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On November 12, 2021, President Xi Jinping exchanged congratulatory messages with Rwandan President Paul Kagame on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Rwanda.

Xi Jinping pointed out that since the founding of the diplomatic ties between China and Rwanda half a century ago, the two countries have witnessed sound and steady development of bilateral relations, and the traditional friendship has grown even stronger as time goes by. In recent years, bilateral friendly cooperation has maintained good momentum for development, and exchanges in various fields have been deepened, which has improved the well-being of the people of both countries. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Rwanda have helped each other and worked together to fight the virus, demonstrating the brotherhood of sharing weal and woe.

Xi Jinping stressed, I attach great importance to the development of China-Rwanda relations. I am willing to work with you to take the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and the new session of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) as an opportunity to deepen political mutual trust, strengthen cooperation in Belt and Road construction and other fields, and push for continuous development of bilateral friendly cooperative relations, so as to create benefits for both countries and peoples.

Kagame said in his message that since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the friendship between the two sides has been continuously strengthened, and the friendly cooperative relations continuously deepened. That is deeply rooted in the common principles of mutual respect, solidarity and mutual help as well as mutual benefit upheld by both sides. China has provided support to Rwanda through various platforms, including the FOCAC and the Belt and Road Initiative, and played an important and positive role in Rwanda's national transformation. Rwanda will continue to firmly expand and strengthen bilateral friendly cooperation in various fields. - Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America

Dr Lukia Mulumba being pinned to the rank of Lt Col of the US Air Force by her youngest daughter Aliah (left) and son Mark Abdullah Mulumba. Photo via The Observer

 

Sickle cell activist, Lukia Mulumba has become the first known Ugandan-born female to attain the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force. 

Mulumba, the president and co-founder of Uganda Sickle Cell Rescue Foundation (USCRF) received the pips at the Travis Air Force Base in California in the United States on Sunday last week.

Speaking to The East African Diaspora Media Watch, an online news organization that has an interest in East Africans living in the diaspora, Mulumba, who emigrated to the US in 1995, said that she is humbled that she has achieved such an unprecedented success.

“I’m greatly humbled and honoured by this promotion. This is a recognition and endorsement of my Air Force story, years of hard work, leadership and professionalism by my superiors. To me, this sounds unbelievable and a humbling experience for a woman of color like me. I’m so grateful. The rank is timely,” Mulumba said. “Although the promotion is coming with more challenging responsibilities, I’m ready for them.”

Mulumba boasts of a number of military trainings. She has a master’s degree in air command obtained from the Maxwell Air Force Command and Staff College Alabama. She also trained as a battlefield trauma nurse officer from the University of Maryland. She also has training in nuclear, biological, chemical, radiological warfare and terrorism response. 

Away from the military training, Mulumba, a mother of three children and wife to Abdallah Mulumba also has a doctorate in nursing from the University of Alabama Birmingham. She also has a master’s degree in nursing from Stony Brook University New York and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the Catholic University of America.  

Before leaving for the United States, Mulumba who was born at Kiti in Kasangati town council, Wakiso district, had formal education at Namugongo Girls School for primary and Ndejje Secondary School. - URN/The Observer

 Dominic Cummings has claimed Boris Johnson did not know what leaving the customs union meant until three months before the UK was due to exit. (PA Images)

Boris Johnson has been accused of not knowing what the customs union is until October 2020 - just four months before the UK left the EU and four years after the Brexit referendum vote.  

According to Dominic Cummings, Johnson's controversial former special adviser, the PM was shocked when he began to understand the implications of leaving the trading bloc - despite working on the Vote Leave campaign in 2016 and winning the 2019 election on the slogan "Get Brexit Done". 

Read more:

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Boris Johnson accused of wanting to 'get Brexit done' – and 'sort detail out later'

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Cummings wrote in his blog: "I will never forget the look on his face when, after listening to Frost in a meeting** on the final stage of negotiation, he said, 'No no no Frosty, f**k this, what happens with a deal?"

According to Cummings, Lord David Frost, cabinet minister and then chief negotiator of Taskforce Europe, responded that this what leaving the Customs Union looked like - to the prime minister's surprise. 

"The PM's face was priceless," Cummings continues. 

"He sat back in his chair and look around the room with appalled disbelief and shook his head." 

File photo dated 3/9/2019 of Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) with Dominic Cummings as they leave Downing Street, central London. Cummings, the PM's former chief adviser, will be making a much-anticipated appearance before MPs later Wednesday. Issue date: Wednesday May 26, 2021.
Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson became estranged following Cummings' resignation. (PA Images)

Cummings adds that he then got a text from "one very senior official" who said "Now I realise how you managed to get Brexit done" accompanied with a crying with laughter emoji. 

The former special adviser finishes the section of his blog with: "As Hunter S Thompson said, humour in politics is usually dark." 

Membership of the customs union was a critical part of the Brexit negotiations. Being a part of it would have allowed an easier flow of goods, but would not itself guarantee frictionless trade and would limit - though not prevent - Britain’s capacity to strike its own free trade deals.

In 2016 while foreign secretary in the aftermath of the referendum, Johnson claimed that "we will probably have to leave the customs union" but added: "I believe it can be done and at the same time maintain free trade". 

This ascertain was rejected by German chancellor Angela Merkel, who said at the time that the EU could not separate the four freedoms to allow Britain to restrict immigration from the bloc while retaining tariff-free access to the single market. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves 10 Downing Street, London, with a box, following reports that he is set to leave his position by the end of the year.
Dominic Cummings resigned at the end of 2020 following power struggles in Number 10 and his unhappiness with the prime minister's management of the pandemic. (PA Images)

Since Cummings' dramatic exit from Number 10, he has made it clear he has an axe to grind with the prime minister, saying: "The sooner he goes the better, for sure". 

They became estranged last year following power struggles within Downing Street and Cummings' apparent unhappiness with Johnson's management of the pandemic. 

Following his resignation, he appeared before parliament's health and social care committee where he described what he portrayed as chaotic scenes and incompetence at the heart of government at the beginning of the pandemic - even expressing guilt about the role he played in the response. 

He regularly posts detailed, inside information about the goings-on at the heart of government on social media and his blog from his time in Downing Street - including screenshots of conversations he had with the prime minister at the beginning of the pandemic. 

Dominic Cummings, former Chief Adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, giving evidence to a joint inquiry of the Commons Health and Social Care and Science and Technology Committees on the subject of Coronavirus: lessons learnt. Picture date: Wednesday May 26, 2021.
Earlier this year, Dominic Cummings described chaotic scenes and incompetence at the heart of the British government at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. (PA Images)

“I must say I have been slightly rocked by some of the data on Covid fatalities," the prime minister appears to write on WhatsApp to Cummings in October 2020. 

"The median age is 82 to 81 for men 85 for women. That is above life expectancy. 

"So get COVID and live longer."

Cummings has also previously said he discovered his "hopeless" traits after working with him during the 2016 Brexit referendum - but supported him against former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as he believed he was the better option. 

Cummings became a household name last year after it emerged he had made multiple trips to Durham during the first lockdown despite having tested positive for COVID-19. 

Number 10 staunchly defended Cummings, but public outrage was so severe that he was forced to hold a special press conference in the Downing Street garden. By ·Political Correspondent, Yahoo News

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