Saturday 27 May 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 05/24/17)
When U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders of the world's seven major industrialized nations gather in Sicily on Friday, they will enjoy a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, but won't get any glimpse of boats full of migrants. A common sight off Sicily in recent years, the authorities have banned all migrant landings on the island during the Group of Seven Summit for security reasons, telling rescue vessels that pick them up at sea to take them to the mainland during the two-day meeting. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. Italy chose to host the summit in Taormina, on the cliffs of eastern Sicily, to concentrate minds on Europe's migrant...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Fossils from Greece and Bulgaria of an ape-like creature that lived 7.2 million years ago may fundamentally alter the understanding of human origins, casting doubt on the view that the evolutionary lineage that led to people arose in Africa. Scientists said on Monday the creature, known as Graecopithecus freybergi and known only from a lower jawbone and an isolated tooth, may be the oldest-known member of the human lineage that began after an evolutionary split from the line that led to chimpanzees, our closest cousins. The jawbone, which included teeth, was unearthed in 1944 in Athens. The premolar was found in south-central Bulgaria in 2009. The researchers examined them using sophisticated new techniques including CT scans and established their age...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the...
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and...
(AFP (eng) 05/02/17)
A Swiss court has ruled that the remains of Burundi's deposed king Mwambutsa IV, who died 40 years ago, must stay in Switzerland, ending a drawn out legal battle, local media reported Tuesday. Mwambutsa led Burundi at independence from Belgium in 1962, but was deposed just four years later in a dispute linked to rivalries between ethnic Tutsis and Hutus, which still haunt the country. The monarch died in Switzerland in 1977, leaving clear instructions that his remains should never be returned to Burundi. But his daughter and the Burundian government campaigned for his remains to be repatriated
(Xinhuanet 04/28/17)
The Burundian senate on Thursday ratified a 50 million U.S. dollar financial agreement with the World Bank's International Development Association to support the country's health sector. Burundian Public Health and AIDS Control Minister Josiane Nijimbere told senators the funding will help an ongoing program to grant free medical services to children under five and to pregnant and delivering mothers. "The four-year program is starting in July this year and is ending in 2021," she said. The new program will also...
(Voice of America 04/28/17)
A low-cost and widely available drug could save the lives of 1 in 3 mothers who would otherwise bleed to death after childbirth, according to a new study. Severe bleeding, known as postpartum hemorrhage, or PPH, is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, killing more than 100,000 women every year. Even for mothers who survive, it is a painful and traumatic experience. The world's poorest countries, especially in Africa and India, are the worst hit. Drug from 1960s But...
(Voice of America 04/27/17)
Ten trucks carrying much-needed food for Burundi are back in Rwanda's capital after authorities denied entry at the border, citing security concerns. The World Food Program in Burundi says the trucks, carrying 300 tons of beans to feed Congolese refugees and other WFP recipients, were stopped at the border last Friday and returned Tuesday to the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye defended the decision to deny entry, saying Rwanda has been the source of crime and "insecurity" for Burundi since 2015. "If today, there are objects or people coming from the same area
(Bloomberg 04/26/17)
Burundi’s political crisis, which has left at least 720 people dead over the past two years, is easing with the number of arrests declining, according to the country’s state-run human-rights agency. While as many as 60 people were being detained daily at the height of the crisis in 2015, the number has dropped to between 10 to 15, Jean Baptiste Baribonekeza, president of the Independent National Commission for Human Rights, told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Bujumbura. “The situation is...
(AFP (eng) 04/24/17)
A new malaria vaccine will be tested on a large scale in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi, the World Health Organization said Monday, with 360,000 children to be vaccinated between 2018 and 2020. The injectable vaccine RTS,S could provide limited protection against a disease that killed 429,000 people worldwide in 2015, with 92 percent of victims in Africa and two-thirds of them children under five. "The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news. Information gathered in the pilot will help...
(Xinhuanet 04/21/17)
Over ten armed bandits operating on the border between Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) have been arrested, the Burundian police spokesman said Friday. Burundian Police Spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said the armed bandits, who stole belongings in Burundi and crossed the border to the DR Congo, were arrested at various border points. According to him, those bandits are responsible for theft cases and abductions of people who help them carry stolen things. Nkurikiye added that some...
(Voice of America 04/19/17)
The U.N. high commissioner for human rights says he is alarmed by a growing, widespread campaign of terror in Burundi being waged by government-backed militia against opponents of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s party. The U.N. human rights office says a chilling video circulating on social media has laid bare the horrifying and alarming nature of the campaign of terror. Rupert Colville, spokesman for High Commissioner Zeid Ra-ad al-Hussein, says the video shows more than 100 members of the Imbonerakure, the government’s youth wing, inciting violence.
(AFP (eng) 04/18/17)
The UN rights chief on Tuesday condemned the feared youth wing of Burundi's ruling party for repeatedly calling for the rape and murder of opposition supporters. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the calls for violence -- which often took the form of songs or chants -- by members of the Imbonerakure youth wing of the CNND-FDD party amounted to a "campaign of terror." "The grotesque rape chants by the young men of the Imbonerakure across several provinces in various parts...
(Voice of America 04/17/17)
The Italian coast guard says it has rescued nearly 6,000 migrants on the Mediterranean since Friday, underscoring the continued flow of people along this dangerous route. A group of Africans living in Europe visited Cameroon this week to launch a campaign against illegal migration. The group is called “No More Death in the Desert or on the Sea.” Its mission is simple: to educate youth in Africa about the harsh realities of illegal migration. "We want to tell them that...
(AFP (eng) 04/13/17)
Africa's Matabele ants, fierce predators of termites, rescue their wounded soldiers and bring them back to the nest where they are "treated," a new study showed Wednesday. This helping behavior for the injured is the first to be detected in the insect world, according to an article in the US journal Science Advances by a German research team at the University of Wuerzburg's Biocentre. The ants, formally known as Megaponera analis, are widespread south of the Sahara on the continent...
(AFP (eng) 04/11/17)
El Nino, the cyclical climatic phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, is linked to shifts in cholera cases in Africa, providing an early warning that could save lives, scientists said Monday. During the years when El Nino is warming the eastern Pacific, East Africa has about 50,000 additional cholera cases a year, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests. By contrast, the years when El Nino is not active, there were 30,000 fewer cholera cases in...
(Voice of America 04/05/17)
A Red Cross report says African countries are failing their internally displaced people. Reversing that trend was the subject of a high level meeting of the International Red Cross and the African Union that wrapped up Tuesday in Zimbabwe. Africa has about 13 million internally displaced people, a third of the global number of IDPs, and more than double the amount of refugees on the continent. By definition, refugees flee across a national border, while IDPs leave their homes but...

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