Tuesday 23 May 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Fossils from Greece and Bulgaria of an ape-like creature that lived 7.2 million years ago may fundamentally alter the understanding of human origins, casting doubt on the view that the evolutionary lineage that led to people arose in Africa. Scientists said on Monday the creature, known as Graecopithecus freybergi and known only from a lower jawbone and an isolated tooth, may be the oldest-known member of the human lineage that began after an evolutionary split from the line that led to chimpanzees, our closest cousins. The jawbone, which included teeth, was unearthed in 1944 in Athens. The premolar was found in south-central Bulgaria in 2009. The researchers examined them using sophisticated new techniques including CT...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting. "It is vital today that we speed up. Our armed forces are giving their all, but we must speed up" efforts to secure the Sahel, he told a news conference in Gao, Mali, where he held talks with President Ibrahim...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/12/17)
In an upmarket suburb of Senegal's seaside capital, a branch of Iran's Al-Mustafa University teaches Senegalese students Shi'ite Muslim theology, among other subjects. The branch director is Iranian and a portrait of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hangs on his office wall. The teaching includes Iranian culture and history, Islamic science and Iran's mother tongue, Farsi; students receive free food and financial help. The university is a Shi'ite outpost in a country where Sufism, a more relaxed, mystical and apolitical form of Sunni Islam, is the norm. Two miles away, the Islamic Preaching Association for Youth (APIJ) teaches the strand of Islam that
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the...
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and...
(AFP (eng) 04/28/17)
Chadian lawyer Jacqueline Moudeina has fought for close to two decades to deliver justice for the victims of former president Hissene Habre, who terrorised his people for eight years, leaving tens of thousands dead. Moudeina represented the victims during Habre's trial by a special court created by Senegal and the African Union. AFP asked her if Thursday's verdict upholding Habre's life sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity represented a turning point for African justice, and what its implications were for the increasingly unpopular International Criminal Court. - What will be the impact of the verdict? - There will be a significant impact.
(Voice of America 04/28/17)
A low-cost and widely available drug could save the lives of 1 in 3 mothers who would otherwise bleed to death after childbirth, according to a new study. Severe bleeding, known as postpartum hemorrhage, or PPH, is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, killing more than 100,000 women every year. Even for mothers who survive, it is a painful and traumatic experience. The world's poorest countries, especially in Africa and India, are the worst hit. Drug from 1960s But...
(AFP (eng) 04/27/17)
A desert warfare specialist, Chad's Hissene Habre seized power in 1982 and quickly embraced the role of ruthless dictator, with brutal atrocities the hallmark of his eight-year reign of terror. Often dressed in combat fatigues that complemented his "desert fighter" nickname, Habre fled to Senegal after he was ousted by current Chadian President Idriss Deby in 1990. Habre will now serve the rest of his life behind bars after judges in Dakar Thursday upheld his sentence for war crimes, crimes...
(Xinhuanet 04/27/17)
The West African bloc is seeking to strengthen the role of the private sector in health service delivery in the sub-region as financing sources become increasingly difficult, Dr. Xavier Crespin, Director General of the West African Health Organization (WAHO), disclosed here on Monday. He explained that, for the sub-region to be able to attain its health targets, both public and private sector support would be critical in financing the health delivery needs of the countries. Dr. Crespin emphasized this during...
(AFP (eng) 04/25/17)
At least 20 people, the vast majority of them women, were killed when a wooden boat capsized off the coast of central Senegal in a delta region popular with tourists, firefighters told AFP on Tuesday. A traditional wooden boat overturned near the coastal town of Bettenty on Monday night, with 72 on board, all except two of them women, said Commander Oumar Kane, a senior official with Senegal's national firefighters. "Unfortunately, we have 20 dead bodies and one missing," Kane...
(AFP (eng) 04/24/17)
A new malaria vaccine will be tested on a large scale in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi, the World Health Organization said Monday, with 360,000 children to be vaccinated between 2018 and 2020. The injectable vaccine RTS,S could provide limited protection against a disease that killed 429,000 people worldwide in 2015, with 92 percent of victims in Africa and two-thirds of them children under five. "The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news. Information gathered in the pilot will help...
(Voice of America 04/17/17)
The Italian coast guard says it has rescued nearly 6,000 migrants on the Mediterranean since Friday, underscoring the continued flow of people along this dangerous route. A group of Africans living in Europe visited Cameroon this week to launch a campaign against illegal migration. The group is called “No More Death in the Desert or on the Sea.” Its mission is simple: to educate youth in Africa about the harsh realities of illegal migration. "We want to tell them that...
(AFP (eng) 04/15/17)
Senegal announced three days of mourning on Friday for the victims of a massive fire at a Muslim religious retreat this week, as the death toll from the catastrophe rose to 25. The blaze broke out on Wednesday afternoon as worshippers belonging to the Tijaniyya Muslim group gathered near the town of Medina Gounass in southeastern Senegal, engulfing straw shelters erected for the pilgrims. President Macky Sall visited the site on Friday and confirmed that Gambians and Mauritanians were also...
(AFP (eng) 04/14/17)
A fire tore through makeshift straw shelters at a Muslim religious retreat in Senegal, killing at least 22 people and triggering a stampede, firefighters and local media said Thursday. The blaze broke out on Wednesday afternoon as worshippers gathered near the town of Medina Gounass in the southeastern region of Tambacounda, a senior official with the firefighting service told AFP. The cause is as yet unknown. After the official said 22 people were killed and 87 injured on Thursday morning, local media later reported one of the injured had died in hospital, which was not officially confirmed.
(Xinhuanet 04/13/17)
At least 20 people were killed and about 100 wounded in a fire on Wednesday at a Muslim religious gathering in southeastern Senegal's Medina Gounass, local media reported on Thursday. The gathering, called "Daaka", is a spiritual retreat that attracts thousands of pilgrims every year from Senegal and several countries of the sub region. It took place in the middle of the bush, under the temporary shelters of straw. The cause of the fire which also ravaged sheds where goods and vehicles were parked has not been determined. The 2017 edition of Daaka kicked off on Saturday and will continue until April
(AFP (eng) 04/13/17)
Africa's Matabele ants, fierce predators of termites, rescue their wounded soldiers and bring them back to the nest where they are "treated," a new study showed Wednesday. This helping behavior for the injured is the first to be detected in the insect world, according to an article in the US journal Science Advances by a German research team at the University of Wuerzburg's Biocentre. The ants, formally known as Megaponera analis, are widespread south of the Sahara on the continent...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/12/17)
Senegalese police said on Tuesday that they had arrested three suspected foreign jihadists in the capital Dakar, the second such series of arrests this year. Two Moroccans were taken into custody on March 29 for alleged ties to Islamic State, the police said in a statement, while a Nigerian was arrested on April 1 as he left the Nigerian embassy, on suspicion of recruiting for Boko Haram. The Nigerian had recently arrived in Senegal after two months in neighboring Mauritania,...
(AFP (eng) 04/11/17)
El Nino, the cyclical climatic phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, is linked to shifts in cholera cases in Africa, providing an early warning that could save lives, scientists said Monday. During the years when El Nino is warming the eastern Pacific, East Africa has about 50,000 additional cholera cases a year, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests. By contrast, the years when El Nino is not active, there were 30,000 fewer cholera cases in...

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