| Africatime
Thursday 23 March 2017
(BBC News Africa 01/03/17)
An electricity grid for the whole village Problem: A total of 1.3 billion people worldwide currently don't have electricity, according to Yale Environment 360. Getting people in rural areas on to the national grid is proving too difficult and traditional solar panels generate meagre amounts of energy. Solution: Steamaco makes solar and battery micro-grids which can work for a whole village. They are small electricity generation and distribution systems that operate independently of larger grids. How it works: Micro-grids are nothing new. The new part is that Steamaco's technology automates the regulation of electricity. So, if the system detects there will be a surge in demand for electricity, for example on a Saturday night when people want to start playing...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/02/17)
By Lamin Jahateh | BANJUL Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh accused West African regional body ECOWAS of declaring war, after it said it was putting forces on alert in case he refused to step down at the end of his mandate this month. Jammeh, who has vowed to stay in power despite losing a Dec. 1 election to rival Adama Barrow, also promised to defend Gambia against any outside aggression, in a New Year's speech broadcast on state TV. The veteran leader initially conceded defeat in the vote, then changed his mind days later - raising fears that regional powers might have to intervene to oust him. His mandate runs out on Jan. 19. Marcel de Souza, commission president for the...
(AFP (eng) 01/02/17)
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has accused the West African regional bloc ECOWAS of declaring war after demanding that he stand down following his defeat at the ballot box. Regional leaders warned last month that the 15-member ECOWAS would "take all necessary action to enforce the results" of the December 1 poll. Jammeh retorted in a New Year's speech on Saturday night that the ECOWAS summit decision was "totally illegal" as it violated the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states. "It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our constitution. It is therefore absolutely unacceptable," said Jammeh.
(AFP (eng) 01/02/17)
Popular independent Gambian radio station Teranga FM was Sunday ordered to cease operations by national security agents for unspecified reasons, a security source and staff member said. The station, which translates news from Gambian papers into local languages, has previously been silenced and in 2015 its manager was slapped with sedition and "publication of false news" charges for privately sharing a provocative photo of President Yahya Jammeh. "Four National Intelligence Agency operatives and one police officer in uniform came to the radio station this afternoon (Sunday) around 2:30 pm and told us to stop broadcasting," a staff member told AFP on condition of anonymity.
(Voice of America 12/30/16)
2016 was predicted to be a tough year for African economies, and it delivered. Traditional economic leaders faltered this year amid a storm of falling commodity prices, unpredictable and destructive weather like droughts and floods across large swaths of the the continent. Slow economic growth in China, a major investor and trading partner, only added to their challenges. “This year, you’ve seen the two Africas: the commodity exporters going through tough times, while the non-commodity exporters being more resilient,” Nigerian economist Nonso Obikili, who researches Nigerian and sub-Saharan economic trends for Economic Research Southern Africa, told VOA. He says 2016 has been hard on African commodity giants as oil prices fell to lows not seen since the global financial crisis...
(AFP (eng) 12/29/16)
The Gambia's president ordered the electoral commission building taken over by police on December 13 to reopen on Thursday, saying it had been shut for safety reasons. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was sealed off without warning by security forces on the same day President Yahya Jammeh's political party lodged a court case against the commission to have a recent election result annulled. A decree issued on Thursday claimed the authorities had received reports the IEC would be burnt down, stating: "Now that the threat has abated, the IEC head office will reopen." IEC staff could return to work "with immediate effect", the statement added, but a visible security presence would be maintained around the compound close to the capital,...
(Bloomberg 12/29/16)
Gambia’s government assured its citizens that the country is safe and reopened the electoral headquarters in an attempt to ease a crisis caused by the rejection of poll results by President Yahya Jammeh. In a statement broadcast by the state-owned Gambia Radio and Television Services on Wednesday, the presidency assured citizens that the country remains stable and peaceful and that there’s no reason to worry. People should continue to go about their daily business “in the normal way,” it said. A risk that the Independent Electoral Commission’s headquarters would be burned down due to dissatisfaction with the presidential poll result has been abated and staff can return to work
(APA 12/29/16)
The Gambian Presidency under the outgoing President Yahya Jammeh has ordered staff of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to return to their offices unhindered with immediate effect. According to a statement from the Presidency read over the state television on Wednesday evening, the deployment of soldiers at Election House was due to “imminent security threat that it would be burnt down.” Meanwhile, with the Commission’s office still be heavily guarded by members of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU), it is hard to see how staff could proceed with their normal work. The Presidency henceforth refuted reports by online news outlets on the deployment of soldiers at the IEC offices, linking it to the outcome of the December 1 election. It...
(AFP (eng) 12/29/16)
French border police intercepted 45 African migrants who were trying to enter the country from Italy and arrested the two smugglers involved, local prosecutors said Wednesday. Travelling in two vans, 25 migrants in the first vehicle were stopped while 20 in the second breached a checkpoint at Montgenevre in southeastern France, before later being found. According to the prosecutor's office, the migrants were returned to the border and the two smugglers are to be tried in Italy.
(AFP (eng) 12/28/16)
Its lower cost has made it popular in commercial food production, but after being blamed for deforestation in Asia, palm oil plantations are now getting a similar rap in Africa. The sheer scale of land required is having an impact in Gabon, Cameroon and the Congo Basin, environmentalists say. With financing coming from American, European and Asian agri-businesses, palm bunches are cultivated then cut from trees and sent to factories where oil is extracted by hot pressing. But the production process accelerates deforestation, contributes to climate change and threatens fauna and flora in vulnerable areas, opponents argue. However the companies say that palm oil is not only less expensive than soya or sunflower oil but requires much less land to...
(The Herald Online 12/27/16)
The end of 2016 provides an opportunity to take stock of Africa’s recent economic performance and future prospects. It’s been a tumultuous year for some African countries largely due to a commodities crisis and a global economic slowdown.Yet there were still pockets of good growth which displayed the huge potential of the African continent. And 2017 looks to be the year the countries hardest hit by the crisis seek to recover from the economic reversals of the past few years. Since the start of the new millennium average economic growth across Africa has been stronger than the global growth rate. Growth across the continent averaged 5 percent. This fuelled the “Africa Rising” narrative that permeated public discourse. Among the growth...
(AFP (eng) 12/25/16)
Ansu Sanyang was ready. Sick of providing so little for his parents and sisters with any work he could find, the young Gambian resolved to take the migrant route through Libya to Europe. Then on Friday, December 1, he hesitated, hanging back to cast his vote in a presidential election that felt different to previous years. "I changed my mind," said Sanyang, a couple of days after longtime President Yahya Jammeh accepted defeat and seemed willing to leave office after 22 years. "I was glad, very glad, because I had hoped that that man (would) get this," the 25-year-old added...
(AFP (eng) 12/24/16)
Abubacarr Jah is an unlikely political rabble-rouser. A well-spoken Gambian surgeon with no history of activism, he nonetheless refused to stay silent when his longtime president rejected election defeat. "It had become something necessary for us to say," Jah said of the moment the medical association of which he is vice-president called on President Yahya Jammeh to step down. For years, The Gambia's professional groups -- including Jah's The Gambia Medical and Dental Association (GMDA) -- have avoided overtly political statements, in the hope of avoiding the wrath of Jammeh's regime. But the spectacle of Jammeh refusing to make way for opposition candidate Adama Barrow has propelled white-collar professionals including medical workers, lawyers and accountants into the political arena --...
(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...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/23/16)
West Africa's regional bloc has put standby forces "on alert" in case Gambian president Yahya Jammeh does not step down when his mandate ends on Jan. 19, president of the ECOWAS commission Marcel de Souza said late on Thursday. Jammeh has vowed to stay in power despite losing a Dec. 1 election to rival Adama Barrow. ECOWAS has previously warned him that it would take "all necessary actions" to resolve the impasse. Regional leaders are offering Jammeh an "honorable exit" but if he does not take it then forces could be deployed, De Souza said on Malian state television during a visit to Bamako. (Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Alison Williams)
(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)
The Gambia's top court on Wednesday said it was adjourning until January 10 a case filed by strongman Yahya Jammeh, who is seeking to annul the results of the country's presidential elections. The Supreme Court, presided by Nigerian-born Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle, ordered the adjournment because the chief defendant -- the country's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) -- had not been summonsed to attend. Jammeh, in power for 22 years, was defeated by opposition candidate Adama Barrow in the December 1 poll. Barrow's inauguration is due to take place on January 19. Jammeh initially accepted the result but then reversed position a week later, stoking international concerns about the future of the tiny west African country. His complaint to the court...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/22/16)
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh vowed to stay in power when his mandate ends in January, defying calls from West African leaders to hand over to the winner of a Dec. 1 election. Regional bloc ECOWAS hopes diplomacy can persuade Jammeh to step down but has also warned him it would take "all necessary actions" to resolve the impasse. Neighboring Senegal has indicated that military action would be a last resort. "I am not a coward. My right cannot be intimidated and violated. This is my position. Nobody can deprive me of that victory except the Almighty Allah," Jammeh, who took power in a 1994 coup, said on state television late on Tuesday. "The ECOWAS meeting was a formality. Before they...
(Voice of America 12/22/16)
Gambia's longtime president Yahya Jammeh says only “almighty Allah” can deprive him of victory as he seeks to overturn the results of this month's presidential election. Opposition candidate Adama Barrow beat Jammeh in the December 1 election. Jammeh graciously conceded defeat at first, but now contends there were voter irregularities, and he has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the results of the vote. “I will not be intimidated by any power in this world,” Jammeh said on nationwide television. “I want to make sure that justice is done. I am a man of peace but I cannot be a coward.” Jammeh urged to concede The U.N. Security Council, the African Union and the economic union of West Africa (ECOWAS)...
(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...

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