Tuesday 20 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
About 224 million people are suffering from malnutrition across Africa as climate change and conflicts heighten food insecurity across the continent, a top UN food agency official said Monday. The official, speaking at a conference on Africa organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the situation was a "cause of concern" as the continent's population was expected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. "Under-nourishment appears to have increased from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between 2015 and 2016," Bukar Tijani, FAO's assistant director general for Africa, said at the regional conference that opened on Monday in Khartoum. "Over the same period, the number of under-nourished rose from 200 million to...
(AFP (eng) 02/16/18)
Burundi's opposition parties on Friday denounced the "enforced enrolment" of voters ahead of a referendum on changes to the constitution which would allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to remain in office until 2034. Opposition groups say the police and the ruling party's ferocious Imbonerakure youth wing, branded a militia by the UN, are forcing people to enrol ahead of the referendum in May. "What is happening is unacceptable. Getting registered (to vote) is a civil right, and a right that one can choose to exercise or not," said Tatien Sibomana, one of a handful of opposition leaders who have chosen not to go into exile. A coalition of opposition parties in exile, CNARED, also denounced the "enrolment by force" with spokesman...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/18)
Police in Burundi have threatened to arrest anyone campaigning prematurely against a referendum to revise the constitution, which if passed could allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to remain in power until 2034. Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye issued the warning to anyone who might "try to impede this process... especially to the youth who are deceived by some politicians." The video warning was posted on the website of the national radio and television broadcaster on Tuesday. All opposition parties are opposed to...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
Thousands of people joined an official demonstration in Burundi on Saturday, in response to criticism by the United Nations chief about a planned revision to the country's constitution. The protest was called by the mayor of Bujumbura, the capital, after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used a report to criticise proposals that could allow Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza to hold on to power for another decade or more. "We are here to denounce the report by the UN Secretary General on...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The inscription of voters for a constitutional referendum that could allow Burundi's president to prolong his rule began Thursday in Burundi, the independent national electoral commission (CENI) announced. If accepted by the electorate, the constitutional change passed by the government last October would enable President Pierre Nkurunziza, in power since 2005, to stand for two further terms of office from 2020. All opposition parties are opposed to a referendum in May on changes that they say might be a death...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The African Union's chairman dismissed during a visit to Beijing on Thursday a French newspaper report alleging that China had spied on the continental body as "lies" intended to derail cooperation. The report published by Le Monde in January claimed technicians at the AU's Chinese-built headquarters in the Ethiopian capital discovered last year that the contents of their computers had been regularly copied to servers in Shanghai since 2012, citing unnamed AU sources. "I don't see it is in the...
(AFP (eng) 02/07/18)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is sharply criticizing a bid by Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza to make changes to the constitution that could see him hold onto power for another decade or more, according to a report obtained by AFP on Tuesday. Guterres said the opposition and civil society groups must be included in any decision to change the constitution to avoid a flareup of conflict in Burundi. "While it is the sovereign right of Burundi to amend its constitution, I...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Israel began warning thousands of African migrants Sunday that they must leave by the end of March, officials said, under a plan that could see them jailed if they refuse. On January 3, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced implementation of a plan to deport about 38,000 migrants who had entered the country illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese. The controversial plan gives them until the end of next month to leave voluntarily or face jail and eventual expulsion. Immigration authority spokeswoman...
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
Thirty-four Congolese militiamen have been handed over to the Democratic Republic of Congo by officials in Burundi, the Congolese military said on Friday. The militiamen belong to the rebel Yakutumba group and were handed over to the Congolese authorities by the Burundi National Intelligence Service (SNR), Burundian officials said. The group had crossed into Burundi while the Congolese army was conducting operations in a nearby region, Burundian police said on Thursday. "Thirty-four militiamen who surrendered to Burundian security forces at...
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
Megastar Rihanna vowed she would "never stop fighting" to get millions of children back in school on Friday as French President Emmanuel Macron promised a major boost in foreign aid for education in developing nations. Macron co-hosted a conference in Dakar organised by the Global Partnership for Education with Senegalese President Macky Sall, while Rihanna attended as the organisation's global ambassador. "We have made tremendous progress today but of course our work is never done, we have a long way...
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
Rihanna on Thursday used her star power to urge key governments to commit to ensuring education for the world's poorest as she takes part in an international conference in Senegal. The chart-topping singer arrived in the capital Dakar where she on Friday will join the Global Partnership for Education talks co-hosted by Senegalese President Macky Sall and French leader Emmanuel Macron. Rihanna, the fourth most followed person on Twitter with 86 million followers, took to social media to urge Macron,...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
President Donald Trump said the United States "deeply respects" Africans and will dispatch its top diplomat to the continent, in a letter to African leaders seen by AFP on Sunday. The letter sent last week comes after Trump provoked a firestorm of indignation among African nations earlier in January when he reportedly called them "shithole countries" during a meeting with lawmakers in Washington. While Trump has denied the remarks, they are expected to be formally condemned by the 55 member states of the African Union during their ongoing summit in the Ethiopian capital. "I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa, and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
Laden with mattresses, suitcases, solar panels, chairs and plastic buckets, thousands of refugees have crossed into Burundi in the past three days to flee fierce fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi police said Friday. Nearly 7,000 Congolese have crossed Lake Tanganyika and taken refuge in Burundi since Wednesday as clashes raged between DR Congo government forces and rebels in the troubled eastern province of South Kivu. "Yesterday, Lake Tanganyika seemed to be completely covered by hundreds of boats...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
Burundi's government claimed a diplomatic victory Friday with the announcement that it would host a regional trade summit later this year. The tiny central African nation has been in the cold since President Pierre Nkurunziza's run for a controversial third term in 2015 plunged the country into a protracted political crisis. The scheduled hosting of the 19-nation COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) summit in April is a "great diplomatic and economic victory," said a spokesman for Burundi's...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
US President Donald Trump on Friday asked the African Union chairman to pass on his "warmest regards" to other regional leaders at a summit this weekend, after sparking outrage with a reported slur against Africans. Trump met Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where some African business leaders say they are planning to boycott Trump's closing speech later Friday. The outspoken US leader congratulated Kagame on taking over as chair of the 55-nation African bloc, which Trump said was a "great honour". "I know you're going to your first meeting shortly. Please give my warmest regards," Trump told Kagame after they held a one-on-one meeting at the forum.
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
The oldest remains of a modern human outside Africa have been dug up in Israel, offering evidence of what genetic studies have already suggested -- that humans migrated out of Africa some 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. Facial fragments, including a jawbone and several teeth, were found at a site called Misliya Cave in Israel, one of several prehistoric cave sites located on Mount Carmel. The bones date to between 174,000 and 188,000 years old, said the report in...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/22/18)
KLEINARL, Austria (Reuters) - The chilly conditions on an Austrian mountainside belied the warm reception given to people from 15 African countries who took part in an annual luge race aimed at helping migrants integrate into European society. The event over the weekend, dubbed the African Winter Sports Cup, is a luge race contested by people with little or no experience of winter sports. Its aim, over the six years it has been held, is to promote social integration through...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
Opposition lawmakers in Burundi on Thursday said 42 activists had been arrested for illegally contesting an upcoming referendum that could let President Pierre Nkurunziza extend his stay in office. Those arrested "were held arbitrarily and have been imprisoned on the accusation of campaigning for a No vote," Pierre-Celestin Ndikumana, who heads a coalition called Amizero y'Abarundi ("Hope of the Burundians"), told AFP. The plebiscite is about a planned change of the constitution that would enable Nukurunziza -- in power since...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed regret on Thursday to African ambassadors who were outraged by President Donald Trump's alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations, the head of the African Group said. Haley asked to meet the African ambassadors at the United Nations after they released a joint statement on Friday demanding an apology from Trump for his "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks." Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, who chairs the Africa Group, said the US ambassador...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
The United Nations announced Tuesday it will investigate the death of 39 Burundian refugees in clashes with soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo in September. The soldiers allegedly opened fire on the refugees in eastern South Kivu province after they protested the detention of a small group of Burundians by Congolese authorities. Nigerian Lieutenant-General Chikadibia Isaac Obiakor will lead the UN investigation of the violence on September 15 in Kamanyola, said a UN statement. The special investigation will look into the response of UN peacekeepers to the violence and provide recommendations, it added.

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