Category Archives: Africa

Policeman killed in Ouagadougou in counterterrorist raid

Burkina Faso security forces neutralised three suspected terrorists and arrested one more on Tuesday (22/05/2017) morning in an operation on the outskirts of the capital Ouagadougou, state television reported.

One policeman was killed in the fighting in the Rayongo neighborhood, while five people, including one civilian, were injured, the report said.

Burkinian media reports the seizure of weapons, including explosives, while raiding the house of the presumed terrorist group.

Burundi leader can stay until 2034

The overwhelming majority of Burundi voters (73%) approved a new constitution, the country’s electoral commission said on Monday (21/05/2018), ushering in changes that could let the president stay in power to 2034.

Already ahead of the vote a number of independent experts have expressed concerns about a possibility for President Pierre Nkurunziza to become an ‘eternal’ leader of the nation

Last week’s referendum asked voters to say “yes” or “no” to amendments extending the presidential term from five to seven years and allowing President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek two more terms beginning in 2020.

Ebola spreads to DCR urban areas

The Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo has spread from the countryside into urban areas, prompting fears that it will be difficult to control.

Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga confirmed a case in Mbandaka, a city of a million inhabitants at more than hundred kilometres distance from where the places where first outbreak was confirmed.

Mbandaka  is a busy transportation hub with routes to Kinshasa.

At least 44 people are considered to have been infected with Ebola and 23 deaths are being investigated.

Ebola, or haemorrhagic fever, is a serious viral illness that causes internal bleeding and usually proves fatal. It can spread rapidly through contact with small amounts of bodily fluid and its early flu-like symptoms are not always obvious. Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare and deadly disease in people and nonhuman primates. The viruses that cause EVD are located mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. EVD spreads through direct contact with an infected animal, for example a bat or nonhuman primate,  or in most cases with a sick or dead human infected with Ebola virus.

At present there is no approved vaccine or treatment for EVD. Research on EVD focuses on finding the virus’ natural host, developing vaccines to protect at-risk populations, and discovering therapies to improve treatment of the disease. The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests. The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa involved major urban areas as well as rural ones.

RSF: Africa at threshold of ‘promising era’

Africa came with a score that is slightly better than in 2017 but also contained a wide range of internal variation (see our regional analysis The dangers of reporting in Africa).

Frequent Internet cuts, especially in Cameroon (129th) and Democratic Republic of Congo (154th), combined with frequent attacks and arrests are the region’s latest forms of censorship. Mauritania (72nd) suffered the region’s biggest fall (17 places) after adopting a law under which blasphemy and apostasy are punishable by death even if the accused repents.

But a more promising era for journalists may result from the departure of three of Africa’s most predatory presidents, in Zimbabwe (up two as 126th), Angola (up four at 121st) and Gambia, whose 21-place jump to 122nd was Africa’s biggest.

UK suggests Zimbabwe return to Commonwealth

The UK would strongly support Zimbabwe’s re-entry to the Commonwealth and praised President Emmerson Mnangagwa for impressive progress since Robert Mugabe was toppled in a military coup.

The UK would strongly support Zimbabwe’s re-entry and a new Zimbabwe that is committed to political and economic reform that works for all its people,” the Foreign Office said in a statement issued after the meeting.

Zimbabwe exited the Commonwealth network of 53 mostly former territories of the British Empire in 2003 after Robert Mugabe, who had ruled Zimbabwe continuously from its independence (1980), was heavily criticised over disputed elections and land seizures from white farmers.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met his Zimbabwean counterpart Sibusiso Moyo and ministers from other nations over breakfast on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

South Africa joins sugary drinks tax

South Africa has joined the international trend of taxing sugary drinks to reduce high rates of diabetes, hypertension and obesity. But the long-anticipated measure recommended by the WHO was fraught with controversy.

South Africa and the UK are the latest in a string of countries around the world to impose a soda surcharge, together with Ireland, Canada and the Philippines among those expected to follow in due course.

Efforts to raise the tax on sugary drinks — by up to 50% in some countries — have sparked standoffs between the beverage industry and the health lobby.  It was no different in South Africa.

The protracted debate in the run-up to the new law saw Coca Cola executives suggest taxes don’t work in solving obesity.

However, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the 11% surcharge levied on a can of soda since April 1 was long overdue.

“We are not banning sugar. We are just saying take them in moderate amounts. Every life minute of our existence we are being fed with these substances. It’s an overload on the human body,” Motsoaledi said.

The government said it was acting in the interests of the public in a country with a diabetes epidemic fueled by sugar and an overburdened health system.

Pontifex hopes for “dignified life” in Africa

Pope Francis made traditional address “Urbi et Orbi” – to the city and the world – from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to believers in the flower-bedecked square below where he earlier celebrated a Mass.

“We invoke on this day fruits of hope for those who yearn for a more dignified life, above all in those areas of the African continent deeply affected by hunger, endemic conflicts and terrorism. May the peace of the risen Lord heal wounds in South Sudan and open hearts to dialogue and mutual understanding. Let us not forget the victims of that conflict, especially the children! May there be no lack of solidarity with all those forced to abandon leave their native lands and lacking the bare essentials for living” – Pontifex said.

The day before, Pontifex baptized a Nigerian beggar who came to public eye for his good deed, helping to catch a thief in Italian streets.

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