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WHO declares monkeypox health emergency after 16,000 cases in 72 countries

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency — the highest alarm it can sound.

WHO made the declaration on Saturday, that the disease which has affected nearly 16,000 people in 72 countries, is to be regarded with priority going forward.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference said “I have decided that the global #monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,”

Ghebreyesus further revealed that a committee of experts who met on Thursday was unable to reach a consensus, so it fell on him to decide whether to trigger the highest alert possible.

“WHO’s assessment is that the risk of monkeypox is moderate globally and in all regions, except in the European region where we assess the risk as high,” he added.

Monkeypox, a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, has also penetrated Europe and North America in its recent spread with more than 100 cases recorded outside Africa.

The disease until recently was once largely restricted to Africa, but has gradually penetrating Europe and North America in its recent outbreak.

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Sierra Leone: Parliament passes law to protect locals from land grabs

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The parliament in Sierra Leone has passed two laws that is widely believed will boost the rights of rural landowners and women.

The Customary Land Rights Act and the Land Commission Act, both enacted on Monday, will protect against land grabs by big mining and agribusiness firms.

The new laws empower local landowners to negotiate the value of their land with investors and prevent it being leased out without their express consent.

An official of international legal advocacy group, Namati, Eleanor Thompson, said “to our knowledge there is not a legal regime anywhere, in either hemisphere that grants such robust rights to communities facing harm.”

The move is also praised by Gerben Haringsma who is the director of SOCFIN, the biggest agribusiness company in Sierra Leone, called it a “dream of NGOs”.

“Certainly, it will block any investment… It makes things very expensive and we are all prone to enormous blackmail by various communities.” Haringsma remarked.

Sierra Leone has a history of sometimes deadly conflict between local communities and foreign companies that have cleared huge tracts of land for palm oil and sugarcane plantations in recent years.

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Nigerian army arrests suspects of Catholic church killings in Owo

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Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor has revealed that the country has arrested suspects in an Islamist militant attack in a Catholic church that killed 40 people two months ago.

General Irabor made the revelation on Tuesday. He said that the attackers were arrested during joint operations involving the armed forces, the Department of Security Services and police.

According to a statement by the Defence Chief, the suspects could not be paraded in he intended for the sake of the ongoing investigation.

“It was my intention to present them to the public, but because of the investigation still going on, I had to change my mind,” Irabo said.

“I will like to say that in due course, the world will see them and others who are behind other daring attacks in the country.”

Scores were killed after suspected terrorists attacked St Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Owo Ondo State as service got underway at the main community parish.

Despite being one of the major campaign promises of president Muhammadu Buhari, Terrorist activities have taken an upward trend in Nigeria since the deadly Boko Haram sect based in North-Eastern Nigeria, which is also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon was founded in 2002.

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