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Musings From Abroad

France bans phones in schools. 9 out of 10 teens own smart phones!

Following the results of a vote in the National Assembly, France on Monday approved the ban on mobile phones in schools, radio broadcaster Franceinfo reports

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Following the results of a vote in the National Assembly, France on Monday approved the ban on mobile phones in schools, radio broadcaster Franceinfo reports.

The law fundamentally bans the use of mobile phones in all preschools and primary schools, as well as middle school.

The move had been a campaign demand by centrist President Emmanuel Macron.

The News Agency of Nigeria had reported that Senators and national assembly deputies reached the agreement late Wednesday on the ban for all three tiers of French education (primary, middle and high school), except for educational purposes.

Read Also: Claims of witch-hunt as 4 million Bengalis risk losing India citizenship

Teachers have been calling for the ban to curtail a growing distraction in classrooms, with nearly nine out of ten French teens aged 12 to 17 now owning a smartphone.

Besides cutting down on screen time, the bill also aims to protect children from dangerous online content such as violence or pornography, as well as cyberbullying.

Each school will decide how to apply the ban, for example by making students hand them over when entering school premises or requiring them to keep them turned off in their backpacks.

Musings From Abroad

Kenya, UAE seal economic relations deal

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Thani Al Zeyoudi, the United Arab Emirate’s minister of foreign trade, has announced that his country and Kenya have reached an agreement for a comprehensive economic partnership (Cepa).

According to a social media post by Al Zeyoudi, non-oil commerce between the Gulf State and Kenya reached $3.1 billion in 2023, up 26.4% from 2022.

As part of a plan to diversify its oil-based economy, the UAE initiated bilateral trade talks with many African nations in 2022, including Kenya, the largest economy in East Africa.

“We will now look to expand across sectors, from food production and mining to technology and logistics,” he said of the agreement.

Kenya’s Trade Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano was quoted by the UAE state news agency WAM as saying that the agreement would be crucial in making it possible for Kenyan exports to reach significant markets in Asia and the Middle East as well as “in stimulating investment inflows that will further develop our national capabilities.”

The UAE has inked other Cepas, including agreements with Asia’s superpowers, India and Indonesia, as well as longtime adversaries, Israel and Turkey. 2023 saw the Gulf State sign its first CEPA with two African countries, the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville and the island of Mauritius.

With over €2 million in total trade, Kenya ranked the UAE as its fourth-biggest trading partner, and it was also the largest trading partner and export destination in the Middle East.

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Musings From Abroad

UN sanctions six Congolese rebels over crisis in its eastern region

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Six members of five armed organisations in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council as violence between the Congolese army and M23 Tutsi-led rebels, who are backed by Rwanda, has escalated.

 

The fighting in this decades-long battle has made it more likely that Rwanda and Congo could go to war, which might draw in armies from nearby countries like South Africa, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, and Malawi.

 

The Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, told a meeting of the 15-member Security Council that “The United States firmly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the DRC and lasting peace for all Congolese people. Rwanda and the DRC must walk back from the brink of war.”

A travel ban, asset freeze, and arms embargo were placed on two leaders of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), one commander of the Twirwaneho armed organisation, and one leader of the National People’s Coalition for the Sovereignty of Congo (CNPSC) rebels by the Security Council’s DRC sanctions committee.

The military spokesman for the M23 Tutsi-led rebels, allegedly backed by Rwanda, and a leader of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an organisation started by Hutus who left Rwanda after participating in the 1994 genocide that killed over 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were also placed on the UN list.

“These individuals are responsible for numerous abuses,” Wood said of the six sanctioned individuals.

After replacing a previous U.N. operation in 2010 to aid in reducing insecurity in the country’s east, Congo has been home to a UN peacekeeping force known as MONUSCO for more than 13 years.

Felix Tshisekedi, the president of the Congo, requested in September that the peacekeepers’ withdrawal be expedited, and the UN Security Council granted his request, allowing the deployment to terminate in December.

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