Friday 23 June 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
South Africa reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu at a farm in the Free State province, agricultural industry body group AgriSA said on Friday. Poultry producer Astral confirmed that the H5N8 bird flu strain was found on its Villiers farm on the outskirts of the Free State province, it said in a statement. The company said the farm had been quarantined and the site affected would be depleted of all birds. "Astral assures all stakeholders that everything is being done to contain this incident. If this incident is contained to that specific site and/or farm Astral’s contingency plans do ensure continued operations with no impact,” Astral Managing Director, Agriculture, Gary Arnold said...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sadick Thenest remembers how his 8-year-old daughter had a narrow brush with death two years ago, when she contracted cholera after drinking contaminated water. “She was so gaunt, weak and had terrible diarrhea,” said the refugee from Burundi. “A slight delay in rushing her to hospital would have meant something else - but with God’s grace she survived.” The father of four, aged 35, is among thousands of refugees grappling with frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases in the crowded Nyarugusu camp in western Tanzania, due to poor sanitation. “Living in a refugee camp is a constant struggle. You either stick to health rules or contract diseases,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by...
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including...
(AFP (eng) 06/20/17)
Tributes were paid Tuesday to Joel Joffe, the lawyer who defended Nelson Mandela in the trial that saw the anti-apartheid icon jailed, following his death at the age of 85. Lord Joffe died on Sunday, said Oxfam, the aid agency which he chaired. The Nelson Mandela Foundation said the human rights lawyer died in London. Joffe was a key part of Mandela's defence team in the 1963-4 Rivonia Trial, which saw Mandela given a life sentence for sabotage against the...
(AFP (eng) 06/20/17)
Three teenage boys appeared in court on Monday on rape charges after a video emerged showing a trio of youths sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the South African city of Bloemfontein, the prosecution said. The boys aged 15, 16 and 17 years were arrested after the video was posted on social media last week. It showed two youths in school uniform fondling and trying to forcibly kiss the girl on school premises, local media said. "The three are facing...
(AFP (eng) 06/17/17)
South Africa buried the "spirit" of one of its first rebel leaders Friday, 200 years after his death in Australia, where his bones were never found. A traditional ritual was performed by indigenous elders to bring Khoi San chief Dawid Stuurman's spirit home, and a coffin symbolically carrying the spirit was buried on Friday in his rural hometown of southern Hankey. Stuurman, the last Khoi San chief, resisted British colonial rule so was jailed at Robben Island from where he...
(AFP (eng) 06/17/17)
Morocco's OCP group denounced Friday a decision by a South African court to hold a Moroccan ship laden with phosphate mined from the disputed Western Sahara pending a trial. The court said it wanted to determine ownership of the cargo of the boat that is being held at Port Elizabeth. The 34,000-tonne vessel from Western Sahara, which was destined for New Zealand, was last month prevented from departing due to a court motion seeking that the vessel return its cargo...
(AFP (eng) 06/16/17)
War crimes judges will rule next month on whether South Africa flouted international law when it failed to arrest visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2015, wanted on charges of genocide in Darfur. The International Criminal Court "convenes a public hearing on 6 July... for the delivery of its decision," the court said in a statement Friday. The tribunal based in The Hague "invites representatives of South Africa and the prosecutor to attend," it added. Pretoria, at an unprecedented hearing in April, disputed accusations by ICC prosecutors that...
(AFP (eng) 06/16/17)
A South African court on Thursday ordered the further detention of a Moroccan vessel laden with phosphate mined from the disputed Western Sahara pending a trial to determine the owner of the cargo. The 34,000-tonne vessel from Western Sahara and destined for New Zealand was last month blocked from sailing off due to a court motion seeking that the vessel return its cargo. The motion argued that transportation of goods from disputed Western Sahara is illegal and in violation of international principles. "The court has basically found that the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Polisario Front have established...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
South Africa's competition commission said Tuesday it had launched investigations into pharmaceutical giants Roche, Pfizer and Aspen for suspected overpricing of cancer drugs. The commission said it had initiated probes into US firms Roche and Pfizer for suspected "excessive pricing" of breast and lung cancer medication, respectively. "The commission has reason to believe that Roche and its USA-based biotechnology company, Genentech Inc. (Genentech) have and continue to engage in excessive pricing, price discrimination ... in the provision of breast cancer medicine in South Africa," it said in a statement. It said it had information to reasonably suspect that Roche...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/13/17)
South Africa's tourist capital Cape Town remains gripped by critical water shortages despite being lashed by torrential rains last week in the region's worst storm in 30 years, officials said on Tuesday. More than eight people were killed and thousands forced from their homes after gale force winds and flash floods hit shanty towns already coping with Cape Town's worst drought in a century. "It may take a few seasons of normal rainfall for the dams to recover and therefore...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/10/17)
Up to 10,000 people in the South African coastal resort of Knysna have been evacuated as wildfires fanned by strong winds ripped through the town, razing homes and other properties, officials said on Thursday. Eight people have been killed, three of them in the Knysna area, as the worst storm to hit Cape Town in three decades made landfall late on Tuesday before hurtling eastwards along what is known as South Africa's "Garden Route". "Humanitarian support is being co-ordinated for...
(AFP (eng) 06/09/17)
South Africa has halted poultry imports from Zimbabwe after a recent outbreak of highly contagious avian influenza at a farm in the neighbouring country, the government said Thursday. The department of agriculture said although South Africa imports "very little" poultry products from Zimbabwe, it has "suspended all trade in live poultry, meat and table eggs" from its northern neighbour and has stepped up surveillance. "We have heightened inspections of all consignments, including all private and public vehicles at all our ports of entry, especially in and out of Zimbabwe," said the department in a statement. Zimbabwean authorities...
(Bloomberg 06/08/17)
Residents of Cape Town, South Africa’s second-largest city, and other towns in the surrounding Western Cape province mopped up the damage Thursday after a devastating storm that caused nine deaths, flattened hundreds of shacks and downed power lines and trees. Four people died in a fire caused by a lightning strike in the northern Cape Town suburb of Kraaifontein, while another was killed in the Lavender Hill area when a building collapsed, according to the provincial government. About 830 shacks...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as...
(AFP (eng) 06/07/17)
A ferocious storm killed eight people as it pummelled South Africa's west coast on Wednesday, forcing the closure of Cape Town harbour, triggering flash floods and causing extensive damage, authorities said. The weather system which struck on Tuesday has damaged buildings, felled trees, left 46,000 homes without electricity and caused travel chaos as flights and rail services were hit by gale-force winds and flooding. Three people were killed in the Eden District municipality, an area popular with tourists east of Cape Town, while four others died in a fire sparked by lightning, said James Brent-Styan, spokesman for the Western Cape regional government. One other person was killed when a building collapsed.
(AL Jazeera 06/07/17)
South Africa has been experiencing the worst drought in 100 years. Since the 1990s, the country has lost a third of its farms due to water scarcity. As a result, farmers have had to turn to a hi-tech solution to help cope with dwindling water supplies and harsher environments. We speak with Professor Jill Farrant, a professor at the University of Cape Town who has been trying to unlock the secret behind so-called resurrection plants which can survive long periods...

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