Gospel act Diana Antwi Hamilton has revealed her daughter is willing to take over from her when she retires someday.
Diana Antwi Hamilton has given many gospel hits that are equally spiritual and spirit-filled hence another ‘Diana Antwi Hamilton’ will be a blessing.
Just as she has blessed this generation with spirit-filled gospel songs, her daughter taking over from her will be the continuation of the blessing she has been to this generation to the next generation.
She revealed this through an Instagram post where she shared some beautiful photos of her daughter and herself.
Sibusiso Moyo, who became the face of the 2017 coup against then-President Robert Mugabe, died at a hospital in Harare.
Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sibusiso Moyo has died from COVID-19, the government announced on Wednesday.
He gained prominence in 2017 as the military general who announced the coup against then-President Robert Mugabe on television.
Moyo, 61, previously little known to the public, became the face of the coup when he announced the military had placed Mugabe under house arrest as armoured vehicles rolled into the capital, Harare.
The coup ended Mugabe’s 37-year rule in Zimbabwe. Mugabe died in September 2019.
Moyo was appointed foreign affairs minister after President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power with military backing.
He “succumbed to COVID-19 at a local hospital” on Wednesday, Mnangagwa’s spokesman, George Charamba, said in a statement.
Zimbabwe is experiencing a resurgence of the disease, with record numbers of daily confirmed cases and deaths.
Mnangagwa on Thursday is set to bury another Cabinet minister, Ellen Gwaradzimba, who died from COVID-19 last week.
Transmission among inmates
Opposition spokeswoman Fadzayi Mahere said she tested positive for COVID-19 after being released from prison.
She was freed on Monday after seven days in detention.
Jailed journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and other inmates have previously raised concerns over the crowded prison conditions, which they said encourages COVID-19 transmission among inmates and prison guards.
Harare’s mayor and opposition official, Jacob Mafume, released from prison this week after a month in detention, is in isolation after his lawyers said three of his cellmates had died from COVID-19.
Zimbabwe, like many other African countries, initially recorded low numbers of COVID-19 but has recently experienced a spike in cases.
There are fears a new, more infectious variant of the virus arrived from South Africa when thousands of Zimbabweans living in South Africa returned home for the holiday season.
The government said it is in the process of conducting genetic sequencing to confirm the presence of the variant.
Zimbabwe, which once boasted a robust public health system, has recorded 28,675 cases and 825 deaths, according to government figures.
The Southern African country has not yet received any vaccines.
The government has said it expects to get some vaccines through the World Health Organization-led COVAX initiative, but it does not have a firm date on when they will be delivered.
Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office in a historic ceremony Wednesday, becoming the first woman, first Black American and first South Asian American to hold the office. The daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, Harris was sworn in by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first woman of color to serve on the Supreme Court.
The vice president took the oath dressed in a purple dress and overcoat with her husband and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff by her side.
Harris used two bibles in the ceremony. One belonged to the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first Black member of the Supreme Court and Harris’ political role model. The other was owned by family friend Regina Shelton, who was like a second mother to Harris. Harris first used this Bible when she took the oath of office as both California attorney general and U.S. senator.
For two decades in public life, Harris has achieved a lot of firsts: the first Black woman to serve as San Francisco’s district attorney, the first woman to be California’s attorney general, first Indian American senator, and now she will be working by Biden’s side.
Here’s what you should know about the prosecutor-turned-senator whose motto comes from her mom: “You may be the first, but make sure you’re not the last.”
Harris was born in Oakland, California on October 20, 1964, to Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher from India, and Donald Harris, an economist from Jamaica. Her parents met at UC Berkley while pursuing graduate degrees and the two were active in the civil rights movement right from their days on campus. When Kamala was born, they often took her along to protests in a stroller.
The eldest of two children, Harris grew up embracing both her Black and South Asian identities, and one time visited India while young, where it is documented that she “was heavily influenced by her grandfather, a high-ranking government official who fought for Indian independence, and grandmother, an activist who traveled the countryside teaching impoverished women about birth control.”
Attending middle school and high school in Montreal, Kamala studied political science and economics (B.A., 1986) at Howard University, and then earned a law degree in 1989 from Hastings College.
She subsequently worked as a deputy district attorney from 1990–98 in Oakland, prosecuting cases of drug trafficking, gang violence, and sexual abuse. Despite her parents not being too comfortable with her career choice, Kamala said she wanted to change the system from the inside, and with that determination, she moved up the ladder, becoming a district attorney in 2004.
At the time, she had made a name for herself in San Francisco, not only through her work as a prosecutor but also through her friendships with the city’s elite and her relationship with former mayor Willie B. They would support her with funding when she campaigned for office to become district attorney in 2004. That same year, she made what has been described as one of her most controversial decisions; Kamala refused to pursue the death penalty against the man who killed San Francisco police officer Isaac Espinoza.
She was heavily criticized for that. And when she ran for California attorney general, many thought she would lose to Steve Cooley, a popular white Republican who served as Los Angeles’ DA. Why? Kamala was a woman of color from liberal San Francisco who opposed the death penalty, but she made it, winning by a margin of less than 1 percent, thus becoming the first woman to hold the post in 2010.
Even though she was criticized during her time as attorney general for not doing enough to cater to police brutality, especially when she refused to investigate the police shootings of two Black men in 2014 and 2015, she did demonstrate political independence while in office.
She clashed with the Obama administration when California was offered $4 billion in a national mortgage settlement over the foreclosure crisis. Fighting for a larger amount, Harris did not sign the deal, and at the end of the day, she was able to secure $20 billion for California homeowners, according to reports.
Getting elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 also raised her national profile as she went viral for her sharp interrogations of officials and nominees of the Trump administration, including then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the Russia investigation during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing and Brett M. Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing.
But her most viral moment occurred during her 2020 presidential campaign. During the first Democratic debate, Harris criticized Biden for his position on a federal busing program in the 1970s that benefited minorities, including herself.
Biden looked shocked when Harris told him on the debate stage last July: “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools. And she was bused to school every day,” she said. “And that little girl was me.”
Though Harris’s support increased after that moment, by September 2019 she began falling behind in polling. Her campaign struggled due to internal staff rows and in December, she dropped out of the race.
She, however, continued to have a well-publicized presence, particularly becoming a leading advocate for social justice reform in response to the killing of George Floyd. Her stance silenced critics who had slammed her while she was attorney general over claims she refused to investigate charges of police misconduct though she explained that she was only committed to a fairer criminal justice system.
And amid the protests against police brutality and racial injustice in the United States, it was not surprising that many prominent Black male leaders called on Biden to select a Black woman as his vice presidential running mate to increase his election chances.
Last August, Biden picked Harris, and they will be now working toward an equitable and prosperous future for all Americans. “Black women have always been the backbone of this Democratic Party, and oftentimes not valued for our ability to lead,” said Barbara Lee, the congresswoman from Oakland, Calif., who was a co-chair of Harris’ own presidential bid.
“But I tell you now, Black women are showing that Black women lead, and we’ll never go back to the days where candidates only knew our value in terms of helping them get elected. Now they will see how we govern from the White House.”
It’s been seven years since the world lost Africa’s finest journalist, Komla Afeke Dumor, who died on January 18, 2014, at the age of 41.
Nicknamed “The Boss Player”, the revered Ghanaian broadcaster was likable and carried along his Africanness wherever he went and in whatever he did, even at the BBC. It will be an understatement to describe Dumor as a rising star because he was already etched in the galaxy of the world’s big names. He was also a role model and an inspiration to many young African journalists.
Dumor’s moments with the BBC were timeless and Africans loved their stories being told in the best light with a balance, which is exactly what he stood for. He was listed among the top 100 most influential personalities in Africa in 2013 by the New African magazine.
In Dumor, Ghana had a powerful voice at the highest level. His professionalism, poise, intelligence and skill coupled with his ever-ready smile meant he was a thoroughbred yet affable. Little wonder then that at the time of his death at 41, Dumor was the only West African newsreader on BBC World News.
To celebrate his legacy, Face2Face Africa shares with you some of his thought-provoking quotes:
“There’s so much more to tell about Africa than the usual stories about war, famine and disease.”
“Hire the best talent to tell the story, or the view is great from my hotel.”
“There is only one standard – a global standard. Be consistent, operate at 100% every single time you’re given an opportunity.”
“You can always have big dreams but you also have to have the patience to achieve them. You can make it wherever you are.”
“There is enormous potential across the length and breadth of Africa. No other region on earth offers the high level of Return on Investments (ROI) as Africa does.”
Quadrennially, African countries take stock of what has transpired between individual countries and the continent as a collective on one hand, and the United States on the other during the administration of some American president.
The outgoing man who presided over the world’s most powerful country was not an easy man to deal with or find consensus with. There are those who have not come to terms with the fact that the enigmatic and clearly disruptive Donald Trump was in power for four years.
Trump came possessing neither the aura nor language of respectability and paying little to no homage to the international cooperative tradition post-Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. It was hard for many Stateside to describe him as a Reaganite conservative since he departed from both the unabated regard for free markets although he thoroughly embraced the love for tax and spending cuts.
Writing for the Australian Financial Review, Martin Wolf called Trump’s brand of right-wing politics “pluto-populism”, the sort that stayed true to the economic policies that made plutocrats happy while capitalizing on the cultural anxieties of those who felt shortchanged by the neoliberalism of the last four decades. That much many can agree with, however, when it came to Africa, Trump was much more than an oddity among other American presidents.
There are two ways we may look at Trump’s legacy on the continent. We simply need to separate the rhetoric from the groundwork.
In January of 2018, it was revealed that the American president did not hold much regard for people of Black-majority countries. “Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?” he had asked at a briefing on immigration. Those who were in the meeting reported being stunned by the comment.
The backlash against the “shithole” comment from within Africa and across the world was necessary, at least in defending the dignity of the people he sought to denigrate. But having said what he said and where, we were also given a lesson in Trump’s nonconformist approach that no amount of diplomacy could hold him back from telling us those he thought were the expendables.
It was realpolitik sans the courtesies. Trump’s outside voice was also his inside voice. Not surprisingly, that won him many fans across a continent that is used to leaders indulging in over-elaborate “macho” politics. He was a strongman whose bluntness and willingness to hurt feelings was taken for a sort of modern-day episode of the German reformer Martin Luther sticking up to the Catholic Church. There were Africans who even praised him for referring to their homes as “shitholes”.
The catchphrase “Make America Great Again” sat all too well with an African audience too. In Africa, Trump’s supporters did not see the white nationalism western pundits purported to see in MAGA. Africa’s strife in spite of being arguably the most naturally well-resourced place on the face of the earth actually compelled a different understanding of making your homeland great.
But whatever psychopathology caused some Africans to believe they were deserving of Trump’s insult as comeuppance for underdevelopment is another issue for another time. The skeptics have always offered criticism, constructive and destructive, but they were bolstered by Trump’s rhetoric. For some reason, this crowd believed that what Africans needed to hear had been sugarcoated for so long.
The man’s allure, however, was not extinguished on blunt talk and nationalism because through the recommendations of his favorite Evangelical Christian preachers, Trump became a sort of Christian soldier marching onward to millions of welcoming Africans.
This was intriguing, especially because it was stupendous political marketing in the United States that branded Trump as the defender of Christian privilege and culture and when it was plugged in Africa, it worked, largely. This was also memorable because Trump was the first American president in living memory who consciously or otherwise, exported the image of a “Christian leader” for reasons of soft power.
Theologian A.O. Balcomb summarized in Evangelicalism in Africa: What it is and What it Does the appeal of American evangelical theology and by extension, Trump, writing, “[American evangelical theology] resonates both with the spirituality of Africa and the materialism and individualism of modernity.”
One way the politics of Christianity panned out was the formation of an alliance or perhaps unprecedented rejuvenation of this, between American evangelical leaders and their African counterparts. These elements continue to be united in their views on sexuality and procreation as well as on the rugged individualism of the prosperity gospel.
But that is all about the rhetoric which created in essence, a tough-talking American president with enough nationalist pride and Christian values Africans could identify with. Another truth was also the fact that Trump, the American president, did not veer off the precedents of US foreign policy on the grounds in Africa.
Prosper Africa, the program that couched the administration’s investment efforts on the continent was not different than what we have seen from his predecessors. The program was designed to offer assistance primarily to American companies that sought to establish relationships with African governments and private capital under the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act. Billions of dollars of was pledged to what can be described as America’s umpteenth reach-out program in Africa.
Certain differences must however be noted in the economic relationship the Trump administration fostered. Trade between Africa and the United States dropped remarkably to $41 billion in 2018, mostly because this administration favored bilateral agreements instead of multilateral trade pacts. Foreign direct investment from the US into Africa also fell steadily between 2017 and 2019. There was very little doubt that this period saw so many African countries turning east towards China.
On the issue of wars and conflicts, the Trump administration may have taken a slightly less assertive tone in reacting to those that happened between 2017 and 2020. Nevertheless, it did not wash its hands the battles America was already committed to under Barack Obama.
American soldiers continue to offer help to Sahelian countries that have been fighting Islamic fundamentalists and rebels. The Trump administration also played a vital role as Joseph Kabila was ushered out of power in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2019. Sudan continues to receive support in the aftermath of the uprising that dethroned dictator Omar al-Bashir. And Cameroon was forced out of hosting a major African sporting tournament in 2019 thanks to pressure from the Americans and then-congressman Dana Rohrbacher.
The Trump-Africa relationship would be remembered as unspecial probably because he was the first American president in nearly 30 years who refused to visit the continent. But that took nothing away from America’s posture throughout which was indistinguishable from the years before.
What the relationship lacked in personal presidential attention, Trump made up for this in good diplomatic appointments. Tibor Nagy, the career diplomat who served as assistant secretary of state for Africa, was in particular praised for the strengthening of ties between government on the continent and Washington. This feat actually raises the bar for the incoming Joe Biden administration.
The historical agreements encouraged by the Trump administration between North African countries Sudan and Morocco and Israel should not go unmentioned.
But Africans would also remember the man in action as president over his country. Trump stoked racial discrimination in a country that is struggling to overcome the birth defects of racism and threatened the sanctity of the American democratic process. At the tail end, he incited a failed mob attempt to overthrow the government that culminated in the first breach of Capitol security since the 1800s. Many, if not most Africans would say that this was not exactly an administration that served didactic lessons.
Conclusively, to simplify what Africans would remember about Trump is to misunderstand the palates of the continent. He appealed to a certain category of Africans and disgusted others. What either category can agree on is that he was far from what any of them have been used to.
I browsed thru your website and found it very interesting. My name is Adly. I am a 24 year old Muslim. I’m not very well versed in Islam myself but I’m learning. At the same time I am also learning (slowly) about Christianity. I would like to know sir, about what you think about Islam and Muslims. Do you think that we’re… what’s the word… lost? I would like to know if you have an opinion. I will not take any offence, heck, you might know more about Islam than I do! So if you have time, I would really appreciate it if you would give me your opinion.
Thank you very much.
Thank you for writing. I really appreciate those people who are interested in investigating all truth claims and thinking through what they should or should not accept. I fear that in our culture today we place too little emphasis on intelligent thought and critical investigation. Even if one believes the right thing, believing it by happenstance is not a justifiable position.
To your question. In investigating such important claims, we must be very careful that we are open and honest in our critiques. We should use the same criteria for judging all faiths’ assertions, and we should understand each belief system from the point of view of its proponents – so as to not characterize the belief system.
This belief is outlined in Sura 69:15-33 where we read:
15. On that Day shall the (Great) Event come to pass. 16. And the sky will be rent asunder, for it will that Day be flimsy, 17. And the angels will be on its sides, and eight will, that Day, bear the Throne of thy Lord above them. 18. That Day shall ye be brought to Judgment: not an act of yours that ye hide will be hidden.
30. (The stern command will say): “Seize ye him, and bind ye him, 31. “And burn ye him in the Blazing Fire. 32. “Further, make him march in a chain, whereof the length is seventy cubits! 33. “This was he that would not believe in Allah Most High.(1)
Christianity also teaches that those who do not believe in Jesus as their personal savior will perish in hell. The Gospel of John states:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)(2)
So, both faiths hold to a form of judgment for the non-believer. However, the reasons for judgment are very different. Islam believes that people are born as a kind of blank slate. They are not fallen and sinful beings, but they are not “saved” either. In order to be saved it is important to do good deeds to earn their “salvation”.
Christianity holds that people are born with a sin nature that separates them from God. This nature means that human beings have a penchant and proclivity to sin that they inherited from the first man, Adam, after he sinned in the Garden of Eden. Further, it means that man is incapable of doing any work that will earn him salvation. Man must be transformed by the Spirit of God in order to be found holy enough to abide in God’s presence.
Much of the differences in these truth claims can be seen in how each faith views the fall of Adam. Both Islam and Christianity believe that God created Adam in a Paradise as the first man, and that Adam disobeyed God by taking of a forbidden fruit.
Islam, though, holds Adam to be a prophet of God. As with most prophets in the Islamic faith, Adam should be sinless. It does not make sense to an Islamic viewpoint that a prophet of God would be sinful the way the average man is today. Norman Geisler, in his book Answering Islam writes,
“Muslim scholars are of the opinion that prophets are either completely sinless or at least free from all major sins or faults. Some orthodox Muslims claim that even the power of sinning does not exist in the prophets. For example, Ibn Khaldun, the classical Muslim scholar (d.1406) says that ‘their characteristic mark is that before the coming revelation to them they were all found to be naturally good and sagacious, such men as shun blameworthy actions and all things unclean.’ This, he believes ‘is the meaning of their impeccability. (isma) Thus they seem to have an instinctive inclination to rise above things that are blameworthy and even shrink from them as though such things were repugnant to their born disposition.”(3)
This is one example, though, of where we have a logical contradiction. If Adam was made perfect by God and part of a world in which no sin yet existed, and he willingly did sin, then how could he have “shunned blameworthy actions”? Many Muslim scholars try to resolve this by claiming that Adam didn’t really sin, but merely had a lapse of judgment. This doesn’t solve the issue, though. If Adam didn’t commit a grievous sin, then how does one account for the introduction of evil in the world? Also, if directly disobeying a command of God is just a lapse in judgment, then how could anything be considered really sinful?
Now this type of tension in Islamic belief isn’t merely restricted to the fall of Adam. Muslims run into a real problem with the problem of evil because of their insistence that God is so sovereign, every act originates with him – even evil ones! This type of extreme determinism is illustrated in a quote from the authoritative Islamic theologian Al-Maturidi (d.944A.D.) who writes:
“The sins of man occur by God’s will (irada), wish (mashi’a), ordinance (qada’), and power (qadr), but not by His pleasure (rida), love (mahabba), and command (amr), according to His Word, be He exalted: ‘He whom God wills to send astray, He maketh his bosom close and narrow’ (6:125), and His Word: ‘Yet ye will nothing, unless God wills it.'(76:31). If the creature were able to act by his own will, he could prevail over the will of God- be He exalted.”(4)
You can see in the example above that we have only God’s will in view here. Man cannot exercise his own volition. However, this means that every sin anyone commits, it was God who willed it and therefore forced the human to commit it. Thus God become the author of evil by instigating evil acts, and he becomes incredibly unjust in condemning men for committing the very acts that he willed them to do! (For the Christian position on evil see my page “Didn’t God Create Evil, Too?“)
I said at the start of this letter that in judging truth-claims one should use the same yardstick for all faiths. A good way of determining the validity of any truth claim is to test it two ways – is it consistent in all affirmations and beliefs and does it correspond with what we know to be true about the world. The Islam view of prophets being sinless is inconsistent with what it means to be human. Also, the position that Adam’s action in Eden wasn’t truly a sin demonstrates an inconsistent position of the Islamic faith. Further, the idea that God is ultimately responsible for all sin and evil on earth demonstrates the dissonance in the Islamic belief system.
I want to thank you again for taking the time to write and your willingness to investigate more fully the claims of both Islam and Christianity. I pray that you will look at the facts objectively and rationally and that in so doing you will find the truth.
US Ambassador Natalie E Brown was stopped from visiting Bobi Wine who is effectively under house arrest.
Uganda’s government accused the United States of trying to “subvert” last week’s presidential elections after the US ambassador attempted to visit opposition leader Bobi Wine, who has been under house arrest.
US Ambassador Natalie E Brown was stopped from visiting Wine at his residence in a suburb in the northern outskirts of the capital, the embassy said in a statement late on Monday.
The mission said Brown wanted to check on the “health and safety” of Wine, who became famous after years of singing about government corruption and nepotism, charges the government denies.
The former pop star-turned-legislator, who came second with almost 35 percent votes, rejected the results and accused his rival, President Yoweri Museveni, of winning by fraud. Wine has so far provided no evidence to support his allegations.
The electoral commission, however, on Saturday declared Museveni the winner with 58.6 percent of the vote. Museveni, 76, has been in power since 1986.
On Tuesday, Wine’s lawyers filed a petition in the high court challenging the legality of detaining Wine and his wife without charge. The court has not yet said when the petition will be heard, lawyer Benjamin Katana told Reuters news agency.
‘Meddle in Uganda’s internal politics’
Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said Brown had no business visiting Wine.
“What she has been trying to do blatantly is to meddle in Uganda’s internal politics, particularly elections, to subvert our elections and the will of the people,” he said. “She shouldn’t do anything outside the diplomatic norms.”
The sharp, public rebuke to the US from the Ugandan government is relatively unusual as the two nations are allies.
Kristof Tetica, a professor of international development at the University of Antwerp, noted Museveni’s relations with the international community took a turn for the worse since November when the president blamed anti-government demonstrations on “foreign groups and homosexuals”.
He added donor support from the international community has been crucial to Museveni’s government since the mid-1980s.
“Particularly, the US has been a key ally of Uganda. On average they support Uganda with $970m a year, they’ve given military support. The country is seen as a key source of stability in the region, and that has given Uganda leeway for transgressions like corruption,” Tetica told Al Jazeera.
“So that’s why it’s so surprising relations have become so hostile.”
There was no immediate comment from Brown or the US embassy.
Opondo said, without providing any evidence, that Brown had a track record of causing trouble in countries where she has worked in the past. The government was watching her, he added.
The US embassy has said last week’s vote was tainted by harassment of opposition candidates, suppression of media and rights advocates, and a nationwide internet shutdown.
“These unlawful actions and the effective house arrest of a presidential candidate continue a worrying trend on the course of Uganda’s democracy,” it said in the statement on Monday.
Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, on Monday appealed to “fellow citizens of the world” to help him as he remained effectively under house arrest since Thursday.
The US supports Ugandan soldiers serving in an African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia and has donated about $1.5bn to Uganda’s health sector in the past three years.
The US and the European Union did not deploy observer missions for the polls because Ugandan authorities denied accreditation and failed to implement recommendations by past missions.
During the campaigning, security forces routinely broke up Wine’s rallies with tear gas, bullets, beatings and detentions.
They cited violations of laws meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus for those actions.
In November, 54 people were killed as security forces tried to quell riots that erupted in several cities after Wine was detained for alleged violation of the anti-coronavirus measures. He was arrested multiple times during the campaigning.
The move comes after Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism was dropped after nearly 30 years.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is working “very intensively” with Sudan to build the conditions for broad debt relief and will assess progress on a staff-monitored programme in March, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said.
She told reporters during an online news conference that she was encouraged by strong support from the United States, the United Kingdom and other member countries for providing debt relief to Sudan under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and by the determination of the Sudanese authorities.
“We do hope as swiftly as possible to present to the membership a strong case on Sudan for HIPC so that country can reintegrate with the international community,” Georgieva said. “I expect that in March we will have more to tell you.”
The US, the IMF’s largest shareholder, last month reinstated Sudan’s sovereign immunity and the US Congress passed legislation formalising the move, following the ending of Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.
The state sponsor of terrorism designation, which was in place for almost 30 years, had weighed on Sudan’s economy and limited its ability to receive aid.
Under the US legislation, Washington will be authorising $111m to pay off part of Sudan’s bilateral debt, and $120m to help pay off its debt to the IMF while making another $700m available until September 2022, which will allow it to clear $1bn in arrears to the World Bank.
Tunisian leader tells protesters in Tunis suburb to not let looters exploit their ‘poverty and misery’.
Demonstrators in Tunisia protested for the fourth-consecutive day against the worsening social and economic crisis in the country as the president showed up at one rally and told them to stop.
Blocking streets and setting barricades on fire on Monday, demonstrators clashed with police who responded by firing tear gas. Protesters have looted shops and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at official buildings and businesses in some areas.
President Kais Saied visited Ariana, a city near the capital Tunis, and asked people not to let others take advantage of their anger and poverty.
“Through you, I want to speak to all the Tunisian people, I know the state of poverty and I also know who is exploiting your poverty. Don’t let anyone exploit your misery, don’t attack private or public property. We live today because of moral values and not because of theft or looting,” Saied told a crowd.
Tunisians angry about the high unemployment rate and the financial crisis in the North African nation have protested since Friday in Kasserine, Tunis and several other cities.
Demonstrators shouted: “Dissolve the parliament, dissolve the parliament” on Monday.
The defence ministry deployed the army in some regions to protect private and public property. It said troops said will conduct joint patrols with security forces in the regions of Siliana, Kasserine, Sousse and Bizerte, where clashes with police broke out.
The interior ministry said authorities made 630 arrests linked to the violence on Sunday alone.
Arab Spring’s 10 year anniversary
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International called for restraint, citing footage showing officers beating and dragging people they had detained, and said authorities should immediately release Hamza Nassri Jeridi, a rights activist arrested on Monday.
“Security forces must immediately refrain from using unnecessary and excessive force to disperse protesters in the capital and several governorates against marginalisation, police violence, poverty and lack of job opportunities,” it said.
Tunisia on Thursday commemorated the 10th anniversary since the flight into exile of iron-fisted autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, after a popular revolt that foreshadowed pro-democracy uprisings, strife and war in the region during what became known as the Arab Spring.
Long touted as the Arab Spring’s lone success story, Tunisians increasingly sense that the revolution has failed to deliver on its promises, including the development of the rural and less industrialised interior regions.
Despite numerous democratic elections, protests continue to break out, especially in the central and southern regions where youth joblessness reaches 30 percent and the poverty level is above 20 percent.
According to the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, more than 1,000 demonstrations took place in November alone. Months of sit-in protests paralysed production of oil and phosphate, a key resource, costing billions of dollars in lost state revenues.
A beginner’s guide to quieting the mind in a time of stress
IMAGE SOURCE/GETTY IMAGES
En español | If you’ve always been interested in — if a bit daunted by — the idea of meditating, now might be the perfect time to forge ahead with the practice. Research shows that cutting through the mental static and focusing your mind this way helps alleviate stress and anxiety, slows aging, improves your attention span — and can even act as a sleep aid. And who doesn’t need help with all of the above right now?
That said, for something so simple (what’s more straightforward than, say, concentrating on your own breath?), meditation can take effort. Sitting still, as is often involved, isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds. And try to focus on a singular phrase or idea can be tedious for minds used to wandering at will. And then there’s the need to sort out what exactly, you’re even trying to do.
“People often think meditation is about getting rid of thoughts or feelings, which it’s not,” says Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society, and author of Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation and the forthcoming Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World. “Or they think it’s about having only beautiful thoughts or peaceful states, which it’s also not. Meditation is about developing a different relationship with our thoughts.”
Say, for instance, you’ve been taking in a steady stream of news. Your mind — no surprise — becomes fixed on all the many what-ifs, such as: What if life never returns to normal? Meditation, a form of mindfulness, allows you “to see what’s happening right now without distorting it,” Salzberg says. “It’s not that difficult things don’t arise; they do. But we don’t have to add to them. With mindfulness we learn to feel a whole range of emotions and physical sensations without getting swept up in them — or trying to push them away.”
Tips for getting started
The guided meditations that follow are designed to help with all of that. Before you begin, keep the following pointers in mind.
You don’t have to meditate for hours. Benefits appear pretty fast. In a study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, participants who meditated just 25 minutes a day for three days reduced their levels of stress. That said, you will need to build up your own stamina. Aim for five minutes a day for two weeks and gradually work up to longer. Set the timer on your phone or follow a shortmeditation on an app.
When and where are up to you. “Morning could be good because it sets the stage for the rest of your day,” Salzberg says. “Some people meditate at night because it helps them sleep better. Think about what’s realistic for you. Back in the days when people were driving to work, someone told me they’d go to work early, then sit in the parking lot and meditate.”
Choose something specific to focus on. It can be your breath, a saying or “mantra” that you repeat, or something you can fix your gaze on. “If you’re anxious, pay attention to your feet because your feet are an anxiety-free zone,” suggests Jud Brewer, M.D., director of research and innovation at the Brown University Mindfulness Center and associate professor of psychiatry at Brown’s medical school. Next, Brewer instructs to ask yourself simple questions about what you’re focusing on, such as “Which foot feels warmer … or tingly-er right now?” As he explains, it doesn’t matter at all which foot feels what, but asking the questions “awakens our natural capacity to be curious, and curiosity is really key here.”
There’s no right or wrong way to meditate. You don’t have to perch pretzel-like on a cushion if that isn’t comfortable. Try simply sitting with your legs and arms uncrossed, your arms resting on your legs and feet on the floor so that you feel grounded, advises Megan Jones Bell, chief science officer at Headspace, a digital health company that provides guided meditation training. “Remember, the goal is to feel relaxed, comfortable and focused.”
Your mind will wander. And that’s OK. “One of the biggest misconceptions of meditation is that it has to be done correctly 100 percent of the time,” Bell says. “The truth is, it just doesn’t happen like that immediately. The idea of meditation is to sit and be comfortable with our mind as it is. Sometimes the mind is busy. Sometimes it’s quiet. But over time, as we get better at this, the mind naturally starts to settle down.”
Mini meditations count, too. Before you hit “send” on an email, take three deep breaths. When you get a phone call, let it ring three times — long enough for a deep breath — before picking it up. Or resolve to fully be in the moment when you do a simple, pleasurable ritual such as drinking a cup of tea. What does that mean, exactly? No watching TV or checking your email at the same time, for starters. The idea is to really focus on what you’re doing, Salzberg says, “so you can smell the tea, taste the tea, feel the warmth of the teacup.”
3 Guided Meditations to Try Now
Jud Brewer’s Meditation for Anxiety
Find a quiet, comfortable place. You can be sitting, lying down or even standing up. You just need to be able to concentrate without being too distracted.
Begin by simply taking a moment to thank yourself for being here and for taking care of yourself. See what this feels like — simply giving thanks.
And if you’re feeling anxious right now or even a little stressed, let’s see how you would describe it. If you’re not feeling anxious, simply recall a recent experience when you were anxious and relive that experience to see what you felt at the time.
Take a moment and ask yourself, What is the sensation that I feel most strongly in my body right now? Take a moment to locate where it is. Now see if you can get really curious. Do you feel it more on your right side or left side? Or, if it’s right in the middle, is it more toward the front or the back of your body?
Did you notice your mind going, Hmm, where do I feel it most strongly? This is jump-starting, or warming up, your curiosity. And if you aren’t feeling curious, you can simply hit the pause button right now and take a moment to be curious about why you aren’t curious. What does not being curious feel like?
Now let’s take this one step further. Check in again with your body and see where that anxious feeling is strongest right now. Now imagine slowly breathing in through your nose and right into that body part. Let that breath go right into your anxiety and hold it there for a few seconds before letting your breath go out.
Let’s do this again. Take a slow, deep breath, imagining that kind, curious breath going right into your anxiety. Let your breath hold that feeling of anxiety for a second in a warm, kind embrace. And then breathe out — let it go. See how much of that anxiety releases with your breath.
And, again, on the next breath in, bring curiosity to that anxiety. What do the physical sensations feel like right now? Have they changed at all? And, continuing with this practice, one breath at a time at your own pace, breathe kindness and curiosity right into those physical sensations. Hold them there for a moment and then, on the out breath, let them go.
You can continue doing this breathing exercise now or any time throughout the day for a few seconds, anytime you feel anxiety coming on. See what happens as you keep practicing it. And don’t forget that attitude of kindness and curiosity. These are key.
Sharon Salzberg’s Meditation on Loving-Kindness
It’s good to be comfortable, either sitting or lying down. You can close your eyes or not. And begin the offering of loving-kindness to yourself:
May I be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
Repeat the phrases with enough space and enough silence so that it’s pleasing to you. Gather all of your attention behind one phrase at a time. If you find your attention wandering, don’t worry about it. Simply let go and begin again.
May I be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
Feelings may come and go, memories may come and go. Allow them to arise and pass away. The touchstone is the repetition of the phrases. You don’t have to block anything else and you don’t have to follow after it.
May I be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
Call to mind someone who’s helped you. They’ve been good to you, kind to you, or maybe you’ve never met them but they’ve inspired you. If someone like that comes to mind, bring them here. You can get an image of them, say their name to yourself, get a feeling for their presence, and offer the phrases of loving kindness to them. Wish for them just what you’ve wished for yourself.
May you be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
Even if the words don’t fit totally, it doesn’t matter. They’re the conduits of your heart, the vehicle for connection.
May you be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
You can let thoughts, emotions, and memories arise and pass away without clinging to them, without condemning them. Maybe you have the thought, What does she need me for, she’s so great? or What does he need me for, he’s so great? Just let it come and go.
Your attention can steady on the repetition of the phrases — and a friend, the first friend who comes to mind.
May you be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
Call to mind someone you know who’s hurting, who’s having a difficult time right now. Bring them here. You can get an image of them, say their name to yourself, get a feeling for their presence, and offer the phrase of loving-kindness to them.
May you be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
If you find your attention wandering, you needn’t be discouraged, just gently let go, and come back, one phrase at a time.
And then to all beings everywhere, all people, all creatures, all those in existence, known and unknown, near and far.
May all beings be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
And then to the boundlessness of life itself.
May all beings be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
And when you feel ready, you can open your eyes. Pay attention throughout the day to see how this meditation may be having an effect.
Headspace Cofounder Andy Puddicombe’s Meditation for Sleep
Take a moment to get comfortable, lying in your bed or wherever it is you want to fall asleep. Make sure you’re under the covers in case you do fall asleep. And even if you don’t usually sleep on your back, begin the exercise by lying flat on the bed, with your knees slightly bent, and just enjoying that feeling of the body letting go, relaxing, sinking into the bed beneath you.
As you lie there, take one or two nice deep breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. If you find it comforting, you can place your hands on your stomach, to feel the movement of breath in the body.
As you lie there, notice how the body feels — whether it feels heavy or light, restless or still, ready for sleep, or is there still a little bit of winding down to do? Either way, we’re just going to go through this exercise slowly, pointing the body and the mind in the direction of sleep.
Begin by just thinking back to the very first part of the day. It’s almost as though you’re watching a video fast-forwarding through the day and you’re just touching on each of the main things. It might be as simple as thinking about getting up, having breakfast, having a shower, leaving the house, going to work. Maybe you just touch on 20 to 25 little moments throughout the day, to bring you all the way up to the present moment. Getting ready for bed and then getting into bed.
When you do this each time, for about 20 or 30 seconds, just briefly go back through the day and bring your mind all the way back up to the present moment. When you reach the present moment, take one deep breath in, and as you exhale, feel the body sinking into the bed.
Mentally, start to switch off the different muscles in the body so that the body can really start to relax and move toward sleep. Start with your feet, and it’s as though mentally you give your feet permission to switch off. All the muscles, all the nerves, just relaxing that part of the body. Then around the ankles and the lower half of the leg, just switching it off. The knees, the thighs, the backs of the legs, just switching the muscles off.
Up toward the waist and the pelvic area, again just mentally switching it all off and allowing it to go to sleep. Into the lower stomach, the lower back, just switching it off. It’s almost as though you can feel these different parts of the body move toward a more restful state. The rest of the stomach, the middle of the back, just switching it off. The chest, the upper back, switching it off. Shoulders, upper arms, switching it off. Forearms, the hands, fingers — again just switching it off.
The entire body, from the neck downward, is very heavy now. Continue with the throat and the neck, just allowing that area to go to sleep now. The jaw, the muscles in the face and the head, just switching them off until you reach the very top of the body — and the entire body is now heavy, relaxed and ready to sleep.
If the mind feels the same, you can just allow the mind to be completely free to do what it wants to do and slowly drift off to sleep. If the mind feels active still, you can just allow the body to continue resting as it is. But mentally, slowly begin to count backward from 1,000 to zero. Go at a very steady pace, not rushing it, not trying to fall asleep. Just focus on counting from one number to the next in reverse, and knowing that it really doesn’t matter too much when sleep comes. As you lie there in this way, know that both the body and the mind will get all the rest that they need.
Concerns grow as surge in fighting forces more than 100,000 people from their homes in a country already reeling from years of insecurity.
To the east, thousands have crossed the border to escape new attacks; to the west, thousands more hide in churches or the bush. A major humanitarian crisis is deepening in the Central African Republic (CAR) after an array of armed groups launched a military offensive and unleashed fresh unrest in the war-weary country.
This rebel alliance wreaked havoc in the run-up to elections last month, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from voting and causing a fragile peace deal to collapse. Fighters last week carried out a brazen assault on the capital, Bangui, before being pushed back by security forces.
Aid groups warn the surge in violence is preventing them from reaching the most vulnerable in a country where armed groups control large swaths of territory. In total, more than 100,000 people have been displaced – on top of the 1.2 million already uprooted by earlier conflict – as CAR is forced, once again, to grapple with growing insecurity.
“The needs are increasing and the funding is shrinking,” Hamdi Bukhari, the country representative for the United Nations’ refugee agency, (UNHCR) told Al Jazeera.
“We expect more unrest to happen. An escalation would have a serious impact on the population which is already in a critical humanitarian situation.”
Some of the country’s most powerful armed groups – including those that were supposedly sworn enemies – have formed the so-called Coalition of Patriots for Change.
Among them are elements of the former Seleka alliance of mainly-Muslim rebels who, in 2013, overthrew then-President Francois Bozize. Following that coup, Anti-balaka militias from Christian and animist communities fought back as the country fell into a violent spiral of revenge attacks.
Seleka rebels fragmented into rival factions, competing over territory in which to extort locals and traffic gold and diamonds.
Despite a peace deal signed in 2019, former Seleka and Anti-balaka militias have now partnered and launched a fresh insurrection. Marriages of convenience between rival factions are not uncommon in the cynical power play of CAR’s politics, while uprisings are a favourite tactic for rebel groups operating in distant, poorly-resourced provinces to gain pay-offs from Bangui’s central government in exchange for laying down arms.
The rebels’ recent attacks on towns across CAR severely disrupted the December 27 election in which President Faustin-Archange Touadera sought a second term.
With polling stations vandalised and voters subjected to intimidation, rebels managed to prevent the vote from taking place in more than 40 percent of electoral districts.
On Monday, CAR’s Constitutional Court confirmed Touadera’s re-election, granting five more years in power to the one-time mathematics lecturer, although the political opposition continues to contest the result given the disrupted turnout, which stood at more than a third.
The combined pro-government force of UN peacekeepers, federal soldiers, Rwandan reinforcements and Russian paramilitaries is likely to prevent a repeat of 2013’s full-blown war while led to the deaths of thousands.
But the attacks could continue, if not intensify, as the push for armed confrontation overshadows calls for dialogue and mediation.
“What seems most likely for the next couple of months is an escalation of violence,” said Hans De Marie Heungoup, a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group think-tank.
“The government seems reluctant to open channels of discussions with the rebel coalition and is more inclined to launch military operations against the rebel coalition in the coming days and weeks to reduce it to its minimal capacity.”
CAR’s government and the UN accuse the former president, Bozize, of stoking the rebellion to retake power, which he denies.
The 74-year-old former general, who seized power in a 2003 coup, returned from exile in late 2019 to run against Touadera as a rival presidential candidate, though the country’s top court barred him last month because of an international warrant and UN sanctions against him for alleged war crimes.
The uprising reached a worrying new escalation last week when several hundred rebels stormed the outskirts of Bangui on two fronts.
Amid gunfire and explosions, security forces launched a counterattack while civilians were seen fleeing streets littered with bullets.
Seven UN peacekeepers have been killed since the uprising began last month.
“We want peace, nothing but peace,” a female cafe owner in Bangui told local media. “We have suffered enough in the displacement camps. We want peace.”
Touadera’s second term opens against a backdrop of sharp division following an election that served only to polarise society rather than reconcile it.
Observers believe the offensive was less about seizing control of the capital – clearly impossible with just a few hundred young fighters – and more about increasing the rebel coalition’s leverage in future negotiations by flaunting its ability to strike a city previously thought to be outside the reach of provincial fighters.
Beyond the corridors of power in Bangui, the violence is inflaming one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. “The rebellion has been an almost unbearable situation for the people here,” said Denise Brown, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in CAR.
Nearly 60,000 people have fled into neighbouring countries since December – most of them crossing the Mbomou River into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Last week, 10,000 refugees arrived there in a single day after rebels seized the town of Bangassou, leaving many in dire need of food, shelter and adequate sanitation.
Hundreds more sought refuge inside a hospital run by the medical charity, Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) – most of them women and children. The UN force says it has since regained control of Bangassou; two peacekeepers were killed in a subsequent attack on Monday.
The initial outbreak of hostilities prompted some 185,000 people across the country to flee their homes. Much of this exodus has been characterised as “pre-emptive displacement” in which civilians, fearing a repeat of violations from the past, flee before fighters can reach their homes. While many of them have since returned, almost a third of them – about 58,000 people – remain internally displaced.
In the face of this turmoil, UNHCR’s Bukhari said the agency faces a serious shortfall and is only able to continue operations for two months.
“Funds will not last long,” he warned. “The situation is still unfolding and we should not stop our response to this emergency. The Central African population has been suffering for the last decades from unrest and repeated violence. They are tired and traumatised. They need peace.”
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) warns that mounting hostilities have brought vital humanitarian operations to a standstill in several areas. Rebel activity on the main supply route from Cameroon has created food shortages, causing some prices to treble.
There have been dozens of incidents against humanitarian personnel recorded since mid-December, including raids on compounds and the murder of an aid worker. In a country already rated as one of the world’s most dangerous for humanitarians, these repeated attacks have forced some aid groups to close field offices and evacuate staff to the capital.
“Hindering our access in the country is like cutting the lifeline to more than half of the population who relies on humanitarian support to survive,” said David Manan, NRC’s country director.
The UN’s humanitarian coordinator hopes to regain access soon. “All of our efforts right now are ensuring that, where temporarily we had to stop activities because of the armed groups, we will go back into those areas – that’s what I am anticipating in the next couple of weeks,” said Brown.
MSF doctors have faced an influx of wounded people, providing emergency care to almost 200 of them in the first few weeks of the uprising. Despite this grim tally, the violence has not yet matched the widespread atrocities of 2013’s descent into war.
That reprieve may not last. The crisis is complicated by the involvement of so many different military groups – from the hotch-potch of rebels to Russian mercenaries, ill-disciplined state troops and a shadowy new militia known as Les Requins, or The Sharks, allegedly operating on behalf of the presidency.
“One possibility is that the rebellion starts fragmenting, with a weaker and weaker command and control,” Heungoup told Al Jazeera.
“If that happens, it is likely that uncontrollable members of the rebellion will increasingly attack civilians. The more the crisis worsens, this could become a real humanitarian emergency.”
Audi is teaming up with China’s oldest carmaker FAW to produce luxury electric vehicles.
FAW is China’s third largest carmaker, and counts Hongqi – or Red Flag – limousines for China’s communist party leaders among its products.
It has been trying to gain ground in the world’s largest electric car market against domestic competitors like Geely and SAIC.
The new joint-venture factory will build fully-electric Audi models.
The $4.6bn facility is set to open in 2024 in Chungchun in China’s Northeast, according to Audi.
“This deepened partnership between Audi and FAW heralds a new era of electrification as the next ‘golden decade’ for Audi on the important Chinese market,” said President of Audi China Werner Eichhorn, in a press release.
China is the single biggest market in the world for Audi, which sold more than 700,000 vehicles there in 2020.
The German luxury brand wants electric vehicles to make up one-third of its sales in China by 2025.
Audi and its owner Volkswagen will own a 60% stake in the joint venture, while FAW will own 40%.
FAW already produces Audi models locally and has a longstanding relationship with Audi and its parent company Volkswagen.
The company was created as part of an industrialisation push by Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong in the 1950s.
Its premium Hongqi models, which were originally created to transport diplomats and communist party officials, fell out of favour in the 1980s before being revived amid a national push to promote Chinese brands.
China’s President Xi Jinping rode in a Hongqi limousine during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in 2015.
FAW sold more than 3 million units in 2020, including 200,000 of its premium Hongqi branded cars.
The company plans to electrify most of its Hongqi models by 2025.
Electric car shake-up
Audi’s latest move comes amid a backdrop of increasing competition in China’s electric car market.
According to the International Energy Agency, there were 7.2 million electric cars on the road globally by 2019, with 47% of them in China.
China’s electric vehicle sales are tipped to reach 1.8 million units this year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
The FAW-Audi tie up will likely compete with BMW, which has its own electric vehicle joint-venture with Chinese sports utility vehicle maker Great Wall Motors.
Tesla is also a major player, with its first Chinese-made electric vehicles rolling off the assembly line of the car maker’s Shanghai gigafactory last year.A number of local start-ups, like Nio, Aiways, XPeng, Li Auto and WM Motor are also vying for a slice of the Chinese market.
Increasingly, local electric car markers have also been looking to incorporate high tech features into their cars in an effort to become more competitive.
Many have partnered with China’s big technology companies to manufacture smarter electric vehicles.
Chinese media have reported that Alibaba and SAIC will work together under a new premium electric vehicle brand called Zhiji, which will feature new battery technology that will extend the car’s range.
Chinese search engine Baidu and iPhone maker Foxconn have also each announced partnerships with with Geely, which is China’s largest private carmaker.
Ride hailing app Didi Chuxing also recently announced it would make electric vehicles designed for its services with automaker BYD.
Struggling to know how to respond to an awkward person in your life? Unspoken tension and passive aggressive behaviour can wear you down, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Our experts have coping strategies and top tips to help you tackle the situation…
The chances are we’ve all experienced passive aggressive behaviour in one form or another. Whether it’s a friend giving you the silent treatment, a work colleague ‘misunderstanding’ your instructions, your partner making subtle comments about the division of chores, or a sullen teenager slamming their bedroom door, a sense of indirect hostility can fester under the surface of many situations.
But just how can we deal with it effectively? And what is at the root of this behaviour?
“To put it simply, passive aggressiveness is a way of behaving that is indirectly aggressive rather than directly aggressive towards others,” explains mindset coach Ruth Kudzi. “It can show up in a number of ways – someone may claim that they are fine, when it is clear this isn’t the case, they may refuse to respond to requests, share negative feelings through subtle actions, or make you feel guilty about a situation.”
The problem is that this type of behaviour is often so subtle we tend to brush over it, or pretend it hasn’t happened – which doesn’t help in the long run.
“It’s the passive nature of the aggression that means it can be so covert it’s hard to identify as aggressive,” says love and relationships coach Emma Spiegler. “But, passive aggression must not be underestimated for its slow and detrimental effects, as it can ruin a relationship. And this is the thing – when we’re on the receiving end of passive aggression, we can end up second guessing our own behaviour. This can have a devastating effect on our confidence, self-esteem, and our emotional health. It can also impact other areas of our life, including our relationships, social life, and work life,” said Emma.
The more that we allow the energy from the passive aggression to impact us, the more it can erode our wellbeing
Time to take action
Keen to stop these endless conflict circles, or understand how to react in different situations? Our experts share their tips…
• Identify it: “The first step to dealing with these situations is to watch out for signs of passive aggressive behaviour, so you can be aware of when you’re experiencing it,” Ruth advises.
Emma agrees. “The key here is to not get sucked into the covertness of this behaviour,” she says. “You need to name it for what it is – aggression. This can be a hard step, because often denial is easier than challenging something head on, and change can be uncomfortable.”
Passive aggression can take many forms, and you may not be fully aware you’ve been experiencing it. But, if something feels hurtful or someone is being deliberately awkward, it’s likely that they’re being passive aggressive – even if they don’t realise it.
• Consider what is driving the aggression: While there are not necessarily excuses for this behaviour, understanding its triggers can be useful. “Many people who display passive aggressive traits are uncomfortable having difficult conversations, or believe that sharing emotion is to be avoided,” explains Ruth. “Equally, some people are more likely to display this behaviour as they may view passive aggression as more socially-acceptable than direct anger.”
Deep-rooted emotions and long-held views can have an impact, too. “Some people may have simply not learned how to communicate directly, openly and honestly about their feelings,” Emma says. “They may also have a low sense of self-worth, driven by wounds and beliefs developed in childhood or adulthood, that means they resort to this type of behaviour to gain a sense of power,” she adds. It may be the case that they feel simply unhappy in a certain situation, or underappreciated, too.
• Talk about it: “Once you’ve identified that someone is displaying passive aggression, it’s time to address it in a non-confrontational way by recognising this behaviour, and giving them an option to talk about their emotions,” recommends Ruth. Employing different communication strategies can be useful, and it’s important to prepare for these conversations properly. How you broach the subject will depend on a lot of different factors – who the person is, your relationship, the type of behaviour you’ve been experiencing, and the length of time it’s been happening.
Emma recommends trying a four-step process that involves explaining your observations without judgment, expressing your feelings calmly, clarifying your needs, and then conveying specific requests based on these points. “At the more extreme end, where this passive aggression is chronic and has severely impacted your self-worth, I would advise seeking help before you confront the behaviour,” she adds.
• Take a step back: In some cases, the best thing to do is remove yourself from the situation as much as possible. “If you can’t physically remove yourself, try to emotionally remove yourself so you don’t let the behaviour impact how you feel,” says Ruth. “The more that we allow the energy from the passive aggression to impact us, the more it can erode our wellbeing. Remember this isn’t about you: it is down to the person being unable to communicate how they are feeling effectively.”
PHOTOGRAPHY | HUNTER MATTHEWS / UNSPLASH.COM
How to react
Emma shares her tips on how to cope with passive aggressive behaviour in different situations:
With work colleagues
It’s important to acknowledge that your feelings matter in the workplace, and your emotional wellbeing should be looked after here. Many people fear they can’t say anything in case they lose their job, but this shouldn’t be the case. Address the situation directly with your colleague, or speak to someone higher up. The chances are that others feel the same way.
Passive aggression in close friendships can be tricky to address, as it’s easy to let certain behavioural traits become part of your relationship dynamic. Let them know something has been playing on your mind, and arrange a time to speak. When you do so, share a few recent examples of the behaviour, and express your feelings. It’s good to open up the dialogue, and be prepared to listen in case there are ways you might have been contributing to this dynamic.
Crossing paths with a sulky shop assistant or a rude family at the park is not unusual, but it can still knock your confidence. As you’re not invested in this relationship, remember that you don’t need to engage with it. With strangers, you have no idea about their level of empathy or communication skills, so it’s best to just walk away.
The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has agreed a one-year partnership deal with Woodin Ghana Limited as Official Textile sponsors.
According to the partnership agreement, Woodin will provide the GFA with customized fabrics throughout the year.
The Fabric Company is also expected to provide customized Office wear including Polo shirts, joggers, jackets, baseball caps to the GFA.
The sponsorship Agreement is subject to a renewal after December 31, 2021.
Woodin is a leading fabric retailer with 22 stores across the continent. Its stores and styles reflect the African pride and versatility in a vibrant and creative atmosphere with an aim to be the top retailer in Africa.
The Harmattan is expected to intensify over the country
The Harmattan is expected to intensify over the country from Wednesday, 20 January, 2020, the Ghana Meteorological Agency has said.
According to the Meteorological Agency, the harmattan will continue into the weekend.
A statement issued by the agency on Tuesday, 19 January, 2020 said: “Dust has been raised from the source region (around Chad) and is expected to be advected into the country to deteriorate surface visibility.”
Also, “due to the influx of the dry and dusty continental winds, the Northern half is expected to be drier with relative humidity of less than 20percent and below 50percent over parts of the Southern sector.”
The statement revealed that: “This intrusion of dryness increases the probability of fire outbreaks.”
The Meteorological Agency has, therefore, advised the general public “to be cautious of handling naked fires” and “be careful on the roads due to poor visibility.”
A policeman escorting a bullion van has been shot dead by armed robbers at Nyankomasu in the Adanse North District of the Ashanti region.
The incident occurred on Tuesday, 19 January 2021 at around 10:30 am when the armed robbers wielding AK47 guns numbering about 10 attacked the bullion van which was heading from Dunkwa-On-Offin to New Edubiase.
Superintendent Fii Ochil, the Adanse North District Police Commander told Class News’ regional correspondent Elisha Adarkwah that two other occupants of the bullion van were unhurt by the bullets fired by the armed men.
He said an unspecified amount of money in the bullion van was stolen by the armed robbers.
The remains of the lance corporal stationed at Dunkwa-On -Offin, have been deposited at the morgue.
He said the police is on the heels of the armed robbers who committed the crime.
Nigerian superstar Burna Boy seems to be a favorite in the White House. In 2019, he made the playlist of former U.S. President Barack Obama and then that of Michelle Obama in 2020. Now, the musician’s hit track ‘Destiny’ has been featured on the official inauguration playlist of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
This makes Burna Boy the only Nigerian and African artiste on the playlist. ‘Destiny’ is the 13th track on the music star’s Grammy-nominated ‘African Giant’ album.
The inauguration playlist, which includes 46 songs from various artistes, will give Americans the opportunity to participate in the ceremony from home amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Presidential Inaugural Committee said. Tony Allen, CEO of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said the playlist’s objective is to “honor music as a consistent vehicle that has kept us connected through a challenging year”.
“These songs and artistes reflect the relentless spirit and rich diversity of America. They are the score to a new chapter and will help bring people together as the Biden-Harris Administration begins its important work to unite our country,’’ he said.
Issa Rae’s Raedio and DJ D-Nice worked with the inaugural committee to curate the collection of songs. “We know that music has the power to bring people together, and after a year of national challenges and division, we hope this collection serves as an indication of a new beginning, positive change and a reminder that music of all types is a common language,” Raedio president, Benoni Tagoe, said.
Apart from Burna Boy’s ‘Destiny’, other songs from top artistes that made the playlist include Beyoncé’s ‘Find Your Way Back’, Bob Marley and Di Wailers’ ‘Could You Be Loved’, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige’s ‘Now Or Never’, and Biden-Harris campaign’s celebratory theme song, ‘Higher Love’ by Kygo and Whitney Houston.
The playlist is now available on Soundcloud, Apple Music, Spotify, and TIDAL.
Here are all the songs on the playlist:
KOTA the Friend- Lupita’s interlude
The Beatles – Come together
Jason Derulo – Pick up the pieces
Bruce Springsteen – We take care of our won
Daryl Hall and John Oates- You make my dreams come true
The Weeknd- What you need
Mac Miller- Blue World
Heatwave- The Groove line
A Tribe Called Quest -Award Tour
MF Doom – Coffin Nails
Free Nationals- Eternal light
Burna Boy- Destiny
Led Zeppelin- Fool in the rain
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Could You Be Loved
Curtis Mayfield -Move on Up
Jill Scott- Golden
The Impressions -We’re a Winner
Dua Lipa – Levitating
The Doobie Brothers- What a Fool Believes
Bill Withers- Lovely Day
Chris Brown- Mirage
Shania Twain- Still the One
Oddisee- That’s Love
Anitta, Major Lazer- Make It Hot
Whitney Houston, Kygo- Higher Love
Earth, Wind & Fire- That’s the Way of the World
Vampire Weekend- Unbelievers
Beyonce- FIND YOUR WAY BACK
Jackie Wilson – (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher
Parliament on Tuesday, 19 January 2021 approved the composition of membership of the business and appointment committees.
Membership of the committees, put together by the committee on selection, in its report to the house presented 25 members for the business committee with Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu as Chairman and 26 members for the appointments committee with first deputy speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu as its Chairman.
Commenting on the development on the floor, Deputy Leader of the NPP caucus, Alexander Afenyo Markin kicked against the composition of the appointments committee.
According to him, since the standing orders takes away the right to vote from the chairman of the committee, the composition will give undue advantage to the NDC over the NPP.
He prayed the Speaker will rule that the chairman be given voting right.
Below is the list of Members of the Appointments Committee who will be vetting President Akufo-Addo’s Ministers
The Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) has disclosed that four of its members have died of Covid-19.
According to the Association, many others are currently battling for their lives in health facilities across the country.
General Secretary of the Association, David Tekorang Twum, revealed that one other member passed on a few days ago in the Upper East Region.
“We’ve lost four of them, as recently as three days ago, we lost another young man at Kasona district in the Upper East region.”
The group has, therefore, called on government to, as a matter of urgency, procure and distribute PPE’s to its members to enhance their safety and that of other health professionals.
“We don’t have to wait for it to overwhelm once we know this (the PPEs) are the only guns we have as nurses and midwives so what we are asking the government is to provide us with these necessary logistics to be able to ward off the virus,” Mr Twum said.
Considering that there are already imported cases of the new variant of the virus in Ghana, the group wants government to reinstate measures that worked for the country in the first and second quarter of 2020.
If you’re looking to maintain sexual activity in bed all night, you’re not alone.
Many men are looking for ways to enhance their sexual performance. This can include improving existing problems or searching for new ways to keep your partner happy.
There are plenty of male enhancement pills on the market, but there are many simple ways to stay firmer and last longer without having to visit the pharmacy.
Keep in mind that your penis works on blood pressure, and make sure your circulatory system is working at top shape. Basically, what’s good for your heart is good for your sexual health.
Keep reading to find other easy ways to improve your sexual performance.
1. Stay active
One of the best ways to improve your health is cardiovascular exercise. Sex might get your heart rate up, but regular exercise can help your sexual performance by keeping your heart in shape.
Thirty minutes a day of sweat-breaking exercise, such as running and swimming, can do wonders to boost your libido.
2. Eat these fruits and vegetables
Certain foods can also help you increase blood flow. They include:
Onions and garlic. These foods may not be great for your breath, but they can help your blood circulation.
Bananas. This potassium-rich fruit can help lower your blood pressure, which can benefit your important sexual parts and boost sexual performance.
Chilies and peppers. All-natural spicy foods help your blood flow by reducing hypertension and inflammation.
3. Eat these meats and other foods
Here are some more foods that can help you achieve better blood flow:
Omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat increases blood flow. You can find it in salmon, tuna, avocados, and olive oil.
Vitamin B-1. This vitamin helps signals in your nervous system move quicker, including signals from your brain to your penis. It’s found in pork, peanuts, and kidney beans.
Eggs. High in other B vitamins, eggs help balance hormone levels. This can decrease stress that often inhibits an erection.
4. Reduce stress
Stress can affect all areas of your health, including your libido.
Stress increases your heart rate (in the bad way) and increases blood pressure. Both of these are damaging to sexual desire and performance.
Psychological stress can also affect achieving an erection or reaching an orgasm.
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve your health.
Talking to your partner about your stress can also calm you down, while strengthening your relationship at the same time.
Stress can also trigger bad habits, such as smoking or alcohol consumption, which can harm your sexual performance.
5. Kick bad habits
What you rely on to unwind, such as smoking and consuming alcohol, could also affect sexual performance.
While studies suggest that a little red wine can improve circulation, too much alcohol can have adverse effects.
Stimulants narrow blood vessels and have been linked to impotence. Cutting down or quitting smoking is one of the first steps to improve performance.
Replacing bad habits with healthy ones, such as exercise and eating well, can help boost sexual health.
6. Get some sun
Sunlight stops the body’s production of melatonin. This hormone helps us sleep but also quiets our sexual urges. Less melatonin means the potential for more sexual desire.
Getting outside and letting the sun hit your skin can help wake up your sex drive, especially during the winter months when the body produces more melatonin.
7. Masturbate to improve longevity
If you’re not lasting as long as you’d like in bed, you might need some practice. While sex is the best way to practice for sex, masturbation can also help you improve your longevity.
However, how you masturbate could have detrimental effects. If you rush through it, you could inadvertently decrease the time you last with your partner. The secret is making it last, just like you want to when you’re not alone.
8. Pay attention to your partner
Sex isn’t a one-way street. Paying special attention to your partner’s desires not only makes sex pleasurable for them, but it can also help turn you on or slow you down. Talking about this beforehand can help ease any awkwardness if you need to slow down during a heated moment.
Alternating pace or focusing on your partner while you take a break can make for a more enjoyable experience for both of you.
9. Get more help if you need it
If you have erectile dysfunction, Peyronie’s disease, or other diagnosed disorders, you may need medical treatment. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about how you can improve your sexual performance.
It’s never a bad decision to exercise, eat right, and enjoy your sex life to the fullest.