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Egyptian Biotechnology Company to Assemble Disinfection Robots

Egypt’s foremost Biomedical company, BIOTECH plans to begin a robotic devices assembly in Egypt in the second half of 2021.  According to the company’s Director Sherif Khattab, Biotechnology for Medical Engineering Company (BIOTECH) will bring together robots that could be deployed in airports, hospitals, malls, metro stations, and public spaces for disinfection and sterilisation purposes […]

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Egypt’s foremost Biomedical company, BIOTECH plans to begin a robotic devices assembly in Egypt in the second half of 2021. 

According to the company’s Director Sherif Khattab, Biotechnology for Medical Engineering Company (BIOTECH) will bring together robots that could be deployed in airports, hospitals, malls, metro stations, and public spaces for disinfection and sterilisation purposes using ultraviolet waves.

The robot which consists of a moving base furnished with multiple sensors allows it to determine its path by scanning its surroundings and creating a digital map to avoid collision with objects around it.

In the first six months of production, BIOTECH plans to sell about 200 robots in Alexandria and Cairo governorates.  The company is currently liaising with EgyptAir and the Egyptian Ministry of Health for quality assurance and certification.   

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Zimbabwe’s Tugwi-Mukosi Dam Makes Historic Spill

The spilling in a good rainy season means that the combined flows of the upper Tugwi and Mukosi rivers can now flow down Tugwi River unobstructed from the spillway into Runde River, already running at flood levels.

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Zimbabwe’s Tugwi-Makosi dam with a capacity of 1.8 billion cubic metres in Southern Masvingo, spilled for the first time on Saturday following continuous rains around the structure.

The historic event has spawned fears of flooding in Tugwi and Runde rivers downstream of the water amid concerns of increased water volumes.

The Tugwi-Makosi dam located at the confluence of Tugwi and Mukosi rivers along the border between Chivi and Masvingo districts has never hit 100 percent since its commissioning in May 2017. It remained at 72.4 percent in its first season of operation. 

The spilling of Zimbabwe’s largest interior water body signifies that the dam has amassed sufficient water for irrigation.  This aligns with plans by Zimbabwean government to create a perennial greenbelt in the Lowveld.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) tweeted: “For the first time since its commissioning in 2017, Tugwi-Mukosi is 100 percent full and spilling.”

Government and its development partners have been preparing for the worst after spilling of the dam amid reports that hundreds of families in southern Chivi, Chiredzi, Mwenezi and boundaries of Tugwi river might be severely impacted by the overflow.

ZINWA spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga affirms the impact of the ongoing spilling as it offers an opportunity to test the dam’s resilience.

“The spilling is also historic in that it has tested and confirmed the design capacity of the spillway and the dam structure,” Munyonga said.

“We are now able to test and confirm that the dam design is able to withstand its full capacity.”

She dismissed reports that at full capacity, Tugwi-Mukosi Dam was threatening to destroy the Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway.

Camps at Chingwizi and Chilonga Secondary School have been set up to provide temporary shelter for flood-stricken families. 

Tugwi-Mukosi was initially billed to irrigate 25,000ha but advances in irrigation technology saw the figure ramped up to more than 40,000ha.

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Six Soldiers Killed in Twin Attacks by Suspected Extremists in Mali

The attacks occurred at Boulkessy and Mondoro, two areas that have witnessed heavy violence in Mali.

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The Malian military said on Sunday, that six of its soldiers have been killed in twin attacks that occurred overnight while some 30 suspected extremists were also left dead in response.

The attacks ocurred near the country’s border with Burkina Faso at army positions that have been targeted in the previously been targeted, with a deadly extremist offensive having begun in northern Mali in 2012 before spreading to other regions.

In a statement, the army said “the provisional toll is six dead and 18 wounded” among the soldiers. The army added that the attacks prompted a response which left “around 30 dead on the terrorist side”.

The twin attacks occurred at Boulkessy and Mondoro, two areas that have witnessed heavy violence in Mali.

The army said the “complex and simultaneous” attacks occurred at about 3:30 am (0330 GMT), with a local official in Mondoro estimating that the fighting lasted for about an hour.

According to the army, a large amount of military gear, as well as some 40 motorcycles were seized from the attackers.

According to a medical source, a number of wounded soldiers were evacuated by helicopter.

In September 2019, some 50 soldiers killed when the same army positions were targeted in one of the deadliest attacks to hit Mali since 2012.

The Support Group for Islam and Muslims, the main terrorist alliance in the Sahel region affiliated with Al-Qaeda, later claimed responsibility for that attack.

Three other Malian soldiers were killed on Thursday, in a bomb blast that occurred in the Mondoro area.

In its fight against the extremists and terrorists, Mali has received support from France’s Barkhane force, which numbers 5,100 troops spread across the arid Sahel region.

The French force has been fighting terrorist groups alongside soldiers from Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger.

In addition, the UN has also deployed its 13,000-strong Minusma peacekeeping force to Mali. The force which was first established in 2013, has since suffered 146 hostile deaths in the region.

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Central Africa News

Central African Republic Declares State of Emergency

Albert Yaloke Mokpeme, the spokesperson for the presidency, made the announcement on national radio.

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The Central African Republic has declared a 15-day state of emergency all over the country, as violent attacks continue, following attempts of a coalition of armed groups seeking to overthrow the newly re-elected President Faustin-Archange Touadera.

Albert Yaloke Mokpeme, spokesperson for the presidency, made this announcement, Thursday, on national radio.

He disclosed that the state of emergency will last until Feb. 4.

The rebels staged an attack last week just outside the nation’s capital, Bangui, but were repelled by UN peacekeeping forces. Recently, the U.N. mission has asked the UN Security Council for more troops and more equipment.

The rebels have been carrying out sporadic attacks in towns far from the capital Bangui and on the RN3 highway, which is the crucial supply line that links the capital with neighbouring Cameroon.

The coalition of armed groups is calling for the resignation of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra who was re-elected in a contentious election on December 27.

Militias who claim to represent ethnic or other groups control two-thirds of the country’s territory and this has been raising questions about government’s control of the vast, mineral-rich central African nation.

Just last week a call was made by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), for the immediate end to all armed violence and clashes in the Central African Republic. Reports from the agency state that about 60,000 people have been forced to flee their home since December, most of whom have fled to neighbouring Cameroon.

Meanwhile health workers in the land-locked central African country, have complained that the continued violence has made it more challenging to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The health workers say they are unable to penetrate places where fightings have escalated.

So far, the country has recorded a total of 4,963 positive COVID-19 cases, out of which 1,924 has since recovered. 63 people have died of COVID-19 related issues so far.

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