afrol News, 18 March - Spontaneous celebrations broke out in Benghazi as the UN Security Council authorised "all necessary measures" to protect civilians in Libya, including the use of military force.
The UN Security Council today effectively authorised the use of force in Libya to protect civilians from attack, specifically in the eastern city of Benghazi, which Colonel Muammar Ghaddafi has reportedly said he will storm tonight to end a revolt against his regime.
No nation voted against the UN resolution authorising the use of military force to stop the Ghaddafi regime's attack on its own people this night. Ten countries voted in favour, while China, Russia Brazil, Germany and India abstained. Nine positive votes were necessary to have the resolution approved.
The UN resolution authorises all states "to take all necessary measures ... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamhariya, including Benghazi, while excluding an occupation force."
Expressing grave concern at the deteriorating situation, the escalation of violence, and the heavy civilian casualties, the Security Council established a no-fly zone, banning all flights - except those for humanitarian purposes - in Libyan airspace in order to help protect civilians. It specifically called on Arab League states to cooperate with other states - meaning NATO forces - in taking the necessary measures.
The Arab League last weekend requested the UN to impose a no-fly zone after the Ghaddafi regime was reported to have used warplanes, warships, tanks and artillery to seize back cities taken over in what started out a month ago as mass protests by peaceful civilians seeking an end to his 41-year rule.
The UN reso
UN Security Council approving military actions against Libya
lution was more than Libyan rebels had expected, after urging the international community to implement a no-fly zone over Libya for weeks. An ongoing counter-offensive by pro-Ghaddafi forces had threatened to destroy Benghazi, Misrata and other rebel-held Libyan cities with the help of military aircrafts.
As the news of the UN Security Council resolution was known in Benghazi, spontaneous celebrations broke out in the city, with people waiving revolutionary and French flags. Many cried out praising of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was the first to lobby for a no-fly zone and foreign military intervention.
French Defence Minister Alain Juppé earlier today said France was ready for immediate strikes against the Ghaddafi regime as soon as the UN Security Council had given its approval. Coordination with Arab states, probably Egypt, was already underway to take military action already tonight.
French and US sources indicate that there is intensive military planning on how the first strikes against the Ghaddafi regime will be implemented. It is widely expected that a first strike will seek to eradicate the Libyan air force altogether.
There are already reports of warships moving rapidly towards Libya, probably being part of a coordinated attack against pro-Ghaddafi troops.
Colonel Ghaddafi, who earlier had threatened to bomb Mediterranean cities or even "join al Qaeda" if military action against his regime would be approved off, shortly after the resolution indicated he would be open to ceasefire negotiations.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.