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Jubilation in Egypt after first World Cup berth in 28 years

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Egypt’s capital crackled with fireworks and blared with horns as the soccer-crazy country reached the World Cup for the first time in 28 years as rare scenes of joy took hold of city blocks celebrating a 2-1 victory over Congo.

Winger Mohamed Salah scored twice, securing victory with a last-gasp penalty to put Egypt four points clear with one match left in their African group E qualifying campaign.

The win clinched Egypt a long-awaited spot in Russia for the 2018 World Cup finals, where the Arab world’s most populous country will compete on football’s ultimate stage for the first time since Italy in 1990.

“It’s been 28 years and we’re finally going to enter the World Cup. Today is a day of celebration for the entire country,” said 41-year-old Gaber Fathy.

The raucous mood spilling out on the streets marked a respite for Egyptians after years of hardship, from IMF-backed austerity reforms that have pushed inflation to record highs to a tough law on protests that has made public gatherings exceedingly rare after two presidents were toppled since a 2011 uprising.

“You can look around and see how people are happy. This is something you never witness in Egypt,” said 23-year-old Gamal Mohamed in downtown Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the iconic center of the country’s once-active protest movement, which has since been quashed by tough security measures.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi congratulated the Egyptian people after the match as tireless fans draped in flags turned the streets into an impromptu parade of red, white and black.

Just across the border in neighboring Gaza, where Egypt has led a political reconciliation process, thousands of Palestinians poured into an open-air park to cheer on the second Arab country to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after Saudi Arabia.

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Malawi to Consider a New Typhoid Vaccine

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Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) Aziza Mwisongo has advised the Ministry of health to speedily consider adopting for the new typhoid vaccine.

Mwisongo said Typhoid is an epidemic in Malawi, with research showing that more than 16,000 cases are reported every year.

Mwisongo was speaking in Mponela on Wednesday during a workshop organized by Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) to brief health practitioners on the importance of the new typhoid vaccine called Typbar-TCV.

She said drug resistance has caused typhoid incidence in Malawi to increase over the past years and an estimated 64 percent of typhoid cases and 67 percent of typhoid deaths occur in children under 15 years of age.

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“While typhoid is rarely fatal, the recovery is long and difficult, the disease takes time, money, and productivity from those infected and their families it is associated with numerous, long-term complications,” she said

She said the Typbar-TCV is a typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) and is effective in the sense that it has a longer lasting protection, require fewer doses, and reduces the need for antibiotics, slow further emergence of drug-resistant typhoid strains and save lives.

Mwisongo said the vaccine is suitable for children 6 months of age and older, and offers protection for at least 3 years to adults and infants over 6 months of age.

“In Malawi, TyVAC and project partners are studying how well TCVs prevent typhoid in children between 9 months and 12 years of age as well as the safety, impact, and cost of the vaccine,” she said

She added, “While the WHO already recommends TCV introduction in all typhoid epidemic countries, this additional evidence will help inform ongoing decisions about TCV vaccination in low and middle income countries.”

Deputy Director in the Ministry of Health and population responsible for immunology Matthew Kagoli acknowledged the importance of the typhoid vaccine saying the disease was serious in the country because it affected people in communities as outbreaks.

Kagoli said with the available data it is undoubtedly true that the country needs the vaccine, but further consultations have to be done before adopting the vaccine in the country.

“The vaccine is important and the country will benefit from it but further and thorough consultations need to be done before we take a stand as a country regarding the vaccine,” he said

Typhoid is an enteric fever caused by Salmonella Typhi, it is spread through contaminated food and water and is a substantial public health issue in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Nigeria: BOD Okays Hijab for Muslim barred from call to bar

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A female law student barred from the country’s call to bar last year for wearing the Muslim head covering has been asked to attend the ceremony billed for later this year.

Firdaus Amasa was denied access to the call to bar ceremony in the capital Abuja for insisting on wearing her religious head covering in the hall, triggering a backlash from the country’s Muslim community which accused the law school of religious discrimination.

The controversy has led to lawsuits, especially after the parliament called a public hearing on the issue.

But president of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), Kamal Dawud, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday that Amasa has now been granted approval to attend the legal ritual later this year.

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“The Body of Benchers (BOD) met today to discuss the report of a committee established to look at the call to bar of Amasa,” he said. “To the best of my knowledge, the report was not considered for one reason or the other. But they resolved that the girl should be called to bar with her head covered at the next call to bar event,” according to the law professor.

“It’s a victory because what we are saying is that she has her rights and should not be denied such rights under whatever guise. This is a right donated by the Constitution. The only institution that has the say over interpretation of the constitution and the only institution empowered to make pronouncements on whether any law or act is consistent with the Constitution or not is the court and so far the decisions of the court of appeal are in favor of the hijaab.”

The BOD, an ultra-conservative body of current and retired senior judges and lawyers, has the final say on the codes applicable for the legal profession in Nigeria.

The MULAN, along with the country’s Muslim community, championed the #JusticeForFridaus campaign to have Amasa called to the bar as well as scrap whatever laws that proscribe the use of the head covering at such events.

An appeals court in 2016 held that the head covering is a fundamental human rights of every female Muslim and may be worn anywhere of her choice, striking down a government circular that had restricted its use in the public school.

The government has appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court.

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Opposition leader Bemba expected ahead of DR Congo presidential elections.

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Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, whose war crimes convictions were quashed last month, is expected to return to Congo next month for a party congress to select a candidate for December’s presidential vote, a party spokesman said on Friday.

Bemba, a former rebel leader and vice president, left Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2007 and spent the last 10 years in prison in The Hague. He is currently free in Belgium pending a hearing on a separate conviction for witness tampering.



Last week, the Congolese Foreign Affairs Minister Leonard She Okitundu said the former Vice President ‘may return’ to the country if he wishes. Okitundu who did not specify whether Bemba will be prosecuted by the Congolese justice system, said Bemba ‘left on his own will, and that he can return if he wants to’.

Bemba’s return would introduce yet another factor to consider in DRC’s complex political crisis that has seen Kabila stay on as president despite the fact that his second an final term of office ended in 2016.

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While elections have been scheduled for Decemeber this year, the opposition have repeatedly protested Kabila’s refusal to outrightly rule himself out of the contest.

Bemba has since Friday been on bail in Belgium pending a final decision on his punishment, according to the International Criminal Court( ICC).

The ICC acquitted Bemba of crimes against humanity and war crimes but not in the case of bribery of witnesses.

The court issued “specific conditions” for his provisional release after ten years of detention, including “not changing address without notice”.

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