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South Sudan’s rival leaders form coalition government

Rival leaders in South Sudan have formed a transitional coalition government, in an attempt to end years of ruinous conflict that has killed almost 400,000 and forced millions from their homes. Opposition leader Riek Machar was sworn in on Saturday in the capital, Juba, as the first deputy of President Salva Kiir a day after the…

South Sudan’s rival leaders form coalition government

Rival leaders in South Sudan have formed a transitional coalition government, in an attempt to end years of ruinous conflict that has killed almost 400,000 and forced millions from their homes.
Opposition leader Riek Machar was sworn in on Saturday in the capital, Juba, as the first deputy of President Salva Kiir a day after the previous government was dissolved.
“I do hereby swear that I shall be faithful and bear diligence to the Republic of South Sudan,” Machar said in his oath in front of a room packed with diplomats and regional representatives, including Sudanese leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
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Amid applause, Machar embraced and shook hands with Kiir. 
For his part, Kiir declared “the official end of the war, and we can now proclaim a new dawn”. Peace is “never to be shaken ever again”, the president said, adding that he had forgiven Machar and asking for Machar’s forgiveness, to applause. He called on their respective Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups to do the same.
Kiir and Machar started out as president and deputy at independence from Sudan in 2011. But two years later, Kiir sacked Machar and later accused him of attempting a coup against him, sparking a bloody war characterised by ethnic conflict. 
A 2015 peace deal brought Machar back as vice president and he returned to Juba amid heavy security.When that deal fell apart in July 2016, the capital was plunged into a brutal battle between rival armies and Machar was forced to flee on foot. The ensuing war drew in new parts of the country and other local grievances and disputes came to the fore.
Despite intense international pressure following the most recent peace deal in 2018, Kiir and Machar in the past year pushed back two deadlines to take the crucial step of forming the coalition government. 
But with less than a week before the latest deadline on Saturday, each made a key concession. Kiir announced a “painful” decision on the politically sensitive issue of the number of states, and Machar agreed to have the president take responsibility for his security. On Thursday, they announced they had agreed to form a government meant to lead to elections in three years – the first vote since independence.
Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Juba, said war-weary South Sudanese are expecting the government to resolve a number of pressing challenges.
“The people on the streets are looking to this government to solve the issue of the economy – South Sudan is facing high inflation as a result of the years of conflict,” Morgan said.
“There is also the issue of the humanitarian crisis; more than half of the country’s 12 million population are in need of food aid to survive.”
‘Important milestone’
Kiir and Machar have said outstanding issues will be negotiated under the new government.
Tens of thousands of rival forces still must be knitted together into a single army, a process that the United Nations and others have described as being behind schedule and poorly provisioned.
Observers have stressed that this new government must be inclusive in a country where fighting has often occurred along ethnic lines and where several armed groups operate. Not all have signed on to the peace deal.
Other vice presidents named by Kiir on Friday include Taban Deng Gai, a former ally of Machar who switched to the government side and last month was sanctioned by the United States over involvement in serious human rights abuses. Another is Rebecca Garang, the widow of John Garang, who led a long fight for independence from Sudan.
The humanitarian community, which has seen more than 100 workers killed since the civil war began, hopes the new government will lead to far easier delivery of food and other badly needed support.
Some 40,000 people are in famine conditions, a new report said on Thursday, and now a major locust outbreak in East Africa has arrived.
More than two million people fled South Sudan during the civil war, and Kiir has urged them to return.
The UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan has warned that serious abuses continue.
“Today in South Sudan, civilians are deliberately starved, systematically surveilled and silenced, arbitrarily arrested and detained and denied meaningful access to justice,” its latest report said.
It noted that scattered deadly violence, the use of child soldiers, repression and sexual violence imperil the fragile peace.
“While much work remains to be done, this is an important milestone in the path to peace,” the US embassy said in a congratulatory message.
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doctors

Doctors in South Korea suspend strike: Coronavirus live news |NationalTribune.com

China’s president Xi Jinping has told a ceremony in Beijing that the country had acted in an “open and transparent” manner over the coronavirus. Trainee doctors and interns have returned to work in South Korea after a weeks-long strike over government reform plans. There have been more than 27.3 million cases of coronavirus confirmed around…

Doctors in South Korea suspend strike: Coronavirus live news |NationalTribune.com

China’s president Xi Jinping has told a ceremony in Beijing that the country had acted in an “open and transparent” manner over the coronavirus.
Trainee doctors and interns have returned to work in South Korea after a weeks-long strike over government reform plans.
There have been more than 27.3 million cases of coronavirus confirmed around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University, and 892,443 people have died. At least 18.3 million people have recovered. 
Here are the latest updates:
Tuesday, September 8
04:50 GMT – India reports highest number of deaths in a month
India has reported the most deaths from coronavirus in a month.
The health ministry says 1,133 people died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, lifting the total death toll to 72,775.
The number of cases was 75,809, the lowest daily figure in a week.
04:00 GMT – Xi says China ‘open and transparent’ on COVID-19
More from the ceremony in Beijing where President Xi Jinping has been speaking.
He told the audience that China acted in an “open and transparent” manner over the virus, which first emerged in the central city of Wuhan late last year.
The country has also made “concrete efforts” to help other nations affected by the disease, he said.

President Xi Jinping presents the national medal to respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing [Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters]

03:50 GMT – Victoria to strengthen contact tracing as it doubles down on virus
Victoria is strengthening its contract tracing programme to ensure is maintains a steady decline in cases.
State Premier Daniel Andrews says the state government will set up five contact tracing teams to focus on different geographic areas of the southeastern state of Australia, making it easier to target specific areas when patients are diagnosed.
Andrews says the lower daily case figures show the state’s on the right track with its tough lockdowns.
“I think we’ll be able to take some significant steps soon because the trend is with us, the trend is good,” he said in a televised news conference, referring to more rural areas of the state.
03:30 GMT – Zhong Nanshan honoured in China special COVID-19 event
China is holding a special event to recognise its ‘role models’ in the fight against the coronavirus with Zhong Nanshan, China’s top respiratory disease expert, awarded the Medal of the Republic – China’s top honour.
Zhong was among a group of specialists who first went to Wuhan in January to investigate the mysterious new virus that had emerged at the end of December.
“We must not lower our guard and must finish the battle,” Zhong said in his acceptance speech.
China came down hard on doctors in the city who tried to raise the alarm over the disease, and there was outrage after the death of Li Wenliang, an eye doctor who was reprimanded by the authorities for raising his concerns about the new illness with colleagues. Li was ‘exonerated’ in August.

Commending role models signals #China’s victory in the hard-won battle against the deadly #coronavirus: epidemiologists https://t.co/K8pYHXXGRJ pic.twitter.com/wicpRQ6vPE
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) September 8, 2020

Never has a building been more aptly named: Outstanding individuals, set to be honored for the parts they played in the nation’s COVID-19 fight, travel to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing https://t.co/jPKTJsFodI #ThankyouCOVID19Heroes pic.twitter.com/2itUE75GlV
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) September 8, 2020 

03:15 GMT – South Korea daily cases below 200 for sixth straight day
South Korea has reported 136 new cases of coronavirus, the sixth day in a row that the number has been below 200, according to Yonhap.
The country’s been trying to control a spike in cases that begun in August 14 and has been linked to a church service and a political rally in central Seoul.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says stricter distancing measures are beginning to have an impact although the emergence of case clusters remains a concern. 
02:50 GMT – Antigen tests in focus as Bali cases surge
Medical experts are linking a surge in coronavirus cases on the Indonesian island of Bali to the inaccurate, low-cost rapid antibody test kits that are being used to screen domestic visitors.
Foreign tourists can’t travel to the popular island, but Indonesians have been able to do so since July 31.
Since then, the island’s tourist authority says it has been welcoming an average of 3,000 domestic tourists every day.
But along with the tourists’ return it has also seen a spike in coronavirus cases, and health experts say the use of cheap, but unreliable, antigen tests could be creating a false sense of security.
You can read more on that story here.

Balinese people, who are Hindu, wear protective suits during a cremation ceremony called ‘Ngaben’ in Klungkung last month. The island has seen a growing number of cases since domestic tourism resumed in August [Made Nagi/EPA]

01:40 GMT – Japan to tap emergency reserve for $6.3b for coronavirus vaccines
Japan has approved the use $6.3 billion from its emergency budget to secure coronavirus vaccines.
The government says it hopes to have enough vaccine for every citizen by the middle of next year, providing any innoculation for free.
01:30 GMT – Japan’s economy shrinks more than thought in Q2
It seems Japan’s economy shrank even more than initially thought in the second quarter to the end of June.
The government initially said the economy contracted by 7.8 percent compared with the first quarter.
Now it’s taken a closer look at the figures and says it shrank 7.9 percent.
It’s the country’s worst economic contraction in its modern history.

Japan shrinks: Coronavirus sends economy into record contraction

00:15 GMT – Victoria in Australia reports 55 new cases, eight deaths
Victoria state has reported 55 new cases of coronavirus and a further eight deaths.
The southeastern state now accounts for about three-quarters of Australia’s 26,377 cases. Melbourne, its capital city, is under a strict lockdown and curfew until September 28. 

#COVID19VicData for 8 September, 2020. Yesterday there were 55 new cases reported and 8 lives lost. Our thoughts are with all those affected. More information will be available later today. pic.twitter.com/GEo5Iio7vU
— VicGovDHHS (@VicGovDHHS) September 7, 2020

00:00 GMT – South Korea doctors say they will return to work
Doctors’ associations in South Korea say their members are returning to work after a weeks-long strike over government plans to reform the medical system.
The Korean Intern Resident Association (KIRA), which represents interns and residents, at general hospitals, says the doctors will resume work from 7am (22:00 GMT), Yonhap News Agency reported.
A separate committee representing physicians and clinicians who also took part in the strike says its members will also report for duty.
The Korean Medical Association, the country’s largest doctor’s group, reached an agreement with the government to end its strike on Friday, as coronavirus cases surged.
—-
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur and will be keeping you updated over the next few hours.
Read all the updates from yesterday (September 7) here.
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Anger

Anger in South Africa as disabled teen dies after police shooting |NationalTribune.com

Johannesburg, South Africa – Residents in the South African capital are angry after a disabled 16-year-old boy was allegedly shot dead by the police. Nathaniel Julius, who had Down’s syndrome, died in a hospital in Johannesburg on Wednesday night, hours after he was shot by the police metres away from his home in the city’s Eldorado Park suburb.…

Anger in South Africa as disabled teen dies after police shooting |NationalTribune.com

Johannesburg, South Africa – Residents in the South African capital are angry after a disabled 16-year-old boy was allegedly shot dead by the police.
Nathaniel Julius, who had Down’s syndrome, died in a hospital in Johannesburg on Wednesday night, hours after he was shot by the police metres away from his home in the city’s Eldorado Park suburb.
The killing occurred after residents in the neighbourhood – ravaged by drugs and crime – took to the streets to protest the lack of housing in the area.
In recent months, the South African police have faced allegations of brutality during the enforcement of coronavirus restrictions.
Police claimed Julius was wounded in a shoot-out between gang members and police officers when a stray bullet hit him. But the family and the community rejected the claim.
According to the family, the teenager was shot in the chest when he was unable to answer questions from the police.
Witnesses said Julius was holding a biscuit in his hand when police began questioning him, but he was not able to answer properly due to his condition.
Witnesses alleged that police officers bundled Julius into a van after the shooting and took him to hospital several miles away, where he died.
‘Justice for Nathaniel’
“Police should be trained to minimise the possibility that bystanders will be killed. The facts are not clear here, but a shoot-out does not in itself constitute justification for the death,” David Bruce, an independent expert on policing in South Africa, told Al Jazeera.
During the protest on the day of Julius’ death, Eldorado Park residents hurled rocks at the police, who retaliated by firing rubber bullets and stun grenades.
A provincial government official, Faith Mazibuko, visited the teen’s family on Thursday and announced that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IDIP) will probe the case.
Addressing the reporters later, Mazibuko said the police officers deployed in Eldorado Park during the incident have been removed while the case is being investigated.
Meanwhile, more violence followed on Thursday, with residents calling for an overhaul of the police force in the area.

Residents of Eldorado Park protesting the death of the teenage boy allegedly shot by the police [Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters]

In a statement on Wednesday, IDIP spokesperson Ndileka Cola said it was difficult to reach the scene of the incident “as the situation had been volatile” and that it was difficult to conduct interviews “as the community was violent”.
On Friday, Police Minister Bheki Cele was confronted by an angry crowd chanting “Police are corrupt!” and “Justice for Nathaniel!” as he visited Julius’s parents in Eldorado Park.
‘Worrisome’
According to the boy’s family, the police are trying to “cover up” the “cold-blooded” killing.
The shooting is reminiscent of other instances of recent police brutality in South Africa during the coronavirus lockdown that started on March 27.
Bruce compared the boy’s shooting to the killing of Tyrone Moeng, 19, who was fatally shot by the police on April 13.
Themba Masuku of the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum said, “The killing of a defenceless young man by the police demonstrates serious problems in our policing”.
“It is highly unlikely that this young person posed any threat that warranted lethal force. The culture of impunity and lack of respect for life is worrisome because everyone especially children must feel safe around the police. Force should be used as a last resort,” Masuku told Al Jazeera.
“We have a moral duty and that is to demand the truth. We must demand answers and expect to get only the truth,” said Yasmin Sooka, executive director at Johannesburg-based Foundation for Human Rights.
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US says China’s South China Sea missile launches threat to peace |NationalTribune.com

The United States Department of Defense said on Thursday that Chinese test launches of ballistic missiles in the South China Sea were a threat to peace and security in the region. Confirming reports that China had launched as many as four ballistic missiles during military exercises around the Paracel Islands, the Pentagon said the move…

US says China’s South China Sea missile launches threat to peace |NationalTribune.com

The United States Department of Defense said on Thursday that Chinese test launches of ballistic missiles in the South China Sea were a threat to peace and security in the region.
Confirming reports that China had launched as many as four ballistic missiles during military exercises around the Paracel Islands, the Pentagon said the move called into question the country’s 2002 commitment to avoiding provocative activities in the disputed seas.
“Conducting military exercises over disputed territory in the South China Sea is counterproductive to easing tensions and maintaining stability,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “The PRC’s actions, including missile tests, further destabilize the situation in the South China Sea.” The PRC – or People’s Republic of China – is the country’s official name.
“Such exercises also violate PRC commitments under the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea to avoid activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability,” the Pentagon statement added.
Over the past decade China has built up military installations on several disputed reefs and outcrops in the South China Sea to assert its claim over much of the area. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia also have maritime claims to the sea.

Project Force: How powerful is China’s new navy?

The South China Morning Post reported earlier on Thursday that China launched an intermediate-range DF-26B ballistic missile from Qinghai Province and a medium-range DF-21D missile from Zhejiang Province after a US spy plane reportedly entered a Chinese-designated “no-fly zone” in an area where live-fire naval drills were taking place. 
China described the flight of the US spy plane in the area as a “provocative action”.
‘Aircraft-carrier killer’
The Pentagon said the Chinese military’s August 23-29 military exercises near the Paracels – which it calls the Xisha Islands – were “the latest in a long string of PRC actions to assert unlawful maritime claims and disadvantage its Southeast Asian neighbors.”
It said the US had urged China in July to reduce its “militarization and coercion” in the region.
Instead, “The PRC chose to escalate its exercise activities by firing ballistic missiles,” it said.
The DF-26B was formally unveiled earlier this month, and is capable of hitting moving targets at sea. The Global Times, a state-run tabloid, dubbed it the “aircraft-carrier killer”.

It is unjustified for the US to impose sanctions on Chinese companies and individuals for involvement in construction activities in their own country. pic.twitter.com/3jpaN9z8v9
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) August 27, 2020

Earlier on Thursday Beijing criticised Washington over its blacklisting of two dozen state-owned Chinese companies involved in building and supplying China’s South China Sea bases.
“The US’s words grossly interfere in China’s internal affairs … it is wholly tyrannical logic and power politics,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian.
“China will take firm measures to uphold the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies and individuals,” he said.
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