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24 Hours Across Africa

UNHCR declares 21 Venezuelans still missing after boat sinks in Caribbean

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Source: Reuters

At least 21 Venezuelans were missing after their boat sank on the way to the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, the U.N. refugee agency said on Friday, citing information from that country’s coast guard.

The boat, the “Jhonnaly Jose”, was carrying at least 25 people from the Venezuelan coastal town of Guiria when it capsized in the early hours of Wednesday, UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva.

“This tragic incident highlights the extreme risks of sea journeys and other irregular cross-border movements undertaken by refugees and migrants. It also underscores the desperation of those forced to flee their homes and the extraordinary difficulties faced on their journey,” he said.

The UNHCR says more than three million Venezuelans have fled the South American country since 2014 due to widespread shortages of food and medicine and deteriorating law and order.

Four of the 25 aboard the boat were rescued by the Trinidad and Tobago coast guard after a search and rescue effort carried out jointly with Venezuelan counterparts, and then taken back to Venezuela, Baloch said.

Trinidad and Tobago is situated about 70 km (45 miles) off Venezuela’s northern coast.

Venezuela plunged into deeper political crisis in January when Juan Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled congress, invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election was not legitimate.


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24 Hours Across Africa

Ten and thousands of Hong Kong protesters flood city streets in largest rally in weeks

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Source: AFP- A sea of democracy activists flooded the streets of Hong Kong Sunday in a defiant show to the city’s leaders that their movement still pulls wide public support, despite mounting violence and increasingly stark warnings from Beijing.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters carrying umbrellas poured across the heart of Hong Kong island defying torrential rain and a police order not to march from a park where they had gathered earlier for a rally.

Weeks of demonstrations have plunged the financial hub into crisis, with images of masked black-clad protesters engulfed by tear gas during street battles against riot police stunning a city once renowned for its stability.

Sunday’s action, which organisers the Civil Human Rights Front said drew more than 1.7 million in the largest rally in weeks, was billed as a return to the “peaceful” origins of the leaderless protest movement.


“It’s been a long day and we’re very tired, but to see so many people out in the rain marching for Hong Kong gives strength to everyone,” said Danny Tam, a 28-year-old graphic designer.

The unprecedented political crisis was sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

But protests have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city.

Anger has been sharpened among protesters by the perceived heavy-handedness of the police who have used tear gas, baton charges and rubber bullets in incidents that have pinballed across social media.

“The police are doing things that are totally unacceptable,” said Yim, who like many of the protesters gave only one name.

“They are hurting citizens, they aren’t protecting us.”

AFP / Manan VATSYAYANATorrential rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm of protesters in Hong Kong

Communist Party-ruled mainland China has taken an increasingly hardline tone towards the protesters, decrying the “terrorist-like” actions of a violent hardcore minority among the demonstrators.

Despite the near-nightly clashes with police, the movement has won few concessions from Beijing or the city’s unelected leadership.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Samson Siasia ban for life by Fifa

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Former Nigeria coach Samson Siasia has been banned for life and fined $50,000 by Fifa for agreeing to ‘the manipulation of matches.’

Siasia was coach of Nigeria between 2010-2011 and for a spell in 2016 but the time period when Fifa believes he committed his infractions is unclear.

He has also served as coach of the country’s Under-20 and Under-23 sides.

In a statement, Siasia was found ‘guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches.’

The sanction stems from an ongoing ‘large-scale investigation’ Fifa is conducting into the behaviour of Wilson Raj Perumal, a convicted match-fixer from Singapore.

He is the third African to be banned by Fifa for his links to Perumal after former Sierra Leone FA official Abu Bakarr Kabba and former Botswana FA official Mooketsi Kgotlele were suspended in July for five years and for life respectively.

A former international, Siasia won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria, for whom he played over 50 times while scoring 16 goals.

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