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Sudan: Govt Freezes Talks With U.S. After Delay in Lifting Sanctions

Photo: Morgan Mbabazi/The East African

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is freezing all negotiations with the United States following President Donald Trump's postponing of a final decision on whether to permanently lift economic sanctions against Sudan for another three months, state media reported.

"President of the republic Omar al-Bashir issued a presidential decree ordering the suspension of the committee that was negotiating with the United States" over the lifting of sanctions, the official news agency SUNA said, quoting a presidential decree issued by Bashir.

President Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, signed an executive order before leaving office in January that temporarily lifted some sanctions on the central African nation for six months. Trump was facing a Wednesday deadline imposed by Obama that would have made his decision permanent.

Instead, Trump signed a new order on Tuesday that extends the temporary period until October 12.

"The administration recognizes Sudan has made significant progress in these areas in the last six months... but the administration decided it needed more time to review Sudan's actions," a senior state department official said on a press call Wednesday.

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Sanctions - National Unity Parties 'Hold U.S. Responsible for Humanitarian Impacts'Al Bashir Freezes Negotiations With U.S. Following Sanctions DecisionSudanese Pound Continues Plunge in Wake of U.S. Sanctions DecisionParliamentarian - Extension of Sanctions Is Unacceptable
Trump Postpones Review of U.S. Sanctions Against Sudan
US President - Sanctions Review Needs More TimeKhartoum Holds Its Breath for U.S. Sanctions DecisionUN Team in Sudan 'Hopes for Positive Decision On U.S. Sanctions'Govt Calls for U.S. to Permanently Remove Sanctions

During the review period, U.S. officials are authorized to review Sudan's imports and exports and engage in transactions related to government property in Sudan, the official added.

The sanctions were first imposed in 1997 after the U.S. labelled Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism for allowing al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden to live in the capital, Khartoum. Further sanctions were added in reaction to allegations of human rights abuses carried out by government forces against ethnic minority rebels in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region.

Obama imposed a series of benchmarks Sudan had to meet in exchange for permanently lifting the sanctions, including resolving the conflict in Darfur, improving access to humanitarian workers in conflict areas and cooperating with the United States on counterterrorism.

But human right activists, as well as a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, have urged the Trump administration to keep the sanctions in place, citing a lack of key personnel at the State Department and National Security Council that could fully evaluate the issue.

"We remain deeply committed to engagement with the GOS [Government of Sudan] and working toward further progress on achieving a sustainable peace in Sudan," said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert in a written statement.

Even if the sanctions are permanently lifted, Sudan would still be designated as state sponsor of terror, and other sanctions on President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide related to the Darfur conflict, would remain in place.

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Sanctions - National Unity Parties 'Hold U.S. Responsible for Humanitarian Impacts'

The National Unity parties "hold the US administration responsible for negative humanitarian impacts resulting from the… Read more »

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Africa can feed the world, says former president of South Africa, FW de Klerk – CNBC

"Africa is an awakening giant," according to the former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul.

The leader who oversaw the transition of his country's power to Nelson Mandela said Tuesday that the future looks bright for a continent previously blighted by war, famine and a lack of infrastructure.

"I believe Africa is an awakening giant and, yes, it is not performing according to what we expected soon enough, but it will perform," he said.

De Klerk believes that African countries are primed to take advantage of the world's growing size.

"If we look at food shortages for the rest of the world with a growing population, Africa is the solution," he said.

"It has underdeveloped land, frugal land, which can provide food for the growing billions of the world."

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Truck accident in Central African Republic kills 78

BANGUI: Some 78 people were killed and dozens more were injured when a truck heavily loaded with goods and passengers crashed in Central African Republic, a doctor said on Wednesday. The accident occurred on Tuesday around 10 km outside the town of Bambari, around 300 km northeast of the capital Bangui, as the truck was travelling to a weekly market day in the village of Maloum.

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Haftar’s forces declare victory in battle for Benghazi

Khalifa Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army has been fighting for control of Libya's second city for three years. Haftar launched his 'Operation Dignity' in Benghazi in May 2014, promising to crush armed groups [Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters] Libya's eastern commander Khalifa Haftar said on Wednesday his forces had taken full control of Libya's second city Benghazi from rival armed groups after a three-year campaign.

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Ethiopia: Why Travel to Ethiopia Teaches More Than a History

Photo: Borja Santos/RNW

Meskel processions emanate from many churches.

By Eden Sahile

Truly Ethiopia is an exceptional destination from the never ending warmth sun to affordable explorations it's the ultimate exciting destination that will linger in your memories for years.

In Ethiopia it's hard to decide which destination to go as the sights are many and enlightening and breath-taking making picking a destination very challenging.

Ethiopia is home to stunning destinations including parks full of endemic wild animals, sky rise mountains, rivers, lakes, hot spring water falls, beaches, rock hewn obelisks and churches. What you see in Ethiopia will not only exceed your expectations but also inspire you with great culture and history that remained to pass to generations.

Climbing to Ethiopia's green and full of life mountains is truly rewarding. The excitement, the fresh air and viewing the destination from the top of the mountain is absolutely an everlasting experience. Do not worry if you want to stay up in the mountain enjoying the view and the clean air as it's possible and adventures to camp. Pitch a tent at the green mountains to take the glamorous and unbeatable surrounding view. The crystal clear beaches offer an exceptional outdoor adventure allowing you to view serious natural extravaganza.

Truly nothing feels more refreshing than sitting on top of the greenery mountains and to soak in the healing naturally spring waterfalls and beaches around the country. Surrounded by blooming gardens and admirable views, unforgettable exploration is one of the typical Ethiopian experiences.

All of the ancient churches and all inclusive museums do remain open until late night allowing you to witness the beautiful night view of the places. In fact, visiting these places at dusk can be a very rewarding and peaceful time to explore the sight avoiding the crowds.

Ethiopia is also full of ancient museums featuring ancient royal belonging and state of the art ancient crafts, authentic pieces of handmade paintings, clothing's, precious stones and books written on a sheep skin. Undoubtedly, the time in Ethiopia will be the all-time favorite exploration to Africa. The history, the culture and hospitality gets you off the common taking you on extraordinary adventure.

The parks and wildlife view is not to be missed. At the forests you can watch exotic creatures up-close roaming around the forests doing their daily routine of food hunt and sunbathing after meal. The forests are full of life showcasing nature's peculiarities.

Be sure to pull off these naturally preserved parks to see lions, elephants, red fox, zebras and countless birds that fly above you singing adding glamour to your adventures in the ever green forests.

Ethiopia

Coffee Export Hits U.S.$866 Million

Ethiopia earned 866 million USD exporting 221,000 tons of coffee during its last fiscal year . Read more »

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Africa: Trump’s US Still Lacks an Africa Policy – but That Might Be About to Change

Photo: Africa Development Bank

African leaders meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy 2017 (file photo).

analysisBy Stephen Chan

When Donald Trump was elected, almost no one in the US was thinking about Africa. People knew the swingeing State Department and foreign aid cuts the new president promised would hit Africa the hardest, but whereas the US is too embedded in the woes of the Middle East to scale back its costly operations there, Africa simply can't match it for strategic value or public profile.

On the sidelines, however, serious thinkers were contemplating the future of the US in Africa, and as always happens in the jostling for position that accompanies new presidents in the US, people began to lay out their wares in the hopes of earning an appointment. And at the end of 2016, one, in particular, stood out: J Peter Pham of the Atlantic Council, a foreign affairs think tank, who published a paper widely taken as an Africa policy manifesto for the new administration.

Entitled A Measured US Strategy for the New Africa, it uses the sober language of deliberate realism. Examining both the US's interests and global security, it affirms that the US still has a mission to undertake in Africa, but not the one it has embarked on previously. Judging by what I heard on a recent visit, the Washington rumour mill now seems convinced Pham will be nominated as the US's assistant secretary of state for Africa, a vital state department post that's gone unfilled since Trump took office. So what does Pham's "manifesto" for American Africa policy say about him?

Old and new

As his choice of title implies, Pham is apparently determined to upend old American perceptions of Africa; the tired old "dark continent" is nowhere to be seen in his paper. But while Pham doesn't exactly say what the "new Africa" looks like, he does emphatically suggest that the US rein in its dealings with African states that can't act like states - that can't or don't build structures to benefit their citizens or earn proper legitimacy as both states and governments.

Pham also emphasises that the US should not look only to states, but to Africa's rapidly developing private sector. The state, he says, cannot and should not do everything - a core Republican tenet of domestic policy transposed onto African affairs.

The paper is laden with such "selling points". One, clearly calculated to appeal to an administration disinclined to rely on the state department is the open admission that that department needs "rationalisation" - in other words, cuts. How this is to be done is another question. So, it is being done by not nominating anyone to fill key posts, and by what the British courts would call "constructive dismissal". But plenty of very real talent and experience is being lost.

And in a White House where the president's son-in-law has become a high-level envoy to the Middle East with no obvious experience in anything but real estate, the state department needs every bit of countervailing expertise it can muster.

On this front, Pham's paper is a worrying document. It implies that the US's approach to African conflicts might best be left solely to the Pentagon, a move which would do terrible damage. Abandoning civilian oversight would hollow out the US's understanding of these highly complex wars and insurgencies. The State Department needs conflict experts more than anything else. As anyone who's witnessed US foreign policy since 9/11 knows, the causes of war are not addressed by dropping bombs.

The lie of the land

Perhaps this is purely academic. After all, when (more likely than if) Pham is appointed, he'll have little political or budgetary heft to work with. But notwithstanding the diminishment of the State Department in which he may soon be serving, he is undeniably an impressive figure.

Of all the rumoured finalists for the position, he stands head and shoulders above the rest; a Vatican-trained theologian with immense historical knowledge, he worked for the Vatican's diplomatic service in conflict zones in Africa. He speaks and writes knowledgeably about the crucial importance of northern Nigeria; he is very well connected and well travelled.

If he can use the assistant secretary position to its fullest, he might be better placed than the UK's new minister of state for Africa, Rory Stewart, a young adventurer who wound up administering much of Iraq and who went on to philanthropic work in Afghanistan. Unlike his predecessor Tobias Ellwood, who was simultaneously minister for both Africa and the Middle East, Stewart will at least be devoted to Africa - but he will also be split between two ministries, the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development.

It seems that on the British side of the Atlantic, Africa is too often still viewed as a single patient in need of foreign remedies rather than a cluster of very different emerging diplomatic and economic players. On that, chalk up at least one preliminary point for Pham in what might end up a sideways-glancing competition between two relatively young men who suddenly find themselves serious world players in the service of equally hapless governments.

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England v South Africa: Moeen Ali spins hosts to victory at Lord’s

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Pint-sized TMS: Women's underwear and victory for EnglandFirst Investec Test, Lord's, day fourEngland 458 & 233: Cook 69, Bairstow 51, Maharaj 4-85South Africa 361 & 119: Bavuma 21, Moeen 6-53, Dawson 2-34England win by 211 runs; 1-0 up in four-game seriesScorecard

Moeen Ali ripped through South Africa's batting to give England a 211-run win in the first Test on a wonderfully entertaining fourth day at Lord's.

Off-spinner Moeen took 6-53 for match figures of 10-112 as the Proteas, set 331 to win, were bowled out for 119.

England had earlier collapsed from their overnight 119-1, dragged to 233 by Jonny Bairstow's 51.

The win is England's first in seven Tests and gives Joe Root victory in his first match as captain.

It came moments after England's women claimed a crucial three-run win against Australia in the World Cup at Bristol.

The second Test begins at Trent Bridge on Friday, with South Africa captain Faf du Plessis set to return after arriving back in England following the birth of his child.

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Watch the moment England won first Test

England have named an unchanged 12-man squad for the Test match.

Relive England's victory - highlights, analysis and social media

Root's ideal start

Root, the 80th man to lead England in Tests, begins his reign with a success despite his side being reduced to 76-4 on the first morning.

The outcome could have been different had Root, who rescued his side with 190, not been dropped twice and stumped off a no-ball.

Since tea on the first day, England consistently held the upper hand, their decision to play two spinners vindicated by a pitch that has offered huge assistance to the slow bowlers.

Though South Africa will be boosted by the return of Du Plessis, aspects of their batting looks brittle and they will have to replace pace bowler Kagiso Rabada, who will be suspended for the game in Nottingham.

Moeen's moment in the sun

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There was the suggestion that Moeen had been replaced as England's number one spinner by left-armer Liam Dawson. He responded with his first 10-wicket haul in a Test to go with the 87 runs he scored in the first innings.

South Africa's target always seemed distant - only once had more runs been chased to win a Test at Lord's - but Moeen showed it to be miles out of reach on of a surface that offered turn and bounce for the slow bowlers.

After wicketkeeper Bairstow athletically held Heino Kuhn down the leg side off James Anderson, Moeen got to work.

Dean Elgar was caught and bowled, Quinton de Kock was bowled playing an ugly pull shot and Temba Bavuma fell in similar fashion.

Theunis de Bruyn was caught a slip, the slogging Keshav Maharaj bowled and Rabada caught behind.

Dawson completed England's victory, Morne Morkel caught on the leg-side boundary while attempting to hit a third six, the 19th wicket to fall in the day.

Bairstow punishes Proteas

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How on earth did Philander drop this catch?

With Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance unbeaten overnight, England looked set for steady progress towards a declaration. However, they were checked by a South African attack that first stifled and then penetrated.

Morkel had Cook caught at extra cover for 69 and Balance caught behind for 34, leaving Rabada and left-arm spinner Maharaj to work through the middle order.

At one stage, England had lost seven wickets for 43 runs, a collapse that could have been worse had Vernon Philander held a simple catch at long-off from the bowling of spinner Maharaj when Bairstow was on seven.

Reprieved, Bairstow pugnaciously added 45 for the ninth wicket with Mark Wood.

By the time he became the last man to fall, stumped off Maharaj, he had extended a remarkable period of run-scoring that includes 13 scores in excess of fifty since December 2015.

'The lads did everything I asked' - what they said

New England Test captain Joe Root: "It is a nice start, definitely. We have been very good throughout the four days.

"Everything I asked of the lads, they did. It's great to go to Trent Bridge 1-0 up.

"It was nice to get the runs too, which is a monkey off the back. But throughout the game we had lots of good partnerships."

This was the third Test since 1975 in which England's spinners have taken 14 or more wickets (14 v SL, Colombo 1981-82; 19 v Ind, Mumbai 2012-13)

Moeen Ali, who was named man-of-the-match: "It was the best all-round performance of my career.

"It was a great wicket and I was trying to attack the batters as much as possible and it worked out well.

"I learned a lot in India it helped my mindset a lot and it worked out well.

"It is almost like a fresh start for me with a new captain."

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Bairstow catches Kuhn behind one-handed

England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow: "What a day, what a game, Rooty taking over. I don't think he could have asked for a better way to start.

"He has been pretty chilled. In his mind he was happy with the side and the performance shows that."

South Africa captain Dean Elgar on Test Match Special: "It is a bitter one to swallow.

"We knew it would be tough to chase anything over 300. It is only one game, we can change it from here.

"It will be interesting from a selection point of view before the next Test. We can't lick our wounds for too long in international cricket."

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Zimbabwe/Zambia: Warriors Overcome Chipolopolo to Win Record Cosafa Title

Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix/Cosafa

Zimbabwe celebrates its win at the 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup final against Zambia.

Zimbabwe claimed a record fifth COSAFA Castle Cup with a deserved 3-1 victory over Zambia in the final played at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in South Africa’s North West province on Sunday.

Zimbabwe have been the best team in the tournament, playing six matches in 14 days and scoring an impressive 19 goals in the process.

It was tough on Zambia, who entered the competition at the quarterfinal stage and had an impressive campaign, but could not contain the confident Zimbabweans in the decider.

The final was surprisingly open for a decider, with 35 chances at goal from both sides, and it was Zimbabwe who took the lead.

Knox Mutizwa scored his fifth goal of the tournament when he headed the ball home midway through the first half, but any hopes of going into halftime ahead were dashed.

Lubinda Mundia had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds as a substitute, but he headed home to draw Zambia level.

Mutizwa had an excellent chance to restore the Zimbabwe lead when he found himself one-on-one with Allan Chibwe in the second period, and the Zambian goalkeeper came out on top. But Zimbabwe continued to put pressure on the Zambian goal and it was no surprise when they took the lead once more as Talent Chawapiwa drilled the ball low into the back of the net.

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And 10 minutes later it was 3-1 as Mashure bagged a fourth goal of the campaign with a fine finish from the edge of the box. Zimbabwe endured a few scares after that, but goalkeeper George Chigova was in fine form and stopped everything Zambia could throw at him.

Zimbabwe now lead in COSAFA Castle Cup titles with five, one more than Zambia and South Africa. For the Zambians, it is a record fifth defeat in the final of the regional showpiece tournament. Zimbabwe skipper Ovidy Karuru finished as top scorer in the 2017 COSAFA Castle Cup with six goals, one more than compatriot Knox Mutizwa.

Zimbabwe collect R500,000 as winners of the competition, while Zambia take home R250,000. Tanzania finished third at this year’s tournament, while hosts South Africa picked up the Plate trophy.

TOURNAMENT STATS

Matches Played: 23

Goals scored: 52

Biggest victory: Zimbabwe 6 Seychelles 0 (Group B, June 30)

Most goals in a game: 7 – Lesotho 3 Zimbabwe 4 (Semifinals, July 5)

GOALSCORERS

6 goals – Ovidy Karuru (Zimbabwe)

5 – Knox Mutizwa (Zimbabwe)

4 – Ocean Mushure (Zimbabwe)

3 – Justin Shonga (Zambia)

2 – Talent Chawapiwa (Zimbabwe), Claudel Fanomezana (Madagascar), Rinjala Raherinaivo (Madagascar), Yahya Ramadhani (Tanzania), Saimon Msuva (Tanzania), Brian Mwila (Zambia)

1 – Arnaldo (Mozambique), Felix Badenhorst (Swaziland), Jackson Chirwa (Zambia), Prince Dube (Zimbabwe), Roger Katjiteo (Namibia), Tsoanelo Koetle (Lesotho), Elias Maguri (Tanzania), Blessing Majarira (Zimbabwe), Roddy Melanie (Seychelles), Mohau Mokate (South Africa), Judas Moseamedi (South Africa), Sera Motebang (Lesotho), Lubinda Mundia (Zambia), Mutong (Mozambique), Ranaivoson Ndrantoharilala (Madagascar), Riyaad Norodien (South Africa), Erasto Nyoni (Tanzania), Mabuti Potloane (Lesotho), Augusto Quibeto (Angola), Joseph Perticots (Mauritius), Ardino Raveloarisona (Madagascar), Kabelo Seakanyeng (Botswana), Stelio (Mozambique)

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Chinese investors ‘lack patience’ for Canadian infrastructure regulations: envoy

The Trudeau government's efforts to draw in foreign cash to help fund big infrastructure projects in Canada will likely find little interest from China's deep-pocketed investors, the country's envoy to Ottawa says. Ambassador Lu Shaye told The Canadian Press he doesn't think Chinese investors will want to endure what he described as lengthy regulatory processes required for Canadian infrastructure.

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England v South Africa: Moeen Ali and Alastair Cook put hosts in charge – BBC Sport

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Pint-sized TMS: England in control after day threeFirst Investec Test, Lord's, day threeEngland 458 & 119-1: Cook 59*, Jennings 33, Morkel 1-25South Africa 361: Bavuma 59, Elgar 54, Moeen 4-59England lead by 216 runsScorecard

England took a firm grip on the first Test against South Africa on day three at Lord's.

From 214-5 overnight, the Proteas were bowled out for 361, with Quinton de Kock making 51 and Vernon Philander 52.

Off-spinner Moeen Ali took two wickets to end with 4-49, while left-arm spinner Liam Dawson claimed 2-67.

England's first-innings lead was 97, Alastair Cook then compiling 59 not out to leave the home side finished on 119-1, giving them a lead of 216.

It seems likely that England will be able to declare on Sunday, setting up the push for a first Test victory at Lord's in four attempts.

They will be aided by a surface showing increasing turn - the efforts of Moeen and Dawson make this only the second time since 1969 that England have taken six wickets with spin in the first innings of a Test on this ground.

More Moeen magic

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Moeen edges Bavuma to Stokes

Moeen registered both his 2,000th run and 100th wicket in Test cricket on the second day and once again impressed with the ball on a sun-kissed Saturday.

Overlooked at the beginning of the day, he arrived to snare the important wicket of Temba Bavuma for 59, finding extra bounce to take an edge that was held at slip.

From 248-7, more than 200 behind, South Africa still had hopes of getting towards parity when De Kock blazed his way to a 36-ball half-century, the second fastest in a Lord's Test.

But he was well held at short cover off James Anderson by Ben Stokes and it was left to Philander, who suffered a painful blow on the hand off Anderson, to grit South Africa past 350.

Philander was the last to fall, bowled after a charge down the track to seal Moeen's best figures in a home Test in almost three years.

Cook grinds England on

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Fine drive brings up Cook's half-century

In his first Test since giving up the captaincy, Cook gradually extended England's lead on a stodgy evening where the scoring rate failed to reach two and a half runs per over.

Without the injured Philander, whose right hand is swollen but not broken, South Africa persevered. Cook twice survived reviews for leg before and a difficult leg-side stumping chance.

Driving the spinners and angling the pace bowlers through third man, he shared an opening stand of 80 with Keaton Jennings, whose patience was finally broken with a waft at Morne Morkel that resulted in an edge behind.

Gary Ballance, in need of runs on his return to the side, ended 22 not out, a platform from which he can cement his place on Sunday.

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Root learning the ropes

In his first Test as captain, Joe Root had a mixed day, combining correct calls with others that were more dubious.

The decision to bowl pacers Mark Wood and Stokes first up in favour of Moeen was curious, but later a plan seemingly concocted with Anderson and Stuart Broad to post a short, square cover for De Kock worked.

Root was also bold enough to take the advice of Jonny Bairstow in calling for a review against Keshav Maharaj, who was well down the track when struck on the pad by Dawson. Root, arriving from mid-on, was swift to follow the conviction of his wicketkeeper and was vindicated by the lbw verdict.

The new skipper's next decision is likely to be the timing of England's declaration.

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De Kock brings up his Test half-century with a boundary

'England's should go 1-0 up from here' - analysis

Former England captain Michael Vaughan: "It's been a tremendous cricket wicket. South Africa will look back on day one and think they could have easily bowled England out if they'd kept the feet behind the line.

"England today, Joe Root made a couple of mistakes, he left the spinners and then turned to the second new ball. He should have started with Moeen after lunch. Steve Waugh used to say who were the best two bowlers and start with them straight away.

"South Africa, with the ball, were very disciplined but the technical side of Cook's batting is fantastic and I was really impressed with Gary Ballance, who came out with a positivity.

"It has ebbed and flowed, England have been on top and they should create an opportunity to go one up in the series."

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: "England want to bat longer to make the pitch wear. They need more overs to really rough it up and make South Africa's task as difficult as possible.

"However, from an entertainment point of view, that last session was not high octane."

'We're in a very strong position'

England seamer James Anderson: "We're in a very strong position and we're very happy with it. We've worked really hard. It didn't go smoothly in the first innings with the bat, then we bowled pretty well.

"Joe has been really good as captain. The guys have enjoyed him. He tried to be as positive as he could be and rotated the bowlers well. It was his idea to set that field for De Kock.

"Alastair Cook seems more relaxed. It's probably a strange week for him. I'm sure he's missing being captain to an extent, but it's a great opportunity to show that he is still hungry to score runs."

South Africa batsman Temba Bavuma: "It's quite frustrating that none of our batsmen could kick on. England had one guy who got in and went big for them and that has been the difference.

"We'll learn from that in the second innings and, hopefully, whoever manages to get in can do something big for the team."

On the suspension of South Africa pace bowler Kagiso Rabada, who is banned for the second Test following an altercation with Ben Stokes on Thursday: "There's no sense of injustice over the ban. He's quite an emotional character and he was aware of the consequences. He's heartbroken that he has let down the team, but we understand it happened in the heat of the moment."

And finally...

Legendary Test Match Special commentator Henry Blofeld was asked to ring the five-minute bell before the start of play on Saturday - and he didn't disappoint...

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Henry Blofeld rings the bell at Lord's

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8 killed at Malawi independence day stampede

Seven children and one adult were killed in a stampede at Malawi's national stadium on Thursday as large crowds gathered for independence day celebrations, police said. The stampede occurred when gates were opened at the 40,000-seat Bingu stadium in the capital Lilongwe for a presidential address and football match to mark the annual holiday.

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Nigeria: U.S Transparency Bill to Expose Illicit Funds From Nigeria, Others

Photo: Daily Trust
By Adeshola Komolafe

A corporate transparency bill introduced in the U.S. Congress last week will force disclosure of Nigerians and other nationals who run shell companies registered in the United States.

The bipartisan bill, 'Corporate Transparency Act of 2017', introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat, and co-sponsored by Congressman Peter King, a Republican, will compel disclosure of beneficial owners "to prevent wrongdoers from exploiting United States corporations and limited liability companies for criminal gain".

Both legislators represent New York, a city that has been cited inseveral investigative reports as one of the prime destinations for illicit financial flow from Nigeria.

The bill enjoys the support of members of the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. Congress, law enforcement agencies, 44 anti-corruption advocacy groups, and 27 investors whose combined asset are in excess of $855 billion.

Nearly two million companies are registered in the United States every year. The bill will amend current incorporation law which often demand only basic information from proprietors and typically does not ask for the names of beneficial owners.

In her introduction, Congresswoman Maloney said "criminals have exploited the weaknesses in state formation procedures to conceal their identities when forming corporations or limited liability companies in the United States."

"They then use the newly created entities to commit crimes affecting interstate and international commerce such as terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering, tax evasion, securities fraud, financial fraud and acts of foreign corruption," she added.

Congresswoman Maloney's speech to U.S. Congress on June 28 coincides with recent uptick in Nigeria's campaign for transparency in the financial sector. Speaking in Abuja on June 5 at the Conference on Promoting International Co-operation in Combating Illicit Financial Flows, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo observed that the Thabo Mbeki-led High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa singled out Nigeria as source of most of the illicit fund flow out of Africa.

"The Thabo Mbeki report shows that most of the illicit funds flow that comes out of Africa are from Nigeria and that shows us very clearly especially the security agencies that we simply have to do more. It is evident that so much money is leaving our shores.

"There is no way the transfer of this assets can happen without a handshake between the countries that they are transferred and the international banking institutions in the countries in which they are transferred, there is no way it will happen without some form of connivance," Mr. Osinbajo said.

While the acting president called for criminalising financial institutions, Akere Muna of the International Anti-Corruption Conference Council, who also chaired the conference, drew attention to Mbeki report's emphasis on the need for transparency in all segments of financial transaction as the key to combating all "aspects of illicit financial flows."

"New and innovative means of generating illicit financial flows are emerging; more effort is needed in asset recovery and repatriation; Weak national and regional capacities impede efforts to curb illicit financial flows; Financial secrecy jurisdictions must come under closer scrutiny," he said.

Speaking at the conference, Nigeria's Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, stressed the long-term commitment needed to combat cross-border illicit financial transactions.

"We're still collaborating with other nations of the world to repatriate funds stolen from Nigeria 20 years ago", she said.

Ms. Maloney similarly called for international collaboration on corporate transparency. "Anonymous shell companies have become the preferred vehicle for money launderers, criminal organisations, and terrorist groups because they can't be traced back to their true owners" she said, adding that "the U.S. is one of the easiest places in the world to set up an anonymous shell companies."

"Frankly, it's an embarrassment. We need to fix this gaping hole in our national security and listen to law enforcement who is requesting these changes."

Ms. Maloney who was joined by Stefanie Ostfeld, Deputy Head of Global Witness' U.S. office; Greg Baer, President of The Clearing House Association; and Rick Fulginiti, retired Price George's County detective and Chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police's National Legislative Committee, among others however, assured that once the Corporate Responsibility Law takes effect, criminal organisations that are infamous for using anonymous shell companies, both foreign and domestic, to open bank accounts, launder money and will no longer be able to escape oversight and thwart law enforcement.

The Corporate Transparency Bill 2017 will empower United States Treasury Department to issue regulations requiring corporations and limited liability companies to file information about their beneficial owners.

The bill also stipulates that Treasury Department will collect beneficial ownership information for corporations registered in states that choose not ask for such information.

The bill when it becomes law would also establish minimum beneficial ownership disclosure requirements, the beneficial owners' name, current address, and details of their non-expired passport or state-issued driver's license must be recorded at the time of registration. False, fraudulent or incomplete beneficial ownership information will attract civil penalties.

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Hawks break-in: IT thieves target South Africa’s elite police

Hawks break-in: IT thieves target South Africa's elite police

Image copyright South African Police Service Image caption The Hawks are an elite unit focused on serious crimes and corruption

South Africa's elite "Hawks" police unit has been hit by a mystery break-in at its headquarters in the capital, Pretoria.

A spokesman said thieves made off with hard drives and other computer equipment early on Wednesday.

Hawks sources believe the crime was an inside job rather than a burglary, local media reported.

"No dockets [case files] were stolen," Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi told Reuters.

Africa Live: More on this and other stories

The unit's human resources, finance and supply chain departments had been targeted, he said.

The Hawks - otherwise known as the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation - investigate serious organised and commercial crimes, and high-level corruption.

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Mr Mulaudzi said a forensics team was examining the site, and that it was too soon to say who the thieves were.

South Africa's Eyewitness News observed on Twitter that the break-in comes amid a tussle for control of the unit between its ex-head Berning Ntlameza and Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.

The IT theft is not the first to hit South Africa's establishment this year.

In March, 15 computers containing information on South Africa's judges and court officials were stolen from the administrative offices of the Chief Justice.

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South Africa: Two Deputy Presidents the Remedy for Factionalism – President Zuma

Photo: GCIS

President Jacob Zuma has agreed with a KwaZulu-Natal proposal that the loser of the elective conference in December should take the deputy president role.

"This is a remedy to kill factions in the ANC. These are proposals to take to the branches. Even if we don't apply it in the conference in December, we apply it in the conference thereafter. I have no problem."

Zuma was speaking during his closing address at the ANC's policy conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre, south of Johannesburg, on Wednesday.

Zuma said there was a need to eliminate factions in the organisation.

He said the constitution of the ANC needed to be amended to include this proposal.

Also read: Divisions over ANC leadership race deepen

Zuma's proposal was met with loud cheers by delegates.

However, when he suggested that the candidate who was a preferred deputy president for the winning slate needed to be the second deputy president, a number of delegates gasped in surprise.

"When one does not win, let us not get rid of the one who did not win. Let us take the one who came second and make them the deputy so that they can work together. All the comrades will have won."

The party's biggest province, KwaZulu-Natal, made the proposal in an attempt to end the slate politics that has fractured the party, leading to splinter groups. The Eastern Cape's Oscar Mabuyane said the suggestion was fair and would help eliminate slates.

The ANC Youth League, which has been loyal to Zuma, and by extension Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, rejected this call earlier, it told News24.

'Branches should consider this proposal'

The ANCYL said the political arrangement would reduce the ANC to a "chieftainship" and would be a violation of the party's constitution that says every position must be contested, ANCYL president Collen Maine told News24.

The ANCYL has nominated Dlamini-Zuma for president, with Mpumalanga chairperson David Mabuza as deputy.

The Northern Cape labelled the proposal as "excitement" over succession talks.

The Northern Cape, which pronounced on presidential hopeful Cyril Ramaphosa, said ANC branches would nominate who they wanted for leadership, and would go to conference to elect them.

"You will be eroding the very essence of democratic contestation of ANC leadership," Northern Cape chairperson Zamani Saul said.

Saul said the proposal would take away the powers of the branches to decide who should lead the party, and that leaders were appropriating the right to choose ANC leadership.

Zuma said the party could have permanent factions if it was to take the country forward.

"You can have denialism about it, but it's reality. I can go province to province to motivate for this proposal. Branches should consider this proposal," he said.

News24

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Zambia: President Lungu Declares State of Emergency

Photo: RFI

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By Chris Phiri

President Edgar Lungu has declared a State of Emergency by invoking Article 31 of the Zambian constitution.

"There is no doubt perpetrators of this act is to make the country ungovernable. As president, I will not tolerate this lawslessness," he said in a national address on both radio and television.

President Lungu says it was not an easy decision to make but was left with no choice as the primary responsibility is to protect life and property.

Zambia

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