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On visit to Republic of Congo, UNESCO chief praises role of music at pan-African festival
15 July 2013 - The head of the United Nations educational and cultural agency, in an official visit to Republic of Congo, has praised the power of music to cut across cultural and regional differences, and to develop societies. At the opening ceremony of the 9th Pan African Music Festival (FEESPAM) in Republic of Congo's historical Felix Éboue stadium in the capital Brazzaville, Irina Bokova, the Director General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said that 'we must help those who give life to music to live from their music'. (more)

Republic of Congo passes anti-smoking law
31 May 2013 - A Republic of Congo official says the country is announcing a new law that limits the sale and consumption of tobacco. Minister of Health Francois Ibovi said Friday the law prohibits the consumption, purchase, and possession of tobacco for minors, pregnant women, and the mentally ill, with fines for those selling to that population starting at nearly $400. It also prohibits advertising or promotion for tobacco. (more)

UN says delayed Democratic Republic Congo peace deal due to be signed 24 February
16 February 2013 - A delayed UN-mediated peace deal aimed at ending two decades of conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is due to be signed in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on 24 February, the United Nations said on Saturday. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent out invitations on Friday for the signing ceremony and intended to travel to Ethiopia for the event, his spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said. 'All the invited presidents have committed to either be there or delegate power to sign,' Nesirky said. (more)

Republic of Congo non-oil revenues up
12 August 2011 - The Republic of Congo's non-crude revenues rose 25 per cent to 500 billion CFA Francs ($1,087 billion) in the first-half of the year, Congo's President Denis Sassou N'Guesso said on Friday, adding the economy needed to ease its reliance on the oil industry. President N'Guesso said the government was spending 1 trillion CFA Francs for public investments this year on infrastructure and industries. Authorities expect Congo's economy to grow by 6.7 per cent this year. (more)

Republic of Congo to plant a million hectares of trees by 2020
3 June 2011 - The Republic of Congo will plant 1 million hectares of trees by 2020 to restore degraded forest and provide wood for paper and fuel, the President said on Friday. President Denis Sassou N'Guesso made the announcement on the final day of a weeklong summit in the Congolese capital, aimed at tackling deforestation in the Amazon, Congo, and Borneo-Mekong forest basins, the three largest in the world. Global Good News considers this a positive trend only if the trees are not genetically engineered. (more)

Republic of Congo bans plastic bags to fight pollution
2 June 2011 - The Republic of Congo has banned the production, import, sale, and use of plastic bags in a move to fight environmental pollution in the Central African nation, government spokesman Bienvenu Okiemy said on Thursday. The widely used non-biodegradable plastic bags are strewn about, causing harm to the environment. Rwanda has led Africa's fight against plastic bags, banning them five years ago. Other countries have also moved to either ban or limit their usage. (more)

Experts meet in Republic of Congo in bid to rescue world forests
31 May 2011 - Representatives from 35 countries will seek ways to protect the world's largest rainforests during a week-long meeting in Republic of Congo starting on Tuesday. The outcome of the summit could play a role in the preservation of some 80 per cent of the world's remaining tropical forests, seen by experts as key to offsetting rising global emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide. (more)

Eco-friendly African rainforest timberlands expand
10 March 2011 - The Forest Trust said Thursday 571,000 hectares more of African rainforest in the Republic of Congo have been certified for sustainably-produced wood. The expansion is part of a landmark effort to protect the world's second largest tropical forest and the lives of its pygmy inhabitants as well as elephants, gorillas, and other animals. (more)

Republic of Congo: New law to protect rights of indigenous peoples
7 January 2011 - The Republic of Congo is set to become the first country in Africa to provide specific legal protection for its indigenous peoples. The new law aims to counter their chronic marginalization. 'We are looking forward to the adoption of this law because we know it will change many things, especially with regard to our emancipation,' Jean Ganga, chairman of the Association for the Protection and Promotion of Indigenous Peoples. (more)

Republic of Congo: Government buys back weapons - will destroy them
15 February 2009 - The Congolese government has started an operation to buy 3,000 weapons from ex-combatants and others illegally possessing weapons in the Pool region, southern Congo, an official told IRIN on 11 February. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Republic of Congo: Brazzaville arms depot blast kills some 200 - official
4 March 2012 - Around 200 people were killed on Sunday when an arms dump exploded in Brazzaville, capital of the Congo Republic, a senior official in the Presidency said, citing hospital sources. Hundreds more were injured by the blasts which rocked the riverside capital of the oil-producing nation early in the day, flattening houses near the scene and sending a plume of smoke high above the city. Defence Minister Charles Zacharie Bowao dismissed any talk of a coup attempt or mutiny, and told state radio that the explosions had been caused by a fire in the arms depot in the Regiment Blinde base in the riverside Mpila neighbourhood. China's Xinhua news agency cited Chinese officials as saying three Chinese workers were killed by the explosion and dozens were injured, some in serious condition. Xinhua said the dead and injured were part of a group of about 140 Chinese workers from the Beijing Construction Engineering Group. (more)

Kimberley Process failing Africa - campaigners
18 October 2009 - The diamond industry's Kimberley Process is failing due to a lack of accountability and follow-up, paving the way for an illegal trade that could see a return of conflict stones to world markets, campaigners said. The certification scheme, designed to eliminate the trade in so-called 'blood diamonds', was set up in 2003 in the wake of devastating civil wars in Angola, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, which were largely financed by the illicit diamond trade. The Congolese government is a member of the Kimberley Process, but, despite recommendations to improve traceability, a lack of internal controls has created 'the world's most perfect system for laundering dirty diamonds,' the report said. (more)

Congo postpones second round of chaotic elections
21 July 2007 - Congo Republic has postponed Sunday's second-round parliamentary election for a fortnight to allow candidates time to campaign, the government said on Friday, in the latest setback to the chaotic polls. The oil-exporting central African country sacked its elections chief after the first round of voting last month when logistical delays and administrative confusion forced the ballot to be abandoned in more than a tenth of constituencies. (more)

Rare gorillas threatened in Congo fighting
22 May 2007 - Renegade fighters attacked observation posts in an eastern Congo nature reserve, killing one ranger and threatening to slaughter a band of rare gorillas if security forces launch a counteroffensive, conservationists said. Many people in deeply impoverished eastern Congo subsist on ``bush meat''... The region is deeply impoverished after years of neglect, war and ongoing strife, sullying efforts by conservationists to protect endangered species. (more)

Over 100 killed by fighting in Congo's capital
27 March 2007 - A failed presidential candidate whom Congo's government accuses of attempting an insurrection claimed Monday he was targeted in an assassination plot that triggered a round of fighting, leaving more than 100 dead in the capital. Mineral-rich Congo has been ravaged by years of dictatorship and civil war that have kept its people from profiting from its vast reserves of diamonds, gold, and other resources. (more)

Gunfire breaks out in Congo's capital
23 March 2007 - Heavy gunfire broke out in Congo's capital Thursday near the home of a former warlord who was second in last year's presidential vote, UN officials and witnesses said. Government soldiers deployed throughout the city, while residents fled in vehicles and on foot. (more)

Election violence kills 100 in Congo
3 February 2007 - Days of clashes between security forces and demonstrators claiming electoral fraud have left nearly 100 people dead in several southwestern Congo towns, humanitarian and rights groups said Friday. (more)

Fighting re-ignites in eastern Congo
6 December 2006 - Troops loyal to a renegade Congo general attacked army forces Tuesday in eastern Congo, re-igniting fighting after a week of relative calm in the restive region, officials said. (more)

Fighting continues in Congo for 4th day
28 November 2006 - UN-backed government forces battled renegade troops loyal to a local warlord in a fourth day of fighting in eastern Congo. President Joseph Kabila was declared winner of Congo's landmark presidential ballot on Monday by the Supreme Court. Kabila's challenger, Jean-Pierre Bemba, conceded defeat but denounced the verdict and said he would continue his struggle politically through the opposition to 'preserve peace and save the country from sinking into chaos and violence'. (more)

UN forces, militiamen battle in Congo
28 November 2006 - United Nations peacekeepers battled militia fighters loyal to a dissident general who were trying to advance toward the capital of a province in eastern Congo, UN officials said. (more)


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