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Tanzanian Vice-president Hassan Sworn In As President

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Tanzanian Vice-president Hassan Sworn In As President

Tanzania got a new president today as Vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in.

Hassan is the country’s first female president after the sudden death of John Magufuli from an illness shrouded in mystery.

Hassan, 61, a soft-spoken Muslim woman from the island of Zanzibar, will finish Magufuli’s second five-year term, set to run until 2025.

Wearing a bright red headscarf, Hassan was sworn in as the country’s sixth president, at a ceremony in Dar es Salaam, where neither she nor the majority of attendees wore a mask, in the Covid-sceptic nation.

“I, Samia Suluhu Hassan, promise to be honest and obey and protect the constitution of Tanzania,” said the new president, as she took the oath of office before inspecting troops at a military parade and receiving a cannon salute.

She becomes the only other current serving female head of state in Africa alongside Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde, whose role is mainly ceremonial. Hassan was little known outside Tanzania until she appeared on state television on Wednesday night to announce that Magufuli had died aged 61 from a heart condition after a mysterious three -week absence from public view. But questions have been raised over the true cause of his death, after multiple rumours that Magufuli — one of the world’s most fervent Covid-sceptic leaders — had caught the virus and had sought treatment abroad.

Main opposition leader Tundu Lissu insists his sources said Magufuli had Covid-19 and had actually died a week ago. And Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper, which last week reported an “African leader”, in clear reference to Magufuli, was in a Nairobi hospital, on Friday gave more details of his illness, also indicating Magufuli had in fact died last week.

Citing sources, the paper said Magufuli was discharged from Nairobi Hospital on life support after it was determined he could not be resuscitated and returned to Dar es Salaam where he died last Thursday.

The paper details his initial evacuation to Nairobi on March 8 in a medical plane, as he suffered “acute cardiac and respiratory illnesses.”

The main question hanging over the new president is whether she will usher in a change in leadership style from her predecessor, nicknamed the “Bulldozer”, notably in the handling of the pandemic.

Magufuli leaves behind a complex legacy, after a swing to authoritarianism which saw him crack down on the media, activists and free speech while refusing to take any measures against Covid-19.

He called for prayer instead of face masks, refused to publish case statistics or implement lockdown measures, and championed alternative medicines.

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In May last year, he revealed a papaya, quail and goat had tested positive for the virus in a secret operation, proving “sabotage” at the national laboratory.

However by February, as cases soared and the vice president of semi-autonomous Zanzibar was revealed to have died from Covid-19, Magufuli conceded the virus was still circulating.

The opposition and rights groups have urged Hassan to change course.

“As we continue mourning, let us use this period to open up a new chapter for rebuilding national unity and respect to freedom, justice, rule of law, democracy and people-centred development,” said Freeman Mbowe, the chairman of opposition group Chadema, in a statement Thursday.

He urged Hassan to “lead the nation toward reconciliation”.

Meanwhile Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the new government “has a chance for a fresh start by ending problematic past practices.”

However analysts say Hassan will face early pressure from powerful Magufuli allies within the party, who dominate intelligence and other critical aspects of government, and would try and steer her decisions and agenda.

“For those who were kind of expecting a breakaway from the Magufuli way of things I would say hold your breath at the moment,” said Thabit Jacob, a researcher at the Roskilde University in Denmark and expert on Tanzania. Hailing from Zanzibar, the semi-autonomous island in the Indian Ocean, Hassan rose through the ranks over a 20-year political career from local government to the national assembly.

A ruling party stalwart, she was named Magufuli’s running mate in the 2015 presidential campaign. The pair were re-elected in October last year in a disputed poll marred by allegations of irregularities.

Hassan must consult the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) about appointing a new vice president.

The party is set to hold a special meeting of its central committee on Saturday.

Tanzania is observing a 14-day mourning period and details on Magufuli’s funeral have yet to be announced.

Magufuli is the second East African leader to die under mysterious circumstances. Burundi’s equally Covid-sceptic leader, Pierre Nkurunziza, died from “heart failure” last June after his wife was flown to Nairobi to be treated for coronavirus. [AFP]

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Police Fine British Prime Minister For Not Wearing Seatbelt In Car

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Police Fine British Prime Minister For Not Wearing Seat Belt In Car

The British Police have fined Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for not wearing a seatbelt in the back of a moving car while on a trip to northern England.

Sunak, who recorded an Instagram video on Thursday, was seen turning in his seat to talk to the camera without a seatbelt on, a video that has now been deleted from the social media site.

The PM’s office at Downing Street said the incident was a “brief error of judgment”, but Lancashire constabulary announced they were fining Sunak for the infraction, The Guardian UK says.

The force said: “You will be aware that a video has been circulating on social media showing an individual failing to wear a seatbelt while a passenger in a moving car in Lancashire.

“After looking into this matter, we have today issued a 42-year-old man from London with a conditional offer of fixed penalty.”

Reacting, a spokesperson for Sunak said: “The prime minister fully accepts this was a mistake and has apologised. He will of course comply with the fixed penalty.”

A fixed penalty means Sunak can pay a fine to avoid a court hearing.

The police did not disclose how much they had fined the prime minister, but according to the government’s safety campaign, any driver or passenger not wearing a seatbelt is breaking the law and is liable to be fined up to £500 if the case goes to court, according to The Guardian UK.

Sunak’s transportation habits were already a talking point in the United Kingdom before the incident, a report by AFP says.

 READ  ALSO: Rishi Sunak Becomes UK’s New Prime Minister

His political rivals have taken aim at his use of a private jet to make multiple short flights in recent days.

This is not the first time Sunak has been slapped with a police fine.

He was fined while serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer for attending a Downing Street party in June 2020 that violated the government’s rules on social distancing, according to an AFP report.

The latest fine makes Sunak the second Conservative prime minister to receive a police fine in less than 12 months. The Metropolitan police, in 2020, issued a fixed-penalty notice to Boris Johnson for attending a party during lockdown. Sunak was fined for attending the same event as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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World’s Oldest Nun Dies At 118

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World's Oldest Nun Does At 118

French nun Sister André who was the world’s oldest known person died at age 118 in the southern French city of Toulon, the city’s mayor Hubert Falco said on Wednesday.

Born in the southern French town of Ales on Feb. 11, 1904, as Lucile Randon, Sister André was listed as the oldest person alive by the Gerontology Research Group in April 2022.

The Frenchwoman worked as a home teacher in her youth and did not enter a religious community until she was in her early 40s.
Most recently, Sister André was confined to a wheelchair, and for several years she could no longer see properly.

READ ALSO: Eight Shot At Crowded Martin Luther King Day Block Party

She was an honorary citizen of Toulon, where she lived in a retirement home for several years.
Falco praised her as incredibly modern and a nun with a big heart.

Guinness World Records said Lucile, who took the name of Sister André in 1944, was the second-oldest French person and the second-oldest European person ever recorded.
More recently, Sister André received the record for the oldest COVID-19 survivor after an infection in 2021.

“It’s difficult to fathom that someone born before the patenting of plastic, zips or even bras were alive well into the 21st century, and robust enough to beat COVID-19’’, the Guinness World Records editor, Craig Glenday said in a statement.

“It’s been an honour to record her story in the pages of the Guinness World Records book, and she will live on in history as the fourth oldest person ever authenticated.’’

With her death, Maria Branyas Morera, who lived in Spain, assumed the title of the world’s oldest person at age 115.

 

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Eight Shot At Crowded Martin Luther King Day Block Party

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Eight Shot At Crowded Martin Luther King Day Block Party

Eight people were shot at a block party packed with more than 1,000 people celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Fort Pierce, Florida, Monday, police said.

All eight of those shot were adults and they were ferried to the hospital for treatment, including one person in critical condition, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Brian Hester said during a news conference.

Six people, including a baby, were killed in a ‘massacre’ that is likely gang-related, California sheriff’s office says.

At least four others were injured as people ran for safety, the sheriff’s office said. One of those injured was a juvenile who was hurt as people rushed to flee the park where the event was being held, Hester said.

“As the shots rang out, people were just running in all directions,” Hester said. “There were people laying behind cars, laying behind anything they could lay behind. It was kind of hard to tell who was a victim and who was just hiding at that point.”

The shooting began at around 5:20 p.m. in Ilous Ellis Park, he said, where the community had gathered for an afternoon car show, dance performances, live DJ and kids activities to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an event flyer shows.

In a video taken by a witness, attendees are seen dancing by their cars and enjoying the music when what sounds like gunfire begins to resonate over the song. People in the crowd start to rush away from the noise, some ducking behind cars or grabbing children’s hands and running across the street.

READ ALSO: A Philosopher’s Spiritual Journey And Bertrand Russell’s Influence

The incident marks the 30th mass shooting in the country this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

So far this year, the US is averaging about two mass shootings per day.

Two sheriff’s deputies who were stationed in the park ran toward the scene and provided aid to those injured, Hester said. Several witnesses also helped to render aid and drive people to the hospital, he added.

The sheriff’s office has not named any suspects in the shooting, but investigators were following up on several leads from witnesses and community members Monday night.

Investigators preliminarily believe the gunfire involved multiple shooters and resulted from “a disagreement of some sort between two parties,” Hester said.

“So many innocent people that were injured or hurt were not part of the disagreement,” he added.

Survivors of mass shootings are left with lifelong wounds — and mounting bills

“It’s really unfortunate and it’s sad that during a celebration of someone who represented peace and equality, a disagreement results in a use of guns and violence,” Hester said.

He estimated as many as 40 sheriff’s office personnel were working the case Monday night as they processed the scene, spoke to victims at the hospital and followed up on leads.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about the shooting to contact authorities or submit anonymous tips through CrimeStoppers. The sheriff’s department is handling the case because the Ilous Ellis Park is a St. Lucie County park.

Fort Pierce is a coastal city about an hour’s drive north of West Palm Beach.

. CNN

 

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