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24 Hours Across Africa

UN calls for international refugee protection over fleeing Venezuelans.

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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has call on the world not to deport fleeing Venezuelans refugees due to her political crisis, and have urged other states to provide adequate security.

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Some 3.7 million people have left Venezuela, including 3 million since 2015 as the economy has imploded causing widespread shortages and hunger, and anti-government street protests have brought waves of violence and deaths.

Venezuelans continue to leave at the rate of 3,000 to 5,000 a day, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said, giving updated guidance on how to handle the exodus.

“UNHCR … now considers that the majority of those fleeing the country are in need of international refugee protection,” agency spokeswoman Liz Throssell told a news briefing.

“It is incredibly important given the situation in Venezuela that there aren’t deportations, expulsions or forced returns.”

UNHCR noted that there had been some deportations from Caribbean islands, including by Trinidad and Tobago last year.

Only 460,000 Venezuelans had sought formal asylum as of the end of 2018, mainly in Peru, the United States, Brazil and Spain, while others have legal stay arrangements in countries including Colombia, Chile and Ecuador, it said.

The U.N. children’s agency said that deteriorating conditions inside Venezuela had left vulnerable children with limited access to health, education, protection and nutrition services.

The agency has provided nearly 190,000 children with access to nutrition programs but cannot do all it wants to in Venezuela, UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac said.

Dozens of nations around the world now recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president, saying President Nicolas Maduro rigged a 2018 election and is behaving like a dictator. But Guaido has been unable to remove Maduro, who still has the backing of the top military brass.


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24 Hours Across Africa

Tunisia: former President Ben Ali confirmed dead

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All time, former Tunisia’s President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has died in exile aged 83, his family says.

Ben Ali led the country for 30years and was credited with delivering stability and some economic prosperity.

But he received widespread criticism for suppressing political freedoms and for widespread corruption.

In 2011, he was forced from office following mass street protests. This triggered a wave of similar uprisings across the Arab world.

At least half a dozen countries in the region saw their president fall or conflicts break out in the wake of the former Tunisian leader’s downfall, in what became known as the Arab Spring.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Gantz refuse’s Netanyahu offer on unity government

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After a vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival.

Israel’s weakened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw his offer on Thursday for a coalition with his strongest political rival,  Gantz, swiftly rebuffed after failing to secure a governing majority in a tight election.

Netanyahu’s surprise move was an abrupt change of strategy for the right-wing leader. Its rejection could spell weeks of wrangling after Tuesday’s election, which followed an inconclusive national ballot in April.

Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party emerged from the second round of voting this year slightly ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud, but also short of enough supporters in the 120-member parliament for a ruling bloc.

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, said in a video clip in which he urged Gantz, the country’s former military chief, to meet him “as soon as today”, that he had pledged during the election campaign to form a right-wing, Likud-led government.

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