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Musings From Abroad

Bill Gate warns Russia/Ukraine war could affect aid to Africa as he pledges $7 billion

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American billionaire, Bill Gates has warned that the Ukraine crisis was reducing the amount of aid flowing to Africa as he announces a $7 billion commitment to Africa.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said on Thursday it was committing the fund to the continent over the next four years.

 Bill Gate, who is co-founder of Microsoft Corp told journalists at the University of Nairobi during a visit to Kenya that “the European budgets are deeply affected by the Ukraine war and so right now the trend for aid is not to go up,”

“If you take all aid (into Africa) including all climate aid – we’ll have a few years where it’ll probably go down.”

The pledged fund will target projects tackling hunger, disease, poverty, and gender inequality. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, will take the biggest share.

A statement by the foundation says it will “continue to support solutions in health, agriculture, and other critical areas—and the systems to get them out of the labs and to the people who need them.”

Musings From Abroad

Indonesia passes law that bans sex outside marriage, protest, others

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Sex outside marriage is now an offence with a punishment of up to one year in jail in Indonesia, according to new laws passed by the country’s parliament.

Indonesia’s parliament dared worries about scaring away tourists from its shores and harming investment as the legislature banned premarital sex in the Asian country.

The law applies to both locals and foreigners alike and also prohibits cohabitation between unmarried couples.

It also bans insulting the president or state institutions, spreading views counter to the state ideology and staging protests without notification.

Stakeholders in the tourism sector of the country have criticized the new law. Deputy chief of Indonesia’s tourism industry board, Maulana Yusran, remarked that the new code was “totally counter-productive” at a time when the economy and tourism were starting to recover from the pandemic.

“We deeply regret the government has closed its eyes. We have already expressed our concern to the ministry of tourism about how harmful this law is,” he said.

The new law has also drawn a reaction from United States Ambassador to Indonesia, Sung Kim who claimed that the development could result in less foreign investment, tourism, and travel to the Southeast Asian nation.

“Criminalising the personal decisions of individuals would loom large within the decision matrix of many companies determining whether to invest in Indonesia,” he said.

Despite its notable diplomatic ties with African countries, Indonesia has a poor history of human rights.

In 2021, Amnesty International reported that at least 158 physical assaults, digital attacks, threats, and other forms of attack against 367 human rights defenders were reported during the year.

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Musings From Abroad

US President, Joe Biden, signs legislation against planned rail workers’ strike

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The United States President, Joe Biden has signed legislation to block a national railroad strike that could have devastated the American economy.

Senate voted 80 to 15 on Thursday to impose a tentative contract deal reached in September on a dozen unions representing 115,000 workers, who could have gone on strike on December 9.

“It was tough for me but it was the right thing to do at the moment — save jobs, to protect millions of working families from harm and disruption, and to keep supply chains stable around the holidays,” Biden said, adding the deal avoided “an economic catastrophe.”

“That fight isn’t over,” Biden said of the push for sick leave.

Reacting to the president’s assent, American Association of Railroads CEO Ian Jefferies said “none of the parties achieved everything they advocated for” but added, “without a doubt, there is more to be done to further address our employees’ work-life balance concerns.”

The attempt to slash labour and other costs to bolster profits in recent years has been fiercely opposed to adding paid sick time that would require them to hire more staff.

The strike could have left millions stranded and frozen almost 30% of U.S. cargo shipments by weight, stoked already surging inflation, and cost the American economy as much as $2 billion a day.

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