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Labour export companies in panic as UAE suspends flights from Uganda

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has suspended flights from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia over coronavirus (COVID-19) infections. Uganda has recently seen a surge in coronavirus infections and deaths. 

The move has now thrown Uganda’s over 200 labour ‘externalisation’ companies in crisis as most of their clients who take in Ugandan workers are in the Middle East to which Dubai international airport in the UAE is the key gateway.     

The UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) says the suspension will take effect this Friday, June 11. Also, travelers who were in the three countries 14 days to their flight to UAE will be denied entry.

However, departing flights from UAE to the three countries and also transit flights heading to these destinations will not be affected. UAE nationals, diplomats, official delegations, and businesspeople with prior approval and essential job holders as prescribed by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship are exempted from the travel restriction.      

UAE says that travelers from the three countries transiting through other countries must prove that they stayed in those other countries for at least 14 days in order to enter UAE. The authority has now urged travelers affected by the suspension to reschedule their flights.  

Dubai is one of the top four routes from Entebbe international airport, with an average of 16 flights a week. Ethiopian Airlines, FlyDubai and Emirates are among the airlines that operate the Dubai route from Entebbe. Uganda Airlines has also been preparing to launch flights to Dubai at the end of this month. 

The company, which is a national carrier, is yet to communicate how the decision will affect its plan. Dubai would be the second international route after Johannesburg for the company to operate using its two newly acquired A330-800Neo Airbuses.

Meanwhile, Ronald Mukundane, the spokesperson of Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) says over 200 labour export companies will discuss the latest move and communicate the way forward. Among issues to discuss is whether or not the UAE will allow domestic workers and other migrant workers as essential jobholders.     

Many of the labour workers are in United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq as domestic workers, cleaners and security guards.

Asia Namutebi, who says she has so far paid Shs 500,000 to one of the labour export companies to acquire a passport, undertake medical checkup among other requirements is unhappy about the move to suspend flights from Uganda.

“I have been working as a housemaid in Kawuku. I now want to go abroad and earn at least one million a month,” Namutebi says.   

“The company said that I would be among the girls flying next week to Dubai. But will we fly?”



Source – observer.ug

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Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed: The Nobel Prize winner who went to war

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This feeling of marginalisation, particularly among the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, fuelled a wave of demonstrations. Mr Abiy, an Oromo himself, was promoted to the top job and immediately set about addressing concerns in a dizzying period of reforms.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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600 doses of stolen COVID-19 vaccines recovered at 2 private clinics

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Police have recovered 600 doses of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from two private pharmacies in Kampala. 10 suspects were also arrested in the two-day operation following a tip-off from a concerned citizen.    

A police officer, who was involved in the operation, intimated to URN that they carried out raids on First Pharmacy Mulago-Wandegeya and Victoria Pharmacy in Ntinda. He explains that they first sent operatives to both facilities under the disguise that they were travellers looking for Covid-19 vaccination and certificates and got assurance that the service was available.    

“We swiftly stormed these places in Wandegeya and Ntinda, and the stolen vaccines were found there and of course arrested some suspects from there,” he said.

He says that during the raid on First Pharmacy, they intercepted one of the employees who was running away with some materials in the bag.  

“We forced him to open the bag for searching. Upon opening, documents that looked like Covid-19 vaccination certificates dropped down,” he said.

He says that they searched the pharmacy where they recovered some exhibits and arrested some suspects. According to police, they also conducted another raid on Victoria Pharmacy, recovered several doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and arrested five suspects. 

Kampala Metropolitan deputy police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire confirmed the arrests but declined to reveal the identities of the suspects. 

“It’s true about that operation intelligence in Bukoto, we found 600 doses of the vaccine, in these two pharmacies and also ministry of Health vaccination cards and other documents” said Owoyesigyire’’. 

He says the suspects are locked up at the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) Kireka. According to police, similar operations are still ongoing after discovering that unscrupulous people stole Covid-19 vaccines from the ministry of Health storage facility and are now busy selling them to the public on the black market.

At a press conference held today, however, First pharmacy demanded an apology from the police, claiming no raid was conducted at their facility or vaccines recovered. 

More than 50 pe rcent of the 964,000 doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines donated by Covax Facility and India have already been used. Recently, President Museveni in his televised address said that the government is preparing to get Johnson and Johnson vaccines from the USA and Cuba since India suspended exports. Unicef announced that another 170,000 doses would be arriving in the country in two weeks. 

 



Source – observer.ug

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Pakistan FM accuses previous gov’t of ‘mishandling’ Jadhav case | India News

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Shah Mehmood Qureshi says the bill passed by Parliament last week aims at bringing Pakistani laws in line with orders from the International Court of Justice.

Pakistan’s foreign minister has blamed the country’s previous government for “mishandling” the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national convicted for spying by a Pakistani military court four years ago, as legislation related to the cases passes up to Pakistan’s Senate.

Speaking to the media in the Pakistani city of Multan on Sunday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said a bill passed by the lower house of parliament last week was aimed at complying with orders from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and to deprive India of an opportunity to have Pakistan “dragged back” to the court.

“The PML-N are the ones who mishandled the Kulbhushan Jadhav case,” he said, referring to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, a main opposition political party.

“The steps we have taken are in order to comply with the International Court of Justice’s orders and recommendations.”

Qureshi’s comments follow a noisy debate on the bill in Parliament on Thursday, with both treasury and opposition benches accusing each other of incompetence in the handling of the case.

Jadhav was arrested by Pakistani security forces in March 2016, and convicted a year later by a military court for espionage and facilitating attacks by armed groups on Pakistani soil.

At the time of his arrest, the military released a video of Jadhav appearing to confess to having operated a network of operatives to conduct attacks in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province.

In July 2019, after a petition lodged by India, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to allow Jadhav full and unimpeded consular access to Indian officials but rejected an Indian plea for his conviction to be dismissed.

The court also ordered that Jadhav be given the right of review and reconsideration of his conviction before a civilian court.

The bill passed by Pakistan’s lower house of parliament on Thursday gives foreign nationals convicted by military courts in Pakistan the right to file an appeal before a high court, as well as to file petitions seeking consular access.

India’s government has not so far remarked on the passage of the bill, which will also have to be voted on by the upper house of parliament before it becomes law.

In August 2020, India’s foreign ministry said New Delhi had asked Pakistan to allow an Indian lawyer to represent Jadhav in his appeals.

In defence of the bill, on Sunday, Qureshi said: “India wants that [Jadhav] not be given consular access, and on that excuse, Pakistan be dragged back into the International Court of Justice,” he said.

“This is what India wants. I hope that our opposition members will not misunderstand things and will understand India’s plan.”

India’s foreign ministry has not commented on Qureshi’s accusation.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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