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Ramaphosa calls for help for 'shattered economies'

UN General Assembly
EPA
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the meeting via video link

Africa needs support from the rest of the world in order to rebuild "our shattered economies" in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has told the meeting of the UN's General Assembly.

Mr Ramaphosa, who was also speaking in his role as the chair of the African Union, said the continent needs help with a "comprehensive stimulus package".

He also called for the suspension of interest payments on government debt and said sanctions against Sudan and Zimbabwe should be dropped, to help those two countries recover.

Addressing the meeting from South Africa he turned his attention to racism in light of the Black Lives matter protests.

"As a country that has known too well the anguish of institutionalised racism," he said.

"South Africa supports the demands for swift action against racism, whether committed by individuals, companies, officials or a state."

Ethiopian launches country's first Braille newspaper

Aklilu Tsegay

BBC Tigrinya

Poster with the newspaper's name on it
Fiyori Tewolde

A young Ethiopian journalist has produced and distributed the country’s first Braille newspaper.

Braille is a system allowing visually impaired people to read by using raised dots to represent letters that are felt by the fingertips.

Fiyori Tewolde had been working for the state-controlled Addis Zemen newspaper when she decided to switch her attention to providing a service for blind readers.

Fiyori Tewolde
Fiyori Tewolde
Fiyori Tewolde hopes to get more financial backing to be able to lower the cover price

“There are around four million Ethiopians with a visual impairment and I noticed that they didn’t have access to information - and they miss out on things like job vacancy announcements that are published in the print media,” Ms Fiyori told BBC Amharic.

Her pioneering newspaper, which is called Fetil (meaning “Thread” in the Amharic language), will be published every Wednesday and will cover social, economic and political issues. The articles are written by journalists who are volunteering their time.

Ms Fiyori said that it will also include special investigative reports on the challenges that people with disabilities face in Ethiopia.

Copies of Fetil’s first edition were given to the Ethiopian National Association of the Blind, government offices and other organisations.

“When visually-impaired people go to those places we want them to find Fetil on the reception tables among other newspapers and magazines to read,” Ms Fiyori said.

She said the feedback so far has been very positive with people appreciating the service.

It will also be sold on the streets of the capital, Addis Ababa and cost 30 birr ($0.82, £0.64), which is expensive and more than twice what the average newspaper costs.

The high cost is because of the special paper that it needs to be printed on.

But Ms Fiyori hopes to get support from various charities to subsidise the cost and wants to distribute it free to blind people.

In Ethiopia, people with disabilities, including those with a visual impairment, are often discriminated against in the job market and as a result they face economic difficulties.

Leaders must respect rule of law - Malawi's Chakwera

Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera is on a visit to Zambia and journalists there have been trying to pin him down on his views about politics in the region.

They asked him about the reported deterioration of human rights in Zimbabwe, and his response was a call for the respect of divergent views.

"At this particular stage, I may have nothing much to say. I do have an outstanding meeting with President [Emmerson] Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe," he said.

"We must respect the rule of law, we must respect human rights, we must respect respect contrary views everywhere," he added.

"This is what makes us advance as democracies. And so, in as much as I cannot address specific issues, these are principles that we want to live by everywhere, particularly here in Africa as one people."

President Chakwera was elected in May after the Constitutional Court nullified the results of an earlier election that had declared Peter Mutharika as winner.

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