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Egypt’s President Al-Sissi Sworn in for Third Term

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi began his third term on Tuesday with a swearing-in ceremony held at the new administrative capital east of Cairo, before parliament.

Al-Sissi, who has been in power since 2014, secured another six years in office after winning about 90 percent of the vote in a December election.

The Gaza conflict and a severe domestic economic crisis dominated the election campaign.

In his address to parliament, televised nationally, Al-Sissi acknowledged the unprecedented challenges Egypt has faced in recent years, including internal destabilization attempts, global crises, and regional conflicts.

He pledged to continue reforms and prioritize Egypt’s national security amid a turbulent regional and international environment.

The new administrative capital, launched in 2015, is a flagship construction project among several mega-projects initiated by Al-Sissi, although some have criticized these ventures for exacerbating Egypt’s economic woes.

Al-Sissi’s rise to power began in 2013 when, as army chief, he led the ousting of Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected but polarizing Islamist president.

Supporters view Al-Sissi as a stabilizing force amidst regional upheaval, while critics blame him for economic troubles and curbing freedoms.

During his tenure, thousands of activists and Islamists have been imprisoned or exiled, and the media landscape has been largely controlled by his loyalists.

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World News

UN says More must be done to end Carnage in Gaza

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, is calling for fresh efforts by “all states with influence” to ease the “horrific” conditions in Gaza and the West Bank.

Mr Türk said in a statement on Tuesday that “resolving the catastrophic situation of civilians in Gaza must remain a priority. Violence in the West Bank is a matter of grave concern.”

Israel has continued to obstruct the import and distribution of aid supplies into the Gaza Strip, which is a violation of international law, the high commissioner added.

He demanded the release of hostages taken from Israel in October 2023, a ceasefire in Gaza.

He said, “There should be an unfettered access for all humanitarian aid workers to alleviate the plight of the civilian population in the Palestinian territory.”

The UN Human Rights Office had received reports that the Israeli military had attacked eight Mosques during the Eid el Fitr celebrations, marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

“Places of worship are protected under the laws of war,” Mr Türk said.

In the occupied West Bank, Palestinians are coming under frequent attack by mobs of Israeli settlers, who are often supported by the military.

After the killing of a 14-year-old Israeli boy from a settler family, four Palestinians, including a child, were killed in acts of revenge.

“Israel, as the occupying power, must take all measures in its power to restore and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety in the occupied West Bank,” he urged.

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UNICEF: 1,680 Nigerian Children Abducted in 10 Years

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By Cynthia Abah

UNICEF reports that since the 2014 abduction of Chibok schoolgirls, 1,680 Nigerian schoolchildren have been abducted and 180 have lost their lives. Only 37% of schools in ten states have early warning systems in place to detect dangers like school attacks, according to a recent analysis by UNICEF. This grim reality comes amidst the tenth anniversary of the Chibok mass kidnapping and a recent abduction in Kaduna State.

Ms. Cristian Munduate, UNICEF representative in Nigeria, emphasized the need for stronger efforts to protect children, calling the Chibok abduction a wake-up call. She stressed the importance of addressing both symptoms and root causes, highlighting education as a fundamental right crucial for escaping poverty.

Saadhna Panday-Soobrayan, Chief of Education at UNICEF Nigeria, revealed alarming statistics of conflict-related violence in schools, with over 1,680 children abducted and 180 killed in the last decade. She noted the significant impact of student abductions on learning, citing instances of school closures and fear among students.

UNICEF Nigeria urged decisive action from the government, partners, and the international community to ensure safer schools and protect children. Recommendations include implementing minimum standards for safe schools, addressing infrastructure deficiencies, enhancing security measures, and prioritizing education and child protection in policies and budgets. Additionally, UNICEF emphasized the importance of alternative learning pathways during school closures to ensure the continuity of education for Nigerian children.

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Business

Elon Musk Proposes Charging Fee to Combat Bot Issue on X

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Elon Musk has proposed a novel solution to combat the persistent issue of bots on the platform, indicating that implementing a small fee for new user write access may be the most effective approach. In a statement posted on his X account in response to the platform’s policy on new accounts, Musk emphasized the necessity of this measure in curbing the relentless onslaught of bots, noting that current AI and troll farms can easily bypass standard bot detection measures.

However, Musk did not provide specific details regarding when this fee system would be implemented or the exact cost for new users to make a post. While the proposal suggests that users may need to pay a fee to post content, interact with posts, or perform other actions on the platform, the specifics remain unclear. It is speculated that Musk may apply a fee structure similar to that introduced for new unverified users in regions such as New Zealand and the Philippines, where a $1 per year charge was implemented starting in October. Under this system, new free users in these regions could read posts but were unable to interact with them until they paid the fee.

Musk’s proposal reflects ongoing efforts to address not only the issue of bots but also other prevailing challenges on the platform. While the implementation of a fee system may represent a significant shift in platform policy, its effectiveness in tackling bot activity remains to be seen.

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