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Morocco’s Princess Lalla Asmae, First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire launch 2nd Phase of ‘United, We Hear Each Other Better’ Operation

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Princess Lalla Asmae

Morocco’s Princess Lalla Asmae, Chairwoman of the Lalla Asmae Foundation, and First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire, Mrs. Dominique Ouattara, President of the Children of Africa Foundation, chaired on Wednesday at the Mother and Child Hospital in Abidjan, the launch ceremony of the second phase of the “United, we hear each other better” operation, which aims to restore hearing to disadvantaged African children.

The ceremony marks the beginning of a significant partnership between the two foundations, which goes well beyond a simple collaboration, embodying a sincere promise to offer the gift of hearing to those who have been deprived of it.

According to the Moroccan news agency, MAP, the  ceremony marks the beginning of a significant partnership between the Lalla Asmae Foundation and the Children of Africa Foundation, which goes well beyond a simple collaboration, embodying a sincere promise to offer the gift of hearing to those who have been deprived of it.

 

On their arrival at the Mother and Child Hospital in Abidjan, HRH Princess Lalla Asmae and the First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire were greeted by Kandia Kamissoko Camara, Ivorian Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and Diaspora, Pierre Dimba, Minister of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Health Coverage and Myss Belmonde Dogo, Minister of Solidarity and the Fight against Poverty, as well as Khalid Ait Taleb, Minister of Health and Social Protection, and Aawatif Hayar, Minister of Solidarity, Social Integration and the Family.

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HRH Princess Lalla Asmae and Dominique Ouattara then visited the children who benefited from the cochlear implant operation, from Mali, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo and Burkina-Faso.

 

Her Royal Highness and the First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire also visited the operating theatre, where the surgical microscope and micromotor donated by the Lalla Asmae Foundation to the Children of Africa Foundation are installed.

 

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On this occasion, HRH Princess Lalla Asmae symbolically presented Dominique Ouattara with a prototype cochlear implant.

 

During the first phase the “United, we hear each other better” operation, organized in October 2022, some 35 children from several West African countries made the journey to Morocco to receive cochlear implants.

 

At the heart of this campaign is the Lalla Asmae Foundation’s commitment to provide 100 cochlear implants to the Children of Africa Foundation. These small medical devices will open up a world of possibilities for deaf children, enabling them to communicate, learn and thrive.

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The Lalla Asmae Foundation is also committed to sharing essential knowledge and expertise by transferring surgical techniques between Moroccan and Ivorian professionals. A state-of-the-art operating theatre will be equipped by the Foundation at the Mother and Child Hospital to guarantee the precision and quality of surgical interventions.

 

In her speech, Dominique Ouattara, First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire and President of the Children of Africa Foundation, said that this new collaboration between the two Foundations testified to “our shared commitment to improving the health of our children.”

Renewing her sincere thanks and gratitude to HRH Princess Lalla Asmae for the implementation of this program, Ouattara expressed her deep appreciation and gratitude to  King Mohammed VI for His humanistic vision and the solidarity shown by the Sovereign towards the children of Africa, as well as for His important contribution to the construction of the Mother and Child Hospital in Bingerville, which has been providing enormous services to the Ivorian population for the past five years.

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In his remarks, Karim Essakalli, coordinator of the Lalla Asmae Foundation, emphasized that Morocco, with its African roots and consistent commitment to the progress of Africa, has always made South-South cooperation a strategic choice.

This choice is driven by the enlightened leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI and is based on a comprehensive and balanced vision for the development of the African continent.

He added that the Lalla Asmae Foundation wishes to align itself with this Royal Vision by launching the “United, We Hear Each Other Better” program.

 

Essakalli highlighted the crucial importance of this initiative, emphasizing the transformative power of hearing in individuals’ lives. He noted that this collaboration transcends borders, covering various regions of Africa, from Côte d’Ivoire to Kenya, through Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, and Togo.

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Speaking on this occasion, Aït Taleb highlighted the fruitful collaboration between Morocco and Côte d’Ivoire in the field of healthcare.

He stressed that this strong cooperation is in line with the sustainability goals, supporting the common vision of His Majesty King Mohammed VI and President Alassane Ouattara for the development and well-being of both countries.

He further stated that the Ministry, under the auspices of the Lalla Asmae Foundation, is more than ever ready to consolidate and strengthen this cooperation in the field of healthcare.

Particularly, he emphasized the importance of neonatal deafness screening as an essential tool for early detection, which can contribute to improving the social and academic development of children, reducing healthcare costs, and providing parents with peace of mind.

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His Ivorian counterpart, Pierre Dimba, also pointed out that this significant operation will provide assistance to hearing-impaired children, applauding the commendable efforts made by Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Asmae to support this segment of society.

“At the end of this program, we are convinced that thanks to the actions that will be taken, a strong partnership will be forged in this field,” he emphasized, noting that this partnership serves as great motivation for the Ivorian Ministry of Health in its quest to improve the quality of its services and offerings.

Vincent Alexis Gomes, former international director of Lions Clubs International, one of the program’s partners, expressed appreciation for the various social actions carried out by Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Asmae in the social domain and her unwavering commitment to hearing-impaired children.

The ceremony featured a scientific presentation on cochlear implantation by Professor Abdelaziz Raji, Head of the ENT Department at the Mohammed VI University Hospital in Marrakech and a member of the scientific committee of the “United, We Hear Each Other Better” program.

It also included a program presentation by Karim Essakalli, coordinator of the Lalla Asmae Foundation.

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On this occasion, Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Asmae and Dominique Ouattara presided over the signing ceremony of a cooperation agreement between the Lalla Asmae Foundation and the Children of Africa Foundation.

The agreement was signed by El Abbès Bouhlal, Director of the Lalla Asmae Foundation, and Nadine Sangaré, National Director of the Children of Africa Foundation.

After the ceremony,  Princess Lalla Asmae and the First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire, Dominique Ouattara, posed for a commemorative photo.

 

The partnership between the Lalla Asmae Foundation and the Children of Africa Foundation goes beyond medical procedures. It aims to touch lives, create smiles, and fulfill dreams.

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Each child assisted by this initiative is a testament to the collective effort to build a more inclusive, caring, and better world.

Princess Lalla Asmae brings a motivating vision to the “United, We Hear Each Other Better” campaign, where commitment to the cause of children with severe or profound hearing loss translates into concrete actions.

As an emblematic and dedicated figure in the promotion of children’s well-being, Her Royal Highness embodies a source of inspiration for all those advocating for a better future for African children.

 

The First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire, Dominique Ouattara, known for her leadership and unwavering commitment to children’s well-being, has consistently shown her determination to ensure that every child, whether Ivorian or of another nationality, can benefit from clear hearing and the opportunities it brings.

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She has been involved for over 25 years in protecting vulnerable children through the Children of Africa Foundation, which has undertaken numerous charitable actions for the well-being of children in Côte d’Ivoire and 12 other African countries through the centers it supports

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Colombian football president arrested

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The president of the Colombian Football Federation, Ramón Jesurun,

The president of the Colombian Football Federation, Ramón Jesurun, was arrested in Miami following an incident at the Copa America final on Sunday, according to a police report released on Monday.

According to a Miami-Dade County police report, Jesurun was arrested on Sunday night for “battery on an officer/employee” at the Hard Rock Stadium, where the 2024 Copa America final was played. Colombia lost 1-0 to Argentina in extra time thanks to a Lautaro Martinez goal.

Chaos reigned around the 65,300-capacity multi-sport stadium in the US suburb of Miami Gardens, north of Miami, Florida.

Many fans (some without tickets) rushed the gates of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins stadium, pushing people to the ground and trying to sneak into the stadium through large air conditioning vents, causing several delays totalling 80 minutes.

Jesurun, 71, was unable to enter the field with his son and other family members after the game for the awards ceremony, where Jesurun’s son reportedly confronted a security guard who denied them access.

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Jesurun, a CONMEBOL vice-president and CONMEBOL representative on the FIFA Council, was also involved in the altercation before police officers intervened, according to Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.

Miami-Dade police said 27 arrests were made and 55 people were ejected from the stadium during the match.

“I am extremely proud of our officers’ response to a volatile situation and their hard work to keep our community safe, as well as our law enforcement partners who provided critical support,” said Police Chief Stephanie Daniels.

“As part of the comprehensive analysis of last night’s game, we will review the protocols in place to ensure an orderly, safe and secure environment for all future events.”

In the wake of the scandal in the southern United States, where CONMEBOL decided to stage the Copa America despite the fact that the United States is not a member of the confederation but belongs to CONCACAF, the South American body said it had proposed procedures to the security organisers that were not used.

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“Fans without tickets went to the vicinity of the stadium, which delayed the normal access of those who had tickets, slowed down the entry and led to the gates being closed,” CONMEBOL said in a statement, attempting to distance itself from the organisation’s responsibilities (for which it is responsible as the tournament’s organiser, although it has ceded them to the United States and its security forces).

“In this situation, CONMEBOL was subject to the decisions made by the authorities of the Hard Rock Stadium, in accordance with the contractual responsibilities established for the security operation.

“In addition to the provisions established in the said contract, CONMEBOL recommended to these authorities the procedures tested in events of this magnitude, which were NOT taken into account.”

“We regret that the acts of violence perpetrated by ill-intentioned people have marred a final that should have been a great celebration of sport,” concluded the organisation, led by Paraguayan Alejandro Domínguez.

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Manu Garba proud of Eaglets as team countenances Niger Republic

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Coach Manu Garba has asserted that he is proud of the Golden Eaglets after Thursday’s scoreless encounter with their Burkina Faso counterparts in the Group B opener of the WAFU B U17 Championship.

 Five-time champions Nigeria created several scoring chances particularly late in the game at the Accra University Stadium, but failed to utilise even one that could have earned them the three points and handed them early leadership of the pool.

 However, Garba said the boys played a cohesive game in their first-ever international outing and deserve credit for their display.

 “We are proud of our team’s performance. Although we didn’t secure the win that we hoped for, our players showed great teamwork and sportsmanship. We look forward to our next match and the opportunity to continue growing and improving.

 “The boys will get better with experience and exposure.”

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 Against the Burkinabes, the Eaglets showed flair and fluency, but a heavy downpour in the final 15 minutes of the game disrupted the general flow of play, with the pitch waterlogged and effective control and passing impossible.

 The Golden Eaglets go up against their counterparts from the Niger Republic on Sunday evening (6pm Ghana time; 7pm Nigeria) with renewed hope and vigour to pick up the three points that will enhance their chances of a place in the last four.

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Paris to face major disruption ahead of Games opening ceremony, says police chief

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Paris will face major disruption ahead of the Olympics opening ceremony along the Seine on July 26, as organisers ramp up security measures to safeguard the event, the city’s police chief said on Thursday.

Organisers hope the opening ceremony, in which 160 boats carrying athletes from around the world will travel a 6 kilometre route along the Seine river towards the Eiffel tower, will deliver a jaw-dropping spectacle. Some 300,000 spectators will watch from the banks of the Seine as a global audience tunes in on TV.

But the ceremony is also a major security headache, taking place against a backdrop of wars in Ukraine and Gaza. French President Emmanuel Macron has already floated the possibility of scrapping the river ceremony and reverting to at least two back-up plans if the security risks become untenable.

Paris residents with a view of the Seine can invite friends to watch the opening of the 2024 Summer Games from their balconies, but should prepare for heavy traffic and limited movement, Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said at a press conference.

Adjacent metro stations, most river crossings and all water traffic will be halted in the week before the open-air ceremony, Nunez said, adding that some bridges will remain open “in order not to cut Paris in two halves.”

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Everyone who wants to access the immediate surroundings of the Seine in the week before the Games will need to sign up on an online platform, Nunez said. Local residents hoping to access their homes, which are among the most prestigious addresses in France, will need to do the same.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who also spoke at the event said the disruption would impact around 20,000 residents and business owners.

Asked about Macron’s comments earlier this month, Nunez said his teams were still working on the ‘Plan A’ of the river ceremony.

“As of today, we have no reason to be worried,” Nunez said.

-Reuters

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