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“I will call Biya about killings in Cameroon” Macron assures angry activist

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In a video which has gone viral today February 22nd 2020, French President Emmanuel Macron has assured a Cameroonian activist that he will call his counterpart President Biya about killings in Cameroon

In a remarkable trend of events in France, a Cameroonian activist whose name TeboPost is yet to have could be heard shouting the name of the French President as he walks pass what looks like a busy train station with a sea of people along with his security details

The activist kept shouting the name of Macron and telling him about the ongoing crisis in Cameroon from a distance

Few seconds later, Macron finally gave the man his attention in a major win for the activist

The activist then quickly narrated a series of urgent concerns to the French leader, drumming about the Anglophone crisis and the killings there as well as incarceration of some activists

He reminded the French President that France is a state of law and cannot be seen siding with “dictatorial regimes”

The French President then assured the man that he is aware of the Anglophone crisis, distances himself and his country from the right abuses in Cameroon and pledged to call Biya about the killings in Anglophone regions

Mr Macron then called for his assistant to note the names of potential political prisoners mentioned by the activist as he assured him he will intervene.

The video is spreading pretty fast on social media as many back home are saluting the bravery of the activist, saying his encounter with Macron has given him more opportunity that what the Ambazonian activists have had in the last years despite all life lost

France is seen as one of the highest backers of the regime in Yaounde as the former colonial master continues to play significant role in the political affair of its former colonies

Listen to the encounter in the video above

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Africa

South Sudanese President appoints five Vice Presidents

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South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir on Friday appointed rebel leader Riek Machar as vice president, paving way for the formation of a unity government that seeks to end six years of war.

“I President Salva Kiir Mayardit, president of South Sudan, do hereby issue a decree for the appointment of Dr. Riek Machar Teny as first vice president of South Sudan with immediate effect,” said a statement read on state television.

The presidential decree also dissolved all institutions at national and state levels,” Information Minister Michael Makuei told AFP.

Five vice-presidents

The decree was read on state television, the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation, appointing Machar as the first of five vice-presidents in a bloated cabinet to accommodate various warring parties.

But consensus has only been reached on three of the four others, including current first vice president Taban Deng Gai, a former Machar ally who defected.

James Wani Igga from Kiir’s ruling party, and Rebecca Nyandeng, a former minister and Kiir ally-turned-critic are the other named vice-presidents as part of the long-awaited unity government..

The swearing-in ceremony will take place on Saturday, Makuei said. Kiir had initially said his longtime rival would be sworn-in on Friday, after they had reached the unity deal

“The vice presidents will take oath tomorrow and thereafter we will continue to process the appointments of the cabinet and appointment of the governors of the 10 states and three chief administrators of the three administrative areas,” Makuei told AFP.

Meeting the deadline

Saturday is the third deadline for the formation of the unity government which was agreed upon in a September 2018 peace deal, but pushed back as crucial issues remained unresolved.

Key among these were the delineation of state boundaries, formation of a unified national army and security arrangements for Machar, who has been living in exile since 2016.

A last-minute deal on the number of states was achieved, although little progress has been made on the other issues.

The leaders have come under increased pressure in recent weeks both from regional heads of state and main donor, the United States, to form the government.

A compromise by Kiir to cut to 10 the number of states, which he increased unilaterally to 32 after independence, was seen as key in moving towards the creation of the government.

However the opposition remains reticent about an additional three “administrative areas” pushed through by Kiir.

Machar spokesman Manawa Peter Gatkuoth said the two men would “continue to solve the problem” after the government is formed.

Dare to hope?

“This is a major step forward, if indeed they form the government as they say,” Alan Boswell, a South Sudan expert with the International Crisis Group (ICG) told AFP.

“Kiir’s compromise on the states issue paved the way for the two sides to finally move forward, even if the parties have much more to work through in the coming weeks, months, and years.”

Machar was sacked as vice-president in 2013 and later accused of plotting a coup against Kiir, kickstarting a civil war characterised by violence, rape and UN warnings of ethnic cleansing.

A 2015 peace deal brought Machar back as vice-president and he returned to Juba with heavy security.

When that deal fell apart in July 2016, the capital was plunged into a brutal battle between their rival armies and Machar was forced to flee on foot.

The ensuing war drew in new parts of the country and other local grievances and disputes came to the fore.

Several heads of state are expected to attend Saturday’s inauguration, although no names have been confirmed.

Agencies

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Chinese doctor who tried to raise alarm on coronavirus in Wuhan dies on ‘front line’ of medical fight

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HANGZHOU, China — A Chinese doctor who was silenced by police for trying to share news about the new coronavirus long before Chinese health authorities disclosed its full threat died after coming down with the illness, a hospital statement said, triggering an outpouring of anger online toward the ruling Communist Party.

Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, became a national hero and symbol of the Chinese government’s systemic failings last month.

Li had tried to warn his medical school classmates Dec. 30 about the existence of a contagious new virus that resembled the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Word began to spread in China thanks to Li, but his posts were censored, and he was detained Jan. 1 for “rumor-mongering.”

A World Health Organization official, Michael Ryan, has described Li as being on the “front line” of battling the novel coronavirus, which has claimed more than 560 lives.

As word of Li’s death trickled out Thursday night, his followers left messages on his Weibo account pleading in vain for him to post one last update. Hours after his death was confirmed, Chinese users began repeating a literary verse to express their gratitude for a man they felt their country did not deserve.

“He who holds the firewood for the masses,” they wrote, “is the one who freezes to death in wind and snow.”

Credit:WashingtonPost

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It’s hard to see” part of us burn”: Macron weeps as French history goes up in flames

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After the ‘worst case scenario’ was avoided and firefighters managed to save the Notre Dame’s structure from total destruction, President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to restore the historic cathedral to its former glory.
“This cathedral, we will all rebuild together,” Macron promised while visiting the heartbreaking scene at the center of Paris. “We will appeal to the greatest talents… and we will rebuild… Because that’s what the French expect, because that’s what our history deserves, because it’s our deep destiny.”
The chief architect in charge of the works at Notre-Dame, Philippe Villeneuve, also pledged to rebuild the national symbol.

“We have rebuilt the cathedral of Reims after the bombing by the Germans during the First World War and today we still see in its splendor,” he said.

While Macron promised to launch an international fundraising campaign, the Heritage Foundation said it will launch a “national collection” of funds for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris on Tuesday, after the tragic incident raised a wave of condolences around the world.
The French president in his earlier tweet said watching the Notre dame burnt is like watching part of us burn.
But rebuilding the cathedral will take “years of work,” said Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the Conference of Bishops of France (CEF).

“I am completely dismayed because we were at the start of a major restoration program of the cathedral,” said Michel Picaud, president of the patronage foundation Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris. “Victor Hugo had sounded the alarm about the state of the cathedral resulting in twenty years of restoration work in the nineteenth century, and we will have to do the same.”

Meanwhile the Pinault family of the retail conglomerate Kering announced that it will donate €100 million for the reconstruction of the building.

Hundreds of firefighters are still working the scene of the terrible fire, trying to preserve whatever is left of the world art treasures. The Crown of Thorns, one of the major reliquaries of the church, was saved from the inferno along with many other treasures, Bishop Patrick Chauvet, rector of Notre-Dame de Paris noted earlier. The altar and the cross also survived the fire; local media reported citing the mayor’s office.

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