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Magdalena Andersson Emerges Sweden’s First Female Prime Minister

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Magdalena Andersson Emerges Sweden's First Female Prime Minister

Magdalena Andersson has been approved by Sweden’s parliament as the country’s first-ever female prime minister, after replacing Stefan Lofven as leader of the centre-left Social Democrats.

Sweden is the only Nordic country never to have elected a woman as a national leader before. Andersson, who is currently the finance minister, did not win Wednesday, November 24, 2021’s vote.

However, she was elected because under Swedish law, she only needed a majority of MPs not to vote against her, BBC reports.

A hundred years after Swedish women were given the right to vote, the 54-year-old Social Democrat leader was given a standing ovation by sections of the parliament, or Riksdag.

Her election at the head of a minority government followed an 11th-hour deal with the opposition Left Party, in exchange for higher pensions for many Swedes. She also secured the support of coalition partner the Greens as well as the Centre party.

Of the 349 members of the Riksdag, 174 voted against her. But on top of the 117 MPs who backed Andersson, a further 57 abstained, giving her victory by a single vote.

A former junior swimming champion from the university city of Uppsala, she began her political career in 1996 as political adviser to the then-Prime Minister Goran Persson. She has spent the past seven years as finance minister.

However, she faces a tough job from the outset, with opposition parties on the right saying they’ll reject the government’s 2022 budget later on Wednesday. 

The Centre party, which backed her for the job of prime minister, says it will not support a finance package from a government “moving far to the left”.

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World News

Gambia’s Barrow Wins 2nd Term Election

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Gambia’s Barrow Wins 2nd Term Election

Adama Barrow comfortably won a second term in The Gambia’s presidential election, with thousands of his supporters celebrating in the streets of Banjul, although his opponents disputed the results announced late Sunday.

Barrow, whose assumption of the presidency five years ago ended more than 20 years of dictatorship, garnered more than 53 percent of the vote, according to results released by the electoral commission. His main challenger Ousainou Darboe won 27.7 percent.

Saturday’s election, the first since former dictator Yahya Jammeh fled into exile, is seen as crucial for the young West African democracy.

Electoral commission chairman Alieu Momarr Njai declared Barrow the winner, announcing the final results to journalists hours after rival candidates had challenged partial results that gave him a commanding lead.

Crowds of Barrow’s supporters marched through the streets of the capital to a din of horns and danced on a vast esplanade.

Barrow received a standing ovation when he addressed them with “a great sense of joy and humility” and called on his supporters to respect those who voted for his opponents in a “free, fair and transparent election”.

I will do all I can and utilise every resource at my disposal to make The Gambia a better place for us all,” he said.

Before the full results were announced, three of Barrow’s rivals had rejected partial results that gave him an early lead.

At this stage we reject the results announced so far”, Darboe and two other candidates said in a joint statement. “All actions are on table.”

Gambians flocked to the polling booths Saturday to choose who would lead their country — the smallest in mainland Africa — for the next five years, with turnout at 87 per cent, according to official results.

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Health & Wellness

Omicron: Guterres Harps On Global Vaccination

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Omicron: Guterres Harps On Global Vaccination

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, says the only way out of the COVID-19 pandemic and out of the unjust distribution of vaccines is through a global vaccination plan.

Guterres spoke to a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Group of 77 developing nations (G77) and China on Tuesday at UN headquarters, New York.

According to him, pandemic continues to wreak havoc on developed and developing countries alike.

READ ALSO: Omicron: NCDC To Test Travellers For Virus

He said that the UN-backed the vaccination strategy set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The goal of the vaccination strategy is to get vaccines into the arms of 40 percent of people in all countries by the end of 2021 and 70 percent by the middle of 2022.

“Everyone, everywhere, must have access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatment,” the secretary-general said, asking for support for the ACT accelerator and the COVAX facility.

Guterres also warned that the world economy is projected to grow by 5.9 percent in 2021 but the pace of recovery, according to him, is extremely uneven.

For him, this is not surprising, when developed economies are investing 28 percent of their Gross Domestic Product in recovery, middle-income countries are investing 6.5 percent, and the least developed nations are investing just 1.8 percent.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that cumulative economic growth per capita over the next five years will be 75 percent less than the rest of the world.

“This dangerous divergence threatens to widen as growth rates are expected to decrease in 2022. Rising inflation could also have a negative impact on the cost of borrowing and servicing debt,” he warned.

The UN chief also addressed the climate crisis, unsustainable levels of inequality, and the development of new technologies, asking for “a quantum leap in unity and solidarity to make collective decisions” on these global challenges.

On multilateralism and the importance of the United Nations, the secretary-general stressed the role of the organization during the pandemic.

UN Country Teams rolled out socio-economic response plans covering 139 countries and territories. More than US$3 billion was repurposed, and an additional US$2 billion was mobilized to prioritize immediate support.

For Guterres, it was recent reforms that enabled the organization to adjust and respond quickly.

“As a result, more than 90 percent of host governments have indicated that the United Nations today is more relevant to their country’s development needs when compared to three years ago,” he said. 

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World News

Uganda May Lose Only International Airport Over $207m Loan

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Uganda May Lose Only International Airport To China Over Loan

There is an emerging indication that Uganda may lose its only international airport over a $207 million loan facility from the Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank).

It would be recalled that on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, the Ugandan government under the leadership of President Yoweri Museveni, signed an agreement with a maturity period of 20 years, including a seven-year grace period.

The deal signed with the Chinese lenders virtually means Uganda “surrendered” its most prominent and only international airport.

Following the agreement, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has now stated that some provisions in the Financing Agreement with China, expose Entebbe International Airport and other Ugandan assets to be attached and taken over by Chinese lenders upon arbitration in Beijing.

It also emerged that China has rejected recent pleas by Uganda to renegotiate the toxic clauses of the 2015 loan, leaving Museveni’s administration in limbo.

According to the Daily Monitor, the Ugandan government waived international immunity in the agreement it signed to secure the loans, exposing Entebbe International Airport to take over without international protection.

In desperation, Uganda in March sent a delegation to Beijing hoping to renegotiate the toxic clauses of the deal but the officials came back empty-handed as China would not allow the terms of the original deal to be varied.

Last week, Uganda’s Finance Minister Matia Kasaija apologized to parliament for the “mishandling of the $207 million loan” from the China Exim Bank to expand Entebbe International Airport.

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