Abuja: Statement on the occasion of Democracy Day, 29 May 2018

Abuja: Statement on the occasion of Democracy Day, 29 May 2018

ABUJA, Nigeria
June 1, 2018


We join Nigerians today in celebrating the day on which democracy and civilian rule were restored.  In Nigeria, as in so many of our countries, the right for all citizens to enjoy equal participation in the democratic process was achieved after considerable struggle and suffering. We remember and celebrate all those who sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today.  The struggle to achieve democracy gives it a special value and places responsibility on all of us to support the democratic process. We congratulate Nigeria on its progress since 1999, including the first peaceful transition of power from a ruling party to an opposition party in 2015. As we celebrate your progress, we encourage and support Nigeria and its people to consolidate and deepen democracy as the country heads towards important elections next year.

Who will win the general elections in 2019 is a decision for the Nigerian people. Our concern as partners of Nigeria is to see a process that is free, fair and inclusive. We are particularly keen to see greater participation in politics from under-represented groups, including women, young people and people with disabilities.  We offer our strong support to the Independent National Elections Commission (INEC) and welcome the technical improvements they have introduced to the electoral process. We encourage the government and legislators to work with INEC to achieve further improvements at least six months before the elections, in line with the established ECOWAS protocol.

Democracy is not only about the voting process. It also requires a strong and ongoing commitment from political actors to uphold the democratic ideal. We have noted with concern recent reports of violence, intimidation and corruption, both within parties and between parties. We take advantage of this national celebration of democracy to urge all political parties to maintain Nigerian and international norms and support a credible process. It is the fundamental right of the Nigerian people to freely express their will now and in the forthcoming elections.

Signatories:

Norway, European Union, Germany, France, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden.


Distributed by APO Group

German Rghtist Calls For Fasting Muslims To Be Banned From Work During Ramadan

German Rghtist Calls For Fasting Muslims To Be Banned From Work During Ramadan

Reporting by Michelle Martin
Teis Jensen in Copenhagen
Editing by Mark Heinrich



BERLIN

May 24, 2018


A lawmaker from the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) called on Thursday for Muslim doctors, nurses, pilots, bus and train drivers to be banned from working during Ramadan if they are fasting.  Germany is home to some four million Muslims – including Turks who have lived here for decades as well as migrants and asylum seekers who arrived in the past few years, many fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.

AfD politician Martin Sichert said employers who were not able to give fasting Muslims a night or early shift should be able to make them use some of their annual leave during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.  “What patient should have to be operated by a surgeon who has not drunk anything for 12 hours?” asked Sichert, a member of the parliamentary committee for labor and social issues.

“Why should people have to be transported around by other people who might face concentration problems and dehydration because they have been fasting for hours?”  A German government spokesman said he did not want to comment.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has faced strong criticism from some Germans for opening the borders to more than a million migrants over the last few years, wants an inclusive, multi-ethnic Germany. She has long stressed Islam is part of Germany and has called for tolerance.  Sichert’s comments came after Inger Stojberg, Denmark’s Integration Minister, caused furor on Monday by urging practicing Muslims to take vacation during Ramadan to avoid a negative impact on society.

“It can simply be dangerous for all of us if the bus driver doesn’t eat or drink during a whole day, and you don’t perform at nearly the same level at the factory or the hospital if you don’t eat or drink during the bright hours of the day for a full month,” she said in a letter printed in Danish newspaper BT. Her letter was met with widespread criticism, including from within her own Liberal Party.


REUTERS

WorldRemit partners with Lebara to connect new customers to its money transfer service to Africa

WorldRemit partners with Lebara to connect new customers to its money transfer service to Africa

LONDON, United Kingdom, April 10, 2018/ — Lebara and WorldRemit, two leading brands serving international residents, have entered into a strategic partnership making WorldRemit the exclusive global money transfer partner of Lebara, including transfers to over 40 African countries.

The deal allows over 3 million Lebara Mobile and Lebara Money users to use WorldRemit’s digital money transfer service seamlessly, directly from the Lebara app and website. With more than half of WorldRemit’s transfers now going to Africa, this partnership will support the company’s plan to serve 5 million customers connected to the continent by 2020.

Lebara customers living in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark and Netherlands will benefit from WorldRemit’s extensive payout network in over 145 countries. This will provide a more convenient and lower cost alternative to the 90% of migrants who still send money through offline routes.

As part of the deal, WorldRemit will also benefit from co-branding in Lebara’s full retail estate stores and advertising in Lebara Mobile simpacks sold in 260,000 stores across Western Europe.

Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO at WorldRemit said: “We are delighted to be partnering with one of the world’s premier MVNO brands targeting international residents in Europe, giving its users access to our mobile-first service. With more than 260,000 points of sale, Lebara’s visibility and brand awareness complements WorldRemit’s strong digital capability. This partnership will introduce our safe, fast and low-cost remittance service to millions of new customers.

“WorldRemit has been working with telecommunication partners on the receive side, but this is our first strategic partnership with a mobile operator on the send side. We look forward to strengthening our leading position in the market with equally ambitious partnerships in the future.”

Graeme Oxby, CEO of Lebara Group adds: “This initiative is in response to a growing need of our valued customer base. Many of Lebara’s customers send money home to relatives and friends and we are delighted to be able to partner with WorldRemit to offer a simple to use and highly cost effective service”.

“Lebara mobile’s leadership position in the growing international residents market in Europe, coupled with a surge in smartphone users, creates an ideal platform for launching new and exciting services through partnerships. Our partners get unique access to a customer base which few other mobile companies can match.”

WorldRemit handles a growing share of the $600 billion migrant money transfer market – better known as remittances. Known for its mobile-first approach, one third of its transactions go to mobile money accounts; it currently handles 74% of international money transfers to mobile money accounts globally.

WorldRemit’s digital model allows customers to complete their transactions in just a few taps from a smartphone. Worldremit customers make more than 1 million transactions every month, using its app or website.

WorldRemit was advised by William Blair in this transaction as its financial advisor.

Department of State Participation in Flintlock 2018

Department of State Participation in Flintlock 2018

WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, April 9, 2018/ — The Department of State is pleased to once again participate in Flintlock, U.S. Africa Command’s (AFRICOM) annual and largest Special Operations Forces exercise. Flintlock exercises have taken place regularly since 2005 with partner nations from the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) and are planned by African partner nation special operations forces; Special Operations Command, Africa (SOCAFRICA); and the U.S. Department of State. Approximately 1,900 service members from 20 African and Western partner nations will participate in Flintlock at multiple locations in Niger, Burkina Faso, and Senegal from April 9-20, 2018.

The largest civilian component to Flintlock 2018 is the law enforcement training and equipment provided under the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program. Through a partnership with the ATA program, this year’s exercise marks the most thorough integration of civilian equities into Flintlock yet. The law enforcement component will build upon the cross-border counterterrorism communication, coordination, and response at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels between military and civilian law enforcement to counter terrorist threats and attacks.

In general, the law enforcement integration into Flintlock provides a series of training sessions focusing on tactical rural patrol and crisis response capabilities, counterterrorism investigations, command and communication management, post blast and crime scene investigations, community engagement, and human rights. The State Department will also integrate rule of law engagement and humanitarian border management training into components of the exercise.

The State Department is proud to be part of this exercise and values this opportunity for information sharing and integration of civilian law enforcement with the military to increase security sector and multinational interoperability and cooperation in the fight against terrorism and terrorist organizations.

Participating African nations include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal. Western partners include Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

U.S. Conducts Airstrike in Support of the Federal Government of Somalia

U.S. Conducts Airstrike in Support of the Federal Government of Somalia

STUTTGART, Germany, April 3, 2018/ — In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Forces conducted an airstrike against Al-Shabaab militants near El Burr, Somalia, the afternoon of April 1, killing five (5) terrorists and destroying one (1) vehicle.

We assess no civilians were killed in this airstrike.

U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect U.S. citizens and to disable terrorist threats. This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) in combined counterterrorism operations and targeting terrorists, their training camps, and their safe havens throughout Somalia and the region.