Sunday 21 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
As demand for batteries drives a surge in the price of cobalt, the Democratic Republic of Congo is gearing up to overhaul its mining regulations to harvest more profit from the coveted metal. The global boom for smartphones and electric cars has pushed up the price of cobalt, a key ingredient in top-range batteries, to $75,000 (almost 63,000 euros) a tonne -- an increase of 127 percent in one year. DR Congo is the world's leading producer of cobalt, where authorities consider the previous mining code to favour foreign investors at the expense of the economy. The central African country is also the top African producer of copper, currently trading on the London Metal Exchange...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has rejected opposition claims that one of its activists died in custody after being tortured, and that some 200 of their number are under arrest. In an interview late Tuesday with French radio station RFI and France 24 television, Africa's longest-serving president confirmed the death in custody of an opposition activist but put it down to ill health. "I think there are about 20 people" currently under arrest, he said, without saying why they had been arrested or if they faced any legal proceedings following a crackdown which the opposition says began after mid-November's election. "It would make no sense" to give a specific figure, said Obiang, whose regime is regularly attacked by rights...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Eight children have died after suffering acute food poisoning believed to have been caused by eating sea turtle meat in northern Madagascar, the country's health service said on Tuesday. The consumption of sea turtles and 24 other fish species by humans is not recommended by experts, as they are known to consume toxic algae that can prove lethal in the summer months. "Twenty-seven people suffered food poisoning, of which eight died between January 8 and January 9 after eating sea turtle," said health ministry representative Borohany Said. Police confirmed that all of those who died were children. In December eight people died from acute food poisoning in the same province, Antsiranana, after eating contaminated sardinella fish.
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
A cyclone in the southwest Indian Ocean was heading on Tuesday towards the holiday paradise of Mauritius and the French island of La Reunion, government officials and weather experts said. The storm on Monday amplified to the status of intense tropical cyclone -- broadly equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic, they said. However, it was downgraded on Tuesday to a tropical cyclone, roughly equivalent to a Category 2 event, packing heavy rain and peak gusts of 150-180 kilometers (93-111 miles) per hour, said Francois Jobard, a forecaster with the French weather service Meteo France. Berguitta was likely to strike Mauritius on Wednesday and pass on Thursday by La Reunion to the southeast, when it would be probably...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Democratic Republic of Congo's former military chief, who has been accused by Kinshasa of an attempted coup against President Joseph Kabila in 2011, has been arrested in Gabon, sources told AFP. "General Faustin Munene has been arrested since Wednesday, January 10... in Gabon," said a statement from a party created by Munene, the Convention of the People for Progress and Democracy party (CPPD), on Tuesday. The information was confirmed to AFP by a judicial official in the eastern province of Haut-Ogooue. "Faustin Munene was arrested in Moanda and is in the hands of the DGDI in Libreville," the Gabonese capital, the official said, referring to the General Directorate...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Police in Ghana on Tuesday said they were investigating whether three people had links to extremist groups after they were arrested following the discovery of suspected explosives in the capital. The Ghana Police Service announced in a statement late on Monday that the suspects were detained after the discovery in the Odorkor area of Accra. On Tuesday it said three men -- identified as Ismaila Ali Musah, Abdul Karim Yakubu and Osman Hassan -- had been charged with possession of explosives and remanded in custody to reappear in court on January 30. No further details were given and Ghana's most senior police officer, Inspector General of Police...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
The United Nations announced Tuesday it will investigate the death of 39 Burundian refugees in clashes with soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo in September. The soldiers allegedly opened fire on the refugees in eastern South Kivu province after they protested the detention of a small group of Burundians by Congolese authorities. Nigerian Lieutenant-General Chikadibia Isaac Obiakor will lead the UN investigation of the violence on September 15 in Kamanyola, said a UN statement. The special investigation will look into the response of UN peacekeepers to the violence and provide recommendations, it added.
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Boko Haram jihadists have killed nine people in two separate attacks in northeast Nigeria, militia members and local residents said on Tuesday, underlining the persistent threat to civilians. The first attack happened at about 11:00 am (1000 GMT) on Monday when six people collecting firewood were shot dead in Jinene village, near the border town of Ngala, in Borno state. The second occurred in Pallam village, in the Madagali area of neighbouring Adamawa state, at about 11:30 pm, and saw the militants seize food, before burning several shops and homes.
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
South Africa is fighting to revive its frayed clothing industry, once a crucial provider of jobs in a country suffering from high unemployment, as a flood of cheap imports forces local factories to shutter and lay off workers. Once the economic lifeblood of many small regional towns, the abundance of cheaper products from China has led to the loss of nearly two-thirds of the sector's jobs over the past two decades. "After being employed for 22 years we were informed that the factory would close down in eight weeks," said Vimla Padayachee, 46, who lost her job three years ago.
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
"We first heard gunshots. Then we saw the horses arrive, each carrying two or three men, armed with Kalashnikovs, rifles, bows and arrows," Charles Tombe says. "They shot at everyone -- we fled into the bush. There are corpses over there, rotting." Tombe, 52, ran a small medical centre, which he said was burned down along with all the other houses after the village of Bekoro Misso was looted. He is one of numerous eyewitnesses AFP interviewed about militia violence that has erupted in northwest Central African Republic, sapping hopes of stabilising a dirt-poor, fragile state. Tombe and thousands of others have sought refuge in the small dusty town of Paoua. Many survivors recount nightmarish stories of gunfire and machete...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
The first ever film festival celebrating the LGBT community is underway in Tunisia, a Muslim country where homosexuals can face up to three years in prison. Twelve short and medium-length films produced in Tunisia and across the Middle East and North Africa are being shown at the "Mawjoudin Queer Film Festival" that opened Monday. The four-day event is organised by Mawjoudin, Arabic for "We Exist", a Tunisian non-governmental association which defends the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It is the first event of its kind in Tunisia and the organisers say the "festival conceives of itself as audacious".
(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) 01/17/18)
Nigeria on Wednesday announced friendlies against Serbia, Czech Republic and Congo as part of their preparations for the World Cup finals. The president of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, said the first match against Serbia will take place in London on March 27. The Super Eagles will then take on Congo on May 28 in Abuja and Czech Republic in Austria on June 6. Nigeria have previously announced friendlies against Poland in Warsaw on March 23 and England in London on June 2. The four-time Africa Cup of Nations champions have been drawn in Group D at the finals in Russia, alongside Argentina, Croatia and Iceland.
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Former Cameroon star Rigobert Song lost his first match as an African Nations Championship tournament coach when Congo Brazzaville snatched a 1-0 Group D win in Agadir on Tuesday. The ex-Liverpool and West Ham United defender watched his team dominate a match in which they missed a first-half sitter and were foiled by the crossbar and post after half-time. Song, 41, who suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm two years ago, showed little emotion on the touchline in the southern Morocco coastal city, bar a full-time wink at a TV camera. He made a record eight Africa Cup of Nations tournament appearances and played in four World Cups during a 137-cap career in which he captained his country many times. Congo...
(APA 01/17/18)
APA-Agadir (Maroc) - L’équipe congolaise de football a battu son homologue du Cameroun sur le score étriqué de 1 but à zéro, mardi à Agadir, dabs un match comptant pour la 1ère journée du Groupe D du Championnat d’Afrique des Nations Total 2018 qui se déroule sur terre marocaine. L’unique but de la rencontre a été inscrit par Junior Makias Mosita sur penalty à la 73ème minute. Grâce à cette victoire, les Diables rouges se positionne en tête de leur groupe avec trois points suivi de l’Angola et du Burkina Faso (un point chacun) qui se sont quittés sur un nul blanc en mach d’ouverture de cette poule. Le Cameroun ferme la marche avec zéro point. La compétition se poursuit...
(AFP (eng) 01/16/18)
A prominent lawyer's bid to end Cameroon President Paul Biya's 35 years in power has received a boost after nine opposition parties and grassroots groups backed his campaign, according to a statement seen by AFP on Tuesday. Akere Muna, who hails from Cameroon's English-speaking minority, has vowed "zero tolerance for corruption, tribalism, nepotism and favouritism." The nine organisations gave him their backing in a "platform for a new republic" that they agreed on Monday in the capital Yaounde, they said in a joint statement. Muna is a former vice president of the anti-corruption campaign group Transparency International and former president of the Cameroon Bar Association. He was "formally designated" as their only candidate for the presidency, the statement added. Biya,...
(AFP (eng) 01/16/18)
South African prosecutors said Tuesday they are seeking $130 million from global consultancy McKinsey and a local firm linked to a graft scandal that has engulfed President Jacob Zuma. The announcement was the first move against the Gupta family that is accused of corrupt dealings with Zuma, including allegations it profited from lucrative government contracts and chose ministerial appointments. The local company, Trillian, was controlled by an associate of the Guptas at the time of the allegations in 2015 and 2016. McKinsey and Trillian were paid for a contract advising state power monopoly Eskom. "The first order... refers to McKinsey and Trillian, that's 1.6 billion rand ($130 million, 105 million euros) we are asking to be paid back, that process...
(AFP (eng) 01/16/18)
As Cape Town suffers its worst drought in a century, residents were warned by the mayor on Tuesday that they face losing piped water to their homes by April 21. If rains do not materialise and drastic consumption reductions are not achieved by "Day Zero", the city's people face the prospect of queueing at standpipes for daily rations of 25 litres (9.2 US gallons) of water. The city, which attracts millions of tourists every year, has enforced strict waste controls including splash bans at municipal pools and hauling homeowners using more than a 87-litre daily limit before the courts. In the past week, just 39 percent of Capetonians used less than that amount. "Cape Town's average daily collective consumption is...
(AFP (eng) 01/16/18)
A Moroccan court sentenced to death a man over the murder of a member of parliament and jailed his widow, in a case involving sex and money, the government said Tuesday. Abdellatif Merdas, who was a member of the liberal Constitutional Union party, was gunned down near his house in Casablanca in March last year. A local councillor, Hicham Mouchtari, was sentenced to death on Monday after he was convicted of "premeditated murder", the justice ministry said. Merdas's widow, Ouafae Bensamadi, was given a life sentence, and a female acquaintance of hers described as a "fortune-teller" was sentenced to 20 years in jail. According to media reports of the investigation, Bensamadi had been having an affair with Mouchtari, who killed...
(AFP (eng) 01/16/18)
Workers at Algeria's In Amenas gas plant gathered Tuesday around a black marble memorial to mark five years since a deadly raid by Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists left 40 hostages dead. All trace of the four-day siege -- which saw workers from Japan, the Philipines, Britain, Norway and the United States killed -- has long been cleared away at the sprawling desert facility 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) southeast of Algiers. "They are 40 martyrs. I am full of emotion, I knew a lot of these people," said Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, the CEO of Algeria's Sonatrach, that runs the site with Norway's Statoil and Britain's BP. The assault -- which left 29 attackers dead -- was claimed by one-eyed Algerian jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar,...

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