Colors: Blue Color

By His Royal Highness Maponga Joshua III Marara ChangaMbire Karanga of SVOSVE Dynasty of the Kingdom of DZimbabgwe The Mornach of the Nation and Empire of Mwenemutapa


"The headmaster", the son of the soil has rested. Indeed this is a loss to the continet at large to witness the sudden and untimely death of a beacon of hope for the emancipation of the Afrikan Nations from colonial pharmaceutical oppression. He will be remembered for his unwavering position on the "test kits" and his wit in using them on fruits and animals to prove that they were contamibated. Other Afrikan presidents did not show public support to this stalwart to their shame to please their colonial masters. With such Leaedership Afrika had hope towards the "Magufulization of Afrika'.
It is a fact that many countries in the west with their multinational companies did not favor Magufuli as he posed a challenge to the economic corrupt dealings with Afrika.
His passing will bring them joy while it fills the Pan Afrokan community with tears and heartache. The snake is alive and well hissing fear in our midst. The beacon of hope has been blown out while thieves and puppets of the west continue to breath and sell the Afrikans to colonial masters. This Covid pandemic has left a bad taste in our mouths as one of our hopes for the Afrikan solutions, next to Madagascar has been cut short.

John Pombe Magufuli

We have lost a soldier and gained an ancestor, long live the spirit of Magufuli long live. The battle continues and let every Afrikan president ask themselves the question "why are you still living"? How long will it take to unite? When wiil you unite as a continent to protect each other and improve your security on the continent. What will it take for you to build one army and secure the continent from plunder of the west/east/north? Who are the enemies of Afrikan Unity but yourselves and unquenchable hunger for power and cortuption? Remember Gadaffi died while you watched, for economic unification, Sinkara for pan Afrikan views, Mugabe for his land position, Congo is still at war while you make speeches and steal money to foreign accounts. Ask yourselves the question "who is next".
The Kingdom/Empire of Mwenemutapa and the Svosve Dynasty sends its heartfelt condolences and mourns with the nation on this great loss.
Pole pole , Tanganyika. lala salama Pombe hitaonana kesho.
Harambe Chamachamapinduza Tanzania

The World Bank has approved of financing of US$150 million for the Jamaica COVID-19 Response and Recovery Development Policy Loan.

The sum is set to out to help the government protect the poor and vulnerable, support sustainable business growth and job creation, and strengthen policies and institutions for resilient recovery. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the Caribbean island’s deepest economic contraction in decades due, in part, to the drop in tourism earnings, which account for more than 30 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and one-third of jobs.

Ozan Sevimli, World Bank Resident Representative for Jamaica and Guyana, said: “COVID-19 has had widespread socio-economic impacts and affected every Jamaican, especially the most vulnerable. This financing contributes to Jamaica’s efforts to manage the impact of the crisis and move forward towards a resilient recovery.

“The operation supports the expansion of the country’s social protection programmes to benefit women and men who are disproportionately affected by the crisis and introduces a social pension for the elderly. It also supports measures for the recovery of affected businesses.”

The new loan supports the government in providing emergency financial assistance to the vulnerable population impacted by the pandemic. It also includes initiatives to help firms cope with the economic shock, such as through measures like the provision of grants and cash transfers to affected businesses.

“The operation supports reforms to strengthen financial institutions for sustainable economic recovery and greater climate resilience. The financing supports Jamaica’s climate change priorities, including the adoption of stronger commitments on greenhouse gas emissions,” the World Bank added.

The sum will help the government protect the poor and vulnerable, support sustainable business growth and job creation, and strengthen policies and institutions for resilient recovery.

Tanzania's President John Magufuli has died aged 61, the country's vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassan said announced. In a statement, he was said died from heart complications at a hospital in Dar es Salaam.

Mr Magufuli had not been seen in public for weeks, with rumours being circulating about his health. Opposition politicians said that he had contracted Covid-19, but this has not been confirmed.

Born in Chato, he was one of Africa's most prominent coronavirus sceptics, and called for prayers and herbal-infused steam therapy to counter the virus. He declared Tanzania "Covid-19 free" since last June.

In an announcement, Vice-President Hassan said: "It is with deep regret that I inform you that... we lost our brave leader, the president of the Republic of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli." She said there would be 14 days of national mourning and flags would fly at half-mast.

According to Tanzania's constitution, Ms Hassan will be sworn in as the new president within 24 hours and should serve the remainder of Mr Magufuli's five-year term which he began last year. President Magufuli was last seen in public on February 27, but Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa insisted that the president was healthy and working hard.

He blamed the rumours of the president's ill-health on "hateful" Tanzanians living abroad. But opposition leader Tundu Lissu said that he was informed that Mr Magufuli was being treated in hospital for coronavirus in Kenya.

When Covid-19 arrived in Tanzania, Mr Magufuli called on people to go to churches and mosques to pray. "Coronavirus, which is a devil, cannot survive in the body of Christ... It will burn instantly," he said. Saying that the virus had been eradicated by three days of national prayer, the president also mocked the efficacy of masks, expressed doubts about testing, and teased neighbouring countries which imposed health measures to curb the virus.

Tanzania has not published details of its coronavirus cases since May, and the government has refused to purchase vaccines. The police said they had arrested four people on suspicion of spreading rumours on social media that the president was ill.

A former chemistry and maths teacher, he was 61.

The Chinese capital of Beijing was covered in thick dust on Monday as it experienced what its weather bureau has called the worst sandstorm in a decade.

The storm caused an unprecedented spike in air pollution measurements - with pollution levels in some districts at 160 times the recommended limit. Hundreds of flights were cancelled or grounded as the sky was covered by an apocalyptic-looking orange haze.

The sand is being brought in by strong winds from Mongolia. In that country (Mongolia) the severe sandstorms have reportedly caused six deaths and left dozens missing. Media outlet reported that at least 12 provinces in the country, including the capital, had been affected, and the weather was likely to continue before improving at night.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) currently sets safe levels of air quality based on the concentration of polluting particles called particulate matter (PM) found in the air. According to news wire AFP quoting the Global Times, the PM 10 pollution in six central districts reached "over 8,100 micrograms per cubic metre" on Monday.

The WHO considers levels between 0-54 as "good" and 55-154" as "moderate" levels of PM 10. AFP added that schools had been told to cancel outdoor events, and those with respiratory diseases advised to stay indoors.

Beijing was historically hit by sandstorms on a much more regular basis, but pollution reduction projects - including prohibitions on new coal-fired power plants, restrictions on the number of cars on the road and reforestation - have significantly improved air quality in the city. Sandstorms like the one seen this week, caused by wind, are harder to control.

Beijing, though, and surrounding regions have suffered from high levels of pollution in recent weeks, with one Greenpeace activist telling AFP that it was a result of intense industrial activities. These, he said, exacerbated sandstorm conditions, which were the "result of extreme weather conditions and desertification".

By His Royal Highness Maponga Joshua iii Marara ChangaMbire Karanga of SVOSVE Dynasty of the Kingdom of DZimbabgwe The Mornach of the Nation of Mwenemutapa


The big tree has fallen birds with scartter. The elephants will smell the bones for centuries to come. The sun has gone down, we will listen to your whispers of the reeds. "Wena WoNhlanga, ubhenjani ophuma esqxiwini, Ngonyama, Wena WeNdlovu Bayethe Zulu."

On behalf of the Mwenemutapa Royal Family and Nation of the Great Dzimbabgwe we share your pain and tears at this difficult time. The walls of stone have heard the wailing of the maidens. We call for peace and healing upon the family and the aNguni/aNgoni Nation.

May His Majesty the King sleep in the Dust of the earth but continue to live in our hearts, in the chants of the regiments of wars, in the whispers of the Royal caves and the gentle breeze of lagoons of Lembe.

Bayethe

New mobile air quality research laboratories will help experts further develop the UK’s world leading position in analysing how air pollution is formed and what impact it has on our environment and people.

Scientists at the Universities of Birmingham, Manchester, Cranfield and Coventry, Imperial College London and Aston University have secured NERC funding for two ‘supersite observatories’ –fixed in an electric van and a trailer – that will dovetail with existing fixed air quality supersites in Birmingham, London and Manchester.

Urban Air Quality Supersites already allow researchers to gather detailed data on the contents of harmful urban air pollution; working out where the gases and particles that pollute our air are coming from and how they form in the air - adding observational capacity far beyond the routine DEFRA and local authority air quality monitoring. Poor air quality arises from the interaction of emissions, weather and atmospheric processes, affecting the amounts and toxicity of pollutants.

As part of the drive to improve regional and national air quality, the mobile supersites will help scientists better understand the balance between traffic and urban emissions, and pollutants already present in the air and carried on the wind into urban areas. They will also help to define how chemical processing agricultural emissions and changes to move towards carbon-zero transport affect air quality.

Zongbo Shi, Professor of Atmospheric Biogeochemistry at the University of Birmingham, commented: “Air pollution is the biggest environmental risk in the UK, leading to significant health inequalities and costing the country’s economy some £20 billion every year.

 

“Adding mobile ‘supersite observatories’ to the monitoring capacity provided by our fixed sites will take our capability for quantifying air pollution sources and processes to the next level and consolidating Britain’s world-leading position in this field.

“This exciting development will produce policy-relevant science with significant impact - informing air quality policy and helping to account for imported emissions. This is a UK-based approach with potential for global impact.”

Backed by £1.3 million of NERC funding, the new supersites are not traditional monitoring stations - they will comprise highly sophisticated instruments which monitor key species in atmospheric processes, including:

·         Trace metals, nanoparticles and particle composition, plus regulated gas pollutants.

·         Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – key to ozone, secondary organic aerosol and new particle formation; and

·         Ammonia - key to aerosol formation;

The mobile units will help to create the UK Air Quality Supersite Triplet (UK-AQST) configuration - rural, urban and roadside. This will allow urban and roadside concentration increments to be measured, as well as processing polluted air to analyse key secondary pollutants such as nitrates, organic particles and nanoparticles in unprecedented detail.

Forthcoming revision of World Health Organisation guidelines will inform revised national air quality targets, within the new Environment Bill. UK-AQST will directly benefit the UK's atmospheric and environmental health community with six institutions involved.

Farmers are being urged to ensure they have up-to-date succession plans in place following the start of the Agricultural Transition Plan which came into being after the UK’s departure from the EU.

Tom Chiffers, from leading national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP, says farmers have entered into a period of great change and need to be ready to deal with the consequences to avoid future costly disputes over succession. The government’s Agricultural Transition Plan (ATP) outlines a timescale to change the way farming is funded, managed and incentivised which will have a significant impact on the income of farms and the farming industry.

Tom, a partner in Clarke Willmott’s Private Capital team, says that the support payments farmers currently receive in the form of BPS will start to be phased out from 2021, becoming delinked in 2024 and eventually getting replaced with a system which pays farmers for specific types of environmental land management. “All direct payments will be reduced progressively but with bigger reductions on the higher payment bands; operating much like income tax bands. For example, everyone will have a reduction of 5% on their first £30,000 of payments in 2021.

“The higher reduction rates will apply to those farms currently receiving larger direct payments. A farm receiving more than £150,000 will see a 25% reduction in 2021 followed by 40%, 55% and 70% reductions in the subsequent scheme years with the last of the direct payments being made in 2027. Meanwhile the direct payments will be replaced by a new universally accessible Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, that will reward farmers, growers and land managers for delivering public goods, with an anticipated 50-60% drop in funding in real terms by 2030.

“Defra is also offering a lump sum exit scheme from 2022 to help farmers who wish to retire in place of any further BPS and delinked payments enabling them to capitalise the future stream of direct payment income that would otherwise be available until 2027. Whilst there is still much uncertainty and lack of clarity as to what the new payment schemes will look like, there is an expectation there will be a significant drop in funding for all farmers at the end of the transition plan in 2027.”

“In addition to the ATP, the government has also been applying greater scrutiny to both inheritance tax and capital gains tax and given its current pandemic spending, there are concerns that the generous inheritance tax reliefs currently available to farmers in the form of Business Property Relief and Agricultural Property Relief could be cut or even abolished to help pay for the furlough scheme and other COVID-19 support schemes.

“The government may announce their future plans for changes to the inheritance and capital gains tax regime as part of their post budget announcements on March 23. All of this means that farmers need to be in a state of financial and legal preparedness with a robust succession plan in place which should include the right kind of will.”

Clarke Willmott has recently launched its #GoodWill campaign which aims to encourage people to take steps to safeguard their family’s future wealth by pledging that they will make a will this year. The firm has developed a free, online ‘Which Will?’ tool to help people that prompts the user to think about what is important to them when making a will and recommends which will best meets their needs.    

Clarke Willmott is a national law firm with offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton. It is also the NFU legal panel firm for Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

It has been announced that King Goodwill Zwelithini, the leader of the Zulu nation in South Africa has died.

A proud and passionate defender of traditional culture, he saw it as a force for good both within South Africa and beyond its borders in the continent as a whole. Accused of hanging on to outdated ideas, he was also criticised for being willing to work with the white-minority government in power before 1994, and not wanting to cooperate with the current government's land redistribution polices.

Born in 1948 and coming to the throne in 1971, Isilo Samabandla Onke (loosely translated as "King of all Zulu kings"), as he was respectfully called, was a direct descendent of the King Cetshwayo, the leader of the Zulu nation during the 1879 war against the British army.

Throughout his half-century reign he was a staunch advocate of preserving cultural identity and promoting unity, especially among AmaZulu (the Zulu people). His position as a traditional ruler was recognised in South Africa's post-apartheid constitution, which meant that he got state support.

Though he did not have formal political power and his role within the broader South African society may have been largely ceremonial, he was a revered as a traditional leader, even by those outside his culture. To many, the father of 28 children from six wives embodied what it was to honour time-held cultural practices and represented an idea that though South Africa was a modern country, it had not abandoned its past.

A feature of his reign was the revival of Umhlanga or Reed Dance in 1991, which the apartheid government had prevented from taking place. The ceremony, attended by many hundreds of young unmarried Zulu women is meant to celebrate virginity, but King Zwelithini said it was also there to promote HIV and Aids awareness in KwaZulu-Natal - a province with one of the highest HIV-infection rates in the country.

He believed that a return to morality would help slow down the spread of the disease in his kingdom. Some critics said that while the practice of Umhlanga had a place in Zulu tradition, it was fundamentally patriarchal as it placed the role of managing sexual relations and containing the spread of HIV on women. The emphasis was on women remaining pure and not about male behaviour.

The King believed that traditional leaders should have a more prominent role to play in addressing the continent's many problems – once arguing that not all solutions will come from politicians or

Professor Sihawukele Ngubane, chair of the Zulu Royal Household Trust, said. The African languages professor said: "He was instrumental in upholding unity among the Zulu people, preserving culture at a time when the identities of African people were marginalised. He understood his role as having influence both among the Zulu nation but also other cultures in the country and on the continent."

King Zwelithini was a man who knew how to use his influence, especially for the preservation of his people. Prof Ngubane says his presence in KwaZulu-Natal helped quell tensions between the IFP and the ANC that erupted during the struggle to end apartheid. South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa described him in a tribute as a much-loved visionary.

As chair of the Ingonyama Trust, he was the custodian of swathes of traditional land in KwaZulu-Natal, making up about 30% of the area of the province. In 2018, he partnered with the Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum, which was fighting to protect white-owned farms from land reform. AfriForum at the time said the partnership was one of mutual recognition and respect.

When he spoke, people listened and he was also known by the Zulu phrase "Umlomo ongakhulumi amanga", which loosely translates as "the one who does not lie." But it was precisely this influence that troubled some people when he said that foreign nationals should return to their countries so that Black South Africans were not forced to share already limited resources.

His successor will now be chosen, but whoever follows him will have the tough job of upholding Zulu culture, responding to the problems of the day while inspiring reverence, even among critics.

He was 72.

Sri Lanka has taken a significant step towards banning the burka and other face coverings in public, on grounds of national security. Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara has said that he had signed a cabinet order which now needs parliamentary approval.

Officials say they expect the ban to be implemented very soon. The move comes nearly two years after a wave of co-ordinated attacks on hotels and churches on Easter Sunday.

Suicide bombers targeted Catholic churches and tourist hotels, killing more than 250 people in April 2019. The Islamic State militant group said it had carried out the attacks. As the authorities tracked down the militants, an emergency short-term ban on face coverings was implemented in the majority-Buddhist nation. Now the government is moving to re-introduce it on a permanent basis.

Mr Weerasekara told reporters that the burka was "a sign of religious extremism that came about recently". He added that it was "affecting national security" and that a permanent ban was overdue. "So I have signed that and it will be implemented very soon," he said.

He also also said the government planned to ban more than 1,000 madrassa Islamic schools which he said were flouting national education policy. "Nobody can open a school and teach whatever you want to the children,” he said.

“It must be as per the government laid down education policy. Most of unregistered schools teach only the Arabic language and the Koran, so that is bad", he said. Hilmi Ahmed, vice-president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, said that if officials have problems identifying people in burkas "there would not be any objection from anyone to remove the face cover for identity purposes".

He said everyone had a right to wear a face covering regardless of their faith:"That has to be seen from a rights point of view, and not just a religious point of view." On the question of madrassas, Mr Ahmed stressed that the vast majority of Muslim schools were registered with the government. He said: "There may be... about 5% which have not adhered to the regulations and of course action can be taken against them."

The government's planned moves follow an order last year making the cremation of Covid-19 victims mandatory, in line with the practice of the majority Buddhists, but against the wishes of Muslims, who bury their dead. This ban was lifted earlier this year after criticism from the US and international rights groups.

Last month, the United National Human Rights Council session considered a new resolution on mounting rights concerns in Sri Lanka, including over the treatment of Muslims. Sri Lanka is being called to hold human rights abusers to account and to deliver justice to victims of its 26-year-old civil war.

The 1983-2009 conflict killed at least 100,000 people, mostly civilians from the minority Tamil community. Sri Lanka has strongly denied the allegations and has asked member countries not to support the resolution.

The city of Minneapolis in the USA has reached a $27m (£19m) settlement with the family of George Floyd, the unarmed Black man whose death sparked protests worldwide. His death after being trapped under the knee of police officer Derek Chauvin for 7 minutes, 46 seconds was captured on camera.

Lawyers for the family said the footage created undeniable demand for justice and change.

Jury selection for Chauvin's murder trial is currently under way. Six out of 12 jurors have been selected for hearings beginning on March 29.

The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to approve the pre-trial settlement, the largest ever awarded in the state of Minnesota. Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said: "That the largest pre-trial settlement in a wrongful death case ever would be for the life of a Black man sends a powerful message that Black lives do matter and police brutality against people of colour must end."

In a video of Mr Floyd's death that went viral on social media, four police officers confront the man for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a local shop. They drag him to the ground and Chauvin places his knee on Mr Floyd's neck, even as he begs for his life and says "I can't breathe". He was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Lawyers for the Floyd family filed a civil suit one month later, in June 2020. They argued the city had been negligent for failing to train officers in proper restraint techniques and for not dismissing officers with a poor track record. Dozens of complaints had previously been filed against Mr Chauvin, who had been serving on the city police force for 19 years.

Speaking after the settlement was announced Mr Crump said: “This is but one step on the journey to justice. Mr Floyd's death was a catalyst for reckoning on race and bias.” The civil settlement comes at the end of the first week in criminal court proceedings over Chauvin's murder trial.

The former officer is facing charges of second and third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. If found guilty on all counts he could face a maximum sentence of 65 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.

Six jurors have been selected for the trial so far, but the final bench requires 12 jurors and four alternates - or substitutes. Suitable jurors have been hard to find in this emotionally charged and high-profile case.

The three other officers involved in Mr Floyd's death - J Alexander Keung, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane - were charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter, and will be tried separately later this year.

Nagpur in western India is to be the first major city in the country to return to a complete lockdown amid a sharp spike in coronavirus cases. The week-long lockdown, which starts on 15 March, will extend to adjoining areas of the district as well.

Maharashtra state, where Nagpur is located, has always been a Covid hotspot, with the highest number of active and confirmed cases in India. The country has recorded more than 11 million cases and 157,000 deaths so far.

Caseloads have declined sharply in recent months across the country, but six states, including Maharashtra, have been reporting a fresh surge. Amaravati district, also in Maharashtra, was put under a week-long complete lockdown in February due to a spike in cases.

Scientists fear that new variants could be one of the reasons for the uptick in the state. The other is laxity in following Covid-19 safety protocols. Lack of masking and social distancing, and poor test and trace has all added to the spike in Maharashtra, Dr Sanjay Oak, a member of the state's Covid task force, said recently.

This comes early on in India's vaccination drive, which began in January. More than 20 million people have been given at least one dose of a Covid vaccine so far. The drive will continue in Nagpur as planned, state cabinet minister Nitin Raut said. "Except for 25% attendance in government offices and industries, all other establishments and non-essential shops will remain closed," he added.

Essential services such as hospitals and grocery shops will remain open. While restaurants will be shut, home delivery will be permitted. Police have been ordered to impose a strict curfew. The Maharashtra state government is also watching four other districts that, along with Nagpur district, are contributing to more than half of Maharashtra's current active caseload of 106,070.

"We will take a decision in the next two days and the lockdown will be imposed wherever required," Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said. Nagpur district has been reporting more than 1,000 cases daily for nearly two weeks now - and it added more than 2,000 cases in the last 24 hours.

Among the districts, it currently has the country's second-highest active caseload - 13,800. Pune, also a district in Maharashtra, is at the top with more than 21, 200 active infections.

Brazil's iconic Maracana stadium is to be named in honour of the country's legendary footballer Pele. The move follows a vote by the Rio de Janeiro state legislature to change the venue's name to the Edson Arantes do Nascimento - Rei Pele stadium.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento is the 80-year-old's full name, while Rei means king in Portuguese. The Rio de Janeiro's state governor must approve the name change before it becomes official.

Pele, who won three World Cups as a player for Brazil, scored his 1,000th goal at the stadium in 1969 when playing for Santos against Vasco da Gama. The Maracana held the 1950 and 2014 World Cup finals, as well as the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics.

Some fans, however, are not happy because Pele never played for its local teams and he does not hail from Rio de Janeiro. 

The deputy responsible for the project said: “It is a worthy homage to a man who is recognised the world over for his legacy in Brazilian football and for the corresponding services rendered to our country.”

The home stadium for two local football clubs, Fluminense and reigning champions Flamengo, more than 200,000 spectators are reported to have been in the stadium to watch Uruguay beat Brazil in the 1950 final, although its capacity is now 78,838. It was named after Mario Filho, a journalist who lobbied for its construction in the 1940s, but was known as the Maracana after the area in which it is located.

The legislature said the football stadium will be renamed but the larger sports complex around the ground can retain its current name. The bill now goes to interim governor Claudio Castro, who has 15 days to decide whether to sign it into law. 

The giant 78,000-seat stadium's history is also loaded with trauma for Brazilians. It opened in 1950 for the World Cup, hosting Brazil's heartbreaking 2-1 defeat by Uruguay in the final - an event still sorrowfully remembered as the 'Maracanaco,' which roughly translates as 'Maracana death blow.'

The only player in history to win three World Cups - in 1958, 1962 and 1970 – and considered by many to be the greatest footballer in history - Pele is credited with restoring Brazil's football pride in the aftermath.

Buckingham Palace has said that the race issues raised by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their interview with Oprah Winfrey are concerning and are taken very seriously.

In a statement, the Palace said "recollections may vary" but the matters will be addressed privately. After Meghan, The Duchess of Susse, told Oprah that Harry had been asked by an unnamed family member how dark their son Archie's skin might be, The Palace responded by saying the Sussexes would always be much loved family members. The response from Buckingham Palace came after crisis meetings involving senior royals.

The Palace had been under growing pressure to respond to the interview in which Meghan - the first mixed-race member of the modern Royal Family - made the comments about their son's skin colour. Prince Harry later clarified to Oprah that the comments were not made by either the Queen or the Duke of Edinburgh.

The statement, which came a day and a half after the interview was first broadcast in the US, said: "The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.

"The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

It is understood the royals wanted to carefully consider their response and to give the British public an opportunity to watch the interview first when it was broadcast. The royals are said to consider this a family matter and to believe they should be given the opportunity to discuss the issues privately.

Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou has been announced the 2020 winner of the $5m (£3.6m) Ibrahim prize for African leadership.

Mr Issoufou has served two five-year terms as president from 2011 to 2020. He is set to be succeeded by former interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum, who won the presidential election last month. The prize committee praised the Nigerien president's leadership after inheriting one of the world’s poorest economies.

It said that he fostered economic growth, shown unwavering commitment to regional stability and to the constitution, and championed African democracy. Mr Issoufou is the sixth recipient of the Ibrahim Prize.

He has tweeted that the prize honours all Nigerien people. "I consider this award an encouragement to continue to think and act in such a way that promotes democratic values and good governance, not only in Niger, but in Africa and around the world," he added.

“Over the coming week, as we celebrate the friendship, spirit of unity and achievements of the Commonwealth, we have an opportunity to reflect on a time like no other.

“Whilst experiences of the last year have been different across the Commonwealth, stirring examples of courage, commitment and selfless dedication to duty have been demonstrated in every Commonwealth nation and territory, notably by those working on the frontline who have been delivering healthcare and other public services in their communities. We have also taken encouragement from remarkable advances in developing new vaccines and treatments.

“The testing times experienced by so many have led to a deeper appreciation of the mutual support and spiritual sustenance we enjoy by being connected to others.

“The need to maintain greater physical distance, or to live and work largely in isolation, has, for many people across the Commonwealth, been an unusual experience. In our everyday lives, we have had to become more accustomed to connecting and communicating via innovative technology – which has been new to some of us – with conversations and communal gatherings, including Commonwealth meetings, conducted online, enabling people to stay in touch with friends, family, colleagues and counterparts, who they have not been able to meet in person. Increasingly, we have found ourselves able to enjoy such communication, as it offers an immediacy that transcends boundaries or division, helping any sense of distance to disappear.

“We have all continued to appreciate the support, breadth of experiences and knowledge that working together brings, and I hope we shall maintain this renewed sense of closeness and community. Looking forward, relationships with others across the Commonwealth will remain important, as we strive to deliver a common future that is sustainable and more secure, so that the nations and neighbourhoods in which we live, wherever they are located, become healthier and happier places for us all.”