US AGENCY IN MALAWI

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Me­la­nia Trump spent Thurs­day in south­ern Africa pro­mot­ing the work of a US in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment agency whose fund­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has twice pro­posed slash­ing by nearly a third.

Law­mak­ers essen­tially ig­nored those re­quests.

Mrs Trump toured class­rooms at Li­longwe's Chipala Pri­mary School, which gets text­books and other ed­u­ca­tion as­sis­tance from the US Agency for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment.

A batch of 1.4 mil­lion books do­nated on Thurs­day brought to nearly 10 mil­lion the to­tal Malawi has re­ceived in re­cent years un­der USAID's na­tional read­ing pro­gramme, of­fi­cials said. Malawi's ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter said the part­ner­ship had "sig­nif­i­cantly" im­proved pupil lit­er­acy.

But the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion sought a roughly 30 per cent cut in fund­ing for the State De­part­ment

MALAWI -

and USAID in its first two bud­gets. Wide­spread bi­par­ti­san op­po­si­tion in Congress averted the re­duc­tions.

But none of that was up for dis­cus­sion as Mrs Trump vis­ited with happy school­child­ren and their teach­ers in the Malaw­ian cap­i­tal.

"I wanted to be here to see the suc­cess­ful pro­grammes that (the) United States is pro­vid­ing the chil­dren and thank you for ev­ery­thing you've done," the first lady said at a book do­na­tion cer­e­mony in the school li­brary.

She had just fin­ished tour­ing sev­eral out­door class­rooms. Chipala has more than 8 500 pupils but just 77 teach­ers, for a ra­tio of 111 pupils per in­struc­tor, ac­cord­ing to the US gov­ern­ment.

With just 22 class­rooms, many pupils are forced to take their lessons out­doors, seated shoul­der to shoul­der in their uni­forms on loose, red dirt. Mrs Trump watched sev­eral teach­ers con­duct lessons for the equiv­a­lent of sec­ond- and third-graders.

"Meet­ing those chil­dren and un­der­stand­ing their dif­fer­ent way of life is why I wanted to travel here," Mrs Trump told US Em­bassy em­ploy­ees at a gath­er­ing at the US am­bas­sador's res­i­dence.

Her own 12-year-old son at­tends a pri­vate school in Mary­land. "I was heart­ened to spend time with the pupils and was hon­oured to do­nate school sup­plies and soc­cer balls," she said.

Su­dan seizes two news­pa­pers

- Su­danese se­cu­rity agents con­fis­cated the en­tire print runs of two news­pa­pers on Thurs­day, their own­ers said, days af­ter the Eu­ro­pean Union and Wash­ing­ton pushed for press free­doms in the African coun­try. Agents of Su­dan's pow­er­ful Na­tional In­tel­li­gence and Se­cu­rity Ser­vice (NISS) seized copies of AlTa­yar and Al-Ja­reeda af­ter their edi­tors at­tended a meet­ing held by the EU at its of­fice in Khar­toum on Tues­day that urged press free­doms in the coun­try. "They con­fis­cated our news­pa­per copies with­out giv­ing any rea­son," Al-Ta­yar's owner and Ed­i­tor-in-chief Os­man Mirghani told AFP. "But I had at­tended the EU meet­ing, so that could be the rea­son."

KHAR­TOUM New con­doms for soldiers for safe sex

Uganda’s mil­i­tary has re­port­edly launched a new con­dom brand, ‘ulinzi’ (Swahili for pro­tec­tion) for its soldiers "in or­der to en­sure they have safe sex". Ac­cord­ing to the BBC, Uganda’s mil­i­tary chief of staff Leopold Kyanda said the troops needed to be safe first be­fore they could de­fend the coun­try. Ac­cord­ing to Uganda Pop­u­la­tionBased HIV im­pact as­sess­ment UPHIA re­port of 2016, the east African na­tion’s HIV preva­lence rate now stood at six per cent as com­pared to 30 per cent in the early 1980s when many Ugan­dans were get­ting to know about the dis­ease, re­ported New Vi­sion. The coun­try had, how­ever, made a lot of progress in the na­tional HIV re­sponse, the re­port said.

UGANDA - Nige­ria judge faces sack over bribe

A se­nior Nige­rian judge falsely claimed he had suf­fered a bereavement to get cash from lit­i­gants and lawyers ap­pear­ing in his court, the coun­try's main ju­di­cial body said on Thurs­day. James Ag­badu-Fishim "re­ceived var­i­ous sums of money from lit­i­gants and lawyers that had cases be­fore him and some in­flu­en­tial Nige­ri­ans un­der the false pre­tence that he was be­reaved or that there was a de­lay in the pay­ment of his salary", the Na­tional Ju­di­cial Coun­cil said in a state­ment. The judge sits in the Na­tional In­dus­trial Court but has now been "rec­om­mended for re­moval by dis­missal from of­fice," it added.

ABUJA -

(AFP)

PRO­MOT­ING: US First Lady Me­la­nia Trump vis­its Chipala Pri­mary School along­side Head teacher Mau­reen Masi in Li­longwe.

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