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  • 33 countries announce new travel bans and restrictions

    The newly discovered Omicron strain of the coronavirus has forced many states to urgently close their borders to some or all foreign arrivals.

    In an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 Omicron variant into their territories, 33 countries around the world have announced outright travel bans or enhanced travel restrictions of various degrees by now.

    The degree of border control severity varies from country to country, with China, Israel, Morocco and Japan closing their borders entirely, while other states only tightening COVID-19 testing protocols at the border.

    Complete Foreign Arrivals Bans

    • China – China already had stringent border controls in place, with only citizens and resident permit holders allowed into the country.
    • Israel – Israel banned foreigners from entering the country for 14 days. Israeli citizens will be able to come back to the country but will need to quarantine, even if fully vaccinated.
    • Japan – Japan closed its borders to non-citizens for one month, this includes foreign exchange students and those travelling for business.
    • Morocco – Morocco canceled all incoming flights for two weeks.

    Partial Foreign Arrivals Bans

    • Angola – Angola announced it will close its borders with countries in southern Africa including Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe until January 5.
    • Australia – Australia halted all flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Zimbabwe for at least 14 days.
    • Brazil – Brazil closed its border to flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
    • Cambodia – Cambodia banned travelers from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola, and Zambia.
    • Canada – Canada banned non-citizens who have travelled to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe since November 12.
    • Egypt – Egypt halted direct flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
    • Fiji – Fiji already had strict border controls, and only citizens can enter the country.
    • France – France stopped flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
    • Germany – Germany has suspended all flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
    • Indonesia – Indonesia banned any foreigners who spent the last 14 days in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
    • Italy – Italy suspended the arrival of anyone who has travelled to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe in the last 14 days.
    • Kuwait – Kuwait halted direct flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, with non-citizens not permitted to enter if they have travelled to those countries.
    • Maldives – Foreigners who have travelled to or through Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe within the past 14 days will be denied entry.
    • Malta – Malta banned travel to and from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
    • Netherlands – The Netherlands has suspended flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe carrying non-citizens.
    • New Zealand – New Zealand is only allowing citizens into the country. Any foreign travelers from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Zimbabwe will be denied entry.
    • Oman – Oman has suspended flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe and anyone who travelled to these countries in the past 14 days will also be banned from entry.
    • Pakistan – Pakistan closed its borders to Botswana, Hong Kong, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.
    • Philippines – The Philippines halted inbound flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe until December 15.
    • Russia – Russia suspended entry of non-Russians who travelled through Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
    • Rwanda – Rwanda suspended all direct flights to and from southern Africa.
    • Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia halted flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe and non-citizens who have spent the past 14 days in the listed countries will be barred from entry.
    • Singapore – Any non-citizens from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe will be barred from entering Singapore.
    • Sri Lanka – Foreigners from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe will be barred from entry.
    • Thailand – Thailand enforced a travel ban on those from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe from December.
    • Turkey – Turkey banned arrivals from Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
    • United Arab Emirates – Travellers from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe are restricted from travelling to the UAE.
    • United Kingdom – The UK added Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe to its red list.
    • United States – The US restricted non-citizens from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe from entering the country.

  • First new case of COVID-19 Omicron strain confirmed in Japan

    The government of Japan announced today that a man in his 30s, who tested positive for coronavirus at the Narita International Airport, upon his arrival from Namibia on Sunday, was indeed infected with the dreaded new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.

    This is the first officially confirmed case on the Omicron strain infection in the country.

    According to the health ministry officials, the man had no symptoms when being at Narita International Airport but developed a fever on Monday, while two family members traveling with him have tested negative and are quarantined at a government-designated facility.

    Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with cabinet members including Health Minister Shigeyuki Goto to discuss how the government will respond to the detection of the Omicron strain in Japan, which has seen a decline in COVID-19 cases.

    Yesterday, Kishida announced that the government will in principle ban the entry of all foreign nationals. He pledged to act quickly on concerns over the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.

    Ban on foreign arrivals started on Tuesday and will last for about one month, during which Japanese citizens and foreigners with resident status returning from high-risk areas are required to quarantine for up to 10 days in a government-designated facility.

    Japan has already taken such stricter measures on people who have recently been to any of the nine African countries – Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    Japan will also suspend the recent easing of entry restrictions beginning November 8, which has allowed vaccinated business travelers to have a shorter quarantine period and started to accept entry applications from students and technical interns on the condition that their host organization agrees to take the responsibility of monitoring their movement.

    Starting on Wednesday, the country will also set its daily cap for arrivals at 3,500, down from 5,000. Returning Japanese citizens and foreign residents will be required to isolate for two weeks regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated.

    Yesterday, 82 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were recorded across Japan, a low figure being likely a result of a drop in testings over the weekend. The previous wave of infections caused by the Delta variant in summer saw a peak at more than 25,000 daily cases.

  • Airbus: New 100% sustainable-fuels emissions study shows early promise

    Initial findings from a world-first study of the impact of 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on both engines of a commercial jet have provided promising early results.

    The ECLIF3 study, involving Airbus, Rolls-Royce, German research center DLR and SAF producer Neste, marks the first time 100% SAF has been measured simultaneously on both engines of a commercial passenger aircraft – an Airbus A350 aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

    In-flight emissions tests and associated ground testing on the ECLIF3 program began earlier this year and have recently resumed. The interdisciplinary team, which also includes researchers from the National Research Council of Canada and The University of Manchester, plans to publish its results in academic journals towards the end of next year and 2023.

    Findings from the study will support efforts currently underway at Airbus and Rolls-Royce to ensure the aviation sector is ready for the large-scale use of SAF as part of the wider initiative to decarbonize the industry. Aircraft are currently only allowed to operate on a 50% blend of SAF and conventional jet fuel, but both companies support the drive to certify 100% SAF use.

    In April, the A350 flew three flights over the Mediterranean Sea pursued by a DLR Falcon chaser plane to compare in-flight emissions of both kerosene and Neste’s hydro-processed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) sustainable fuel. The team also carried out compliance tests using 100% SAF and no operational issues were experienced.

    In-flight emission tests using 100% SAF and a HEFA/Jet A-1 fuel blend resumed this month, while ground-based emissions testing to quantify the benefits of SAF on local air quality were also performed. The research team found SAF releases fewer particulates than conventional kerosene at all tested engine operating conditions, which points to the potential for reduced climate impact and improvement in air quality around airports.

    In addition, SAF has lower density but higher energy content per kilogram of fuel compared to conventional kerosene, which brings some aircraft fuel-efficiency advantages due to lower fuel burn and less fuel mass to board to achieve the same mission. Detailed analysis by the team is on-going.

    “Engines and fuel systems can be tested on the ground but the only way to gather the full set of emissions data necessary for this program to be successful is to fly an aircraft in real conditions,” said Steven Le Moing, New Energy Program Manager at Airbus. “In-flight testing of the A350 offers the advantage of characterizing direct and indirect engine emissions, including particulates from behind an aircraft at high altitude.”

    Simon Burr, Rolls-Royce Director of Product Development and Technology, Civil Aerospace, said: “This research adds to tests we’ve already carried out on our engines, both on the ground and in the air, which have found no engineering obstacle to our engines running on 100% SAF. If we are to truly decarbonize long-haul air travel, then 100% SAF is a critical element and we are committed to supporting its certification for service.”

    The DLR Falcon chaser aircraft is equipped with multiple probes to measure emissions at cruise level down to a distance of only 100 meters from the A350 and feed them into scientific instrumentation for analysis.

    “SAF has been shown to have a significantly lower carbon footprint over its life cycle compared to conventional jet fuel and now we are seeing it is advantageous in reducing non-CO2 effects too,” said Markus Fischer, DLR’s Divisional Board Member for Aeronautics. “Tests such as these are continuing to develop our understanding of 100% SAF, its use in flight and we are seeing positive signs for its potential in climate mitigation. We look forward to studying the data from the second series of ECLIF3 flights, which restarted with a first chase flight above the Mediterranean earlier this month.”

    In 2015, DLR performed the ECLIF1 campaign, investigating alternative fuels with its Falcon and A320 ATRA research aircraft. These investigations continued in 2018 with the ECLIF2 campaign which saw the A320 ATRA flying with a mixture of standard jet fuel and up to 50% HEFA. This research showed the advantageous emission performance of fuel mixtures up to 50% SAF and paved the way for the 100% SAF test flights for ECLIF3.

  • WHO warns of new outbreaks, US rules out lockdown

    The World Health Organization (WHO) warned today that the Ômicron variant of the new coronavirus poses a high risk of new outbreaks of infection.

    WHO warned the 194 member nations that the possibility of a new outbreak could have severe consequences, but noted that no deaths have been reported so far as a result of the new strain.

    US President Joe Biden said in a speech at the White House that the new variant is cause for concern, but not panic. According to Biden, the variant will arrive on American soil sooner or later; therefore, the best approach at the moment is vaccination.

    Next Thursday, the White House, the seat of the United States government, will release a new strategy to deal with the pandemic and its variants during the winter. Joe Biden said that the plan will not include new actions restricting the movement of people or containing agglomerations. “If people are vaccinated and wear masks, there is no need for a new lockdown [confinement],” he said.

    The president stressed, however, that it will still take a few weeks to prove the effectiveness of the available immunizers against Ômicron.

    Health expert Anthony Fauci, the government’s adviser on action against the pandemic, said the country “is obviously on red alert.” “It is inevitable that it will spread widely,” he said in an interview with a television network last Saturday.

    According to projections from WHO and international health agencies, the number of cases of the Ômicron variant is expected to exceed 10,000 this week, compared to 300 records made last week, informed Professor Salim Abdool Karim, an infectious disease specialist who works to combat the pandemic in the southern government. African.

    The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, denounced on social networks what he called an “unjustified and unscientific” approach towards the country. For Ramaphosa, the closing of borders and the ban on flights from countries in southern Africa deeply hurts economies that depend on tourism, in addition to being “a kind of punishment for the scientific capacity to detect new variants”.

    The president of South Africa called for international authorities not to establish restrictions on flights to the region.

  • New flight from Doha to Tashkent on Qatar Airways

    Qatar Airways will add Tashkent, Uzbekistan to its global network with twice weekly flights. The first flight from Doha to Tashkent will take off on 17 January 2022, operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft, featuring 12 seats in Business Class and 120 seats in Economy Class.

    The new service will enable passengers flying to and from Tashkent to enjoy seamless connectivity to over 140 destinations, including UAE, Saudi Arabia, India and the U.S., via Hamad International Airport in Doha.

    Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We see tremendous growth potentials in Central Asia and this new service to Tashkent will serve to boost trade opportunities and attract tourists wanting to discover this beautiful destination. Passengers from Tashkent will now have access to more than 140 destinations when travelling with the World’s Best Airline via the World’s Best Airport, Hamad International Airport.”

    Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan lying at the core of the ancient Silk Road, will become Qatar Airways’ newest destination in 2022 and the latest addition to its network in Asia. It is the largest city in Central Asia, offering visitors panoramic views, varied cuisine and plenty of places to see and discover.

    Flight Schedule

    Doha – Tashkent (All times in local)

    Monday and Friday

    Doha (DOH) to Tashkent (TAS)         QR377            Departs: 18:55            Arrives: 00:30 +1

    Tuesday and Saturday

    Tashkent (TAS) to Doha (DOH)         QR378            Departs: 01:50            Arrives: 04:00

  • Brain Health Supplements: Now Stopping Dementia?

    According to Coherent Market Insights, the global brain health supplements market is estimated to account for 14,639.5 Mn in terms of value by the end of 2028.         

    Ginkgo biloba and coenzyme Q10 are both popular, although they also contain caffeine, which can impair brain function. Using these supplements daily can help prevent dementia, improve mood and memory. There are several different supplements that can help improve the function of the brain. Some of the most popular are vitamins and minerals, which are beneficial for the brain. Those with cognitive problems should avoid taking vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. While these supplements are beneficial for overall health, they are not effective for treating or preventing dementia.

    Market Drivers

    1.  Growing prevalence of mental disorders is expected to drive growth of the global brain health supplements market during the forecast period.

    With growing geriatric population, the prevalence of different mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety has increased. According to the Alzheimer Association, in 2021, around 6.2 million people in the U.S. aged 65 years and above are living with Alzheimer’s dementia. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), 2019, around 275 million people across the globe suffer from anxiety disorders, of which 170 million are female sufferers while male sufferers account for 105 million. Moreover, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorder is the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting around 40 million adults in the country. Brain health supplements can aid in breaking down homocysteine, high levels of which have been associated with a greater risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

    2.  Increasing awareness among the general population regarding wellbeing is expected to propel the global brain health supplements market growth over the forecast period

    General population has become increasingly aware of brain health supplements and their advantages. Consumers are actively seeking such products, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent the advent of various mental disorders. With rising number of promotional activities conducted by key companies, the demand for brain health supplements is expected to surge in the near future. Moreover, rising disposable income and rapidly growing urbanization in emerging economies, the adoption of such supplements are likely to grow in the near future.

    Market Opportunity

    1.  Launch of novel products by key players can present lucrative growth opportunities

    Key players are focused on research and development activities, in order to launch novel products. For instance, in July 2020, Elysium Health launched a new brain health supplement Matter, pair of a high-dose suite of B vitamins with specially formulated omega-3s from fish oil.

    2.  The adoption of inorganic strategies by market players can provide major business opportunities in the near future

    Major market players are involved in various inorganic strategies such as partnerships and collaborations, in order to enhance the market presence and gain a competitive advantage. For instance, in March 2021, Neuriva partnered with Mayim Bialik to educate and empower consumers in brain health.

    Market Trends

    1.  Memory Enhancement supplements continue to major demand

    Among applications, memory enhancement is one of the largest categories in brain health supplements. Increasing concerns pertaining to dementia among geriatric people have increased the demand for memory-enhancing products across the globe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2021, there were around 55 million people living with dementia across the globe with around 10 million cases every year. Some of the most common memory-enhancing products in the market include green tea, omega-3, ginseng root, turmeric, and bacopa.

    2.  North America Trends

    Among regions, North America is expected to witness significant growth in the global brain health supplements market during the forecast period. This is owing to growing geriatric population and the high prevalence of cognitive impairments across the region. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorder is the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting around 40 million adults in the country. Moreover, the presence of robust healthcare infrastructure is expected to boost the regional market growth in the near future.

    Competitive Section

    Key companies involved in the global brain health supplements market are AlternaScript, LLC, Accelerated Intelligence Inc., Liquid Health, Inc., HVMN Inc., Natural Factors Nutritional Products Ltd., KeyView Labs, Inc., Onnit Labs, LLC, Purelife Bioscience Co., Ltd., Quincy Bioscience, Cerebral Success, Amway, Puori, Ocean Health, and Schiff.

    For instance, in April 2021, Unilever plc, a U.K.-based consumer goods company, acquired Onnit, a U.S.-based health supplements company, who’s popular for its brain health supplement product Alpha Brain for better memory, focus, and mental processing. 

    Segmentation

    •             By Product Type:

    •             Herbal Extracts: Ginseng, Ginkgo Biloba, Curcumin, Lions Mane, Others.

    •             Vitamins & Minerals: Vitamin B, Vitamin C & E, Others.

    •             Natural Molecules: Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Alpha GPC, Citicoline, Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), Others Consumables & Disposables.

    •             By Application: Memory Enhancement, Mood & Depression, Attention & Focus, Longevity & Anti-aging, Sleep & Recovery, and Anxiety.

    •             By Supplement Form: Tablets, Capsules, Others.

    •             By Age Group Grouped User: Geriatric, Adults, and Pediatrics.

    •             By Distribution Channel: Geriatric, Adults, and Pediatrics.

    Global Brain Health Supplements Market, By Region:

    •             North America

    o             By Country:

    –              U.S.

    –              Canada

    •             Europe

    o             By Country:

    –              U.K.

    –              Germany

    –              Italy

    –              France

    –              Spain

    –              Russia

    –              Rest of Europe

    •             Asia Pacific

    o             By Country:

    –              China

    –              India

    –              Japan

    –              ASEAN

    –              Australia

    –              South Korea

    –              Rest of Asia Pacific

    •             Latin America

    o             By Country:

    –              Brazil

    –              Mexico

    –              Argentina

    –              Rest of Latin America

    •             Middle East & Africa

    o             By Country:

    –              GCC Countries

    –              Israel

    –              South Africa

    –              Rest of Middle East & Africa

  • Caldolor Approved for Pre-Surgery Pain Relief

    Cumberland Pharmaceuticals Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved expanded labeling for Caldolor®, an intravenously delivered formulation of ibuprofen, to now include use in pre-operative administration.         

    The newly FDA-approved label includes information regarding the product’s indications and usage, appropriate patient populations, clinical study results, potential side effects, patient safety details, and instructions for use in pregnant women, children and other populations.

    Supporting this expanded use of Caldolor, a study of orthopedic surgical pain confirmed the significant pain reduction when the product was administered every six hours (started pre-operatively) with supplemental morphine available on an as needed basis. A total of 185 patients were randomized and treated with either Caldolor® 800 mg or placebo administered every six hours (started pre-operatively) and morphine provided on an as needed basis.

    Efficacy was demonstrated as a statistically significant greater reduction in pain intensity over 24 hours post-operatively for patients treated with Caldolor® as compared to those receiving placebo.

  • Oral Contraceptive Now Gets Approval

    Developed by Mithra Pharmaceuticals, NEXTSTELLIS is a first-of-its-kind contraceptive pill containing a new low impact estrogen – estetrol (E4) and the proven progestin – drospirenone (DRSP). E4 is a natural estrogen produced by the human body during pregnancy, now derived from a plant source. Containing a new chemical entity (NCE), NEXTSTELLIS will receive 5 years of market exclusivity. 

    The Australian contraceptive market is valued at A$125 million with the short-acting combined (estrogen and progestin) oral contraceptive market worth over A$65 million[1].

    Mayne Pharma’s CEO Mr Scott Richards said: “We are pleased to be introducing NEXTSTELLIS to the Australian market. It has been 10 years since Australian women have had a new contraceptive hormone to consider with their doctor. NEXTSTELLIS offers an effective, safe and well-tolerated pill with excellent cycle control and has demonstrated low impact on certain parts of the body. Mayne Pharma is committed to women’s health and launching innovative products to meet the needs of Australian and American women.”

    Sexual Health physician, Dr Terri Foran, said: “Combined oral contraceptives continue to be the most widely used method of hormonal birth control in Australia and every clinician knows that each woman responds differently to contraceptive hormones. This is why it is so important that we have a range of contraceptive options so we can individualise that choice. Today we have a wide range of progestins available, but the choice of estrogen has been limited to ethinylestradiol or estradiol. Having another estrogen, estetrol (E4), opens up the possibility that more women will be able to find a combination that suits them. Research indicates that estetrol is more selective in its impact on various hormonally receptive tissues in the female body. While it has the desired effects on the genital system necessary for an effective combined contraceptive, it appears to have potentially less effect on the liver and the breast.”

    Mithra’s CEO Mr Leon Van Rompay said: “After the US, Canada and Europe, we are delighted to receive this additional approval for our innovative contraceptive, confirming a commercial launch on a third continent. This fourth major approval obtained this year, is perfectly in line with our schedule, allowing us to cover more than 80% of the targeted territory. This further demonstrates the strong expertise of our teams and the strength of our collaboration with Mayne Pharma, which makes NEXTSTELLIS’ commercial launch a top priority.”

  • China and Africa Strong Cooperation Against COVID-19

    China-Africa friendship is expected to continue to flourish as cooperation is further deepened in various areas after the ongoing 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Dakar, Senegal.

    Elaborating on the secret of China-Africa friendship and looking to the future development of their relations, he highlighted unity against the pandemic, deepening practical cooperation, promoting green development, and safeguarding fairness and justice.

    Cooperation against COVID-19

    “To reach the target set by the African Union of vaccinating 60 percent of the African population against COVID-19 by 2022, China will provide another one billion doses of vaccines to Africa, of which 600 million doses will be provided free,” Xi said.

    During the toughest times in China’s fight against the COVID-19 epidemic, African countries and regional organizations such as the African Union (AU) provided strong support to China. After COVID-19 struck Africa, China supplied 50 African countries and the AU Commission with COVID-19 vaccines.

    “China will never forget African countries’ profound friendship,” Xi said, adding that China will also carry out 10 medical and health projects for African countries and send 1,500 medical team members and public health experts to Africa.

    Earlier this week, the main building of the Chinese-funded headquarters for the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was structurally completed.

    Practical cooperation in various areas

    China will work with Africa to expand trade and investment, share experience in poverty alleviation, and strengthen cooperation on digital economy and renewable energy, Xi said.

    China will send 500 agricultural experts to Africa, work closely with African countries to implement nine major projects on healthcare, poverty alleviation, trade, investment, digital innovation, green development, capacity building, cultural exchanges and security, he added.

    Since the founding of FOCAC, Chinese companies have utilized various funds to help African countries build and upgrade more than 10,000 km of railways, nearly 100,000 km of highways, nearly 1,000 bridges and 100 ports, and 66,000 km of power transmission and distribution network, according to a white paper titled “China and Africa in the New Era: A Partnership of Equals” released on Friday.

    Building China-Africa community with a shared future

    This year marks the 65th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and African countries.

    Hailing the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation, Xi said it reflects the two sides’ experience of sharing weal and woe and serves as the source of strength for furthering China-Africa ties.

    Over the past 65 years, China and Africa have forged unbreakable fraternity in the struggle against imperialism and colonialism, and embarked on a distinct path of cooperation in the journey toward development and revitalization, he said.

    “Together, we have written a splendid chapter of mutual assistance amidst complex changes, and set a shining example for building a new type of international relations,” he said.

    Xi put forward the principles of China’s Africa policy: sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and pursuing the greater good and shared interests.

    At the initiative of both China and African countries, FOCAC was inaugurated at its first Ministerial Conference in Beijing in October 2000, with the goals of responding to the challenges emerging from economic globalization and seeking common development.

    FOCAC now has 55 members, comprising China, the 53 African countries that have diplomatic relations with China, and the AU Commission.

  • WTN Urgent Call for OECD States to Compensate the African Tourism Industry

    The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an international organization that works to build better policies for better lives. The goal is to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity, and well-being for all.

    Together with governments, policymakers, and citizens, OECD works on establishing evidence-based international standards and finding solutions to a range of social, economic, and environmental challenges. From improving economic performance and creating jobs, to fostering strong education and fighting international tax evasion, OECD provides a unique forum and knowledge hub for data and analysis, exchange of experiences, best-practice sharing, and advice on public policies and international standard-setting.

    The OECD is at the heart of international cooperation. Member countries work with other countries, organizations, and stakeholders worldwide to address the pressing policy challenges of the current times.

    The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is an intergovernmental economic organization with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

    The following countries are current OECD members:

    CountryDate 
     AUSTRALIA7 June 1971
     AUSTRIA29 September 1961
     BELGIUM13 September 1961
     CANADA10 April 1961
     CHILE7 May 2010
     COLOMBIA28 April 2020
     COSTA RICA25 May 2021
     CZECH REPUBLIC21 December 1995
     DENMARK30 May 1961
     ESTONIA9 December 2010
     FINLAND28 January 1969
     FRANCE7 August 1961
     GERMANY27 September 1961
     GREECE27 September 1961
     HUNGARY7 May 1996
     ICELAND5 June 1961
     IRELAND17 August 1961
     ISRAEL7 September 2010
     ITALY29 March 1962
     JAPAN28 April 1964
     KOREA12 December 1996
     LATVIA1 July 2016
     LITHUANIA5 July 2018
     LUXEMBOURG7 December 1961
     MEXICO18 May 1994
     NETHERLANDS13 November 1961
     NEW ZEALAND29 May 1973
     NORWAY4 July 1961
     POLAND22 November 1996
     PORTUGAL4 August 1961
     SLOVAK REPUBLIC14 December 2000
     SLOVENIA21 July 2010
     SPAIN3 August 1961
     SWEDEN28 September 1961
     SWITZERLAND28 September 1961
     TURKEY2 August 1961
     UNITED KINGDOM2 May 1961
     UNITED STATES12 April 1961

    African Tourism Board Chairman Cuthbert Ncube posted to the organization WhatsApp group yesterday:

    Good morning Colleagues. We pray we are all well by His Grace. We have noted with utter disappointment and disgust the move by Europe and others to isolate Africa. It has long been expected as we have always echoed the equalities that have been perpetuated for decades. If there was a time for all to unite, it is now, for Africa to put all our efforts together for the betterment of our communities and citizens.

    Responses to this include phrases: Respect Mr. Chairman, we must rise and stand tall and defend our continent.

    This was responded to by Professor Geoffrey Lipman of SunX in Brussels:

    Dear friends from Africa: I suggest a need to approach this new Omicron reality with calm logic, not just understandable emotion.

    There were reportedly 60 infected passengers on a KLM aircraft from Capetown to Amsterdam this week. The new strain may negate current vaccination protection. This is being tested and it is early days in that process. It is not out of any anti-African sentiment that authorities in Europe try to close the loophole. It is because it may be a deadly loophole in their basic citizen protection strategies.

    Together we should lobby the International community (including the financial and insurance industries) for a mega Tourism Compensation Fund to cover this and future health-driven tourism threatening events.

    Wolfgang Koening from Germany added:

    And it is long overdue to drop the vaccine patents to give all Africans a chance to get vaccinated and to prevent new variants from emerging.

    Kalo Africa Media from Nigeria posted:

    Speak up against wrong labeling rather than thinking we don’t need to. We need to speak up!

    Do you think he will keep mute and watch his country wrongly label[ed]? We are talking of the entire Southern African region. It’s not funny. Do you think China found it easy? In this case, there was no empirical evidence to determine the originality of OMICRON, but they concluded it was Africa. Do you think Botswana found it easy when it was first named Botswana variant? All of us need to speak up; it’s a collective attack against humanity.

    An ATB member from Zambia posted:

    There are no winners in the closing of borders. It’s a lose/lose situation for those closing borders and those affected by the closure. The progressive way forward is just to enforce and strengthen the current measures in place to deal with the transmission of COVID.

    Faouzou Deme from Senegal added:

    Hello: This pandemic is a cold war of the big industrialists and the great European and American powers in order to annihilate Africa for their own personal interests. It is up to us to reflect on and prepare a stimulus forum for African tourism (sub-region) on our mode of consumption of tourist products for locals in the digital sector and others. This is my personal proposition. What do you think?

    President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said yesterday:

    For too long, African countries have trained their gaze on trade and investment opportunities in markets beyond the continent, such as Europe, Asia, and North America. It is time for the focus to be closer to home.

    The World Tourism Network proposed:

    Given that the Omicron strain of COVID-19 was identified by top research scientists in South Africa, and the country immediately notified the World Health Organization and the Global Health Council, using universally agreed-upon international procedures, it’s important to not give the impression that a country doing what is expected of them under an international agreement, means they should be labeled negatively as a country, and to not punish that country with isolation; and

    Given that WHO officially stated that Travel Bans will not help to stop the spread of the virus; and

    Given that despite this advice, the numerous OECD governments have unilaterally imposed such travel bans on the Southern African states.

    Given that this has had a continuing measurable direct financial impact on the Travel & Tourism sector of these Southern African states and hence their socio-economic and development conditions,

    The World Tourism Network calls on the responsible OECD states to establish an International Fund to compensate the Travel & Tourism sector of these African states, as verified by the African Development Bank, and to maintain such a fund at requisite levels until such bans are eliminated.

    Unfortunately, what happened over the weekend, it looks like South Africa and Botswana were labeled.

    In the meantime, we know the new strain was already in Belgium, Germany, the UK, Canada, and Hong Kong, and is on the go. Japan and Israel closed their borders to all foreigners. This is way beyond Southern Africa.

    The fact that Africa does not have the means to get everyone vaccinated most likely contributed to new mutations of the virus. The World Tourism Network had called for new guidelines on how to travel with COVID-19 and keep borders and economies open.

    This has had a continuing measurable direct financial impact on the Travel & Tourism sector of these Southern African states and hence their socio-economic and development conditions. 

    Today, WTN received calls from African countries that should not have been affected by the new strain. A tour operator in Uganda told WTN they received mass cancellations from US travelers. It appears all of Africa is now labeled, and this will not stop here.

    Petition click here

    The World Tourism Network is calling for a Fund to be established by OECD States

    The World Tourism Network is, therefore, calling for support for the Southern African Tourism sector directly affected due to measures by certain OECD states for a unilateral cessation of bilaterally agreed upon air services. 

    WTN suggests for the African Tourism Board to address this issue with African Ministers of Tourism, with African Heads of State, with the EU, US, UK, and Japan.

    The World Tourism Network will support a call to compensate the Travel & Tourism sector of these African states, as verified by the African Development Bank. WTN calls to maintain a Tourism Compensation Fund at requisite levels until such bans are eliminated.