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FOREIGN

Myanmar’s president resigns — ‘to rest’

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Htin Kyaw, Myanmar’s civilian president, has resigned with immediate effect “in order to take rest from the current duties and responsibilities,” his office said in a statement posted on Facebook on Wednesday.

According to the country’s constitution, the more senior of two vice presidents will stand in as president until a new leader is elected by parliament within seven working days.

This means that Myint Swe, who was the military’s appointment for vice-president, will become acting president.

The president is the head of state and government in Myanmar, and under the constitution has far-reaching powers.

However, Htin Kyaw’s role was more ceremonial because Aung San Suu Kyi has been Myanmar’s de facto leader since April 2016.

A constitution drafted by the former junta bars Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi from the top office and so she hand-picked Htin Kyaw, a close ally of hers, to become president.

Aung Shin, a spokesman for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, said that Htin Kyaw, 71, had stepped down due to ill-health.

The president’s office did not give a reason for Htin Kyaw’s resignation.

In its posting, the president’s office said steps would be taken to replace him within seven working days.
“The next president will be an NLD member or one who suits with NLD policy,” Aung Shin said.

“The current vice-president cannot be the next president, according to the constitution.”

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FOREIGN

Cameroon’s President Biya to run for seventh term in office

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President Paul Biya of Cameroon will run for re-election in October, he said on Friday.
He is aiming to extend his 36-year rule and maintain his place on a shortening roster of long-standing African leaders.
Mr Biya, who came to power in 1982 when his predecessor, Ahmadou Ahidjo, retired, is seeking a seventh term in office that could see the 85-year-old rule well into his 90s.
It would leave him in rare company after former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh were ousted in 2017.
Of Africa’s living rulers, only Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has ruled uninterrupted for longer.
“I am willing to respond positively to your overwhelming calls. I will stand as Your Candidate in the upcoming presidential election,” Mr Biya said in a tweet on Friday.
Mr Biya, who has ruled virtually by decree since taking office, scrapped term limits from the constitution in 2008, allowing him to run again and sparking riots in which over 40 people were killed.
The election, scheduled on October 7, comes at a turbulent time for the Central African country and for Biya.
A separatist insurgency in the western English-speaking regions has killed 84 troops in September 2018, while a drop in the price of its key cocoa and oil exports has weighed on the economy.

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FOREIGN

Ghana orders Nigerian traders out of markets

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The government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana has issued a two-week ultimatum to non-Ghanaian traders, including many Nigerians to vacate markets across that country. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, non-Ghanaians engaged in retail trading have up to July 27 to move out of the markets or they would be prosecuted.
“Notice is hereby given to all non-Ghanaians who are engaged in retail trading activities contrary to the provisions of the Act (GIPC Law 2013) to desist from doing so. All persons engaged in such practices are therefore advised to stop to avoid legal actions being taken against them. Offenders are entreated to move out of the markets by Friday 27, 2018,” the statement said.
The ministry said Ghanaian law prohibits non citizens from engaging in any retail business, including the hawking or selling of goods.
“Section 27 (1) of the GIPC Law 2013, (Act 865) says, A person who is not a citizen or an enterprise which is not wholly owned by a citizen shall not invest or participate in the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place,” it said.
This is not the first time government has expelled foreigners from markets in the country. Shops owned by foreigners, mostly Chinese and Nigerians were shut by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in 2012 and 2013, largely due to complaints by the locals that their businesses were being stifled by the presence of foreigners in the markets.

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FOREIGN

Sharpshooters, armoured cars approved for lawmakers

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President Yoweri Museveni has approved increased security spending for Uganda’s 456 members of parliament, including sharpshooters and armoured escort vehicles, after a ruling party lawmaker was shot dead.
Critics said the spending was wasteful and failed to address security concerns of normal citizens who fear rampant crime in a country marked by unsolved murders, waves of kidnappings for ransom, burglaries and robberies.
In a letter to the finance minister on Thursday, Museveni said the decision to boost security was taken after a meeting with members of parliament in which incidents of “criminality and terrorism” were discussed.
“Members of parliament have been singled out for intimidation and possibly attack.
“I have, therefore, decided to protect the members of parliament since they are being singled out,” he said.
The killing of a ruling party lawmaker and his bodyguard on June 8 follows lethal attacks on Muslim leaders, a public prosecutor and a senior police officer.
There have been no arrests in any of the cases.
Museveni said lawmakers would now be accompanied by military sharp-shooters and ordered the finance ministry to purchase armoured pick-up trucks to use as escort vehicles.
Rights groups and the opposition accuse the government of wasteful spending and failing to rein in corruption.
In the 2018/19 (July-June) financial year, the government introduced new taxes and hiked existing ones, including a new levy on accessing social media sites.
According to Cissy Kagaba, executive director of Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda, ordinary Ugandans are being taxed heavily to meet wasteful expenditure of politicians.
“Security should be guaranteed for every Ugandan not for a few selected people, it’s pathetic and annoying,” she said.
Parliament spokesman Chris Obore denied the spending was wasteful, describing it as a “short-term measure” to meet credible threats.
In power since 1986, Museveni, 73, is expected to stand for re-election in 2021 after parliament, controlled by his ruling party, scrapped an age cap in Uganda’s constitution 2017.
The amendment, which sparked protests countrywide and a fistfight in parliament, removed a bar on anyone older than 75 running for president.

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