Saturday 18 November 2017
(AFP 11/15/13)
UNITED NATIONS, November 15, 2013 (AFP) - African nations will Friday launch one of the biggest challenges yet to the International Criminal Court by forcing a UN Security Council vote on suspending the trial of Kenya's president. A resolution seeking to defer crimes against humanity charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto for one year is almost certain to fail through lack of support. But diplomats and justice experts say the action risks heightening tensions between the ICC and Africa. The two leaders are accused of masterminding unrest after a 2007 presidential election in 2007 in which at least 1,100 people died. Kenyatta and Ruto took office after an election this year. Ruto's trial has started, while...
(Reuters 11/15/13)
(Reuters) - U.S. military forces in Africa may lose well over a tenth - or some $40 million - from their 2014 budget, the U.S. Africa Command said on Thursday, although it saw success against militants in Somalia and Mali. The bulk of such cuts will fall on headquarters and training programs, AFRICOM commander General David Rodriguez said, most likely forcing smaller exercises. The size of AFRICOM headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, is to be reduced by some 20 percent. The planned cuts are part of broader across-the-board U.S. spending restrictions dubbed "sequestration" and imposed after Congress failed to agree deficit reduction measures. AFRICOM - set up in 2007 to coordinate U.S. military activity on the continent - retains some 5,000...
(Voice of America 11/14/13)
A veteran U.S.-based African journalist said ending corruption in Africa is becoming more elusive because there is no incentive for government officials and others not to engage in corruption. Chika Onyeani, publisher and editor-in-chief of the New York-based African Sun Times newspaper, said part of the solution would be prosecution and lengthy prison terms for those implicated in official corruption. Onyeani was reacting to a study by the independent research firm Afrobarometer, which found that Africans are unhappy with efforts to fight corruption, and found that many still pay bribes to get basic services. The report said Nigeria, Egypt and Zimbabwe got the worst ratings, while Malawi, Lesotho and Botswana got the best. Onyeani said that while not surprised by...
(Bloomberg 11/14/13)
Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) is gearing up to sell about $15 billion of assets as Europe’s largest oil company accelerates disposals to offset the cost of projects from Australia to Canada. Asset sales will allow Shell’s net capital investment, spending on projects adjusted for acquisitions and disposals, to fall from this year’s record $45 billion, Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser said in an interview. New projects coming on stream give room to sell oil and natural gas fields, he said. While chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc Peter Voser didn't put a figure on disposals, Shell needs to raise at least $15 billion over the next two years to meet its financial targets, according to data compiled...
(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...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 11/11/13)
TUNIS, November 11, 2013 (AFP) - Tunisia's judiciary has rejected a list of candidates chosen to form a body tasked with organising elections, a court said Monday, in the latest setback for the country's political roadmap. The administrative court's decision follows last week's failure by the ruling Islamists and opposition to agree on an independent caretaker prime minister as part of a process to end months of deadlock and prepare for new elections. "The court decided to cancel the work of the organ in charge of reviewing candidates" for the Higher Independent Elections Commission (ISIE), court spokesman Habib Latrech told Shems-FM radio station. He said 36 candidates chosen by the parliamentary commission did not meet the legal criteria. The court...
(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...
(L'Express 11/09/13)
La Tunisie s'enfonce dans la crise après l'échec des pourparlers entre islamistes au pouvoir et opposants pour désigner un nouveau Premier ministre, tandis que la violence djihadiste menace. Eléments d'analyse avec Michaël Béchir Ayari, analyste à l'International Crisis Group. Le blocage politique et la dégradation de la situation sécuritaires sont-ils liées en Tunisie? Depuis deux ans, chaque crise sécuritaire se transforme en crise politique. Qu'il s'agisse de l'attaque contre l'ambassade des Etats-Unis en septembre 2012, des assassinats des opposants Chokri Belaïd en février et Mohamed Brahmi en juillet 2013 ou encore de diverses attaques djihadistes dont celles du mont Chaambi. La polarisation du pays s'accroît chaque jour un peu plus. Les sécularistes accusent Ennahda de faiblesse voire de complicité avec...
(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...
(AFP (eng) 11/05/13)
TUNIS, November 5, 2013 (AFP) - There was no end in sight Tuesday to Tunisia's months-long political crisis after ruling Islamists and the opposition failed to agree on an independent premier following two missed deadlines. The birthplace of the Arab Spring has been mired in political stalemate following the assassination of two prominent opposition leaders by suspected jihadists earlier this year. The opposition has accused the ruling Ennahda, a moderate Islamist party, of having failed to rein in extremists long-suppressed by former strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as the country has been rattled by a string of attacks mainly targeting security forces. Ennahda and the opposition opened hard-won talks on October 25 to form a government of independents, draft...

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