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Africa 54 – October 15, 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:

A United Nations report due to be published this week details the “strong financial position” of the Somali militant group al-Shabaab — including how it is moving millions of dollars through the formal banking system and investing in property and businesses.

The South Sudanese government and rebels of the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance this week have agreed in principle in Rome to cease hostilities. The group, which comprises National Salvation Front, has yet to sign the 2018 revitalized peace agreement. A spokesperson for the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance says the cease hostilities agreement will lead to negotiations that will eventually result to a comprehensive peace agreement. The group came to the negotiating table not because it wants positions in the transitional government of national unity, but because it is more concerned about the suffering of South Sudanese people, according to the spokesperson.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 infections worldwide is accelerating – with more than 38 million cases and a death toll exceeding one million as of Wednesday. The United States remains the worst-hit country in the world, followed by India and Brazil.

Saeed Mohamed fled civil war in Somalia as a teenager to South Africa. Thirty years later, after building a successful career, the COVID-19 pandemic is providing an opportunity for him to give back.

Firefighters are on their fifth day Thursday of trying to contain a forest fire in a conservation area on Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak. Tanzania’s minister of natural resources and tourism, Hamisi Kigwangalla, says the fire is threatening the alpine ecological zone, which is inhabited by various wildlife including birds, snakes and lizards. Kigwangalla also says dry conditions, strong winds, and the location of the fire are hampering efforts to bring it under control. The citizen newspaper is reporting that Tanzania’s government will buy helicopters to bolster efforts to fight wildfires. Initial reports indicate the fire was caused by porters heating food for climbers on Sunday, but the probe into the blaze continues. There have been no reports of human casualties.

Vulture numbers are dwindling in Kenya, partly due to poisoning, with the scavengers ending up as collateral damage in a battle between farmers and other predators.

New York City is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases as the number of deaths in the city nears 24,000. City leaders are shutting down some parts of New York to contain the virus while businesses continue to struggle to stay afloat. Meanwhile one group is helping recent U.S. immigrants as they adapt to a new country and deal with the pandemic.

Both U.S. President Donald Trump and former Vice president Joe Biden, are campaigning hard in the southeastern state of Florida, which has 29 of the 270 electoral votes either candidate would need to win the election. America’s biggest swing state — and a haven for retirees, Florida has chosen the winner of the last six presidential contests.

#UnitedNations #Somali #alShabaab #SouthSudan #Sudanese #COVID19 #UnitedStates #Tanzania #Kilimanjaro #SouthAfrica #Somalia #DonaldTrump #JoeBiden #

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