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  • Somaliland shuts down schools until after Nov. 13 presidential elections

    The Education ministry announced this week that schools including universities will be closed from November 7 to November 15, two days after the polls.

    The directive follows a request from the National Electoral Commission (NEC) which says it will use most of the schools as polling centres.

    Somaliland is anticipating a smooth election which will be the first in the Horn of Africa region to be trouble-free and the first in Africa to use the iris-recognition biometric voter registration system.

    This election will mark a milestone in Somaliland's electoral development as it will be the first time that the incumbent has not challenged for the top job.

    The elections were scheduled to be held in March but was postponed due to the drought condition in the region.

    Three candidates are vying to replace the country’s fourth president Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo who withdrew from running for a second seven-year term.

    The three candidates are former minister Muse Bihi Abdi of the ruling KULMIYE (Peace, Unity and Development Party); veteran politician Faisal Ali Warabe of UCID (Justice and Welfare Party); and then the former speaker of the House of Representatives Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi Irro of Waddani (National Party).

    They started campaigning on October 21 and so far, no incidents of violence have been recorded as each candidate was assigned specific days to campaign to avoid clashes.

    Out of the about 4 million Somaliland population, 704, 089 registered voters are expected to elect the new president. There are 1,642 polling stations in the 21 constituencies across the six regions of the country.

    A team of 60 international election observers from 24 countries have been deployed to the country by the international election observation mission (EOM) funded by the British government.

    “This election will mark a milestone in Somaliland’s electoral development as it will be the first time that the incumbent has not challenged for the top job,” said the leader of the team, Dr Michael Walls of the Development Planning Unit (DPU) at the University College London.

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  • Togolese football star Adebayor angers anti-government protesters with comment

    Togolese international Emmanuel Sheyi Adebayor has attracted some fury from anti-government protesters after his brief comment on the political crisis in the country.

    The captain of the Togolese national team who plays for Turkish top flight football club İstanbul Başakşehir said in a recent interview that the protesters should first think of contributing to the country.

    “If the President leaves, will the people without jobs find one more easily? Not sure. We have Libya as an example with Gaddafi. We saw this country with and without him. Libyans are regretting it! The Togolese diaspora in Paris who talk about marching, fly back to the country if you want to march,” he told French media So Foot after some hesitation.

    This comment attracted a lot of criticisms from opposition supporters on social media who also said they weren’t surprised because he had supported President Faure Gnassingbe in 2015 during the presidential election.

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  • Thousands urge peace in anti-Trump protest in S. Korea

    Thousands of South Koreans protested Sunday against an upcoming visit by Donald Trump and called for peace as the US President begins an Asian tour dominated by North Korea's nuclear programme.

    Trump, who arrived in Tokyo on Sunday, is set to visit the South from Tuesday to Wednesday as part of his first Asian trip as head of state that also includes Vietnam, China and the Philippines.

    He is scheduled to hold a summit with President Moon Jae-In and visit a US military base, with all eyes on his message to the North and its leader Kim Jong-Un.

    Tensions flared after Pyongyang staged a sixth atomic test in September and test-launched multiple missiles capable of reaching the US mainland, while Trump and Kim have traded colourful personal attacks.

    South Korea is a key US ally and hosts 28,500 US troops but many of Trump's critics in the South see him as a warmonger whose recent war of words with Kim has heightened tensions on the flashpoint peninsula.

    "We oppose war! Negotiate peace!" the protesters chanted in central Seoul, waving banners and balloons emblazoned "Peace, not war" and "We want peace".

    Many slammed both Trump and Kim for heightening the risk of conflict.

    "Trump and Kim... are using the current military standoff for their own political gain, while we South Koreans are trembling with fear of war!" one activist said on stage.

    One mother whose son is serving the South's mandatory two-year army conscription accused the US leader of putting her son's life at risk.

    "My heart stirs at every single word Trump says about North Korea," she said.

    Organisers estimated the number of protesters at around 5,000.

    Separately on Sunday a group of conservative activists held a rally to welcome Trump, urging Washington to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in the South to guard against threats from the North.

    The latest standoff between Trump and Kim has raised concern among South Koreans, who have over decades grown indifferent to regular threats of attack from Pyongyang.

    But some Trump advisers say US military options are limited because any armed conflict on the peninsula would be expected to cause huge casualties.

    Seoul is home to 10 million people and only about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the heavily-fortified border, within range of Pyongyang's artillery.

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  • Niger Delta Avengers group to resume attacks on Nigeria's oil installations

    Nigerian militant group Niger Delta Avengers said on Friday its ceasefire on attacks in the country’s southern oil-rich region was at an end.

    “We can assure you that every oil installation in our region will feel the warmth of the wrath of the Niger Delta Avengers,” the group said in a statement on its website.

    Attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta in 2016 cut Nigeria’s oil production to its lowest level in at least 30 years.

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  • Mane could make Liverpool return at West Ham

    Sadio Mane could make his Liverpool comeback at West Ham United on Saturday after making encouraging progress in his recovery from a hamstring injury, manager Jurgen Klopp revealed on Friday.

    The Senegal winger has not played for Liverpool since October 1 after getting injured on international duty, but he returned to training with his team-mates on Thursday.

    "Sadio trained yesterday for the first time with the team and looked really, really good. We will see what we do with that," Klopp told reporters at Liverpool's Melwood training centre.

    "Yesterday it looked like he is ready for at least 20-25 minutes, but we have to wait to see how his body reacts to the session because it was his first football session for a long time.

    "He did really well. He obviously didn't miss his abilities or skills during the injury break, so that's good."

    Liverpool are sixth in the Premier League table, 12 points adrift of leaders Manchester City.

    But with City hosting fifth-place Arsenal on Sunday and fourth-place Chelsea entertaining second-place Manchester United, they have an opportunity to make up ground on the teams above them.

    Philippe Coutinho has been ruled out of the trip to London Stadium due to an adductor muscle problem that kept him out of Liverpool's 3-0 wins over Huddersfield Town and Maribor.

    But Georginio Wijnaldum, forced off early on against Maribor after turning his ankle, and Dejan Lovren, who sustained a thigh injury prior to the Huddersfield game, could be able to play.

    "Phil is not available. With the rest, it will be close," said Klopp.

    "Gini I'm not sure, we have to see. It's painful what he has, but maybe he can cope with it.

    "Dejan, yes, maybe today is the clearing session and we know that in weeks like this you have to wait until the last second to make the squad or the line-up."

    Klopp hopes Adam Lallana will be able to return after the international break, having been sidelined by a thigh problem since before the start of the season.

    Klopp also said he would not pressurise midfielder Emre Can to sign a new contract, with the Germany international's current deal set to expire at the season's end.

    "What could I do now? I could say, 'Yes, it is a big problem,' but it isn't," said Klopp.

    "I could say it is a big problem which we have to resolve now and put pressure on the player, put pressure on the club, but it makes no sense.

    "We have to respect his contract is ending and that is how it is.

    "As long as Emre doesn't give me one sign his mind is somewhere else, I don't have to talk about this. It is a normal thing in football."

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