplies,” adding that the wounded would be flown to Turkey and treated there.
Somalia’s government blamed the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab group for what it called a “national disaster.”
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed declared three days of mourning and joined thousands of people who responded to a desperate plea by hospitals to donate blood.

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Evaluation of psychological needs a major step toward providing high-quality breast cancer treatment: Consultant

Arab News
Sun, 2017-10-15 19:19

JEDDAH: Prof. Ahmed Ali Saadeddin, consultant in clinical oncology and clinical tutor at the Department of Adult Oncology at King Abdul Aziz Medical City, National Guard Health Affairs in Riyadh, said that “the psychological needs of breast cancer patients should be divided into a wide range of social, psychological and physical responsibilities for both the patient and her family. The evaluation of these needs should be a major step toward providing high-quality treatment, without focusing just on drug therapy.”

In an interview with “Laha Magazine” online, Dr. Saadeddin stressed “the importance of significant improvements in the results of breast cancer treatment regarding the awareness of the patient and accomplishing better and more specialized methodology in the use of treatment, as well as the advances in research for understanding the mechanism of the resistance against such treatments.”

Dr. Saadeddin clarified that 65 percent of Saudi women who were diagnosed with advanced stages of breast cancer benefited from recent advancements in treatment which renewed their hopes of restoring a normal life, because the authorized drugs for this disease do not necessitate the hospitalization of patients, and hence they help protect them against the psychological effects caused by previous drugs.

“Cancer is not just a disease,” Dr. Saadeddin added, “it is a group of complicated and different diseases; hence, it depends on the nature of the cell, the speed of the spread of cancer, and the nature of the patient.”

As for treatment, Dr. Saadeddin noted that, in the last ten years, the rate of recovery of some tumors reached 90 percent, while the rate of recovery from others was just 5 percent. “But in developed countries, the rate of recovery from breast cancer reached more than 95% within a short time, and some patients did not even need chemotherapy.”

Dr. Saadeddin also stressed that the case of each patient is different: “Therefore, the treatment is quite different, and the expectations are different. This message should reach everyone clearly.”

But the most important message from Dr. Saadeddin is to avoid a full mastectomy. “We should use chemotherapy before mastectomy … It is better to avoid this, but if inevitable, it should be done by a specialized medical team, taking into consideration the aesthetical issue which is very important in developed countries.”

Dr. Saadeddin concluded that “10 percent of breast cancer cases are hereditary, but it is, in the end, a genetic disease.”

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Harvey Weinstein expelled from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

The Associated Press
Sat, 2017-10-14 03:00

LOS ANGELES: Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been revoked by its board.
The decision was reached Saturday in an emergency session. It comes after recent reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker that revealed sexual harassment and rape allegations against Weinstein going back decades. The move by the Academy is virtually unprecedented.
The Academy is the world’s top movie organization and is home to the Oscars.
In a brief statement, the Academy said it sends a message that “sexually predatory behavior” in the film industry is over.
Weinstein was ousted a week ago from The Weinstein Co., the movie and TV production company he co-founded and which now is struggling to survive this scandal.
He has denied the accusations.

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Boko Haram fighters surrender in northern Cameroon

Sat, 2017-10-14 03:03

MOZOGO, Cameroon: Nearly 60 men who said they were captured by the Boko Haram Islamist group and forced to fight for them in Nigeria have surrendered to authorities in northern Cameroon.
After spending two years with Boko Haram, the men decided to flee with their families and hand themselves in, according to several men who had surrendered and spoke to journalists at a ceremony in the town of Mozogo on Friday.
A total of nearly 400 people originally from Cameroon — 58 men, 86 women and 244 children — said they had been taken hostage by Boko Haram fighters during attacks on their villages and taken to Nigeria, where they were forced to join the jihadist group.
The men told reporters they had fought for Boko Haram and were laying down their arms of their own will.
They surrendered at the border with Nigeria to a village vigilante group formed to combat the jihadists. The vigilantes then handed them over to the authorities.
Ousmane Kouila, head of the group, said they had been out on patrol in the border area when they met the fleeing Boko Haram fighters. “They said they were returning, and that they were surrendering,” he said.
The local governor went to meet them and ordered them to be moved away from the border to avoid any reprisals by Boko Haram.
“We are counting on them to also convince others who are hesitating (to surrender) and there are a lot of them they tell us,” said Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of the Far North region.
Authorities would provide the escapees with psychological help, he said.
“They have been through brainwashing, perhaps also having taken an oath on the Qur’an or made a blood pact,” the governor said, adding they needed help with “all they must have endured” in the hands of Boko Haram.
Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency began in 2009 and has claimed at least 20,000 lives and forced more than 2.6 million from their homes.
The violence has largely been concentrated in northeast Nigeria but there have also been repeated attacks in Cameroon, as well as Chad and Niger.

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Freighter sinks off Philippine coast; 10 crew missing

The Associated Press
Sat, 2017-10-14 03:00

TOKYO: A Hong Kong-registered freighter sank in rough seas off the Philippine coast, leaving 10 crewmembers missing, Japan’s coast guard said.
It said a distress call was received early Friday from the 33,205-ton Emerald Star from a location about 150 nautical miles (280 kilometers) off the Philippines’ eastern coast. It said 26 crewmembers, all Indians, were aboard.
The coast guard said three passing freighters rescued 16 of the crewmembers from the sea, and a fourth freighter later also joined the search in the area where the Hong Kong ship is believed to have sunk.
Two patrol aircraft dispatched by the coast guard are searching from the sky, while three patrol boats are still on their way, slowed down by a storm in the area.
Philippine coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo said the agency attempted to dispatch a ship and helicopter to help search the area, which is beyond the country’s territorial waters, but were turned back by stormy weather.
Coast guard agencies in nearby countries were also alerted about the ship sinking, he said. He said it was standard procedure for the Philippines to help out in such a case.
“Search and rescue missions are borderless,” Balilo said by telephone in Manila.
Photos taken by a Japanese coast guard aircraft showed a damaged lifeboat believed to be from the sunken ship floating in choppy waters, along with traces of an oil leak.
The coast guard said the cause of the sinking was not known.

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Ex-UN chief Annan: Get Myanmar refugees home, not to camps

The Associated Press
Sat, 2017-10-14 03:00

UNITED NATIONS: Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged Myanmar on Friday to make sure the half-million Rohingya Muslim refugees who have fled in the last two months can go home, and not go to camps.
Myanmar’s government needs to “create conditions that will allow the refugees to return with dignity and with a sense of security” and help them rebuild in violence-wracked Rakhine state, said Annan, who recently headed a commission on the crisis there.
“They should not be returned to camps,” he said after addressing an informal, private Security Council meeting on the issue. “They need assistance to get their homes back.”
Myanmar’s UN mission didn’t respond to a request for comment on Friday’s session. The country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, said Thursday that she had created a committee to oversee all international and local assistance in Rakhine and that the impoverished state needs development.
Roughly 1 million Rohingya make up a long-persecuted minority in the Southeast Asian country. The Buddhist majority regards them as having migrated illegally from Bangladesh, although many Rohingya families have lived in Myanmar for generations. They were stripped of their citizenship in 1982.
After earlier waves of Rohingya flight, about 120,000 live in camps outside Rakhine’s capital, Sittwe.
In an unprecedented exodus, more than 500,000 Rohingya have fled from Rakhine to neighboring Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when security forces clamped down after the latest in a series of attacks on police posts by a Rohingya militant group. Many houses were burned in the crackdown, and Rohingya refugees have described rape, looting and abuse.
The UN and some countries have called the events “ethnic cleansing,” which Myanmar’s government denies. It has blamed the crisis on terrorism.
The August attacks came a day after the Annan-led commission released its report, which called for economic development and social justice to counter the deadly violence.
The Security Council has repeatedly discussed Myanmar recently, but views have been divided among the veto-wielding members. At a meeting late last month, Britain, France and the US demanded an end to what they called ethnic cleansing, while China’s ambassador called for patience. Russia’s envoy warned that “excessive pressure” could only worsen the problems.
Friday’s meeting was “particularly useful and helpful to build consensus” on two goals: supporting the recommendations of Annan’s commission and denouncing “the totally inacceptable status quo,” French Ambassador Francois Delattre said. He co-chaired the session with British envoy Matthew Rycroft.
Asked whether sanctions or another resolution could ensue, Rycroft said he hoped to “carry on working in a spirit of bringing everyone together.”
“And we will explore whether there is the appetite to do more,” he added.
The Chinese and Russian UN missions didn’t respond to requests for comment.

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286 islands on offer for tourism investment in southern Jazan

Author: Arab NewsFri, 2017-10-13 04:00ID: 1507836890497412200JAZAN: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has announced that 286 islands off the Jazan coast will be on the market for tourism investment to raise the sta…

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286 islands on offer for tourism investment in southern Jazan

Arab News
Fri, 2017-10-13 04:00

JAZAN: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has announced that 286 islands off the Jazan coast will be on the market for tourism investment to raise the state’s income.
Rustom Al-Kubaisi, head of the SCTH’s branch in Jazan, said that an executive committee has been formed to encourage tourism investment by Jazan Gov. Prince Mohammed bin Nasser bin Abdul Aziz on Wednesday, along with a center for tourism investment services.
Al-Kubaisi, who was appointed secretary-general of the committee, told Sabq e-newspaper that forming this committee aims to publicize the Jazan region and the tourism investments available, facilitate and accelerate investment procedures so that the region can attract more investors from the tourism sector and make a qualitative shift to tourism services, in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
The committee aims to raise the competitiveness of the tourism investment environment in Jazan by resolving obstacles facing investors; accelerating investment procedures; offering investment opportunities in a professional way; studying investors’ needs, wishes and reasons keeping them from investing; creating a well-studied and intensive marketing campaign to introduce the region; and offering investment opportunities through the participation in specialized exhibitions in the Kingdom as a first step, and in the Arab Gulf as a second step.
The 286 Farasan Islands, are one of the biggest island groups in the southern part of Red Sea, and one of the most important touristic locations, thanks to its natural beauty.
The SCTH has allocated SR3 billion ($800 million) to develop and transform the islands into a touristic environment. Farasan is the largest island of the Farasan Islands, located some 50 km offshore from Jazan. A number of uninhabited islands serve as breeding sites for large numbers of birds and Arabian gazelles.
Farasan Island was considered a major part of the trade in pearls in the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea in ancient times.

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Arab Studies Center refutes UN allegations against Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen

Author: ARAB NEWSFri, 2017-10-13 04:00ID: 1507836890497411800MAKKAH: The Arab Studies Center, affiliated with the European Council of Social Sciences, refuted the allegations of the UN report claiming that the operations of the Arab coalition…

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