June 1, 2018

Africa’s week in pictures: 24-31 May 2018

Africa's week in pictures: 24-31 May 2018 A selection of the best photos from across Africa and of Africans elsewhere in the world this week. Image copyright Reuters Image caption A Malian was at the centre of one of the week's biggest stories. Mamoudou Gassama scaled a building to rescue a child - his heroism earning him an invite to meet the French president on Monday. Image copyright AFP Image caption In Mali on Wednesday, a man is pictured sitting in a mosque in Mopti during a visit by UN chief Antonio Guterres. Image copyright AFP Image caption In Cairo, Egyptians cheer on a different hero on Saturday: Mo Salah as he played for Liverpool in the Uefa Champions League Final. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Over in the US on Wednesday, Ghanaian Shifa Amankwah-Gabbey, 12, searches for her own slice of glory at the 91st Scripps National Spelling Bee. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption On the same day, a 1930s "runner mask", or "Mabu", made by the Wum peop..
May 31, 2018

Nigeria’s Tramadol crisis: The drug fuelling death, despair and Boko Haram

Nigeria's Tramadol crisis: The drug fuelling death, despair and Boko Haram Image caption Maiduguri has been at the centre of the battle against Boko Haram for years - but it is also fighting a silent battle with drugs After a BBC investigation in April showed the extent of codeine addiction in Nigeria, the production of codeine-based cough syrup was banned in Nigeria. But codeine is not the only opioid scourge spreading across West Africa. Another painkiller, Tramadol, is fuelling widespread addiction - and as the BBC's Stephanie Hegarty found out, it may even be fuelling insurgency in the north-east. When Mustafa Kolo, 23, takes the bright red pills he feels like he can push a tree. It's like his body isn't his. They obliterate the negative thoughts. "When I take it, I forget everything," he says. It's 10:00, Mr Kolo and his friend Modu Mohamed are with their boss, the commander of a vigilante unit set up to protect the city of Maiduguri from Boko Hara..
May 31, 2018

South Africa outrage over ‘naked’ school choir performance

South Africa outrage over 'naked' school choir performance Image copyright DispatchLive Image caption The footage emerged earlier this week at a competition showing the girls dancing on stage, their breasts and buttocks exposed A "naked" choir performance by a group of South African schoolgirls has led to calls for investigation by the country's education minister. Angie Motshekga said she was "extremely disappointed" after seeing footage of the Xhosa girls performing wearing only a small apron, known as an "inkciyo". The basic education minister said it was an "indignity [which] goes against the values of our cultures". But the choirmaster has defended the choice - saying he was proud. According to South Africa's Daily Dispatch website, the unnamed teacher said: "We are proud of our Xhosa tradition. We are proud of 'inkciyo'. We are proud of Xhosa women and girls." The Xhosa are South Africa's second-largest ethnic group. Africa Live: Click here fo..
May 31, 2018

Uganda’s parliament passes controversial tax on social media users

Uganda's parliament passes controversial tax on social media users Image copyright AFP Uganda's parliament has passed a controversial tax on people using social media platforms. The law imposes a 200 shilling [$0.05, £0.04] daily levy on people using internet messaging platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber and Twitter. President Yoweri Museveni had pushed for the changes, arguing that social media encouraged gossip. The law should come into effect on 1 July but there remain doubts about how it will be implemented. Africa Live: BBC News Updates Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in 'anti-fake news campaign' Uganda country profile The new Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill will also impose various other taxes, including a 1% levy on the total value of mobile money transactions - which civil society groups complain will affect poorer Ugandans who rarely use banking services. State Minister for Finance David Bahati told parliament that the tax increases were needed to help Uga..
May 30, 2018

Why Ghanaians are so slow to bury their dead

Why Ghanaians are so slow to bury their dead Image copyright AFP In our series of letters from African journalists, writer Elizabeth Ohene considers why bodies are not buried for months, sometimes years, in Ghana. This past week there was another one of those typically Ghanaian funeral stories in the news. The body of a chief who had died six years ago was still in the morgue as the family bickered over who should be designated as the "chief mourner". I was, as is usual with me, outraged. But the story did not attract much attention because we regularly leave dead bodies in the morgue for long periods to sort out the disputes that erupt after every death in this country. Our elaborate, expensive funerals and over-the-top dramatically carved caskets are well documented. In spite of the keen interest I have taken in trying to work out how funerals came to have such a hold on our society, there are some things that I still cannot understand after all these years. Fantasy coffins Image ..
May 30, 2018

Algeria seizes 700kg of cocaine on container ship

Algeria seizes 700kg of cocaine on container ship Algerian authorities have seized more than 700kg (1,543lb) of cocaine smuggled aboard a container ship. The vessel, which was registered in Liberia, was transporting frozen meat from Brazil and had previously docked in the Spanish port of Valencia. It was due to offload in Algeria's western port of Oran but suspicions were raised when the captain refused to dock for three days. Acting on a tip-off, the Algerian coastguard forced the boat into port. The drugs were then found aboard the ship, the Vega Mercury, in boxes marked "halal meat". More than 20 people have been arrested over the drugs find.
May 30, 2018

Biafra shutdown cripples Nigerian cities

Biafra shutdown cripples Nigerian cities Image copyright Emmanuel Izuchwu / BBC Igbo Image caption People have been able to play football in deserted streets in Ariaria in south-eastern Abia state A stay-at-home protest by Biafran separatists in Nigeria has crippled cities and towns in the south-east. Streets are empty and markets, banks and schools are closed to mark the abortive attempt in 1967 to gain independence for the region. It led to a bitter three-year civil war in which more than one million people were killed. The authorities have warned the secessionists against street protests and security forces are on patrol. BBC Africa Live: More on this and other stories The man behind Nigeria's separatists Should regions get more power? South-eastern Nigeria is mainly inhabited by the ethnic Igbo community, who often complain of marginalisation - accusing successive governments of failing to develop their areas. Image caption Areas which pro-secessionist groups want as their..
May 30, 2018

How East Africa is cracking down on ‘fake news’

Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in 'anti-fake news campaign' Image copyright AFP Image caption President Kenyatta says the new law will help prosecute cyber criminals A new law in Kenya is the latest in East Africa to punish the spreading of "false information" and impose a lengthy jail term on offenders. It proposes a fine of $50,000 (£37,000) and/or up to two years in prison for publishing "false" information. The Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes law also criminalises abuse on social media and cyber bullying. Critics of the "fake news" laws in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania say they are meant to muzzle independent media. The Committee to Protect Journalists had urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to send back the bill to parliament to remove clauses that it says violated press freedom and freedom of expression. The rights body said that parts of the law criminalised unauthorised access and sharing of government data which would remove protection for whistle-blowers. According to Keny..
May 30, 2018

Itai Dzamara: The man who stood up to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and vanished

Itai Dzamara: The man who stood up to Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and vanished Image copyright Kumbirai Mafunda Itai Dzamara was one of the most outspoken critics of Robert Mugabe before his disappearance. Three years later, his loved ones are still waiting for answers. Kim Chakanetsa reports from Zimbabwe. Sheffra Dzamara has not seen her husband Itai Dzamara in more than three years. Her life changed irrevocably on the morning of 9 March 2015 when Mr Dzamara was abducted. Since then, she has lived a life in limbo, veering between hope and despair, unsure whether he is alive or dead. 'I have to smile'Despite his absence, Mr Dzamara is still very much a presence in the house they shared off a quiet street in Harare's Glen Norah Neighbourhood. In the corner of her living room is a large framed photo taken in a park on a sunny day. In it, Mr Dzamara and his wife stand side-by-side, smiling. A snapshot of a happier, easier time. Life since her husband disappeared ha..
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