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19th-century Jewish Graves Rededicated In Cape Verde

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19th-century Jewish Graves Rededicated In Cape Verde

After years of careful restoration, two 19th century Jewish cemeteries were rededicated in Cape Verde on Tuesday, part of an effort financed by the Moroccan king to preserve the archipelago’s cultural heritage.

On wind-swept Santo Antao island, local dignitaries, international diplomats, and prominent Jewish figures gathered for the ceremony where seven of the graves are located.

The rededication project involved translating the original inscriptions onto bronze plaques which accompany the graves, telling the story of Cape Verde’s Jewish community which has now all but disappeared in the former Portuguese colony off the western coast of Africa.

Carol Castiel, president of the Cape Verdean Jewish Heritage Project, consulted with Hebrew and Portuguese linguists, historians, and rabbis to create the new plaques.

“This cemetery is a small antidote to what we’re seeing around the world with populism and the rise of anti-Semitism,” said Castiel in an interview from Santo Antao, where she traveled for the ceremony. “Here is a little oasis, a place where people take pride in the Jewish history.”

Jorge Santos, president of Cape Verde’s National Assembly, asked for a moment of silence on Tuesday at the ceremony in memory of the 11 people killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue in late October.

The first wave of Jewish immigrants arrived in Cape Verde in the 15th and 16th centuries, fleeing persecution from Christians in Spain and Portugal. However, those interred in the cemetery immigrated later, coming from Morocco in the 1800s to seek economic opportunities.

Many of these Jewish immigrants were men who married local Catholic women and stopped actively practicing their religion.

The burial grounds have been restored through a partnership between the local government and the Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project, a non-for-profit founded in 2007. King Mohammed VI of Morocco financed the restoration of the cemeteries on Cape Verde, which gained independence in 1975 after more than 500 years of Portuguese rule.

Two other cemeteries, also on Cape Verde, were similarly restored in 2013 using a donation of some $100 000 from the king, Castiel said.

“This is a project from a Cape Verdean Jewish organisation that is supported by a Muslim country, Morocco, in a Christian country, Cape Verde,” said Carlos Wahnon Veiga, Cape Verde’s former prime minister and current ambassador to the United States.

Veiga, who is of Jewish descent, added: “It is a very good example of tolerance worldwide.”

No synagogue has ever existed on the archipelago. Yet the islands’ Jewish history endured, preserved in the distinctly Sephardic surnames etched onto crumbling tombstones, sinking amid weeds and scattered trash.

Januario Nascimento, 63, a descendent of Jewish immigrants whose graves were restored on Santo Antao, is careful to keep Jewish values and stories alive for his own children even though he is not a practicing Jew.

Nascimento, who lives in Cape Verde’s capital of Praia, plans to take his relatives to the newly rededicated graves to show them where their ancestors now lie under flat yellow stones, their story protected and celebrated for generations to come.

“Man has to know who he is and who his ancestors were. It’s the most important thing. To prepare for the future, you must know the past,” he said.

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Gabon Amends Constitution To Fill Vacuum Left By Ailing President

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Gabon Amends Constitution To Fill Vacuum Left By Ailing President

Gabon has amended the constitution to allow the Vice-president or Prime Minister to run cabinet meetings if the President is temporarily unavailable. In a move to avert a political crisis brought about by the ill health of President Ali Bongo, who remains in hospital in Saudi Arabia, after suffering what is rumored to be a stroke last month.

Although his cabinet has earlier said he only suffered fatigue. His office finally admitted on Sunday he was recovering from surgery.

The fifty-nine year old president has not been seen in public since, and the state of his health is unknown.  Some are even now questioning whether he was still alive.

The decision by the constitutional court, which the opposition says is illegal, is the first move to fill the vacuum.

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Tens Of Thousands Of Africans Die Each Year Due To Fake Drugs – Report

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Tens Of Thousands Of Africans Die Each Year Due To Fake Drugs - Report

An E.U. funded report released this week says, tens of thousands of people in Africa die each year because of fake and counterfeit medication.

Manufacturers of the fake drugs are said to prey on poorer countries more than their richer counterparts, with up to 30 times greater penetration of fakes in the supply chain.

It added that the drugs are mainly made in China but also in India, Paraguay, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

The report says almost half the fake and low-quality medicines reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) between 2013 and last year were found to be in sub-Saharan Africa. The report was also backed by Interpol and the institute for security studies.

Substandard or fake anti-malarials cause the deaths of between 64,000 and 158,000 persons per year in sub-Saharan Africa.

W.H.O. Says, the counterfeit drug market is worth around $200 billion worldwide annually, making it the most lucrative trade of illegally copied goods, and its impact has been devastating.

Nigeria said more than 80 children were killed in 2009 by a teething syrup tainted with a chemical normally used in engine coolant and blamed for causing kidney failure.

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Medical Team Of Chinese Peacekeeping Force Gives Emergency Treatment To UN Employees In Mali

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Medical Team Of Chinese Peacekeeping Force Gives Emergency Treatment To UN Employees In Mali

The medical team of the sixth batch of Chinese Peacekeeping force in Mali gave emergency treatment on Monday to nine United Nations employees who were injured in a suicidal car bomb attack in the Gao region.

Four UN employees were brought to the Chinese Medical Team by the United Nations multi-dimensional integrated stabilization mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

After a preliminary check, Chinese medical workers found one suffered from a rib fracture, and head injury. One with injuries at his right heel and rupture, and the other two with some health condition.

The Chinese medical workers helped the injured to stop bleeding, clean wounds and suture the wounds.

As they were treating the four, another five injured UN employees arrived 20 minutes later. Seven patients with slight injuries have been discharged.

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