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Bolivian opposition senator Jeanine Áñez has declared herself interim president of the South American country following Evo Morales’ resignation.

Ms Áñez said she was next in line under the constitution and vowed to hold elections soon.

Her appointment was endorsed by Bolivia’s Constitutional Court.

Lawmakers from Mr Morales’ party boycotted the session, and the former president branded Ms Áñez “a coup-mongering right-wing senator”.

Mr Morales has fled to Mexico, saying he asked for asylum there because his life was in danger.

He resigned on Sunday after weeks of protests over a disputed presidential election result. He has said he had been forced to stand down but had done so willingly “so there would be no more bloodshed”.

How did the senator become interim president?

Ms Áñez, 52, is a qualified lawyer and a fierce critic of Mr Morales. She was previously director of the Totalvision TV station, and has been a senator since 2010, representing the region of Beni in the National Assembly.

As the deputy Senate leader, Ms Áñez took temporary control of the body on Tuesday after Bolivia’s vice-president and the leaders of the senate and lower house resigned.

That put her next in line for the presidency under the constitution.

The parliamentary session to appoint Ms Áñez was boycotted by lawmakers from Mr Morales’ leftist Movement for Socialism party, who said it was illegitimate.

“Before the definitive absence of the president and vice president… as the president of the Chamber of Senators, I immediately assume the presidency as foreseen in the constitutional order,” Ms Áñez said to applause from opposition lawmakers.

Bolivia’s highest constitutional court backed her assumption of power.

Writing on Twitter from Mexico, Mr Morales condemned the “sneakiest, most nefarious coup in history”.

How did we get here?

Mr Morales, a former coca farmer, was first elected in 2006, the country’s first leader from the indigenous community.

He won plaudits for fighting poverty and improving Bolivia’s economy but drew controversy by defying constitutional limits to run for a fourth term in October’s election.

Pressure had been growing on him since contested election results suggested he had won outright in the first round. The result was called into question by the Organization of American States, a regional body, which had found “clear manipulation” and called for the result to be annulled.

In response, Mr Morales agreed to hold fresh elections. But his main rival, Carlos Mesa – who came second in the vote – said Mr Morales should not stand in any new vote.

The chief of the armed forces, Gen Williams Kaliman, then urged Mr Morales to step down in the interests of peace and stability.

Announcing his resignation, Mr Morales said he had taken the decision in order to stop fellow socialist leaders from being “harassed, persecuted and threatened”.

He fled to Mexico as unrest erupted on the streets of the Bolivian administrative capital, La Paz, with angry supporters of the socialist leader clashing with security forces.

After arriving in Mexico City on Tuesday, he thanked Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, whom he credited with saving his life.

“While I have life I’ll stay in politics, the fight continues. All the people of the world have the right to free themselves from discrimination and humiliation,” he said.

Source: BBC

Saudi Arabia’s state security agency says a social media post on one of its accounts that categorised feminism as extremism was a mistake.

The promotional video categorised feminism, homosexuality and atheism as dangerous ideas and warned Saudis to be vigilant against them.

The security agency says it is investigating the video.

Saudi Arabia is trying to shake off its image as one of the most repressive countries in the world for women.

The animated clip was posted to the Twitter account of the State Security Presidency over the weekend. The agency reports directly to King Salman.

The agency said in a statement that the video contained multiple mistakes and the makers of the video did not do their job properly.

The Saudi Human Rights Commission also released a statement saying that feminism was not a crime. However, it did not make reference to homosexuality or atheism.

Saudi Arabia has no written laws concerning sexual orientation or gender identity, but judges use principles of Islamic law to sanction people suspected of extra-marital sexual relations, homosexual sex or other “immoral” acts, according to US-based Human Rights Watch.

The video has been criticised by human rights groups including Amnesty International.

Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, said: “This announcement is extremely dangerous and has serious implications for the rights to freedom of expression and life, liberty and security in the country.”

The video comes as Saudi Arabia continues a programme of reforms, many of which focus on women’s rights.

The government lifted a long-standing ban on women driving in 2018 and made changes to the male guardianship system this August, allowing women to apply for passports and travel independently without permission from a man.

They were also given the right to register births, marriage or divorce.

However, women continue to face numerous restrictions on their lives, and several women’s rights activists who campaigned for the changes have been detained and put on trial. Some of them alleged to have been tortured in prison.

Men who had supported the activists’ cause or defended them in court were also arrested.

Source: BBC

Star Media Group’s Esther Ng was honoured at the Asian Women Entrepreneurs Awards in the Media and Communications category.

The company’s chief content officer was bestowed the award by the Malaysia Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Association (MCWEA) for her experience and work in the Star Media Group’s transformation to a digital-first media outlet.

Ng said it was good that the achievements of women in the media industry were acknowledged and honoured.

“I stand somewhat alone in this, in that there are so few female editors-in-chief among the main media in the country.

“It’s time, not just to sit up but stand up for ourselves. We need to mark and celebrate each milestone we achieve. In the tough and challenging world that is the media industry, editors of mainstream media need to stand together in combating fake news.

“Real news has become a necessity,” she said when met at the presentation ceremony at the Sunway Hotel Resort and Spa on Tuesday.

This year marks the second edition of the Asian Women Entrepreneurs Awards, which was founded last year with the aim of promoting women leadership in business in the region.

MCWEA president Datin Sri Jessie Wong said the awards honour outstanding women leaders who play a significant role in shaping Asia’s business landscape in the next few decades.

“These winners represent the diversity within Asia’s business landscape and the awards recognise these businesswomen as role models for their excellent achievements and contributions towards the industry and nation-building.

“MCWEA seeks to encourage, enhance and empower businesswomen in contributing towards the development of community, industries and the building of national economy,” she said in her speech.

Other winners include Sunway Group exco member Susan Cheah who bagged the Lifetime Achievement Award and Miss Fashion World president Isabelle Liow who took home the MCWEA most outstanding contribution award.

Source: The Jakarta Post

Small-scale fishers of the Western Cape have for the first time been granted access to fishing during the 2019/20 west coast rock lobster season as part of the transition to the new small-scale fishing sector.

This was announced by the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy, following a series of stakeholder workshops with fishing communities in the Western Cape.

“There was a general call for interim relief fishers to continue fishing for the next season and for fishers on the declared small-scale fishers list to be granted access to fish,” said the Minister adding that, in considering the requests from communities, the Department had been instructed to fast-track the roll-out of the small-scale fisheries sector in the province.

The Department was also directed to provide a transition from the current interim relief arrangement to a permanent and more structured small-scale fisheries sector in the Western Cape.

Minister Creecy says that it is imperative for small-scale fishers to be granted access to fishing while they are waiting on their 15-year fishing rights to be allocated. These 2 749 fishers were declared for the first time in 2018 as small-scale fishers as part of the roll-out of small-scale fishing sector in Western Cape. Minister Creecy also noted that the current interim relief dispensation will continue taking into account that some interim relief fishers have already signed contracts for the West Coast rock lobster 2019/20 fishing season. As a form of transition, the department has amended the interim relief lists to include fishers who have been declared small-scale fishers to be part of this last interim relief dispensation. Interim relief fishers and small-scale fishers will equally share the west coast rock lobster allocation allocated to them for the West Coast rock lobster 2019/20 fishing season.

During the Minister’s engagements, concerns were also raised about caretakers in the interim relief dispensation exploiting fishers.

“It is for this reason that in preparation for the West Coast rock lobster 2019/20 fishing season there will be no caretakers,” said the Minister.

All fishers will be required to sign a letter of authorisation drafted by the Department on the amended interim relief list for 2019/2020 fishing season. Interim relief fishers are to nominate an individual who will execute specific and spelled-out tasks on behalf of Interim Relief (IR) fishers. On signing, each fisher is given an opportunity to indicate which marketer they have signed with. This will also allow fishers who have not signed a contract to choose who they want to market their products without being influenced on the choice of marketer.

The person authorised by the majority of fishers in a community to assist interim relief fishers will be able to assist in the completion of permit and license application forms, collating all the

necessary supporting documents required by the Department, and ensuring that fishers do not sign more than one contract at a time. Among other responsibilities, the authorized person will also have to ensure that each fisher is able to exercise their right to enter into a contract with a marketer of their choice, submit completed permit and vessel application forms to the Department; sign landing slips and, if necessary, nominate additional fishers to assist with signing of landing slips against IR community’s permit; and assist any fisher with any information relating to the permit such as total of fish landed, information about export permits, and the like.

One of the many challenges raised by fishers was that the Western Cape small-scale fishers list did not include all small-scale fishers in the province and in that the process was not fair. As a result of the unhappiness among fishers about the final list of the declared small-scale fisher in the Western Cape Province, Minister Creecy appointed BDO auditors and advisory firm to conduct an investigation of the small-scale fisheries registration and verification process, as well as the final list of small-scale fishers for Western Cape Province.

Following the receipt of the preliminary findings of the probe, the Minister is considering the appointment of an independent panel to review the appeals of all unsuccessful applicants, and for it to provide a revised list of fishers who can be declared as additional small-scale fishers to the Minister for a decision.

Source: All Africa

For the first time in Israel’s history, a woman was nominated to serve as the chief intelligence officer for an Israel Defense Forces regional command on Monday, the army said.

Col. “Nun” — who for security reasons can only be identified by her rank and first Hebrew initial of her name — was named as the next chief intelligence officer for the IDF Central Command, which operates in the West Bank.

Nun was drafted into the IDF in 2000 and served in a host of positions within Military Intelligence before her appointment to the high-ranking and highly sensitive role on Monday. It was not immediately clear when she would enter the new position.

Nun’s appointment was one of several announced by the IDF on Monday.

Brig. Gen. Eyal Harel was nominated to replace Brig. Gen. Shai Elbaz, who resigned suddenly last week ahead of a television report alleging he had multiple sexual relationships with subordinates in violation of military rules while he was commander of the navy’s elite Shayetet 13 commando unit.

Last Wednesday, Elbaz sent a letter to IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and the head of the Israel Navy Maj. Gen. Eli Sharvit requesting to leave his position immediately.

“Brig. Gen. Shai Elbaz asked to end his position and resign from the IDF over publication of events that allegedly occurred more than 10 years ago and which included behavior that does not match the accepted norms of the IDF,” the military said in a statement.

Kohavi and Sharvit accepted his request.

“Brig. Gen. Elbaz is a high-ranking officer who has served in a variety of combat positions and contributed directly to the security of the State of Israel. The chief of staff determined that there is no place for these norms [he displayed] in the IDF and that he will show zero tolerance toward these types of incidents in the future,” the IDF said.

Another naval officer also stepped down last week in connection to the affair.

Col. Nun’s appointment as the first female chief intelligence officer of a regional command comes weeks after the IDF’s first female commander of an air force aviation squadron entered her position.

Last month, Lt. Col. “Gimel” — who for security reasons can also only be referred to by her rank and first initial of her Hebrew name — took command of the Nachshon Squadron, which operates surveillance aircraft.

“I believe that it is our duty in the Israel Defense Forces to fulfill the inherent potential in women. We are still far from this goal, but I am sure that this process will continue and that we will appoint female commanders and soldiers in a wide variety of positions in the air force and in the IDF in general,” the head of the air force, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin said at Gimel’s entrance ceremony.

Source: Times of India

Following the groundbreaking result on women in parliament in Rwanda, Liberian Members of Parliament are determined to understand how Rwanda has empowered its women and draw best practices to implement back home.

A delegation of Liberian legislators led by Honorable Acarous M. Gray on Monday held discussions with the Speaker of the lower chamber of deputies Right Honourable Donatille Mukabalisa and also met with other forums.

The Speaker took them through how Rwanda has empowered women in all sectors of life from mindset change to education that led to representation of 30% in all decision-making institutions.

“The benefit of this inclusion is tremendously visible in the country’s development and achieving more goals,” she observed.

The Liberians also had to digest Rwanda’s past dark history and how the country has defied odds to rebuild and get back on track in the past 25 years.

Mukabalisa explained them the functioning of Rwandan parliament and how Rwanda has overcome the dark history of 1994 genocide against Tutsi which claimed a million lives and how it has chosen to work together for the country’s development.

“We came to learn from best practices of Rwanda and get ideas that will help them establishing good policies in Liberia especially in gender empowerment,” Says the leader of Liberian delegation.

In Liberia, women have no chance of entering to the parliament, unless they are elected from their constituencies.

Hon. Acarous believes that the Rwandan experience especially the leadership structure provides the best way of empowering Liberian women.

The Liberians also learnt the principle that the Speaker of Rwanda parliament doesn’t belong to the same political party with the President of the Republic saying this is a good sign to parliament independence and democracy in the country.

The 2019 Global Research Report of Female Entrepreneurship & Employment, jointly produced by China Women’s University, an institution affiliated with All-China Women’s Federation and academically administered by the Ministry of Education and Ali Research of Alibaba group, was released at the 2019 Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship, looking at “how the world is beautiful because of women” as Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group’s board of directors, said.

The report outlines how women entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of economic and technological development eye the international market by allocating and integrating resources globally in the era of 4.0. It also details how female entrepreneurs who have never left their villages and families break the boundaries of time and space through the internet, contributing to and sharing the technology and economic benefits in the digital era.

As shown in the report, the digital economy is empowering women’s entrepreneurship and employment, including simplifying the technology selection process, providing “toolbox”-like digital services and integrating platform resources, helping women entrepreneurs break through the constrictions of space and time and participate in the process of innovation. In addition, the digital economy is helping to transform the employment model from “industrial thinking” to “digital thinking” while extending the definitions and boundaries of employment.

The report also undertook an analysis of research data on female entrepreneurs, and took a close look at what the internet offered in terms of the female entrepreneurship and employment across the countries on five continents.

In fact, digital platforms and women now depend on and support each other and will achieve mutual progress and development in the future.

More information is available in the 2019 Global Research Report of Female Entrepreneurship & Employment.

Source: PR Newswire