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Boris Johnson in Paris for Brexit, Iran talks with Macron



France’s President Emmanuel Macron will host his British counterpart Boris Johnson for a working lunch to discuss Brexit and Iran ahead of the G7 meeting in France this weekend.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in Paris a day after Berlin offered a glimmer of hope that an agreement could be reached to avoid a chaotic “no deal” Brexit.

On the second leg of his first foreign visit since taking office, Johnson will meet president Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee palace to press home his message that elements of the UK’s impending divorce from the European Union must be renegotiated.

But Johnson is likely to face a tougher audience in Paris than in Berlin.

Macron on Wednesday dismissed Johnson’s demands that the EU reopen negotiations on the Irish border, saying that the bloc had always been clear it would not agree.

“Renegotiation of the terms currently proposed by the British is not an option that exists, and that has always been made clear by (EU) President Tusk,” Macron told reporters in Paris.

At the weekend, all three European leaders will meet US President Donald Trump, a vocal supporter of both Brexit and Johnson, and the leaders of Canada, Italy and Japan at a G7 summit in the French seaside resort of Biarritz.

The talks come after Merkel on Wednesday told Johnson in Berlin that an agreement could even be possible within “30 days” for Britain to leave the EU, if a solution could be found to the thorny issue of the Irish border.

The British prime minister has been adamant that he will not accept the “backstop” border plan agreed under his predecessor Theresa May and warned that the UK will exit the EU on 31 October, even at the cost of economic turmoil.

What the backstop?
The backstop is a mechanism to avoid border checks between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, part of the UK, with checkpoints there removed as part of a 1998 peace deal on the divided island.

But critics have derided the plan because it would temporarily keep Britain in the EU customs union.

In Berlin, Johnson again stressed his view that the backstop “has grave, grave defects for a sovereign, democratic country like the UK” and added that the provision “plainly has to go”.

Merkel said that the mechanism was always meant as a “fallback position” to protect the “integrity of the single market” for the period in which the other 27 EU members and London define their future relationship.

In the search for a solution, she said, “we have said we would probably find it in the next two years, but maybe we can do it in the next 30 days, why not? Then we are one step further in the right direction”.

Johnson told Merkel that he welcomed the “very blistering timetable of 30 days,” adding that “I’m more than happy with that”.

He added: “I just want to be absolutely clear with all our German friends and the German government that we in the UK want a deal, we seek a deal, and I believe we can do that.”

“Wir schaffen das,” he quipped, borrowing Merkel’s signature German phrase on managing the 2015 refugee influx that translates to “we can do it”.

Johnson, in a “do-or-die” gamble, has insisted Britain will leave the EU on 31 October , no matter whether it has ironed out remaining differences with the bloc or not.

Ahead of his Berlin visit, Johnson reaffirmed in a tweet that “we’re going to leave the EU on 31 October and make this country the best in the world to live in”. The message was adorned with a Union flag.

(with AFP)


UN Economic Commission For Africa – Statement On Rwanda



UN Economic Commission For Africa – Statement On Rwanda

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, through its African Centre for Statistics works with its member States to improve the production, dissemination and use of quality statistics for evidence-based planning and policy-making in support of Africa’s structural transformation, the sustainable development agenda and the AU Agenda 2063, the Africa we want.

Over the years we have witnessed Rwanda’s consistent efforts in developing and strengthening its statistical system and improving the quality of official statistics. Using international principles and recommendations, the country has formulated the National Strategy for Development of Statistics for the period of 2014/15-2018/19 in its determination to improve data and statistics. In economic statistics, the country has made tremendous progress in the production and dissemination of statistics, such as the Supply-Use Tables, to help validate GDP estimates. It has also worked with development partners, including our African Centre for Statistics, to continuously build the technical capacity of its staff members.

With the increasing demand for statistics, especially in this era of SDGs, more will be demanded of national statistical offices to continuously review the methodologies including identifying new data sources for areas where critical data may be lacking.

GDP measurement and compilation is a complex undertaking, entailing the use of different sources of data, including data from household expenditure surveys to measure household consumption and poverty estimates. Household survey data are complemented and/adjusted with additional source data, to get the complete Final Household Consumption as an input to GDP. Rwanda uses (standard) international methodology as prescribed in the 2008 SNA for this purpose.

ECA is committed to continue its support to member States to improve and adhere to internationally accepted statistical norms and standards, including reviewing the robustness of the statistical system in order to continue producing reliable, quality and timely statistics which comply to UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, Strategy for Harmonizing Statistics in Africa and the African Charter on Statistics.

We welcome objective discussions which further support the strengthening of the statistical system of Rwanda.

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Mahama Is A ‘Terror’ To Free SHS — Wontumi



The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Boasiako popularly, known as “Wontum” has described Former President John Dramani Mahama as an enemy to NPP flagship policy Free Senior High School.

According to him, Mr. Mahama who has been against education appears confused and lacks the knowledge to review the free Senior High School policy if he comes back to power.

“John Dramani Mahama and his NDC have nothing better to offer Ghanaians, they are coming only to steal, kill and destroy. Go and read Kwasi Botchwey report and you will see the kind of person John Dramani Mahama is, he is confused” Chairman Wontumi stated in an interview monitored by on Thursday, August 22, 2019.

The response of Chairman Wontumi follows the comments made by the former President that a future National Democratic Congress (NDC) under his watch would review the Free SHS policy to make it better.

The former President who was speaking at the official opening of the 27th Annual Presidential Delegates Congress of the Ghana National Union of Technical Students on Wednesday in Kumasi said “I am determined to make the free SHS a beneficial learning experience more than the current miserable condition our children are facing under Nana Akufo-Addo.”

But Wontumi said “former president comments have exposed his hypocrisy and lack of knowledge on matters concerning education. You have been in office for 8years if you can review the Free SHS policy and make it better why couldn’t you do it”.

Adding that, he (Mahama) can only turn good things into bad and eventually collapse it.

“Mahama can only turn good things into bad. He won’t add anything to the free SHS. He would only create problems for the policy and strangle it for it to die. When Former President Kuffour implemented National Health Insurance Scheme the same Mahama and his NDC told us that they would bring one time premium but the NPP administration inherited a 1.2 billion Cedis debt left behind by the NDC,” he emphasised.

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St Johns Hospital And Fertility Center Donate’s Ambulance To Ghana Prisons Service



The St. Johns Hospital and Fertility Center founded by the Member of Parliament for Effiduase-Asokore Constituency Dr Nana Ayew Afriyie, as part of the social responsibility donated an ambulance to the Ghana Prisons service by the acting CEO, Madam Maame Yaa Antwi on behalf of the workaholic legislator and hospital.

During the presentation ceremony the acting CEO said, “St John’s hospital and fertility center is committed in seeing to a healthy Ghanaian populace and will continue to do everything possible to see to it that, health care delivery gets to all facets of the country.”

The Director-General in charge of Prisons, Mr Patrick Darko Missa thanked the acting CEO and St Johns Hospital’s management for their kind gesture towards the service and charged other institutions and health facilities to emulate St Johns Hospital and fertility Centers.

Again, Mr Patrick Darko Missa the Director-General of Prisons Service added that the donation is timely as most of their health facilities have been upgraded without an ambulance service.

Checks by this portal indicate this is the second of its kind within the year. The hospital some months ago also donated an ambulance to the Ghana Immigration Service to help in the health care delivery of the service.



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People’s Democratic League Call To Peaceful By-Election In Constituency 110



People’s Democratic League Call To Peaceful By-Election In Constituency 110

In a genuine democratic culture, elections are periodically held to serve two purposes. First, to promote the constitutional human right and freedom of voters to elected their leaders of their choice in order to manage their affairs and secondly, to create an enabling environment for candidates to canvass eligible voters to vote them in a peaceful, free, fair and honest electoral process. However, elections in Sierra Leone far from achieving these purposes, they are contentious and by extend, divide the electorates along ethnic and regional politics.

The yet to be conducted by election for constituency 110 in the Western Area of Sierra Leone is just a piece out of the ice berg. The election for the constituency has been slated for August 24, but the unprecedented campaign in the last few weeks was marred by dramatic twists and turns, including violence, hate speeches and acrimony leading to the date announced for the holding of the by election for constituency 110.

To the People’s Democratic League (PDL), malicious and well-funded hate campaign is referred to any speech, gesture, conduct, writing or display which can incite people to political violence or prejudicial action. Hate speech campaigns are the tools being employed in constituency 110 as political weapon to ridicule, slander, vilify and abused the social media to mislead public opinion or insult the conscience of the Sierra Leonean nation. This has left the people in constituency 110 and other parts of the country more divided today. If this continues, the consequences would be harmful to the country’s current peace and democracy, as well as to any meaningful development programme.

It is worthy of note that the absence of clearly articulated laws against hate campaign during electioneering period has further make mockery of our democracy. More worrisome is the fact that, the weakness of the extant institutional and administrative mechanisms (like Parliament, Judiciary, NEC, National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Democracy, the PPRC, among others) for the enforcement of existing laws. This is so because our parliamentarians whose conducts are meant to be regulated by these laws are the ones who design the electoral regimes; and at times their actions are at variance with the welfare of the Sierra Leonean people. Lack of institutional, administrative, and financial autonomy has reduced the country’s cherished institutions into a tool for the advancement of the political interests of big political gurus.

The recent chaos and political violence that characterized the political parties’ campaign in constituency 110 is highly unfortunate and regrettable. These must not be allowed to be repeated anywhere in the country. The existence of different parties is necessary in a democratic society, where diverse political views are shared in a peaceful and healthy environment. The existence of an opposition in a democratic country should not be a license to create to violence. The PDL is not aligned to any political party but speaks in relation to its patriotic zeal to see that Sierra Leone moves forward. We believe politics everywhere affect the day to-day lives of the people, and therefore the PDL has a role in consolidating peace and promoting democratic good governance in Sierra Leone.

We urge our political leaders to stay away from hate speeches that could trigger violence during and after the by-election on August 24. We urge Sierra Leoneans to continue to uphold a peaceful environment where non violent actions give expression. We appeal to our youth never be allowed to be used as political purveyors of violence against each other or as agents of hate and vilification through social media. We therefore urge our youth to use the social media wisely and morally to disseminate the message of peace and patriotism.

Through this statement, the People’s Democratic League (PDL) commends the constitutional and democratically-elected government of Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone police and other stakeholders in the steps that they have taken so far on the road to violent-free by election in constituency 110. It is indeed commendable that NEC and the government have taken further steps to ensure security of the public during and after voting in constituency 110 by election on August, 24.

As a peaceful and freedom-loving political party, we appeal to stakeholders with a direct link to electoral processes such as law enforcement agents to carry out their duties without fear or favour; for political parties to shun violence and hate speeches and to respect the constitutional human rights and democratic freedom of the people of Sierra Leone; to the media to stay non-partisan in the national political divide. We call upon traditional leaders as custodians of our culture to be non-partisan. We call all Sierra Leoneans to pray for continued peace and development of our nation.

Alimam Bakarr Sankoh
Leader and National Chairman
People’s Democratic League (PDL)

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Accra Animation Festival Announces Animation du Monde 2020 winners



The first edition of the Accra Animation Film Festival (AAFFia) recently wrapped after shining a spotlight on African animation as well as hosting the third leg of the Pan-African Animation du Monde preliminary rounds.

With each passing round of the competition, creators and animators have delivered higher and higher quality work, and yet only three will progress to the Continental Finals taking place at DISCOP Johannesburg later this year.

The winners from AAFFia, in no particular order are Meet the Igwes by Chekwube Okonkwo (Nigeria), JujuCups by Selorm Dogoe (Ghana) and Message Beats by Natasha Nayo and Lizz Johnson (Ghana).

Kenya and Nigeria are next in the Animation Du Monde program. The fourth round of the Pan-African Animation du Monde will be taking place at Nairobi Comic Con (NAICCON) after entries closed on August 11th.

The Sub-Saharan circuit of Animation du Monde 2020 preliminary rounds will come to a close in Nigeria at Lagos Comic Convention (LCC) from 19 – 21 September 2019. Entries for LCC are currently open and close 5 September 2019 .

Once the Lagos Comic Convention prelim is concluded, the next stop for the prestigious pitching competition is the Continental Finals at DISCOP Johannesburg in November 2019, where the 15 finalists (3 from each of the 5 regional prelims) will compete for the honour of being 1 of the 2 winners selected to represent the continent and compete against their global counterparts at Annecy Int. Animated Film Fest. & Market/MIFA (Annecy/MIFA) in 2020.

On the back of the recent news that Africa will be honoured at Annecy/MIFA 2020 as part of the Africa 2020 Creative Season, this represents arguably the biggest opportunity for African creators to showcase their talent and content on a global stage.

Nigeria is home to the largest comic book market in Africa. The creative industries have been able to leverage the largest population on the continent and the second largest film industry in the world by volume, Nollywood, to build this success. Although animation is fairly new to the region, an event like LCC has shown that there is a hunger for content from the continent. As a sister industry to animation, comics have been able to lay a solid foundation for creatives to work from.

The maiden preliminary round of Animation du Monde hosted at Lagos Comic Convention in 2018, brought some of the best animation talent to the fore. Dami Solesi, one of the Continental Winners of the competition, came through the LCC 2018 prelim to pitch her idea at Annecy/MIFA 2019.

Dami had the following to say about her experience; “Going through the Annecy/MIFA pitches has opened my eyes to a new world of content production and how I can bring my ideas to life. From the onset at the LCC, my project was constantly being refined at each stage. At DISCOP Johannesburg, meeting with each of the experts and the infallible contribution that each expert made towards the project. They even provided opportunities beyond the competition and I’m still in communication with many of them as regards updates on my project. I believe every single creative who has an idea should definitely apply for this because going through the process, whether you win or not your project would be refined.”

Events such as AAFFia and Lagos Comic Convention highlight the importance of audience access to animation, without which the industry will not be able to grow and evolve. Animation du Monde plays an important role in increasing animations’ profile amongst audiences by providing education, networking, and opportunities for creatives to market their ideas. This relationship between audience and creatives is the foundation of the animation industry.

As the Annecy Int. Animated Film Fest’ & Market/MIFA looks towards its 60th year in 2020, where they will be celebrating Africa as a region of honour , it is important to create the platform for creatives to showcase their work. And, next year, show the world what Africa is capable of!

The competition regulations can be viewed HERE . If you have a project that you would like to enter, please click HERE . Who knows, you might represent Africa at the Animation du Monde 2020 Grand Finale in Annecy!

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