June 14, 2018

Why landlocked Ethiopia wants to launch a navy

Why landlocked Ethiopia wants to launch a navy Image copyright Imperial War Museum Image caption H H Commodore Prince Alexander Desta was Deputy Commander of the Imperial Ethiopian Navy in 1971 When Eritrea gained independence in 1993, Ethiopia suddenly found itself without a coastline and so it took the logical step of disbanding its navy. Now, it is reconsidering its decision and its latest manoeuvres in the region suggests it could be shopping around its neighbourhood to find a naval base it can use. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed recently said on state TV: "We built one of the strongest ground and air force in Africa... we should build our naval force capacity in the future." His comments revealed the country's naval ambitions but his plans for how to achieve this goal have not been made public. However, Ethiopia's latest push to enter into deals with its coastal neighbours signal something is afoot. What is behind the move? State-linked Fana Broadcasting Corporate quoted Mr ..
June 13, 2018

Grenfell Tower: Global roots of fire victims

Grenfell Tower: Global roots of fire victims "Uncle's house is on fire, pray for him!" On the other end of the phone, in a small village in North Eastern Bangladesh, Kamru Miah's eldest son Suzon can do little else. Powerless to help and 5,000 miles away, he gets to his knees. A short time later, he would be praying for his father's soul.­­­ The tower block fire in west London on 14 June, 2017, left 72 people dead and destroyed the lives of hundreds of others. As the flames from a small fridge fire on the fourth floor grew into the UK's worst fire since the wartime Blitz, the effects began to be felt around the world. It soon became clear that this was no ordinary fire; not least because the tower's diverse community meant that Grenfell was, and still is, an international disaster. Many of the building's residents had loved ones around the globe. There were families who perished with links to Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Colombia, Dominica, Egypt..
June 13, 2018

Hidden writing in ancient desert monastery manuscripts

Hidden writing in ancient desert monastery manuscripts Image caption Fr Justin is helping to share online the historic manuscripts in an ancient Sinai monastery For a monk who lives in the Sinai desert in Egypt, in the world's oldest working monastery, Father Justin replies to emails very speedily. It should come as no surprise: the Greek Orthodox monk is in charge of hauling the library at St Catherine's into the 21st Century. This ancient collection of liturgical texts, including some of the earliest Christian writing and second in size only to the Vatican, is going to be made available online for scholars all over the world. The manuscripts, kept in a newly-renovated building which was opened to the public in December 2017, are now the subject of hi-tech academic detective work. East meeting WestA team of scientists and photographers working alongside Fr Justin has been using multi-spectral imaging to reveal passages hidden beneath the manuscripts' visible text. T..
June 13, 2018

Egypt safer than US and UK – Gallup poll

Egypt safer than US and UK - Gallup poll Image copyright AFP Image caption Egypt was considered to be as safe as Denmark, Slovenia and China Egypt has been ranked the safest country in Africa and higher than both the UK and US, according to a new global poll. The annual Gallup Global Law and Order asked if people felt safe walking at night and whether they had been victims of crime. The survey placed Egypt 16th out of 135 countries, while the UK was 21st and the US 35th. Singapore was ranked the safest, with Venezuela was seen as the least. Egypt got 88 out of 100, placing it on the same level as countries like Denmark, Slovenia and China. This was an improvement on 2016, when it got 82. Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has led the country since the military removed Mohammed Morsi in 2013. His government has been battling Islamist militants who last year killed more than 70 people in suicide attacks against churches in the capital Cairo and in the cities of Tanta and Alexand..
June 12, 2018

Letter from Africa: Why has Nigeria rejected paternity leave?

Letter from Africa: Why has Nigeria rejected paternity leave? Image copyright Wayne Djokoto/Nappy.co Image caption Nigerian lawmakers have rejected legislation for paternity leave In our series of letters from African journalists, Nigerian novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani writes about the strong opposition to paternity leave in Nigeria. For a change, it's Nigerian men at the receiving end of outlandish deliberations by our nation's lawmakers. We, women, are usually the victims. In 2016 for example, Nigeria attracted global head-shaking when its parliament refused to pass a gender equality bill. Among other rights, that legislation sought to protect Nigerian women from violence, and allow widows to inherit their husband's property. Then a few months ago as International Women's Day was marked in parliament, Muhammed Kazaure - a lawmaker from northern Nigeria - cautioned his colleagues against handing over "too much power" to women. "They will overthrow the men. They..
June 12, 2018

Jean-Pierre Bemba: ICC orders release of Congo ‘warlord’

Jean-Pierre Bemba: ICC orders release of Congo 'warlord' Image copyright AFP Image caption Jean-Pierre Bemba had been sentenced to a total of 18 years in prison Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have ordered the release of former Democratic Republic of Congo rebel leader and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba. Last week, appeal judges overturned his 2016 conviction on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bemba is yet to be sentenced for the separate charge of bribing witnesses. Judges ruled that he could join his family in Belgium, while he awaits sentencing in that case. He had already served more than 80% of the maximum possible sentence of five years for bribing witnesses, so it would be "disproportionate" to keep him in custody, judges said. Africa Live: For more on this and other stories from around the continent Who is Jean-Pierre Bemba? What is the International Criminal Court? Bemba was arrested in Belgium in 2008 after the ICC issued an ..
June 12, 2018

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wins PEN Pinter prize

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wins PEN Pinter prize Image caption Adichie's novels include the Orange Prize-winning Half of a Yellow Sun Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has won this year's PEN Pinter Prize. Named in memory of playwright Harold Pinter, the prize celebrates his respect for British and Commonwealth writers who take an "unflinching, unswerving" look at the world. The judges praised Adichie's "sophisticated" approach to "gender, race and global inequality". The Half of a Yellow Sun author described the award as an "honour". "I admired Harold Pinter's talent, his courage, his lucid dedication to telling his truth," she said. You might also like: Dyer and Freeman to star in Pinter playHarold Pinter play to be staged in London's West End HARDtalk: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie The 'ironic' question of Nigerian writing Adichie will receive the award - established by literary charity English PEN - at a ceremony at the British Library in October..
June 12, 2018

Cameroon military and separatists fuel ‘cycle of violence’, says Amnesty

Cameroon military and separatists fuel 'cycle of violence', says Amnesty Image copyright AFP Image caption Security forces are battling to contain the conflict Escalating violence in Cameroon has led to armed separatists and security forces attacking and torturing people in the country's Anglophone regions, according to a new report by Amnesty International. "They tied our hands behind our backs, gagged us and tied our faces with our towels and shorts, which they tore. They, then made us lie in the water, face down for about 45 minutes," a man, one of 23 people detained in the South-West region's town of Dadi, told Amnesty of the alleged torture he experienced at the hands of military. "During three days, they beat us with shovels, hammers, planks, and cables, kicked us with their boots and poured hot water on us… when I tried to move and shouted, one of them used the cigarette he was smoking to burn me." Cameroon profile The 'absentee president' who rar..
June 12, 2018

ECOWAS and UEMOA spur a new momentum of inter-institutional cooperation in the region

Exchange of documents between Jean-Claude Kassi Brou (right) and Abdallah Boureima Abuja, 5 June 2018. The President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, and his counterpart from the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), Abdallah Boureima, signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday 4 June 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria, on crisis and conflict prevention in West Africa to support UEMOA’s early warning and surveillance mechanism and to strengthen ECOWAS’s early warning and response mechanism (ECOWARN). The signing took place on the margins of the 17th session of the ECOWAS-UEMOA inter-institutional meeting, attended by the presidents of the two institutions, the Commissioners responsible for convergence issues and forty experts from the Joint Technical Secretariat (JTS), from 30 May to 4 June 2018. This meeting, which forms part of the cooperation agreement signed between the two institutions on 5 May 2004 in Abuja..
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