Thursday 19 April 2018
(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)
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 Thursday's edition of the US journal Science. Until now, the earliest modern human fossils found outside of Africa were estimated to be between 90,000 to 120,000 years old. "Misliya is an exciting discovery," said co-author Rolf Quam, an anthropology professor...
(AFP (eng) 01/24/18)
Two Kenyan pilots have been seized by rebels in South Sudan after their plane crash-landed, killing one person, the UN said on Wednesday. “There are negotiations on-going, mainly between the company that owns the aircraft and the SPLA-IO (a rebel group),” said David Shearer, head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), at a press conference in the capital Juba. “As negotiations are going on I don’t want to make any comment, it may jeopardise the arrangements,” he added. The SPLA-IO has been fighting a devastating four-year war against the government. The violence has caused tens of thousands of deaths and forced more than a million people to flee the country. Details about the crash landing are sketchy but...
(Xinhuanet 01/24/18)
The Kenyan shilling on Wednesday advanced against the U.S. dollar to clock a level last seen some 12 months ago. The shilling traded at an average of 102.50 per the dollar, a year-high from 102.75 in the previous session on Tuesday. The Central Bank of Kenya quoted the local currency at 102.55 during the session up from 102.79 in the Tuesday trading. On the other hand, commercial banks in the East African nation placed the shilling at between 102.30 and 102.40, a rise from 102.40 and 102.60. Forex traders attributed the surge of the shilling to high inflows at the debt market as foreign investors buy infrastructure bond worth 388 million dollars floated over a week ago by the government...
(Xinhuanet 01/24/18)
Kenya plans to prioritize private sector investment in infrastructure development due to constrained government resources, officials said on Tuesday. Stanley Kamau, Director of the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) unit at the National Treasury, told journalists in Nairobi that a number of regulations are already in place to ensure that the private sector helps government to reduce the infrastructure deficit. "Kenya will tap into the private sector to accelerate infrastructure development in the country," Kamau said. He said that government is facing pressure to fund a number of social program including health and education, leaving little resources to spend on infrastructure. Under the PPP framework, the private investors will finance construction of infrastructure such as roads or energy projects and charge...
(AFP (eng) 01/22/18)
Four Somali men charged over an explosion at a coffee shop at Nairobi's international airport in 2014 were acquitted Monday due to lack of evidence. The men had denied they were members of the Somalia-based Al Shabaab Islamist group and had carried out the attack, which came four months after militants struck the capital's Westgate mall, killing at least 67 people. There were no casualties in the blast at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, which police initially blamed on a "loose light bulb" falling into a waste paper basket. After a bullet-ridden car containing a dead body and explosives was found the following morning...
(AFP (eng) 01/22/18)
Hundreds of mostly female activists marched in Kenya's capital Nairobi on Monday to protest repeated failures to apply laws that women must hold at least a third of government seats. According to Kenya's 2010 constitution, women must have at least a third of seats in parliament and a third of appointed positions. But successive parliaments and governments have fallen short of the target. "The women of Kenya are tired of being treated like second class citizens and now stand together to ensure that we take our rightful place at the decision-making table," said Wangechi Wachira, an organiser of the protest from women's rights organisation the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW). President Uhuru Kenyatta won re-election last year and...
(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 sport, organizers said. The countries represented included Nigeria, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan. Some of the people taking part had come to Europe as asylum seekers while others were born on the continent. “We are all human, we have...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/19/18)
NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Security forces are flushing “criminal elements” out of a forest in western Kenya, an official said on Thursday, two days after a man was killed there, leading the European Union to suspend aid. The dead man was a member of the Sengwer community, who have been campaigning for a halt to the EU’s six-year 3.6 billion shilling ($35 million) water conservation scheme in the Embobut forest, which they claim as their ancestral home. “There are criminal elements in the forest which must be flushed out,” Judi Wakhungu, Kenya’s environment minister, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone. “The security operation has been designed to return the situation to normal, which is what is likely to...
(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 did not offer an apology during the closed-door meeting, but she did express regret. Haley told the meeting that "she was not there at the White House, she is not sure what was said, but she regretted all this situation...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
The European Union late Wednesday suspended a large-scale water conservation project in Kenya after evictions of local indigenous people turned fatally violent this week. The indefinite suspension of the $38 million (31 million euro) project follows the reported killing of a member of the local Sengwer community by Kenya Forest Service (KFS) rangers on Tuesday. Regarded as squatters by government, the Sengwer people have resisted efforts to move them from the Embobut Forest, which they see as ancestral lands. The scheme aims at conserving forested areas in Kenya's western highlands that are a crucial rainwater catchment area.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
MARSABIT, Kenya (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Widow Ahatho Turuga lost 20 of her goats to drought early last year, but the shopkeeper is planning to reinvest in her herd once she has saved enough money. “I think I will start with four goats and see how it goes,” she said, rearranging soap on the upper shelf of her shop in Loglogo, a few kilometers from Marsabit town. She recalled how frequent droughts had left her on the edge of desperation, struggling to care for six of her own children and four others she adopted after their mother died. But Turuga is finding it easier to cope since taking part in a rural entrepreneurship program run by The BOMA Project, a...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
MASENO, Kenya (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Armed with a solar-powered water pump for irrigation and a quarter-acre piece of borrowed land, widow Hakima Mohammed has become a Western Kenya tree tycoon. Since 2013, she has sold at least 1.5 million seedling trees, mainly to local small-scale farmers, who are planting them as a way to boost their incomes from wood and fruit sales, particularly in the face of recurring droughts that have shriveled crops. In the process, the 57-year-old has found a way to support herself and her family – and Kenya is getting a hand in its efforts to see at least 10 percent of the country’s land covered in trees by 2030, as part of efforts to rein...
(AFP 01/18/18)
Helen Obiri et Conseslus Kipruto ont été désignés mercredi soir à Nairobi athlètes de l'année 2017 au Kenya après leurs victoires aux Mondiaux de Londres au mois d'août dernier. Helen Obiri, 28 ans, avait gagné le 5000 m en battant au sprint la championne olympique du 10.000 m, l'Ethiopienne Almaz Ayana, remportant ainsi son premier titre mondial en extérieur. Elle a été élue devant la championne du monde du 1500 m Faith Chepngetich. Conseslus Kipruto, champion olympique et du monde en titres du 3000 m steeple, a été désigné athlète de l'année devant le champion du monde du 1500 m Elijah Manangoi et le champion du monde du marathon Geoffrey Kirui. Les lauréats, choisis par les journalistes sportifs kényans, ont...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of the many mainly illiterate vendors who hawk everything from painkillers and antibiotics to anti-malaria and anti-retroviral treatments. "When we are harassed we always come to an arrangement with them to resume our activities," she said. Fatima, another hawker, said: "Many...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Two people were killed Saturday in an attack on a convoy of buses travelling in eastern Kenya under police protection, said interior ministry and police officials, who blamed Shabaab Islamists. The buses and police vehicles were travelling from Lamu on the northern Kenyan coast near Somalia to Mombasa in the south. Attackers struck at 11:00 am (0800 GMT), leaving one police officer and one civilian dead. The area where the attack took place has been struck frequently in recent years by Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab militants. "There was an exchange of fire between the security team that was escorting the buses and the attackers during which one civilian was shot dead and some police officers suffered injuries," interior ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/15/18)
ST MORITZ, Switzerland (Reuters) - Skiers from African nations are usually looked on as a novelty at the Olympic Games but Kenya’s Sabrina Wanjiku Simader is deadly serious about her career. The 19-year-old, born in Kenya and raised in Austria, has already taken her first steps on the World Cup Alpine skiing circuit and harbors ambitions to establish herself as a professional. Significantly, Simader competes in the more challenging and dangerous speed disciplines, downhill and Super G. Usually, racers from outside the traditional Alpine skiing nations do not venture beyond the less risky slalom and giant slalom. “Because I‘m a Kenyan, that makes me exotic and some people think I can’t ski well,” she told Reuters after competing in the...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The African Union said Friday that President Donald Trump's reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" broke with "accepted behaviour" and was "extremely upsetting." Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, told AFP that Trump's statement "truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice." "This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens," she said. "It's an extremely upsetting statement," she added. The comment was reportedly made during a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
President Donald Trump reportedly lashed out in a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform, demanding to know why the US should accept citizens from what he called "shithole" countries. The comments, first reported by The Washington Post, sparked anger among Democrats and Republicans and revived questions about Trump's tendency to make racially charged remarks. Trump sat down with senators and congressmen at the White House to discuss a proposed bipartisan deal that would limit immigrants from bringing family members into the country, and restrict the green card visa lottery in exchange for shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump said, according to people briefed...

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