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Female Malaysian mayor to head U.N.’s urbanization agenda

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A Malaysian woman is set to take the helm of the United Nations agency seeking to improve life in fast-growing cities, which will be home to two-thirds of the world by 2050.

The United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General has appointed Dato’ Maimunah Mohd Sharif, a qualified town planner and currently Mayor of the City Council of Malaysia’s tranquil, tropical Penang Island, to head UN-Habitat, based in Kenya.

Sharif previously managed Penang Island’s George Town World Heritage Site, the oldest part of Malaysia’s second largest city, which is popular with tourists for its colonial history and architecture.

As executive director of UN-HABITAT, Sharif will battle to boost donor funding for the 40-year-old agency, which fell dramatically under former Barcelona mayor Joan Clos.

Another key focus will be implementing the agency’s New Urban Agenda, a 20-year vision for sustainable cities, adopted at last year’s Habitat III conference in Ecuador.

UN-Habitat predicts the number of people living in cities will almost double to 7 billion in 2050 from 3.7 billion today, with many mired in squalor if urbanisation is poorly managed.

Sharif’s first major event in February will be on home turf in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, which will host the World Urban Forum, the U.N.’s premiere global event on cities.

The U.N. General Assembly is expected to formally approve Sharif’s appointment soon, the U.N. said in a statement.

Prior to Clos, who took office in 2010, UN-Habitat was led by Tanzania’s former housing minister Anna Tibaijuka.

Crime

Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick under fresh corruption probe

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Several properties belonging to top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including its president Amaju Pinnick, have been seized in a fresh corruption probe.

The latest investigation and seizures are being carried out by the country’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s (ICPC).

The ICPC has published a newspaper advertisement about the properties seized – half of which belong to Pinnick.

According to the statement published in the Nigerian papers one of Pinnick’s properties is in London.

It comes amidst wide-ranging claims over how money meant for football development allegedly disappeared.

“We can’t go into further details beyond the fact that many officials of the NFF are under investigation,” ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said.

“It’s basically because what they have is in excess of what they have earned.”

The ICPC has also taken control of properties belonging to the NFF second vice-president Shehu Dikko and the general secretary Muhamed Sanusi among others.

Source: BBC

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24 Hours Across Africa

Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival

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Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.

Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.

But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.

“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.

The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.

Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.

The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.

That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.

Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.

“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.

He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.

“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”

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