Egypt: Student Imprisoned for 3Yrs for Online Sexual Harassment

A former Cairo student was incarcerated for three years for sexually harassing women using social media and will face sexual assault charges this month in a case that rekindled a #MeToo moment in the country.

Ahmed Bassam Zaki, former student at the American University in Cairo, will appear in court again on January 9 on charges of indecent assault and blackmail investigated after scores of women joined an Instagram campaign to accuse him of sex crimes.

The case has drawn extensive attention from media, religious figures and women’s groups in a country where rights advocates say sexual harassment or abuse goes unpunished very often.

“Thanks to all the girls who believed in us when we told them that we will go to the court and get your rights,” Ahmed Ragheb, lawyer of the girls in the case, mentioned.

“We still have another round against the defendant before the criminal court.”

Neither lawyers for Zaki – who is in his early 20s and from a wealthy background – nor his family could be reached for a comment. Last week’s verdict can be appealed to a higher court.

The case surfaced after Instagram activist Nadeen Ashraf used the account Assault Police to encourage women to go public with allegations against Zaki dating back to 2016.

Ashraf said she was happy with Tuesday’s verdict and keenly awaiting the next court date that would decide the punishment for the “heftier and more violent crimes of sexual assault”.

“I think the court hearing on January 9 can truly set a precedent for all future sexual assault crimes in Egypt,” she said.

In September, the public prosecutor referred Zaki to the criminal court on charges of “sexually assaulting three girls under 18 years and threatening them alongside a fourth girl with exposing matters related to their honor”.

Zaki could face a life sentence or death penalty if the prosecution proves rape with evidence.

Zaki’s case activated a #MeToo movement in Egypt after it surfaced last July, with hundreds of women starting to speak up on social media, exposing several men and revealing a high-profile rape case that took place at a Cairo hotel as far back as 2014.

In August, the public prosecution arrested two suspects in that case and stated that seven others had fled the country. Lebanese authorities later handed three of them over to Egypt.

Egypt also passed a law in August giving victims the automatic right to anonymity in the conservative, Muslim-majority nation. This was in a bid to embolden more women to report sexual assault so that action can be taken in a as soon as possible.

Reda Eldanbouki, a lawyer and executive director of the Women’s Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness, accepted last week’s verdict and was awaiting the January verdict.

A United Nations survey in 2013 saw 99% of women had experienced harassment in Egypt, a nation where women have been accused of provoking sex crimes.

“We hope that Zaki would get a strong punishment in order to prevent similar cases in the future and reduce violence against women,” Eldanbouki stated.

China Cautions Against Holiday Traveling.

Officials have tested hundreds of thousands of people in Beijing and millions in the port city of Dalian, after the country recorded 42 locally transmitted coronavirus cases in the previous week. 

The outbreak disrupted months of almost-zero case numbers. Denizens of Dalian have been advised not to leave the northern port city.

The recurrence comes just before the Lunar New Year; when hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel to their hometowns. The authorities are already looking forward to security: this year’s travel helped spread the virus.

The government is dissuading Beijing residents from traveling and crowding. It has also instructed travel companies not to organize any group tours to Beijing during the holiday, which falls on Feb next year.

Other parts of the country are equally taking safety measures. Being a home to many of China’s migrant workers, Anhui Province, intends to test and monitor all those who return for the holiday. 

Experts say with a plan to vaccinate 50 million people (although with unproven vaccines) and efforts to ramp up testing, there is no cause to worry about the travel period.

Ethiopia: Ethnic Tensions: At Least 100 Villagers Dead

Armed men have killed over one hundred people in the western Ethiopian region of Benishangul-Gumuz.

The latest attack has no direct link to the ongoing separatist conflict in Tigray. Analysts however, suggest that the increase of security forces in the north around Tigray has created a security vacuum in other parts of the country.

At least 100 people died in the attack that took place on Wednesday morning. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published images taken by survivors from the scene of the massacre, portraying them as “worrying evidence”.

The armed group shot at residents, set fire to homes as they lay asleep, killing no less than 100 people.

Belay Wajera, a farmer in the western town of Bulen, told the Reuters news agency that he counted 82 bodies in a field near his home after the Wednesday morning attack.

He and his family awoke to the sound of gunshots, he said. The killers shot dead Wajera’s wife and five of his children; he was shot in the back. Four other children who escaped are now missing.

Another resident of the town, Hassen Yimama, said armed men stormed the area at dawn. He had counted 20 bodies in an area aside from those described by Belay Wajera. The killers shot Yimama in the stomach.

A local doctor explaijed he and colleagues had treated 38 injured people, most of them having gunshot wounds. Patients had told him of relatives killed with knives, and of gunmen who set houses on fire and shot at people trying to escape, he elaborated.

Other survivors told officials of the EHRC that the attackers had destroyed crops. Meanwhile, some of the survivors claim to have recognised the attackers.

The attack came just one day after the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, and the army chief of staff, Birhanu Jula, visited the region to urge calm after a number of clashes between rival ethnic groups in recent months. The most recent incident in the area was on 14 November, when 34 passengers in a bus lost their lives.

Government briefly augmented security in the area earlier this week to prepare for the visit by the government and army leaders. However, survivors of Wednesday’s attack say no police or soldiers were on duty when the killing was on. Federal forces have been strengthened in the north of Ethiopia since fighting broke out in Tigray in November.

Prime Minister Ahmed blames instability in western Ethiopia on Sudan, asking Khartoum to intensify border security against the transit of fighters who, Abiy claims, are trained and armed on Sudanese territory.

The prime minister’s office has not released an official statement on the latest attack.

Zimbabwe: Travellers Go for Illegal Border Entry Points to Elude Covid-19 Charges

Some Zimbabweans living in South Africa are using illegal routes to enter Zimbabwe for the festive holiday. This move is in a bid to avoid paying the extravagant charges for Covid-19 tests.

Zimbabwe and South Africa demand that travellers entering or leaving the countries must have Covid-19 travel clearance certificates.

That said, one needs to cough up at least US$60 for a Covid-19 test; an amount which is out of reach for most Zimbabweans staying in South Africa,who want to go home for the festive season.

Consequently, they have opted to use illegal entry points into their country to reunite with their families during the festive period.

However, there are chances they could be exposing other travellers and relatives back home to the coronavirus since they are not tested.

Police have also intensified patrols along the Beitbridge border post and have arrested a lot of Zimbabweans illegally making way into the country.

“Police in Beitbridge arrested a group of 40 cross borders who were trying to illegally gain entry into the country from South Africa through undesignated points. Members of the public are warned against entering/exiting the country through illegal points,” the police said in a statement.

Meanwhile, activities have increased at the Beitbridge Border Post as Zimbabweans based in South Africa start flowing in for the festive holidays under very strict Covid-19 guidelines.

Travellers have to provide a Covid-19 clearance certificate with a validity of not more than two days.

Are Corsets/Waist Trainers Good for your health?

It is a typical desire for women to have a slim waist and a slender figure.

Of course, the 18th-century women have proven that wearing corsets and waist trainers can give a seeming effect on the body. 

It can shrink your waistline if you wear it consistently and certainly, the intention is to wear it for at least 8 hours in a day.

While wearing a corset and slimming your waist might look like a clean magic trick, the reality is that you are NOT eliminating the fat. You are simply moving it around to produce the hourglass shape you fancy.

The real question now is where does the fat go when you do corset training? 

When you wear a corset, you are not magically eliminating fat. You are simply moving it, and when you do it correctly, the effect can be very satisfying.

However, several doctors from all over the world hold that corset/waist training can hurt your external body parts and also squeeze the frame of your internal body organs.

Doctors urge that you move with care when undergoing waist training. Also, do not allow unnecessary pressure on your midsection as this too limits the flow of blood to your organs which could be very harmful. Besides, the upper organs can move upwards and the lower organs can move downwards. As your internal organs become misplaced, the results can be painful, not to mention dangerous.

It should be made clear that corset/waist training has its positive and negative effects. You ought to keep your mind open to the negatives too, because it is your own body that is in danger.

Cameroon: Tha Sanctified announces Gospel Rap “Devil go tire” Song Release

Cameroonian born Christian rapper Tha Sanctified has announced the release of his song titled “Devil go tire”.

Tha Sanctified was born in Ekondo Titi in Ndian Division as Nyendi Yanick Esinoh.

However, both his parents Mr Motale David Nyendi and Mrs Motale Emilia Nyamah hail from Dikome Balue, in Ndian Division, Southwest region of Cameroon.

In an interview with Ebonigram, he explained “I have written many other songs which are yet to be released.

Currently working on the new projects which will be released before the end of this year 2020:-

  • Devil go tire
  • Pikin 4 God
  • I no go suffer

Tha Sanctified started rapping in 2014 but never considered it a career up until 2020 when he realized how much impact his songs were creating. “Then, I decided to go out there with my music to be a blessing to many others.”

His songs are very popular in Christ light assemblies where he is a pastor, especially because his christian family and his senior pastor Apostle Samuel E. Molombe have been passionate consumers of his songs.

“I am a Pastor. I consider music as a means of reaching out to God’s people out there, especially the youthful generation.” He said.

He added that “I want to reach out to the youths with the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and I know they can relate more with hip-hop and rap.”

Sharing his thoughts concerning people who criticize gospel rap, he states “I think they just haven’t heard me.

Here are some of his songs available on YouTube, SoundCloud, Audiomack, spotify, iTunes, Tidal and Amazon music.

  • New Dawn
  • Live 4 Jehovah
  • I’m High
  • Big boys now
  • No concept
  • Sunny day.

Guinea Bissau: Govt to Transfer Remains of Former President to New Grave

The remains of Guinea Bissau’s former President, João Bernardo “Nino” Vieira will be relocated from Bissau municipal cemetery to José D’Amura fortress, a heroes’ corner. This development was announced after the country’s cabinet authorised the iconic move.

The relocation slated for Monday implies that President Vieira will now be officially declared a dignified statesman and national hero.

The fortress harbours tombs of the country’s first President Amílcar Lopes Cabral who was buried side-by-side other national heroes and Bissau-Guinean influential personalities. Icons such former Prime Minister Francisco Mendes who died in a car crash in 1978, pre-independence hero Osvaldo Vieira in whose honour the main international airport of the country is named, Titina Silá – an independence heroine and Pansau Na Isna, another independence war veteran in Guinea Bissau.

Nino Vieira, who died at 70, was a liberation fighter murdered in his house on March 2, 2009. His death was thought to have been a revenge attack, following the army chief of staff’s death in an explosion a few hours earlier.

He was the longest serving president of the country. He ruled twice, firstly from 1980 to 1999, and later from 2005 to 2009. His charisma was however tinted with controversy.

Guinea Bissau government shelved his death investigation in 2017.

José D’Amura fortress was built in the heart of Bissau in 1696 by the Portuguese colonialists in order to protect the country from French invasion.

Guinea-Bissau is one of the poorest states in the world with a history of coups and has become a major passage for smuggling cocaine to Europe.

Guinea-Bissau has been overrun by coups and political unrest since the country gained independence in 1974 from Portugal.

Nigeria: #EndSARS – Lagos State Orders Close Down of Schools.

The Lagos State government has commanded all primary and secondary schools across the state to be shut down as protests against police brutality intensify.

The instruction, according to the statement given by the commissioner for education, Folasade Adefisayo, is for both the public and private schools.

The statement, which was signed on behalf of the commissioner by the spokesman to the ministry of education, Kayode Abayomi, stated that the new development is in response to the intensifying protests against police brutality in the state.

The instruction came on the same day schools reopened fully for all classes including daycare, kindergarten and nursery groups.

The state holds that the safety of the pupils and their teachers is paramount and so deserves priority.

Mr Abayomi wrote; “She however advised parents to keep an eye on their wards and not allow them to be used as willing tools in the hands of those who might want to hijack the protests to unleash mayhem on the society.”

The commissioner also encouraged schools to make use of distance teaching and learning on radio, television and online media as they have been doing during and post the recent COVID-19 lockdown.”

He announced that a new date for resumption of all classes will be announced as soon as it is favourable.

Apart from the state government secretariat and offices of various government agencies that were closed on Monday, many more roads were blocked by enraged youth accusing the government of impunity, corruption and faulty administration.

24-hour Curfew

Still on the violence that has been emmittedp in different parts of Lagos State, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced a 24-hour curfew, effective 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Mr Sanwo-Olu stated that no one, except essential service providers and first responders, should be found on the streets by 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

There has been chaos in different parts of the city including Ikorodu, Ketu and Orile-Iganmu.

“I have watched with shock how what began as a peaceful #EndSARS protest has degenerated into a monster that is threatening the well-being of our society. Lives and limbs have been lost as criminals and miscreants are now hiding under the umbrella of these protests to unleash mayhem on our State,” Mr Sanwo-Olu cried.

“As a government that is alive to its responsibility and has shown a commitment to the movement #ENDSARS, we will not watch and allow anarchy in our dear state.

“I, therefore, hereby impose a 24-hour curfew on all parts of the State as from 4 pm today, 20th October,2020. Nobody, except essential service providers and first responders must be found on the streets,” Mr Sanwo-Olu said.

The #EndSARS protests, which have been mostly peaceful, have turned into a panic stricken chaos.

Zimbabwe: Lockdown Pregnancies Cause Over 400 Girls to Quit School

No less than 400 school girls have dropped out of exam classes in Manicaland province, Zimbabwe due to marriage and pregnancy fueled by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Yet, only five boys dropped out of school for marriage reasons in the province.

Edward Shumba, Provincial education director remarked that schools in the province ought to augment guidance and counselling while encouraging parents to give their children a second chance.

“We all want to enhance guidance and counselling where these things are happening,” he told the media.

“And for the parent, if the child has become pregnant, let those deliver, give them a second chance.

“The Ministry allows us to go for the second chance because, right, they could have made a mistake but who does not make a mistake. We all make mistakes and yes, we have learnt from our mistakes.

“Others learn from other people’s mistakes.”

Munyaradzi Rubaya, the provincial development officer, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, stated that schools have to accommodate the girls to ensure their continued learning.

Rubaya said there was a need to make the school environment to address the needs of the returning girls.

“Since the education policy was amended to allow pregnant girls to continue attending schools, we are encouraging education institutions especially secondary schools to accommodate these girls and create a conducive environment for their continued learning, because in most cases, these girls are stigmatised,” he explained.

According to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, in 2018, 12.5% of 57,500 school dropouts were due to pregnancy or marriage reasons nationwide.

In 2019, 7000 girls dropped out of school across the country because of pregnancy.

Out of these dropouts, 367 were from primary schools and 6,419 were from secondary schools.

In August, the parliament passed a legal amendment making the expulsion of pregnant students a criminal offense.

Nigeria: YouTube Adds Nigeria to U.S.$100 Million Black Voices Fund

YouTube has declared that artists and creators from Nigeria can apply for grants from its global $100 million Black Voices Fund.

Alex Okosi, Managing Director of Emerging Markets, YouTube EMEA, mentioned in a statement that the global fund will support black artists and creators over the next three years.

He explained that Black Voices Fund would invest with the desire to present fresh narratives that underline  the intellectual power, authenticity, dignity and joy of black voices, and to educate audiences about racial justice.

The $100m fund was first unveiled in June and was officially named the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund.

He explained that this year, the fund will be focusing its efforts on creators within the US, Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

“Our goal is to expand funding to more countries over the course of the next three years,”

“Additionally, we hope to provide a consistent drumbeat of educational training, workshops, and community events to Black creators and artists globally.

“The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund is part of the work currently underway to ensure that YouTube is a place where Black artists, creators and users can share their stories and be protected,” he outlined.

According to Mr Okosi, along with their pledge to amplify marginalised voices through content, they are also investing in product and policy changes that will continue to promote YouTube’s mission; the mission of giving everyone a voice and showing them the world.

Mr Okosi added that YouTube believes it is only by taking a stand against those who would try to bully, harass, silence and intimidate others that it really moves closer to achieving this mission.

He said that YouTube’s new efforts included scaling up enforcement and closing more accounts that frequently post hateful comments.

Interested artists and creators could now apply for funding.