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China cuts off vital US contacts over Pelosi Taiwan visit – The Zimbabwe Mail




WASHINGTON (AP) — China cut off contacts with the United States on vital issues Friday — including military matters and crucial climate cooperation — as concerns rose that the Communist government’s hostile reaction to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit could signal a lasting, more aggressive approach toward its U.S. rival and the self-ruled island.

China’s move to freeze key lines of communication compounded the worsening of relations from Pelosi’s visit and from the Chinese response with military exercises off Taiwan, including firing missiles that splashed down in surrounding waters.

After the White House summoned China’s ambassador, Qin Gang, late Thursday to protest the military exercises, White House spokesman John Kirby on Friday condemned the decision to end important dialogue with the United States as “irresponsible.”

The White House spokesman blasted China’s “provocative” actions since Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory. But Kirby noted that some channels of communication remain open between military officials in the two countries. He repeated daily assurances that the U.S. had not changed its policy toward the Communist mainland and the self-ruled island.

“Bottom line is we’re going to continue our efforts to keep opening lines of communication that are protecting our interests and our values,” Kirby said. He declined to speak about any damage to long-term relations between China and the United States, calling that a discussion for later.

Taiwan has put its military on alert and staged civil defense drills, but the overall mood remained calm on Friday. Flights have been canceled or diverted and fishermen have remained in port to avoid the Chinese drills.

On the Chinese coast across from Taiwan, tourists gathered to try to catch a glimpse of military aircraft.

A minister at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Jing Quan, told reporters that Pelosi’s mission of support for the democratic government of Taiwan has had “a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, seriously infringed upon China’s sovereignty and (territorial) integrity and … undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.”

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Long term, a significantly more confrontational relationship between China and the U.S. threatens an equilibrium under which Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping’s governments have sparred on human rights, trade, competition and countless other issues but avoided direct conflict and maintained occasional top-level contacts toward other matters, including cutting climate-damaging emissions.

A joint U.S.-China deal to fight climate change struck by Xi and then-President Barack Obama in November of 2014 is credited as a turning point that led to the landmark 2015 Paris agreement in which nearly every nation in the world pledged to try to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases. Seven years later during climate talks in Glasgow, another U.S.-China deal helped smooth over bumps to another international climate deal.

China and the United States are the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 climate polluters, together producing nearly 40% of all fossil-fuel emissions.

Ominously, experts in China-U.S. relations warned that China’s diplomatic and military moves appeared to go beyond retaliatory measures for the visit and could open a new, more openly hostile era, and a more uncertain time for Taiwan’s democratic government.

China-U.S. relations are “in a downward spiral,” said Bonnie Glaser, head of the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund.

“And I think that China is likely to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait in ways that are going to be harmful to Taiwan and are going to be disadvantageous to the United States,” Glaser said.

In recent years, other rounds of tensions between China and its neighbors over the India border, regional islands and the South China Sea have ended with China asserting new territorial claims and enforcing them, noted John Culver, a former East Asia national intelligence officer, now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. The same could happen now over Taiwan, Culver said. “So I don’t know how this ends. We’ve seen how it begins.”


China’s measures this week are the latest steps intended to punish the U.S. for allowing the visit to the island it claims as its own territory, to be annexed by force if necessary. China on Thursday launched threatening military exercises just off Taiwan’s coasts, running through Sunday.

Some missiles were sent flying over Taiwan itself, Chinese officials told state media — a significant increase in China’s menacing of the island.

China routinely complains when Taiwan has direct contacts with foreign governments, but its response to the Pelosi visit — she was the highest-ranking American official in 25 years —has been unusually strong.

It appears to derail a rare encouraging note — high-level in-person meetings between top officials in recent months including the defense chiefs at an Asia security conference in Singapore and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a Group of 20 meeting in Indonesia.

Those talks were viewed as steps in a positive direction in an otherwise poisoned relationship. Now, talks have been suspended even on climate, where the two countries’ envoys had met multiple times.

China stopped short of interrupting economic and trade talks, where it is looking to Biden to lift tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on imports from China.

On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry said dialogue between U.S. and Chinese regional commanders and defense department heads would be canceled, along with talks on military maritime safety. Cooperation on returning illegal immigrants, criminal investigations, transnational crime, illegal drugs and climate change will be suspended, the ministry said.

China’s actions come ahead of a key congress of the ruling Communist Party later this year at which President Xi is expected to obtain a third five-year term as party leader. With the economy stumbling, the party has stoked nationalism and issued near-daily attacks on the government of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, which refuses to recognize Taiwan as part of China.

China said Friday that more than 100 warplanes and 10 warships have taken part in live-fire military drills surrounding Taiwan over the past two days. Also, mainly symbolic sanctions against Pelosi and her family were announced.

On the China coast, fighter jets could be heard flying overhead, and tourists taking photos chanted, “Let’s take Taiwan back,” looking out into the blue waters of the Taiwan Strait from Pingtan island, a popular scenic spot in China’s Fujian province.

Pelosi’s visit has stirred emotions among the Chinese public, and the government’s response “makes us feel our motherland is very powerful and gives us confidence that the return of Taiwan is the irresistible trend,” said Wang Lu, a tourist from neighboring Zhejiang province.

China is a “powerful country and it will not allow anyone to offend its own territory,” said Liu Bolin, a high school student visiting the island.

China’s insistence that Taiwan is its territory and its threat to use force to reclaim control have featured in Communist Party statements, the education system and the state-controlled media for more than seven decades since the sides were divided amid civil war in 1949.

Taiwan residents overwhelmingly favor maintaining the status quo of de facto independence and reject China’s demands that the island unify with the mainland under Communist control.

Beyond Taiwan, five of the missiles fired by China landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone off Hateruma, an island far south of Japan’s main islands, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said. He said Japan protested the missiles to China as “serious threats to Japan’s national security and the safety of the Japanese people.”

In Tokyo, where Pelosi is winding up her Asia trip, she said China cannot stop U.S. officials from visiting Taiwan.

___


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Unicef supports Zimbabwean schools with equipment for radio lessons – NewsDay

Unicef supports Zimbabwean schools with equipment for radio lessons

BY VARAIDZO MUDEWAIRI
UNICEF today handed over 1500 radio sets and 1500 Universal Serial Bus (USBs) with pre-recorded radio lessons to promote offline learning to urban and marginalised communities in the country.

The radio sets and USBs will assist students to cover up for the learning time they lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking during the solar radio handover ceremony today, UNICEF representative Tajudeen Oyewale said his organisation will continue supporting Zimbabwean learners.

“As UNICEF, we are strongly committed that every child has the right to education.  With assistance from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), UNICEF procured additional 1500 solar radio sets to further promote access to radio lessons in remote areas by secondary school students in disadvantaged communities.

radio sets

“The radios are equipped with a USB port which enables students to learn through pre-recorded lessons and offline playback of digital files. Taking advantage of this specification, the procurement of 1500 memory sticks uploaded with pre-recorded lessons that were developed and aired on the radio is also in progress. The solar radio sets will be distributed with the memory sticks to 1500 secondary schools across the country, benefitting a total of about 400,000 learners, “he said.

Oyewale said since the advent of COVID-19 induced school closures in March 2020, UNICEF has been supporting various alternatives and blended learning arrangements put in place by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to ensure that children continue accessing education during school closures through the provision of radio lessons introduced in June 2020.

In 2021, UNICEF procured and distributed 3,000 solar radio sets to targeted disadvantaged primary schools and community learning circles across the country.  This included schools in Tongogara camp, which were supported with radio lessons.

Oyewale said since the launch of the Catch-Up Strategy in 2021 by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, UNICEF has procured teaching and learning materials for every primary and secondary school in all 72 districts, benefitting about 4.6 million children.

Unicef supports Zimbabwean schools with equipment for radio lessons

“These include 700,000 Grade 7 self-study guides, 600,000 Mathematics textbooks, 14,000 copies of the Assessment framework, 300,000 Catch-up teaching and learning materials, and 450,000 Grade 5 and 6 Workbooks and 210,000 Non-Formal Education Modules.

“There is no doubt that the arrival of the solar radios at the schools and communities will help learners to catch-up with the standard curriculum”, he said.

Primary and Secondary Education minister Eveline Ndlovu said the past two years has taught the ministry to adopt and adapt to ways of teaching and learning that are digitised and premised on use of technological gadgets.

She said provision of access to education has proved to be quite challenging for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education due to the unforeseen scourges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The radios will also provide alternative learning, remote learning and blended learning to both formal learners and non-formal learners, thereby bridging in the gap caused by the increased drop-out rate due to various disasters that have affected the country’s face to face instruction due to COVID 19 pandemic,” Ndlovu said.

She said her ministry will ensure that learners with hearing challenges access the lessons in script form or on other alternative platforms.

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) development director Geraldine O’Callaghan said the United Kingdom government is committed to support all children in Zimbabwe to achieve their potential and to be able to continue learning regardless of where they live.

“In particular, when asked to see what support we could provide to the ministry’s catch-up strategy and implementation framework over the last two years, we have been happy to fund over US$1m to provide materials such as reading and numeracy cards and teachers and school heads guides to first determine the levels of foundational literacy and numeracy needed by students to enable them to learn effectively, and then provide teachers with methods to increase those literacy levels. These materials are now in all primary and secondary schools across the country,” she said.

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Footsteps for Africa – Santa Barbara News-Press

Montecito couple’s generous support benefits lives of students and community in Namibia

COURTESY PHOTOS
Footsteps for Africa has helped children at Oshamukweni Combined School in Namibia.

Because of a generous six-figure donation from Montecito residents Tiara and Alan Salzman, living conditions have improved greatly for hundreds of children who live in Namibia.

The funds went to Footsteps for Africa, a nonprofit that provides aid to disadvantaged children.

The organization was able to build new bunkhouses, a kitchen and dining hall for 300 students and more than 100 children living on school grounds at Oshamukweni Combined School.

“Upon learning the critical needs of these disadvantaged children in Namibia, and as a mother myself, nothing was more important to us than to support Footsteps for Africa in helping these children succeed,” Mrs. Salzman told the News-Press during a phone interview from Hawaii, where she and her husband were vacationing with their blended family of seven.

Montecito residents Tiara and Alan Salzman made a six-figure donation to Footsteps for Africa, which built new facilities at Oshamukweni Combined School.

The Footsteps for Africa team held a ribbon-cutting ceremony recently to reveal the finished project to students, teachers, government officials and community members from 11 surrounding villages in the rural area. The new facilities now serve as a gathering place for the larger community and encourage greater participation and awareness of Oshamukweni School.

“Namibia is the third richest country in Africa, but it has the third highest levels of income inequality of any country in the world. For this reason, Footsteps for Africa has focused most of its efforts serving children in the most impoverished areas in northern Namibia by building school structures and supporting clean water and sustainable food programs,” said Mr. Salzman.

New facilities unveiled as part of the project include Salzman Kitchen, a 2,000 square-foot building equipped with food preparation equipment, showers, restrooms and cold storage; Salzman Hall, a 5,000 square-foot dining and congregation hall that will serve not only the school but the entire community of several thousand people; and two bunkhouses, each housing 25 students. 

The Oshamukweni Combined School’s new Salzman Kitchen is a 2,000 square-foot building equipped with food preparation equipment, showers, restrooms and cold storage.

“Due to their generosity, Footsteps for Africa has bettered the lives of those in this village,” said Isak Hamatwi, director of education at Ohangwena Regional Council. “The schooling life and learning environment at Oshamukweni Combined School will no longer be a life of struggle but a life befitting a life in an independent country.”   

Namola Abraham, a ninth-grade student, told the Salzmans: “Namibia has a lot of schools. Among all of those schools, Footsteps for Africa chose to help our school, and we thank you for that. I am very happy for the (Salzman Kitchen) because we now no longer have to cook on fires outside.” 

The Salzmans’ connection to Footsteps for Africa came through Mrs. Cameron’s brother, Austin Cameron, who founded the organization in 2010 after seeing the plight of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) while he lived in Zimbabwe and Zambia for two years and while doing anthropological research in Namibia.

A large crowd attends the grand opening of the school’s new facilities.

“Lack of educational opportunities or the resources to obtain an education was a major problem in virtually every area Austin visited, and it became his passion to assist as many OVC and surrounding communities as possible,” said Mrs. Salzman.

Footsteps for Africa has provided aid to more than 5,000 orphans and vulnerable children in more than 50 schools and orphanages in Namibia and Zimbabwe since 2010. The organization currently has teams in the U.S., Namibia and Zimbabwe. 

Services provided include importation and distribution of goods, the building of facilities and implementation of medical and food programs.

“Through partnerships with other aid organizations, government relationships and the commitment to physically being on site for every initiative, Footsteps for Africa works efficiently and ensures that aid reaches the people who need it the most,” said Mr. Salzman.

Footsteps for Africa, which is based in Utah, is continuing to fund and embark on improvement projects across Namibia, according to the Salzmans. 

Students surround a big “thank you” banner addressed to Montecito couple Tiara and Alan Salzman for their donation to Footsteps for Africa, which built this bunkhouse at Oshamukweni Combined School.

Donations can be made at www.footstepsforafrica.com, and will go directly to resources such as:

— School uniforms: A $100 donation provides one child with a uniform and school supplies for the year.

— Sanitary products: Footsteps for Africa aims to provide washable sanitary pad kits to 1,000 adolescent girls, along with education to battle school absenteeism and “period shaming.” A $10 donation covers one sanitary kit per girl.

— Water supply: Footsteps for Africa will install 15 water wells, solar pumps and agriculture water tanks near Oshamukweni School, ultimately bringing reliable access to clean water to S20,000 people. The fundraising target is $250,000.

— Bunkhouses: Furnished bunkhouses for disadvantaged students at Oshamukweni Combined School as well as other schools in the region, including Ondobe Secondary School in Oshikango, Namibia. The fundraising target is $50,000 per bunkhouse or $2,000 per student. 

“What  Footsteps is doing is providing direct assistance to help children with education, food and housing, all of which are pathways to better lives,” said Mr. Salzman.

email: mmcmahon@newspress.com

FYI

For more information about Footsteps for Africa or to make a donation, visit www.footstepsforafrica.com

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Margaret Dongo gives account of liberation war sex abuses – The Zimbabwe Mail

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rob Cooper/AP/Shutterstock (7249609a)
DONGO Margaret Dongo, leader of the opposition party the Zimbabwe Union of Democrats (ZUD), talks to the press, after a busload of about 70 ruling ZANU (PF) supporters stoned her house in Sunningdale, about 2 kilometers south of Harare city center, yesterday. Ruling party supporters pelted the home with stones and bricks, injuring five people and smashing windows, roof panels and the front door, Dongo said Monday
ZIMBABWE VIOLENCE, HARARE, Zimbabwe


WAR veteran Margaret Dongo says the story of sexual abuse of women ex-combatants by their commanders during the armed struggle in the military camps is yet to be told fully.

Dongo lifted the lid on the sexual abuses during an interview with Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) chairman Trevor Ncube on his weekly programme, In Conversation with Trevor whose excerpts are set to be published in our sister paper, The Standard.

“The truth has never been told about the history of the struggle, vis-à-vis women. I hope that one day, we will have some people who will be bold enough to stand up and talk about it,” she said.

“It’s a pity that very little is going to come from women themselves because they have been marginalised intentionally to make sure that they are not able to speak for themselves.

“Some people were abused by the bosses themselves. They (bosses) could have more than three or four girlfriends. When he (boss) comes from Maputo, he said: ‘Go and get me a girl from the camp.’


“We used to have female commanders at the camp that could blow the whistle calling women for a parade to look for a girl for the bosses. You were paraded not because they wanted all of us, but one. Those, who knew that they would be victims, would run away.”

Dongo said there were camps where pregnant women and those with babies were “dumped” after the abuse.

“Women lived under a terrible environment. They (women) ended up with babies not because they wanted to, they were raped. We used to have a camp called Osibhisa, where you were dumped when you got pregnant.

“If there were any attacks, you needed to have your baby, gun, and run away. Those women suffered and there was no special food for those children. They could get the feed here and there.”

In 2006, former Education minister Fay Chung published a book titled Reliving the Second Chimurenga that exposed some of the abuses by the guerilla war commanders.

In her book, Chung fingered late Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army commander Josiah Tongogara in the abuse of women at Pungwe III, a military camp on the banks of Pungwe River in Mozambique. – News Day Zimbabwe


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