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Algerian civil servants to embark on nationwide strike to protest socio-economic crisis

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Beginning from April 26 and 27, public servants in Algeria will begin a massive strike action to protest against worsening social crisis in the country which has given rise to “soaring food prices which have grown to record levels, and eroding purchasing power due to the ruling junta’s mismanagement and corruption.”

The two-day industrial action, according to the organisers, was agreed upon by the confederation of trade unions representing the country’s employees in several public administrations.

“University teachers, academic researchers, healthcare workers and local authority workers will also join the strike movement,” a memo dispatched to all the unions stated in part.

“The trade unionists protests are against deteriorating public working conditions and services. The social crisis in Algeria has reached its peak heralding an imminent implosion of the country following the devaluation of the dinar and skyrocketing inflation.

“Algerians suffer from acute shortage of cooking oil, water, milk, pasta and other staple foods, leading to a widespread and growing popular uproar in the country,” it added.

Experts in the country are blaming the government for the situation, saying food shortages are the outcome of a broken socioeconomic model.

“Despite the recent rise in oil prices, Algeria is paying the price of its economic choice to buy social peace,” a business economist said.

“The Algerian rulers have so far failed to reduce the country’s reliance on hydrocarbon exports and sustainably reduce macroeconomic imbalances, diversify the economy, and create private sector jobs

“Their only strategy is survival and maintaining grip on power, regardless of the immense and ruinous long-term damage that they are inflicting on their country,” he added.

Metro

$5m forfeited to govt in seized plane scandal that rocked Zambia

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The Zambian government has been made $5 million richer following a court ruling that ordered the forfeiture of the sum seized in a gold scam scandal that rocked the nation last year.

The same ruling also mandated the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to release the plane involved in the scandal to its owners after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Gilbert Phiri, and other interested parties in the criminal case entered into a consent judgment.

The Global Express T77WSS Jet, was confiscated at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Lusaka last year on suspicion of ferrying gold from the country worth millions of dollars after landing from Cairo, Egypt.

In the consent judgement signed on April 10, the owner of the disputed jet, World Aviation Sinai International Mountains Limited, through one of its Directors, Michael Adel Michel Botros, an Egyptian, agreed to surrender the $5 million to the Zambian government in exchange for the plane.

The DPP, Gilbert Phiri, on the other hand, consented to the immediate release of the the aircraft to its owners

The jet was reportedly hired by a management company known as Ibis Air PTY Limited.

The parties further agreed on the other properties seized comprising of 602 pieces of brass pellets, a combination of Copper and Zinc metals, weighing 127.28 kilograms purported to have been valued at about $7,636,800 from Zambia to Egypt.

The consent judgement read:

“That DEC shall release the aircraft, namely, Global Express T77WSS Jet, to the first and second interested parties forthwith:

“That the third interested party Michael Adel Michel Botros shall surrender the sum of $5,000,000.00 only to the government of the Republic of Zambia.

“That the sum of $697,700.00 be released to the third interested party Michael Adel Michel Botros through his advocates to cover some of the attendant costs of facilitating and servicing the aircraft, namely, Global Express T77WSS Jet in order for it to achieve optimal airworthiness.

“All other items seized by DEC be surrendered to the State: and we consent to the order in the terms herein set out.”

In an affidavit in opposition to the DPP’s application filed last year, Ibis Air (PTY) Limited director, Baher Fawzi Mohamed Aldamasy, an Egyptian and a resident in South Africa had stated that the State’s procedure of seizure was irregular as the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act describes the Jet as premises and not property.

Aldamasy had argued that the owner or Ibis was under no obligation to inquire into the work history or activities of the client beyond that which is necessary to determine the rates, safety of the jet and operation as per the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

He stated that the jet was hired to be used for three hours with the flight plan indicated Cairo to Lusaka and then Lusaka to Cairo.

Botros had also argued that he was a victim of a gold scam which also involved government officials but the DPP wanted an order to have the jet used in the gold scam scandal forfeited to the State.

Five Zambians, business man Sedrick Kasanda, Patrick Kawanu Jnr(Pilot), Jim Belemu(Mahogany Air Chief Executive Officer), Robson Moonga, and Francis Mateyo, are currently undergoing trial in the Lusaka High Court on charge of espionage.

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Tanzania, Rwanda others recall Johnson & Johnson children’s cough syrup

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As a safety step, drug regulators in Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe have called back a batch of Johnson & Johnson children’s cough syrup after their counterparts in Nigeria said that lab tests showed high levels of toxicity.

These countries are the fourth and fifth to recall the same batch of syrup. The syrup is used to treat children with coughs, hay fever, and other allergic responses. South Africa has also called back another group.

Nigeria’s health regulator, NAFDAC found a high amount of diethylene glycol in the syrup. This chemical has been linked to the deaths of dozens of children in Gambia, Uzbekistan, and Cameroon since 2022, in one of the worst waves of poisoning from oral medications in the world. Diethylene glycol is dangerous for people to eat or drink and can cause sudden kidney failure.

J&J made the recalled batch of Benylin Paediatric syrup in South Africa in May 2021. However, the brand is now owned by Kenvue (KVUE.N), which split off from J&J last year. The Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) said the recall began on April 12 after learning about the test results in Nigeria.

“This is an exercise that does not involve investigation but rather monitoring to ensure that those affected drugs are removed from the market,” TMDA spokesperson Gaudensia Simwanza told Reuters on Monday.

A spokesperson for Kenya’s drug regulator said its test results on the syrup would likely be ready on Wednesday. “A review of our safety database doesn’t reveal any adverse events reported,” the Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority said in a statement dated April 12. “However, Rwanda FDA issues the present recall for precautionary measures.”

The Medicines Control Agency of Zimbabwe said it didn’t know when the product was brought into the country, but it was worried that the syrup could get into the market without permission. In this case, it said it would do more checks.

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