Monday 29 May 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 12/24/16)
A record 5,000 migrants are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea this year, following two shipwrecks on Thursday in which some 100 people, mainly West Africans, were feared dead, aid agencies said on Friday. Two overcrowded inflatable dinghies capsized in the Strait of Sicily after leaving Libya for Italy, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said. "Those two incidents together appear to be the numbers that would bring this year's total up to over to 5,000 (deaths), which is a new high that we have reported during this crisis," IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a Geneva briefing. The Italian coast guard rescued survivors and had recovered eight bodies so far, he said...
(The Globe and Mail 12/23/16)
The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s most powerful radio telescope, opening new frontiers in our understanding of the universe. But the builders have to contend with an unforgiving climate and other formidable challenges first, In the desolate rocky plains of the Great Karoo, the dangers are endless. Scorpions and puff adders are underfoot. The harsh sun beats down, interrupted only by occasional lightning storms. Temperatures range from stifling heat to freezing cold. But at night, in the vast empty darkness, the stars are impossibly bright and clear. And it is the stars that have lured a Canadian-backed project to build the world’s most powerful radio telescope, with the potential to unlock the deepest secrets of the universe. For...
(AFP (eng) 12/22/16)
Selma saunters on her stilt-like legs, batting thick lashes as she extends a blackish tongue -- as long as an arm -- to grab pellets offered by an awed tourist. The giraffe is after all, eating for two. Her pregnancy is good news for one of the rarest giraffe species, protected at the Giraffe Centre in the Kenyan capital, but experts warn the outlook for the rest of the world's tallest land mammals is far gloomier. While it is hoped the shocking news that the gentle giants of the African savannah are facing extinction will spur action, conservationists largely have their hands tied as many giraffe live in Africa's most conflict-torn regions. Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan...
(The Citizen 12/21/16)
Tanzania is among some African countries which may see a drop in development aid as the US is likely to expand fiscal stance and cut spending during Donald Trump's presidency, a new report shows. The move by the world's largest economy will affect dependent countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and DRC according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) latest report released in London yesterday. In its Economic Insight: Africa Q4 2016, the accountancy and finance body points out that signs of an expansionary fiscal stance under the Trump administration coupled with spending cuts to accommodate increased infrastructure expenditure are likely to lead to the decrease in aid. "Aid is one of the main...
(Agence Ecofin 12/20/16)
West Africa’s cotton output should increase by 19% in the 2016-17 season, according to forecast by the United States Department of Agriculture. It will rise to 1.9 million Mt from 1.6 million Mt the previous season. The main countries that will contribute to this increase are Burkina Faso, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Chad. Burkina’s will produce 20% more cotton over the period considered than in the last (581,000 Mt), thus 700,000 Mt. Burkina will thus remain the region’s leading cotton producer. Mali will record a similar trend as cotton output in the country is expected to reach 629,000 Mt against 513,000 Mt in the previous season (+22.6%). Cote d’Ivoire and Chad will also see their outputs increase, but moderately. The...
(AFP (eng) 12/20/16)
When Rose Kariuki first felt a lump on her left breast, the spectre of cancer -- a disease she had only heard of on television -- was the last thing on her mind. "To me, cancer was nowhere near us. It was shocking, I feared death, I feared so many things," the 46-year-old Kenyan school teacher told AFP. Rose is one of a growing number of Africans suffering from cancer, one of the lifestyle diseases -- along with diabetes and heart problems -- proving increasing deadly on the continent. A World Health Organisation (WHO) survey released Tuesday showed that most Africans had at least one risk factor for developing one of these diseases, such as smoking, a lack of exercise,...
(AFP (eng) 12/19/16)
Mali's president said Sunday he could let Burkina Faso forces pursue jihadist fighters when they flee across the border into his country, days after militants massacred 12 Burkinabe soldiers. Around 40 fighters attacked a base some 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the Burkina-Mali border on Friday in what local authorities called the biggest ever jihadist attack on the army. It was the second direct strike against the Burkina army since jihadist militants surfaced in the country in early 2015, mostly staging attacks in the north near the borders of Mali and Niger.
(Reuters (Eng) 12/17/16)
A dozen soldiers were killed in northern Burkina Faso when unidentified gunmen attacked a military post near the border with Mali, President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said on Friday, calling the assailants "forces of evil". Attacks in Burkina Faso were relatively rare before a major attack by al Qaeda-linked fighters on a hotel in the capital, Ouagadougou, that killed 29 people in January. "This attack demonstrates that the fight against terrorism will be without respite and also underscores the necessary decisions that must be taken to give confidence and vitality to our army," Kabore said.
(AFP (eng) 12/16/16)
Eleven Burkina Faso soldiers were killed Friday in what local authorities said was the biggest ever jihadist attack on the army, at a base near the restive border with Mali. "We lost 11 of our men in the attack this morning in Nassoumbou ... the biggest jihadist attack ever perpetrated" against the army, the high commissioner of Soum province, Mohamed Dah, told AFP by phone. Two more men were missing after around 40 jihadists riding pick-up trucks and motorbikes attacked the base some 30 kilometres from the Burkina-Mali border, he added. "They were heavily armed with Kalashnikovs and rocket-launchers. They opened fire at the depots, the tents and set fire to some of the vehicles," he added. A security source...
(AFP (eng) 12/16/16)
Thrusting their arm into a box full of hungry mosquitoes, a group of brave volunteers in a Burkina Faso laboratory test an innovative weapon in the fight against malaria -- soap. The team behind the "Faso Soap" project aims to create a cheap, accessible product to repel mosquitoes and protect people from a disease that claimed nearly 500,000 lives in 2015, most of them in Africa. With one eye on a stopwatch, Gerard Niyondiko, the Burundian researcher behind the special soap, watches the behaviour of around a hundred hungry female mosquitoes. The volunteers wait to be bitten, but the odorous liquid
(Xinhuanet 12/16/16)
OUAGADOUGOU, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- More than 10 Burkinabe soldiers were killed in an attack on Friday morning against a Burkinabe military camp near the border with Mali by unidentified individuals, local media reported. In a statement, the Burkinabe army said that "land and air reinforcements were immediately sent and sweeps are under way" and that "the casualties will be established later." In mid-October, five people were killed, including three Burkinabe military and two civilians, in an attack on a military detachment in the area. Burkina Faso, like other countries in the subregion, is faced with the terrorist threat, particularly in its northern part. On January 15, a terrorist attack claimed by the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) killed...
(AFP (eng) 12/16/16)
The number of migrants feared to have died this year has soared to nearly 7,200 -- a more than 20-percent increase over 2015 -- with most of the fatalities in the Mediterranean, IOM said Friday. In total, 7,189 migrants and refugees have died or remain missing on migratory routs around the world, the International Organization for Migration said. That number is already 1,449 more than in all of 2015. And since it represents an average of 20 deaths per day, another 200 to 300 people could perish by the end of the year if the trend continues, the Geneva-based IOM warned in a statement. The Mediterranean Sea routes, used so far this year by nearly 360,000 people seeking a new...
(CNN 12/15/16)
In the sleepy, sun-blasted town of De Aar in central South Africa, a mighty force is stirring. The largest solar plant in Africa, Middle East and the Southern hemisphere was inaugurated here earlier this year, a 175-megawatt facility that spreads over almost 500 hectares. The facility is the brainchild of Solar Capital, led by hotel magnate turned solar evangelist Paschal Phelan, which ploughed $400 million into the venture. The plant supplies power to the National Grid, but when the heat is fiercest it produces far more than the Grid can use, and the excess power goes to waste. "It's like you have a Ferrari and you run a small car," says Massimiliano Salaorno, plant manager of Solar Capital De Aar...
(AFP (eng) 12/14/16)
Family planning helps people in Africa to be healthier and wealthier, as women without contraceptives become locked in "a cycle of poverty," Melinda Gates told AFP as a conference on the topic was held in Ivory Coast. "When a woman has access to contraceptives she can lift herself out of poverty, and if she doesn't have access to contraceptives, it locks her inside a cycle of poverty for the rest of her life," said the wife of Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates, whose foundation is very active in the field. Family planning has "huge health benefits for the woman and for her children, and it has economic benefits," Gates told AFP by telephone from the Ivorian economic capital Abidjan...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/16)
The cocktails keep flowing by the pool on the tourist strip, but in The Gambia's markets many African migrant traders are packing up their businesses and heading home. The international community is piling pressure on President Yahya Jammeh to leave power after 22 years and hand over to opposition leader Adama Barrow, who won an election two weeks ago only for Jammeh to later reverse his original concession of defeat. Of the economy's two main sources of investment from abroad, tourism appears to be weathering the country's political storm far better than the thousands of petty traders who move to The Gambia from the rest of west Africa. President-elect Barrow told AFP on Monday claims that tourist numbers could be...
(Le Monde 12/09/16)
Dozens of politicians, diplomats, military and intelligence chiefs, members of the opposition and leading business figures were wiretapped across the continent. This rare overview of modern satellite espionage could hardly be less technical and abstract, for it not only names the victims of intercepts but also reveals the scale of a surveillance operation spanning an entire continent. That continent is Africa. New documents shown to Le Monde, in collaboration with The Intercept, from the data cache of the former NSA (National Security Agency) operative Edward Snowden, originally given to Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, offer unprecedented insight into information on twenty African countries collected by GCHQ, the British intelligence service, between 2009 and 2010. Dozens of lists of intercepts examined...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/07/16)
As the darkness falls on the plains around Bunambiyu, a remote village in Tanzania's northern Shinyanga region, Elizabeth Julius switches on her solar lantern to finish sewing clothes for her customers. Not long ago, nightfall would have forced her to close her tailoring shop, or use a smoky kerosene lamp. But with the solar-powered lamp, Julius can now sew for as long as she wants. "Solar energy has entirely changed my life. I use it at work and at home, yet it doesn't cost me anything," said the 29-year-old entrepreneur and mother of two. "I often wake up at night to work because I need the money to support my family," she said. Julius and her husband, Zablon, used to...
(APA 12/06/16)
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says Africa can yield benefits from commodity-based industrialization and agro-alliance with new policy approaches, according to a statement issued here Tuesday. The ECA has on many editions of its annual Economic Report made a push for the developmental state and a return to planning, arguing that the strong role of the state is key to fostering Africa’s structural transformation. The acting ECA Executive Secretary Abdalla Hamdok spoke on the need for new policy approaches to incentivize agricultural production in activities and sectors with higher returns. In his remarks at the opening of the African Economic Conference on the theme, Feeding Africa: Towards Agro-Allied Industrialization for Inclusive Growth, Hamdok said: “Our desire for structural transformation...
(AfricaNews 12/05/16)
Cameroon’s Indomitable Lionesses failed to use home advantage and revenge in the final of the Women African Cup of Nations (AWCON 2016) losing by a goal to Nigeria’s Super Falcons. The Super Falcons thus successfully defended the title they won in 2014 by defeating Cameroon in Namibia. The hosts entered the final aiming to win their first title and avenge two previous defeats by Nigeria. But a late goal by Oparanozie Desire dashed hopes and sent disappointment through the teeming home fans. Desire slotted in from close range after a beautiful lob from team mate Ngozi Okobi hit a Cameroonian defender and fell on her path with six minutes to the end of the game. The remaining duration and three...
(Voice of America 12/02/16)
Activists are using the women's Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon to campaign for the protection of the continent's forests and animal species. The campaign, called “Sports for Nature," is spearheaded by conservationist groups who say some of Africa's natural resources are on the verge of going extinct. In Yaounde, birds sing at a makeshift park near the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium, one of the sites of the 2016 women's football African Cup of Nations. Conservationist Nevielle Tanyi points toward a crocodile walking nearby and describes the danger it poses to workers trying to maintain a pond. "When we provoke the crocodile to leave the pond area, it goes toward the side where there is no water and it normally...

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