Monday 20 November 2017
(Voice of America 11/13/13)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two cases this week involving American piracy victims in Africa have highlighted the maritime dangers in the region. However, maritime experts say there are significant differences in the causes and response to piracy off the coast of Somalia and incidents in the troubled Gulf of Guinea, near Nigeria. A judge in Norfolk, Virginia has ordered Somali national Ahmed Muse Salad to serve 19 consecutive life sentences for his role in the 2011 murders of four Americans. Salad was among a group of Somali pirates who boarded a yacht carrying its American owners and two crew members off Africa's east coast. The four Americans were shot and killed after negotiations with the U.S. navy broke down. In another...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/13/13)
CAPE TOWN Wed Nov 13, 2013 (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics expects to supply half of the smartphones sold in Africa this year and aims to double these sales on the continent in 2014, an executive said. Africa has a growing young population that is increasingly tech savvy and urbanized. This is attracting foreign sellers of consumer products like smartphones, especially as markets stagnate or shrink in more developed nations. Although smartphones are gaining popularity across the continent, they are still a novelty. At the end of 2012, sub-Saharan smartphone penetration was 4 percent, compared with a global average of 17 percent, according to industry body GSMA. "Samsung this year will ship 50 percent of all the smartphones in Africa," Thabiet...
(AFP (eng) 11/12/13)
NOUAKCHOTT, November 12, 2013 (AFP) - Mauritania said on Tuesday it had sent exterminators to the north to fight a plague of locusts swarming over the desert which could devastate the west African nation, local media said. "The situation is characterised by the presence of large swarms of winged locusts and larvae," said Mohamed Abdullahi Ould Babah, head of the centre for controlling the desert locust, according to the AMI news agency. He told a meeting of international partners involved in locust control that treatment and observation teams had already cleared more than 50 square kilometres (19 sq miles) of easily accessible terrain. Ould Babah said the winter rain expected from November 15 could make the task more difficult and...
(Bloomberg 11/12/13)
Vodacom Group Ltd. (VOD), the wireless operator with the most subscribers in South Africa, plans to increase investment on the continent as it speeds up the pace of network upgrades. “In South Africa we’ve been investing 7 billion rand ($677 million) a year and we want to notch that up a couple of levels,” Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub said on a conference call today. The company will increase capital spending as a percentage of revenue to as much 17 percent from 13 percent in 2013, he said. Vodafone Group Plc (VOD), the world’s second-biggest wireless provider, is putting aside about $10 billion from the sale of its Verizon Wireless stake in the U.S. to upgrade networks for units including...
(Voice of America 11/12/13)
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA — A comet is heading for a close encounter with the sun later this month, and providing it is not vaporized or torn apart it should be visible to the naked eye sometime in December. Comet ISON is expected to pass just about 621,000 miles from the sun's surface on Nov. 28. Scientists are not sure how ISON will hold up. As it blasts around the sun, traveling at 234 miles per second, the comet will be heated to about 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to vaporize not just the ice in the comet's body, but rock and metal as well. If the heat does not kill ISON, the sun's gravity may rip it apart. However, recent...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/11/13)
DAKAR Mon Nov 11, 2013 (Reuters) - When Abasiama Idaresit started a digital marketing firm in Nigeria's bustling economic capital three years ago, he quickly learned how brutal life can be in a market where tech startups are in their infancy. No-one would lend him money to hire staff or pay for office space, so Idaresit spent eight months hustling the streets of Lagos, trying to convince clients his plan to help them develop online campaigns was a winner. "During those first eight months, I didn't make a dime ... I was demoralized. At some point I wondered if it was worth it," Idaresit told Reuters by telephone from his Lagos office. It took a money-back guarantee before a baby...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/11/13)
RIYADH (Reuters) - Thousands of mostly African workers gathered in Riyadh on Sunday seeking repatriation after two people were killed in overnight rioting that followed a visa crackdown by Saudi authorities. One of those killed was a Saudi, said a government statement, and the other was not identified. An Ethiopian man was killed in a visa raid last week. Ethiopia's foreign minister condemned the deaths, and told Reuters his government was working to bring its citizens home. "This is unacceptable. We call on the Saudi government to investigate this issue seriously. We are also happy to take our citizens, who should be treated with dignity while they are there," Foreign Affairs Minister Tedros Adhanom said. He said Addis Ababa had...
(AFP 11/09/13)
LAGOS, November 9, 2013 (AFP) - The Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) opens in Nigeria on Sunday and although it is still in its infancy, organisers hope that with time it can become the continent's Cannes. Seventy films from across the continent will be screened in a series of venues over seven days in the southern coastal city of Calabar, which Nigeria has tried to promote as an emerging cultural hub. "For an African film to come out in Cannes or at (the) Toronto (International Film Festival) it has got to be pretty exceptional," said festival spokesman Julian Nwagboniwe. "But on our platform, we can increase exposure" for artists who may struggle for recognition in Europe or North America, he...
(BBC News Africa 11/08/13)
The EU's top court has ruled that homosexuals from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal who fear imprisonment in their home country have grounds for asylum in EU member states. The Netherlands had asked the court for advice about three gay citizens of those countries seeking asylum. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) says asylum can be granted in cases where people are actually jailed for homosexuality in their home country. ECJ rulings apply to all EU members. Homosexual acts are illegal in most African countries, including key Western allies such as Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya and Botswana. In June a report by Amnesty International said homophobic attacks had reached dangerous levels in sub-Saharan Africa and must stop. The ECJ judgment on...
(CNN 11/08/13)
(CNN) -- Next time you chum up to a stranger on social media before traveling to their homeland, consider the ordeal of Australian Steve Sparks. As reported by ABC, the Darwin resident says he was kidnapped and held for six weeks while vacationing in the African nation of Senegal. While being held against his will, Sparks' abductors emptied his bank account. Sparks, who was released about two weeks ago, but who has only recently returned home, "says his mistake was meeting up with a man he had met on social media." After meeting the social media contact, Sparks says he was kidnapped, forced to give up his bank account details and held in a bedroom for six weeks. He says...
(Dw-World 11/08/13)
Most German entrepreneurs shy away from investing in southern Africa and bilateral trade is relatively low. A business lobby group wants to reverse this trend. The Togolese ambassador to Germany, Comla Paka, has expressed his country's desire for international investors. The small West African country on the Atlantic Ocean has a lot to catch up with in terms of investment. "We need investment in infrastructure, our roads and ports," said Paka. Traditionally Togo enjoys good relations with Germany, but economic cooperation between the two is still rare, the ambassador said. “Many African countries find access to European markets very difficult and in the end prefer to do business with countries like China and India," he added. Africa's economy is growing...
(The Guardian 11/07/13)
Ghana is a country of technological contradictions. In many schools, IT is taught in classrooms with no electricity yet mobile penetration exceeds 100%. Tech start-ups are using the challenges and opportunities as a spring board and achieving way beyond expectation. In East Legon, a smart suburb of Ghana's capital, Accra, two men and a woman in their 20s stand in front of a slick ad featuring a large plane in mid-flight. They are pitching a business idea for a website that would allow travellers to compare ticket prices, then book and pay for airline tickets on domestic flights. The pitch has sparked a lively debate among the pupils who sit in a darkened classroom, with the words "generosity, positivity, standards"...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/13)
LONDON | Wed Nov 6, 2013 (Reuters) - Three years ago, a trip to the Southern Kenya production facilities of Canadian company Africa Oil attracted only seven potential investors. Two months ago, 60 boarded the flight. The investor trip, described by sales staff at Citi following a recent client conference, is just one illustration of the swelling interest in the most esoteric frontier markets. In a world of low yields and paltry growth, the attraction of frontier markets - the lesser developed emerging markets in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America - is pretty clear. Juicy returns, often huge natural resources and young populations provide a stark contrast to the ageing economic profile in the West. "Everyone...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/13)
WASHINGTON | (Reuters) - A former Deutsche Bank unit will pay $12.1 million to harmed borrowers in order to resolve allegations that it discriminated against African-American and Hispanic borrowers seeking mortgage loans, the U.S. housing regulator said on Tuesday. MortgageIT, which was an indirect subsidiary of the German bank, charged higher rates and fees to minority borrowers and denied their loan applications more often than comparable white borrowers, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said. The money will be used to compensate borrowers who were unfairly denied a loan or whose loans violated fair lending laws, the agency said. "It's creditworthiness and ability to pay that matter when you apply for a loan, not your race or where you...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/05/13)
PRETORIA | Tue Nov 5, 2013 (Reuters) - African leaders told Congo's M23 rebels on Tuesday they must publicly declare an end to their 20-month insurgency to allow the signing of a peace agreement with President Joseph Kabila's government. The recommendation was made by heads of state from southern Africa and the Great Lakes region who met through Monday night in the South African capital Pretoria to lend their weight to an international push to end the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite growing calls for peace, the M23 rebels and government forces were involved in artillery clashes on Monday near Congo's border with Uganda. Both sides blamed the other for the shelling. A statement released by the...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/05/13)
MBUZI, Democratic Republic of Congo/PRETORIA | (Reuters) - African leaders and international envoys appealed to Congo's government and M23 rebels on Monday to stop fighting and embrace a peace deal after the two sides bombarded each other near the Ugandan border. The appeals were made as United Nations and U.S. envoys said the elements of an accord to end the 20-month insurgency in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo were broadly agreed and only required public commitments to end the hostilities. A rapid Congolese army advance in recent weeks has driven the M23 rebels from towns and cornered them in the steep, forested hills along the Ugandan border, raising the prospect of peace for Congo's mineral-rich eastern borderlands. But before leaders...
(Voice of America 11/04/13)
Heads of state and governments in both the Southern African and the Great Lakes regions plan to meet in the South African capital, Pretoria, Monday, to review the security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The summit is organized by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). It’s the follow-up to an agreement signed between the two groups last February to find ways of addressing the security challenges within the DRC. “This [summit] is a follow up to ensure that there is a full implementation of this framework [and] to review the implementation process and a way forward,” said Tanki Mothae, SADC’s director of politics, defense and security cooperation...
(The Independent 11/04/13)
We start off this week’s news roundup in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the M23 rebels on Sunday declared a ceasefire in their fight with the army, in a move they hope will advance peace talks with the government, France24 reports. “We call on the facilitator of the Kampala peace talks to immediately put in place a mechanism to monitor the ceasefire,” the rebels said in statement. There was no immediate reaction from the army, which has pushed the rebels from all the towns they once controlled during a 20-month rebellion in North Kivu province. Rebel fighters this week abandoned Bunagana, their last stronghold in the eastern province, and have withdrawn into the hills and forests around Congo’s border...
(BBC News Africa 11/04/13)
A rare solar eclipse allowing a view of the Sun that is totally or partially blocked by the Moon has taken place. It was first visible in the southern United States, before sweeping east across the Atlantic Ocean and the African continent. The US space agency, Nasa, said the greatest total eclipse occurred over the Atlantic Ocean. One of the best views was in northern Kenya, where tour companies organised trips to view a total blackout. Local myths there attribute the event to the Moon eating the Sun. Men and women from the Turkana tribe take part in a ceremony in the Sibiloi national Park in the Turkana region Men and women from the Turkana tribe in Kenya took part...
(AFP 11/03/13)
PARIS, November 3, 2013 (AFP) - President Francois Hollande on Sunday held an emergency meeting on the shock abduction and killing of two French radio journalists by armed men in northern Mali. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira and the head of France's external intelligence services agency Bernard Bajolet attended the hour-long crisis talks with Hollande to try and shed light on the double murder. Radio France Internationale (RFI) journalist Ghislaine Dupont and sound technician Claude Verlon had travelled Saturday to the northern city of Kidal to interview a spokesman for the Tuareg separatist group the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), and were abducted outside his home, according to their employer. Dupont, 57, and Verlon,...

Pages