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Malawi ends visa requirement for China, US, UK, others

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In an effort to improve its tourism sector, which is one of Malawi’s main sources of foreign earnings, the government has waived the need for a visa for visitors from a number of nations, including China, the United States, and other countries.

This comes after a portion of the nation’s Immigration Act was changed to facilitate foreign tourists’ admittance into the country.

Ken Zikhale Ng’oma, the minister of homeland security for Malawi, signed the amendment to the Act on Wednesday, which listed the 47 nations on the planet free from Malawian visa requirements. Ghana and the Gambia are two of the exempted African nations, while Germany, France, and Russia are all exempted nations outside of Africa.

Furthermore, citizens of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are also exempt from the need for a visa, with the exception of those nations that require one for Malawians.

The change further exempts holders of Laissez-Passers from any of the following: United Nations, African Union, African Development Bank, SADC, Comesa, all diplomats, and government officials travelling on official business.

The gazetted amendment states that the six- and twelve-month validity periods of multiple entry visas in Malawi must be reciprocated with the corresponding country’s multiple entry visa validity.

The country’s business community, in the meantime, has applauded the decision, stating that “it will make Malawi an attractive tourism destination while boosting foreign currency flows in the long term.”

In implementing the MW (Malawi) 2063 Agenda, which aims to make the country self-reliant with more exports than imports, Minister of Tourism Vera Kamtukule told the local media that the amendment to the Immigration Act augers well with the country’s three priority areas, namely agriculture, tourism, and mining (ATM).

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South Africa wants Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Palestinian territories declared illegal

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South Africa is back at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over Israel’s role in the ongoing Hamas war. On Tuesday, Johannesburg asked the World Court to issue a non-binding legal opinion that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal.

South Africa argued that the proclamation would help efforts to reach a settlement as its representative opened the second day of hearings at the court in the Hague.

Vusimuzi Madonsela, South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands told the judges that “a clear legal characterization of the nature of Israel’s regime over the Palestinian people can only assist in remedying the ongoing delay and achieving a just settlement.”

Palestinian delegates asked the U.N.’s top court on Monday to declare Israel’s occupation of their territory illegal, adding that the advisory opinion of the court might help bring about a durable peace and a two-state solution.

Israel sent a written statement claiming that an advisory opinion would be detrimental to reaching a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, despite not being present at the hearings.

The most recent wave of violence in Gaza, which was sparked by Hamas’s attacks on Israel on October 7, has exacerbated the region’s long-standing grievances and harmed attempts to find a peaceful solution.

The ICJ’s fifteen-member panel was tasked with “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

It is anticipated that the judges will take about half a year to respond to the request, which also asks them to evaluate the implications of the occupation’s legal standing.

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Tunisia: Jailed opposition leader Ghannouchi begins hunger strike

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Embattled Tunisian opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, who has been a political prisoner since April, has begun a hunger strike in support of other opposition activists who are fasting in protest and calling for their immediate release.

Ghannouchi had threatened to go on a hunger strike in September, and a group of opposition lawyers representing him confirmed the strike had finally begun on Monday.

The 82-year  the leader of the main opposition group Ennahda and a ferocious opponent of President Kais Saied, was imprisoned last year on allegations of inciting violence against law enforcement and scheming to undermine national security.

In a different case earlier this month, a judge found him guilty of taking outside funding and sentenced him to three years in prison.

The lawyers said in a statement that “While he is fighting the ’empty stomach’ battle, Ghannouchi calls on Tunisians to adhere to a democratic Tunisia that includes everyone on the basis of freedom … and the independence of the judiciary.”

An indefinite hunger strike was launched this week by six opposition leaders who were detained during a crackdown last year in protest of their detention without charge or trial and in demand of their prompt release. The jailed leaders, Jawher Ben Mbarak, Rida Belhaj, Abdelhamid Jalasi, Ghazi Chaouachi, Issam Chabbi, and Khayam Turki, were taken into custody on charges of allegedly arranging an attack on state security.

President Saied has been adamant about suppressing dissenting opinions in the nation ever since taking office. In 2023, over 20 political figures were detained, including Ghannouchi, on suspicion of trying to compromise national security.

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