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After Tokyo Olympic Golds, Uganda Guns To Become Africa's Next Sports Powerhouse

Success at the Tokyo Olympics inspired Uganda to step up its efforts to become a long-distance running powerhouse.

KAPCHORWA, UGANDA — Agong Micheal wants to become a Ugandan Olympic champion so badly that he skips his lunch every day to go for a run.

“Lunchtime is a waste of time,” he says.

The 17-year-old says his dream is to qualify for the Ugandan athletics team, win medals and receive the prize money that the country gives winners. Agong is on an athletic scholarship at Gombe Secondary School in Mpigi, a town in central Uganda. But when schools closed due to the coronavirus, he sought work as a laborer at the National High Altitude Training Centre, a state-of-the-art training facility under construction in Kapchorwa, in the eastern highlands. Although the facility is not open yet, working there gives Agong a rare opportunity to try out the course.

“One day I will be as famous as [Joshua] Cheptegei and [Peruth] Chemutai,” he says, referring to two Ugandans who won gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

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The Beauty Of Diversity: Pageants Around The World Celebrate Difference

Beauty pageants once rewarded good looks, and maybe some talent on the side. But the events are no longer just a showcase for perfect hair and swimsuits. Innovative pageants around the world celebrate differences and advocate for people with disabilities and LGBTQ+ communities.

Gina Rühl might soon make history as the first Miss Germany with only one arm, an injury she sustained after a life-threatening motorcycle accident. Rühl now uses her platform to advocate for others with disabilities. She told German newspaper Die Welt that she decided to compete in Miss Germany because “I knew that this competition is no longer just about the outer shell, but about who you are and what message you want to convey to people.”

This is an increasingly common sentiment among beauty pageant contestants, a genre of competition that originally awarded good looks, and maybe some talent on the side. No longer just a showcase for beauty queens, both conventional and more inventive pageants around the world are embracing a more diverse range of contests.

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Uganda Triples Teacher Salaries — But Only In STEM Courses

KAMPALA — Allen Asimwe has dedicated more than two decades to teaching geography at a large public high school in southwestern Uganda. Her retirement age, as a public servant entitled to benefits, is just six years away.

She doubts she will wait that long.

“I am determined, I want to quit,” she says, calculating that she could earn more by shifting full time to the salon she opened six years ago to supplement her income. “Given the frustration, I cannot continue in class anymore.”

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COVID School Chaos, Snapshots From 10 Countries Around The World

Teachers, students, parents and society as a whole have suffered through the various attempts at educating through the pandemic. Here’s how it looks now: from teacher strikes in France to rising drop-out rates in Argentina to Uganda finally ending the world’s longest shutdown.

School, they say, is where the future is built. The next generation’s classroom learning is crucial, but schools also represent an opportunity for children to socialize, get help for special needs … and in some villages and neighborhoods, get their one decent meal a day.

COVID-19 has of course put all of that at risk. At the peak of the pandemic, classrooms were closed for 1.6 billion schoolchildren worldwide, with the crisis forcing many to experiment on the fly for the first time in remote learning, and shutting down learning completely for many millions more — exacerbating worldwide inequality in education.

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In The News
Jane Herbelin, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

Modi Bows To Farmers, Belarus Camps Cleared, Extra-Long Eclipse

👋 Dia dhuit!*

Welcome to Friday, where Indian farmers win a major victory against the Modi government after a year of protests, Austria announces a full lockdown and mandatory vaccines and the world is treated to the longest lunar eclipse in nearly 600 years. We also have a feature story from Jeune Afrique magazine that traces the international origins of twerking.


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In The News
Jane Herbelin, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

Russia Space Blast Endangers Astronauts, Belarus Border Clashes, Leo’s Beach

👋 ሰላም!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Russia is under fire for blowing up a satellite in space, clashes erupt at the Poland-Belarus border and Leo's Beach opens again. Courtesy of German daily Die Welt, we also look at the reasons behind the major discrepancies in COVID-19 vaccination rates across Europe.

[*Selam, Amharic - Ethiopia]

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Antonella Mariotti

Meet The Italian Psychiatrist Who Treats Both Humans And Chimpanzees

A program in Uganda helps chimpanzees deal with their emotions through sign language and art. Mariangela Ferrero can compare their woes to those of her human patients near Turin.

TURIN - “They killed my mother. And they killed her to take me...”

Michael was around 10 years old, which is still young for a gorilla, when he realized that he could communicate with sign language. And naturally, he went straight to his therapist, in her white coat, and told her about the day his mother was kidnapped. “I still hear gunshots. At night I can still see them cutting off my mother’s head.”

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Jacques Kikuni Kokonyange

Straddling The Congo-Uganda Border With Two Nationalities - Best Of Both Lives

BWERA - It's market day in Bwera, a Ugandan city on the banks of the Rubirihiya river that separates the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda, east of the Beni region.

Ugandans and Congolese sell from the same stalls. It is hard to distinguish them because they all discuss products and prices in "Kinande," their shared mother tongue. They aren't that different, really. Transactions are carried out in shillings on the Ugandan side, and in francs on the Congolese one. The same merchants do their market rounds on both sides of the border.

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Ebola Outbreak In Uganda And New Seal Flu Virus Have Scientists Worried



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Emmanuel Ngendanzi

A New Attempt To Crack Open Africa's Mining Industry To Women

Around Africa's Great Lakes region, the precious metals industry is not getting the most out of its mines. One way to improve the industry would be to include more women in the work force -- but resistance runs deep.

KAMPALA - Women are still a rare sight in the lucrative mining industry in Africa's Great Lakes region, as local traditions, religion and even the law block their entry. Zambia however has become the great exception that helps better understand how things might change.

"Often marginalized, women occupy a second-class position in the mining sector, where men represent 95 percent of the workforce," says Zacharie Nzeyimana, a researcher for the Great Lakes Initiative on AIDS (GLIA), speaking during a legal workshop at the recently held International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (CIRGL).

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food / travel
Philipp Hedemann

White Nile: The Best Rafting In The World Is In Uganda

The White Nile offers perfect rafting conditions: soft water and few sharp stones. The number of times you go overboard depends mainly on the mood of who’s steering.

JINJA -- This must be how the delicate cycle works in a washing machine. Everything's rotating, the water is 30° C, and when I come up I'm going to be really, really clean. If I come up! When is this cycle over!?

Air's getting tight. What's up, what's down? After a couple of seconds that seem endless I finally manage to get my head above water. I have just been thoroughly washed by the White Nile where, according to Lonely Planet, the best rafting in the world is available in the topmost of the top travel countries in 2012: Uganda.

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