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..
June 12, 2018

National Coordination Centre for Early Warning Mechanism opens in Cote d’Ivoire

Signature of MoU between the Ivorian Prime minister and president Brou Abidjan, 27 May 2018. The National Coordination Centre for the Early Warning and Response mechanism of Cote d’Ivoire was inaugurated in Abidjan on 24 May 2018, by the President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, in the company of the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Gen. Francis Awagbe Behanzin. The Centre’s premises were provided by the Ivorian government. In addition to inaugurating the building, Mr Brou, in a symbolic gesture, handed over some equipment and a vehicle to the Centre’s Director. According to the ECOWAS Commission President, the Centre is intended to be a Community instrument for solidarity, essential for the prevention, management and resolution of the conflicts besetting West Africa. Exchange of documents between Jean-Claude Kassi Brou and Amadou Gon Coulibaly The Ivorian government will support the C..
June 11, 2018

The UK health tax hurting foreign nurses

The UK health tax hurting foreign nurses Image copyright PA Image caption One in eight NHS England workers are foreign nationals When a Kenyan nurse took up a job in the UK a few years ago, he felt his family's future had been secured. But now the distraught father-of-three is struggling financially to reunite his family. Ken, not his real name, lives with his wife and daughter. But his twin children, a boy and a girl, remain in Kenya where they live with relatives. That's because Ken is unable to raise enough money to cover a British health tax, known as the immigration health surcharge (IHS). 'Struggling to stay afloat'Migrant workers coming to the UK from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and their dependents have to a pay an annual fee of £200 ($268) each. Ken is also required to have £2,185 in his account for three months before he can apply to bring his twins into the country - on top of the £400 he will need for their health tax. "It's very diff..
June 11, 2018

Scientists shocked by mysterious deaths of ancient trees

Scientists shocked by mysterious deaths of ancient trees Image copyright Jocelyn Alexander Image caption Panke, the oldest known African baobab, in 1997. The tree has since died. A tree regarded as the icon of the African savannah is dying in mysterious circumstances. International scientists have discovered that most of the oldest and largest African baobabs have died over the past 12 years. They suspect the demise may be linked to climate change, although they have no direct evidence of this. The tree can grow to an enormous size, and may live hundreds if not thousands of years. The researchers, from universities in South Africa, Romania and the US, say the loss of the trees is "an event of an unprecedented magnitude". Revealing the findings in the journal, Nature Plants, they say the deaths were not caused by an epidemic. "We suspect that the demise of monumental baobabs may be associated at least in part with significant modifications of climate conditions that affect southern Afr..
June 11, 2018

World Cup child trafficking bid foiled in Nigeria

World Cup child trafficking bid foiled in Nigeria Image copyright AFP Image caption The children were intercepted at Lagos' Murtala Mohammed International Airport Nigerian authorities say they have rescued nine young girls and one boy who were being trafficked to Moscow. Five suspects, including a policeman and a quarantine officer, were arrested for allegedly facilitating their travel, the government agency fighting trafficking says. The victims were found while trying to board a plane from Lagos to Russia. They had football supporter ID cards in order to look as though they were fans heading to the World Cup in Russia. Africa Live: Updates on this and other stories How I smuggle people from Nigeria to Europe Five other potential victims were stopped from boarding the same Turkish Airlines flight when suspicious staff noticed they had one-way tickets. Criminals have been pressurising young Nigerians and their parents to take advantage of the World Cup to get Russian visas, the ..
June 9, 2018

UN condemns Central African Republic hospital raids

UN condemns Central African Republic hospital raids Image copyright Reuters Image caption Since January 2017, there has been a 70% increase in the number of internally displaced people in the CAR as a result of the continuing conflict The UN has condemned intimidation of staff and patients by armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR). Men armed with machetes, knives and other crude weapons entered hospitals in the past few months, the UN said, most recently in the town of Bambari. Terrified relatives had moved patients from Bambari hospital even though they still needed treatment. The UN said it was unclear who was carrying out the attacks, suspected of being ethnically motivated. The conflict has led to a 70% increase in the number of internally displaced people since January 2017, the UN says. The UN's humanitarian co-ordinator in the CAR, Najat Rochdi, said in a statement he would "hold these armed groups directly responsible for any medical complications and life-thr..
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