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TOPIC: africa

In The News

After Dutch Apology For Slavery, Why Is Belgium Balking On Its Colonial History?

On the same day that Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte officially apologized for the Netherlands’ involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in neighboring Belgium, a parliamentary committee was unable to garner enough political support to apologize for decades of brutal colonization in central Africa.

Belgium and the Netherlands share a border, a language and a bustling trade relationship in the heart of Europe — they also share an ugly colonial legacy.

Yet while the Netherlands offered a landmark official apology this week for its ugly past, politicians in Belgium couldn't agree to do the same with its own colonial atrocities.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte officially apologized on Monday for the Netherlands’ involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, saying the country needed to do more to atone for its past. The country will set up a €200 million fund dedicated to raising awareness of the country’s past, as well as “addressing the present-day effects of slavery,” the Dutch government announced.

But on the same day in neighboring Belgium, a parliamentary committee folded after more than two years of work when members of parliament couldn’t agree on whether the country should apologize for decades of brutal colonization in central Africa.

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Why It's Time To Abolish Aid To Africa

Aid in its current form is expensive and inefficient. And it isn't needed — Africa is now a dynamic and confident continent. Europe needs a change of perspective to understand that it needs Africa as much as Africa needs Europe.

-OpEd-

BERLIN — We have a responsibility to help those in need. That is undeniable. From the earliest days of foreign aid, it was given with the best of intentions — to alleviate poverty in Africa. But since then, it has grown into an entire industry. There are so many organizations, all seeking to do good, but inefficiency and misguided assumptions mean they often fail to achieve what they set out to do.

In my opinion, the aid industry has always shown a hint of disdain towards this emerging, vibrant continent. Yes, it is a complex continent – as they all are. It is marked by poverty and war, but that is not the full picture. That is why we need a new approach. Instead of aid, Germany and the rest of the West should focus on increasing economic cooperation with Africa – as an equal partner.

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Business Tips, Free Speech, Racism: A Nigerian Writer's China Diaries

The deepening ties between China and Africa are a hot topic, but the voices we hear are usually the same — white and Western. So what does China look like to an African? Nigerian journalist Solomon Elusoji is the best person to ask.

BEIJING — China's increasing trade links with Africa have become the most discussed bilateral relationships of the twenty-first century.

But the opinions we hear are usually white and Western. Solomon Elusoji, a Nigerian journalist, is in a unique position having spent extended periods of time in China. His perspective adds one that is oddly missing from a widely discussed topic — the voices of Africans.

In 2018, at the age of 23, Elusoji was sent to China by his editor at Nigeria's daily newspaper, This Day.

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Meet Ibrahim Traoré, Russia’s Favorite New Strongman In Africa

While Russia is suffering bitter setbacks in the Ukraine war, it is successfully expanding its influence in Africa. With Burkina Faso, Moscow has succeeded in detaching another country from the French sphere of influence. The Kremlin was not only motivated by security policy, but also by digging into the resources available.

-Analysis-

Experience shows that the number of well-wishers after coups d'état is close to zero.

The situation is different for Burkina Faso's new military ruler, Ibrahim Traoré. Although he received the expected condemnation for his September 30 coup from the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and the West African confederation Ecowas, he also received benevolent words — from Russia.

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They came from Russian oligarch Yevgini Prigozhin, founder of the Kremlin-affiliated mercenary group Wagner.

"I congratulate and support Captain Ibrahim Traoré," the Putin loyalist announced just hours after the coup, when the whole world was still puzzling over who exactly is this soldier, who is just 34 years old and has emerged from the middle ranks of the army hierarchy.

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Migrant Lives
Eleonora Camilli

Lampedusa Postcard: "Invisible" Migrants As Campaign Propaganda

As Italy prepares to vote, migration from Africa is once again a hot topic, even as the number of arrivals is dropping. A view from the tiny Italian island that has been at the center of the debate for more than a decade, where the specter of migrants is rolled out as prime election propaganda.

LAMPEDUSA — The double-decker boat slowly approaches the dock while Italian rock music plays. It is just after 9 p.m., and the air is warm and windy. The many people on board gather bags, shoes and towels and head for the exit.

"Nice, we had a good time," say two tourists from the northern Italian city of Bergamo as they get on the scooter parked at the end of the pier.

The evening cruise lasted four hours: it included a tour of the most beautiful beaches, dolphin spotting, an aperitif with a D.J. set, and food before returning. It was a long party on the sea, one of the countless attractions of the island of Lampedusa, which is still filled with tourists even as summer fades.

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In The News
Bertrand Hauger, Anna Akage, Meike Eijsberg, Chloe Touchard and Emma Albright

Retaking Kherson, Ukraine’s Southern Counteroffensive Has Begun

Six months into the war, Ukrainian forces have launched a counteroffensive in southern Ukraine to retake Russian-controlled territory. According to an on-the-ground military source, contacted by CNN, “the operation began at night with massive shelling of Russian positions and the rear.” Ukraine has liberated four villages so far: Nova Dmytrivka, Arkhanhel's'ke, Tomyna Balka and Pravdyne, while Kyiv’s main target remains Kherson.

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Situated in the south of Ukraine, Kherson is a port city that serves as a bridge to and from Crimea. It was also the first major city in Ukraine to be occupied by Moscow’s troops. In recent days, the Ukrainian military has managed to cause damage to “bridges across the Dnipro," according to military officials in a Telegram post, making it “possible to cut off the Russian army from the supply of weapons and personnel from Crimea.”

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In The News
Anna Akage and Emma Albright

Putin Blames U.S. For "Dragging Out" Conflict

While delivering the welcome address at the Moscow Conference on International Security on Tuesday, Vladimir Putin accused Washington of “dragging out” the conflict in Ukraine. The Russian president also mentioned the visit by Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan earlier this month, calling it a “thoroughly planned provocation”. The conference, which runs from Aug. 15 to 17, is hosted by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and will include several panels on global security issues.

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Putin added that Western countries were trying to extend a “NATO-like system” into the Asia Pacific region. For Putin, NATO’s expansion in Europe was one of the main causes for his invasion of Ukraine. Putin had previously accused NATO of launching an active military build-up on territories surrounding Russia during a speech to mark Russia’s Victory Day in May.

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In The News
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, McKenna Johnson and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Russia Cuts Gas To Europe, Myanmar Protests, SpaceX Rival

👋 Yokwe!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Europe braces for Russia turning off gas, an architect of Northern Ireland peace deal dies and a European rival to SpaceX is taking shape. Meanwhile, we look at what makes the Ukrainian port city of Odessa such a strategic and symbolic target for Vladimir Putin.

[*Marshallese, Marshall Islands]

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In The News
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, McKenna Johnson and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Russian Gas Flows Again, Draghi Resigns, Australia’s Pink Glow

👋 A jaaraama!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi resigns, the race for Britain’s leadership narrows down to two, and Australia’s sky turns pink. Meanwhile, Fiore Longo in Spanish magazine La Marea reports on the fate of the Maasai ethnic group in eastern Africa, let down by ineffective conservationist movements.

[*Fula, West and Central Africa]

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Society
Clara Le Fort

Return To Clay: Why An Ancient Building Material Is Back In Fashion

Concrete and glass are often thought of as the only building materials of modern architecture. But Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African winner of a prestigious Pritzker architecture prize, works with clay, whose sustainability is not the only benefit.

"Clay is fascinating. It has this unique grain and is both beautiful and soft. It soothes; it contributes to well-being..."

Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize last March, is paying tribute to clay. It's a material that he adores, which has too often been shunned and attributed to modest constructions and peasant houses. Diébédo Kéré has always wanted to celebrate "earthen architecture”: buildings made out of clay. It's a technique that has been used for at least 10,000 years, which draws on this telluric element, known as dried mud, beaten earth, rammed earth, cob or adobe.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Shaun Lavelle and Emma Albright

How Ukrainian TV Was Turned Upside Down After Feb. 24

Banding together, once rivals created a wartime system where media groups share several air hours a day, which are broadcast by all six central TV channels to ensure around-the-clock broadcasting.

With the start of the full-scale war, the leaders of Ukraine’s largest television holdings — typically business (and sometimes, political) rivals quickly got together to reorder the way TV would be broadcast in the face of the Russian invasion.

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Ukrainian Pravda has reported on the back story of this momentous decision to effectively turn national broadcasting into an ongoing shared telethon.

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In The News
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Alleged Mariupol Chemical Attack, 4 Million Displaced Children

👋 Khulumkha!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where reports have surfaced of a possible Russian chemical weapons attack in the besieged city of Mariupol, at least 25 die in a tropical storm in the Philippines, and a British woman breaks an exhausting world record. Meanwhile, Spanish independent magazine La Marea zooms in on BioTexCom, a Kyiv-based surrogacy clinic that continues to function in the middle of the war.

[*Kokborok - India and Bangladesh]

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