Thursday 17 August 2017
(AFP (eng) 08/14/17)
Gunmen attacked a UN base in central Mali on Monday, wounding a UN peacekeeper and a Malian soldier, local officials and soldiers said. "The suspected jihadists fired on the UN mission at Douentza from a hill," a local elected official told AFP. Malian troops repulsed the attackers, who lost two of their own men in the raid, he added. "The terrorists targeted the peacekeepers of MINUSMA," said another local official, using the acronym for the UN force in Mali. A Malian military source, confirming the attack, said reinforcements had been sent to bolster security in the town, he added. Last week, UN peacekeepers accused former rebel fighters and a rival pro-government militia in the north...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead next year, Gates said in an interview in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital. “It’s quite clear that they won’t make those drastic cuts,” Gates said. “I’m hopeful they won’t make any cuts at all, but that’s still subject to...
(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
Former rebels are holding child prisoners in their stronghold city of Kidal following clashes with a rival armed group in northern Mali, the United Nations said Thursday. Fighting between the ex-rebels of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) and the pro-government Platform group has worsened in recent weeks in northern Mali, in repeated violation of a 2015 ceasefire. The CMA said in late July it was holding dozens of prisoners in Kidal, a city it controls, after dismantling a...
(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
A Swede who was held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mali for more than five years before being freed in June said Thursday he was opposed to ransoms being paid in kidnapping cases. Johan Gustafsson, 42, told reporters he did not know why his captors had chosen to release him but he hoped his government was telling the truth when it said its policy was not to pay ransoms. "Personally, I think it's wrong. It puts other people in danger... It's...
(AFP (eng) 08/10/17)
The skull of an infant ape buried by a volcano 13 million years ago has preserved intriguing clues about the ancestor humans shared with apes -- including a likely African origin, scientists said Wednesday. A previously-unknown creature that shared an extended family with the human forefather, had a flat face like that of our far-flung cousin the gibbon, but did not move like one, its discoverers wrote in the journal Nature. They named it Nyanzapithecus alesi after "ales" -- the...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/09/17)
A German military helicopter that crashed while flying a peacekeeping mission in Mali began to break up while in flight, losing its rotor, according to a defense ministry report seen by Reuters. Two crew members were killed when one of Germany's four Tiger helicopters crashed in the West African nation's desert north last month. At the time, German officials said there were no signs it was downed by an attack. An in-air break-up could point to maintenance or manufacturing issues...
(Xinhuanet 08/09/17)
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Wednesday affirmed the commitment of his country to Africa and saw "great potential to grow and deepen trade relationship." Robert E. Lighthizer expressed this in opening speech of the ministerial plenary as part of the 16th Forum of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), on Wednesday here in Togolese capital Lome. "The United States is committed to Africa. We see great potential to grow and deepen our trade relationship, with the goal...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Tuesday's action at the World Athletics Championships sees two of the most intriguing races of the program as South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk bids for the first half of his 400/200 meters double and Nigel Amos goes for gold in the men's 800m. World record holder and defending champion Van Niekerk should be unbeatable in the 400m but faces a stiff challenge, not least from Botswanan duo Isaac Makwala and Thebe Baboloki. Another Botswanan, Amos, will also have to be...
(AFP (eng) 08/06/17)
The United Nations said Saturday it was investigating mass graves found in a northern Mali town along with a slew of human rights abuses committed by armed groups vying for control of the area. The pro-government Platform group has clashed repeatedly with the former rebels of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) since June, violating a 2015 peace deal they signed aimed at ending separatist unrest and jihadist inroads into Mali's north. The UN mission in the country said...
(AFP (eng) 08/03/17)
A South African held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mali since 2011 has been freed, the country's foreign minister said on Thursday. "Our fellow South African Stephen McGown was released on 29 July 2017," Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told reporters. McGown, 42, was abducted in Timbuktu in northern Mali in November 2011 along with Swede Johan Gustafsson and Dutchman Sjaak Rijke by a group of armed men while on the terrace of their hotel. Gustafsson was released in June while Rijke was freed in April 2015 by French special forces.
(Xinhuanet 08/03/17)
Trade between China and Africa reached 85.3 billion U.S. dollars in H1, surging 19 percent year on year as the two sides strengthened cooperation in a wide range of areas, official data showed Thursday. The data reversed the negative growth trend since 2015, according to Gao Feng, spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce. During January-June, Chinese imports from Africa, including minerals, agricultural products and fruits, amounted to 38.4 billion U.S. dollars, jumping 46 percent from the same period last year,...
(AFP (eng) 08/02/17)
French and German support for a regional Sahel force to battle jihadists will persuade other European nations of the benefits of backing the counter-terror measure, Germany's defence minister said Tuesday. Ursula von der Leyen spoke to journalists in Bamako after talks with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, arriving six days after a helicopter crash in the country's north killed two German crew who were monitoring clashes for the United Nations mission to Mali. Von der Leyen said the discussion had centred on the autumn deployment of the force from the so-called "G5 Sahel" countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger)
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Julien Ochala can’t live without his morning cup of Joe. But not just any coffee will do. For the past five years, the 37-year-old physiology lecturer at King’s College London has visited the same store every week to grab a pack of his beloved Kenyan brew. And he’s not put off by the cost: at 37 pounds a kilogram ($22 a pound), it’s more than double a similar supermarket product. "I take Kenyan coffee every morning," said Ochala, who buys...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/01/17)
Germany on Monday lent support to France's push to make operational a new multinational military force that will tackle Islamist militants in Africa's Sahel region and urged other powers to contribute funds at an Autumn donor conference. On a joint visit to Niger's capital, Niamey, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her French counterpart, Florence Parly, said the Sahel force was West Africa's best hope for defeating the militants. Some observers see the G5 Sahel force — comprised of troops from Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad
(Bloomberg 08/01/17)
British American Tobacco Plc faces a formal probe by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office following reports that the maker of Dunhill cigarettes bribed African government officials to influence tobacco legislation. BAT said Tuesday it is running its own investigations, via external legal advisers, into allegations of misconduct and is cooperating with the U.K. prosecutor. A BBC report two years ago said BAT had a lobbyist arrange bribes totaling $26,000 for three public officials in Rwanda, Burundi and the Comoros Islands...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/28/17)
Germany's defense ministry on Thursday defended the performance of its Tiger helicopters as part of a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali amid indications that Wednesday's deadly crash of one of the aircraft was due to technical factors. Two crew members were killed when one of Germany's four Tiger helicopters crashed in the West African nation's desert north on Wednesday, but there were no signs that it was downed by an attack, German officials said. It was the first deadly accident...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/28/17)
Barclays reported a 1.2 billion pound ($1.57 billion)attributable first half loss on Friday after taking a 2.5 billion pound hit from the sale of its Africa business and calling an end to its restructuring. The British bank said it had made a 1.4 billion pound loss on the sale of 33 percent of Barclays Africa Group, and took a further 1.1 billion pound impairment charge on the sale. Barclays in June cut its stake in Barclays Africa Group to 15...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/27/17)
A German military helicopter assigned to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali crashed in the West African nation's desert north on Wednesday, killing the two crew members, the German military said. The Tiger helicopter crashed around midday about 70 km (45 miles) north of Gao, burning out completely with no survivors. The crash was reported by a second helicopter following in the mission. "We have now certainty that two soldiers have given their lives in the service of our country," German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference.
(AfricaNews 07/27/17)
At a time when Africa is going through a difficult situation, the blue economy is emerging as a stepping stone to relaunch the continent in the right economic direction. But this type of economy is seriously threatened by “predators” who do not hesitate to plunder resources. The “cancer of illegal fishing” costs Africa about $ 1.6 million annually based on Economic Commission for Africa’s estimates. This and more on this week’s edition segment on Business on the Morning Call with...
(AFP (eng) 07/26/17)
A UN helicopter crashed in northern Mali on Wednesday in an apparent accident while serving with the 12,000-strong peacekeeping force in the country, a UN source told AFP. "One of our helicopters crashed in northern Mali today... This was an accident. We will release the toll later," the source in the northern city of Gao said. The UN source added that "nothing at this stage" would suggest the aircraft "was hit or shot at". Northern Mali is the site of...

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