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Libya: 2nd day of Misrata protests over corruption, poor services | News



Misrata, Libya – Dozens of people have rallied in Libya’s third-largest city, Misrata, for a second consecutive day to denounce corruption and deteriorating public services.

The protest on Monday came a day after hundreds of people took to the streets of Misrata and more than 1,000 gathered in the capital, Tripoli, to voice their anger over similar concerns. 

“We’re here to protest against corruption … to fight for our rights and lack of government services,” said 32-year-old Amar Jamil, a demonstrator in Misrata. “We don’t have anything,” the father of two told Al Jazeera.

“Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of millions were spent by the government but people who are sick don’t have a place to be treated. People are dying because the money was stolen.” 

The war-wracked North African country has so far reported more than 11,000 confirmed coronavirus infections and 199 related deaths.

Ceasefire offer

A major oil producer, Libya has been mired in chaos since the 2011 overthrow and killing of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi. The country has since been divided into two rival camps that are based in the country’s east and west – and that in recent years have been vying for power.

Sami Hamdi, editor of the International Interest, said the protests were an example of “an increasingly angry Libyan population” whose frustrations with worsening living conditions transcend the traditional divide of east and west. 

“[It is] a dynamic that is outside the control of international powers,” he said. 

The conflict escalated in April last year when eastern-based renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar announced an offensive to wrest control of the capital from the United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). 

Supported by Turkey, the GNA in early June succeeded in repelling Haftar, driving his self-styled Libyan National Army to the coastal Mediterranean city of Sirte – but not without incurring heavy losses. 

On Friday, GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj offered a ceasefire and called for the demilitarisation of Sirte, a central city that is located roughly halfway between Tripoli and Haftar’s bastion city of Benghazi and that is known as the gateway to Libya’s main oil terminals. 

But protesters in Misrata, a main source of military power for the Tripoli-based GNA, said authorities could not make that call on their behalf. 

“We want peace but the only people who should decide a ceasefire are the people on the front lines,” 35-year-old Abdelmemam al-Asheb said on Monday.

“Haftar is a war criminal. He can’t be part of any political solution. He is responsible for the oil closures, the thousands who died in Tripoli and all the people who are now displaced,” continued the father of two.

Abdelmemam al-Asheb, right, said Haftar cannot be part of the solution because he is responsible for the closure of the country’s oil terminals [Malik Traina/Al Jazeera]

‘We don’t trust Saleh’

Despite being on the back foot, Haftar, who is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia and has for months maintained a costly blockade on oil production and exports, turned down al-Sarraj’s ceasefire offer, arguing that the move was a stunt aimed at catching the LNA off-guard. 

Analysts, however, say his rejection of the deal – a version of which he had accepted in June under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo – is informed by the dynamics in eastern Libya. 

Aguila Saleh, the speaker of the Haftar-allied House of Representatives in Tobruk and an influential figure with Libya’s eastern tribes, has seen his profile rise since the GNA’s recent military gains.

He has already expressed support for the ceasefire initiative, and observers say that had Haftar accepted al-Sarraj’s offer, it could be interpreted as following Saleh’s lead.

At the time of the el-Sisi initiative in June, Emadeddin Badi, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, said the presence of Saleh in Cairo alongside the Egyptian president and Haftar was an indication of the diminishing patience of the renegade commander’s foreign backers.

“There’s no other figure that anyone can engage with in the east besides him [Saleh], so it’s the easiest way of having some form of tribal representatives of the eastern bloc but also a political one,” Badi had told Al Jazeera.

Back in the Misrata protest, however, 30-year-old Marwan Alamin said Saleh cannot be trusted. 

“He may be the only one in eastern Libya who can actually come to a political solution but we don’t trust him,” said Alamin. “He supported Haftar’s war on Tripoli.” 

Also on Monday, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called for “an immediate and thorough investigation into the excessive use of force” by pro-GNA security personnel in Tripoli during Sunday’s protest. 

UNSMIL said in a statement that the security response “resulted in the injury of a number of protesters”, without specifying the number of people who were wounded.

Will Libya’s latest ceasefire bring peace? | Inside Story (25:00)

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million



Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe




A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News




Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.

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