Rwanda leader sworn in after winning 99% of vote

Rwanda's newly inaugurated President Paul Kagame (C) receives the National flag from Chief Justice Sam Rugege next to First Lady Jeannette Kagame after taking the oath of office during his swearing-in ceremony at Amahoro stadium in Kigali, Rwanda, on Friday. (REUTERS)
Updated 19 August 2017

Rwanda leader sworn in after winning 99% of vote

KIGALI: Rwandan President Paul Kagame was sworn in for a third term Friday after winning re-election with nearly 99 percent of the vote.
Many African leaders attended the ceremony in the capital, Kigali. The longtime president had described the Aug. 4 election as “a formality” while campaigning.
The East African nation has virtually no political opposition, and critics accuse Kagame of being intolerant of dissent. He denies it.
“It’s a day of gratitude and I will continue to work for Rwandans with pride and honor,” Kagame said Friday. “Africa is on the right path, and we are going to do just fine.”
Kagame has been de facto leader or president since the end of the 1994 genocide. Because of a change to the Constitution in 2015, he can legally stay in power until 2034.
Human Rights Watch said in a statement that in the months leading to the election it documented a pattern of harassment, arrests and detentions of opposition party leaders and supporters, activists and journalists.
Several were forcibly disappeared or prosecuted after making comments critical of the current government or ruling party, the rights group said.
Amnesty International had described a “climate of fear” ahead of the vote.


Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

Updated 10 August 2020

Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

MANILA: Virgilio Estuesta has picked through trash in the Philippines’ biggest city for four decades, and is noticing an unusually large amount of plastics during his daily trawl of about 15 km (9.3 miles).
Tough curbs re-imposed to combat a surge in daily coronavirus infections are squeezing income for the 60-year-old, as many of the junkyards and businesses in Manila that buy his recyclables have been closed since March.
Plastic items, such as bottles and containers, dominate the contents of the rickety wooden cart Estuesta pushes through the deserted streets, far more than metals and cardboard, yet the money they bring in is not enough to get by.
“It’s been really hard for us, it’s been difficult looking for recyclables that sell high,” he said.
“Recently we’ve been seeing a lot more plastics, but the problem is they don’t really sell high.”
Environmentalists say the Philippines is battling one of the world’s biggest problems stemming from single-use plastics, and ranks among the biggest contributors to plastic pollution of the oceans. It has no reliable data for its plastics consumption.
Greenpeace campaigner Marian Ledesma said consumers and businesses are now using yet more single-use plastics, in a bid to ward off virus infections.
“The pandemic has really increased plastic pollution,” she added. “Just because there’s a lot more people using disposables now, due to misconceptions and fears around transmitting the virus.”
Since March 16, Manila has experienced lockdowns of varying levels of severity, in some of the world’s longest and tightest measures to curb the spread of the virus.
They are taking a toll on Estuesta, who hopes to start earning soon.
“When you go out, the police will reprimand you,” he said. “I was stuck at home and had to rely on government aid, which was not enough. I had to resort to borrowing money from people.”