Africa 54 – July 29, 2020

You are watching Africa 54, your daily news and feature magazine-style program, from the Voice of America. Host Esther Githui-Ewart and a team of correspondents zero in on the big stories making news on the continent and around the world with context and analysis.

Top Stories:

Zimbabwean Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri, 65, has died Wednesday, according to a statement from President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Government sources say Shiri, who commanded the nation’s air force for a quarter century until he joined the government in 2017, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday. The retired general is recognized as a key planner in the coup of former President Robert Mugabe in 2017. According to Reuters and domestic media reports, Shiri died from complications linked to COVID-19, which has infected over 2,800 people and killed at least forty in Zimbabwe.

Islam’s holiest observance is underway as a small group of pilgrims arrived in Mecca to begin the Hajj, which has been dramatically scaled-back due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of the two million-plus people from around the world that normally make the required once-in-a-lifetime journey to Islam’s holiest site, Saudi Arabia has barred all international travelers from entering the kingdom to perform the hajj, limiting the attendees to just one-thousand people made up of Saudi nationals and foreign residents who were pre-selected weeks ago.

Saudi Arabia has over 270,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 2,800 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The World Health Organization is warning against complacency about new coronavirus transmission in the northern hemisphere summer, saying this virus does not behave like influenza that tended to follow seasonal trends.

Indian cities, long a magnet for migrant workers, may be losing their lure for the millions of people who have joined the exodus back to their villages during the covid-19 pandemic in the biggest reverse migration witnessed in India. As cities continue to grapple with rising infections and millions lose jobs, many are opting to start life all over again in the safer environment of their villages.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that originated in China, U.S. President Donald Trump is adopting an increasingly hardline policy against Beijing – elevating U.S.-China policy as a major issue in the presidential election campaign. Trump has criticized his democratic party rival, former vice president Joe Biden, as being soft on China.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr told lawmakers federal intervention was needed to calm ongoing protests in the northwestern U.S. city of Portland, Oregon. Barr pushed back against congressional Democrats’ accusations he has placed loyalty to President Donald Trump ahead of upholding the rule of law in the United States.

Artist Dominick Cocozza is only 18 years old. But his painting of two migrant children holding a sign that reads “bring our mom back” is already being displayed at the U.S. capitol. Another work of his is hanging in the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum. Adopted from Guatemala, Dominick focuses his work around the U.S. immigration crisis.

#Zimbabwe #PerranceShiri #EmmersonMnangagwa #Islam #Hajj #Mecca #COVID19 #Coronanvirus #SaudiArabia #WHO #India #MigrantWorkers #China #UnitedStates #DonaldTrump #Immigrants

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