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Music Time in Africa

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 21:05

Music Time in Africa

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 21:05

VOA Newscasts (2 Minute)

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 21:00

VOA Newscasts

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 21:00

VOA Newscasts

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 21:00

VOA Learning English

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 20:30

VOA Learning English

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 20:30

First Gold Medals, First Exits of Tokyo Games 

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 20:25
Hardly half a day passed before politics, the pandemic and blistering heat impacted events across the Tokyo Olympics. China's Yang Qian, at least, stayed right on target. Yang overtook Anastasiia Galashina of Russia to win the first gold medal of the Tokyo Games in the women's 10-meter air rifle Saturday. Her last shot was her worst of the finals but still rallied her past Galashina with an Olympic-record score of 251.8. Switzerland's Nina Christen took bronze. "It's unbelievable that I can be here," Yang said through an interpreter. "I was really nervous. The competition was really tight, but I'm so happy that I could win." Galashina led Yang by 0.2 point when they fired almost simultaneously on their last shots. The limited crowd at Asaka Shooting Range let out gasps as the scores posted a split second later. Yang, 21, who qualified sixth of the eight medal competitors, missed the innermost circle on her final shot, a 9.8 that she figured would cost her gold. She looked up to see Galashina had missed the two center rings. The Russian's 8.9 meant IOC President Thomas Bach would present Yang the gold medal on a tray — per pandemic protocols — instead of Galashina. COVID-19 cancellation The first event of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament was canceled because a Czech player tested positive for COVID-19. Markéta Sluková, who tested positive earlier this week, and partner Barbora Hermannova were eliminated from the tournament. Already empty because of a ban on fans, the venue at Shiokaze Park was eerily still when the match was supposed to start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, the only sound coming from the incredibly loud cicadas in the nearby trees. The Japanese team of Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishii earned the win by default after qualifying for the tournament via the entry reserved for the host country. Officially, the Czechs were marked as "Did Not Start," and their three round-robin opponents will be awarded victories. Palestinian pass An Algerian judo athlete will be sent home after he withdrew from the competition to avoid potentially facing an Israeli opponent. Fethi Nourine and his coach, Amar Benikhlef, told Algerian media they were withdrawing to avoid a possible second-round matchup with Israel's Tohar Butbul in the men's 73 kg division on Monday. Nourine was to face Sudan's Mohamed Abdalrasool in the opening round, with the winner facing Butbul, the fifth seed. The International Judo Federation's executive committee has temporarily suspended Nourine and Benikhlef, who are likely to face sanctions beyond the Olympics. The Algerian Olympic committee then withdrew both men's accreditation and made plans to send them home. Nourine and Benikhlef attribute their stance to their political support for Palestinians. Sweltering start Tennis player Daniil Medvedev wants organizers to move matches to the evening after players slogged through their opening matches in heat that reached 33 degrees C (91 degrees F) and a heat index that made it feel like 38 C (100 F). Medvedev called it "some of the worst" heat he's played in after eliminating Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-4, 7-6 (8). "I'm not going to lie. But you have to play," the Russian said. "That's the Olympics — you go for the medal. You are not here to cry about the heat." French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova grasped for an air tube during a medical timeout and shoved bags of ice up her skirt during a changeover as she routed Sara Errani of Italy 6-0, 6-1. "You're just not feeling great," Pavlyuchenkova said. "So I wasn't enjoying it at all." On the board Naohisa Takato won Japan's first gold medal, beating Taiwan's Yang Yung-wei in the men's 60-kilogram judo final. The charismatic Takato's success could provide a much-needed jolt of excitement for a nation still feeling profoundly ambivalent about these Olympics and discouraged by the scandals and coronavirus setbacks surrounding them. Takato, 28, atoned for his disappointing bronze-medal performance in Rio de Janeiro five years ago with a hair-raising run to the Tokyo final at the venerable Nippon Budokan arena, the site of judo's introduction to the Olympics in 1964. Already done The youngest competitor at the Tokyo Games has been eliminated, and so has an Olympic great. Hend Zaza of Syria lost in straight sets to Liu Jia, ending the 12-year-old's hopes of making noise as the youngest table tennis player in Olympics history. Zaza told Olympics.com that she was pleased with her performance and learned from the loss — and she's hoping for another shot at the next Olympics, in Paris. Two-time Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura's Olympic career ended when the 32-year-old Japanese gymnast fell during qualifying on high bar. Considered by many the greatest of all time, the 2012 and '16 all-around gold medalist was midway through his set when he peeled off while doing a complicated connection. He picked himself up and finished his routine, drilling his dismount. His score of 13.866 placed him outside the top eight, meaning he will not make the finals.

US Infrastructure Proposal May Move Forward Despite Senate Stall

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 20:05
Issues in the News moderator Kim Lewis talks with VOA senior diplomatic correspondent, Cindy Saine, and senior reporter for Marketplace, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, about growing congressional challenges on infrastructure, police reform, COVID-19 and the economy facing the Biden administration, the ramifications of a widespread cyber-attack on Microsoft allegedly conducted by China, controversial Israeli phone surveillance software allegedly misused amid a global hacking scandal, the Tokyo Olympics and global concern over the spreading of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Protesters Opposed to COVID-19 Measures Clash With Police in Paris

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 20:01
French anti-riot police fired tear gas Saturday as clashes erupted during protests in central Paris against COVID-19 restrictions and a vaccination campaign, television reported. Police sought to push back demonstrators near the capital's Gare Saint-Lazare railway station after protesters had knocked over a police motorbike ridden by two officers, television pictures showed. Images showed a heavy police presence on the capital's streets. Scuffles between police and demonstrators also broke out on the Champs-Elysees thoroughfare, where tear gas was fired and traffic was halted, the pictures showed. Opposition to 'dictatorship' At another protest called by far-right politicians in west Paris, demonstrators opposed to anti-coronavirus measures carried banners reading "Stop the dictatorship." Across France, protests were planned in cities including Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes and Toulouse. An official with France's interior ministry said 161,000 people had demonstrated across the country on Saturday, up from 114,000 a week earlier. French lawmakers are due to vote this weekend on a bill drafted by the government aimed at setting up a health pass and mandatory vaccination for health workers.

Criminal Probe Sought After Malawi Police Compensate Rape Victims

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 18:08
Malawi’s government has paid thousands of dollars in compensation to women who allegedly were sexually assaulted by police officers during post-election protests. Lawyers for victims and human rights campaigners, however, say the money alone is not enough. They want suspects to be arrested and tried in court.  Police have promised a fresh investigation.      The Malawi Human Rights Commission accuses police officers of raping victims in the capital city of Lilongwe in apparent retaliation for the fatal stoning of a police officer by residents during post-election violence on Oct. 8, 2019.   In his ruling on August 13, 2020, High Court Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda ordered the Malawi Police Service to compensate 18 women and arrest 17 police officers implicated for the crimes. Nyirenda said the victims needed to be compensated for trauma they suffered at the hands of police. Now that compensation has been paid, though, lawyers for the victims and human rights campaigners say money alone is not enough. Atupele Masanjala is the spokesperson for the Women’s Lawyers Association, which represented the rape victims. She says the compensation marks the end of the civil case but there is a need to look at the criminal aspect. "Because even if those women are compensated, the people who have done the wrong have not been held accountable," Masanjala said. "The police officers are not the people who paid that money. That was the government paying on behalf of the police. But those police officers haven't been identified, they haven’t been held accountable, they haven’t been arrested. So, as it is now, they are criminals just walking free and that’s unacceptable.”   Habiba Osman is executive secretary for the Malawi Human Rights Commission. She says a criminal proceeding is needed. "It means that now there is going to be individual liability or responsibility whenever people commit such crimes that would be seen to be violating the rights of other people," Osman said. "So, what this is to also tell us is that even if they are state's agents [tasked] to be enforcing the law, if they commit the crime the same organization can bite them.” The government has paid $160,000 to the 18 victims, with compensation ranging from $5,000 to $12,000 per victim. One victim from the Msundwe area, who did not want to be named in this report, said the compensation is too low. She says, “I left my village [scene of the incident] to settle somewhere because people were laughing at me for what happened. So, I though the compensation would be enough to buy land and build a house. But this is not the case.” She says she is looking forward to the arrest of the culprits, although she could not identify her attacker because she says he covered his face when he raped her.   James Kadadzera is a spokesperson for the Malawi Police service. He told VOA police are ready to start a new investigation after their previous investigation failed to identify suspects. "In fact, there were many police officers that were on duty on that particular day," Kadadzera said. "Probably 100 plus, so it was difficult to identify the suspects.” Kadadzera hopes this time, however, they will identify the suspects because he says the investigation team will include members of the Malawi Human Rights Commission, Women Lawyers Association and other human rights organizations.

US Infrastructure Proposal May Move Forward Despite Senate Stall

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 18:05
Issues in the News moderator Kim Lewis talks with VOA senior diplomatic correspondent, Cindy Saine, and senior reporter for Marketplace, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, about growing congressional challenges on infrastructure, police reform, COVID-19 and the economy facing the Biden administration, the ramifications of a widespread cyber-attack on Microsoft allegedly conducted by China, controversial Israeli phone surveillance software allegedly misused amid a global hacking scandal, the Tokyo Olympics and global concern over the spreading of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

US Infrastructure Proposal May Move Forward Despite Senate Stall

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 18:05
Issues in the News moderator Kim Lewis talks with VOA senior diplomatic correspondent, Cindy Saine, and senior reporter for Marketplace, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, about growing congressional challenges on infrastructure, police reform, COVID-19 and the economy facing the Biden administration, the ramifications of a widespread cyber-attack on Microsoft allegedly conducted by China, controversial Israeli phone surveillance software allegedly misused amid a global hacking scandal, the Tokyo Olympics and global concern over the spreading of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

VOA Newscasts (2 Minute)

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 18:00

VOA Newscasts

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 18:00

VOA Newscasts

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 18:00

Night Curfew Enforced in Afghanistan to Stem Taliban Advance

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 17:40
Authorities in Afghanistan on Saturday enforced an indefinite nighttime curfew across most of the country as government forces struggle to curb Taliban advances. The Islamist insurgent group has made rapid battlefield gains in recent weeks, bringing it close to capital cities of all 34 Afghan provinces and the nation's capital, Kabul. A spokesperson for the Afghan interior ministry told VOA that all provinces have been placed under the 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew with the exception of Kabul, Nangarhar and Panjsher provinces. “Terrorist groups often undertake terrorist and other subversive acts late in the night, so a nighttime restriction on public movement has been enforced to curb the violence,” said Ahmad Zia Zia. The Taliban unleashed a widespread offensive in early May, when the United States and NATO allies began pulling their last remaining troops from Afghanistan. Since then the insurgents have overrun more than half of roughly 420 Afghan districts, without a fight in many cases. As of last week, the U.S. military said 95% of its withdrawal had been completed and the process is on track to finish by the end of next month. Stepped up Taliban attacks have forced the U.S. military in recent days to launch airstrikes to enable Afghan security forces to contain insurgent advances. The Afghan government has blamed its battlefield losses on a lack of U.S. air support for security forces on the ground since May. The Taliban denounced the latest U.S. airstrikes as a breach of the group’s February 2020 agreement with Washington that paved the way for the foreign forces’ withdrawal after nearly 20 years of war in Afghanistan. “It is a clear violation of the signed agreement that will have consequences,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid warned in a statement. U.S. officials have described Taliban offensives as a violation of the Islamist group's agreement to support a peacefully negotiated resolution of the conflict, as outlined in that same February 2020 agreement. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Wednesday that about 212 district centers are currently in Taliban hands, and insurgent forces are advancing on the outskirts of 17 provincial capitals. “Strategic momentum sort of appears to be sort of with the Taliban," Milley told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon. “What they're trying to do is isolate the major population centers," he added. "They're trying to do the same thing to Kabul, and roughly speaking … a significant amount of territory has been seized.” The Afghan fighting largely subsided, as usual, during this week’s three-day Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha that ended on Thursday. But both warring sides have since resumed attacks against each other. Afghan Defense Ministry officials claimed Saturday that security forces killed nearly 300 insurgent fighters across several provinces in the past 24 hours, though Taliban and government officials routinely offer inflated battlefield claims. U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday assured Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani of Washington’s diplomatic and humanitarian support. A White House statement said the two leaders in a phone call "agreed that the Taliban’s current offensive is in direct contradiction to the movement’s claim to support a negotiated settlement of the conflict.” Biden told Ghani that his administration would remain diplomatically engaged “in support of a durable and just political settlement” to the Afghan war. The U.S. State Department noted on Friday the ongoing violence in Afghanistan was largely driven by the Taliban and called for an immediate end to it. “We call on the Taliban to engage in serious negotiations to determine a political roadmap for Afghanistan’s future that leads to a just and durable settlement,” Jalina Porter, principal deputy spokesperson, told reporters in Washington.

Nightline Africa

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 17:05

Nightline Africa

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 17:05

Cameroon Sends Defense minister to French-Speaking Towns and Villages Under Rebel Attack

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 17:00
Cameroon’s government has sent Defense Minister Joseph Beti Assomo, to the border between the English- and French-speaking regions amid increasing English-speaking separatist incursions into French-speaking towns and villages. Officials say many businesses have been abandoned and construction work on government buildings halted due to the increased separatist attacks. Scores of people watch as members of the Cameroon military display military weapons in Foumban, a French-speaking town on the border with Cameroon’s English-speaking North-West region.  Warrant Officer Bouba Dawanga Syraye, the ranking officer at the military post in Foumban., says the weapons were seized from suspected rebels.   He says government troops arrested 10 suspects and recovered guns, ammunition and several locally made explosives. He says all the suspects and their accomplices have denied accusations of arms trafficking. The military says arms proliferation in the French-speaking West region, where Foumban is located, has been on the rise since 2017. The military says English-speaking rebels fighting to create an independent state they call Ambazonia in French-majority Cameroon infiltrate French-speaking towns and villages with weapons. The government says at least 40 deadly separatist incursions have been reported in the West region since 2017. Bamboutos, Noun and Menou administrative units, also known as divisions, bordering the North-West region are the hardest hit by the separatist fighters. Awah Fonka, the governor of Cameroon’s West region, says the fighters attack and kill government troops, loot shops and destroy schools. He says the rebel incursions and killing have halted work on some government projects.   "We have recorded attacks at the level of several projects which would have helped in the development of the region," said Fonka. "The case of Babadjou, Bamenda, Bambotos [road projects], as well as the road leading from Kuikong to Bandjoun and especially the divisions bordering the [English speaking North-] West region and the South-West region." Fonka said the military has been deployed to protect engineers on roads whose construction has been abandoned. He pleaded with civilians to help stop separatist incursions by reporting strangers in their towns and villages. Fonka did not say how many government troops, rebels and civilians have been killed, but said the military was deployed this week to stop the incursions. On July 15, Cameroonian officials said anglophone rebels were disguising themselves as military troops and launching attacks on villages and towns in the West region. This week, Cameroonian President Paul Biya sent Assomo to lead a high-profile military delegation to French-speaking areas bordering the English-speaking North-West and South-West regions. During a meeting with local military officers and governors of the North-West and West regions on Friday, Assomo said he was asked to encourage troops fighting the separatists. He said the government adopted a new strategy to fight the rebels but did not say what the new strategy entails. Rodrique Sufor, who sells chicken in Mbouda, where Assomo and his delegation visited, says he is one of the many people who have relocated their businesses from the town of Galim because of regular separatist incursions and killing there. "When we hear Ambazonians [separatist fighters] beheading soldiers, the situation cannot leave [allow] us that we can stay in peace, so we want the government to take the situation seriously by reinforcing the security around the area," said Sufor.   Sufor says many people have also fled from the town of Babadjou to safer French-speaking towns. The government is asking the fleeing civilians to return and assuring them that the military will assure their security and safety. Cameroon’s separatist conflict has cost more than 3,000 lives and forced 550,000 people to flee to French-speaking regions of Cameroon or into neighboring Nigeria, according to the United Nations.

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