Tag Archives: President

Iranian man sentenced to having his eyes gouged out, right ear and nose cut off after hurling acid in young girl’s face, court rules

Perpetrator will also have an ear and his nose cut off, opposition group says. President Hassan Rohani won a surprise election last year, after pledging more openness with the West. But an increased use of the death penalty has dashed hopes the country’s will improve its human rights record, the UN said. An Iranian man who poured acid on a young girl’s face should be punished by having his eyes gouged out and his right ear and nose cut off, an Iranian court ruled, according to an opposition group. The group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said the man was convicted last October of intentionally attacking the girl with acid, causing her to lose her eyesight and right ear. Last month, another Iranian man was condemned to have one hand and one foot cut off as punishment for an unspecified crime, the state-run Mehr news agency reported. The national council said that Iran’s high court has publicly defended cutting off body parts and removing eyes as part of the country’s judicial system. At least 80 people and perhaps as many as 95 have been executed in Iran this year, a surge in the use of the death penalty that has dampened hopes for human rights reforms under President Hassan Rohani, the United Nations said last month. Rohani, who won a surprise election last year on a platform of more openness with the West, clinched an interim deal in November with world powers over Iran’s nuclear program. In September, dozens of political prisoners were released, raising hopes that he would also improve human rights. “There were some encouraging signs last year where political prisoners were released … But it appears at least in the past seven weeks that in fact executions have been scaled up,” UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a news briefing. “We regret that the new government has not changed its approach to the death penalty and continues to impose capital punishment for a wide range of offences. We urge the government to immediately halt executions and to institute a moratorium.” Last year Iran executed between 500 and 625 people, including at least 28 women and two juveniles, Shamdasani said. Reuters

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District, traders feud over building

An association of traders in Nyabugogo is embroiled in a bitter wrangle with Nyarugenge District over ownership of a commercial building located at a bus terminal. The commercial building located at the Nyabugogo bus terminal. John Mbanda. The traders, under their cooperative Twubake Nyabugogo, are threatening to drag the district to court to seek legal redress. They claim that 86 businessmen raised Rwf180 million to construct the building on the district land in 1997, which the district wants to grab. In an agreement signed in 1998, the parties agreed that each tenant would pay monthly district dues of Rwf 8,000 for cleaning the premises with provision to revise the charges after ten years. The agreement, a copy of which was seen by this paper, was signed between Eugene Rugambage, the then district Bourgmestre (mayor) and different traders who had contributed to the construction of the commercial building. However, trouble started after the district asked the traders to pay monthly rent of Rwf885,000 effective February 1, 2014, making traders to wonder how they can pay rent for their own structure. The cooperative president, Fredric Karangwa, said what they need is ownership of the building and they are ready to drag the district to court. “Our cooperative is recognised by government and we have all the documents confirming ownership of  the building,” he said, adding that no tenant will pay rent. He added that members were surprised after learning that the district indirectly registered the building under its name. Laurent Bugabo, the cooperative’s lawyer, said he had given the district up to 30 days to respond to the traders’ concerns or face court action. Over 500 traders operate in the structure. However, when contacted, Nyarugenge District mayor Solange Mukasonga insisted the building under contention belongs to the district. “We have never signed any agreement with the cooperative over that building. It is the district that owns the building and they are free to go to court,” she said. Augustine Hitiyaremye, a trader  operating a bookshop in the building, said the rent was very high. “It is unfair, most of these people own small businesses like hair salons, some just sell shoes.  You cannot ask such people to pay that amount of money unless they want us to close our businesses and go back to villages,” he said. By Eric Kabeera,The New Times

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Algeria’s Bouteflika to seek fourth presidential term

Algeria’s president, who has not publicly addressed the country for nearly three years, will be running for a fourth term in April. President Bouteflika casts his ballot in local elections in November 2012 Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 76, suffered a stroke last year and critics say he is still too ill to govern. His candidature was announced by Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal. “Even if he has not completely recovered physically, I can assure you he is in possession of all his mental and intellectual faculties,” he said. Algeria has the largest land area of any African state, is rich in oil and gas, and under President Bouteflika has been an ally of the US. The president, in power since 1999, is one of the few remaining veterans of the war of independence against France. He is credited by his supporters with curbing a brutal insurgency by Islamist extremists and restoring economic stability. But he has had persistent health problems and his rule has recently been dogged by corruption scandals implicating members of his inner circle. Despite regular elections, power in Algeria remains in the hands of a small group of military and intelligence leaders. The question of whether Mr Bouteflika would seek re-election has dominated Algerian politics in recent months, with normally concealed differences between senior party and military officials emerging in public. This month, a retired senior general urged him to step down “with dignity” and not stand for re-election. One opposition figure called on the president to publish his medical records before seeking office again. Mr Bouteflika has appeared only rarely on television and always in a wheelchair since returning from a four-month convalescence in Paris after his stroke. He appears to have limited movement on one side of his body. Despite his illness, correspondents say he is still likely to win the 17 April election. His National Liberation Front party has ruled Algeria for nearly three decades and opposition political groups are weak. Agencies

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600m/- collected at MNH fundraiser

President Jakaya Kikwete on Saturday night led a fundraising ceremony in which 600m/- was collected for purchase of modern medical equipment for paediatric ward at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam. President Jakaya Kikwete speaks during the fundraising ...

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Standing order editing ‘needs time’

The Constituent Assembly continues on Monday with the interim chairman Mr Pandu Ameir Kificho...

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BRD to increase lending to organised groups- says CEO

It will now be easy for entrepreneurs who belong to co-operatives to access funding from Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) after the financial institution pledged to increase lending to organised groups. Alex Kanyankole, the BRD chief executive officer, said the move aims at supporting such business people acquire credit to undertake large projects. “It’s not easy for an individual to access a Rwf1b loan since they might not have the required collateral. That’s why we encourage business people to form co-operatives under which they can secure credit to implement their projects on schedule,” he said. Kanyankole revealed that the bank recently extended about  Rwf10b credit to co-operatives, with Inkudamahoro Co-operative in Nyabugogo, Kigali’s budding business suburb, which secured Rwf5.5b to construct a multipurpose business complex. The 4,300-square metre modern complex will be completed by June and will have 600 stalls. Adarwa Co-operative, in Gacuriro, an association of carpenters formerly based at Gakinjiro in Kigali, also got a Rwf1.1b loan to set up a 167-room commercial building. The complex is expected to house over 480 businesses as it seeks to create viable space for budding entrepreneurs in the city. Kanyankole said the buildings will house hardware shops, salons, pharmacies and restaurants, among other businesses, most of which are currently operating in unsuitable environments. He said the projects funded by the bank provide employment opportunities for residents and boost tax collection. “It will help propel the country towards the attainment of the second phase of the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy growth targets,” Kanyankole noted. Under the credit scheme, the beneficiary co-operatives repay the loans within a period of over seven years, depending on the nature of the project. Justin Gashaija, the president of Adarwa Co-operative, said they were earning peanuts as individual carpenters. “However, since we formed the co-operative, we have been able to increase our earnings, thanks to varied capabilities and skills of group members, which have enabled us to undertake big projects, including the recent construction of the Gisozi Road that leads to our work area,” he said. He said the co-operative has 157 members and serves about 3,000 clients a day. By Ben Gasore,The New Times

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REB moves to curb student loan default

Beneficiaries of government study loans have responded with mixed reactions to the Rwanda Education Board (Reb’s) plan to work with the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) to sanction defaulters. Graduands at a past function at the Rwanda University’s College of Business and Economics. File . While some described the move as ‘disastrous’, others welcomed it, saying it will compel defaulters to service their debts and improve recovery efforts. The move follows reports that out of Rwf70bn debts, only Rwf6bn has been repaid since 2007. About 11,000 people have paid, out of 66,750 beneficiaries. The aim of Reb’s move is to reduce debt default and boost collection efforts. CRB normally collects borrower’s credit history from participating financial institutions which is then used as a point of reference for lenders to decide whether one qualifies for a loan.  It helps to check non-performing loans in commercial banks. A bad loan affects the credibility of the borrower. This implies that beneficiaries of education loans will find it difficult to acquire a loan once they are blacklisted on list of people with non-performing loans. Speaking to The New Times on Friday, Louise Karamaga, Reb’s deputy director in charge of High Education Students’ Loans said all employers have up to February 28, to declare the names of the scheme beneficiaries. After the deadline, beneficiaries who will not have completed forms committing to pay will be listed as defaulters and their names sent to the Credit Reference Bureau. Efforts to contact CRB to confirm whether they had discussed the matter were futile. But under the 2008 Rwandan student bursary/loan policy, beneficiaries are supposed to start paying back upon finding a job. The same policy requires everyone who benefited from the government student loan since 1980 to pay back 100 per cent with a 7 per cent interest of all the money (tuition fees and living allowances) they received as scholarship. Reb has appealed to people to clear their debts but with little success, which threatens the institution’s ambition to create a revolving fund for more scholarships. “They must pay back to enable government support other Rwandans acquire tertiary education,” Karamaga insisted. The loan recovery rate in Rwanda is at 8 per cent, which Karamaga said is very low compared to Kenya, where it stands at 60 per cent. Kenya’s Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) engages both employers and employees, whereby upon getting a job, an employee informs the Board. The employer also commits to deducting the money. Karamaga pointed out that failure to recover the loan undermines chances of sponsoring more students. He said they considered using CRB after several awareness meetings with private and public institutions and Rwandan embassies about the recovery process. One of the approaches to be used to have the people pay the money is to send their data to Credit Reference Bureau – if this doesn’t work as planned, then the law will take its course, she warned. Apparently, Reb has put data into a Management Information System, which helps to track the records of every debtor. Charles Karegeya, who is in charge of sales and loans at Kenya Commercial Bank, said this tracking policy can be effective once students’ loan is tied to a bank loan. Beneficiaries react However, Emelyne Mukamana, one of the beneficiaries, said enlisting the services of CRB was not the best solution. ...

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